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Archives: June 2016

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The Sewing Bee - Series 4, Episode 7

Just one week left after tonight ladies (and gents of course). What will we do with our Monday nights then? Exactly more time to sew the wonderful ideas we've come up with whilst watching The Great British Sewing Bee. So now we are down to four contestants, Joyce, Charlotte, Jade and Tracey. All very good sewists and all lovely people, it will be awful at the end of tonights programme to see one go. Whoever it is will be absolutely gutted.
And so here I am just starting to watch GBSB and already I'm feeling bad at Esme saying that Joyce lacked flair. If you look back now at her garments I think that is totally uncalled for. First rant over, now on with the show. I have to say the skirt was pretty amazing and I must admit I can't find anything similar to show you. So let's hope one of our brilliant pattern company's get on the band wagon, so to speak. It did appear very fiddly but certainly doable.
Charlotte's skirt was very good just a pity about the seam not being sewn close enough but to be fair, if she had had time it would just need trimming.
Poor Tracey, I felt sorry for her right from the beginning. Normally I always suggest snipping into the notches but as was seen on this occasion they had to be marked. I think she must have rushed her zip because other times she has made a decent job of zips.
Joyce (I think) chose the wrong fabric in neoprene. I am not knocking neoprene (in fact we now stock this fabulous fabric) and a similar one called Scuba Fabric we do in lots of colours! 
I am just saying I think it was wrong for this skirt. Bits of the inside colour were showing through on the lapped seam. Neoprene has a very thin layer of foam between two fabrics and so you can imagine if sewn one on top of the other (as in the multi-curved seam of the skirt) the stitched line sort of 'squashes' the fabric and makes the edge of the fabric stick up therefore showing bits of the under colour. Hope that makes sense. However her zip was perfect as was the overall hang of the skirt.
Again I think they were a little unfair with Jade's skirt but hey ho someone had to win and someone had to lose and I do agree with their choices.
Now for my favourite section (not). This obviously came from the design element because nothing seemed to be wearable. I always feel so sorry for them, I keep wondering what they did in the first series of the sewing bee in this section. They certainly didn't use duvet covers!! Can anyone remind me? Charlotte's was the best so she deserved to win but overall I still can't help but think this is a silly section. I know quite a few of you agree with me, but then other people love it! 
And so on to the best bit, my favourite section. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this part, the sewing but also the working from a block pattern and from that creating their own style of dress. 
Charlotte's dress was really nice. I must admit I loved how she created the cowl neckline.
For me personally I'm not keen on cowl neckline's so this gave me the idea that a cowl neckline on a pattern could be made into an ordinary neckline. Many a time I find a pattern I really like only for it to have a cowl so now I have no excuse, it can be changed. It's so true that you learn something new every day!! When trimming the hemline Charlotte used duck-billed scissors, these are amazing in that when trimming quite close as Charlotte was doing it makes it really hard to snip the fabric by mistake. 
The fabric Charlottle used was very similar to one of our Viscose Challis Fabrics and it comes in 3 colourways.
If I was being critical I would say that Patrick was wrong in saying the back waistline was perfect. I'm sorry but the upper waistline was sagging at the righthand side and the invisible zip was showing. (Tracey got pulled for that in the first challenge!) 
Now on to Tracey's. 
Patrick said "I don't know what it is about the collar". Well I would say to Patrick "the collar was sticking out at the back, a few got pulled on this in earlier episodes. Also the left under collar point was lower than the right and the stitching was puckered on the right hand neckline". However, to have created this neckline from essentially nothing - well done Tracey!
Then they both totally missed the puckering on the waistline at the front edge.
So sorry Tracey (just in case you ever read this) but it is so annoying as a viewer watching this - it must be down to how its edited.
On to Joyce and my favourite dress. For me it was the best sewn and the best fitted. What are those two judges on about - it fit perfectly. 
For anybody who follows our blog, take a look at my daughter Vicki's last post. This was a similar shape dress and a similar FIT!!! So are we wrong too? I think Patrick faltered a little and nearly said it was a perfect fit but then must have remembered what he'd said earlier!! And why should the collar be narrower, any reason? Thank goodness Esme mentioned how well the collar had been sewn. It is definitely a sign of a good sewer if the top collar is cut ever so slightly bigger than the bottom collar thus allowing the roll over that Esme was on about. Well done Joyce. 
Last but not least, Jade's dress. 
I feel she made the most complicated design from the block pattern so really well done. Patrick commented about the pattern running down the centre exactly but I think it was cut slightly off grain because as they mentioned the pattern was higher at the right side middle and what they didn't mention was the pattern didn't match at the armholes. 
The back of the dress was brilliant, my next photo shows the back fitting perfectly across the models waistline so how it came to be 'baggy' later on I don't know. But if this was a problem she could have fixed it if only she had had ten more minutes!
If I had a criticism on this dress it would be I think it was a little tight at the bottom of the armholes. But hey let's finish on a positive note. I loved the bias binding she used on the skirt edge. Neither of the above were mentioned by the judges.
Poor Tracey had to go (it gets harder with each passing week doesn't it?) And so who will win? My heart tells me Joyce should win, she is an extremely good sewer and I feel she has been pretty consistent all the way through. My gut tells me that Charlotte will win but my head tells me that Jade will win. Why? Well there hasn't been a young person win yet, we've had a guy, we've had a lady in her middle years and an older lady, the lovely Ann do you remember her from the first series? So roll on next week for the last episode of the Great British Sewing Bee.
Thank you so much for reading,
Annette xx
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Pattern of the Week - The Prettiest of Patterns!

The following pattern is one of the most beautiful little girls dress patterns I've seen in ages. It is just so pretty and even though the style of the dress is very similar in all 4 versions, it just shows how you can change the look just with using different fabrics. Isn't it funny how an event in your life changes your thinking with Sewing Patterns. In my case my gorgeous little Grand-daughter has arrived and here as you see I'm looking at little girl's patterns. And so I am offering to you New Look 6443 as #PatternoftheWeek this week.
This dress can only be described as pretty so not for any tomboys unfortunately! And with this in mind I've chosen some lovely floral fabrics with perfect contrasts. The skirt part of the pattern appears to have an over skirt, however on reading the instructions, there are two side fronts and a centre front with a lace trim sewn within this seam as you can see on the photo below.
My first choice of fabric is very similar to the fabric used on  version A. It is our beautiful floral outline Cotton Poplin Fabric and is £7.99 per mt. It is a beautiful quality cotton poplin that features a pretty floral outline design. The flowers are 'drawn' in white on a coloured background. Medium weight with a soft finish. I have teamed this with our lacquer print Cotton Fabric which is described as follows - This beautiful quality fabric has a gorgeous lacquer print in a pretty floral design. It is a very subtle design created from this lacquer printing technique and it is a very popular fabric right now. This fabric is very hard to photograph because the printed colour is very similar to the base colour, but the pattern is there! This fabric is a medium weight with a soft finish and it is perfect for making dresses, tops, skirts. It is also really popular for incorporating into your patchwork quilting designs too. 
In my photograph I have shown these fabrics together along with this pretty Lace Trimming. As you can see on the pattern the waistband is made from the fabric but can easily be replaced with ribbon and so I have shown our Berisfords Satin Ribbon (25mm wde, colour 419) in the photo too. I'm sure you will agree these look so well together.
The following Fabric is one of my personal favourite's ever, I walk past it every day here at Minerva and think what shall I make in that, I'm still thinking!! Our description of this whole Fabric Range here at Minerva is - Penelope is a very pretty and feminine collection of floral, chevron, bauble, and cross prints in beautiful pastel blends. The array of muted aqua, coral, grey, and yellow make the designs soft and ethereal, and the perfect backdrop for elegant dresses, accessories, and home decor pieces. Feminine and sweet, this sorbet-infused collection is perfect for any fashionista!  
So any of this beautiful range could be used for this dress but I have chosen a Plain Cotton Poplin Fabric in Blush. At just £5.99 per mt, this compersates for the Penelope Flower Fabric being £12.99 per mt. This version C does have ribbon around the waistline albeit a narrow one and I have chosen Berisfords Satin Ribbon again (this time 10mm wide in colour 977). For the lace edging I have chosen this pretty Gathered Lace Trim in white.  As you can see from my photo it blends perfectly...
The following photo shows a close up of the dress I'm trying to replicate. Although I love the Blush Poplin this photo gives you another idea, to use a spotted fabric.
Last but not least have a look at this Quilting Fabric. Again this is a very pretty fabric, very suitable for this little girl's dress. This is made all from the one fabric but you could again use a co-ordinating plain poplin.
Until next week many thanks for reading, are you watching the semi-finals tonight?
Annette xx
P.S. Dont forget if you would like to buy this pattern now is the time as we are offering 50% off for one week only as our #PatternoftheWeek deal!
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Fabric Friday - 3 Fabric Looks, 1 Pattern - Kwik Sew 3789

Well have I got a nice bright look for you this week. It may be a little OTT for some of you but I have to say the amount of comments I got (good comments I hasten to add) here in the Minerva Craft Centre when photographing them was amazing. So here goes what do you think of this little combination...
As you can see the Sewing Pattern is Kwik Sew 3789.
So just look at the left hand picture. I love the black and white version but kept peeping at the multi-coloured version thinking I'll never find a fabric similar to the bottom one used for the flounce. Then Hey Ho what did one of our lovely customers ask to see, yes you've guessed - a beautiful Stretch Cotton Fabric from our spanish range just full of vibrant colours, lots of red and yellow. 
So I thought that's the hard work done, I'll soon find co-ordinationg fabrics. Not as easy as I thought!! I have teamed this fabric with cotton poplins for the other panels in the skirt and it would be an extremely good idea to wash and dry all these fabrics together. As I keep saying "if pre-washed and dried together then they will always wash and dry well together". So after what seemed like forever wading through our Huge Range of Fabrics that we have online (I'm certainly not complaining haha) I finally found some that replicate the ones on the pattern. 
First up is this Cotton Poplin Fabric, now there are striped fabrics that are not maybe as 'loud' as this one but oh my goodness the colours go so well. 
The next one is this Floral Fabric which is a beautifully designed poplin that actually has quite a retro look to it. Team all of these together with our cotton poplin in red and hey I think that's not a bad attempt at replicating the fabric choice on the pattern. What do you think?
Now to tone things down a bit. What I love about this pattern is there are no side seams. There are 6 curved panels that sort of fit around the body with a flounce on the bottom edge. Two of the suggested fabrics are denim and chambray so take a peak at my next photo.
This is a fabulous weight cotton Denim Fabric. This comes in 3 shades of denim but I think for this skirt the light blue is the yummiest. And so, where as in the above skirt you would sew the seams right sides together, with the denim (or chambray) skirt each piece is layered over the next piece and then sewn with 2 rows of machine stitching. The photo's below show how the multi skirt is sewn and how the denim skirt is sewn. I just love the extra piece for the denim skirt, this is attached inbetween the main part of the skirt and the flounce.
I must admit I am quite surprised that the instructions are left at that, it is not telling you to fray these edges. Unless I've missed it, please correct me if I'm wrong. However I know from past experience of sewing with denim, if you have a raw edge (as you are creating here) each time you wash the skirt it will fray a little more naturally. 
Last but not least I must show you these black and white Denim Fabrics. They combine together really well don't you think? They are all the same weight, are actually all from the same range and are priced quite reasonably at £8.99 per metre;
 
So it just shows 3 totally different colour combinations off one pattern. Other ideas are to lengthen the flounce of the skirt so you would have a maxi skirt and you could choose a very soft cotton lawn fabric. Or omit the flounce altogether and have a knee length skirt either with or without the extra panel from version B.
Happy Sewing and thanks for reading,
Annette xx
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My London Day Dress

Hello everyone! 
Ive been on a roll sewing dresses recently! You may have seen my blog post last week where I made a dress for a wedding. Well since then I had another excuse to make a dress for myself...oh yeah! Im very good at coming up with excuses to make dresses haha! This time round is was my husband Richard's brother's birthday. He lives in London so his girlfriend arranged for us and a group of his friends to get together to celebrate.
It's on these sorts of occasions I never seem to have anything to wear, are you the same? Dresses I had seemed to be just too 'dressed up', but I wanted to wear something more special than jeans and a top.
I had been fretting about it to Richard and he said 'make something then'. So I did! Now bearing in mind, it was Wednesday when I decided to make something and the get together was on Saturday. I had things planned on both the Thursday and Friday night, so I only had Wednesday night to make it. The pattern had to be something quick and easy.
I finally settled on McCalls 6922;
I know you might look at this and think there are patterns that would be quicker to make than this, and you're right. But I just feel head over heels for this pattern. I think its so pretty and feminine. And I love fit and flare styles like this. It was view C particularly that I fell for. But I also love the halter neck version and the one with longer sleeves. Im sure I will make those in the future too, so a good value pattern for me. I loved the fullness of the skirt, the little raglan sleeves and the V neckline (which is always more flattering on me I think).
Now for the fabric choice. Ive had my heart set on making a plain navy blue dress from our Ponte Roma Jersey fabric for a while now. But every time I think 'I'll make that this weekend', something else makes it way higher up the 'to-sew' priority queue. And I've never yet got round to making it. The same thing happened this time.
I thought this dress just teamed so nicely with this new Floral Ponte Fabric that arrived quite recently at Minerva. I love all 3 colouways, but in the end I picked the 'pink and green' one. It's just so pretty! And I thought it really suited the pattern with it being a girly, feminine sort of style. 
And so my navy blue dress is still only in my head, waiting to be made!
Onto the cutting and sewing that evening! The fabric was really lovely to work with. If you've sewn with Ponte Roma Fabrics before you will know how well they 'behave' in comparison to other Jersey Fabrics. This particular fabric is quite unusual though in that it only really stretches one way. And it's on the lighter side for a ponte roma. It's very soft and drapey, perfect for styles like this.
The fit of the pattern on me was OK straight from the packet but I had to take a LOT in at the waist. I did it just by taking in a lot at the side seams. But the rest of it fit pretty well as it was, so it wasnt much of an alteration to make. I always seem to have that issue with patterns in that I will go off my measurements to decide what size to make (usually always a 16/18 on the pattern sizes), and then I always end up taking a lot in at the waist. Like I say though it wasnt a difficult thing to fix.
The pattern was pretty simple, but I knew I was asking a lot of myself to have this made up in one evening. I didnt quite make it. I didnt want to take any short cuts so the following day I got into work early and cracked on finishing it.
If you follow Minerva Crafts on Instagram, you may remember seeing this picture I took of the finished dress on the Thursday;
Well here's some finished pictures of me in the dress. I completely forgot to take any when we were down in London (we were too busy having a good time!), so I've taken some of me wearing the dress this morning...
I love how the skirt moves when you spin...
And to think, I almost missed out the godets thinking 'that will save me some time'. I'm so glad I decided to put them in because I just love the fullness of the skirt bit and how it moves.
So what do you think? I really love this pattern and fabric combo and would definitely recomend it. I really do love my new dress and am glad I have a more 'dressed-down' dress in my wardrobe now to wear on occasions like this. Plus I thought I can use this pattern again to sew a plain navy blue one :)
Thanks for reading, I would love to hear your comments on the dress!
Vicki xx
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The Sewing Bee - Series 4, Episode 6

I don't know about you but I am feeling increasingly sad that the Great British Sewing Bee is drawing to a close. We are now on the quarter finals with just five contestants left, Joyce, Charlotte, Jade, Rumana and Tracey. As I said last week I feel they are quite settled now, into the swing of it so to speak. It was quite sad seeing Angeline go because lets face it each of the contestants have similar strengths and weaknesses at this stage and I think it's gonna be harder and harder for Patrick and Esme to decide who has to go. 
This week they are having to sew active-wear, this usually means working with the stretchiest of fabrics - Lycra! On top of having to work with one of the hardest fabrics (yet again) they now have to contend with figure hugging garments! And so on to the programme.
I started to watch them sewing the Lycra Fabric (I've never sewn lycra in my life) thinking I wasn't going to be too interested in this part of the programme but do you know I quite warmed to it. Although I still think lycra will be difficult to sew, I think my fears of it are growing less! Lycra has become much more popular in recent years especially with programmes like Strictly Come Dancing. These outfits are extortionate in price and so more and more people are making their own. This extends into leisurewear and sportswear and yet again the fact that you can create something quite unique to you is a big plus! I thought all of the cycling tops were pretty good at first glance (that is until Patrick and Esme started pulling them apart, verbally of course). It seemed that the majority of the contestants made the same mistakes, mainly the seams didn't match around the zips. To be fair there would be an element of panic in their sewing and lets face it that's how mistakes happen. Overall though they did really well.
I do think they were being rather 'picky' with Charlotte's. It wasn't too bad at all around the bottom of the zip and what can I say about Tracey's it was near perfect. What the heck was Esme on about "the colour's popped"???
I loved Rumana's colour choice and like Jade's they both had a self coloured fabric with just the zip in a different colour. I recently bought (dare I say that word ha) a dress in grey with an exposed orange zip down the back and the pockets were lined in orange fabric. The way they have been sewn means the orange stands proud to the pockets and the whole dress looks really good. It's a 'modern' thing this with the exposed zips but it can look good.
Joyce's top was really good, personally I am under the impression that the judges were surprised at just how good these garments were because they definitely were quite picky!! Does anybody else think that? 
And now the dreaded middle section, for me at least, but hey yet again I was pleasantly surprised with how well they did. It was like looking back at shellsuit days (the 90's). I just looked at what they had to work with and thought thank goodness it's them and not me. So I have to hand it to them they did a fantastic job. Well done to them all.
The garment from Joyce was my favourite, I thought the embroidery was positioned really well on the back and for me it looked to be sewn pretty good. I think she deserved higher than 3rd place. I wasn't too keen on Jade's jacket, for me it should definitely have had a collar and because of this it didn't look balanced somehow.
When you get a programme like this it wouldn't look good if the same person was the best each week! I just wish it was edited a little better because as I've said before the judges contradict themselves.
My favourite section was the 3rd this week and again I think they all did a very good job. First up was Charlotte and I have to say I thought it hung really well at the back, to me it didn't need altering, again I think it was a case of having to find something wrong. The underneath bra part fit brilliant, the straps at the back were very effective, the choice of fabric was spot on. Well done Charlotte!!
On to Joyce. I seem to be very much a fan of hers and like Charlotte's was a very well made outfit. She used McCalls 7261 which has a lovely hooded version and a very effective lapped collar, version B.
Then Patrick said "it neither fits snug or loose" I go to the gym twice a week and for me this would be perfect because I prefer my gym clothes to be neither too snug or too loose. And so I just thought these were silly comments. Note the judges said to Charlotte "you are the only one who hasn't gone for a tight fitting garment". See what I mean about contradiction!!
Oh boy I loved Jade's and so did the judges. Just a pity she misplaced the straps at the back although did it look that bad?? Talking of these, Jade used a loop turner to turn these straps right side out. She made a great job of this because these can be tricky to turn through especially in lycra! Now for those of us who don't like doing this how about some ready made lycra cord. This comes in lots of bright colours that either match or are a good contrast to the lycra colours. 
A very similar pattern is Butterick 6295. The top seems identical to Jade's but the pants just go a stage further and include pockets sewn within the side panels.
On to Tracey's, again it looked pretty good, maybe she tried to do too much. I did agree with Esme about the colour switch at the bottom of the trousers. They picked up on the teeniest tiniest bit of bagginess at the front edge and then totally missed the bit of bagginess on the back just underneath the crossed straps.
Last but not least, poor Rumana. She used a pattern very similar to Kwik Sew 4163
Now I am not into making sportswear but if I did this surely would be a pattern I would pick. On reading the instructions I find them amazingly easy. I'm afraid I'm going to have to get that overlocker first though, possibly a cover stitch too!! Rumana's binding round the neckline and armholes wasn't good at all but her leggings were brilliant. Did she deserve to go, I'm not sure?
Thank you for reading and until the semi-finals happy sewing!!
Annette xx
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#PatternoftheWeek - 50% Off The Walkaway Dress Pattern

Well we have had an interesting week here at Minerva, all the gossip seems to be how well the 'hacked pattern' from Vogue is doing. As you can see, it's our 3rd Bestselling Sewing Pattern of all time already! 
If you are one of the few who haven't seen this amazing pattern yet have a look on my  'The Great British Sewing Bee' blog post. The reaction to this pattern is incredible and it takes me back to series 3 of GBSB when the Walkaway Dress Pattern was shown. If the reaction to that pattern is anything to go by then Vogue 1557 will be a roaring success!
So may I take this opportunity to re-introduce you to Butterick 4790. As I've already mentioned this must have been the pattern of the year because it was so popular nationwide, probably even worldwide.
So with this pattern having been our best selling pattern last year I am very pleased to offer it to you as our pattern of the week at half price, for one week only. 
The next two photos show the lineart drawing of how the shape of the dress sews together and that there are just 3 pieces. Yes you read that right! 
The dress is placed over your head and then the front of the dress carries on round to the back and fastens with a button or snap fastener. Likewise the back then wraps round to the front over the front of the dress. Hope I'm not making it sound complicated because it certainly isn't. 
The edges are finished off with bias-binding and although it says to sew the hem on the machine, I think bias-binding would be good used on here too. I must admit if I have a lot of hand sewing to do, it doesn't faze me in the slightest because I find it quite relaxing to sit and sew in the evening!
Now to fabrics. If you look at the pattern, the first one that stands out is the blue check, version B. Now this dress could look fabulous in Gingham Fabric. I'm not usually a lover of checks being used in a circular skirt. Years ago it was a complete no no but is widely accepted in this age of anything goes and to be fair it does seem to work fine with this pattern. I have seen it made up in yellow gingham with white edges and it did look very pretty.
The mono look looks superb (version A) but I would like to take this a stage further and show a black patterned fabric with a plain black. My choice is our gorgeous floral print polyester Crepe Fabric (we have a fabric video of this for you to watch too! just click on the link). The black and white floral design of this fabric is very effective and perfect for those who love the monochrome look. This fabric is a polyester crepe which is soft and drapey and also has a little bit of stretch which will make it super comfy to wear. I have teamed this fabric with a New Fabric that we now stock in a fantastic range of colours. This fabric is polyester and also has that little bit of give/stretch so blends perfect with my Mono fabric.
While we are talking mono how about this Lovely Fabric. I am in love with this beautiful 100% viscose fabric. We are talking white random dots on a black background.
And don't forget you could always team this with the 100% visvose in plain black! Either have the front of the dress in the spot and the back to front wrap in plain black or even visa versa! And last but not least just to liven things up a bit how about this Floral Viscose Fabric, this is a stunning background colour with a floral design. Again this could be teamed with black viscose.
I hope I've given you some inspiration for the walkaway pattern with these fabric choices. For even more reading, take a look at Gabby's version of the Walkaway Pattern she made for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network - it's gorgoeus!
And so farewell for this week, thankyou for reading and see you tomorrow for a catch up on the Great British Sewing Bee.
Annette xx
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Amazing Fit Dress

Hello, I plotted to make this dress about 4 weeks ago for a wedding I attended with my husband Richard last weekend. I had two really good reasons for making this dress. 1) I had NOTHING to wear to this wedding (OK, I'm sure I did, but I just wanted something new haha!) and 2) I just had to make something from this gorgeous new Jacquard Fabric that recently arrived here at Minerva. Just look at that fabric!
It is just the sort of fabric I love. Neutral shades with a bold print. And the fabric itself is amazing. It seems to be made of two layers that are somehow bonded together. So it has a good amount of body, yet isnt stiff. Watch our fabric video and it will give you a sense of how this fabric behaves.
Once I had decided to make a dress, and to use this fabric, next was to decide on the pattern. I had a vague idea of what I wanted. Because my shape is hourglass but slightly more bottom heavy I like fit and flare styles that pull in at the waist but then flare out over my tummy and bum. I never used to wear this style, but since trying it I realise just how much I like it and how flattering it is on me.
My mum and I had been talking about the Simplicity Amazing Fit Sewing Patterns only a few days before I decided to make a dress for this wedding. Having never tried one and hearing very good reports on them from some of the Minerva Bogger Network Team, I decided to try one out.
The first one I found was Simplicity 1011, which I still really love, but I decided against it because I thought the amount of panels in the dress would distort the pattern in the fabric too much. I got myself a copy of this pattern though as I will definitely make this in another fabric in the future.
The next one I looked at which was one my mum suggested was Simplicity 8047. I wouldn't have made the overbodice, just the dress underneath. This was a definite contender.
I finally settled on Simplicity 2247 view B. I just loved the shape of the skirt part, plus it has fewer panels that either of the other 2 patterns. I liked the V Neck and I also really liked the sleeves with the three little tucks.
I made my final decision on the pattern last thing on the Saturday here at work (the week before the wedding). I work 6 days a week here at Minerva so I knew I didnt have much free time and really needed to get cracking! 
I cut the pattern out that same night, cut the fabric and even got a bit of pinning done too. I managed all of that quite well to say I'd had a couple of glasses of wine haha!
As you can see in the photo above there are quite a few pieces to this dress, but since I read Sheila's post about her Vogue Ball Gown that was constructed from no less than 78 pieces (yes, 78!), this one seemed a doddle!
By the end of Saturday night I had all the pattern pieces cut! Yey!
For those of you who follow Minerva Crafts on Instagram you will have seen my 'sewing updates' throughout the day on Sunday. I started sewing at around 1pm and just got the dress finished in the nick of time by about 9pm. It was a full day sewing session to get it finished!
My 'sewing marathon' made me think of this sewing quote haha...
The constuction of the dress was pretty straight forward. Im very lucky that I have my mum (who is the best sewer I know) always on hand to help me out. I try to rely on her help as little as possible but it is a very good feeling to always know she is there.
I agree with what people say in that these amazing fit patterns are pretty awesome. You take your measurements as normal to determine what size of pattern to cut out, and you also work out your cup size. Now if I was to buy RTW clothing I would be a size 12 or 14 depending on the shop. On this pattern my measurements said an 18. You really do have to ignore the fact that your size may not be the same as the sizing you buy in the shops. It is much more important to go off your measurements. For the cup size, I would normally take a D cup, but going off my measurements the pattern told me to cut a C cup, so I did.
Simplicity Amazing Fit patterns give a bigger seam allowance on some of the pattern pieces, so when you come to fit them to you there is a bit of 'wiggle room'. In my case I went the other way in that I had to take quite a bit in on the side seams at the waist part, and continued this line down throught the skirt so that the shape of the piece remained the same. 
I would recommend this pattern for an intermediate sewist. Someone who has had a go at beginner patterns before and wants to try something a little harder than an absolute beginners pattern. It really was pretty easy!
The photo above is a picture of the dress taken on Sunday night. All I literally had left to do was a bit of hand sewing. "I will do that one night during the week" I said to myself... yep you have guessed it...I was there the morning of the wedding in our hotel room doing the hand sewing haha! Now that I definitely would not recommend!
The wedding we went to was at Burnley Football club (which is the team my husband Richard and all his family support, coming from Burnley). My family are Blackburn Rovers supporters. If you are local, or a football fan, you will know the rivalry between these two teams! So as you can imagine, at the wedding Richard was taking photos of me everywhere where he could get a shot of me against a Burnley club sign to prove I was 'one of them' haha. Even pictures taken against the ground itself...
Would you beleive it, out of all the pictures we took that day I dont seem to have a single one showing the full length of my dress, so I took some this morning so I could show it to you...
So what do you think? I have fallen in love with this new dress and am so happy I decided to make one for the wedding, which was a fantastic day!!
Thanks for reading everyone! 
Vicki x
P.S. if you would like to try out a Simplicity Amazing Fit Sewing Pattern for yourself they are all half price at the moment, so its the perfect excuse :)
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Fabric Friday - Fabrics for Burda Pattern 6773

Here we are FabricFriday again!
Before we talk fabrics I must tell you that my daughter Alison and my little Princess2 are doing well. Thank you so much for your messages of congratulations. My Granddaughter Jess (yes that one!) said I couldn't call the new one Princess because she (Jess) was my only Princess but now she is allowing Emily Iris May to be called Princess2 because she is so darn cute. Sorry I could easily just write a blog on Emily, I certainly wouldn't be stuck for words!!
So back to fabrics! My first fabric is a gorgeous patterned linen mix. Now this Linen Fabric is coming to an end but I thought maybe you would like one last chance to buy. This is described as 'swirl abstract linen mix'. It is 55% linen and 45% viscose and is 56" wide. This is offered to you at £10.99 per mt. Now for my photo I have teamed it with Black Linen Fabric of which as you know we have plenty of choice. What do you think?
This Burda Sewing Pattern no 6773 has a very simple shape shift dress. I think this fabric would look fab in this, don't you? Take a moment to have a closer look at the jacket. The following photo shows the lineart of the jacket. Have a peep at version B at the front extension. It is barely noticeable on the front cover picture, I just think it is so unusual and would make a lovely bride's mother's outfit. The pattern says you need lining for the jacket but it is only for the facing of this 'extension' it would be just as easy to use the same fabric.
The dress is lined to the waist but could easily be lengthened to become fully lined or indeed could be left out altogether. The lining is put wrong sides together with the dress and then a bias binding is attached and hand sewn on the inside. See following photo's;
My next choice is this beautiful Needlecord Fabric. It is 72% cotton, 24% polyester and 4% lycra. The photo on our website doesn't do it justice so I hope my photo is a little more helpful. Again I have teamed it with black.
We have a range of Plain Cotton Needlecord Fabrics at an amazing price of just £4.99 per mt and are 100% cotton. When they are gone that will be it for these, so strike while the iron is hot! And it comes in 18 amazing colours. We also have this plain black Stretch Needlecord Fabric and our 21 Cord Fabric - both are beautiful and both have a lycra content. The prices for these are £9.99 and £8.99.
Last but not least I want to show you this fairly new Linen Mix Fabric
Our description is "A beautiful quality cotton and linen blend fabric ideal for making summer clothing, such as tops, skirts and dresses. This fabric has an interesting weave and surface texture and surprisingly for a linen blend fabric is has a wonderfully soft drape." I couldn't describe it better if I tried. Except to say it is 71% cotton, 29% linen and just 48" wide. I haven't teamed this with anything for my photo because it looks fantastic on it's own! Having said that it would look yummy with pure white linen or our very popular linen look cotton. I could go on and on and on and on.............
Thank you so much for reading.
Annette xx
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The Sewing Bee - Series 4, Episode 5

I take back whatever Ive said!! I really enjoyed the Great British Sewing Bee last night. I felt that each contestant was getting into their stride and feeling much more relaxed. So last night was all about Vintage sewing, hence the 60's sewing machine's. I have to say I didn't see the point of using these machine's, for some contestants it held them up a little and it wasn't like they were making a feature of it to us the viewers. I absolutely loved the 60's shift dress and just to let you know that Vogue patterns have released a limited edition sewing pattern of a similar Mondrian Dress Pattern. This pattern is now available to order from us here at Minerva and is at a fantastic price of £9.99. With this pattern + pattern hack what you are actually buying Vogue 9048 in a new pattern envelope and will receive an extra page of instructions that will explain how to convert this pattern to how the original Vogue 1557 looked, picture of which is below.
You will need some dressmaking tissue paper, pen, ruler and some adhesive tape. If you've not seen Vogue 9048 take a look because it is very 60's looking in it's own right. I also think that when you've looked at how easy it is to convert the pattern into the above you could also take it a stage further and convert it into the sewing bee pattern. It wouldn't be too hard.
I loved some of the combinations the contestants came up with and it was good to see Jade using the method I mentioned in a recent blog post. This was having a drawing or photocopy of the shape of the dress (in this case the block design) and literally colouring them in to see the different effects you could achieve. I loved Joyce's colour choice, her sewing was spot-on and I think she thoroughly deserved to come first in this section. To me she deserved it even before I'd seen the others. 
They used Cotton Sateen Fabric for the dress but there are quite a few fabrics that would be suitable. One that comes to mind that would be highly suitable is bi-stretch Suiting Fabric. This is a reasonable priced fabric at just £3.99 per mt that comes in a fantastic range of colour, is easy to work with and easy to care for. Here at Minerva we have a brilliant selection of Cotton Fabrics from gaberchino to poplin and from sateens to lawns. Although if a fine cotton is used for this dress it would definitely need to be lined. It is hard to tell from the sewing bee whether the dresses have been lined or not but I can tell you that the Vogue pattern is lined. This could easily be adapted by using bias binding or making your own facings.
I was quite intrigued when Esme talked about the style of the dress being designed by Yves St. Laurent in the 60's as being the Mondrian dress. I had to find out a little more, I mean it's a funny name for a dress is it not. 
The designer took the idea from Piet Mondrian who was an artist, who although he came from the netherlands, he lived and worked in Paris. He developed a style of painting around 1920 of which he became best known for. This style was a form of cubism and this is what you see in the dress. How clever of Yves St. Laurent to bring art and fashion together. And brilliant that the GBSB brought it to our attention! 
So if you google Yves St. Laurent - Mondrian dress, you will find a picture of three models wearing three variations of the dress and there in the background is one of Piet Mondrian paintings. And so History lesson over for today, back to the sewing bee!
I think Joyce showed some of her experience in that where she topstitched, she used the right shade thread, I thought that made all the difference. To be fair both Angeline and Charlotte stitched in the right shade thread as well even changing colours where back met front. What seemed to let a few down was sewing in the zip. Unfortunately I feel Tracey's was the worst, so combined with the hemline stitching, unfortunately for her she came last.
For some reason I quite liked the middle section this week if not for anything else just to show how difficult these types of fabrics are to sew. First up was Rumana and I thought her red top was brill, her ideas were good and looked to be sewn quite well. Next came Jade, again I thought pretty good although I did see their point that she hadn,t changed the neckline. I loved Tracey's, what can I say, those pockets were amazing and it looked so 60's. Esme didn't like the shape! What difference dare I ask is there between this and the Mondrian dress!!! I didn't really 'get' Charlotte's, maybe I missed something and although yet again Joyce deserved to win, that pocket on the front annoyed me because it wasn't straight (how picky is that when they are so short of time). Poor Angeline's work got picked on again, I don't know whether it was fair or not, her outfit wasn't any worse than anybody elses. What do you think?
On to the last section, Tracey's jacket was really nice, she used a current Simplicity Pattern 2154 which is so 60's. Combine that with this stunning Italian Coat Fabric here at Minerva and hey you too could have a jacket like Tracey's. 
I agree with Esme that Charlotte's jacket looked at it's best on the dummy and I also liked the wide neckline. Poor Rumana, her hemline and buttons just didn't work. Again for me Joyce's was superb, am I right in saying they used to call this style of jacket a Reefer? For me it was very 60's like the Mods used to wear I think. Poor Angeline, the hemline was not good but I have to say I absolutely loved the idea. The colours and choices of fabric were fab. And then we get to Jade's WOW I loved it, loved it, loved it. So much care was taken in matching the fabric and to be fair she had enough time to do so. 
Now what I haven't had time to do this blog is work through our thousands of fabrics and sewing patterns to give you some ideas to make your own versions of these amazing projects. For anyone following my blog posts you will know I was about to become a Nanny again for the 5th time. My eldest Daughter has given birth to Emily Iris May this week at 9lb 3oz. We have christened her 'chunky monkey'...
Until next time thank you for reading,
Annette xx
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Pattern of the Week - New Look 6035

At least once every week I am told how lucky I am working with our wonderful fabrics and knitting yarns. I never take for granted how lucky I am. I feel guilty sometimes mentioning in my blog posts that this is my favourite and that is my favourite. How can someone have so many favourites but honestly that is the way it is. Our warehouse here at Minerva Crafts is like the biggest sweet shop you have ever seen (and I do like my sweets, as my waistline would tell you). Each day I see a new fabric and I think I must show that one this #FabricFriday or new sewing patterns come in and I can't wait to mention them to you. I'm not allowed these days to do stock takes on the sewing patterns (or knitting patterns come to think of it) because I take too long browsing through them!! I pull out more than I count haha. So this week it is a few of our lovely fabrics that have prompted me to offer you New Look 6035 as our half price pattern of the week.
My first Fabric choice is this beautiful 100% cotton. 
As our description suggests this is certainly a head turner and bold in design and colour. For my photograph I have chose the off white background, probably because it's summer! I can say that the dark background is a stunner too and that's before we get on to the multi-coloured!! This is a little heavier weight cotton so would be perfect for the A-line skirt on the pattern. (Don't forget have a peep at our video's and you'll get a good idea of the weight and feel of this and all our other fabrics). 
As you can see in the photo below Ive teamed it with our Chevron Fabric from the same range to compliment this fabric for the skirt. Now here at Minerva I am getting crossed wires. Some of my colleagues are saying "don't put two patterned fabrics together" and others are shouting with glee as to how good these two look together.
So what do you think? Skirt in circles, Jacket in chevron. Please let me know, I love your feedback. As you will see these are the same fabrics so would be wonderful together even if you disagree with my choice above. 
So while we are talking putting patterned fabrics together, how about my next choice. This is a beautiful range from Timeless Treasures, primarily these are quilting fabrics but as I've mentioned before and no doubt will mention again, there is nothing to stop you using these fabrics for dressmaking. These fabrics come into their own when you want to make something with say a particular colour theme but need a few co-ordinating fabrics. In the coming weeks I hope to show you lots of these co-ordinating fabrics, there are 100's of quilting ranges but we now have plenty within our dressmaking ranges. So watch this space. Back to today (I know I'm wandering again aren't I).
My next photo shows Timeless Treasures Fabric 'Field Study'.
How pretty is this combination? And if florals aren't your thing (all be it that they are quite abstract) take a look at my next photo.
Because they are all from the same range the colours are identical so for me I think they would look stunning as the top and skirt.
The pattern is for an unlined jacket, a very pretty top with a few gathers in the front and self bias bindings, a lovely A-line skirt and trousers both with a shaped waistband. A good value pattern especially at half price, but remember as always with #PatternoftheWeek it is for one week only!
Can't wait for the Sewing Bee tonight.
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx

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