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Archives: October 2016



#PatternoftheWeek - Butterick 6327

I always love getting a new Sewing Pattern and at the moment one that is taking my eye is Butterick 6327. Now like me you probably have loads of trouser patterns but there is something about an up to date photo showing a current trend in fabrics. And so I am offering this pattern to you as our #patternoftheweek with 50% off for this week only. 
Just look at the trousers on the left, how fab do they look in a flowery denim? The first obvious choice would be our Stretch Cotton Fabrics in a flowery design. At Minerva we have too many to mention here and now but can I just say the choice is immense. 
I am loving my first choice today. This is one of our Fabrics on Sale and is an absolute stunner...
A perfect combination of colours for me, a lovely pale gold with a soft brown flower. I simply have to have some of this! The price is an impressive £6.99 per mt and just take a look at our website description... 
"This beautiful floral print stretch cotton fabric is a beautiful quality fabric from the Jardin collection. The spandex content makes this fabric stretch across the width, resulting in a fantastic easy to sew, easy to care for and really versatile fabric. You can make so many different styles with this fabric. The stretch gives it the added advantage when making fitted styles, because it is easier to get a great fit with a fabric that has a little stretch, as it is much more forgiving. You could make trousers, skirts, dresses, tops, lightweight jackets, suits, waistcoats, shorts, jumpsuits...the list goes on! Its sateen finish gives this fabric a much more expensive look than its reasonable price tag! Those who try this fabric almost always use it again! As part of our clearance range we are able to bring it to you at a much cheaper price, but only whilst stocks last!"
How about some Stretch Chambray Denim? My next choice for these fab trousers is this Floral Fabric
It is a wonderful blend of 55% Rayon, 42% Polyester, 3% Spandex which gives it a lovely silky feel. My next photo shows this particular design. I think it would look stunning in these trousers, with it being stretchy a very fitted look could be achieved. 
Not forgetting the spotty trousers on the right! My last choice for today is from the same range of fabrics, but a Spotty Chambray Fabric
For the full range of these patterned stretch chambray denims click here and from just £6.99 per metre you will not be disappointed. 
Until next time thanks for reading.
Annette xx

#FabricFriday - Faux Leather & Vogue 1510

Here at Minerva we are finding Faux Leather Fabrics to be quite popular at the moment and I will say at this point that there are some fantastic eyelet type leather look fabrics arriving shortly. I'll keep you updated.
However my first fabric for today is one of the most fabulous faux Leather Fabrics I have ever seen. Our website description is...
"This is a really unusual fabric and perfect for those who love to experiment when they sew! The base fabric is a soft tulle which is very light weight. On top of this you have a layer of faux leather, or pleather as it is well known today, stitched down. The faux leather has then been cut to create a really lovely floral design. The tulle and pleather are black and the stitching which holds the two layers together is done in white thread, so perfect for creating a monochrome look. The nature of the fabric means it does have a little bit of give, but it doesn't stretch. You can be really creative with this fabric and create some designer pieces for your wardrobe!" 
Our website photo shows you how this fabric would look with a black lining.
The following photo shows how it would look with a nude colour lining or even with just your skin showing through say in a top.
The following Sewing Pattern is brand new from the Vogue Pattern range and suggests real or faux leather for these lovely outfits. Take a look...
Version A is described as a tunic so would look fab with thick tights and knee length boots and Version B is a knee length dress with a drapey mesh or silk gusset above the zip at the neckline and another below the zip at the hemline. This pattern is a today's fit pattern designed by Sandra Betzina
Now as I've mentioned in previous blog posts her patterns do not give you conventional sizes as in 12, 14, 16. etc., It just gives measurements so you HAVE to measure yourself in order to choose a size and you will then find you are cutting out a size A, B or C through to J. I would so love your feedback on choosing your size via this method especially using a Sandra Betzina pattern. There are a few good points I'd like to mention in this pattern, the first being good fitting tips including - what to do if you have a larger tummy - smaller chest - broad back or rounded back. This dress/top has no side seams so therefore most of the chest/hip fitting is done through the side front and side back seams. This shouldn't be a problem but I would advise cutting 1" seam allowances instead of the normal 5/8" given on the pattern.
Version A uses a 24" open end zip, so you could use either a nylon zip or if you feel like the zip should be making more of a statement use a chunky plastic zip even choose a contrasting colour as on the pattern. I love how they are giving good clear instructions for using 'Wonder Tape' to insert the zip. Prym do a terrific version of this and is priced at just £5.99 for 9 mts. 
Version B requires 3 zips, yes I couldn't get my head round that either but on reading the instructions an invisible zip is inserted in the back seam. Two 14" dress zips are inserted in the front seam - one at the neckline and one opening out on to the hemline giving the appearance of a two way zip. At this point the two gussets are attached behind the zips thus creating a layered effect. By following the instructions this would give quite a professional look and does not look too complicated. Full instructions are given for using the wonder tape for all 3 zips. 
Throughout the instructions there are slight differences given as to whether you are using leather or not. You can finish off the armholes with either a facing or binding. The facing is advised for woven fabrics and the binding for the leather type fabrics. Last but not least, for the stand collar, again seperate instructions for both fabrics. I love how for leatherette they have given the 'stitch in the ditch' method, one of my favourite methods which I use mainly on waistbands.
Take a look at Rachel's dress from House of Pinheiro
Her clever use of this amazing fabric of ours is just stunning. Focus on how she has used the edging (plain black mesh) as the yolk which just 'runs' into the flowery leather look fabric which naturally creates this amazing yolk edge. 
Absolutely a wonderful idea. Well done Rachel.
And so on to another Dressmaking Fabric that would fit the bill so to speak. This is a beautiful linen and cotton blend fabric from the John Kaldor Fabric Collection. The unusual tie-dye effect of this fabric reminds me very much of the fabric used for version A. Some of you may have spotted that I've used this fabric before but hey as soon as I saw this pattern, this fabric was screaming out at me to mention it. 
By using the stripes both vertical and horizontal in the same dress, two totally different looks could be achieved. First the stripes could be used vertical on the front and back sections with a zip that 'blended' in and the stripes used horizontal on the side panels. Second (my favourite) use the stripes vertical on the side panels, horizontal on the centre front and back panels with a statement chunky plastic zip in the contrast colour down the front. A good idea if you are mixing the stripes etc., in a fabric is to print the lineart off the instructions x 2 and draw in the stripes.
I used this method when trying to decide on my Mother of the Bride dress that I made for Vicki's wedding last year. Haha that seems so long ago now, they are well into their second year of marriage! 
Until next time my sewing buddies, thanks for reading.
Annette xx

#PatternoftheWeek - KwikSew 4155

Quick, quick let's throw in another summer pattern!! Absolutely ideal if you are going away on holiday this Autumn or you may just want to add to your stash all ready for next spring/summer. If you do like the look of this KwikSew 4155 then why not take advantage of our half price pattern of the week offer (this week only) and add it to the said stash haha. 
When you look at the line art drawings on this pattern sleeve, the only differences are the length of the dress and the collar line (A has a pointed 2 piece collar and is knee length and B has a grandad style neckline, made by only applying the stand part of the 2 piece collar and is mid-calf length) yet how different do the two designs look.
What can I say about version A - chambray, chambray and more chambray, be they self-coloured as in our gorgeous range of Plain Chambray Fabrics or Patterned Chambray Fabrics with numerous choice on our website.
This range of plain Chambray Fabric is my favourite at the moment and as you will see this comes in 3 fabulous colourways. The first, as above, is a beautiful shade of Indigo Blue, the second, although the code is orderable as black we call it 'charcoal grey' as it is actually a very subtle shade of grey and the third is a stunning sky blue. For me all 3 would look good in this dress.
When you type in Chambray into the search box on our website, apart from this fab fabric, a lovely range of bias bindings and pipings pop up. For the bias bindings you will see this fab product comes in 7 amazing colours.
Now, you are probably thinking I am going to say that three of these colours and 3 of the piping colours will match the 3 chambray fabrics, unfortunately they do not match. I am pretty gutted to say the least. However I am now thinking - I only looked at these as possible matches, how about subtle contrasts? And so here I am, Saturday night, watching my weekly dose of Strictly Come Dancing while writing this blog and thinking before this goes live on Monday morning I will give you my opinion on if and how these could be used together. 
Now I want to show you one of my Favourite Fabrics at the moment. This is a polycotton at just £2.99 per metre, yes you heard that right. I just love it and I must admit I have a small piece put at one side to make my darling little Grand-daughter Emily a pretty little dress for next spring/summer! And so back to the pattern, how good will this fabric look made up in this pattern.
So you can see how pretty this will look for baby Emily but also what a fantastic choice for this Kwik Sew pattern.
Our website description is "Funky Flowers print design fabric from our budget range of polycotton prints. Beautifully printed Polycotton fabric which is made combining strands of 20% Cotton and 80% Polyester. This means this fabric is easy-care and comfortable to wear by combining the natural effects of Cotton for softness and moisture absorption with the no-iron crispness of polyester. It is a non-stretch fabric and easy to sew. This fun printed design makes this fabric suitable for a whole range of sewing, craft and quilting projects! It is widely used for anything from dresses, skirts, tops and shirts to cushions, quilting, patchwork, handbags, accessories, baby and children's wear and more! " 
Because this pattern is not lined, thought must be given to this fabric being quite thin. So many garments are lined these days with sewing patterns in the main being no exception. So the more experienced sewist could add a lining however do you really need to? Back in the day (I know I've touched on this subject before in a previous blog post) you lined coats and jackets but quite rarely dresses. So sorry for repeating myself but why not make a simple waist slip out of our Stretch Lining Fabrics (3 different weights) and hey you then don't need a lining, so for holidays amazing!
Yet again thankyou for reading and your much appreciated feedback.
Annette xx
P.S. Well here I am Monday morning back at work. Mmmmmm grey skies and quite chilly here in North West Lancs!! And talking of grey, the grey chambray is darker than the grey chambray bias binding and piping but as I said earlier what a fantastic contrast. What do you think?
Unfortunately the blue and the sky blue don't match, neither are they a good contrast but hey you can't have everything can you. 1 out of 3 aint bad!! Be seeing you xx
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Introducing Gohandmade Kits

Hi Everyone, I just had to write a post today to tell you all about our new range of Knitting KitsCrochet Kits and Sewing Kits from Gohandmade. They are absolutely adorable and we think, perfect for Christmas presents!
What makes this range special we think, is the people behind the company and the story they have created around each and every character. Their love for fairy tales is at the very heart of every little character they design and it shines through into their products.
From the designers...
"We are several (women) involved in creating our ranges – working together is quite inspiring, and we sincerely believe that our togetherness has meant that we have been able to develop something, which we ourselves think is a lovely range.
Once upon a time there was ... 
A time for fairy tales! Throughout the development process of our animals and dolls, it has been our idea to create the possibility of stories. I myself was born and raised in H.C. Andersen's childhood town of Odense, something which has always meant something very special to me and has been very inspiring in my work with all the animals and the dolls. Everyone knows fairy tales. These are some of the first stories we hear as children, and we all know what belongs to a true fairy tale. A fairy tale always takes the side of the weakest, and it is the poorest, who becomes the princess. A fairy tale always has a happy ending – good is victorious over the evil. Fantastic things happen in fairy tales, birds can speak and frogs may turn into princes. Fairy tales speak to our innermost thoughts and feelings – they can be about being alone in the world, overcoming incredible dangers, finding love or becoming a hero. The same fairy tales are told throughout the world in slightly different ways. With the super cute animals and dolls from go handmade, you can create your own fairy tales.
At Gohandmade we are doing things a little bit differently. Some people will call us nerds, because we have worked exhaustively to give our collection "that special something". We have wanted to create a collection that is unique and of a high quality, and at the same time, it's also important to us that our products can be sold at attractive prices. It is our great hope that you will also find that our needlework kits are something special and can surpass your wildest expectations."
We love this story here at Minerva and we just had to stock this range of kits! All of us here at Minerva HQ have our favourite character we want to make! Each character has its own little story we have fallen in love with and we would love to introduce them to you.
First up we have Emily and Ella, two mice girls and they are each other’s best friend in the world. 
They love to dance, are always happy and all the other animals in the forest are mad about them. 
They share all their experiences with each other. The last time they met, Arno the fishermouse was to show everyone how to catch fish with a fishing rod. A lot of fun was had.
Emily and Ella will soon be participating in the great “Mouse Ballerina Show” and therefore, they have gathered all their friends to show them their performance - but also because it is much more fun dancing when there is someone to dance for. 
With an audience, the two mouse-friends make an extra effort and their friends are also really good at applauding and giving them good advice. They enjoy this and everyone has a great time.
We love her friends Sara and Simba the elephants...
Julia and Lotta the Giraffes...
And Burt and Bart the Cats!...
Next up we have Hippo Helmut and his friends! 
Hippo Helmut and his friends often spend time together. They enjoy being together, have a lot in common and agree that there is no better place to be than with them. 
Even though they have a lot in common, they also each have their own exciting experiences from the big wide world, which they love to share with each other. Every time they get together, the day begins with a family photo and then they get busy telling their stories. 
The last time they met, Ili Pika and Junior were there for the first time. Ili Pika is a short-eared rabbit with the sweetest expression. 
Ili Pika became world-famous recently. There was great concern that his species had disappeared, but then suddenly after many years, he and members of his species appeared in China and pictures of them went viral. Everyone was unbelievably happy to see the pictures of Ili Pikas - no one can resist such a cute animal.
His friends include Fido the Dog...
Jimmi the Monkey... (He's so cheeky!)
Next up we have Lukas & Buddy the Elephants who are best friends with the other animals of the forest. They get together often and when they are not just playing a lot of fun games, they take turns telling fairy tales. 
Sometimes, if it is very exciting or almost scary, they move close together, so close that they are all in a huddle. Now, listening is the fun part.
Their friends are just the sweetest! Camille the Bear is the cutest little bear you will ever meet!
We also have Simon & Mats, the Cat and Mouse, Laura & Andy the cheeky rabbits and Luis the Mouse!
Our Duck family (which has to be my favourite!) has four members.
 Meet AndersDottiPeter and little Alfred as the youngest. 
Alfred isn’t always very happy! Mother Dotti crafted new sandals for the whole family, so on a lovely summer day they can comfortably head off with their towels and blankets. 
They can’t wait to get in the water, except for little Alfred, of course. He’s on the lookout for a sunny spot to slumber and soak up the sun.
Our next character for you to meet is Hippo Charlie who is a dear and kind hippo – and with his warm expression, he’s a popular guy. 
Here he is out in the wild with little birdie!
Little Birdie follows him whenever she has the time. Even though Hippo Charlie doesn’t understand everything she tells him, they love each other’s company.
Here's the whole bunch of friends...
Introducing Janus the Owl...
Felix & Buster the Cats...
And Mulle & Julle the Dogs...
And lastly may we introduce you to the Mouse Sisters!
All three are very loving and caring mice who enjoy being together. In the summer when the weather is nice and sunny, they live out in the countryside. None of them can do without either their pillow or their much loved teddy bear; and of course, they always sleep in their nightdresses.
Meet Cherry & Line...
Her best friend Joan with Buster the teddy bear...
Wih best friend Ida & Felix the bear to keep her company!...
Hope you enjoyed meeting these little characters and hope you love them just as much as we do! If you would like a world-class Danish needlework kit, then Gohandmade is something for you!
Thanks so much for reading,
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#PatternoftheWeek - Burda 6590

I must confess, I know I keep showing you easy peasy patterns for pattern of the week. This week was going to be different! Plenty of sewing (possibly plenty of unpicking!) Lots of lovely fiddly bits and a good measure of hand sewing thrown in. But alas I came across this unbelievably easy pattern from Burda, no 6590 and just could not pass it by. And so I am offering you this as #patternoftheweek offer at 50% off.
The main reason being I wanted to give you an idea of how this stunning Knitted Fabric would look. Just take a look at the following photo.
It is like it was made for this pattern! 
I do think that what is the purl side of the fabric is actually the right side of the fabric apart from anything else it is definitely more textured. 
Take a look at this texture of the fabric on the following close up photo...
Just look at all the different colours making up ths 'pink' fabric. It is made up of a combination of cotton viscose and silk and is just pure luxury. Not only does it come in 'pink' it comes in green and yes the same applies with the amount of colours in the 'green'.
Ideally this fabric would be sewn on an overlocker but we don't all have one (at this point I would love your feedback and advice on what sort of overlocker I should get) however all is not lost. Use the stretch stitch on your machine along with a stretch needle. Failing that use a narrow zigzag stitch or how about a stretch thread. And if you haven't got a machine, sew by hand working back-stitch using a strong thread! Haha there is always an answer.
Now to talk about this pattern, we are talking shoulder/top of sleeve continuous seam x 2, side seam/under arm seam x 2.
Sleeve hems x 2.
A band round the neck x 1 (either round or slight v-neck)
And a band round the bottom x 1. 
Version A has a fabulous gathered band round the bottom, this will not move or stretch about because it is a gathered piece of fabric that is placed over the straight band piece. Hope you can see what I mean from the following photo.
Before I finish for today have you seen our Sale Fabrics here at Minerva? How weird that one such fabric has leapt out at me and nearly pushed me over haha. Take a look at my following photo.
Now find a chair to sit in before I tell you the unbelievable knock down sale price of just £1.99 per mt. Yes you heard that right but we do not have too much left so go and have look at our sale fabrics and grab yourself a bargain. 
Yet again thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog.
Annette xx

#FabricFriday - Typography!

Our copy of the latest edition of Love Sewing Magazine came through the post yesterday here at Minerva and as usual I couldn't wait to have a good look through. So there I was last night getting lots of ideas and inspiration as usual when I came across Fabric Focus which in this edition focused on "the creative use of typography in some gorgeous fabrics". Each of the fabrics looked lovely showing letters and words but my eyes were drawn to picture 5 and I just thought Wow. I could not believe it when I saw stockists I ran (sorry hobbled with my sore knee) into work this morning and demanded (haha) to know why I hadn't seen this amazing fabric. And guess what it was ordered in to our wonderful selection of fabrics here at Minerva while I was on holiday! This Dressmaking Fabric has been one of our top sellers and I wasn't even aware of it!! Now unfortunately it is non-reorderable but I am including it as one of our #Fabricfriday posts while stocks last just to remind myself if nothing else of the amazing selection of fabrics here at Minerva. Although the orange is my favourite colour, it also comes in a fabulous arrangement of pink.
Now as usual I am teaming this with another fabric and I have chosem our Stretch Suiting Fabric which is fast becoming one of my favourite fabrics.
I have chose the mustard colour as it just blends perfectly. Where the first fabric is a stretch cotton this fabric consists of Polyester, Viscose & Spandex giving it stretch both in the length and width of the fabric. Quite a few years ago Marks & Spencer introduced a fabric into their range that was a two way stretch and was used more than anything for their ladies classic style trousers. I used to wish and wish to be able to buy this wonderful fabric but to no avail. You could get stretch in the width on many polyester fabrics and stretch down the length, as in bengaline but to my knowledge not both, until now. Our website description of this fab fabric that comes in 14 gorgeous colours is... 
"This beautiful quality suiting fabric is a classic. It is ideal for sewing into workwear, tailored styles and for every day wear such as trousers, skirts and dresses. It is machine washable, easy care and easy to sew". 
It is £9.99 per mt and in my opinion worth every penny. Wash both fabrics before cutting out and sewing!
Have a look at Vogue Pattern 1557.
This is the very popular Mondrian dress (do you remember this from the sewing bee?) As a different look for this dress why not make it in a patterned fabric (as my first fabric) with the contrast, shown in black on the pattern, sewn in my second choice mustard. Very chic don't you think? 
Just for a dress take a look at Burda Pattern 6877
I must agree with the description on this pattern that says "Use solid colour fabrics which do not detract from the elaborate finished seam lines, assuring the perfect fit. Two distinctive dresses, with a unique charm of their own, that you will love to wear". However bearing that in mind for future dresses if you purchase this pattern, I think my choice of patterned fabric would be absolutely ideal. The dress is fitted, the mock wrap would 'sit' perfectly in stretch cotton and either length would work well.
New Look Pattern 6013 shows how you could combine a patterned dress and a plain jacket...
So just two fabrics today my sewing buddies, sorry I'm off to finish reading Love Sewing.
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx