Posted in Q&A's on Wednesday the 30th March 2016 by Vicki Ormerod
A little while ago I stumbled across Lucky Sew and Sew and asked Carly if she would like to do a Q&A so you could find out a bit more about her and her blog!
Carly said yes! So here goes...
you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
blog is a little insight into my life in general - a culmination of
the sewing for my business, sewing for myself and my family, my
children, my mad life. I try and keep things as real and honest as
possible. Being a wife, a Mummy and having a handmade business is a
lot of guess work, frustration and going-with-the-flow. I want to
share what makes me happy, what i'm up to, any tips and tricks i've
found, my achievements and even my battles. Trying to make a living
from what makes you happy is tough, but if I can do it, then so can
anyone, and I hope to enforce that with my blog.
did you start crafting and what inspired you to start?
always been more creative than academic (although my art teacher at
school would have said otherwise!). I've always loved crafting and
made a lot of things for my wedding myself. It wasn't until after my
son was born, in late 2012 that I first tried my hand at sewing.
Unfamiliar with my post-baby body, and not ready to go shopping for
new clothes yet, I decided to sew my own vintage-inspired dress. I
borrowed my Mum's sewing machine, bought a vintage pattern and some
fabric (I couldn't read the back of the pattern properly yet and
ended up with 6m of fabric!), and just went in blind. The pattern was
several sizes too small, so I even had to grade it up - I had no idea
what I was doing! Suprisingly, it turned out really well, and I felt
a massive surge of satisfaction from making something myself. The
love affair with sewing started then.
is your favourite craft?
do you love most about crafting?
freedom that it gives you to create something completley unique. I
your friends or family craft along with you?
Mum and I sew together alot. Lucky Sew and Sew is a joint venture for
us both. I also try and involve my children with crafts when I can,
although they are a little bit young at the minute. My three year old
loves to press the foot pedal when i'm sewing, but his most favourite
thing to do is to pick out fabrics that he likes for me to sew him
something from. He also loves to look at my vintage sewing pattern
collection with me, he loves the drawings on the front of the
do you make things for?
and anyone I can! I think sewing gifts is so much more thoughtful and
personal than simply buying something. I always have a huge list of
gifts to sew at Christmas time, and usually cut the timing quite
fine! This Christmas I made rather a lot, including embroidered
slippers for my Dad, a dress for my Mum, a bag for my Mother-in-Law
and a vintage dolly family for my baby daughter, amongst other
made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?
started blogging to keep a track on what i've made and what i've been
up to. It's really easy to forget when you're busy, and it's nice
sometimes to take a step back and look at what you have acheived.
you have a favourite snack when crafting?
can't really snack while I sew as I'll end up with sticky
fingerprints on things! But my husband likes to bring me cups of tea
which keep me going.
3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?
A seam ripper, good quality scissors and an overlocker!
are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?
absolutley love to sew with Scuba Fabric! If you haven't come across it
before, it's like the fabric that scuba suits are made from, hence
the name. It's thick, very stretchy and very versitile. It comes in
the most vibrant prints too, which I love!
is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what
would you make with it?
love the pink houndstooth printed scuba fabric. I would make a lovely
swimsuit or bikini for the summer from it.
many projects do you have on the go at one time?
many! My mind never switches off! I often have orders for lingerie, a
project for myself, and also a couple for the children, as well as
working on new designs for Lucky Sew and Sew. I have a sewing journal
where I try and keep note of my projects so that I don't have too
many all at once and can keep track.
your favourite thing you have ever made?
recently purchased the Roberts Collection pattern from Marilla Walker
and made myself some dungarees. I LOVE this pattern, it's so straight
forward and quick to sew, so rewarding too. I haven't stopped wearing
my dungarees since they were completed!
is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?
pair of dungarees, from the same pattern actually! My first pair were
a deep denim, which I added pockets to. This pair is made from a
floral stretch cotton twill.
you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?
can't watch the TV, I find it too distracting! I sometimes listen to
an audiobook, but usually I listen to music, I find it really
do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?
find inspiration in a lot of places. Museums, vintage shops,
magazines. If I'm trying to think of a new design for Lucky Sew and
Sew, I usually sit with my sketch book and make a few rough ideas. I
then fine tune them and talk them over with my Mum before starting a
sample. I find Pinterest can be great for inspiration, but when i'm
feeling a bit lost or have a creative mind-block, I like to go for a
walk and get some fresh air to clear my mind. I think having too many
ideas can cloud your creativity, so it's good to connect with nature,
get grounded and then it's easier to focus. I live by the sea-side,
and the salt-sea air really cleanses the creative mind!
you have any advice for new bloggers?
not to worry to much about what you think people might want to read
and instead write about what you enjoy. Writing about something you
have a true passion for will be far more engaging than writing about
something which you think you should be writting about.
you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?
and Thread - my two favourite things!
Thank you so much for that Carly! Please take the time to check out Carly's blog for more!
Bye for now,
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 28th March 2016 by Annette
This is one of those Sewing Patterns
that has a basic shape with each version having just a slight variation. Pretty much all woven fabrics are mentioned in the suggested fabrics. So this to me means an all year round pattern.
And so my first choice is for version A. This could easily be worn as a pinafore so I would have no hesitation in recommending our embroidered stretch Needlecord Fabric
This is a stunning needlecord that is decorated in a pretty floral design that is couched onto the fabric. The RRP on this fabric was over £20 per metre but now whilst nearing the end of this gorgeous fabric we are happy to present it at just £2.99 per metre. The 'knots' on the shoulder are sewn separately and added after bias binding has been attached. Therefore you have the option of leaving these off if you want.
I love version B. This is the plainest version on this pattern and a lightweight Chambray Fabric
would be a perfect choice.
Our website description says of this Fabric
"This fabulous chambray denim has a beautifully soft and smooth finish. Chambray is a light weight denim and is great for making dresses, shirts, shorts, skirts, tops and more - it is such a versatile fabric. It would also be great to use in interiors! This beautiful range of chambray is from our luxury collection of designer fabrics. By feeling this fabric you can instantly see the quality. Available in beautiful shades of denim - a sky Blue, indigo Blue and charcoal grey."
The pockets are a handy addition on this version but obviously you could add the pockets to any of the versions. They have a very cute top edge in the shape of a sweetheart neckline! This is easily achieved by means of a facing.
Alternatively the top edge could just be hemmed under to form a straight edge.
Version C would look stunning in this Fabric
don't you think? The only addition to version C is two ties, one on each shoulder. These are attached at the under side of the shoulder seam then fastened into a knot which will show on the right side. I would probably add the pockets to this version but set myself the task of matching the pattern of the pockets to the main fabric. I love the sense of achievement you get when this looks absolutely perfect!!
We have lots and lots of cotton fabrics to choose from but in trying to keep similar to the pattern I decided on a lilac cotton poplin fabric
for version D.
Now the neckline changes on the last two versions. It appears to be a gathered neckline but it is in fact a drawstring threaded through a casing that is made with bias binding. 1/4 inch wide ribbon is used for the drawstring but you could use a narrow cord or even a narrow round elastic. I've left my favourite till last again. Just look at this Cotton Lawn Fabric
I have already made a top in this fabric last year for my holiday but I would have no hesitation in using it again. I can say from experience it washes like a dream and is so beautiful to handle when working with it. There is the addition of sleeves on this version which i must admit I am quite drawn to. All in all I'm very happy with my choice of pattern of the week
. It is a very reasonable priced pattern at any time but at half price for this week I think it is a wise choice to keep in your stash of sewing patterns. Yes I have a big stash too!!
Must dash, I'm off to choose next weeks pattern of the week :)
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 25th March 2016 by Annette
Is that sunshine I see out the window? Yes it is. Hope there's no more snow!! It feels like fabrics are coming out my ears at the moment. We have so many new fabrics arriving here at Minerva Fabrics on a daily basis. It's mind boggling!! I thought this week I would look at some flowery fabrics And yes when I saw the sun shining I thought good idea. This first fabric is a beautiful quality cotton poplin fabric
featuring a pretty floral outline design.
The flowers are 'drawn' in white on a coloured background. It is a medium weight with a soft finish, this fabric is perfect for making dresses, tops, skirts and ideal for incorporating into your patchwork quilting designs. It comes in two lovely colourways but my personal favourite is the coral. There are so many dress patterns where you could use this fabric but one that really stands out to me is Vogue Pattern
How lovely is that neckline? Beautiful beautiful summer dress or thinking ahead it would also make a gorgeous evening dress. I love how the top of the dress is constructed. The following photo gives you an idea of the construction.
The next photo is showing both fabric and pattern together.
There is a little bit of boning to go in this dress and that is two pieces in the side seams and two small pieces running up the front So if you've never used boning before but fancy having a go then this could be an ideal pattern for you. Although the notions on the pattern just say how much boning you need (which you could use any). when you get to the instructions they are showing covered boning
. It is a little more expensive than other bonings but boy does it save you time and in my experience is much easier.
I think the next Fabric
is stunning and the following is our description on our website;
"This beautiful Tapestry Floral print Jardin fabric is a beautiful quality stretch cotton sateen. The design is so unusual. From a distance is looks like an ordinary, very lovely floral print, but when you look closely you can see the flower design is made up from thousands and thousands of what look like tiny tapestry stitches. It adds a really interesting edge to a traditional print fabric. This is a woven fabric made from cotton with 3% spandex. The spandex content makes this fabric stretch across the width, resulting in a fantastic easy to sew, easy to care for and really versatile fabric. You can make so many different styles with this fabric. The stretch gives it the added advantage when making fitted styles, because it is easier to get a great fit with a fabric that has a little stretch, as it is much more forgiving. You could make trousers, skirts, dresses, tops, lightweight jackets, suits, waistcoats, shorts, jumpsuits...the list goes on! Its sateen finish gives this fabric a much more expensive look than its reasonable price tag! Those who try this fabric almost always use it again!"
This fabric would look fab made in the above pattern but Butterick Pattern
6240 has caught my eye.
You can immediately see which design I am seeing made up in this fabric. Version C!!
However the only differences between the three versions are the sleeves - short, long or sleeveless and the hemline. There is a slight error I've found on the pattern description and that is with the hemlines. The pattern front shows version A with a straight panelled skirt, version B has a draped front straight hem and version C has the draped front but with a dropped hemline. When looking at the instruction sheet however it shows all three versions with a draped front and a dropped hemline.
Having looked through the instructions all versions are made with a panelled skirt. The overlay does have a dropped hemline so I think it is version B that is shown wrong. I'm sure this will be rectified shortly by Butterick.
I've saved version B till last. This Fabric
has been on my favourites list for a while and I think it would look brilliant. Very similar to version B.
Until next time fellow sewists.
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 18th March 2016 by Annette
Hi everybody. Where do I start. Its getting worse and worse this writing for #FabricFriday Not in the sense "what can I write about this week" But more like what the heck should I choose! New fabrics are pouring into Minerva week by week. They are photographed, edited and placed on our website as soon as possible. I have to say I love my job here within the Minerva company. I enjoy describing our fabrics to you our lovely customers, certainly enjoy sewing them and sharing my sewing experiences with you and look forward to meeting many of you in our Craft Centre in Darwen, Lancashire.
I thought for this week I would choose a multi pattern and take it from there. So I have chose Simplicity Pattern
Here we have an unlined jacket, a top, a skirt and trousers. My first fabric choice would have to be our floral print Cotton Lawn Fabric
It doesn't totally replicate the fabric used on the pattern but very closely resembles it. This is described as a Gorgeous quality designer cotton lawn fabric from the 'Allure' Collection. A light weight fabric which is perfect for skirts, dresses, tops, scarves and much more! Cotton Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. Believe me it feels gorgeous. I would use this fabric for the top or the top and skirt as on the pattern photo. I must admit when I first looked at this pattern I thought it was a dress. The skirt pattern has my favourite pockets as do the trousers.
Piece 15 for the skirt and piece 9 for the trousers just folds back on itself and forms the pocket! The top is quite easy and has like a yolk effect neckline.
My other choice of fabric for this design is our Linen Look Polyester Fabric
. I would make the trousers in the silver grey and the jacket in the beautiful coral. The photo below shows all three together.
The jacket has a little stand up collar, princess seams at the front, darts at the back and a pretty little peplum gathered from the waist. The edge of the front facing needs to be finished off either by just turning under and machining or how about adding a designer touch by binding this edge with your own selfmade bias binding. A pair of shoulder pads finishes off your sewing and why not cover these too!
Happy Sewing fellow sewists and remember 'may your bobbin always be full'!
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 14th March 2016 by Annette
How quaint and adorable is this pattern that is designed by dottie angel. I've searched and searched to find fabrics that would do this pattern justice and yes I think I've found just the right ones.
How close is that?
It is described as a fun and quirky floral print fabric on a cotton lawn base. This lovely summery design would look lovely made up into a summer top, dress or skirt. Cotton lawn is an extremely soft and light fabric which will breathe well, perfect for the summer months. Very reasonably priced too!
Again pretty good match and reasonable price. I've teamed both of these with our marble cotton fabric
(shade 706). This is a quilting fabric but hey who says I can't use it for dressmaking. Because there are only the pockets to cut out of this fabric, I am just using a Fat Quarter piece.
So all in all a reasonable price for a bohemium styled dress. I would stress because although all 3 fabrics are cottons they may wash slightly differently so PLEASE WASH FIRST!!!
This shows all 3 fabrics together along with 1/2 inch bias binding in black.
I've only changed the bottom fabric in this display to this fabric
in brown and brown bias binding.
For this display I've used the same brown for the bottom half and changed the top half to another cotton poplin print and used a cream for the pockets. Again brown bias binding.
Here I've changed the top and the pocket fabric around, still looking good don't you think.
I think version A or B would look good in the cream but how about a lovely patchwork print for a patch pocket? I would team this with a mustard bias binding
Again swaping these few fabrics around creates so many looks. This is my favourite for the top.
Now back to the pattern. There are only 7 pieces altogether and 2 of these are for the pocket!
Both the fronts and backs are placed on the fold so no zip.The armholes and neck edges are bound with the bias binding. Just a thought you could make your own bias binding with a bias binding maker
. As I mentioned earlier the pockets are made from 2 pieces.
There is a little pleat to be made in the main pocket piece and then a band attached to the top edge. Bias binding is applied around the pocket sides and bottom.
The binding is tacked on to the pocket edge and then machine stitched to secure it to the front of the dress or top. The last photo shows the tie bands.
The dress has 'tucks' instead of darts and the tie ends are very cleverly sewn into these tucks which you can see more clearly on my last photo.
Until next time my sewist friends remember, 'Any day spent sewing is a good day'!
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 11th March 2016 by Annette
I so enjoyed looking at black and white fabrics for #POW last week that I thought I would share some more black and white's with you for #FabricFriday. The in-name at the moment is Monochrome. It can appear as pin-stripes and polka dots or even a classic layered look, It is a trend that remains season to season and when teamed with black or white heels it ensures you keep your style strong. I personally love it when a teeny little hint of colour is added somewhere in the outfit which may even be in the accessories, for example the shoes or bag. Sewing wise it could be the buttons or a purchased belt or fabric wise it could be the cuffs, the underside of a collar or even just an inner band on the front edge. For my first fabric I have chosen a New Look pattern
I love the simplicity of this skirt. It has a slightly shaped waistband which usually fit really well and gives you a good 'line' from waist to hips. And my favourite shape of pockets! I think most types of fabrics are given in the list of suitable fabrics but obviously the fabric you choose will reflect in the hang of the skirt. The 'real' picture on the pattern hangs in a proper A-line and to achieve this a suitable weight fabric must be used. So my first choice of fabric is our stretch Denim Fabric
Yes I'm steering slightly away from white but it is only slightly!! This is a fabulous stretch denim made from 32% polyester, 65% cotton and 3% spandex. On my next photo I've teamed it with these Dill Buttons
. I just love these buttons that actually say on them 'Selfmade' - How cool is that! This follows my 'hint of colour' from earlier and yes if you look closer on the pattern (version C) you can see the red buttons.
Just to mention the other versions shown on this pattern. There are so many possibilities. There are different lengths and even a band added to the hemline so you can make quite a few variations, ie a lovely floral cotton with a co-ordinating plain band, worn with a plain coloured jacket of the same colourway or a plain cotton skirt with a band made in a spotty, floral or stripe and teamed with a top in the same patterned fabric. Yes you can make that too!
For my second fabric I am choosing black revue Jersey Fabric
. Any black jersey would be fine but I feel a viscose jersey would be better than a cotton one. Where is the white? you ask, well look at my choice of sewing pattern
How fab is that? For both the front and the back there is the main pattern piece then an upper band and a lower band. On the main picture the middle band has been cut out of a different fabric. So my first choice for this would be this stretch Lace Fabric
The floral design is very delicate, it is a light to medium stretch fabric and would therefore team really well with the Revue.
This lace trimming
is the one which I think stands out the most and looks very similar to the one used on the pattern. As I'm showing in the following photo - the vertical strips of lace are sewn on first followed by two long lengths sewn horizontally along the two band seams and at the same time enclosing the short ends of the lace trim.
Another option for the upper of the two bands would be power net fabric
. This wouldn't be as 'see-through' as the lace. If you look at my photo you only see a hint of my hand.
My own personal choice would be Chiffon Fabric
for this band. The problem is it doesn't stretch. On looking at the shapes of the pieces on the pattern instructions I feel that chiffon could be used because of the 'swing' of the shape and also because there is a pleat down the back therefore adding even more fabric into the width.
However care must be taken that the chiffon fabric isn't 'pulled' in any way and that the two different fabrics lie good next to each other with no puckering etc. But hey, how good does this look!
Have a look too at the other variations on this pattern. The one that intrigues me the most is version D. Check the back version...
That would be so me! I'm sure we have a fabric similar to this on our website here at Minerva. Just haven't had the chance to search yet. If you find it meanwhile please let me know! Before I close on this fabric, just to throw a spanner in the works, how about reversing this!! White revue jersey and lace or chiffon and black lace trim.
Last fabric for today but certainly not least has been a favourite of mine for some time. The fabric is a Cotton Canvas Fabric.
How cool is that? The photo above shows almost the full width of the fabric, so you can see it is quite a large print.
Some of you may remember a bag I made in this fabric that I shared some time ago now. I used Simplicity Pattern 2164 version A
I chose this pattern mostly because the front and the back of the bag is in one piece. Therefore making the most of the print. I used Marilyn on the front of my bag and Audrey Hepburn and I think it is Warren Beatty??? on the back. There is also James Dean, Humphrey Boghart and Jane Russell to choose from. I think I've got the names right! Fabric amounts must be reflected in your purchase in order to get the faces you want. I seem to remember I used 0.75 of a metre. I still have the bits I had over...sometime I will use them!
I've displayed the bag alongside my first fabric for today, the stretch denim, they look pretty good together don't you think? Note the red in the fabric! I emphasized this by using red polycotton to line the bag and red polypropylene webbing to make the bag handles. I still love this bag as much as when I first made it.
Sew long for now,
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 7th March 2016 by Annette
Scrumptious. Thats how I describe this pattern. It has been on my 'to do' list ever since it launched. I just love the casualness (is that a word I ask myself?) of each piece in the collection. And so Vogue Pattern
9067 is my choice for #POW this week...
The pictures on the front of this pattern and the fabrics used look quite stunning. We all come across this problem don't we? Where we fall in love with what is on the front of the pattern and then can't find a fabric match anywhere, even in this day and age when we have the internet to explore. On our website alone there are tons of black and white prints that could be used for these trousers. One of the beauty's of this pattern is you can use jerseys or non-stretch fabrics for any item. And so I thought I would look for something a little different...
My first choice would be in jersey. Similar design but in reds. Fantastic for on holiday don't you think! Our description says of this fabric
"A beautifully soft viscose/rayon jersey with spandex from the 'Mambo' collection. This fabric is very soft and fluid with a show-stopping print. What an amazing maxi dress this would make! Perfect for summer holidays and easy-care clothing". Definitely suitable for either design trousers. I've teamed this with Revue jersey. This is fast becoming my favourite silky jersey fabric
. It is described as "a luxury knitted fabric from the Revue collection. It is a gorgeous soft, drapey and very stretchy jersey fabric. It is a medium weight with a good amount of stretch in all directions and would be well suited to sewing patterns that require an all way stretch fabric. It has a very smooth and soft texture and is washable by either hand or machine. Ideal for making slinky tops, skirts and dresses. Styles with lots of drapes and folds would really show off this fabric to its full potential" Just look at all three fabrics on my next photo.
Yes quite bright (remember holiday) but you could put black and white together for the top or all white or all black. Lots of possibilities! Now I am really buzzing about this next choice. For me this looks even better than version A/E on the pattern!
This gorgeous viscose/lycra stretch jersey fabric
has a beautiful abstract design and is ideal for all-way stretch knit patterns, for tops, dresses, skirts and more! The pink colour within the print really makes it pop! It is a medium weight with a lovely drape and handle. It is machine washable and relatively easy to sew, so great for anyone new to knit fabrics.
My photo shows this beautiful fabric with the pink colour in our cotton jersey fabric
along with the white. These three fabrics feel good together even though the patterned one is viscose. It would be ideal to wear these say for day wear but if you want more of a slinky top how about our plain viscose jersey
in rose pink. This is a slightly darker pink than the one in the patterned fabric but still matches well. And again use along with the white or how about black. Or a black back, white front and pink insert! I could go on and on.
Now my next choice of fabrics has been much admired here in the Craft Centre by our lovely customers when I was photographing it. This was the talked about photo! Remember the fabric does not have to be jersey.
The patterned fabric
is a polyester print. I have matched it to two shades of Trieste peachskin fabric
- jade and ivory.
The Trieste collection is a gorgeous soft and drapey peachskin. Not to be confused with microfibre, peachskin is the highest quality, very finely woven polyester fabric. Because this fabric is woven so finely (down to 0.001 denier) it means this fabric does not crease easily. Perfect for occasions when you need a fabric that will not crease such as travel wear or special occasion wear for bridesmaid dresses. It is a medium weight fabric that is perfect for making lots of different garments but is particularly suited to loose unstructured styles such as Jackets, Dresses, Tops, Skirts, Trousers and more. Peachskin has a beautiful softness and drape whilst still retaining body and weight unlike any other fabric. It is very easy to sew (when you use a very fine needle) and comes in a wide range of colours for all occasions. I think all three fabrics look quite stunning together don't you agree?
Just before I returned these trieste to their 'home' I couldn't help but notice this next fabric
. So I just added the navy trieste and voila another lovely combination...
Last but not least, I possibly would say this is my favourite combination. Only because this patterned fabric
is high on my list to make a jumpsuit. Now I'm seeing it with these two other fabrics I don't know what to do!! It comes in red and fuchsia too but I absolutely love the turquoise.The fabric to go with this is a lighter weight than the trieste but otherwise quite similar. It is described on our website as 'A beautiful quality soft polyester dress fabric which has the most amazing drapes and handle. It is soft and floaty yet at the same time has a good amount of body and is not very see through. It would be perfect for making dresses, skirts and tops, but you could also utilise this fabric to make soft, drapey trousers and jackets. Because it is made from a synthetic fibre this fabric will be very easy case and require little or no pressing.'
Now back to the pattern. At first glance they all look the same top with sleeve variations. On closer inspection version C is totally different.
As you can see from the drawing off the pattern, the seams within the tops are in different places. And you can tell more easily how you could work your colour combinations. When you look at the drawing of Top A you will notice there is a back seam with an opening at the top.
The next photo shows how you sew that seam and finish off the edges of the opening- pretty easy and straightforward.
The last photo for today shows the opening on top C. Now because there is no back seam, this opening has to be bound, a little harder.
You could easily change this to an opening as on version A. Simply get piece 11 upper back and where it says 'place on fold' add on 5/8" or 1.5cm on to this to create a back seam. This can be added on when cutting the pattern pieces out. Then just follow instructions for version A.
Until next time Happy Sewing