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Archives: April 2016

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#FabricFriday - Fabrics for Girls Summer Dresses

Little girl's summer dresses! I thought this week I could suggest some 'pretty' fabrics for the girly little girls. My eldest daughter Alison is expecting a little girl in 5 weeks so although I won't be making her any of the patterns I'm showing you today, my mind is working overtime as to what I will be making her in the future. I'll start with an easy one. The title gives it away "It's so Easy" by Simplicity no 8077.
I am concentrating on the dress on the right with short sleeves. The dress on the left is not doing this pattern any favours but to be fair I think it is just the way the model is stood. The dress appears to be 'hanging' off her but considering the pattern pieces are just the same for either dress, the difference just being the length of the sleeves, I think it is safe to say you would be fine sewing the long sleeve version! Our description of my first choice of fabric for this week is - "This beautiful quality summery cotton poplin fabric has a really funky, bright and colourful floral design printed along the surface. The pattern is very busy with the largest flower measuring approx 45mm" This is a new fabric in stock, £8.99 per mt and I am sure you will agree it is beautiful and little girls will love it.
What to put with it for the band around the bottom? I am immediately drawn to our plain cotton poplin fabric. The quality is superb, it is continually a best seller for us and at £5.99 per mt you can see why. 
I decided to choose a small patterned fabric as well just to give an alternative to the above.  As I walked along the rows (and rows!) of quilting fabrics here at Minerva, my eye was drawn to this Timeless Treasures Fabric which comes in 13 fab colours.
On the instructions it gives you the option of adding some lace on the edge of the sleeves. I think this would look quite pretty. I chose this crochet effect cotton lace trim at just 89p per metre, its so pretty!
Lots of patterns these days give you the instructions for an invisible or concealed zip which are fantastic but just sometimes it's nice to be able to insert an 'ordinary' zip fastening. I like how they have sewn the neck facing on first then attached the zip. I'm pretty sure I've used this method before, a while ago. I must try it again. 
Last but not least for this pattern I am showing you the sleeve diagram. The long sleeves are gathered across the sleeve head and the short sleeves have a little pleat at shoulder level.
I just love the subtleness (is that a word?) in this next fabric. This is from the Michael Miller range of quilting fabrics. I have chosen the colour called 'Sunny' and just love how it is two shades of yellow rather than say yellow dots on white background or the other way round. I am showing it with our cotton poplin fabric in orange and alongside Simplicity 8104 which is a re-print of a much earlier pattern.
This is probably from the 60's or early 70's and the original is shown in the top right hand corner of the current pattern.
As you can see this is a reversible wrap around dress with only 3 pattern pieces and one of these is for the tie's at the front. There is no zip, no buttons and no snap fasteners. The following photo shows you the line art of the dress and how it's constructed. The possibilities for this dress are endless. 
I would have been ending this post now had I not just seen this Simplicity Pattern 8102
It was the bag that jumped out at me but then I spotted the red/blue/white dress. The simplicity of this dress is amazing, especially when put next to the bag. Just think of the combinations of colours or designs with a tiny scrap for the pocket.
My photo shows cotton poplin but you could use polycotton fabric (cheap and cheerful). The pocket could be made from a fat quarter and just a last minute thought you could cut the facings from the fat quarter and then when you tie the shoulders the contrast will show. 
Happy sewing and thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Sweatshirt Top

Hi everybody, just a quick post today. My Grand-daughter Jess has wanted me to make her this top since before Christmas would you believe. What with one thing and another, mainly 'getting into' my #FabricFridays and #Patternoftheweek posts, I am only now making it, much to her relief. (I think she wants to wear it tonight). The pattern she chose is Burda 6850 version A. She'll be wearing it with her skinny jeans size 'tiny' (lucky thing).
Here at Minerva we now have in stock a fabulous quality sweatshirt fabric and Jess has chose the lighter of the two greys. The inside is so snuggly that she can't wait to wear it. And so, what can I say about sewing this garment, other than it is so easy. There is a seam down the back, leaving an opening at the top. This is marked on the pattern piece.
 After sewing the shoulder and under arm/side seams, these will be pressed open.
I wish at this point I had an overlocker (I'm getting one soon - any advise on which one to get would be greatly appreciated!) Next I'm attaching the neck facing.
This seam is trimmed down to approx 1/4 inch which then you need to snip. I have found the perfect scissors for snipping (these are certainly not a necessity, your ordinary shears will do the job just as good as long as they are nice and sharp at the tips). These are Fiskars F9476 Comfort grip micro tip scissors and they have really short blades and oversized handles. This combination gives you exceptional control especially when cutting or snipping through bulky fabrics. All Fiskars products for dressmaking and crafts are renowned for their functionality and cutting-edge design. For this reason fiskars scissors stand out from the rest due to the quality. These are the type of additional scissors you could get when you feel like treating yourself or you have a birthday coming up!
After turning the facing to the right side and pressing, I am quite pleased with the result.
After the neckline there is the hem at the bottom and the turn back cuff on the sleeve edge. A very deep hem is turned under on the sleeve and this is then turned back on itself to form a cuff. No separate pieces so easy peasy. 
For the hem, the pattern suggests either hand sewing or machining. I have chose the latter, for speed more that anything (Jess has just popped her head round the door to see if it will be ready in time for tonight) and also I can use my duck-billed scissors to trim the hem on the inside. These are known as Applique Embroidery scissors and the unusual shape is described as "helps to prevent accidental damage to the material or applique". Here at Minerva we have two makes - Madeira Scissors and Klasse Scissors. I have the latter which are a little cheaper at £14.99
It does feel much safer to trim right next to the edge
So one suited Grand-daughter. Hope you like the photo's...
And then of course some silly ones... Jess is such a poser haha!
And a final picture of us being silly together!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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#PatternoftheWeek - Vogue 1492

You know when you see a pattern and for some reason you just can't get it out of your head. This has happened to me with Vogue 1492...
I intend to start making some boxy tops like this one (that's when I lose this stone that isn't happening at the moment haha). The cropped pants, which to me are virtually cullotte's, I haven't worn since the early 90's when they had a bit of a comeback (either that or I was completely out of fashion!).
As I say this pattern keeps jumping out at me so I've decided to offer it to you as this weeks pattern of the week with 50% off.
It is designed by Donna Karen of New York and although a famous designer for many years, she has designed for Vogue sewing patterns for some time now. See her collection of patterns here, they are wonderful. As a designer Donna Karen was initially known for designing seven easy pieces that could be mixed and matched therefore making for a fully integrated wardrobe. Although she designs separates for Vogue, she also designs dresses but everything just has that little twist on what you would term conventional. With this pattern she has introduced a 'wavy' hemline on the boxy top under which there is a voile or chiffon panel. I love this layered look. Below is the line art off the pattern. Here you can see the wavy edge;
I have tried with my first group of fabrics to replicate the pattern somewhat.
The black and ivory fabric is a gorgeous quality polyester fabric from the 'Decadence' collection. It is beautifully soft, with a lovely drape, handle and weight, simply perfect for this top and at just £9.99 is reasonably priced. Next is the chiffon fabric. I have chosen the Japanese Chiffon because it is said to be a little easier to sew than other chiffons but because you only need a little for this garment I wouldn't worry too much which one you use as there isn't much sewing with it. Last but not least on this collection I have chosen our Satin Back Crepe Fabric in champagne for the cullotte come cropped pants! For these I would certainly use the crepe side as the right side and although satin back crepe can be rather slippy to sew, I do think it would be worthwhile persevering for these. 
Now having said that it starts getting obvious that this pattern is certainly for the more experienced sewer. When reading through the instructions the pockets are harder or should I say there's more work involved. As you can see from the line art photo there is a fly zipper closing, also belt carriers on a shaped waistband, so again this all involves more work. If you are not too experienced at sewing but fancy 'having a go' at fly fastenings etc why not choose a woven fabric such as linen. My next thought is 'do you really need the wavy edge?' Because the fabric is very 'busy' you can't actually see the waves on the front of the pattern, only on the line-art. It would be so easy just to trim this edge straight and turn under a little hem. Another thought is just have the boxy top without the chiffon underlay. Lots of possibilities!
Just a few more fabrics that would look fab with this pattern are;
This microfibre fabric is new in this week and is quite bright and cheerful looking and at just £5.99 per mt is a cheaper alternative to my first choice. Or how about this floral print microfibre fabric, in soft muted shades of grey, again at just £5.99 per mt.
Last but not least we now have in stock a beautiful double crepe fabric in both plain and patterned fabrics. For those of you in our swatch club (where you get a booklet of samples sent out to you every 3 months), I am sure some of these will be included in our next collection due out in June. When my daughter Vicki was filming our video's for these fabrics, I sneaked in and took the next photo just for a taster of this wonderful fabric. Incidentally I've noticed that Mark's and Spencer are using this fabric in their summer Per Una range! 
Pictured above is the animal print double crepe and the plain double crepe fabric in beige. There are lots of other prints to choose from too!
I'll have to finish for now my sewist buddies, this sunshine is making me think of my summer wardrobe and all the wonderful, exclusive garments I can make.
Sew long for now,
Annette xx
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#FabricFriday - Nautical Ideas

What is happening with this weather? As I am starting to write this week's #FabricFriday post, we've had a cold start to the day, followed by snow and now the sun is shining and it's actually quite warm outside!! So at first I was wondering what to talk about this week, then I was asked for this pattern, Butterick 6185, in our craft shop and hey I was hooked.
The middle combination is my favourite I think. (I'm sure you'll agree all combinations are nice though). I just love my first fabric choice.
This is a gorgeous quality designer stretch cotton fabric from the Jardine collection. This is a medium weight fabric suitable for a wide variety of uses, anything from your favourite garment to a funky cushion, so perfect for this dress, in fact perfect for any item off this pattern. The lycra (stretch) content makes this fabric very comfortable to wear and forgiving when fitting your garment. 
I love the dress...
This is a very straightforward make, with pockets (if required) sewn into the sideseam. My favourite part is the double collar. Each 'collar' is made separately then attached to the neckline of the dress together.
Along with my first fabric I have chosen our plain jardin stretch cotton - which is the same fabric as the spotty one above, but just in plain colours. We also do this beautiful range of plain stretch cotton which comes in a much wider range of colours ranging from pretty pastels to deep dark shades! Something to go with everything and for the purpose of here and now I'm choosing navy and of course white. 
The skirt and trousers both have an elasticated waist and sideseam pockets. In addition to the elasticated waist the skirt has a pleat at the front in the middle of 2 buttonholes (which the cord will be threaded through). After the pockets are sewn in the sideseams the top of the pockets line up approximately with the fold line. The top edge is then folded inside along this foldline to form the casing. Very easy, even easier if you don't insert the pockets.
The whole outfit has a lovely nautical look to it.Talking of which, how big is nautical at the moment? The following fabric is cheap and very cheerful, at just £2.99 per metre.
The design on this polycotton is just fabulous and would make an amazing blouse off this pattern. Add to this our plain polycottons in navy and white, or how about red and white, for the collar and hey how good would that look (and how reasonably priced)! Remember polycotton is the ideal fabric for babies and children, reasonable in price, easy to sew and very easy to care for.
Polycotton would be too thin for the trousers so you could choose linen or linen mix. At the moment we have a clearance linen/viscose fabric at just £4.99 per metre. It comes in white and navy blue (the black has now sold out unfortunately) and is a medium weight. Absolutely perfect for these trousers.
Seeing that we are talking nautical I will finish off this week with some more fabrics from the nautical theme!
This fabric looks, from a distance, almost a spotted design (see where I'm coming from) but in fact it is tiny yachts! The navy design has turquoise yachts scattered among the navy ones and the red has navy yachts scattered among the red ones, both on a white background. As this is a cotton poplin, it is ideal for summer. I quite fancy some shorts in the navy/turquoise as I have a turquoise, nautical theme t-shirt and some turquoise slip on sandals. This would be ideal for my holiday this summer. Can't wait for that! 
New for this year is our stunning range of batik fabrics. I have chosen to show you this beautiful hand printed fabric in a fun turtle design. Well we are talking nautical haha!!
Due to the hand processes involved in creating this fabric, every metre is unique and irregularities in colour and print are all part of its naive charm! It is 100% cotton and a medium weight.
And so, sew long till next week and dare I say ship ahoy haha!
Annette xx
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#PatternoftheWeek - Vintage Style Butterick 6284

There is so much at the moment about vintage. Wether it's sewing, knitting, crocheting (70's especially). It's up there at the moment very trendy!
In March McCalls launched "The Big Vintage Sew-along". There are 20 patterns involved in this sew-along and the aim is for you to join in the sew-along fun. Share your vintage sewing experiences and photo's. There are vintage workshops and Tea Parties up and down the country and all information can be found at www.vintagesewalong.co.uk
18 of the best sewing bloggers are involved, quite a few of whom write blog posts for us here at Minerva. One such blogger is Amy Thomas who is not only a member of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, has her own fantastic blog named Almond Rock but is also the Editor of Love Sewing magazine. If you get chance have a look at Amy's blog. I love how she has shown us her sewing room. Like her I am very lucky to have a dedicated sewing room both at home and here at Minerva. I will say mine does not look as pretty as Amy's but there are some fab ideas there, I think I may pinch some!
And so with vintage style in mind, our #patternoftheweek here at Minerva for this week is Butterick 6284. We have 50% off this pattern for one week only!
This is a vintage inspired pattern which I would say is probably late 50's, early 60's. This dress has a Dolman sleeve, which means the front sleeve and front bodice are all one piece, the back sleeve and back bodice are all one piece and joined at the shoulder with one seam that goes all down the arm. 
Just look at the shaping within the top part of the dress. The centre front is smooth and the side fronts (even though it is all one piece) are gathered on to it. I would imagine this to be a very flattering style for most people. Look at the shape of piece 1. Once you've got your head round the shape, everything looks straightforward with this pattern. 
And now for some fabrics, mmmmm where should I start. As shown on the pattern, flowers look the part on this style dress don't you think? But equally many of the cotton prints have a retro look to them and therefore would look fab in this style. Again it gives you this look on the pattern. My first choice is a beautiful stretch cotton fabric. This is described as "Fabulous for your summer wardrobe, the 'Firenze' stretch cotton collection offers stunning prints on to a top quality fabric. Stretch Cotton is perfect for making dresses, tops, shirts, skirts and more and the small amount of lycra content gives this fabric that little bit of stretch which, whilst is still very easy to sew and handle, offers you great comfort whatever style of garment you choose to make!" 
I would describe this as "A vintage look with a modern twist"
And remember if you are pretty new to sewing and you make a teensy weensy mistake, a very busy floral will hide it!! 
This next fabric has just been listed on our website literally a few days ago, hot off the press so to speak. I am stunned, how gorgeous is this? 

Our description is "This beautiful linen and viscose blend is very soft and drapes very well. It would be lovely for making summer skirts and dresses. This floral design is ever so pretty with shades of purple, turquoise and gold."

Another 'hot off the press!!' is this cotton lawn fabric, check out the brown and grey...and this yellow is pretty amazing too!

If you are a girly girl or just fancy being ultra feminine this next fabric fits the bill.

It is so pretty with all the pink hearts in different patterns. This is a cotton poplin and will sew up perfectly for this dress. Just be careful though if you have a little girl or granddaughter. They are going to be exceedingly jealous!! 

For something a little more retro looking I have chosen this beautiful cotton poplin fabric;

It comes in 2 shades. I love the one above but for those of you who prefare a little more colour version B is a little brighter.

If you're feeling a little quirky or maybe I'll change that to "a lot quirky" how about standing out in the crowd and make this dress in our jigsaw print polycotton fabric. WARNING wear your sun-glasses before looking at the following photo!!!

I presume there will not be many of us about to make a dress in this fabric (send me a photo if you do, I would love to see it). I've just mentioned it because I want to...and I kind of wish I was daring enough to sew/wear this haha! This is the first time we have had a jigsaw design in polycotton, we have a fleece fabric in a jigsaw design that is very very popular for us here at Minerva but lets face it fleece isn't suitable for every sewing job so its great we now have this versatile polycotton.

And now after that mad moment I will end today with yet another newbie. Check this gorgeous fabric out;

This is a light weight stretch cotton sateen fabric. Take a look at our fabric video of this fabric, you really get a feel for the fabric watching how it moves and handles. The black and white dogtooth check design is bold and striking and perfect for creating a monochrome look for your wardrobe. This is a fabulous addition to our range, lets face it dogtooth checks are usually limited to woolens aren't they? 

And sew I will leave you today with this...

If someone tells you that you have "enough" sewing supplies and don't need anymore, stop talking to them. You just don't need that kind of negativity in your life haha!!

Thanks for reading!

Annette xx

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#FabricFriday - Fabrics for Cardigans

Well I am a busy bee at the moment. I'm knitting, crocheting, sewing and blogging and not enough time to spend on each! I am sure you will know where I'm coming from. I'm still crocheting the bag I was telling you about last week. This is one of the squares that make up the front or back;
I'm thinking of lining it in a bright yellow and putting a zipped pocket in it. What do you think?
Another project is a cardigan/jacket for myself. I'm knitting this Sublime Knitting Pattern in a grey pure wool.
For my granddaughter Jess I am sewing a top from Burda pattern 6850  in a soft sweatshirt fabric
In between all these I've been knitting/crocheting for our latest granddaughter due in May.
And apart from all these I am blogging on Vogue Pattern 8430  which I mentioned in a #FabricFriday a few weeks ago.
And so here I am, dare I say relaxing at the mo with my laptop in front of me about to start telling you about some wonderful fabrics for this weeks #FabricFriday!!  I've been looking at McCalls 6802 for a while now and I love how they have got 4 completely different looks from the same pattern pieces.
Version A has been made from fleece. I think it would look fab in Mini Leopard Print Fleece Fabric.
The casing around the waist, which will hold the cord is made by applying bias binding along the waistline. Stitching along the bottom and the top of the binding and just threading the cord through. The hood is made from the same piece as the front facing and all the edges are just turned under and stitched. Easy peasy! Version C is more of a cardigan style and I think it would look fab in this Fabric. This is a beautifully soft stretch towelling effect fabric. It is a medium weight and due to the nature of the construction of this fabric has a little give.
I love how the pocket is sewn on. The lower edge of the pocket is sewn on to the hemline.
The pocket is then folded up towards the front piece and the outside edge of the pocket is edge stitched onto the front piece and the inner edge is sewn within the facing seam.
I am now looking at version B. This is cut from the same pieces as version A but with 3/4 length sleeves and no casing around the waist. On this version the pockets have been inserted in the side seams but you could still use the pockets of version C if you want. This fabric is one of my favourites (even though I haven't sewn in it yet) and the mustard is my favourite shade. It is available in a few pretty shades but I will warn you it is a clearance fabric so won't be there long - a few colours have sold out already. It is described on our website as a gorgeous quality stretch polyester, viscose and lycra jersey fabric. Perfect for tops, dresses, skirts and more. This fabric is constructed from two layers, the base layer is a stretch jersey and the top layer is a decorative knit with stunning intricate detail. It is a medium weight with a lovely drape and handle. Easy to sew so great for beginners! On my next photo I have tried to show you the double layer of the fabric and I think you'll agree it looks a perfect weight for this pattern.
Up to a few weeks ago we had the perfect fabric that looked like version D. Unfortunately it was a clearance one and now it has all gone but not to be beaten I searched till I found this gorgeous striped jersey fabric.This is described as a lovely quality stretch jersey fabric made from a viscose blend which results in an ultra soft and smooth finish. The fabric has quite a lot of stretch in all directions making it good for sewing patterns that require all way stretch fabrics and it drapes really well. The stripe is approximately 25mm (1") wide creating a dramatic effect, especially the black and ivory. It is a light-medium weight which would be lovely for making summer dresses, skirts, tops, wraps, sarongs and more. Machine or hand washable. We recommend sewing this fabric with a ballpoint or stretch needle to avoid skipping stitches. 
As you can see from my next photo I have chose the orange/marl grey (limited stocks now sorry) and the ivory/marl grey. The orange one, so nice for summer and the ivory just perfect at any time.
Now I seem to have come across a problem! It could be I've missed something but at the moment I've read and re-read the instructions and I do think there is an error on version D. The cutting out instructions are showing us to cut two of piece 7 (this is the collar/front section) thus giving us one piece for each side. On the sewing instructions they are not telling us how to finish this collar/front edge off. If it was to be doubled like version C, then because of the shape of this piece we would have to cut out four of this piece, sew each set of two right sides together, turn them right sides out and then join the two raw edges to the neck and front edges of the cardigan. Surely if it was to be a single layer then it would have told us to hem the edge? For this reason I have double checked the fabric and although there is a right and a wrong side (as in knit side and purl side) there is no difference in colour so it could be used as a single layer. However I think I would make it a double layer and join it to the body following version C.
So hey ho although it is annoying when there is a mistake in a pattern, it is very rare thank goodness. Like I said I may have missed something, so if you already have this pattern and had no problem with it, please leave a comment, I'd love to know!
And sew fellow sewists remember "you can't buy happiness but you can buy fabric and that's pretty close" !!! 
Annette x
P.S. check out this vintage sewing blog post by Amy who is one of our fantastic bloggers on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network!
These are the patterns Amy has made if you would like to take a further look at them; Vogue 9127Butterick 5209Butterick 6582 & Butterick 5748.
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#PatternoftheWeek - Butterick 6033 by Connie Crawford

I have chosen for this week's pattern of the week Butterick 6033
Now at first glance I would imagine you are thinking "why has Annette chose that pattern. It's pretty much an everyday dress". I must admit version B is not very becoming to say the least but as is usual with me I like to look beyond the front cover! This pattern is designed by Connie Crawford exclusively for Butterick. She is well known in the sewing industry for creating patterns with a vast size range. This pattern is typical with a size range that covers sizes 3-4 right through to size 6x or 42w-44w which is bust size 66-68. Be careful there are two size ranges when ordering - the MISS size covers up to bust 42-43 and the WOMAN size covers from 44-45 to 66-68. All in all 12 sizes!!
I have a 2.5 metre piece of fabric in my stash that I would love to make in this pattern. It is a beautiful mix of 55% linen and 45% cotton and as you already know linen keeps you cool in the heat;
As you can see in the following photo this fabric does quite resemble the one used in the pattern. From that I know I will have a similar look.  
Apart from the terrific size range in Connie Crawford's patterns, she does give good advice on altering your patterns. She does say "The biggest difference between full-figured women is the arm proportions, with some figures having very thin arms, some having average fullness while others have a much fuller upper arm."  So to accommodate these differences we need to have narrower or wider sleeves and to accommodate these sleeves we do need to have smaller or bigger armholes. I would add to this that I personally don't have a 'fuller' figure but do have bigger arms. (That diet is beckoning!) And so these instructions do give quite clear instructions on altering the size of the armhole.
Some explanations of pattern alterations can be very hard to understand and sometimes say for just a small alteration on the cup size of a dress they can be very complicated. However the following photo shows Connie's alteration to a slightly smaller or bigger cup size. I think most of us could do these simple alterations, don't you?
The following photo shows this alteration being put into place. This would be better done at the toille stage.
This next photo shows alterations to the waist and hips, again best worked at the toille stage.
The last two photo,s from the pattern show the top-stitch detail that can be done on this dress. I must admit if it is quite a busy fabric like the one I have then my opinion is it does not need it. However if you use a plain fabric or two contrasting fabrics then top-stitching it would look pretty good.
Although this is quite a plain dress it is pretty stylish and would be suitable for most occasions. So yes my first choice would be a patterned linen! We have a brilliant selection of patterned linens but as I sit here typing away my daughter Vicki is listing hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of new fabrics for the coming season, of which there are lots of new linens and linen mixes. I just have to share a few with you. My first pick is this amazing John Kaldor Fabric - an avy and white floral linen and viscose.
If you like the idea of navy and white but don't fancy linen, how about this gorgeous polyester crepe fabric with a striking large flower print. As you would expect from John Kaldor, this fabric is the best quality polyester crepe and will be a dream to sew and wear.

It is hard for any photograph to actually show how stunning this fabric is, having seen it in the flesh so to speak. I can only say you won't be disappointed. In fact take a look at our video of this fabulous fabric.

Last but not least how about this lovely abstract black and white fabric from our clearance section. At just £2.99 per metre 

I'm off now to make my grand-daughter Jess (yes that's right, the one that's size 6-8) a short boxy style top in a lovely sweatshirt fabric. Could possibly fit some more crochet in too!!!!
Annette xx
P.S. Dont forget, if you would like to sew this pattern, we have 50% off for one week only!
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#FabricFriday - Summery Top Fabrics

Well here I am back at work! I am so lucky, I love my job. While I have been on holiday in Wales I have been knitting, knitting and more knitting!! My eldest Daughter Alison, as I mentioned previously, is expecting her third child. So, much as I love knitting it is nice to be back working with our lovely fabrics again.
Just to deviate a little!! I am also crocheting for the new baby, but alongside this I am crocheting a fabulous bag out of King Cole Raffia. If like me you love crochet just take a peek at this King Cole Crochet Pattern. I am making the bag in the top right hand corner. This is basically two large granny squares for the front and back, two handles and a long thin strip for the sides. I'll keep you informed how I'm getting on with it. 
And so back to fabrics.
I'm thinking of loose cotton tops for the summer and I think Simplicity Pattern 8090 fits the bill perfectly.
The pattern envelope gives some good ideas of fabrics to use. Cottons are definitely the most suitable for these tops and as there are literally hundreds of Cotton Fabrics to choose from here at Minerva, I don't think you're gonna be stuck for choice!!
What first drew me to this pattern was design B, I love how they have used two different size checks. I quite fancy it in pale blue. What do you think?
The larger gingham is made up of one inch squares and the smaller gingham is 1/8 squares. I love how they have attached the 1/8 gingham. It is used just at the front and gives the impression that it is a separate top underneath. Here,s a closer look at what I mean.
The ginghams I,ve used in the photograph above are our large 1" Gingham Fabric and our smallest 1/8" Gingham Fabric.
Version A would look lovely just in plain white cotton poplin but I like the idea of white broderie anglaise. It is so fresh looking.
Now version F is a little different in that there are no buttons. This is a sleeveless pullover top.I've decided to suggest Polycotton Fabric for this top. This is a very versatile fabric that combines the softness and moisture absorption of cotton with the easy care qualities of polyester. It is also easy to work with and very price conscious at just £2.99 per metre. Just look at the huge range of colours. Incidentally polycotton is a great fabric to use for toilles!
They have used a fairly wide flat lace which is gathered on to piece 14 (this is the underneath bit that you don't see) so again gives the appearance of a separate top. I think you could easily substitute a pre-gathered lace, this would save a little work! In the following photo I have shown our lemon polycotton alongside this beautiful lace trimming which is a broderie anglaise pre-gathered cotton lace. The finished piece of lace or the length of the pre-gatherd lace is approx 1/5 mt so check your 'bits' box. You never know you may just have the perfect piece.
My next choice of fabrics to show you today is for version E .
Our website description this Beautiful Dress Fabric as follows...
"This stunning fabric has a beautifully bold acanthus design printed on a cotton poplin base. Poplin is an extremely versatile fabric, you can make tops, skirts, dresses, shirts, shorts and more! You can also experiment and make soft furnishing projects for the home or even patchwork quilting".
I haven't got green fingers as they say so I googled acanthus and came up with this lovely picture and yes there is a strong likeness don't you think?
Before I say tara for today I thought I would just mention that on each version there is a cute little tab which is sewn into the back seam. A button is sewn on to the back to 'fasten' this tab. For most of the version's this button would just match the front ones but on version F (the lemon one) there are no more buttons. So you could make a feature of just this one.
These buttons look gorgeous on this fabric don't they? The fabric here is cotton poplin fabric, a little higher in price at £5.99 per metre but it is 100% cotton. The button at the top right of the photo resembles a flower. It would probably be too big for the size of the tab but you could always make the tab a little bigger. The other buttons in the photo come in two sizes. The smaller one would be fine on the tab the size it is. I just think either button would look lovely with this lace. 
And sew that is it for today. I'm off looking to find Monday's pattern of the week! Let me know if you have any suggestions :)
Annette xx
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#PatternoftheWeek - McCalls 7262

I so hope there is no more snow! 
Spring is my favourite time of the year. In our 'sewing world' it feels great to be able to start planning our summer wardrobe. I must admit I try to make garments that will take me through spring, right through summer and to wear with a cardi around Autumn time. Not asking much am I? So as a top layer for all these wonderful garments that I am about to make (oh my goodness I wish I had more time to sew) how about this next pattern.
This loose fitting sweater coat and poncho pattern is our pattern of the week here at Minerva.
I usually leave my absolute favourite fabric till last but today I can't wait to share with you this gorgeous textured stretch jersey fabric. It has a subtle textured surface and is a fabulous medium weight that drapes and hangs extremely well. It has a good amount of stretch making it suitable for all way stretch knit patterns. It is 96% polyester and 4% spandex but I would still wash it first though. And at just £8.99 per metre I think it's a good buy!
Yes I'm looking at the mustard or 'thatch' as it is called, this is so me. 
Version B is just climbing out of the photo to me shouting make me make me! Version A shows how and where it fastens, up the right side and this creates a beautiful cowl collar. Any of the shades in this fabric would look lovely in ths style but this next fabric has more of a slub in it similar to version A.
Watch a video of this fabric here.
You can see the similarity to the picture on the pattern. This fabric is made from viscose and elastane and yes will still drape really well. Alas, there is just the one colour but at just £4.99 per metre it is worth adding to your stash. That's if you can bear to stash it away haha.
Version C forms an actual poncho with buttons up one side to the shoulder. One of the suggested fabrics is ponte roma and I have no hesitation in recommending ours. This is such a good weight for this type of garment and you could use complimentary or contrasting buttons. Heres the delicious forest colour, but there are so many to choose from!
Last but not least I want to show you this gorgeous quality ponte stretch jersey.
The printed design is a velour finish which is soft and fuzzy to touch! I think I would make a feature with some really big bold black buttons!!
Well I'm off to wales shortly. I am spending time with my lovely family. Seventeen of us altogether!! I'm busy knitting at the moment for my eldest Daughter who is expecting a little girl in a few weeks time. The knitting is going with me so no sewing this week!!
Annette x
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#FabricFriday - Trieste Peachskin

Trieste is a beautiful fabric and I am choosing just that for my #FabricFriday post this week. I have briefly mentioned this fabric before, suggesting it a few times on various blog posts. We describe it as follows; 
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. 
Yes I know I have shown you this description before but there's no harm in showing it again haha. The following Sewing Pattern is a brilliant example of where trieste would be used at it's best.
I would imagine that trieste has indeed been used for this pattern. The drape of the top and the 'hang' of the trousers/culottes is exactly what you get with this fabric. The range of colours is amazing and my choice for this pattern would be Cocoa Brown for the jacket, Ivory for the trousers/culottes and Tan Brown for the top.
The top has a cross over front with the back hanging a little lower than the front. The trouser/culottes have a shaped waistband and pockets set within the side seam. The jacket is lined (you could actually self line it) with a lovely little cut out V shape on the front edges. There is actually a step-by-step video of instructions by Mimi G (the designer) on the simplicity youtube channel.
Evening dresses, cocktail dresses in fact any occasion dresses will look just wonderful in Trieste, our fabric choice for this Friday. Here I've chose a random selection from literally 100's of evening/cocktail dress patterns available here at Minerva. First is Butterick Pattern 5710;
I've teamed this with the red trieste, very christmasy don't you think. This pattern is cut on the bias and will hang beautifully in trieste as will the gorgeous cowl neckline. Take note of the shaped hemline on the long version. 
Now look at Butterick Pattern 5987;
The skirt on this pattern is gathered at the waist so yet again the trieste will hang perfectly. My favourite style is version C. I just love the one shoulder look but with the addition of the sleeve.
 On closer inspection version B has a diamante trim around the waist.
The trim on this photo is our Crystal & Bead Couture Bridal Lace Trimming and looks remarkably like the one on the pattern.
 Perhaps you would prefer something just on the front.
If so then our Diamante Crystal Band Couture Bridal Lace Applique would fit the bill so to speak.
The last trim above is our Heavy Crystal Diamante Couture Bridal Lace Applique Trimming which at 80mm wide could be a little too wide for some people but hey ho anything goes when you make it yourself. I think it looks beautiful. So much sparkle!
This next pattern choice is Vogue 1474 and is designed by Tom and Linda Platt.
How stunning is that? Look at the detail at the back. With a design such as this the wrong side of the fabric shows so because trieste is the same on both sides, it is very suitable for this pattern.
Not all ball gowns are floor length, take Simplicity 4070 and McCalls 7316.
Both of these are knee length. The one that stands out to me most on the simplicity pattern is version C I love the hemline. Do they call this a bubble hem? I'm not sure but I love it anyway. On the McCalls pattern I love the layers of the skirt on version B but also it is giving you ideas for some pretty summer dresses. 
Last but not least look at McCalls 7154. This has to be my favourite today.
It reminds me very much of the dresses worn by 1930's film stars. In fact it says on the front of the pattern "The archive collection circa 1930". Just look at the back of this dress.
This is by no means an easy sew. There is an awful lot of work.There is an overbodice, an underbodice, yolks, stays, pleats and a shaped hemline. The wrong side shows so yet again trieste will sew a treat. On that note I'll leave you now because I feel the need to sew!
Annette xx

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