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Archives: July 2015

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Sew Magazine British Sewing Awards 2015

They're back! 
We're always really excited around this time because we love seeing the who's who and what's what of the sewing world for that year and 2015 is no exception! Season 3 of the Great British Sewing Bee was bigger and better than ever, and with the good old "Make do and mend" in full swing crafting is on the up and we love seeing everyone realizing how amazing making your own really is. I am in a very privileged working here at Minerva because I get to see and work in so many different aspects of the business so I'd like to share my insider knowledge with you all to let you know why I think you should head over to the Sew Magazine Awards page and cast your ballot for Minerva!

  • Best Online Retailer

I work with our website every day. Literally! Working with the correspondence from customers means I need to be able to see what they see and know how best to use the selling platforms to find them exactly what they want and let me tell you, our website is smooth as silk for finding just what you want. The idea behind minervacrafts.com has always been to be the one stop shop for all your crafting needs and to get them to your door so you can open your package and get making straight away! Our capacity for stock has doubled and it's filling fast with 1000s of new lines nearly every day. Need to colour match your thread to your fabric? We've done it. Need a cable needle for your Knitting Pattern? We've got 3 different types. Always wanted to try Punch Needle Embroidery? We've got kits, and extras! Snapped your last Sharps needle but don't want to pay over the odds to get something that cheap delivered? We've got shipping from just £0.99. Online shopping should be fast and easy and we think we're pretty good at it so if you agree please, Vote Minerva!

  • Best for Customer Service

As a Customer Service Rep. I'm going to be a bit biased on this one! What's makes the customer service great at Minerva is also what makes it challenging. We're all Human! No "press 1 for X, press 2 for Y". You call, we answer. You email, we type. You're always going to get a response as tailored as your hand-made blouse! This challenge comes with our rising popularity. Tailoring responses can take time so we're always working hard to get our little fingers typing faster! Customer feedback is key to our positions here and we've had so much from you all and Catherine, Rebecca and I love hearing it, both good and constructive! It's a real team effort here, sometimes you'll even reach the Office Manager Janine or the Sales Director Vicki if you call! Our service has gone from strength to strength in the past year, and our testimonials page shows it! I'll share a secret with you now; earlier this year our correspondence tripled!  We don't know what happened, but we knew what had to be done. All of us, everyday, stayed until 6, 7, 8 pm getting these messages answered. You guys are so important to us and we always want to do our best, and when you have management like Vicki who's amazing at everything she touches we always have to up our ante! 
We aim to excel, so even on our bad days we're still better than the rest. If you agree please, Vote Minerva!
 

  • Best Sewing Blog

Now I'm definitely biased on this one! Not only do I have the joy of working here with Vicki and Annette on the Minerva Blog I'm also Crafty Crafter for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. During the last Sew B.S.A. our Minerva Blog was just starting out as a little place for Vicki and Annette to communicate with the world about our blossoming company. Then the creativity exploded and we blossomed into a cacophony of crafting, with Guest Bloggers such as myself, Thalbobbins, and a special star rising soon! Our Tutorials page is bursting with tips and free patterns every week, and with the launch of our Pattern of the Week feature there's even more to write home about! Each week I post a product spotlight, scanning the blogesphere for fresh ideas for you all to try! Plus, with the new comments section you can all get involved in the fun. I love doing work for the Minerva Blog because it gives you all a chance to see a little side of us and what we do, what we're passionate about. It's a personal insight into the Minerva world that can only really be seen through the things we make and the giddiness that ensues!
Setting our sights higher is the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. Our bustling online community of worldwide crafters, each one posting monthly projects so you have something to read everyday. Us here at Minerva HQ are nothing short of addicted! Vicki gets the sneak previews of each of the posts so teases us when she walks in! As soon as our lunch breaks start we're straight on the page, "OO have you seen this?! OMG look at that applique!" and we can just hear Vicki giggling to herself in her office. She knows us too well! What I truly love about the Network is that it is a true community. Working at Minerva I always feel part of something much bigger than myself and when I joined the M.C.B.N. that feeling just intensified! To be rubbing cyber shoulders with some of the worlds best hobbyists is a true honour and to be featured next to them each month always surprises me! 
The Minerva Blogesphere is a place of pure inspiration for me. After reading through, or researching for posts, I always want to be better! With crafting you're only ever limited by your own imagination so to be able to go and read what people have made, and seen, and learnt, just widens your perspective and gives you ideas you'd never have earlier! I truly love the Minerva Blogesphere and if you do too please, Vote Minerva!
 

  • Best Independent Haberdashery Shop - North of England

 "You're an Office Bod, surely you can't be a Shop Asst., too?" I can, and don't call me Shirley ;) All Office staff are trained Store Assistants so if you think you recognize us in store but not sure why, it's our voices! This means we can work seamlessly between distance sales and local customer queries and get the best of Minerva to everyone. Now we obviously think we're the Best Craft Shop in the world, but unfortunately the Awards aren't that general so we'll stick with "North of England" for now! Last year we had a big Meet Up Day and it was such a delight to meet customers and bloggers from all over the UK, and the World! We got feedback from so many people and it was an absolute honour to meet these people and knowing we've been part of their crafting journey was a really humbling experience. What was also amazing that year was winning "Best Independent Shop" in our local town in a competition run by our Local MP! 
If you've not had the chance to pop into store, or you a bit live too far away for a flying visit, do read all about us and have a gander at our Meet Up Day and please, Vote Minerva!
So there you have it. My insider perspective on our company! Oh, did I mention that if you vote you have the chance to win £250 worth of sewing goodies?!
So that's a thing! 
As a crafter you have so much power in your hands, so use it to make the online crafting community harder, better, faster, stronger by voting in the British Sewing Awards, and if you think we deserve it, type Minerva into the boxes!
Must Dash, Sew you Soon!
Katie B xo
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Zpagetti Yarn and 10 Top things do to with it

Zpagtti! No, I haven't forgotton how to spell or lost the concept the tasty tasty traditional Italian food stuff. Zpagetti is a great yarn from DMC that's been around for a little while, and even longer in its homemade form. T Shirt yarn is a big craze over in the States and very basically it's splicing and dicing your old clothing to make a super duper Super Chunky (or Super Bulky as it's called across the pond) yarn. Now I imagine Zpegetti was born from the same issues I'm thinking of. You're only going to be able to get so much in one shade from a garment. Even if you want a big multi coloured batch there's only so much you can make from your old wardrobe (even though I did trade in 35KG of clothing when I moved home!) Thus Zpagetti was born! By taking off cuts and scraps from the fashion industry, they're able to make MASSIVE batches of this stuff and sell them all in lovely pre-wound 1KG skeins where you know how much you get and roughly what colour you're going to get! 
Something I really love is that, due to the nature of the yarn, the shade can change from batch to batch so what you see on the screen may not be the exact shade you get! I find this really fun ha! Knitters and Crocheters will be used to this with Dye Lot matching et c. but it can be a bit of an issue when it comes to the mixes (most sellers with make sure they send all skeins from the same batch if you order more than one, don't worry!)
The thing that got me with this stuff is there seemed to be a limited amount of things you could actually make with this. A Rug? A Bag? That seemed to be it. So I set myself a mission to find new and fun stuff so make with Zpagetti, because I really love this stuff! I've found a few interesting twists on the old favorites and some fun new ideas. Without further ado, here it is! 10 things to make with Zpagetti Yarn.
1 - Rugs
I thought we'd start with a basic. I found this lovely pattern for a Spiral Rug from By Number 19 and it really is so very lovely! Constructed from 5 spirals, this pattern is 'Easy' for Beginners so a great place to start if you've never used this stuff before, and it only takes one 1 KG skein!
Another great rug example comes from the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network's very own Seamstress Erin! She crocheted up this lovely rug and even had enough left for some baskets!
Now speaking of Baskets...
2 - Baskets!
I have a thing for storage, it's a real problem. I love having nik naks, and nik naks need nik nak storage and these Crochet Nesting Baskets by Cintia at My Poppet Makes are just the ticket! Big, Chunky, and Colourful. Boom!
3 - Bags
A crocheted/knitted bag is one of those old school things that everyone seems to love right now. Even if you're not into the whole Grandparent Chic that's going around, DMC have great free patterns on their website for some really stylish bags
4 - Wine Carrier
We're getting onto slightly 'out of the box thinking' now and Tamara over at Moogly is a girl from my own heart! She's devised this DARLING Wine Carrier which is not only handy, bump proof, and saving the earth from the evil that is the plastic bag, but if you're not too sure what to buy someone then this is that excellent personal touch to buying a bottle of wine! Being super quick to whip it's a great last minute gift, too! Spiffing!
5 - Ottomans and Floor Cushions
Nothing takes you back to your youth like sitting on the floor! I still do it often and even I have to admit it can get uncomfortable if someone has laminate flooring. Enter the Ottoman! Perfect for resting your feet on or for kicking over to the youngest member of the family in the room to sit on because all the proper chairs are occupied and Grandparents and extended family! If you're looking for a lightly less structured version a big ol' floor cushion is perfect. Kicking back on one of these is a great way to spend the evening in the den. Head over to the DMC Website (again) for either of these great makes.
6 - Blankets
Arm knitting is slowly becoming one of the biggest things in yarn hobbies since Acrylic yarns! The quickest way to make anything ever, really, and it sounds so fun! Using two strands of Zpagetti at the same time you twist and weave the strands into a wonderfully cuddly throw or blanket! The gauge would be lovely and wide, trapping all the air and making it supper toasty, but being cotton it would be great to sit on in the summer months. Yarnspirations has a great how-to to get you started. Jen from Pink When has a lovely pattern for a DIY Arm Knitting Blanket. She uses 3 skeins, but I think that would be too heavy with the Zpagetti so I'd probably try just two.
Now don't feel left out crocheters! Yarnspirations also has a video on how to ARM-CROCHET!
7 - Shawls
FINALLY! A clothing pattern for Zpagetti! I've been hunting for nearly a year to find something like this. Staying with the Arm Knitting theme, Laura of Creating Laura has his divine wide gauge Triplet Shawl that's she's made up using multiple aran weight yarns, but I think a lovely Zpagetti Mix would work wonders!
8 - Toys!
Now I was completely blind to this concept until I started researching my Amigurumi post (which you have all of course read) and whilst on the Hoooked website I stumbled across their Amigurimi XL page. O. My. DAYS! I was in heaven. I was squeeing around the office like a mad woman. These things are adorable! SO Maxigurimi is a thing and Zpagetti is perfect for it. Check out some of these gems!
I could go on but I shan't. I'm sure their cuteness is 100% apparent by now!
9 - Lampshades
Now you don't need to be able to knit or crochet for these bad boys! I stumbled across this in a book leant to me by my partner's mum and I've hunted out out an online tute for you all courtesy of Heidi at HoneyBear Lane. This DIY Shabby Chic lampshade is so simple, it's silly! Simply weave your yarn around an old wire lamp shade to completely revamp it, keeping it loose enough for some light to come though and create a lovely atmosphere; ooooooo.
Now with all these lovely things you've made, you're going to need a way to decorate them. Last but by no means least...
10 - FLOWERS!
Of course flowers. The staple in every crafter's arsenal. Back to the DMC Free Patterns page for this bad boy, to create a lovely spray of flowers to decorate anything and everything! Another great one for the Zpagetti Mix skeins me thinks!
So that's my top ten things to do with Zpagetti. If you have anymore, get in touch! If we get enough you could be featured in a Part 2. Who knows?!
Be sure to share your makes! 
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram
minervafabrics.com on Facebook
minervacrafts.com on Pinterest
Keep crafting!
Katie B xo
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Pattern of the Week McCalls 6959 - Wrap Dresses with Belt

Carrying on with the Summer theme, regardless of the actual weather outside, is this week's POW! McCalls 6959  - Wrap Dresses with Belt.
Now I have a bit of a pattern crush going on with this as this pattern is so versatile. A classic fitted bodice, with 2 skirt variations, 2 collars and 3 sleeve options, you can really create an outfit perfect for you and with recommended fabrics of LinenPoplinChambray and Polished Cotton this is going to sew up a dream! 
Create a fun a flirty look with a Bold Floral Print Cotton Lawn. The polished look of the cotton lawn will make a lovely day trip dress. Perfect for pub lunches or picnics in the park.
This pattern also gives you chance to play with our favourite fabric this summer - chambray!
The use of bias binding means you can team a pretty pastel blue with a contrasting Chambray Bias (something which will excite Vicki no end, I assure you!)
Think you can only wear this pattern on the weekend? Think again!
Team View D with a gorgeous Quality 100% Linen so keep cool and professional in the office. I'd personally add the collar to this in ivory, too!
Just when you think this pattern doesn't have any more to give, why not rock a vintage vibe!
Rock this view with a Polka Dot Poplin and a contrast collar and belt in Plain White for a true vintage vibe.
All this choice, for just £4.35! How. Cool. Is. That! It's such a wonder pattern that your collection isn't complete without it!
Be sure to share your makes! 
@minervafabrics on Twitter
@minervacrafts on Instagram
minervafabrics.com on Facebook
minervacrafts.com on Pinterest
Sew you soon!
Katie B xo
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Summer Yarning

The Festival Season is well and truly underway and one thing we've spotted here at Minerva HQ is there's a lot of knitted and crocheted fashion to be seen! We're all forgiven for immediately thinking of blankets, hats, and chunky scarves when we think of knitting or crocheting, but this years festival elite have shown us that Boho vibes and Cotton Yarns are the way forward and here is our top examples of how to rock the 2015 festival scene with your own hand-made chic!
  
I spied one of these in our local vintage haven close to Minerva HQ, and spying this tutorial rekindled my love for it!
 
Andi of Untanglling Knots has made this lovely version and her pattern is free to see on her blog! A really nice example of using a traditional yarn to make something bright and summery! I'd recommend Stylecraft Kon-Tiki DK  It's a 50/50 Cotton Acrylic mix making it soft and totally wearable the pattern calls for a maximum of 70 yards of yarn so pretty much any 50g ball of DK would cover it! 
Our 25mm H Closure Clasp would be perfect closures (Now out of stock but we have a similar one here!) .
Keeping on with accessories, Sarah E. White has a lovely post on About Home for a Seventies inspired headband
This is a great starter project as gauge isn't terribly important and you can keep going and have it as long as you like! Sarah recommends any medium weight yarn that can be worked on 4.5mm needles, so I think our Stylecraft Malabar Aran Knitting Yarn would work well. Being 78% Cotton, 22% Silk this would be wonderfully soft against your skin and the cotton would help flight sweaty foreheads! 
Moving onto apparel, this crop top by Gina at Gina Michelle is a perfect example of Summer Knit fashions.
I am completely in love with this pattern, and may have to corral my mother into making it for my adventures to Budapest! Again, I think the  Stylecraft Malabar Aran Knitting Yarn would work wonders for this. The cotton content will wick any moisture away from the skin, keeping you comfy in the (hopeful) heat of the summer. The textured nature of the wool would make for a subtle change to the norm. Perfect!
Joanne Yordanou has written this lovely pattern for Canadian Living Online 
Now the words "knitted" and "bikini" aren't usually two things I'd put together but you can't deny how lovely this top is! With super loose vests and sheer blouses being seen everywhere this summer, why not mix up what's beneath it by swapping your usual bandeau for a hand crafted bikini/bralet top? The recommended yarn for this has a yardage of 230m, so a single skein of King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK will suit this pattern down to the ground!
Don't worry crocheters, we wouldn't leave you out!
Julie of Gleeful things has worked up this awesome pattern for a bikini top. She features a few variations on her blog and they are all divine! It's quite easy to find crocheted bra top pattern but most are referred to as "Pineapple Style" and the cup isn't very "big top" friendly, but method this seems very easy to scale up. Why not add granny squares to the bottom and create a lovely bralet?! The recommended Yarn size for this pattern is DK so I'd definatly go for King Cole Giza Cotton DK. Being 100% cotton, it will treat your skin with the respect it deserves and it's so smooth it will glide through your fingers whilst working with it!
As much as we wouldn't like to admit it, even in the height of the British Summer we need to cover our shoulders in the evening, and this lacy little number by Karen Drouin on favecrafts.com is perfect!
It's light enough to be worn through the day keeping the sun off your shoulders but will trap enough air in the lace to keep the chill off you at night. A perfect summer staple. The pattern recommend 9 oz of the feature yarn, which works out at approx. 255g, so 6 balls of the Sirdar Faroe Chunky should cover you with a bit of wiggle room, too!
Shawn Torres of Dragonbird Creation Designs has worked up this awesome pattern for a crocheted tank top. Another perfect summer piece!
The pattern recommends 500-600 yds (450m - 550m roughly) of a 'Sports Weight (4-5 ply) Yarn. DMC Natura "Just Cotton" Crochet Yarn is just the ticket! With a yardage of around 155 m, 4 balls would see you right with this pattern, and with 60 shadesd available there'll be a shade to suit everyone's taste.
Jinky from Life as a Stitcher has developed this AMAZING pattern for what she calls Granny Barefoot Sandals. If you're wondering what they're for, just think of them as an extension of an anklet! you can get a million different variations but this is my particular favourite as you can wear it with a pair of flip flops and get a bit of padding from the plastic straps of doom!
Jinky used single skeins of few different colours of DMC Perle Size 3 Embroidery and Crochet Cotton, or why not try a hardy sock yarn, like King Cole Zig Zag 4 Ply
How I've been on the hunt for a good summer beanie pattern for WEEKS so I'm over the moon to have found this gem on moogly!
Any camper will know that some mornings you just gotta throw a hat on and this is the perfect cover up! Just a 50g ball of DK yarn will make this joyful beanie so you can really go to town with your yarn choice!
You could go for a variegated yarn, or stay plain and let that spiral do the talking! I have some Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK Knitting Yarn at home with this pattern written all over it!
So that's my summer festival run down! Of course you dont't have to be going to a festival to rock festival chic, so be sure to make up some of these wonders for yourself and share them with us here at Minerva HQ! My colleague in the office Becki and I need some fash-piration before we zoom off to our festivals!
Craft you later!
Katie B xo
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Pattern of the Week Kwik Sew 3874 - Skirt Style Jumpsuit and Dress

Another Week another POW! A classic pattern this week from Kwik Sew, a double whammy Skirt and Jumpsuit combo for the summer months. Now I've never used a Kwik Sew pattern, but looking at this design and the name of the company this should be a lovely quick make! A nice button up front, with spaghetti straps and princess seams give a lovely fit, with an interesting V shaped waistline at the front, leading to rather wide leg shorts or a lovely gathered skirt. (I think I also spy pockets on those shorts - result!)
 This Pattern was designed for lightweight woven fabrics, so think Cotton, cotton typeschallissilkrayon/blendslinen. The fabric world is your oyster for this one! A lovely Summer Fabric is definitely the way to go. I'm dying to use this brand new cotton lawn we have in. It's called "French Words"and it's screaming vintage summer to me! A bit O.T.T. but in a fabulous way! 
Challis is rearing it's fabulous head again this week! I'm feeling our  All Over Small Floral Print Viscose Challis, specifically the Ivory and Pink. Divine!
I'm also very tempted by our Polycotton range for this pattern, especially our Mini Stripe Polycotton Seersucker!
I think it would create a lovely textured finish and with such a simple cut pattern it would work perfectly.
It's also a great opportunity to rock out some lovely buttons. I'm craving these Pearl Buttons!!
Be sure to share if you make this beauty! The pattern, seersucker and buttons are already in my basket ;)
Katie B xo
 
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Amigurumi - the Tiny Craft from Japan

Hello Gang!
Well I'm back again and I've been let loose! Vicki is jet-setting around the Americas on her Honeymoon with her new husband Richard so whilst their sunning for the next 3 weeks on a well earned break we're all beavering away at Minerva HQ. I come to you today with something that has taken the crochet world by storm. Amigurumi! It's an amazing new style of toy making that had made its way over from the epi-centre of cuteness Japan. Often crocheted, but can be knitted, they're little figures of Animals or Personified objects, usually with large heads and small limbs (commonly referred to as a Chibli style outside of Japan). In true Japanese style, these things are always cute! 
Often with solid black toy eyes, brightly coloured cotton yarns are always the best accompaniment for a lovely polished finish, but regular Yarn can work well for a textured feel. They're very simple to do, too! More often than not you'll work in a double crochet in a spiral, as opposed to finishing off a round and chain stitching up. The smaller the cuter, obviously, but on my travels around the webesphere I spotted Zpagetti Yarn Amigurumi! Could you imagine how big they'd be?!
You can really see the spiral technique in the feet of the elephant.
Another fab thing about Amigurumi is there's a big online community for it and lots of free patterns as well as pre-made kits (great for gifts...to yourself hehe). The best online blog I've found is All About Ami. Run by a lovely lady by the name of Stephanie, she shared her yarn based adventures with the world as well as a collection of patterns and darling pictures of her children! My favourite by far is this Little Dragon and it's the perfect example of Amigurumi.
HOW CUTE IS THIS GUY?! Worked in 4 Ply, and a 2mm Crochet Hook this would be a great introduction to working with a low ply yarn. NOTE: Amigurumi is often worked on a smaller hook than the yarn recommends to keep the stuffing in!
Now Amigurumi doesn't have to be purely decorative and cuddly. For those who beauty is only in function, Sanda of Pepika has the answer. Her Bear and Bunny boxes are adorable, crafty and functional! Though I'm unsure if I could take their heads off to use them!
Possibly great in a nursery? The possibilities are endless.
So that's animals, admittedly one of them mythical. What about objects? Surely you can't make them cute? WRONG! Matt of According to Matt made this awesome Jammie Dodger, posted it, and got a million requests for the pattern. So he wrote it! You can find it here and it's just so fun! 
I'd be tempted to add eyes and a smile to the bottom. Watch this space ;)
So this is just a quick introduction to this little craze. I'm sure I'll end up featuring one of these gems for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network sooner or later, they're too adorable!
I always say this, but PLEASE share one of these with us if you make one! We needs the cutes!
Speak soon crafters!
Katie B xo
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Pattern of the Week Vogue 1395 - Easy Dress with Tie Front

Well this week we have a stunning little number! A lovely pullover dress designed by Rebecca Taylor with a narrow bias neck, pretty facings and a gathered neck at the back. Now, I'm not friends with any pattern that includes gathers but I may make an exception for this pattern. The semi fitted bodice and elasticated waist (go go  elasticated waists! I'm old before my time) gives this the ultra comfort factor, but this dress also has ties that come around the front, completing the sides of the bodice and creating a lovely front detailing.
The offending gathered back
The pattern recommends Crepe de Chine, Silk Broadcloth, ChambrayRayon Blends for usable fabrics. So think lightweight! I had a look through our Rayons and boy oh boy! This Fantasy Floral Print Viscose Challis Dress Fabric is divine. In two colour-ways, I'm in love with the brights against the dark background. It screams tropics for me!
The other colourway is slightly more on the pastel side, this version is more akin to the pattern sample and equally as delish!
Another great fabric is from the Bright and Bold Floral Print Viscose Challis Dress Fabric collection and bright and bold it certainly is!
If you're looking for something a little more muted, then a chambray would be right up your street. Why not try a pretty pastel?
or go dotty?
Keeping on the cotton theme, Katie of What Katie Sews has made a lovely version in a stunning Japanese Cotton
Love ties!
So as you can see this is a pretty versatile pattern, but remember it's a pullover! Having no zips makes it easy, but you do need to be cautious of your fabric choice. Katie has a really nice run down of her make!
Now down to it. The price. As Pattern of the Week this joy is just £7.50! As far as pattern prices go it's still up there but you can't argue with getting a designer pattern for a regular pattern price, can you?! Who's diving in to this pattern with me?
See you next time!
Katie B xo
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The Minerva Swatch Club!

Hey Guys!
Well May-June was a super busy time for us all here at Minerva HQ. Whilst all the wedding preperation was going on for our very own Royal Couple, our warehouse team were frantically cutting and preparing all the Swatch Club sample packs so distribute throughout June. We started wondering about how many people actually know that we operate this so I thought why not do a quick run down for you all! So here we go!
The Swatch Club is a subscription to receive 4 packs of samples throughout the year, one in March, June, September and December. Each pack contains at least 30 samples of the top picks of what we have up and coming that season. Pretty nifty, right?! 
You can choose to receive packs containing Fabrics or Yarns, in Mixed or Neutral Colours. All for £18! If you want to receive both Mixed and Neutrals you don't have to pay for 2 whole subscriptions, either. just £30 will get you the full Fabric or Yarn picks!
What about the all rounders like many of us here at HQ? Many of us knit/crochet as well as sew here. Well, never fear! For just £30 you can receive the Full Mixed or Neutrals selections, so that's the 32 mixed fabric swatches and the 30 mixed yarn swatches OR the 32 neutral fabric swatches and the 30 neutral yarn swatches. 
We even have the perfect package for those of you who really can't decide. For just £50 you can receive all four packs! Both Fabrics Mixed and Neutral and Yarn Mixed and Neutral. That's £22 saved!
All the fabrics/yarns chosen will be brand new or some of our most popular all year rounders, so you'll be getting the best chance to get these lovely lovely wares! We always see increased sales of the items included in the swatch packs each pack month, some are clearance, too, so we have limited stock of certain items. Once they're gone they're gone!
Now if you want even MORE of a saving (we're too good to you, aren't we ;D), the Swatch Club is FREE when you sign up to the Craft Club! For just £20 you receive 10% off ALL orders (online, in store and over the phone), a minimum of 12 exclusive discounts throughout the year (often up to 30% off or more!), 2 V.I.P. days in the year where your discount is doubled to 20% off your orders! All this AND one free swatch club subscription worth £18. 
So there we go! It really is a nifty little system and something to look forward to landing on your doorstop 4 times a year. For anyone who loves to buy fabric and yarn online, it's just too good to miss!
Speak to you all soon!
Katie B xo
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Pattern of the Week Butterick 6101 - Asymmetric Pullover Tunic Tops

We're going casual once again this week with out POW, featuring Butterick 6101 - Asymmetric Pullover Tunic Tops
No matter your shape or size, you can pretty much always find a tunic style top to suit you. Leggings, jeans, whatever you want, it goes! Though it can get a bit samey just throwing a tunic over leggings and going out. So keeping your tunics fabulous is key and this Katherine Tilton pattern does it so very well utilizing one of my favourite styling techniques - Asymmetry!
The draping in the pattern is absolutely fabulous, so using the correct fabric is key! Suggested fabrics for this pattern are LinenJerseysChallis.
If we look at the rear pattern information, the construction of this top becomes very clear (pattern companies have a habit of using busy fabrics that disguise the make up!) What's that we see on the right hand side? Oh yes, that's a Pocket! Just looks like a casual drape, but no. sneaky storage! The best kind. Sharon of Sharon Sews shows off this really well with her make of this pattern...
Using a plain fabric doesn't detract from the interesting nature of this top, but I personally would only use a plain fabric for the vest version, or if I was going long I'd use a contrast sleeve. I'd really like to use this Beige & Silver Lurex Stripe Linen/Viscose Blend Clearance Dress Fabric and play with the direction of the stripes!
I love how the construction of the design adds another dimension to the print! 
I think our Large Floral Print Stretch Jersey Dress Fabric Blue would make up really well! 
Now this is my favourite mock up of this pattern as you can clearly see the different sections and really play with patterns and texture. It's a great stash buster, too! The largest contrast piece you need is 0.8mt for contrast one, and 0.5mt for contrast 3, and that's for XXL!
I love it when a fashion designer teams up with a pattern company. Making your own clothes gives you something that doesn't look off the rack anyway, so when you can get a designer pattern it makes it  just that little bit more, gives it a bit more pop! And when that designer pattern is half price, it's even better! This week this pattern is just £4! A Designer take on a fashion staple for an everyday price. Beautiful!
See you all soon! Be sure to send pictures of your interpretation.
Katie B x
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Best of Burda - Our TOP picks from the Burda Sale

The sun is beaming over us here at Minerva HQ, and with Vicki jetting off to the Americas on her honeymoon next week we're all inspired to jump into some summer sewing! As if we needed more of an excuse, Burda are having a sale so here's our top picks!
Starting as we mean to go on, Burda 6756 is a brilliant twist on a classic. A lovely summer dress in either a shift style or a bias-cut flared skirt, both with fantastic paneled detailing. Suggested fabrics are Cottons, Lightweight wools and Crepe fabrics so this pattern could take you from summer right through to Autumn/Winter! For this, I can see our Linen Look Cotton for a fantastic range of colours or a Cotton Poplin if you fancy mixing up some prints. Just £2.93 in the sale.
Another fantastic dress in the sale is Burda 7056. Now this dress isn't for the faint of heart, it's striking simplicity makes the wearer the focus with this stunning high neck-line. Choose from an above the knee sixties vibe, for full floor length elegance. Work in a standing collar and/or feather trim for a truly outstanding piece. Fabulous,no? This pattern is also "Super Easy" so it would be a great dive into fashion sewing. With suggested fabrics such as Linen or Cotton fabrics, you could try out a Stretch Cotton Sateen for a lovely polished look. Another great point, it's only £2.93 in the sale. Boom!
Now I couldn't do a Burda Sale run down and not mentioned these bad boys! Burda 6856 is the mother of all trouser patterns featuring a well fitted pair of wide flare trousers, or a pair of tapered , high rise trousers with a wide waistband trousers and braces. BRACES! How could you not instantly fall in love with these. With recommended fabrics including Lightweight WoolsDenim and Gaberdine, I'd try a Gaberchino for a great wearable fabric in an awesome range of colours! Another £2.93 star pattern!
Next in line for the Burda Fashion Parade is Burda 6813. A fantastic pair of male fit jackets with a triple or single button option. Linen and Cotton fabrics make a 'suggested fabrics' appearance once again, along with Gaberdine/Gaberchino. Bright colours are all the rage right now, so why not experiment with our 54" wide Blades Cotton & Linen Blend Plain Dress Fabric. IF you're not feeling that brave, try the subtle detail of our Beige & Silver Lurex Stripe Linen/Viscose Blend Clearance Dress Fabric. One more £2.93 trailblazer.
Another fab jacket pattern is Burda 6872. More fitted that 6813, these jackets sport either a trio or duo of buttons, and fully endorse the use of Elbow Patches  (as do I). Recommended fabrics include VelvetWool and Corduroy, though I'm very tempted by our Green/Blue Tartan Suiting for some Topman inspired action. If you are thinking of going down the velvet route, or using this pattern in general, be sure to head over to our blogger network and read a great post by Curtis (of Pudleston Patchwork fame) on his Sleek Olive Green Jacket. Once again, just £2.93 in the sale.
With a snappy jacket, you will of course need an equally snappy shirt and Burda 6874 delivers! Three different views from formal, through work, to casual, you can choose your collar and your pockets, and whether or not to add a rather jazzy concealed button feature and/or contrast collar and cuffs. Another win at £2.93
Burda 6871 is my Gent's Cut fashion star pattern. Featuring a wonderful slim-fit three piece suit, comprised of a double button Jacket, high rise 5 button waistcoat, and tapered trousers this is a winner of a pattern. Not happy with being simply brilliant, this pattern also throws into the mix a single breasted frock coat! Designed for Lightweight Wools or Velvets,so a Wool/Wool Blend Suiting fabric would be perfect for this pattern. Why not go slightly off piste with this Deep Green Polyester Wool Blend Suiting Fabric. Pattern just £3.98 whilst the sale is on.
So that's the grown ups all suited and booted, but what about the tiny people? Sticking with the suit theme, Burda 9990 is a real charmer! A lovely high button waistcoat to be teamed with either trousers, long shorts or above the knee shorts, these would be an absolute gem at summer weddings! We're thinking linensGaberdine/Gaberchino, even a lightweight wool is recommended. Our Viscose & Linen Blend Dress Fabric Khaki would be perfect, I think. Another star at £2.93
Now it wouldn't be a summer party without dresses blowing in the wind and Burda 9465 is a gem of a pattern. Adorable puff sleeves, short bodice and a choice of knee length or floor length skirts, the floor length having a lovely high low extended peplum! This pattern is so versatile, you can use CottonCrepe, Batiste or Taffeta! Now my love for Taffeta is well known around Minerva HQ, and our new range of Plain Shot Taffeta at just £2.99 is screaming out to me right now, but I'd love to see this in one of our delicate Embroidered Border Cotton Clearance Dress Fabrics. It would work for either length, and the fine nature of the lawn would be perfect for these gorgeous summer days! Pattern now just £2.93!
Now you can't have a summer pattern rundown for children without including the next garment. Burda 9464 is for the ultimate Children's fashion staple...the humble Dungeree! Featuring three lengths you can choose from Shorts, Knee length shorts or Capri length overalls for a durable fashion fix. Denim is an obvious choice for this pattern, and we have a fair few to keep you going! But why not branch out to a lovely stretch cotton or a linen?
Now I'll admit the next choice is a little out of season, but for £2.93 I'm sure we can put this in the stash for later in the year because it's so flipping ADORABLE! Burda 9421 is a simply darling collection of baby sleeping bags, one plain, one teddy bear and one bunny rabbit. TEDDY! BUNNY!! I mean come on people, how can we resist! Make up super cuddly ones in FleeceFlannel/Wincyette, Teddy, and Terry Velours or go for a lovely cool Cotton (I think our Quilting Cottons would be perfect!) Tres Adorbs.
Slightly back on topic is Burda 9802. A wonderfully cheap and cheerful pattern (now even cheaper at £1.98!) Featuring Two dresses, (buttoned at the back) with matching panties and cute little ruffle on the bum! So cute! As one would expect, Cottons are the go-to fabric for this pattern so let your imagination run wild with possibilities!
On to accessories! Burda don't just do fun and fashionable clothing, but fun and fashionable homewares and Burda 6827 delivers! 'Novelty' animal cushion (novelty translates as 'everyday' in my eyes) that will add joy to any room they're placed in! Choose from a pug dog, a fox, an owl owl, or an adorable raccoon! The pattern is 'super easy', too, so a great intro project for young and old learning to sew, especially as recommended fabrics are cottons! and at £2.93 it won't break the bank,
Once again I#ve been suckered in my a bag pattern. Burda 6962 offers a lovely selection of handbags (one of which look a little Michael Kors-esk) and with the recommended fabrics being Cotton and Faux Leather (or even Suede!), you can make a lovely cotton practice bag, then rock up a lovely little leather number! Simply lovely at £2.93
Now my Pattern of Patterns is a real head turner for me. With so many different looks included it's suited to almost everyone! With Burda 6869 you can choose from knee length or floor length skirt, short or long sleeves. Now that in itself makes a fairly well rounded pattern, but throw in a detachable peplum over skirt (short and long peplum option of course) AND the long skirt is an AMAZING fishtail/mermaid that flows out of the main skirt. It. Is. Divine! Being designed for stretch fabrics only, such as Jersey or Stretch Satin, this dress would be SUPER comfortable and a Scuba Jersey would work perfectly. Utilising the panels, you could work in a contrasting colour or panel. If you're working in the overlay, you can also pick up Stretch Lace Fabrics!
So that's my run down on this sale. I've already scanned through and bought my deals, but it seems I may need to make a return trip! The sale is only on for a limited time so get your deals quick!
See you soon, and remember to share your makes with us! You may make it onto the blog :D
Katie B xo

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