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Archives: May 2016

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The Sewing Bee - Series 4, Episode 3

Poor Jamie our wonderful blogger here at the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network lost his place last night on the Great British Sewing Bee. On last night's performance I suppose he deserved to go but I do believe that up till last night he showed such promise and could have made it at least to the last 3.
I am so glad I am not a contestant on the GBSB this week, the Lingerie week! I must admit I've never considered making lingerie for myself (certainly nobody else) before. On watching the part last night were they were showing us how it used to be, all I can say is thank goodness for Lucy or Lucille as she became known, the lady who changed the 'construction' of underwear forever.
Part 1, the bras. At first glance all the bra's looked pretty good apart from Angeline's, oh dear. Charlotte's had a bit of an edge over Jamie's. Just the tuck in the back that let her down and with Jamie it just seemed to be the elastic in that more was showing than it should. I thought Jade's looked pretty good at first glance, (sideways) then when looking properly the cups didn't look symmetrical. 
I do think Esme was right in saying Jade should not have pressed it. Now talking of Esme she said Josh's lacked finesse! What did his lack that some of the others didn't lack? His strap was twisted - so were others. Patrick said he'd picked a very textured lace, was there much difference from the others - I don't think so. Poor Angeline, her main problem was she ran out of time but she's still in there so better luck next week. I did really like Joyce's bra but neither Patrick or Esme picked up on the horizontal seam running through each cup. 
On Joyce's bra the left cup seam was much lower than the right and Traceys was spot on. Rumana was told that the back of her bra was very neat but it wasn't hard to see the left side was much lower than the middle fastener! I can't understand why some contestants are criticised for something and then another contestant completely gets away with the same thing. Is it down to editing perhaps, what do you think? 
Here at Minerva we stock a fantastic range of lace fabrics for anybody making their own lingerie.
By far the best sewing pattern for a bra is Kwik Sew 3594 which incidentally are on sale at the moment at half price. 
I do think overall that Joyce was a deserved winner of that round. Such a pleasant lady as well. 
My first impression of the middle part was "it look's pretty good this week" it probably helped because the scarves looked pretty. Charlotte's was very good whereas I thought Jade's choice of two scarves didn't blend together at all neither were they a good contrast. I did however love where she positioned the bow! Rumana's seemed to fit the mannequin pretty good during the sewing time but something must have gone wrong at the end because it didn't fit at all and therefore spoilt it. Poor Josh seemed to get hold of the wrong end of the stick and it looked more like a tabard than a negligee and I agree bad choice of scarves. I thought Traceys was very well thought out at the top and the idea of the contrasting godets at the lower edge was a very good idea.  I must admit I was surprised at Jamie's contribution. He was obviously having an off day because his cutting out and his sewing were not up to his usual standard. But hey wait a minute why was his badly sewn hemline mentioned and Tracey's not!! Angeline's looked quite good again I think she just ran out of time, poor girl. My absolute favourite was made by Joyce. Fantastic choice of scarves, they blended together beautifully with the right amount of contrast. I could not see anything wrong with it and it seemed to miss out on first place by being what Esme called "mumsie" Mumsie indeed!!! Joyce's face was a picture at this remark!
And so to part 3. Over the years I have made quite a few dressing gowns for myself and members of my family. I must say though that, I have made them with comfort and cosyness in mind and so for myself I've made two out of very snuggly fleece. Incidentally these have lasted me years. I only made the second one because I was sick of seeing the first one!! I've also made a cotton lawn one which is above knee level with 3/4 sleeves and a tie belt. This serves me well when I go on holiday especially with it being so lightweight it packs very easily. There are plenty of sewing patterns for dressing gowns here at Minerva, many different styles and for various types of fabric.
I really liked Charlotte's Kimono and the fact that she had done quite a bit of hand sewing on the front edge band. 50.37 The gown looked pretty good in dark colours, I love the combination she chose. As Patrick said the luxury of this garment was not just the cotton lawn but the amount of hand sewing to finish it. 
Jade made a lovely dressing gown and the choice of pink piping was a stunning addition. Sorry but I think Patrick was wrong in saying that the sewing should have been done in pink. Yes definitely on the pink binding on the hemline but not anywhere else. First and foremost the pink thread on the navy and white bits would have took the edge away from the piping and secondly because any irregularities in her sewing would have shown. So well done Jade. 
I did quite like Tracey's but nothing was mentioned about how the darts fit around the bustline.
One minute things like this seem to matter and other times they don't!! For me Joyce was yet again high up in the top two or three. She has a good eye for picking fabrics that combine well, as Esme had to admit when it was finished. Lined as well!! 
Angelines and Rumana's were more unusual than the others, maybe this gained them points, I don't know. And I know I'm repeating myself but poor Jamie, it just wasn't his day was it. I think everything that could go wrong went wrong and we all have days like that don't we? Unfortunately you pay for it when you're on the Sewing Bee! 
Like Esme I loved Josh's choice of Fabric
I wonder where he got that from? Yes here at Minerva Crafts no less haha. I definitely agree a superb choice of fabric (honestly I'm not biased). It isn't actually a silk as Josh said on the show, it is a polyester and spandex blend that looks and feels like silk, but has the bonus of being machine washable. He actually chose a great fabric for a dressing gown because it is the perfect weight and drapes beautifully. It also has that satin-silk look which looks very high-end and expensive.
I also thought his choice of aubergene satin backed crepe fabric as the contrast looked fabulous!
Sew looking forward to next week!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Pattern of the Week - Butterick 6209

Butterick 6209 is my choice for pattern of the week and yes it will be half price for this week!
The mono look is very popular at the moment and so version B shows you how this pattern could be used to achieve this look. My choice would be our Blades Linen Fabric in Black and White.
I think the two bands of black linen on the sleeves really set off the dress and are quite easy to sew as the following photo shows.
Sometimes it is hard to judge how a dress will look if say you are thinking of changing the position of the colours. I find the following to be really useful. Look at the back of the pattern or the instruction sheet and look at the lineart. Scan this, enlarge and print a few copies. 
Now you can colour in to your hearts content! The following photos are just me playing around with these copies. Some you will think "that's awful" some will be possibles and then you'll hopefully hit on the right one. 
Some of you may remember when I was blogging for my daughter Vicki's wedding last year, that I used this technique for my dress. I used Vogue pattern 1432. All those little pieces on the front, I alternated the colours of black and ivory. By applying the above technique (colouring in haha) I soon knew by switching the colours around which was best. 
I love the little 'grandad' collar on this pattern which is pretty straightforward and love that they have used top stitching to its best, shown on the following photo.
I'm not too keen on version C, not particularly because it is shown all in one colour but this combined with all the work in the seam detail. I say make use of all these weird shape pieces!!
So many combinations could be used - Brown and Cream, Navy and White, Red and Pink (can you remember back in the day when Princess Diana wore these two colours and made them fashionable, up to then nobody wore red and pink together!) and last but not least how about Pink and Grey. As Joyce showed us on Great British Sewing Bee when sewing her cape, these two colours are quite beautiful together. 
So to end todays #patternoftheweek post my last photo shows version A with a very summery looking cotton Poplin Fabric.
As shown in my photo you could combine this with black or white cotton poplin.
And so I'll leave you with this thought "Sewing fills my days, not to mention the living room, dining room and bedroom!!" Smile if you agree!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Fabric Friday - Fabrics for Wrap Around Skirts

Summer is finally here, or is it? I can't keep up with the changes in the weather. Apparently we are promised a beautiful summer! In anticipation of this I thought we could look at fabrics for wrap around skirts. These are very useful especially on holiday, You can wear them in the evenings, dressed up a little and then continue wearing them during the day instead of a sarong. So with this in mind I am picturing this Fabric in a long wrap over skirt. This fabric is from John Kaldor and is a lovely weight microfibre.
This would look amazing made up in Kwik Sew 2954. This pattern is from Kwik Sew's Kwik Start range which as it suggests is quick to sew and very easy. (This pattern is also half price at the moment!)
They are nice easy pieces to work with, which is shown more on my next photo of the lineart.
Version A would look fabulous in this fabric, don't you agree?
My 2nd fabric choice for this week is our floral border print stretch cotton sateen fabric.
Version B is just the same as version A except it is shorter. You could even make it shorter still!
This fabric has a double border and is approx 56" wide so if you cut the back from one border edge and the two fronts from the opposite border edge, you will have hardly any waste. The beautiful border would be around the bottom of the skirt that would then blend into the scattered cerise pink flowers. However you could still make the long version with this fabric but you would need double the amount, but hey you could make a short top with the other border with possibly a matching bag and bandana!
My 3rd and last fabric for this week is actually from our fantastic quilting range here at Minerva. It is our Timeless Treasures Flip Flop print Cotton Fabric in black.
If anything can get you in the holiday mood then this very colourful flip flop design surely can!
Tara for now and thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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The Sewing Bee - Series 4, Episode 2

Well my sewing buddies Episode 2 lived up to my expectations. How about you? After the early departure of Duncan, (forgot to say last week I absolutely loved his floral jacket) Ghislaine joined him this week. Again it is so sad to see them go one by one but much as I hate to say it, I think they made the right choice last night. And so last night (in case you haven't watched it yet!) was all centered around babies and children. Their first project was to make a babygro with snap fastenings down an off centre opening. Now I have more or less found a replica of the one used in the program. This is Burda 9434. It has the offset front opening with bound edges.  
Not everybody would like the off centre fastening so Kwik Sew 2433 would be a good option. This looks so cute. And there's no gusset in this!!! Poor Ghislaine I felt so sorry for her when her gusset went wrong.
There are still popper fastenings up the centre front but just in case you don't want to tackle these how about Simplicity 1565.
This has a centre front zip, no gusset and no cuffed edges. How cute are those little hats. I love the pink Bunny! Talking of animals last but not least I must mention Simplicity 1767
This is such a popular pattern for us here at Minerva and no wonder with all the different options.
And so the end product is a babygro but the choice of patterns here shows that there are different 'routes' we can take!! Most of the contestants made a brilliant job of their babygro with Charlotte shining the most and well deserved first place. 
I did feel Jamie should have come higher than 6th place. Personally, I loved how he had attached the binding but unfortunately for him that is what let him down in Esme's eyes. By the way I loved the shirt he was wearing, I'm pretty sure he will have made it himself because if you read Jamie's posts here on our blogger network you will see the quality of his work. 
The middle section (not my favourite) was OK but again I feel the end results showed how rushed the sewers were. If the judges want something 'wearable' from this section then they seriously need to give more time. I feel the contestants are let down with this section and hate showing what they have achieved. I will say that there was a bigger selection of styles this time whereas last week they were mostly skirts. I think I must be missing the point with this section because in my eyes Josh had the best garment. It was better sewn than some of the others and probably wearable too. Please let me know if you agree or disagree. Out of the other 8 I do think Ghislaine deserved to win.
The last section were they had to make a cape was my favourite of last nights projects. My absolute favourite in this section was Jamie's. "Am I a little biased" I ask myself with Jamie being one of our super bloggers here at Minerva. No I honestly think his cape was by far the best. His jet pockets were superb, just an absolute pity he didn't finish it in time. I feel the judges implied he would have won it otherwise. 
First up on the catwalk so to speak was Charlotte's, the tiny pompom trim finished off the edges quite nicely. A pattern which is similar to quite a few of the cape projects is Burda 9475
The nearest to Charlottes version would be the length of version A and the collar off version B. She may even have used this pattern because it has an edging, this could have given her the idea of the pompom edging. As I said earlier Jamies was my favourite, I loved the fabric he used, we have something quite similar in a wool fabric which is a 100% Wool Herringbone Fabric.
Next up was Joyce. As she said Pink and Grey go perfect together and I absolutely loved the applique and buttons she added to the jacket.
Rumana came next, I had to agree with Esme the little bow did nothing for the cape and the time spent making this would probably have been better spent doing some serious pressing. I had to disagree with Patricks comment that it would have been better sewn in a different fabric and then she wouldn't have got that 'bounce'. With a little more time on her side and a good 'wet' press, this cape would have looked much much better and not have had that 'bounce'.
Poor Ghislaine, I felt so sorry for her. I agree with Patrick and Esme that she took on too much. Time and care is needed when sewing a scalloped edge around the hemline of a garment and being exact matters 100%.
Unfortunately she didn't spend enough time on the collar aswell so all in all not a good day for Ghislaine. You are put on the spot in this competition though and with it being a competition everything has to be made in x amount of time so therefore these sewers sometimes are not at their best. I feel this is mainly what happened with Ghislaine because from her film at the beginning she appears to be a very good sewer.
Josh's cape like Jamie's had a 'country look' to it. "Mmmmm this fabric looks familiar" I said to myself. Ah yes Josh purchased this beautiful fabric from us here at Minerva Crafts. Take a look.
I thought he matched the checks perfectly but I did agree the pockets were a little too bulky. Overall though I loved it, am I biased again?
I loved the applique work on Tracey's cape and especially using this same fabric for the pocket linings and indeed the whole lining as I did for a previous blog of mine where I made my Grand-daughter a pink coat.
The large pompoms and the fur edging set off the lovely blue of Jades cape. 
Finally came Angeline's, she had added her own twist to this cape by adding a godet down the back in wool check fabric and a cheeky little bow at the top of the godet really set this off. The construction of the lining seemed perfect but if I was gonna be picky I would say the judges didn't pick up on her collar (sticking up and out a little), whereas earlier they did fault Rumana for the same thing saying it wasn't pressed properly. However Angeline well deserved garment of the week. 
We have a similar red wool fabric here and you could use any of our plaid check wool fabrics as the contrast. I would also recommend our washable wool fabric which looks and feels like wool, but is actually washable and very practical for little ones!
Roll on next week and thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Pattern of the Week - Vogue 1501 by Rachel Comey

I am offering to you Vogue Sewing Pattern 1501 which you can purchase half price this week at Minerva Crafts as our 'pattern of the week'.
This pattern has been designed by Rachel Comey (see her other patterns here) who apart from designing for vogue is a successful designer in her own right. Her designs always have a little twist to them and this pattern is no exception. Just look at the design detail on the front at waist level and the back design just speaks for itself. For me this pattern is just stunning. To help see it a little more clearly the following photo is of the lineart.
The next photo shows how few pieces there are for this dress and yet it creates such a beauty. 
The top half of the dress is only attached at the centre front to the skirt part. So although it is classed as a dress it more resembles a top and skirt.The following photos show a little of the construction of this amazing dress.
This is showing the pleates at the lower edge of the front, the hemmed outer edges of the front and also the interfaced facing. Where the pleats are is the part that is attached to the skirt.
This photo is showing the back, how the slit opening is formed at the back neck and the shape of the back hemline. 
There are quite a few pleates in the skirt front as the next photo shows and pockets within the sideseams.
And so after the pockets and side seams have been sewn, the waistband is then attached as the following photo shows.
With right sides together the lower edge of the front is pinned to the upper edge of the waistband and the waistband facing is then sewn to the waistband (right sides facing) thus enclosing the bodice front at the centre. The following photo shows this part of the construction.
Isnt it clever?
Now for some fabric suggestions!
Most of these fabrics are new to us and at this point I can't decide which is my favourite. So my first choice today is our large abstract print slinky Satin Fabric. Our description of this is "This beautiful satin fabric has a wonderful drape and hangs really well. The abstract design is large and very bold, this fabric is definitely a head turner! As you would expect from John Kaldor, this fabric is the best quality and will be a dream to sew and wear. We picture this fabric making a stunning evening dress." Perfect for my Vogue Pattern especially at just £11.99 per mt.
Coming next is our Royal Micro Satin Fabric also at £11.99 per mt and our description is "This slinky satin fabric is stunning! The detail in this design is gorgeous and a true mark of the quality of this dressmaking fabric. We imagine this fabric made into a beautiful evening dress, a maxi skirt, or a blouse top". Just fabulous.
Or how about something darker? This next photo is a patterned Microfibre Fabric which has a black background with an abstract pattern. If the brights are too much for you then this microfibre could be an ideal choice. Very reasonably priced too at £5.99 per mt.
And to switch from dark to light how about this beautiful Peachskin Fabric. I just love all the little dots of colour on it and at just £6.99 per mt, I think it's a perfect summer bargain.
And last but not least for today I just have to show you this fantastic microfibre fabric from our range of John Kaldor Fabrics. This has to be one of the most stunning abstract fabrics I've seen in recent years and is not too pricey at just £11.99 per metre.
Hope you like this pattern and these fabrics as much as I do and thanks for reading.
Annette xx
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Fabric Friday - Pattern & Fabric Combo's

Hello again all you lovely sewists or budding sewists out there. I do hope you enjoy my little articles each week. I know I love writing them for you. I aim to show you as many fabrics as possible but at the moment it is impossible because we have so many. Each week I am faced with the terrible task of choosing a few fabrics to show you and write about. Yes come on, all feel very sorry for me, finding fabrics on the website, having to walk up and down the fabric aisles, up and down the steps, touching and scrunching and draping these wonderful fabrics to my hearts content. Ok I'm joking I love love love my job haha!
So what to show you this week, yes it's still a hard task!!! I so love the casual look whether for work, holidays even going for a night out to an extent. So this simplicity pattern 1701 is one of my 'fits the bill' patterns.
This pattern is a good stable pattern to have in your stash (I presume you have one haha). It first came to my attention when I was looking for a skirt pattern that would make up really good (and quick) in a scuba fabric. That shortly will be a blog post (only a short post because it is so easy and quick!) So I will talk about the pattern more at a later date. What I will say is I have been looking for the perfect fabric for version B which is the Kimono. I have found one which I am insisting on showing you today but unfortunately it is now none-reorderable so will only be available for a short time. So strike while the iron is hot so to speak (that's if you like it of course) It is this gorgeous Knit Fabric called Carnival which comes in 3 colourways.  Multi, as the name suggests, has quite a few colours running through it with a beige background. The other two are predominately pink or purple. 
This fabric has the most wonderful drape and is quite stretchy so will hang beautifully made up in this loose and baggy kimono. 
My next fabric is quite a new one and can you beleive only £5.99 per metre?! It is our Graphic Floral print jersey fabric (click on this link and you can watch a video of this fabric in action!).
I am loving this fabric, especially when I team it with Revue in black (yes as you know, one of my favourites). A recent addition to the Vogue range of sewing patterns is 9193 which is designed by Marcy Tilton. 
When I team these fabrics and pattern, look what I get. This is gonna look pretty good don't you think?
Marcy Tilton is a very experienced designer from Oregon, USA. Both Marcy and her sister Kathleen design for vogue patterns and between them create some fantastic designs. Vogue 9193 is no exception. 
This loose fitting top has dolman sleeves and the hemline dips slightly to the left hand side. The unusual part of this pattern is the pocket which is sewn within the front horizontal seam. When you look at the picture on the pattern I must say it is hard to distinguish where this pocket is! So just to help a little I am showing you the lineart drawing from inside the pattern envelope.
My next photo shows the pieces and at first glance they look a little mind blowing! 
When you realise (like with any pattern) which pieces you need for the sleeveless top or the dolman sleeve top or indeed the trousers (yes they have these unusual pockets too) then it is easier to understand. I am now dragging myself away from this pattern because yes it is another I want to make for myself in the coming weeks just as I have described above so again I'll not talk about it too much! 
My last fabric for today is one of our vast collection of patterned stretch cottons.
As with all our stretch cottons there is elastane in the fibre content. This makes for easy sewing, easy pressing, easier fitting and fantastic wearability! And look at the pattern I've chosen - Kwik Sew 4132 (incidentally this is on offer at half price at the moment, just £4.49).
Now look at my choices together...
I daren't say this but I think this pattern is gonna go on my 'to sew' list!! On looking at the lineart of the pattern I immediately saw how the sweetheart neckline has been formed. 
Instead of there being one front piece with a sweetheart neckline cut into it, this pattern boasts princess seams and the shaped neckline comes only from the front centre piece. Now sometimes a shaped neckline with a facing can lead to a baggy neckline (especially if you haven't stay stitched these edges!) With this way of constructing a sweetheart neckline you have the option of further fitting at these points.
Hoping I've given you some inspiration and thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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The Sewing Bee - Series 4, Episode 1

How good was I feeling last night! Apart from having a bad back and not a brilliant nights sleep, I felt amazing. Why was that you ask. THE GREAT BRITISH SEWING BEE is back. I sat in great anticipation waiting for it to come on and I was not disappointed. It certainly lived up to my expectations. 
Sometimes it is hard to accept change and I was wondering what we would all think of the new presenter Esme but no need to worry, I thought she was lovely and fit like a glove so to speak. And then there's Patrick, I certainly hope he doesn't leave, eh ladies, need I say more!! Last but not least there's the lovely Claudia. I just love her presenting style and along with the other two make the show the success that it is.
And now to the contestants, quite a bunch don't you think (I do mean a nice bunch). The only thing I don't like is that one person has to go at the end of the first week. I know this is the rule in these elimination contests but oh it does seem so cruel. I felt so sorry for Duncan.
The first up was Charlotte whose top looked really good, the only thing that seemed to let it down was the stripes just being a little out down the front.
Jamie (one of our wonderful blogger's here on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network) definitely chose a hard fabric as Esme said. For me the most difficult part would be the cutting out. I think he coped brilliantly and deserved to win that first round.
It was a shame Rumana cut her top upside down. I think the cutting out proved the hardest part for most of the contestants. But regardless of what Patrick said about it being upside down, I do remember reading an article once ( one of these where they point out how to wear stripes - to draw or not to draw attention to certain parts of our bodies) and it stated how to wear chevron stripes. I wish I could just think of it, perhaps you know and could pass it on. So maybe Rumana wasn't wrong afterall! 
Duncan unfortunately did let himself down with some of the sewing but his stripe matching was superb as Patrick said.
Jade then Josh came next, both looked pretty good.
I felt sorry for Josh with his mixed up chevron's.
I think he seemed nervous when cutting out because it kept going wrong but hey he should have said - "I meant for it to be like this, it's a new slant on chevron's".
I thought Joyce (oh my goodness she does not look 71) chose a great fabric because at first glance it looked perfectly matched. Only on closer inspection did Patrick notice some slight irregularities. So here is a good point to make when choosing fabric for chevron's, the more straight the pattern 'stripes' are, the more time must be spent ensuring perfectly matching stripes.
As was mentioned, Tracey unusually chose a chevron fabric to then make a chevron striped top. Certainly different and I think if those chevrons had been matched up more, this garment could have won that round. As Patrick said "It's Natty" (Yes where did he get that word from?) Sounds good though doesn't it.
As Esme said Ghislaine got off to a rocky start. She so picked the wrong fabric for this top;
Incidentally this gorgeous fabric is still available from us here at Minerva Fabrics but in limited supplies. The irregular 'stripes' look fantastic if sewn horizontally or vertically.
She then went on to make a top in a different fabric and did really well in getting as much done as she did.
I couldn't help but wonder if Angeline chose her striped fabric for the chevron top knowing it would be easier to 'match' the stripes. It came across that she didn't know (or was that a secret 'knowing' smile she gave) but I bet she was glad she had chose that particular one! I do think it looked good. As Esme pointed out the roses disguised the stripes. 
The expressions on the faces of the contestants when presented with the maternity dress (round 2) was a look of fear haha (it certainly would have been fear on my face). This is most certainly NOT my forte. I love dressmaking, have sewn all my life but I love to sew a garment from scratch. To alter garments to that extent doesn't appeal to me at all. So I admire the contestants imagination in this round and love to see the outcome be it good or bad. 
Jade's skirt, with the grey side panels, I think reflected her age, just 18. Skirt's in this style are very 'in' at the moment and I'm pretty sure the grey panels were Ponte Roma or a similar stretch jersey and this made it so that quite a fitted stretchy look was achieved. I know she had to rush a little at the end, hence the waistband could have been better sewn but I thought a good idea, well done Jade. I would have placed this garment higher than 9th. I did agree that there were too many skirts made but hey lets give them a chance, it's only the first week. Considering there were quite a few 'gathered skirts' I was surprised to see Tracey's top with the lace frills at the bottom. 
I did think she showed more imagination than some of the other contestants.
Rumana's dress with the orange trims was equally imaginative as Tracey's but came 3rd. Don't get me wrong I think she deserved 3rd place, I loved the orange bias binding which she used on the outside of the garment to encase the elastic and then created a lattice effect back with more of the bias folded in half. Her use of the two colours was brill.

Joyce also used her imagination well in creating a dress with godet's (I must admit I have been pronouncing the word 'godet' wrong all these years!!) and deserved 2nd place.

1st place was well deserved by Jamie (Yes our wonderfull blogger, take a look at his fantastic 'Shacket' over on our blogger network). This dress reminded me of something you would see on a catwalk in that I wouldn't actually wear it, but its really cool. So well  done Jamie on using the most imagination and creativeness.

And now to part 3 of this fab program. 

All the contestants were asked to make a skirt of their own choice and their own choice of fabric.

Joyce's skirt hung really well. I think this was made up in a viscose. Viscose Fabric is well known for floaty dresses or skirts. My only problem was, as Esme said, you couldn't distinguish between the panels therefore not seeing the lovely shaped pieces and how they formed the skirt. An alternative would be to include some plain black panels.

I was very intrigued with the pleating tool that Tracey made herself. (I must look into this in more depth). Her pockets looked quite stunning.

I love Jade's skirt made out of taffeta, tulle and net. It was designed by Jade herself and I think she's made a terrific job. I love the binding on the hem edge of the net.

As Patrick said Josh's skirt wasn't the most complicated of the day but it hung beautifully and although I didn't agree at first about him turning a double hem up on this garment, I must say it was the right thing to do because it makes the skirt hang fantastically well and makes it stick out to a degree. Well done Josh. And he used our floral stretch denim fabric too!!

Angeline's fitted pencil skirt with peplum looked fantastic. It seemed to be made in a stretch cotton fabric with a contrasting bias binding. Stretch cottons with a Floral design are very popular this year. The elastane content in these fabrics helps enormously in getting a lovely fit as Angeline has done here.

Although I had a couple of favourites throughout the program I think Angelina's skirt deservedly won Garment of the Week. Well done Angelina!

So roll on next week when we can watch episode 2 of this compelling show.

Many thanks for reading my fellow sewists.

Annette xx

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Pattern of the Week - New Look 6723

Hi everyone. Where has that sunshine gone? Where we are in Darwen, Lancashire we had two days of lovely sunshine and then wham back to rain. Apparently we are in line for a fantastic summer so I don't know about you but on hearing this it does make me start planning my summer wardrobe. There are some really pretty summer dress sewing patterns around at the moment, one such pattern is New Look 6723. And so I would like to offer you this as my choice for pattern of the week thus half price this week only.
I was saving this pattern for September time because when I look at the main photo, I immediately think Audrey Hepburn (as most people do) and Christmas parties. Then I thought why wait till September, it is such a pretty dress with a sweetheart or a boat neckline and a choice of sleeveless, 3/4 sleeves or the prettiest puff sleeves ever! (shown in white/black with a sweetheart neckline).
The 'Dorothy Hepburn' dress is such a classic dress and my favourite fabric for this would be our Taffeta Fabric, of course in black, with a diamante buckle used on the belt. Take note of the little clutch bag, how nice is that. You could make a little bow and attach the same buckle as on the belt.
Now black is not everybody's cup of tea, so if there isn't a colour you like in the other 15 colours available in the taffeta then how about having a look at this fabric. This is a taffeta with a swirl flock print on the fabric. It comes in brown and ivory or how about half and half!   
I couldn't resist showing you this next fabric. This is a beautifully soft cotton canvas fabric and has a great vintage style dressmaking themed print. Any dressmaker who loves pink is sure to fall in love with this fabric! It is described as a canvas which although is hard wearing and durable, is also soft and has a small amount of drape. Shame it only comes in pink but hey what a stunning shade of pink. 
I think Version D would be perfect for a wedding. My lovely sister-in-law Tracey wore a very similar looking dress to my Daughter Vicki's wedding last July (where has 11 months gone!) She looked so nice and I think the style has stuck in my mind since then! Now I've been looking at this fabric...
This stretch cotton sateen dressmaking fabric is the most beautiful quality with a satin gloss finish. It has a soft and smooth finish and the stretch element will make this fabric a dream to sew and very comfortable to wear. The design is a soft abstract print which is very pretty. This same style could be made out of a viscose or a viscose mix fabric. How about this fabric...
This is an Abstract Print viscose fabric and is so soft and drapey. The print is bright and cheerful and is sure to add a splash of colour to your wardrobe. Obviously the skirt of the dress is not going to 'stick out' as much but if you like the idea of a much softer fabric and still want a full looking skirt, you could always make a net underskirt (you may already have one).
How pretty are spots. (I'm using the word 'pretty' a lot this week aren't I?) I do love black spots on a white background and so my favourite for this week is this cotton poplin fabric. And I would make it just like version C.
I couldn't decide between this fabric and this nautical motif print cotton poplin fabric which I think is so sweet. The print is made up of tiny nautical motifs and only just missed being my favourite because I'd aimed at getting a black and white fabric and this has little hints of red in it. Now I don't know which I like best! What do you think? I added a piece of red ribbon to the photo to resemble a red belt, I think it could look pretty good. Remember as well, this fabric would be suitable for quilting, so save your bits!!
I hope you like what I've shown you this week and remember... "we are not fabric hoarders we simply need a bigger craft room" haha!
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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Fabric Friday - Annette's Picks

Dear friends, Thank you so much for your kind messages regarding my back. There is a little improvement every day so I am feeling a somewhat better this week. My first choice of fabric this week is a polycotton at just £2.99 per metre.
It comes in 3 gorgeous colours but for the purpose of my choice of pattern (which is McCalls 6883), I am showing you the white.
How uncanny is the similarity between my fabric choice and the one used for version C. 
This version has a full back and little raglan sleeves. There is a separate band around the hemline which is sewn double therefore giving a more solid look to this otherwise slightly see-through fabric. It matches the neckline which is also sewn double. And so there is a slip to go under version C if required, this is version D. For this slip crepe de chine is recommended and because the pieces are cut on the bias it will hang beautifully over the hips. My favourite though would be to use Burda 6964 and use our white stretch lining fabric. This would really hug your figure and be antistatic.
Another alternative for this very reasonable price fabric would be to make a beach dress for over your favourite bikini. Versions A and B are both worth a mention here because they both have a halterneck effect with two thin straps coming from the neckband to the back edge of the dress, this edge being elasticated.
Now my next fabric was only mentioned by yours truly a few weeks ago in a blog post but I just can't help mentioning it again because I have found the perfect pattern!! Butterick 6320 would be perfect for this fabric.
Doesn't that look fantastic!!
Now the pattern does suggest crepe or satin fabrics and I am recommending a cotton but it is quite a fine cotton and because the pattern is quite fitted with a zip fastening up the back I cannot see any reason to not make this jumpsuit in this fabric.
Last but not least how about this next fabric Comic Strip Fabric;
What I love about this fabric is - it's a jersey fabric made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex. Absolutely perfect for some casual around the house trousers/pyjamas. Or how about a cosy onesie. This next pattern covers both and even a casual top in sizes 29.5" chest right up to 44" chest. As I said perfect pyjamas or onesie!! Probably more suitable for a girl because there is a reasonable amount of pink in the design. 
The pattern is McCalls 6251;
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx
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#PatternoftheWeek - McCalls 7122

I keep getting asked for something easy in jersey fabric. Well I don't think you could get easier than this pattern, McCalls 7122. So I am offering this to you as #PatternoftheWeek at 50% off for one week only!
This is a 'learn to sew for fun' pattern, especially designed for the beginner with easy to follow instructions and basic sewing tips. It offers information on pattern markings, basic adjustments, a very good section on the layouts for a pattern (guess what, it advises you to wash your fabric first, what am I always telling you haha) and ways of transfering markings on to the fabric.
 Raglan seams are used on the top and dress and sewn with a double row of stitching.
Alternatively you could use a stretch stitch (no way would I be without mine). Most machines today offer a version of this stitch and I can only say it is invaluable. The neck binding is very easy as is the continuous sleeve and side seam.
The leggings are ultra easy in that they have no side seams just the crotch seam and the inside leg seam, as you can see from the following photo.
I'm hoping you'll agree I've chosen some interesting fabrics that will show this pattern at it's best. First up today is this Floral Jersey Fabric...
Our website description is as follows "This luxury knitted fabric from the Cotswald collection is a gorgeous soft and drapey fabric with some body. This pretty 'Vintage-Style Floral' design is a lovely traditional floral print with so much detail and colours from a select palette. 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, soft and cozy texture and would be lovely to wear against your skin. It is washable by either hand or machine. Ideal for making tops, skirts and dresses.(As I keep saying "wash first"). Although it is a dark fabric the flowers stand out nice and bright, as the description says it has a vintage look to it. I love that it has 4% spandex along with the 96% polyester. 
While we are talking flowery jersey's how about this fabric...
This fabric is a blend of viscose and lycra and is described as a stunning jersey fabric that is just bursting with colour! Two gorgeous colours as well at just £5.99 per mt.
 Our eyes are always drawn to the main photo on the front of a pattern, this one being no exception but it is a good idea to take in ideas from the drawings. Top A could be made up numerous times for yourself and I could write forever listing suitable jersey fabrics that would take you from daywear, with jeans, to evening wear with lots of sequins (just to say you need a pattern with as little seams as possible when sewing a sequined fabric, so yes this pattern fits the bill, as long as it is stretchy sequined fabric). 
Back to what I am showing you today - the next fabric is a scuba bodycon stretch jersey with a fabulous stretch-recovery and is perfect for making fitted, body hugging garments. The design is a lovely velour print in a sort of aztec design which is very soft to touch. Most of the stretch is in the width of the fabric (all 60inch of it) so the striped design will be going across the body.
My old favourite ponte roma fabric is jumping out at me for the dress. I think it would look pretty good in a plain fabric. This next photo is my favourite colour, a vibrant turquoise.
My absolute favourite is this brand new ponte roma fabric. The web description is "This is such a beautiful flowery ponte roma fabric! It has a lovely soft finish and is such a versatile fabric you can use it to make tops, jackets, skirts, dresses and pants. We love the floral print which has lots of colour, but set against the grey background is still reasonably subtle and not too bright." The last sentence describes it perfectly. One minute you think it has lots of colour and the next you think subtle, very subtle.
And a close up of this fabric...
I couldn't leave out a suggestion for the leggings! I thought this jersey fabric would look pretty good. It is described as follows "What a fabulous jersey dressmaking fabric! This double jersey is a good weight but is still very stretchy in all directions. The design features navy blue palm trees against a stripey background in shades of white, royal and grey. It is striking, yet subtle at the same time". My immediate thoughts are this is perfect for these leggings because they have no side seam so therefore the 'pattern' will 'travel' round the legs. These would be perfect for traveling in (yes I'm thinking about my holidays!) especially if you were going somewhere with palm trees haha! 
Hope this has given you some ideas and thanks for reading.
Annette xx

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