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Archives: August 2017

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Lucky Dip Fabric Bag Review by Paddy

Hi everyone!
I'm Paddy from Dragon's Flame Designs and Im here guest posting on the Minerva Crafts blog today to review their Lucky Dip Fabric Bags!
When it came to picking a “Mystery Fabric Bag” for this product testing review, it was a challenging decision – there are lots of different bags available, so how could I narrow it down to one that would work for me? Each fabric piece is guaranteed to be at least 50cm long, so in the end, I chose the 5m summer-weight fabric bag, as that should give me enough to make a couple of items.

The bag of fabric was surprisingly heavy, making me wonder just how many pieces of fabric were in there! Opening the fabric delivery is a bit like Christmas; the anticipation of what you might get, and wondering what you will make with it all. Would it be soft, floaty fabrics, or linen that my Gran would be insisting needs ironing? Or perhaps pastel shades, that don’t necessarily suit my skin tone, or maybe some bright summery lemons and oranges?


First up is a linen-like lined fabric; something I’ve never come across before. I had a generous two metres, which worked out as a perfect length to make a pair of Blank Slate Oceanside trousers. Being lined, it would also have worked well for a jacket. It was a bit more “fray-happy” than I’d anticipated, but swapping over to a ballpoint needle seemed to help when it came to finishing off the seams.


The Oceanside trousers have quite a relaxed feel, but the fabric looks dressy enough for them to be smart casual. I think these trousers will get a lot of wear, as they feel like they would be plenty warm enough for spring and autumn as well as cool summer evenings.

After making these trousers, I had just enough left over to make a pair of Oceanside shorts as well. This time rather than just zigzagging the raw edges, I chose to finish the seams as mock flat-felled seams which not only gives a slightly different look to the shorts themselves, but should also make the seams a little stronger.



If I’d come across the stretchy striped fabric in a shop, I probably would have walked straight on by – the pattern is a lot more vivid than I would normally pick. However, with just over a metre and a half of this fabric, I knew it could make a fantastic unique jacket. New Look Pattern 6351 was my pattern choice, as being a cropped jacket, I knew I should have enough fabric length to make it work.



I did hack the pattern a little, adding in an extra half inch on both sides of the back seam just for ease of movement, and also added pockets in the side seams. I find three quarter length sleeves really don’t suit me, as they look more like 7/8 length. So rather than hemming the sleeves to the 3/4 length specified in the pattern, I used some blue bias binding. This meant that I ended up with full length sleeves which look much better. Sewing this fabric felt like a dream – it fed through my machine perfectly, and the small amount of unpicking I needed to do went really smoothly.



Next up we have some purple fabric with a diagonal metallic thread running through it; I was debating for a while on whether I should make a top or craft item - a much needed new container for my collection of sewing patterns. In the end, the metallic thread looked too fancy for simply storing my patterns, so I settled on view E from this New Look Sewing Pattern (6110). 110cm was just enough to make the top and belt. This one was quite challenging to sew, as it was rather slinky and slipped about while I was trying to pin the seams. The metallic thread made spotting the stitches a little more challenging when it came to unpicking, (is it just me that needs to unpick?) but the fabric has a really nice feel to it, which balances out the challenge of sewing it!

I will admit I gave up on trying to sew the belt “properly” – there was no way the fabric would turn on such a narrow tube, so I simply folded the fabric over as if I was making bias binding, and stitched down one side.



Finally, I had just over 120cm of a chiffon-like fabric with what I’m assuming are ‘pleather’ pieces sewn on to make a border design. I’d left this one for last, as I really hadn’t a clue what to make with it. I’d considered making it into a bag, but I thought the chiffon might be likely to catch and run. Or maybe it would work as a maxi skirt – but I couldn’t work out how to squash the pattern into the 120cm width, so I could have the border running neatly along the bottom edge.

In the end, I decided to use some gold coloured lining fabric with it, and cut out the Blank Slate Oceanside Shorts pattern from the top of the chiffon. It would have looked great if I had been able to use the pleather border on the legs, but again there wasn’t quite enough width to achieve it. However, I found a perfect place to show off that pattern effect – on the pockets! I didn’t follow the pattern entirely for these pockets; the top corner should be turned back, but to allow the main focus to be the pleather border itself, I cut that pocket edge across the diagonal fold line. That way you get the angle, without the turned fabric corner.



I will admit that the chiffon was my least favourite fabric to sew – I’m not used to sewing something so delicate, and there were a few arguments between me and my sewing machine before I’d finished! This was one reason why I decided to sew a bound hem on these shorts instead of simply folding the hem allowance twice and stitching; I didn’t think I would be able to get the hem to sit neatly otherwise.

Overall, I had a great time picking out the patterns and sewing them. This mystery Fabric Bag has given me some challenges, and I’ve got 5 great garments from it, and the knowledge that I don’t just need to stick to basic polycotton when it comes to picking fabric for clothing!

Thanks for reading,
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Q&A with Monique from Crafty Crusader

Hi Monique, can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
I am a thirty-year-old woman working as a psychologist in London. I started the Crafty Crusader nearly five years ago. It is a space for me to record my adventures in craft, and to share ideas and tips with my readers. It started out mostly as a knitting and baking blog, but evolves as I develop creatively.
When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?
I have always liked making things, but I would say my craft life really started when a friend taught me to knit. I caught the bug immediately. My first project was a scarf from Stitch and Bitch. Unfortunately I have no idea where that scarf is now, and I don’t think I ever took any pictures.
What is your favourite craft?
At the moment, I am obsessed with sewing.
What do you love most about crafting?
I love making things that no one else has. I love starting with the germ of an idea in my head, and then coming out with something practical and beautiful, that I can use and wear.
Do your friends or family craft along with you?
Sometimes. My mother was a dressmaker when I was growing up, so I think that craft is in my blood. I have quite a few friends who craft, and it’s always nice to snatch a quick discussion about dropped stitches and the merits of different fibres.
Who do you make things for?
Mostly myself. Occasionally for friends and their babies.
What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?
A friend encouraged me to.
Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?
Not really. Often, I am so laser-focused on my craft that I will forget to eat or drink for hours on end.
What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?
1.                  Sewing Machine
What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?
I love Viscose Fabric because of its beautiful drape. I have just recently started working with Jersey Fabric, and I am amazed by how comfortable the garments I make can be.
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
Many. Different projects have different purposes, e.g. I will often have a small project like socks to carry with me and knit on public transport. Often, I will have most things ready to start a project but inspiration strikes at strange times. Once I am really into a project, I will normally work on that fairly exclusively until it is finished.
What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?
Probably my Totoro jumper. A similar sweater was the first project I ever favourited on Ravelry as a novice knitter. Five years later, I felt I had the skills and confidence to start it, and it turned out just as I had hoped. I was so proud that when I went on Pointless, I argued with the wardrobe person to be allowed to wear it even though they discourage wearing white.
I recently completed my most complex sew, which was a dress made from sheer silk voile. I was sure something would go wrong as it was a tricky fabric and I altered the pattern, but amazingly it went smoothly and I absolutely love the dress.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?
For knitting, I watch a lot of series on Netflix. When I am sewing, I often have something on in the background, but I never pay much attention, so it has to be something I’m not that interested in.
What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?
I mostly get inspired by materials. Going into Liberty is great for that - both seeing the stunning new collections of beautifully patterned fabrics, and the haberdashery. Ravelry is also great for getting ideas.
Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?
1.     Colourful
2.     Bold
3.     Honest
What are your crafting ambitions?
At the moment, I’m not sure. I am enjoying developing as a crafter, honing my skills and learning to express my creativity through my makes.
What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?
Just do it! Lots of people say they wish that they could craft, but lack the confidence. The only way to learn is by doing it.
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Why I Loved Using GOLD Cork Fabric ...plus make this Boho Clutch!

Are you looking to sew a fabric this Summer that I promise you haven’t sewn before? Yes, then you must read this post...

Let me introduce you to gold shimmer Cork Fabric and it’s pretty special. The fabric is made with natural cork on a fabric backing with a gold fleck that sparkles. Here’s why I love it...

It’s Soft To Handle

Because the backing is a fine gauge with a linen feel, this means that the fabric is soft and easy to cut, sew and make with. On this blog post, I am going to see how my sewing machine can take the fabric and make a one on trend clutch bag for your Summer holidays.

It Sews Up To Four Layers On Your Machine

The first thing I wanted to do was to see how my sewing machine would sew the fabric and how to iron it. I pinned the fabric with quilting pins and decided to make a simple tote bag as a test. I firstly pinned the fabric with quilting pins as dressmaking pins were too small to puncture the cork. I then stitched the inside of the fabric with a 100 Ball Point Needle and this was the outcome...

I then turned my bag the right way out and tried to press it. I used a pressing cloth on the bag and it pressed just like a heavy weight cotton. I was being to like my new found fabric a lot!

I then looked at how many thickness of cork fabric my sewing machine would handle (it’s only a domestic machine), I tested this on making the handles for the bag. I needed four thickness of cork fabric stitched together with a top stitching thread. I firstly pressed the handles as I couldn’t tack/baste them together to form the shape as it was too much for pins to puncture the four thickness of cork. The stitching was perfect and my feed dogs took the fabric normally. Plus the gold didn’t shed all over my machine, now that would have been a mess to clear up. Phew! A gold fabric that didn’t shed sparkle to clear up, a bonus!

You Can Glue It!

My oversized holiday bag was taking shape, so I stitched on the handles and top stitched the top of the bag. I’m going to admit that I am a picky seamstress and I wasn’t totally happy with the stitching of my handles to the bag due to working the fabric around the machine arm. The fabric has some drape but not enough to fold it get my sewing machine arm around the fabric. I decided to take the selvage of the fabric and stitch that over the handle bases at the sides to form a contrast. I’m really happy with this look.

You Can Hand Stitch It!

To finish off my handles I hand stitched with a tapestry needle to secure the threads. The needle stitched perfectly and gave a really tidy finish.

And here is my final oversize tote bag which it so comfy to wear and the gold just makes it so Summer 2017.

After I had tested the fabric out on my tote bag, I had only used half the fabric. I was hooked on making something else now I knew what my fabric and my machine could do! So I made a cute tassel clutch to add to my cork bag collection.

Here is my step by step tutorial to make yours in a Crafternoon...

Firstly cut out your fabric 50x 27cm

Iron it with a towel or pressing cloth to remove these fold lines.

Fold your clutch to the side you want, you may prefer a deeper pocket and smaller front fabric, it is up to you!

Take a dinner plate and trace a curve to the front of your bag. Cut out.

Your bag should look like this, then pin down the sides of the bag.

Sew along the side seams on the outside. I choose a black thread but choose any that sums up you!

Your bag is now ready to sew, you just need to finish the ends off with a tapestry needle.

Fold your bag in half and mark off where the middle is and mark with a soft pencil.

You are ready to make your tassel. Take a piece of cork fabric 50cm x 12cm and mark off every .75cm along the fabric or however wide you want your tassels to be.

Then cut your tassels to 1cm of the top of the fabric.

Cut off a piece of the selvedge of your fabric 6 x 2cm and stitch down the sides and across the bottom to form a loop.

Place the loop at the top far end of the tassel and you are ready to roll!. Run your UHU glue along the top of the tassel. Then roll your tassel along regularly to you reach the end.

Press your tassel at the top and then glue another piece of selvedge around the top to finish off your tassel.

Stitch your tassel to the bag in on the pencil mark.

I used a tapestry needle and stranded cotton used as the 6 strands to make it super thick!

Stitch over and over a few times around the tassel and secure on the inside of the bag.

And your bag is ready for you to enjoy Summer!

I have really enjoyed making these projects. I think the cork would also look amazing painted with Fabric Paints or cut into with a design. That maybe next weekend’s plan!

For more information on Samantha’s Crafternoon Teas visit my website @ Crafternoon Tea Hostess

Thanks for reading,

Samantha x

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Pauline Alice’s Aldaia Dress by Lara

Hi Everyone! This is Lara from Handmade by Lara Liz and I’m so excited to be back on the Minerva Crafts Blog for another guest post!
As an indie pattern designer addict, I am always looking for new indie pattern designers to try. When I was browsing the Minerva Crafts Website, Pauline Alice’s Aldaia’s Dress jumped right out at me. So much so that I wanted to make the exact version on the pattern envelope! The pattern sample is Version C in a bright pink. It is just so beautiful, I couldn’t get it out of my mind!
I was browsing the Minerva Crafts website for the perfect Jersey Fabric. The pattern recommends medium weight knit fabrics with 20-30% stretch. I wanted to give Minerva's Plain Ponte Roma Fabric a go – it comes in SO many colors. I figured it would be a good basic to have as an option for all your knit dresses needs!
I had never sewn a Pauline Alice pattern before, but ended up settling on making the size 38 which was the closest to my measurements.
What I liked about this pattern is that while I was dead set on making View C there three very different views included in the pattern. View A is a v neck dress with elbow length sleeves with bands and a short paneled skirt. View B is a wrap style bodice that is sleeveless with a below the knee pencil skirt. View C, which I chose, was a jewel neckline finished with a facing, short sleeves and a 6-gore skirt.  You could make three very different dresses with each of these views which makes the pattern so worth it!
Because each version was so different, I really liked that the instructions were specific to each version. Sometimes it’s hard to follow when instructions have steps that are a specific view only mixed all together. The Aldaia dress had 3 sets of instructions, one for each version.
When I traced the pattern, I thought it would be a complex sewing project. It has a lot of different pieces and small steps that all add up to a beautiful dress. I was pleasantly surprised that the dress actually came together SO quickly. Before I blinked, I had a full bodice and then I was attaching the bodice to the skirt, adding sleeves and ta-da! All done!
The fabric was a perfect fit for the dress. It was such an easy fabric to work with and was the perfect stretch and weight for the pattern. I sewed the entire dress on my sewing machine and finished my edges with my overlocker to make it more finished on the inside. I hand tacked the facing and sleeve facings down and left the skirt un-hemmed. I don’t have a coverstitch machine and felt that a double needle would make the dress look more casual.
The pink of this fabric makes it the perfect girly work or weekend even attire! I am planning to wear it to a bridal shower and think it will be a perfect thing to wear! I would highly recommend this Fabric – and it comes in so many colors, the opportunities are really endless!
I am really thrilled with the way this has turned out and so glad I decided to give the Aldaia Sewing Pattern a try!
I’d love to see your versions of the Aldaia Pattern – make sure to reach out to me on Instagram or connect with me on my blog! Thanks for stopping by today!
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Red & Blue Fabric Bundle Review by Wendy

Hi everyone, it’s Wendy here from Wendy Stitch blog, here to tell you my thoughts on the Minerva mystery Fabric Bundles.

There are loads of different types of bundles available  - sheer fabrics, knit fabrics, summer fabrics to name a few. There are also a number of coloured bundles to choose from.

When I first spoke to Minerva about reviewing a bundle I mentioned a couple of colours that I like but that I was open to anything really and to surprise me. They certainly did surprise me! I received not one but two 5m bundles in the post in my favourite colours  to wear - red and navy blue.

I wasn’t expecting to get quite so much fabric. Nor was I expecting it to be so lovely. At £9.99 for each bundle they are such amazing value for money.

I am a high school textiles teacher, so I am used to working with all different types of fabrics, but these packs would be really great for new stitchers who want to experiment with different fabric types without spending much.

Let’s take a look at what I got in each bundle and match it up to some summer patterns.

Red Bundle

Red and white striped, 2 metres. 

This is a heavy weight fabric, that is quite sturdy, possibly a canvas but I could be mistaken. A furnishing fabric rather than a dress making fabric. And so much of it! I’ve got this ear marked for a beach bag for a holiday I have coming up but there’s enough fabric here to do a lot more with it. A Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress would be amazing.

Red and white polka dot, 1metre.

I love polka dots. Very happy to see some woven polka dot fabric has been included. This appears to be a cotton and is a light/medium weight. I love the combination of spots with stripes so this is going to become the lining of my striped beach bag.

Red floral, 1 metre. 

This is a really good quality cotton with a gorgeous bright floral print. I could imagine this fabric becoming an amazing Hawaiian style shirt or a vintage style dress. I do love this fabric but it’s not really my style, so I probably wouldn’t wear it. Instead I am going to turn it into a lovely make up bag. If there is enough left I might also make a vintage style head band.

Red and white narrow stripe, 1 metre. 

A beautiful narrow striped cotton seersucker. This is just crying out to be a summer top. Perhaps an Ogden Cami by True Bias Patterns.

Blue Bundle

Navy stretch, 2 meters. 

I’m not sure what this is to be honest. It is a knit fabric with quite a lot of stretch. I suspect it is synthetic but without burning it I can’t be sure! This is my least favourite fabric from the bundles. I could see it being made into a casual day dress or sports wear, but it is not really me. I will use it for when I am making toiles of garments that need a stretch fabric.

Navy and white stripe, 1 metre. 

Don’t you just love navy and white stripes. So nautical and summery. I am thinking of making a simple self drafted gathered skirt for summer with this striped cotton. 

Blue and white narrow stripe, 1 metre. 

A classic blue and white striped seersucker. I am hoping I can squeeze a pair of shorts out of this gorgeous fabric. I’m going to have to order more of this, it would make an amazing summer dress. I’d love a Christine Haynes Emery Dress from it.

Tie Dye knit, 1 metre. 

I would never have picked out this fabric for myself but I absolutely adore it. It’s a tie dye jersey fabric with a bit of an intentional crinkle to it. I might actually try to iron out the crinkle but otherwise this fabric is so great. It’ll make a great summer top like the Rumi Tank and will be perfect for my holiday. 

Fabulous fabrics bundles and such amazing value. I am seriously impressed. I can’t recommend highly enough!

Thanks for reading,

Wendy @ Wendy Stitch

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Floral Print Mathilde by Corrine

Hi I'm Corrine from What Corrine Did Next. You may have seen Minerva Crafts' Q&A with me back in May. They've invited me back for a guest post on their Blogger Network and I'm really pleased to be collaborating with them again.
Vicki gave me free rein on what I wanted to make for this guest post on the Minerva Crafts blog and boy, was it tricky to pick one idea; once I started, the ideas were flowing. I kept coming back to an early Tilly & The Buttons Pattern, the Mathilde. If you've come across my reviews before, you'll know my makes are beginner to intermediate patterns as I love to encourage other people to take up sewing and the Mathilde is a lovely easy pattern to sew. But easy as it is, this gorgeous button back top is a classic, and would be a staple in everyone's wardrobes.
Initially I saw it in a White Broderie Anglaise Fabric however as I was looking through fabrics (I got a little bit distracted!) I stumbled across this beautiful white floral print Cotton Fabric, with dobble dimpling throughout. My worry with white fabric is how opaque it is when worn. I didn't want to line the top for fear of making it too warm to wear on hot summer days so this fabric was ideal as the vintage-feel rose print made the fabric feel more opaque than it actually was! (It's not see through by any stretch but I am super picky on being able to see my skin through fabrics.)
I love Tilly & The Buttons patterns as they are printed on beautiful thick white paper so you can trace out your favourites again and again! They are also geared up for beginner sewists so you'll notice Tilly tells you how the pieces fit together. I wish I'd started sewing with a Tilly pattern (although it would have spoilt me!) There's also a full instruction book with detailed instructions and top tips - much more helpful than some commercial patterns...you don't need to worry what something means and have to Google it!
I was a standard size 3 without any adjustments. As well as loving the quality of the paper patterns themself, Tilly & The Buttons patterns fit real people with proper proportions. 
The key to the initial stages of construction is to take your time with your pleats; getting them straight and neat pays dividends and makes the rest of the process so much easier. Also, remember to stitch them in place within the seam allowance so they stay in place when you're constructing - it'd be terrible if they twisted!
You'll see I made the small addition of adding insertion piping between the yoke and bodice pieces for a little extra detail. Because of this, I didn't use a French seam but overlocked the raw edge. If you decide to do the same, I'd recommend using your zipper foot and lining the piping up to the foot so you can sew next to the piping more easily. When you're sandwiching your insertion piping between your yoke and bodice, make sure the stitch line on your insertion piping (securing the cord into the bias tape) is whatever your seam allowance is (generally, and certainly in this case, 1.5cm).
Now, the facings...! I hate facings as sometimes they have a tendency to ride up and sneak out, even if you secure them in the side seams. My little trick is to use a little Wundaweb to secure them to the piece they are facing. This has worked a treat with this make! 
You'll notice I've not used buttons for the back of this top. I love using Snap Fastenings on items at the moment so I decided to use pink ones to pick out the colours in the flower print. It's so easy to attach them to your garment with the Special Pliers and it's an investment if you also make clothes for little ones like me...who wants to be trying to button up when you can quickly pop shut the garment?!
What do you think of the final top? I'm so happy with it and really enjoyed sewing with the beautiful cotton. As you can see, it looks fantastic paired with a pencil skirt and heels for the office as much as it looks gorgeous paired with skinny jeans for the weekend. It also looks great with a pair of shorts and flip flops for a gorgeous, sunny day but I'll spare you that look!
Thanks for reading,
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B6453 Review & How to Widen the Straps by Allie

Hello, I’m Allie from The Aspiring Seamstress and today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on my current favorite dress pattern, the B6453 from Patterns by Gertie. I’ll also show you how I widened my dress straps so that they hide my bra straps. Before I get started though, I’d like to thank Minerva Crafts for allowing me to write a guest post on their blog and for sending me some lovely materials for the dress.

So for those of you who don’t know, the B6453 Sewing Pattern is a pretty little sundress with the option for either a full or fitted skirt. It has a good mix of easy and challenging techniques, which to me makes it perfect for the beginner seamstress. I myself am a beginning seamstress and while some parts were hard, I did make it through alright. I learned how to do an FBA, sew princess seams, and put in a lapped zipper. The hardest parts for me were the princess seams, I still need some practice with those!

This will be my third B6453 dress. I’ve already made two others, both full skirted versions as well. I’m kind of in love with this pattern! I chose this pretty claret red Cotton Poplin Fabric for this version, as I wanted something a little more grown up than the other ones I’ve made (if you want to see those, check them out on my blog!).  I’m very happy with my fabric choice, it feels nice and the color is so gorgeous and rich!

I love pretty details so I chose the Heart Pull Zipper. The pattern calls for a 14” zip and the longest this one comes in is 12”, but that wasn’t a big deal. I just sewed the back skirt panels up a couple inches higher than usual. I can still get the dress on AND I have a pretty little heart dangling in the back.

I also added some waist ties because I love bows. I made some long rectangular tubes and sandwiched them in between the side front and back seam, making sure to keep them above the skirt and bodice seam. I also ironed on some interfacing so the bow would keep its shape and not droop.

This dress can be styled in the retro way as it’s meant to be…..

Or in a modern way.

I really love that because as much as I love vintage fashion,  I don’t always feel like wearing it. It’s nice that I can wear this dress both ways.

So, how did I widen my straps? Well, I’ll show you! You will need: measuring tape, a rectangular ruler(not needed but it does make things easier), scissors, and something to write your pattern onto(paper, pattern paper, muslin, etc.). Oh, and a writing tool of your choice of course!

I didn’t make my straps adjustable, by the way. I don’t need them to be adjustable and I’m not entirely attached to the look so made I them stationary.

We will need two measurements, how long we want our straps and how wide we want them to be. To get the strap length, try on your dress bodice(or dress muslin bodice) and measure from the back strap point to the front strap point. You might need some help with this! Add about ½” to the length measurement as seam allowance.

The width is a little trickier to get, you may have to experiment with it. I measured the width of my bra straps and added ¼” to get 1” wide straps, which worked ok for me. I was experimenting to see if I could go a little smaller this time(it works, but just barely). It may be different for you, depending on how wide your straps are.

Take your width measurement and multiply by two(since we’ll be folding them in half). Then add your seam allowance(mine was 5/8” but you can do whatever seam allowance you're comfortable with). Here’s a handy  graphic for you:

Next, use your measurements to draw a nice little rectangle onto your chosen pattern paper. It’ll look something like this.

Cut your new customized strap pattern out(you just made a pattern, yay!). Pin it to your dress strap fabric and cut away. Remember that you’ll need two straps, so fold your fabric in half before you pin. Or you can cut them out one at a time if you’d like, whatever floats your boat.

Alrighty now we’re going to fold each rectangle in half (right sides together!) and sew a straight stitch down the long sides so we end up with two tubes:

Turn those babies right side out. I just used my fingers to do this because my straps were wide enough, but you can also do the safety pin method. Or use one of those helpful strap turner contraptions.

Ok, now you’re going to attach the straps to your bodice. All you have to do is line up the end of your strap at the original pattern’s strap point. Sew close to the end of your strap and then just a little above that to make sure it stays on.

Now continue making your dress the usual way until you get to the facings. Not much is different here really, you’ll just be sewing with a smaller seam allowance at the sides of the straps.  Mark the top of the strap and where it begins/ends with pins. It’ll look like this:

Sew on your facing, and when you get to the straps sew where the pins were. Be careful not to sew the sides of the straps with the facing! Continue making your dress according to the pattern directions and ta-da!

Now you can wear your favorite bra with your B6453 dress! I hope my instructions were clear enough. If you have any questions just ask by leaving a comment here on the Minerva blog and I’ll be quick as I can to answer.

I really love my B6453 dresses, they get a lot of wear. I’m so glad I decided to make them! I learned so much from this pattern and I’m now very excited to make all sorts of pretty things to wear.

If you’re a beginner like me and you’re thinking of attempting the B6453 dress, go for it! You will not regret it. If you get stuck there are some nice ladies in the sew along group on Facebook who are happy to answer your questions, and Gertie wrote some very helpful posts on her blog about each of the dressmaking steps. The making process can be frustrating at times but I promise you it is worth it! You’ll have some very twirlable dresses in the end. Or some sassy fitted dresses, depending on what you choose.

Thank you for having me here!

Allie @ The Aspiring Seamstress

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Q&A Welcoming Athina to the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network

Hi everyone,

We have a new blogger joining the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network next month, so here is a little Q&A to introduce Athina to the team...

-----

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

My name is Athina and I am 26 years old. I live in a small town in Greece and I’ve been sewing since 2012. My personal blog is athinakakou.com where I share my sewing adventures and my quest to a fully handmade wardrobe.

I love organizing my pattern stash but I wish the day had more hours so I could make them all!

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

I have always been a creative person and did lots of crafting since I was a little girl. Sewing came to my life much later, though, when I was in university and I was trying to find a hobby for my free time. I started making felt animals, key chains and softies and I then moved on to kids clothes and accessories. A few years later this became my job when I opened Craftaholic, my handmade business here in Greece.

A peek into my sewing space

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

Unfortunately, I don’t have many friends that share my passion for sewing but my mom and I like to crochet in the winter. My grandma is always a seamstress and when all of us are together we like to discuss our sewing projects and make stuff for one another, she helps me with fitting issues and offers me advice.

My SOI Nancy dress

Who do you make things for?

Well, as I said I sew for a living so I make kids clothes for many children every day. When it comes to... grownup clothes, I mostly sew for myself but I very often make things for my mom and my friends.

One of my favorite outfits is this Sew Over It combo, an Ella blouse with an ultimate pencil skirt

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I love a good quality Viscose Fabric. It presses really well and it hangs beautifully, it’s my go-to fabric!

This summer I made lots of Kimonos, one of them is this gorgeous Sew Caroline Florence Kimono made of a floral chiffon

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I always work on 2-3 project simultaneously. That prevents me from getting bored and if a project gets harder or it’s a bit trickier to work on in an evening, I pick an easier one and leave this for a day until I am well rested. However, this has it’s disadvantages because it can be very overwhelming.

My Vintage Shirt Dress from SOI

What's your favourite thing you have ever made?

Without a doubt, my first Betty dress, which I made for my birthday. There’s something about a full circle skirt that makes a girl happy :)

My birthday dress, a SOI Betty in navy polka dots. I love it!

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?

I recently made a maxi dress for my mom to wear at a wedding she attended. It was made out of a beautiful floral viscose and she looked stunning!

My Tilly and the buttons Clemence Skirt

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

A few months ago Pinterest was my main source of inspiration. These days though Instagram has taken over. The sewing community there is so active and my feed is always full of beautiful garments, ideas and useful advice. I find myself saving lots of pictures and I’m so thankful for everyone I met so far!

That said, The Foldline is a website I visit almost daily for pattern inspiration and of course the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is also amazing!

A “named clothing” Reeta dress in a floral viscose, which I made as a wearable toile before I cut into the “real” fabric. This will be my first project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, coming soon!

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

Oh, yes! I follow so many lovely bloggers that it’s hard for me to choose! From the top of my head, Jessica Lorraine, Rosabella from Sewn, Gabberdashery, Emilly Hallman, Self Assembly Sewing, The Crafty Pinup and many more!

A SOI Susie Blouse made of a beautiful viscose with contrasting cuffs and collar

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And that's it for today. Thanks so much to Athina for this lovely Q&A today, it's been great to get to know you ahead of you joining the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network!

Keep your eyes peeled for Athina's first post on the #MCBN, which will be out in September :)

Thanks for reading,

Vicki

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Felt Duffel Bag by Diane

I have always loved sewing with Felt and there are several examples of crafting with this fabric over on my blog at www.margueritedesigns.blogspot.co.uk. I even wrote a dissertation on the history of the felt hatting industry in my hometown of Denton, Manchester. I was curious to see what I could do with the felt sheets stocked by Minerva in both soft and hard qualities.

You can buy these Soft Felt Fabrics and Hard Felt Fabrics in packs of 10 assorted sheets. Each pack comes in a variety of geometric designs that complement each other which helped me decide that I would like to use the sheets in a patchwork effect. I have recently begun bag making and thought I could create a patchwork duffel. The sheets are just the right size to attach to each other – 2 each for the front and back. I attached them with a decorative zigzag fell seam in the centre front and back.

I used the hard quality felt for the body of the bag to give it some shape. I needed to make a contrasting lower band and upper drawstring band on the bag and for this I used a shiny crepe backed Satin Fabric as a different texture to the fuzziness of the felt. Crepe backed satin is a very volatile and difficult fabric to manoeuvre and I wasn’t impressed with my attempt at sewing it to the felt neatly on the lower band.

I found some Grosgrain Ribbon and used this to hide the machined seam, sewing it on by hand. I was happy with this result although it delayed my progress.

I wanted to use the satin for the strap to tone in with the rest of the bag and I wrapped a length of the fabric around an inner core of canvas ribbon with the raw edges to the centre. I cut a zigzag patchwork band to run along the entire length of the middle of the strap to make a decorative effect and tie in with the rest of the bag. This made a nice co-ordinating feature with the centre front seam. The canvas ribbon helped to keep the satin stable and I was able to machine along the length with no trouble.

I also made a feature of the bag’s closing flap. I used a white and purple gingham for the outside and again white and purple on the inside in a star print. In a small quantity, it doesn’t look out of place with the black and purple of the rest of the bag. I used the soft felt for the outer surfaces and, to give it a bit of body, cut a piece out of the firm felt as an inner to give it shape.

The satin drawstring casing at the top of the bag was easier to construct than the lower band in that there was no seam on view – it was hidden inside. I used the soft felt as a backing to the casing and to give a bit of body. A cord was threaded through and out to the centre front where it can be tied and hidden by the closing flap.

Soft felt was also used as the base of the bag as it had some ‘give’ in it and was easier to sew to the main harder body but I also cut another base out of the harder felt to place inside the bag to make it firmer.

I have made this bag a couple of times before and loved it – it’s from a very old Vogue pattern that I have in my stash. On each occasion I’ve used different fabrics and been happy with the result. I am just as happy with this felt version. It’s turned out really well and I’m looking forward to using it on a weekend out somewhere.

Thanks for reading!

Diane @ Marguerite Designs 

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Jersey Knit Fabric Bundle Review by Helen

If you’re anything like me then a surprise is just about the best parcel you could hope to receive! This is exactly what I got when I signed up to review a Fabric Bundle from Minerva. It’s so exciting to not quite know what you are going to get…of course it’s not a complete surprise – you can choose your fabric type or colour and amount. I opted for Knit Fabrics as I just can’t get enough of how comfy they are to wear. I knew I was getting 5m of fabric but did not know what lengths it was going to be. Each piece would be a minimum of 0.5 m but after that anything goes, 10 half metre pieces, 1 five metre piece, or anything in between.

When my parcel arrived, I was so excited to see what I had received. Each piece was as exciting as the rest. There were 5 pieces of fabric in my bundle, each a metre in length (some were even a little more). The first piece, which I was drawn to immediately was a deep red/burgundy colour. It is quite a dense knit, but with some drape and a slight sponginess. I think it is probably a scuba knit.

There was also a creamy white fabric with a similar feel to it but slightly lighter weight.

The next fabric that caught my eye was a black double layered knit. The two layers are held loosely together and are quite different in texture and weight. The back piece of fabric feels like Ponte de Roma with a loose patterned knit on the front. This fabric is so soft and feels like it will be nice and warm to wear due to the layers whilst being light weight.

Next up were two quite different fabrics which I probably wouldn’t have picked out myself but I already have lots of ideas on how to use them. This is one of the bonuses of getting a mystery bundle – you get to try fabrics you might not have otherwise chosen. This yellow shiny loose knit is a medium weight with a strange almost tie-dye effect but in stripes. It is very drapy and has a lot of stretch. I think it will be perfect to try making some sportswear, such as leggings and vest tops.

Finally, this black/blue fabric is particularly interesting, it feels like jersey fused onto tights! The jersey has cut out holes so you can see the tights material behind and creates an animal print. It is not something I would have picked out but I can see how you might use it for making a costume – perhaps for Halloween.

Once I had unpacked all the fabrics and made a quick assessment as to which ones were my favourites, I started to hatch some plans in my head as to what I could make with all of them. Whilst doing this, I stuck them all straight in the wash to avoid any nasty surprises once you’ve finished sewing. Nobody wants to spend all that time sewing something amazing, only to find it shrinks in the first wash. However, I needn’t have worried. All the pieces came out of the wash the exact size they went in! This is always a bonus when buying fabric as you really do get the yardage you had hoped for.

Whilst the fabrics were washing I set about hunting in the packaging for the packing slip. It was here I found the first and only downfall of the mystery bundle – it was just that, a mystery; no description of any of the fabrics. If you know your fabric types well I guess this is not a problem, but sometimes it is nice to know exactly what you have got, but I guess it is also fun to just go ahead and make something without sticking to the rules!

With so much fabric it was impossible to decide what to make first but I had to trust my instincts and go with the dark red material, with a metre of fabric it was plenty to make a pencil skirt and the weight of the fabric was just right! It was such a speedy sew, the fabric just glides through the machine and this type of skirt is so easy to make as you can just try it on and pin it to fit and then sew away!

To go with the skirt, I needed to make a cardigan and the black fabric from the bundle was perfect for this. Again, a simple sew but this time there were a few snags along the way (quite literally!). As the fabric has two layers the looser knit on the top kept getting stuck on the foot of my machine and so it was necessary to take it quite slowly but I think the result was worth it.

I loved my mystery bundle – 5 metres of Fabric and it is only £9.99, what a bargain! There is bound to be something you will love with such a selection of fabric and even if it is not all the sort of fabric you would normally choose to buy it is a great way to try something new without breaking the bank!

Thanks for reading,

Helen @ H's Handcrafts

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