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Archives: August 2016



#FabricFriday - Co-ordinating Linens

WOW WOW WOW that is all I can say about the fabrics I am showing you for this week's #fabricfriday post!!! 
These mix and match fabrics are truly stunning. They are a fabulous blend of Linen and Cotton and are a full 60" wide. My usual advice of washing and drying first (which lots of pattern firms, including the big boys, are advising you to do now) certainly applies. In my opinion anything with Linen in must must must be washed first.
My first photo shows what I probably would call the main Linen Fabric in this trio.
And here is a close up, just beautiful-
Here is contrast no 1-
And here is another close up, again beautiful-
The third Fabric in this trio is this-
And here again is my close up and yes you will agree with me when I say beautiful-
Now for all 3 together, this also gives you an idea of how the flowers and stripes 'fit' together sizewise.
I happened to see this very casual pattern from Simplicity Patterns no 1203.
I love how the shirt has used the stripes - note how the stripes go across the body as well as the sleeves so care should be taken to try and match the stripes at the sleeve seam. 
 And I have tried to show on my next photo how the fabric would look with the stripes going both ways.
I have to say the trousers would look fantastic in the large floral, very 'in' at the moment. Now I  quite fancy the top in the small floral print however I couldn't use this pattern because this little vest top is made in jersey. So dig deep into your stash of sewing patterns and I am sure you will find a suitable top pattern for a woven fabric. I just love the 'cold shoulder' top from Simplicity 1618
(This is a pattern I am looking at for next week on #fabricfriday so keep an eye on the blog for that). 
It suggests cotton so this fabric would be ideal. As an alternative top or instead of the above a Jersey Fabric  could be used for this little vest top. As usual one idea sets you off thinking about another so that's me this afternoon, once you start thinking fabrics everything else stops!! 
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx

#PatternoftheWeek - Butterick 6288

Hello fellow sewists!
We have lots and lots of new ideas here at Minerva for the coming months so we are all looking forward to exciting times ahead. 
I have in mind quite a few patterns to offer you over the coming weeks and that's before I look at the new Vogue issue! First on my list is Butterick Pattern 6288.
Now this is quite a versatile style in that you could make it in cotton or linen for now (sleeveless version) or with the long or 3/4 length sleeves which will take you through Autumn to the Winter months. The front is like any shirt style pattern but then when you look at the back, wow there are 2 variations. Both A and B have a centre box pleat with gathers at each side and version C has actual knife pleats all along the back, worked in opposite directions from the centre box pleat out. If at some other time you decided to make this shirt top again but wished it didn't have the pleats in the back you could actually fold and pin these pleats in place on your pattern piece before you cut it out and therefore have a straight back. Maybe you could leave just the one box pleat in the centre of the back, the choice is yours. The only thing I would change permanently on this pattern would be the concealed buttons, for some strange reason I am not a fan. They are reasonably easy to sew or likewise it is fairly easy to transform those edges into just buttons and buttonholes (or how about press fasteners).
I have been looking for something to make in this first Fabric for ages. This is 100% polyester and has the most fantastic drape. This I would use for either version A or B. I would try and cut the collar, the back yoke and certainly the front patch pockets on the cross. It may be advisable to use iron-on interfacing on these pieces because of the bias stretch.
Now I am not a fan of the colour purple (it just doesn't suit me) but every time I pass this next Dress Fabric in our warehouse here at Minerva I just find I am loving it more and more and really tempted to make myself something in it! So I thought I would show you this fabric for this shirt. Again it is 100% polyester and drapes beautifully so would be ideal for the gathered back version.
One of the suggested fabrics is Chambray so I see no reason at all in recommending this next Cotton Fabric. How pretty is this Broderie Anglaise? Again this would look fab in either version A or B, in fact version B gives you the impression of this type of fabric on the pattern envelope. Some pretty buttons would look good don't you think? Both of these Heart Shape Buttons and Flower Shape Buttons in my photo blend in but at the same time stand out perfectly with this fabric. How about alternating them up the front of the shirt and even placing one each on the pocket tops.
Last but not least I do love how the animal print has been used on version C. For my final photo for today I have chose this Cotton Poplin Fabric which is a black and cream zebra effect. My initial thoughts were to make it all in cotton, the back pleats would look nice and crisp in a plain black cotton poplin but then another thought occurred to me - how about making the back in a double Georgette Fabric or even a voile or chiffon. This is quite an 'in' look at the moment being a little see-through in parts. If using a see-through voile or chiffon you would just need to interface the collar, cuffs and front facings with black interfacing and these then would be a solid black. I would love your ideas on how you would change this pattern or indeed just what you've made it up in.
And so I must dash I've some new Vogue patterns to look through :)
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx

#FabricFriday - Poplins for Kwik Sew 147

Just a quick #fabricfriday post this week. Im getting back into the swing of things after my holidays! We had a really good break - I tend to spend most of my time in the shade so I hardly have a tan haha!! 
For this weeks fabric friday I thought I would mention a couple of the quilting cottons. Some dressmakers tend not to look into quilting fabrics for their dresses etc., So I would just like to point you in this direction (again) Prices do tend to start at £12.99 per metre but this is balanced by the fantastic choice. Sometimes it feels the choice is never ending especially if you are looking to combine designs and colours.
Kwik Sew patterns have some amazing styles that give you brilliant ideas on mixing and matching these fabrics. A popular one at the moment is K147.
I love how this design has a button closure at the back, it just makes a change from a zip. I think it gives it more of a vintage look.
As with all Kwik Sew Sewing Patterns the instructions are very clear and sometimes as with this one they bring colour into it. As you can see from my next photo this comes into its own for version A because of the different fabrics used. How unusual are these pockets?
Note as well on version A how the skirt is gathered into a bottom band which blends perfectly with the little puff sleeves.
Last but not least I just love the little finishing caption in the instructions-
I honestly didn't know what fabrics to choose, I eventually settled on two Camelot Fabrics. The first being this penelope baubles in colour chartreuse and penelope cobblestone in colour grey. They both have lemon and grey in them with the right hand one (on the photo) having pinky peach as well.
I then tried to replicate the colours on the pattern and found these two stunners both from Camelot Fabrics again. The first is fretwork in shade blue and grey and the second is a beautiful Marble Print Fabric in shades chocolate brown at £8.99 per mt or £2.25 per fat quarter. They blend so well and yet are a fantastic contrast.
Although I love version A (in 2 fabrics) I think version B is equally nice and as on the pattern a  flowery design would look good. I have chose one from our amazing Cotton Poplin range at just £6.99 per mt. From the next photo it helps you to see the design size and the following photo shows you a close up of the pattern. Quite a 'modern' looking flower don't you think?
For those of you who perhaps prefer a more vintage look how about this tiny Floral Print Poplin Fabric same price, same quality. Again 2 photos the second showing you a close up.
So don't forget have a good long browse through the Quilting Fabrics and last but not least have you seen the new range of Art Gallery Jersey Fabrics we are stocking now at Minerva. Take a look at these fantastic fabrics, I'll be looking at doing a blog for these stunners in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx

#FabricFriday - Rayons & Satins

When you read this I will be sunning myself on holiday. There are 7 of us going altogether in a villa so very relaxing. Having said that we are in contact with Vicki every day about work. She keeps us up to date with any new fabrics or knitting yarns that have arrived here at Minerva. So even though I'm relaxing on a sunbed beside the pool I find I am constantly thinking about future blog posts I can write for you. My sister-in-law Tracey and myself love to go shopping over there so I'll be keeping an eye out for what is trending in the shops. I haven't had time this year to do much sewing for myself, luckily last year I made a few pairs of casual trousers and a few throw on tops for round the pool. A pattern that was top of my list but unfortunately didn't get made was New Look 6459.
This is a newish pattern that came out for this summer and is a pair of cropped trousers and a cute little top. I just love the shape of the top. The little cut-out bit on each armhole (same on the back too) adds a designer look. I had decided to make the outfit in linen. This Linen Fabric in particular for the top and Plain Black Linen Fabric for the trousers.
I love how two patterned fabrics can be put together these days. Not too long ago that was a no no. So how about the black flowery linen as above with this Viscose and Linen Fabric for the tousers...
A fabric that is very popular at the moment is Slinky Satin Fabric and I would love to show you an absolute Gem of a Fabric in our clearance range. This satin has a little stretch in it, making it very easy to handle and certainly much easier to fit. This really is a true Minerva Gem - watch our Fabric Video to see more.
I would love to team this with our Linen Look Cotton Fabric in Chartreuese Green.
My next photo shows this beautiful slinky satin with black Satin Back Dupion Fabric. For evening wear these two fabrics would look superb, whereas for daywear the cotton trousers would probably be more comfortable, especially if its a hot summers day. 
Just to quickly add one more choice - how about my last photo for today...
This fabric is called 'floral landscape' and is yet another Slinky Satin Fabric, very colourful and soft.  Again I am teaming it with satin back dupion but in the gold shade. 
Now fellow sewists I must leave off for today, I have a plane to catch (hehe) but I would just like to leave you with this which I saw on facebook recently...
Thanks for reading,
Annette xx

Pattern of the Week - Vintage Apron

It seems making aprons is very 'in' at the mo and Sewing Patterns for Aprons are amongst our best sellers here at Minerva. I would imagine that most of these lovely aprons are made as gifts for family and friends especially at Christmas time. So going on from this I am offering you as #patternoftheweek the fantastic Simplicity Pattern 8151.
By getting the pattern now, especially as we are offering this as our #patternoftheweek at 50% off it will give you lots of lovely sewing time to make some very individual aprons for your loved ones be they family or friends this Christmas time. You will see from the pattern that Denim Fabric has been used. On closer examination you will see that there are two versions. Basically it is his and hers, hers being gathered at the waist and his being a more straight cut design.
Although version A, the ladies, has been made in Denim and I must say it would look fab in a soft to handle Denim Chambray Fabric and it doesn't stop there. All the bits of stash fabrics (that are saved because they will come in handy someday!) can now be used to make aprons. Any pieces that are big enough can be used for the main piece and place a co-ordinating pocket or even a mad wild (call it what you want) contrasting pocket. Talking of contrasting pockets how about crocheting some granny squares, lining them if neccessary and using these for pockets.  If indeed you opt for a denim/chambray then you will notice on the pattern that 2 rows of topstitching are used around the pockets, very similar to jeans.
The fabric would need to be quite lightweight because the skirt part is gathered onto the waistband.
Because the bib of the skirt is cut in one piece with the skirt part, it means there are no gathers at the front, and because of this a nice flattering flat front will be achieved. 
So back to what fabrics could be used for this apron. Well the answer is virtually anything. Talking of that stash we all have, I am sure we all have at least one piece of fabric that was either bought just because you liked it and you've never found the right pattern for it or you simply hadn't bought enough (yes I am very guilty of that!) or you've bought it then fallen out with it or even a friend has  given it to you and you don't like to say no! If any of those apply to you then now is the time to have a good sort out. As I said earlier mix and match the fabrics. 
This style has a very flattering feminine look to it so it would seem right to sew it in a very Pretty Floral Fabric or similar. Pricewise we would be starting with Polycotton Fabric at just £2.99 per mt. We have hundreds of designs here at Minerva, you name the subject and we probably have a design associated with it. If you are making a good few of these aprons especially if you are donating them to a church fete or similar then this is more than enough to pay and remember all the bits could even be sewn together in various concoctions to create a 'new' random patchwork effect fabric to make yet another apron. 
Now on to version B. This is intended for the guys but I have to say I would love this one for myself. I remember when at primary school all the girls had to make an apron. The shape of the piece that we cut out was similar to version B, just one big piece and all that I seem to remember about the fit is that it was very straight up and down so to speak. I never liked it and to this day I have never made another apron. So I thought I would not have too much to say about this version but hey look at my next photo.
They have simply added two darts at each side in order to give some shape. Probably lots of apron patterns are like this but I've never looked! Simplicity have displayed it as a work apron again in denim. So for this I would use a stronger denim like our 7.5oz Heavy Denim Fabric. My next photo shows the top pocket and how they have sewn an extra line of stitching down the centre of the pocket (through all thicknesses) thus creating one pocket in two halves. This technique could be used on any of the pockets but if this apron is being used for the handyman in your life then make one big pocket and sew down the centre or even sew two lines. This will make good 'storage' for tape measures hammers etc., 
You will notice on the last two photos that a small piece of fusible interfacing has been ironed on to the corners (just next to the darts). This is to give a little extra strength for the buttonholes that are sewn there. Two very long straps are made out of fabric,  sewn on to the corners of the bib front, crossed at the back and threaded through these buttonholes before tying at the back. Remember you could always substitute cotton tape for these straps or even polypropylene tape if for the work apron.
Last but not least just in case you would like to buy your fabric at the same time as getting your #patternoftheweek at half price, I will give you an idea of sizes and fabric amounts. 
Version A fits Bust 30" to 36" and takes 1.6 mts
Version B fits chest 34" to 44" and also takes 1.6 mts
Oops did I forget to mention there is a childs version (C) of version B this fits chest 24" to 30" and takes just 1.3 mts. 
Happy sewing you lovely fellow sewists and thank you for reading,
Annette xx