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Archives: May 2018

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Animal Print Chiffon Dress

Ok guys, finally summer is starting to make an appearance...the sun is coming out, the days are warmer, the evenings are calling for sitting in the garden with a glass of something cold and fizzy. So, obviously I started to think about my wardrobe. As it stands, my wardrobe is not really equipped for warmer weather right now. I made a lot of clothes for winter and I haven't made a proper start on my summer makes yet. So when I was given the chance to try out this Chiffon Fabric from Minerva, I jumped at the chance.

The fabric in question is a luscious animal print chiffon. As soon as I saw the rust colourway of this fabric, I knew it was the one for me. I love the warm tones, and anything animal print definitley has my seal of approval. I don't usually like to sew with chiffon. I have no shame in admitting that I'm usually more of a safe-sewer in regards to my fabric choices. But the dream of a floaty, light weight summer dress was too good to ignore.

I knew straight away what type of look I wanted to acheive with this fabric. I wanted a simple dress that has a lot of movement, is easy to wear, can be dressed up or down, and can be layered over a bikini or some shorts and a vest.

I needed to choose a pattern that has a simple neckline and so I went for New Look 6210. This pattern is intended for jersey fabrics, but it had the right neckline and I knew I would be hacking the pattern a little anyway, so it was perfect! Plus I also thought I could make a simple jersey slip to wear under this dress when I get a break in my unintentionally intense summer sewing schedule.

I opted for view B of the dress. I liked the simple slightly scooped front neckline and the racer back. As I mentioned, I did hack this pattern a little, but it was really simple and made for a really quick and simple sew. I wanted to add some gathered panels to the dress to make an airy, floaty dress, so I cut the front and back bodice patterns to my waist. I then simply cut four rectangles of fabric,the first two 13" long and the second two 16" long across the full width of the fabric.

I constructed the front and back bodice at the shoulders first so I could finish the neck and arm openings but instead of finishing the openings with jersey cuffs (as I wasn't making this from a stretch fabric) or bias binding (which would not be fun to make in chiffon!) I simply used some fold over elastic that I had laying around. Not only does this finish the neck and arm openings really simply, but I love the contrast of the black elastic against the animal print! Using the elastic was so quick, and something I will definitley utilise again.

I then gathered all four panels along the edges and overlocked them together. Then all I need to do was to join the side seams, and finally hem the skirt. To do this, I overlocked the edge to minise any fraying (chiffon is notorious for fraying), and then i did a hand-turned double fold hem. For me, this is the quickest and easiest method. No pins needed, just turn up and sew a straight stitch.

As chiffon is a sheer fabric, this is certainly a dress that is made for layering. In the photos I'm wearing it over a pair of leggings and a simple vest. I also plan on wearing it over a bikini for a day at the beach or round the pool, over some black cycling shorts and a killer handmade bra when it's really hot, and I hope to get round to making a slim fitting black jersey slip (from the same pattern) to wear underneath it too. I even think that this dress could work in the colder month as a layering piece. Over slim jeans and a tutle neck, with a leather jacket thrown on, this would make for one hell of an outfit!

I'm super happy with this make. Not only do I have a really cute, versatile dress to add to my me-made wardrobe, I have also gotten over my fear of sewing with chiffon, which opens up a whole new fabric catagory for me to explore!

Thanks for reading,

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew

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Pleated Satin Sewaholic Rae Skirt by Nadine

Hi, my name is Nadine and I was offered to try out the Pleated Satin Fabric in the color teal green for Minerva Crafts and of course I jumped at the opportunity. Anything in the color range of the darker greens? I'm in! The fabric arrived fairly quickly given that it had to be cleared by customs in Switzerland (which at times takes aaaaages. Although as a Swiss person, I might be spoiled with governmental execution speed, but I digress...)
I was given two metres to make a skirt. I picked the Rae Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns. Since the fabric itself has a nice sheerness to it, I had to squeeze in a lining. For that reason, I chose to make view A of the Rae Skirt. The two metres were just enough to cut the skirt out of it twice. Whilst cutting, I chose to do it with pattern weights rather than pinning the fabric. Turns out it was the right choice, because when pricked with pins there is always the danger of distorting the pleats. Still I had to take extra care not to stretch the fabric or rather the pleats while cutting. I cut my recommended size (more on that later).
For the regular machine I used the Gutermann thread No. 472 I had in my stash (did I mention I love dark green?). Minerva Craft might have a color that is even closer to it. On my serger I used regular black cones (although I'd love to have green ones just FYI).
Now onto the sewing bit. Sewing the Rae together is the easiest thing and perfect for a beginner. I chose an easy pattern on purpose so I could really judge how this prepleated fabric would behave. I tested the seams on both my regular machine and on my serger. My regular machine had a stitch length of 2.2 (on a Bernina) and, comparing it with the serger seam, I noticed that the seam made with my regular machine appeared slightly wobblier. With a bit of steam,though, said seam relaxed again. Because the fabric is sheer, you would probably do well to do french seams while sewing on a regular sewing machine. This is the reason I took the lazy way out and sewed all my seams on my serger. I increased my thread tension on the serger from a four to a five (my machines range goes from 0 to 9).
After sewing all the skirt pieces together it was time to attach the skirts to one another at the waist. Again, I did not use pins but small clips. 
For the next step I deviated from the instructions because I don't like the tunnel method for elasticated waistlines (mainly due to the fact that the elastic tends to slip around in the casing). But if you are unsure about the length of the elastic or if you are a beginner, you should absolutely stick to the instructions. I chose to attach the skirt directly to the elastic while pulling the elastic during sewing. For this you need to quarter your waistline on the skirt and do the same with the previously sewn together elastic. Match up the quarterpoints and clip them together - the elastic goes on the wrong side of the fabric. 
Now, while sewing, gently pull the elastic so it lies flat against the underlying fabric. 
Fold the elastic down toward the wrong side of the skirt and gently clip it down all the way around. Next, I used a three-step zigzag with a length of 1.1 on my machine and a width of 4 (if you don't have this on your machine, try a regular zigzag) and topstitched the waistband while, again, stretching the elastic. Now on to the hem!
I spent some time thinking about the right way to hem this prepleated fabric since I did not want to lose the pleats. The first thing I tried was a rolled hem on my serger. It looked perfect even though the thread was black. It did not distort the pleats at all. 
So, I really recommend this method. If you do not have a serger, try to do a rolled hem on your regular machine. You're done! 
Thoughts on the Fabric...
After having sewn with this fabric, there are a few things I would do differently in hindsight. I would absolutely cut at least one size smaller and I would choose to make view B because it has more volume to it. And if I had an unlimited supply of this fabric, I would make a maxidress out of it. Imagine, it would look so flowy and mermaid-y! Also, I guess you could even make a skirt with this with a regular waistband. What I do not know is how the fabric behaves when inserting a zipper. But why not make a slightly sheer blouse with it, or a cami?
I imagined the static on this polyester fabric would be quite noticeable but it is not. Sadly, when we took the pictures (thank you lovely boyfriend) on the board of the Rhine, the wind was insane so it looks like the skirt clings to me...
The pleats of this fabric really hold their shape well, and thanks to that the whole thing is not as slippery as you might imagine. When sewing on a regular machine, you might want to put a tissue paper under the first few centimeters of your seam so the machine does not eat your fabric especially when backstitching.
So there you go. Happy sewing!
Nadine @ Life with Naba
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Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

Hi, It’s Naomi from Naomi Sews, and I always love it when Minerva crafts ask me to try out some of their beautiful fabric! They always have the most amazing and inspiring fabrics, and this John Kaldor Jersey Fabric is no different.  It has loads of drape which makes it perfect for flowing summer dresses, and it feels lovely and soft too.

I was slightly worried that the white background made it a little more transparent than I feel comfortable with though (especially as I’m hoping for lots of sunshine!), so I decided to underline the bodice and skirt of my dress with some lightweight white viscose jersey from my stash just to be on the safe side.  To do this, you just cut an extra piece in your lining fabric, and hand baste the layers together before sewing them as one piece.

Before I get too much into the construction, I want to talk through the pattern which I used.  This is a version of the Sew Over It Ultimate wrap dress, which I have made before a couple of times.  However, I needed to make a few modifications to accommodate my baby bump and just generally changed figure.  Sew Over It have produced a maternity hack set of instructions which you can request if you already own the pattern which talk you through the process of creating an empire line seam.  I also raised the neckline, as on my previous versions I usually choose to wear a vest top underneath because the v-neckline does come quite low.

I didn’t follow the instructions exactly, because I’m hoping this dress is going to be a summer staple for me once baby arrives, allowing for nursing and my size changing some more.  The pattern has a straight full-length sleeve- not the most summery.  I thought that the fabric would be perfect unlined as little flutter sleeves, so when I traced the pattern I also set to slashing and spreading the sleeve.  There are loads of tutorials online if you are interested in a more detailed set of instructions, but you can see here how my new pattern piece compares to the straight sleeve in the packet.

Construction-wise, this jersey behaved itself very well.  I do sometimes struggle to find the best settings for lightweight jerseys, but this one sewed beautifully with no issues.  To keep the light and airy feel of the sleeves, I used the rolled hem function on the overlocker, which is a very quick and effective way of neatening a curved edge.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do about the neckline facing and skirt hem.  I just wasn’t sure that the facing was going to sit neatly.  Fortunately, even though this fabric is predominantly polyester, it did take a careful pressing, and I was able to face and top stitch as in the usual instructions.  I did pre-hem the underlining slightly shorter than the main fabric, as I wanted to keep it all as light as possible.

There is a good amount of stretch and recovery in this fabric due to the spandex content, so it conforms to the body at the wrap very nicely.  I’m hoping the spandex content will be forgiving as my size continues to fluctuate over the next few months.  So far, it’s looking good!

Thanks for reading,

Naomi @ Naomi Sews

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Blades Fabric Shorts by Sally

Hi All! I’m Sally of The Yorkshire Sewist showing you my latest make to showcase on the Minerva Crafts Blog.

Today, I’ve reviewed the denim colourway of the Blades Fabric Collection which is a gorgeous blend of Linen and Cotton fibres.

As a heavy weight fabric, it is perfect for making lots of different styles of garments including Jackets, Dresses, Tops, Skirts, Shorts, Trousers and many more! Let your imagination run wild! It is also great for making cushion covers, chair covers and decorative objects around the home too. This linen and cotton blend has a beautiful softness, drape and texture. It is very easy to sew and perfect for anybody new to dressmaking. Plus, it’s available in a wide range of colours, win win!

I’ll be off on my jollies aka Family Holiday to Florida soon and thought I would best get a start on some holiday clothes, yeah I like to leave things to the last minute as usual.

When I received this fabric it was calling to be made into some shorts! I decided to use Copenhagen Board Short Pattern by Stitch upon a time.

So whilst my lovely new fabric was in the washing machine getting the pre-washed treatment, I set out to print my pdf pattern and get it pieced together, so I was ready to get cutting!

Upon, cutting this fabric, I did notice it was fraying a little so I decided to overlock all my pattern pieces before I got stuck into assembling the Shorts as there is nothing worse than stopping and starting whilst sewing to finish off the seams. So that saved myself some time!

I decided to go for the ‘Short’ short option rather than knee length as I wanted to get my actual legs a decent tan if I can! Also short on a regular person ends up being nearly knee length on me anyways! Also I went for the Pocket option too but no faux fly as truth be told I could be bothered as they are elasticated waist and personally thought ‘it’ll just add more time’.

This were whipped up very quickly actually, I say in a few ours as stated in the instructions so they are pretty true to their word and in the end I did topstitch where stated for added details, I am a sucker for my garments to look nice even though I did want an easy life of sewing them together!

I was a bit dubious of the waistband looking like something my nana would of worn (bless her soul) but you know what it has turned out really nice, I think it helps with what fabric you use and this fabric is made for Shorts!

To finish my waistband, there was an option to either use buttons/buttonhole or snaps. Well thankfully I recently found my kam snaps and pliers hiding with the Husband’s electronic bits and bobs, goodness knows how it got there!

So after a few attempts of getting to grips of how to use them again, I installed 2 snaps beautifully!

So here are my holiday shorts all sewn and now in my suitcase ready for my jollies as I don’t think I’ll have chance to wear them before we go if the weather continues as cold as it is now!

Happy Sewing

Sal @ The Yorkshire Sewist

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A Quilt Called ‘Summer’

People may think that to make a quilt topper or start some machine patchwork you need huge bags of scraps or a lifetimes collection of fat quarters but there are designs that use very little fabric meaning you can choose something you really love. Using a combination of solid and patterned fabric in a half square triangle(HST)design a very effective pinwheel block can be achieved.

Here, I have chosen three poplin fat quarters, one in each colourway, from the Camelot Beyond the Backyard Fabric Collection at Minerva. The fabric is a beautiful quality and matches well with their cerise and white Solid Poplin Fabric

Here is the full colour range; very striking and just right for a not-too-girly girl. I love the retro 1960's pattern

To make this block you need to follow the cutting list below in cm:

4 16 x 16cm squares in patterned fabric

2 16 x 16cm squares in pink fabric

2 16 x 16cm squares in white fabric

8 15.5 x 15.5 squares as border fillers in white fabric

You need 1m of cerise, 3 fat quarters in pattern and 1.5m of white filler.

Place a patterned piece right sides together with a solid piece. Draw a line diagonally then mark a sewing line 0.5cm either side of the centre line.

Sew the two sewing lines each side of the centre line.

Cut the centre line and press out your half square triangles. If you use white fabric, ensure you press your seams to the patterned side to stop them showing through.

Lay out the block in four rows to make the design. Sew each row together then sew the four strips together and give it a final press. To make a generous cot bed or small single sized quilt you need to make 6 of these pinwheels.

It has been backed with pieces of cotton and contains safe wadding. The binding is ready made and picks out the jade green colour but you could choose whatever binding you like.

I used my walking foot for the first time. It made great quilting seams through the layers without any bunching. A brand new needle is also a good tip before you start.

Experimenting with solid colours in quilting allows the patterned fabrics to really shine and you really don't need many of them to make a statement. This fabric was a great retro choice.

Thanks for reading,

Jo @ Three Stories High

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Kinder Cardigan Review from Wendy Wards New Book by Eleanor

One of the first projects I sewed with the machine I bought when I was 21 (a little Jaguar from a sewing shop in Nottingham) was a set of hats for our rowing squad. They were made from a synthetic knit fabric, and I had quite a battle with it at first until I discovered that a different needle would make it possible to sew without tangled threads and skipped stitches! Since then, I have worked with many different knit fabrics but haven’t invested as much time and energy as I would like into understanding how they vary and how to get the best results, except by trial and (repeated) error.

This new Book by Wendy Ward is a fabulous resource, even for an experienced stitcher (I’ve been sewing garments for over 20 years), and its compilation has clearly been a labour of love. Covering how to take body measurements and identify ease, detailed descriptions of different types of knit fabrics, fibre content, stretch and recovery, Wendy explains just about everything you could need to know. This followed by clear descriptions of the construction techniques that are then applied in the six garments and countless variations on them.

One of the things that delights me most about this book is that there are no size charts, just body measurements and finished garment measurements, and with a wide range included (bust 80-121cm (31 ½ to 47 ¾ ins), waist 64-105cm (25 to 41 ½ ins), hips 88-129cm (34 ½ to 51 ins). Wendy has written about some of the issues surrounding dress sizes in detail on her website and about her reasons for using body measurements instead.

The instructions focus on using a domestic sewing machine for the garments in this book, making it very accessible. Wendy goes into incredible detail about needle types, sizes and tensions for different fabrics, troubleshooting and stitch types, to a degree that I have rarely, if ever, seen anywhere else, but in a way that is approachable and not overwhelming. Stripe matching, finding the grain and identifying the right and reverse side of knit fabrics are also covered.

Each pattern is accompanied by a series of photographs, illustrating the many variations and offering inspiration. Fabric recommendations are given as well as details of each fabric used in the samples.

Full pattern sheets are included in the book, and the pattern pieces all need to be traced. For many years I have used Burda Style Tracing Paper, although more recently I’ve tried cheap greaseproof/ baking paper and am quite happy with the results! The pattern sheets are clear and relatively easy to use (certainly in comparison with some of the well-known magazine patterns that require tracing). Although the pieces for some patterns are spread across multiple sheets and large pattern pieces need to be traced in more than one stage and joined together, they are clearly listed and so the process is manageable.

The pattern pieces are listed for each variation, along with detailed instructions for altering them to create the variations, so for example with the cardigan, the short version and the mid-length versions are shown in full on the pattern sheets and the extended measurements for the full-length version are given in the instructions. The cutting plans are laid out clearly and further details for each the suggested variations are then given in the project instructions, for example adding colour blocked contrast panels.

The first pattern I worked with is the Kinder Cardigan. It’s a relaxed, kimono-inspired piece with no fastenings or fussy details, which is ideal for layering (I’ve been known to wear it under two other cardigans on especially cold days) and for all seasons. The version you see here is the cropped, short sleeved version, which can be made with a metre (or even a little less) of 150cm wide fabric. I used a beautiful Atelier Brunette French Terry and was able to make the most of a small piece of fabric as it didn’t require pattern matching. It feels elegant with the gold sparkles but not so fancy that it has to be saved for special occasions. I will definitely be making a few more, in various body and sleeve lengths, and would love to make one in silk jersey for our summer holidays (not the annual week in a tent, which will require a warmer version!).

The design of the cardigan is thoughtful and makes for relatively easy construction. The shoulders are dropped and the sleeves are inserted flat, the use of (optional) cuffs and a neckband reduce the amount of hemming that is needed to just the lower edge.

I used an overlocker to sew all the seams and a and cover stitch machine (a recent and much appreciated investment, as I sew a lot with knit fabrics, but by no means essential) for the hem, which gave a neat finish to all the raw edges, but it would be a quick and straightforward garment to construct on a domestic sewing machine, as described in the book.

I have also made a very plain pair of Monsal lounge pants, in plain black loopback sweatshirting, with no pockets, trims or cuffs. They were quick and straightforward to sew, and are really comfortable for Pilates classes. When I make another pair I will probably straighten out the tapered legs a little, probably by reducing the ease in the upper leg, as I find it more flattering for my body shape, and will either lengthen them a little or add cuffs as they are on the short side even for me at 5’4”/ 162cm tall. As with the cardigan, all the variations are described and illustrated clearly, with a table showing the cutting plan to be used for each option, size and fabric width. Next up will be a Peak t-shirt, which I have traced but not yet cut and sewn. All the patterns are excellent wardrobe basics and the suggested variations add many more possibilities to the already wide range.

All in all, I am very impressed with this book and would be happy to recommend it to beginners, experienced stitchers and anyone in between as it is such a rich and well thought out resource.

Eleanor @ nelnanandnora

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Pink and Gold Sparkly Cardigan by Rachael

When Minerva asked if I wanted to try out some Fabric to showcase on their blog, I immediately said yes. I love fabric and the more I can add to my collection the better. I didn't really mind which fabric, but I was secretly hoping for some knit as I'd been itching to try out a cardigan pattern. When the fabric arrived in the post I was thrilled to see it was this slightly sparkly pink and gold lurex lacy jersey. Perfect! 
I already had my Simplicity 8377 Cardigan Pattern ready. It's super simple and allows you modify the style easily. There are no fastenings which means it's a really quick sew. 

The fabric came out of the pre-wash with no problems. The guidelines say to hand-wash only, but as I've got no patience with hand washing clothes, I expect all of my fabric to machine wash, and luckily the jersey did not disappoint.


I was expecting the fabric to be tricky to cut, as jersey has a tendency to move around, but it was surprisingly stable. I cut a size 10, but didn't worry too much about sizing as the pattern is very loose fit. 
I used a ball point needle to sew it together as normal needles can snag stretchy fabric. I also used my overlocker to finish the edges. The fabric is quite lacy so I think an overlocker is necessary to give a neater finish. 
To stop the shoulders from over stretching, I used stabilizing tape on the shoulder seams. If you don't already, I'd really recommend doing this on stretchy tops or dresses as it makes your projects look much more professional and last longer. 
Finally, I hand stitched the hems. Hand stitching isn't for everyone, but I find it's one of the most relaxing parts of sewing. You can sit on the sofa with a good film or series and give your projects a nice, neat finish. 
I reckon this fabric would work well as a loose, summery sweatshirt too. Just remember to wear something underneath as it's fairly see-through! At the moment I'm enjoying wearing it over a simple T-shirt and jeans. The colours are really pretty and help to lift any plain, mundane outfit I might throw on. 
Thanks for letting me review this fabric Minerva team! 
Thanks for reading,
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New Look 6723 Black Paisley Lace Dress by Hannah

Hello there fellow crafters my name is Hannah and I’ve been sewing since I can remember, well if you count making Halloween costumes out of cut up tights when you’re eight sewing. I’m absolutely thrilled to be guest posting on the Minerva Crafts blog, they do feed my addiction to fabric so they have a lot to answer for - most recent purchase the pink shimmer linen I mean please if there was fabric shop for mermaids they would be lapping that right up.
I’m a regular sewer and tend to whip up dresses so I can wear something pretty the next day. I am a definite dress and vintage fiend so when Minerva fabrics sent me this gorgeous black Paisley Lace Fabric I knew straight away I wanted to make a vintage style dress fit for a femme fatale. Something that clings to all the right places with a nice swishy skirt that I can prance around in.
There's a line in 'No Questions Asked' (1951) film noir 'I bet she wears black lace' the comment refers to the exquisitely dressed femme fatale.  There's always been something special about black lace its classic yet eccentric, so when the fabric arrived I was giddy as a kipper to behold the contents, a gorgeous pile of heavy yet stretchy lace, as I do with most fabric I instantly wrapped it around myself and danced round the room just so I could get an idea of how the fabric would feel on obviously.
But in all seriousness this fabric is a pleasure to sew with, I'm a quick win seamstress I like to make things swiftly without too much fussing. The lace is heavy enough to not slip all over your machine or mannequin, but also the stretch makes it fit so comfortably. In addition to this the fabric is forgiving on those who don't always sew in the straightest of lines... yes I am referring to myself.
The heaviness of the fabric created the most beautiful draping for my skirt I can definitely see myself using more of this to create a blouse or several. The actual shade of black is perfect too, you know when you get those black lace fabrics that look a bit sun damaged, this is a perfect raven black, ideal for making that little black dress that you always return to when you have nothing to wear.
For the pattern I went for the New Look Ladies Sewing Pattern 6723, I've used this before it's simple and adorable, I went for option C.  It’s a pretty straight forward pattern to use and does include a clutch bag to create which I shall get around to making soon.
Cutting the lace was easier than I anticipated, it does always help when your cat plonks herself on the fabric to keep it in place for you. The lace when cut did shed a little which is to be expected and I’d be careful with your scissors as it did pull a couple of times when I was being distracted, but apart from that I merrily cut away.
With the lace being see-through I added an extra layer to the skirt so it will be much more wearable. And I couldn’t help myself by adding some ruffling to the neckline, the lace leant itself so well to ruffles it would have been rude not to.  I added a vintage slip underneath for my first outing, because underwear is outerwear after all. I adore my little black lace dress and it will be a definite go to from now on, I’m already day dreaming about making a full black lace circle skirt with exposed pockets and velvet bow trims!
Thank you lovelies for reading.
Hannah x
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Book Review by Simona: A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabric

I am very pleased to be bart of the launch of Wendy Ward’s last book A Beginner's Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabric in collaboration with Minerva Crafts.

It is not hard to imagine that, as soon as I received my copy of the book I armed myself with a cup of hot chocolate, my sewing notebook and started reading.

Before I even started actually reading it, I found that the paper the book is printed on is of a very good quality that will last through time as you use it over and over again. I think it was a nice idea to have a plastic envelope at the end of the book into which the pattern sheets are housed. On the last page, just before the envelope there is a Pattern Key that shows the sizes and colours that correspond to the patterns in the book. There are a total of 6 patterns that come in 10 sizes (UK 8 to UK 26), that can be modified and/or combined to make 20 garments.

The pattern pieces are overlapped so they need to be traced. However, they are colour coded and each colour is significantly different than the other ones making tracing easier. To ease identifying the pieces for your chosen pattern there is also a coloured box on each pattern piece to help you find them faster.

The book is structured into two main sections one about general knowledge and one that includes The Projects. The General Knowledge section includes information about tools and techniques generally used to work with knits mainly using just a sewing machine. Yes, you do not have to have an overlocker/serger to sew with knits and get a professional finish. Wendy gives details on how to sew your seams, press them or how to add an elasticated waistband.

I do recommend that you read the General Knowledge section even if you are not a beginner when it comes to sewing with knits. It has a lot of information about how to sew with knits that I was not aware of. I think everyone can learn a thing or two from this book even if they are already confident working with knits.

Throughout this General Knowledge section Wendy includes what I call desk aids which are quick reference guides, such as what needles to use, threads or type of fabric to use depending on the look you want for your project.

Also, she teaches you how to use the paper sheets at the end of the book to trace the pieces for the pattern you chose to make first. This section is on page 23. Personally, I would have put it at the end of the book where the colour key is.

I think the Fabric Shopping list included with the book is quite useful. It can be scanned/ photocopied and used over an over to get organized decide the best supplies for your chosen projects (add fabric samples or notes about each fabric considered for that particular project).

In the second section of the book, for each pattern Wendy gives a detailed description, what are the techniques you will be using/learning while making that particular project, the finished garment measurements, the recommended fabrics and includes instructions to make a few variations based on that particular pattern. For each variation/hack she also mentions which pattern pieces to use.

She spends a lot of time (translated into space in the book) to make sure that a beginner stitcher does not struggle to understand the pattern markings or cutting plans. The instructions are easy to follow and the wording is supplemented with diagrams to help those like me who are more visual learners.

The patterns in the book are quite versatile and modern, which made it quite difficult for me to decide which pattern to make first. I wanted to make them all, even the Longshaw skirt, which won’t suit my body shape. I think I spent trying to decide as much as it took me to read the book. I the end, I settled on the Kinder cardigan only because I really needed a cardigan.

Picture Credit : Wendy’s Blog

I chose to make the mid length version using contrasting fabric for the pockets, neck binding and sleeve cuffs. For the main body of the fabric I used black Ponte Roma Fabric and for the contrasting fabric silver John Kaldor Jersey Fabric. I gave names to the sizes to make it easier for me to identify (XS-smallest to XL-largest) them in my head. In the book the sizes are given by the bust measurements. Based on this I cut as size S (or bust 88-92 cm). I shortened the sleeves by 4 cm so that they are not too long for me.

To make my cardigan I used both my overlocker and the sewing machine. I used the overlocker to finish off the seams while sewing them together. For the hems I used a triple zigzag stitch, as this stitch worked best with my fabrics.

It did not take me long to trace, cut and sew up my new cardigan. Using a serger makes the construction process much faster. There are no fit issues with this particular cardigan. As I mentioned before, the only change I needed to do was to shorten the sleeves.

I will make this cardigan again. I’m even tempted to try in in viscose, to see if it works. As it is quite loose and not fitted. Could end up as a kimono.

Each of the six patterns includes variations/hacks. Wendy explains how to achieve them step by step without too much trouble. Also, she encourages us to use scraps of fabrics. For example for the Kinder cardigan she suggests that one can add a contrasting rectangle on the neck band or on one of the front pieces. Where or how wide it’s up to you. This is prefect for using up scraps that you cannot give up, but which are not big enough to use in other garments.

I believe the most versatile project in the book is the Peak T-shirt. For this one Wendy gives you 6 ideas (from short sleeved Tee to dresses). Among the hacks given in the book for this pattern, particularly, I loved the patchwork version, which can be perfect for using those little pieces of your favourite knit fabrics that were left over from some other projects.

All throughout the book there are included images that show close ups of certain elements of the garments showcased in the book, such as this elasticated waistband.

This book is in my opinion a fountain of knowledge, addressed not only to beginners, but also to experienced stitchers like me. I found it interesting to learn how knitted fabrics are produced on circular knitting machines, which are then cut flat or why some fabrics have those weird glue blobs on the selvages. The book serves as an inspiration and kickstarted my imagination to come up with other ideas on how I can go beyond the ideas in the book to customise the patterns even further to make my chosen garments.

Wendy Ward’s latest book A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabric is not only a good and informative read but a beautifully illustrated book that inspires a maker’s imagination while giving clear instructions to make all the projects.

Have you made any projects from Wendy’s book? Which pattern did you chose first? Did you find it hard to decide which one to make first?

Disclaimer: I was given the book and fabrics free of charge in exchange for a review. The opinions in this article are my own and not influenced in any way the publishers or Minerva Crafts.

Thanks for reading,

Simona @ Sewing Adventures in the Attick

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Unicorn Believer

Welcome to my first guest blog post for Minerva Crafts reviewing the Sublime Stitching Embroidery Transfers Unicorn Believer. 

The item arrived in perfect condition in a reinforced envelope preventing the pattern from being damaged or bent in the post.  Until the package arrived I didn’t know which product had been chosen for me to use and review.  I was really pleased with the choice as I design my own embroidery patterns & usually transfer them onto fabric by tracing with a pencil and a light source, in my case an app on my iPad, and so I was looking forward to trying a new method. 

In the sealed envelope with the pattern was an instruction leaflet, one side with instructions on how to transfer the images onto fabric and the other side detailing some basic embroidery stitches.

I like to plan the layout and sizing before transferring a design and I did a very rough trace of my chosen images into a hoop template on paper. I then cut out the patterns that were required. There is enough space around each design to make cutting easy, all of which help to make the process quicker & easier. 

Transferring the image to the fabric was very simple and I followed the details on the instruction leaflet by ironing the fabric first to heat it before applying the transfer. The designer comments if this part of the process is missed out the pattern may fail to transfer to the fabric.  I had chosen a white cotton with a fairly tight weave as the backing Fabric & I batch cut some suitable squares to be able to experiment with the transfers.

The iron must be set to hot/cotton and with the steam settings off.

I was really pleased with how the images transferred although my first attempt wasn’t as good as the following two because I didn’t apply enough equal pressure with the iron, leaving a couple of areas that were quite pale. However, the image was still clear enough to see for stitching. The transferred image is a pale grey colour similar to a fine pencil line. 

I also tested how permanent/water resistant the transfer is. I like to use fabric paints and a waterproof transfer is essential to prevent the design from running. This transfer was completely permanent and waterproof and there was no sign of bleeding into the white cotton when I applied water.

I did a couple more transfers of the smallest design and each one was equally as good. The patterns states there should be approximately 6 transfers for each image. Once the ink runs out the design can still be used as a template to trace onto fabric using my usual method.

I used two DMC Colour Variation Threads (100% cotton) for the Unicorn, heart and letters in the DMC Perle Thread. The Unicorn’s mane was stitched with a lilac DMC Metallic Thread that I had in my stock and I stitched the whole design using a simple backstitch.

The fine lines of the transfer worked well under the light coloured thread and couldn’t be seen under the stitches and also didn’t smudge whilst handling the fabric, which can sometimes happen with a pencil transfer.

The finished work was mounted in a 4 inch white Flexi Hoop.

Overall, I was really impressed with the design, ease of transferring the pattern and the quality of the transfer.  I like being able to mix and match the designs and my stitches easily covered the lines of the pattern.

There are many Sublime Stitching Embroidery Transfer Designs and I plan to use more of them in the future from Minerva Crafts and have already started working on another Unicorn picture.

Thank you for reading my review,

Helen @ Just Sew Helen

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