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Archives: October 2017

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Clover Trace n Create E-Tablet and Paper Tablets Keeper Review by Emma

I was intrigued by the Clover Trace n Create E-Tablet and Paper Tablets Keeper template as I've not used a plastic pattern before, and was thrilled to be asked to review it.

It's designed by Nancy Zieman, a renowned American crafter. It's been tried and tested, and there is plenty of information online about this product.

The packet contains two templates, 

and instructions in English, French, Spanish, and German.

The smaller template is for the paper tablet keeper fastening tab.

The dimensions are in inches, and my only criticism is that I couldn't find on the product packaging what the seam allowance was. I used 1/4 inch, and that worked. I think!

I’m making a cover for my ‘paper tablet’, or notebook. 

The pattern is designed for horizontally bound notebooks, and there are three size options. 

The 2.0 template version has 5 sizes, to cater for newer tablets. My book measures up as small; for reference, an A4 size notebook would be a large.

When I originally looked at the pattern, I thought it would be a fat quarter make, but when I actually looked at the fabric guidelines, you do need a full fabric width, at least for the material you make the binding from. You could use fat quarters for the rest of it, certainly for the small keepers, and this is something I'm going to do, but for the first make of this, I'm using full width fabric from my stash. 

The red fabric is a fat quarter.

I didn't find the multi pattern template confusing, but I did initially muddle up the simple either or instructions. I have since used a highlighter to differentiate the two, but the instructions are very clear, and I'm still not sure how I managed to cut the e-tablet lining instead of the notebook lining. Lucky I had plenty of fabric!

The template is a flexible plastic with markings for two keepers, each in three sizes. It's been well thought out, and it was very straightforward to mark out for my size keeper. 

I used my big quilting ruler to join the marked points, and for a firm edge to cut against with the rotary cutter. 

It recommends mid weight interfacing, and heavy weight stabilizer. I don't have either in my stash, but I do have light weight, and firm interfacing, both iron on. As I understand from the instructions, the stabilizer is left in the project, so my interfacing should be fine.

This is perhaps a good time to mention an optional extra, the pre-cut Tablet Keeper Shapers. If I was making an e-tablet case, I would definitely get these to add extra protection to the keeper, but I am satisfied with the sturdiness that the interfacing provided for the paper tablet keeper. 

Do make sure to press when you apply the interfacing; don't iron, as it is more likely to create interfaced wrinkles. 

I cut some extra pieces of light weight interfacing, about 2 inches square, to sit behind the magnetic snap fastener as reinforcement. 

The snap prongs aren't sharp, so you’ll need to make tiny slits in the fabric for them. I press the snap firmly on the fabric where I want it to be, and it leaves dints where the prongs need to go. 

Easiest way to cut these is with a seam ripper. Carefully! You only need a tiny cut. 

Push the prongs through the incisions, 

and on the reverse put the washer on them, then bend them flat. 

I used a 14mm snap, which is about half an inch. This was a good size for the small keeper, and would probably suffice for the larger keepers too. 

The tab fastener is the first part sewn together. I'm taking a bit of a risk with this bobbin! 

Spoilers: it was worth the risk. Phew!

Once turned right side out, the tab is attached to the main part. It's worth taking the time to make sure this is lined up before stitching. My chalk pencils really struggled with this fabric, but there is a line at the two inch mark that I'm lining up with. 

Once it's pinned in place, unsnap it, and sew it on. 

Now the construction has begun! The two internal pieces should slightly overlap, and don't even try pins here; Wonder Clips are the tool for this job. 

The instructions say to leave the top unsewn; this is to enable insertion of the plastic keeper shapers. I wasn't adding anything, so sewed all round. 

Be very careful to keep the tab out of the way when sewing this part. 

I didn't have the Create a Strap Notion that the instructions refer to, so just used light weight interfacing and folded sides to the middle. Next time I make one of these, I think I'll add some elastic to the spine as a pen holder. 

As my spine and outer fabric are different colours, I used a navy bobbin, (the main fabric is actually navy), and red thread on my machine so that both stitchings blended into the fabric. 

The binding is made from two 2.5 inch strips, so you could use jelly roll strips. I used the same fabric that I used for the inner. I changed threads again to white, to match the binding. 

This is the front clipped, ready to stitch in the ditch to catch the back.

Doesn't look too bad does it? Still looks good stitched. 

Binding is not one of my more competent skills, and I really demonstrate that here.

I clearly need more practice! 

Look how great my notebook looks now. 

This is it closed, 

and this is the back.  

It makes a cheap notebook look very smart. If I can master binding, this would make a great gift.

This is a great template, and I'll definitely use it again. 

Thank you Minerva Crafts for asking me to review it.

And thanks for reading,

Emma @ Hot Tea on a Hot Day


The Jalie Drop Pocket Cardigan by Anna

Hi everyone! It’s Anna of, back with another make. After making some cute vintage-inspired tops and dresses for my previous Minerva makes, this time I decided to change things up a bit and go for a more contemporary style garment. However, as this is a pattern I’ve made before I know the shape of it goes well with lots of other items in my wardrobe.

The pattern in question is Jalie 3248, the Drop Pocket Cardigan, and you can find my first version of it over on my blog here. I love that cardigan and wear it all the time. Literally! It’s so comfy and cute I throw it on all the time at home, and often wear it out of the house too as a coatigan. So I figured it was high time I made another to spread the wear and tear a little—and thanks to a generous offer from Minerva I was able to obtain the most glorious fabric to do so.

If you’ve sewn with stretch knits before you’ll already know that they are not all created equal. Not only does drape and thickness vary much in the way of wovens, but you also have the matter of stretch to contend with. Does it stretch in one direction or both? And how much does it stretch? These variables can have a huge effect on the fit and shape of your finished garment, and they can make a massive difference to how easy it is to work with. That’s why I’ll always recommend ponte roma fabric for beginners to sewing with knits. It is fairly thick (a medium or heavy weight, so suitable for cardigans, dresses, skirts, trousers, you name it!), has some stretch but not too much so it’s stable under the machine, and it’s a hard-wearing fabric because of the high polyester content.

Now, I’ve sewn plenty of different ponte fabrics at various price points and they’ve ranged from a highly disappointing one that bobbled up horrendously after one wash, to some really nice, thick ones that have been worn lots and still look as good as new. But I’ve got to say, the Ponte Roma Heavy Stretch Jersey from Minerva is the very best I’ve ever sewn with! The colour is beautifully saturated and the fabric is incredibly soft and drapey, whilst still having that body that makes ponte a dream knit to sew with. At £14.99  a metre it’s also the most expensive ponte I’ve ever sewn with, but believe me, it’s worth every penny and I will definitely be buying some of the other colourways for future projects.

One thing that’s different about this ponte to any other I’ve used is that the two sides are slightly different, and you definitely need to pay attention and choose a right and wrong side before cutting. One side has tiny horizontal stripes that you only notice up close, and the other is slightly more fuzzy with a slight vertical rib effect. I think either would work as the “right” side, but as I plan to wear this cardigan over sleeveless tops I wanted the fuzzier side next to my skin, so went with the smoothest on the outside.

For those of you who’ve never sewn with a Jalie Sewing Pattern, there are a few differences to most printed patterns you need to be aware of before you start. But don’t worry: they’re mostly good differences! For a start, you get a huge range of sizes in their patterns. Rather than splitting their size range between two different packs like Butterick and the rest tend to, Jalie go the other way and include a size range from toddlers through to adult plus sizes in most of their patterns. That means that you can easily create a matching item for your child, should you be into that sort of thing. I’m not sure I am, but I do like the idea of making one for my twelve-year-old daughter in a completely different fabric. Probably involving Barbie pink and unicorns, or whatever it is she’s into this week!

The downside of all these pattern sizes being included in the one envelope is that there are so many lines on the pattern sheet, making it more challenging to follow the correct line for your size. They are colour coded and marked regularly, though, so it’s not too hard. And the pattern paper is pretty sturdy, so you will need to trace it out or cut it out first. You can’t rely on pinning it to the fabric and cutting it in one go like you can with tissue patterns. Personally I prefer this as I always trace my patterns anyway, but I know some people much prefer tissue patterns so I figured it’s worth mentioning.

The only thing that I feel lets down Jalie patterns is their instructions. These are fairly minimal—although they give you enough to know how to sew the garment, beginners will probably need to find additional info on the best way to proceed with certain steps. The instructions are also printed on the edge of the giant pattern sheet, with the pictures in a different block to the written instructions. This would be a real downside, but fortunately you can go and download a pdf of the instructions from Jalie’s website for free, regardless of whether you’ve purchased a pattern there. This is a genius idea as it means you can go and get an idea of what’s involved in sewing up one of their patterns before you buy it, and I wish more pattern companies would do this. And even better, it means that you can print the instructions out or put them on your tablet, which saves wrestling with giant pieces of paper. Yay!

Anyway, that’s enough about the pattern envelope. How about sewing this baby up? I have to admit, despite having made this one before I did still have to study the instructions and it actually took me slightly longer to sew up than it did last time. The construction is really clever and leaves you with a beautiful clean finish on the inside of the cardigan, but it’s not intuitive so you definitely need to concentrate. I do enjoy a bit of pattern origami, though, and it’s incredibly satisfying seeing this one come together. You could sew this entirely on a regular sewing machine, but as the seam allowances are only 6mm I used my overlocker instead. That said, I did still have to keep swapping back to the sewing machine as there are plenty of times you need to baste seams before sewing, so it’s much quicker if you can leave both machines out.

Now for the finished garment. Is it any surprise that I love this cardigan?! I mean, I knew I probably would seeing as how I love my first version, and have been wanting one in a solid colour for ages. It’s a really simple, classic fit with lovely slim sleeves, but the unusual pocket design sets it apart from any other cardigan pattern I’ve seen. I particularly love the long sleeves. They reach down to the base of my thumb which is a great length for keeping cosy. Jalie say the cardigan is intended to be worn over sleeveless tops and dresses, but I find it works fine over tight fitting sleeves too.

As for fit, I know I could probably make a narrow shoulder adjustment to perfect the fit, but honestly I think it looks fine the way it is. I’m certainly not in any danger of the cardie slipping off my shoulders. I’m also happy without having graded out at the hips, like my measurements indicated I should. The finished garment doesn’t meet at the bottom front, but this cardie is intended to hang open so that’s not a problem.

And now, can we talk about those pockets? Honestly, the pockets are what makes this cardie for me. You don’t need a handbag when wearing this. You can fit paperback novels in there, along with snacks for the kids and a knitting project. Well, maybe not all in one pocket, but hey, you get two of them! They are seriously roomy, and the way they are constructed with a double layer means there’s no danger of them bagging out of shape when well loaded, in the way patch pockets can. They’re also really easy to access and comfy to put your hands into if you need a little extra warmth.

In some ways I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t use contrasting fabric for the lining for this cardigan as it really does highlight the pockets. However, if I’d added in another colour or print it would make this a less versatile garment. As it is I can wear it over pretty much any of my printed clothes with no worries about clashing. Yeah, I’m trying my best to see the positives of sewing with solid colours. I have too many prints in my wardrobe and desperately need more neutrals to go with them.

The only way I can think of improving this cardigan pattern would be to add in a front closure to keep me warmer on chilly days. However, this would completely change the look of the front of the cardie and wouldn’t really go with the shape of it, so I’m not going to attempt any pattern hacks in that direction. I’ll just wear this with my thermals and a big, cosy scarf as it gets cooler. Or maybe I should get crocheting a giant shawl. Hmmm, that could look good. I’m off to see if I have any yarn that goes with this one.

So, do you have a favourite cardigan pattern to sew? Or have you not yet taken the plunge into sewing your own?

Happy sewing!

Anna-Jo x

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Chunky Ribbed Jersey Fabric Review by Maria

I have to admit that I jumped on this chunky Jersey Fabric just after looking at it once without even reading what the content was. Standby I’m doing this now……OK! Polyester, Viscose and Elastane (didn’t think of the viscose but guessed the other two).
The moment I saw this Fabric on the Minerva website I had this idea of a Lounge wear dress and I hoped it wasn’t chunkier than it looked on the site. When I finally received the package and took it out, I thought Yay! It’s pretty much what I expected it to be!
It’s a heavy weight fabric and got a decent amount of stretch to it. The front is soft and nice, it’s basically viscose jersey. The back is more a polyester mesh holding the padding in place, also good to the touch. The fabric is (and I’m not kidding you) 3mm thick! No wonder it feels so warm and cosy :)
For some reason, I changed my mind and decided to make a more tight sitting dress instead, which isn’t a bad idea in itself if I would’ve used an appropriate pattern, but me being the experimental type, I browsed a bit around, came up with some ideas, put them in the blender and just went for it.
What I’ve done is to use New Look Pattern 6808 View A as template for the neckline, shoulder line, armhole and sleeves, then free handed everything else which was not a great idea and I had to do a lot of rework and fixing, but that you can read about on my blog. We’re reviewing fabric here ;)
I had no issue cutting this fabric, that went nice and smooth. The padding does stick out here and there where you’ve cut it, but it’s just to clip away these bits. And watch it if you have to use that seam ripper, it’s easy to snatch the viscose front of this fabric.
Zero problems sewing this with an overlocker, but the normal sewing machine wasn’t happy at all times. You absolutely want to use a walking foot with this! I think if you follow a simple pattern instead of the mess I made, your sewing machine will do just fine, but remember the fabric is thick, so don’t go for models requiring multiple layers. Connecting sleeves to body where it’s 4 layers at the seams is no problem though.
I do like this fabric…
  • It’s easy enough to work with
  • It feels good on
  • It’s really warm!
  • This light grey color is so nice
  • It’s stretchy so you can make whatever you want with it and not need zippers or other closures.
And although it looks bulky and basically screams sweaters, cardigans and bombers, it can absolutely be used for lounge wear dresses (proper one, not what I’ve done!) and tighter sitting clothes.
I hope I inspired you to go a bit out of the box today. Remember: If you never try, you’ll never know ;)
Follow my sewing and other adventures on my blog or instagram!
Thanks for reading!
Maria x

A Stripy Capri Tee from Erika Knight by Karen

Hello all! It’s Karen from Hyacinth Bloom again, here with another collaboration with the lovely people at Minerva Crafts. This time I was lucky enough to try out a Knitting Pattern by the popular designer Erika Knight.

The Pattern

I’ve always had a bit of a yearning to add some Erika Knight Designs to my knitting pattern collection. I really admire the simple but creative shapes of the garments she creates. They always seem to look so effortlessly casual and stylish on the pattern leaflet. The Capri Knitting Pattern which, after much dithering, I eventually chose, is a cropped length garment with short sleeves and a wide slash neck. It is knitted using two colours to create a bold stripe across both the body and sleeves. There were a couple of reasons why I decided on this pattern. Firstly, I have never actually knitted a tee before. In the past I’ve usually stuck to cardigans and jumpers full of wool for that all-important winter warmth. I quite liked, however, the idea of adding a thin layering piece to my autumn wardrobe. I had also seen a few stripy cotton knits on the high street and was inspired to have a go at making one myself.

The Yarn

I opted to knit my Capri tee in King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK Yarn (in the Navy and Denim colourways). The pattern calls for a Studio Linen Yarn, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted the challenge of using a rough fibre like linen (I have however since found out that this particular linen yarn is very soft, smooth and drapey, not rough at all like I was expecting). The cotton is also more budget friendly. The King Cole yarn gives roughly the same tension and stitch count as the linen would. It does, however, have a different texture and drape to what the original garment on the pattern leaflet shows. This was actually my first time using a cotton based yarn and I was really surprised by how soft and nice it was to work with. As I was knitting this in August (though admittedly an August in British summertime) it was much easier to knit without getting overly warm hands. The only slight irritation was the occasional fraying that seemed to occur halfway through a ball, but I will definitely be using a cotton yarn again in the future.

The Construction

I knitted the smallest size and used two balls of each of my chosen colours (four balls in total). I used the 3.25mm and 3.75mm needles suggested in the pattern instructions. As there were so many stitches for the body of the garment I found it easiest to use a Circular Knitting Needle. (Circular needles also make it a much more travel friendly project). The instructions are not particularly extensive, mainly because the construction is so simple. There is, however, a handy diagrammatic illustration alongside the written instructions. This is a great make for a novice knitter, as apart from a few decreases this is primarily just stocking stitch worked back and forth across the needles. The only aspect making it slightly more complicated is the change in colour. This was actually my first attempt at knitting a garment using multiple colours. I opted to cut my yarn and tie in the next colour as if it were the start of a new ball. Perhaps this wasn’t the neatest or most efficient way of doing it, but it was certainly very straightforward. The stripes are wide enough that there were not too many tails to sew in at the end. It is worth noting that that the edges are not finished in any way, which will result in a natural curling up. (Sewing a Grosgrain Ribbon to the back of these edges might reduce the curling, if it bothers you that much). The only change I made to the construction process was to reduce the length of the sleeves. I had to do this because at the end I was playing a bit of yarn chicken, and desperately didn’t want to run out.

The Result

The end garment is pretty much exactly as I imagined it would be. (That doesn’t always happen)! I deliberately chose the colours so that they would fit in with other projects that I have been sewing up for autumn. The shape is perhaps a bit extreme, but I think it will look good layered over shirts and leggings. The construction was so easy it was really relaxing and enjoyable to knit on. The long rows of stocking stitch were mindless, but the colour change of the stripes added just a bit of interest. It was a perfect travel project as I knitted almost half of the garment whilst on various train journeys. This Capri tee has certainly made me want to knit even more of Erika Knight’s patterns. I can’t wait to cast on something new!

Thanks for reading,

Karen @ Hyacinth Bloom

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Review for Prym Espadrilles Soles by Annie McGee

Hello everyone, I’m Annie from Scavenger Annie/Northern Bird Designs and I have been provided with the fun opportunity to review the Prym Espadrille Soles
Now I have never made my own shoes before, I didn’t even know where to start but this project was fairly easy, so I’d definitely pop it on your to do list and perhaps even think about making some as gifts with the festive season looming closer. Espadrilles are usually associated with a summer wardrobe but I decided to break into my treasured alternative fabric stash and make a pair of shoes fit for Halloween! Although being fabric shoes they are not waterproof they are very comfy to wear around the house or on those rare dry days in Autumn.
So let’s begin! First up you need to gather your supplies, as well as the Shoe Soles you will need to source some Espadrille Yarn or strong Top Stitch Thread (that’s what I used, doubled up), a Strong Needle that will pass through the fabric and the espadrille sole, your upper fabric and your Lining Fabric. To make your shoes longer lasting and more sturdy you can also interface them.
With the pack of soles you get a paper pattern with all the sizes on. It’s worth noting here that seam allowance is not included so I measured and drew an extra 1cm around my size before cutting the pattern. It is really simple with just two pattern pieces, one for the toe and one for the heel. There are however no instructions. You can scan a QR code on the pattern using your mobile phone but I found plenty of straight forward step-by-step video tutorials online so I just followed one of those.
When it comes to cutting out your fabrics make sure to align the pattern pieces with the grain of the fabric and if you have chosen a print for the upper like I did, watch your placement. I did get into a bit of a quandary about which way my vampires should face on the toe and in the end decided that they were my shoes so I’d like to see them the right way up when I was looking down at my feet. 
Once your fabric is cut out it is just a case of stitching your upper and inner pieces right sides together, turning them out the right way round and then pinning them to the soles. I recommend using long strong pins for this part as you catch the fabric and have to dig into the hard sole. This part took some time as you line up the centre of the heel piece with the sole, pin and then do the same for the toe. I placed pins every 1-2cm to make sure nothing moved during stitching. 
With your thread doubled, you then stitch the fabric to the sole using a blanket stitch. This part is definitely the most time consuming and took me a lot longer than expected so I caught up on one of my favourite TV box sets whilst sewing which was most enjoyable. You may find that you run out of thread whilst stitching around your sole but just remember to have your knots on the inside. You can tease up a bit of the jute of the sole to hide the knots underneath that way you won’t feel them during wear. 
The final step is to fit your shoes. You do this by popping them on and pinning the sides to the toe fabric for a nice snug fit. Again you can blanket stitch the pieces together at this point or do a simple running stitch. With that your snazzy new shoes are complete! You could get very creative and add some embellishments, perhaps ribbon ties or even check out some other variations of the pattern online for a completely different style of espadrille. 
The Prym espadrille soles are a nifty addition to any crafters stash. The opportunity to create a pair of shoes with your favourite fabric is wonderful and you could easily make these in afternoon. Me and my vamps are all set now for a comfy Halloween, we might even manage the monster mash together!
Happy stitching folks, see you soon.

Evergreen Emerald Product Review by Elaine

I’m really chuffed to be doing another product review for Minerva Crafts. They have very generously given me a few metres of this lovely Denim Dress Fabric to play with. Minerva do the fabrics in two colours – one is a soft pink, but I chose this vibrant emerald green as it was so different to any colours in my wardrobe right now and green is one of the Pantone colours of this year if I’m not mistaken.

You can see it’s a beautiful green, I’ve been calling it emerald but maybe jade is more accurate. It’s in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

It’s a relatively light weight stretch denim fabric with stretch in both directions and would be suitable for skirts and dresses as well as trousers or jeans. I washed it straight away as it is denim after all, it comes out soft but looks like it will need ironing, depending on your taste, as it does crease almost like a linen. Thinking of all things denim, I didn’t notice massive shrinkage but I wouldn’t risk not pre-washing. There was a bit of fraying but it’s not too bad, just trim the frayed tails after you dry it. When I washed it there was no colour running that I noticed but I would recommend pre-washing with detergent as the fabric has a kind of ‘chemical’ smell to it at first.

The timing of this review fell nicely with another project so I decided to use it for a denim dress I was drafting. As it holds its shape and it’s not slippery it is quite easy to manipulate and behaves well when cutting with minimal fraying.

I used regular all-purpose thread and a jeans needle and sewing it up was easy; it behaves like a typical denim, as I said before, there is a bit of fraying so you would be wise to finish the edges with zigzag stitch or an overlocker if you have one. It presses well and holds creases nicely too.

For embellishment I used a cobalt blue topstitching thread and a topstitching needle to decorate the dress and this seems to work very well with the fabric also.

Once made up, I wondered if the fabric would chafe on the skin at all but it has been fine, it is quite soft next to skin and comfortable to the touch.

I was really pleased with the finished dress and I was able to get that into my holiday wardrobe in time to leave on my summer camping trip.

In addition to the dress I also made a bolero style jacket with a contrasting blue denim collar facing. The two denims worked well as they were similar weights. The fabric holds its shape well so was good for a jacket as well as the dress.

Finally I also had enough fabric to cut out a pair of shorts from this fabric. Although I didn’t finish it in time for my trip I was still happy with how well this fabric hangs and how versatile it is.

I could imagine making many different items from this fabric including skirts, it would work equally well for a pencil skirt or one with pleats. You could also get some wicked skinny jeans or Capri style pants out of this too. I’ve even got my eye on a few crafty projects to use the scraps, if I can get my hands on one of the espadrille kits that Minerva Crafts also sells I can see a pair in this denim.

Here is my dress which I wore out for my birthday meal while on holiday in Brittany...

It’s a big thumbs up for this Fabric. Easy to handle and sew up and easy to wear also. Thanks to Minerva Crafts for the chance to do this review.

Elaine @ Diary of a Random Madam


Padded Rib Coatigan by Polly

I recently received 2.5m of the Textured Chunky Padded Rib Stretch Jersey Knit Dress Fabric in grey (it’s also available in a black and camel). Thanks to this awful British summer we are having I knew exactly what I wanted to make with the squashy fabric, a coatigan. I decided on the Berlin Jacket pattern from Tessuti, as I wanted a simple jacket that I could layer and would work all year round.
As usual I washed the fabric at 40 degrees. I just chuck my handmade clothes in the wash with everything else so any fabric I buy has to cope with my normal wash cycle. I didn’t notice any serious shrinking and the colour catcher came out colour free at the end of the cycle, overall it washed up well.  The only thing I did notice is where the fabric had been cut some of the padding came away, although this is a knit fabric you can’t get away with leaving raw edges unfinished.  Having said that taking the padding out of the seam allowance actually meant the seams weren’t as bulky so it worked in my favour.
I altered the pattern and made the coatigan using my overlocker, it had no problems with the padded rib and finished my raw edges at the same time.  I liked the look of the overlocking stitch against the rib so much I finished the patch pocket edges too then stitched them to the coatigan in a matching grey thread.
The fabric is quite chunky (I guess the clue was in the name) and I was presuming that I would need my walking foot for top stitching but my machine handled it just fine with my standard foot. The fabric was nice and stable, it was a dream to work with, especially for a quick project (which is my favourite kind).
I think it is really important that the details are perfect when you don’t have a busy print to hide behind, especially when you’re also working with a simple sewing pattern. I’m so pleased I chose this rib knit for my coatigan as it had just the right amount of structure to carry off the simple shape and really was a breeze to top stitch.
The wrong side of the grey padded rib knit is actually white, with the rib stitch showing up in a pale grey. I loved the look of the wrong side and thought it would be a nice contrast to include in my coatigan. The Berlin jacket is unlined so the wrong side of the fabric can be seen when worn but I also altered the rolled cuffs so that the wrong side of the fabric was exposed.
I’m so pleased with my coatigan and would highly recommend this fabric, it really was easy to work with. It would be perfect for a sweatshirt as the bouncy texture is super comfy. I’m already dreaming of a bomber jacket made in the black with a bright lining and elasticated cuffs.
Thanks for reading,

It’s Can Can Time!

I have a lovely frilly scarf, that was knitted for me as a gift, made from this type of unique Yarn but had never tried using it before myself. One 200g ball is enough to make a nice long scarf, or 2 short ones, and the ball band has the instructions for making one printed on the inside of it (albeit in very small writing!)

I thought I’d see what else I could make with it instead and chose this beautiful rich green colour from the range available.

Rico Can Can is 100% Acrylic & machine washable. It looks a bit like a ribbon when wound on the ball but when stretched out it looks more looks like a narrow net. I understood that to get a frilled effect you need to knit into the top edge and try not to twist the yarn at all so it produces the ruffles as you go.

Instead of casting on you need to pick up the stitches at the start. They need to be picked up along the top edge of the yarn with an approx 4cm space between. Then as you knit carry on leaving about the same amount of space between each stitch, although a small change in spacing will not spoil the effect it will just produce slightly different size ruffles!

I did find this process a bit fiddly to start with as I couldn’t wind the wool around my fingers as I normally would when knitting, but I soon got the hang of it and found the knitting happily grew very quickly.

If you are knitting a scarf only a knit stitch is used as this produces ruffles on both sides but I was picturing a frilly cushion cover or a throw to go on the arm chair so after the initial few rows I changed to stocking stitch; one row of knit stitches followed by a row of purl ones. This produced a piece of knitting that had a flat side and a frilled side where the frills are more closely layered together.

I used 8mm Knitting Needles and cast on 20 stitches which provided a knitted piece wide enough to fit an 18” cushion. The finished knitting is very stretchy so has a flexible shape. I used almost 2 balls of yarn for my cushion cover as I didn’t want to stretch it too much so I could keep the frills close together.

This is a great yarn for any frilly projects, it’s beautifully soft and I love my finished cushion cover. Now I’m imagining a large cosy blanket to go with it!

I really enjoying trying Can Can Yarn out and think the suggested scarf would be a great make for a beginner to try.

Happy Knitting!

Nicky @ Sew and Snip


Christmas Bags & Boots by Michelle

Hello craftists,

We have a new name for ourselves because of my 4 year old granddaughter. She is SO gungho about craft that it is beyond just a love of crafting, so she has been nicknamed the Craftist – as in activist etc.. ?

I can’t believe that it is already time to start on our Christmas projects – what is happening to time? Luckily for me, Minerva came to the rescue with a couple of wonderful products that kick started my projects. I am still not quite finished with them, but for now I have a few items that are ready to share.

My first project was a small selection of bags. I can’t seem to make and use enough of these….I have them in my sewing kits, in my knitting kits, in my toiletry kits for the camper and all over the car and house for various bits and bobs. My handbag is a cavern…I need it to carry all my medication but seriously, you cannot find or keep anything tidy in them. Hence the need for lots of little bags and pouches for everything; I even know what is inside each one – hubby doesn’t get it and can’t understand this type of magic.

Bags, bags….oh, yes, let’s get back on topic…

I received a metre each of this wonderful Christmas Fabric. One in green and one in red – your traditional Christmas colours.

This material feels a lot like African wax print when it arrives and is stiff and crisp. I love it because when you do craft projects it makes handling much easier. However, if you are going to use this for any sort of washable garment, I would definitely suggest a pre-wash because most cottons will shrink.

I didn’t use a pattern for these bags because I have made a few in the past and simply followed the same general principles. If you want an easy pattern you can find hundreds online and on YouTube. For this version I used a full fat quarter for the lining and cut the Christmas fabric to size. I added in a thin batting to give it volume and rigidity but you can also iron on interfacing or use iron-on batting for handbags. I wanted to keep the cost down because these were samples for my Saturday workshop and I don’t charge except for materials.

A bit of ribbon and contrast handles give it more interest. The box gusset was added after the main construction by folding the seams on top of each other to create a pyramid shape and sewing across the points. This created a box bag which can hold a lot of goodies and is perfect as a gift bag for Christmas.

Bag 1 done…..

The next two bags were made in a similar way but without the quilting. I sewed some of the lining fabric as a contrast on the outside and added a bit of lace to make these a bit more dainty. I think they are perfect for toiletries and makeup. One has a bottom gusset only because this is one of my favourite shapes; and the other is a box bag as well.

Bags done, now for the next, and completely different project…

What fun these are to make…and wear too! Who doesn’t need a pair of Christmas boots for running around, opening presents, eating too much and lounging around a fire?

The pattern for these is from Twig & Tale and I made a variety of sizes to sell at our church Christmas Market next month. This fabric was perfect ….

Does it get any cuter than this? This fabric was a perfect contrast to the brown wool outers of these Tie Back Boots. Now to make the green pair and another dozen or so for the moms who are already shouting “Me Please!”.

Thanks Minerva for once again providing the perfect touch for my projects.

Thanks for reading,

Michelle @ Swiss Army Wife


A Walkaway Dress with Added Sleeves by Aida

Hi everyone, I'm Aida from idaaidasewing and this is my first review on Minerva Crafts' blog.

I'm sure you all know this Sewing Pattern, I first noticed it in the Great British Sewing Bee years ago and ever since it seemed to me like everyone made this pattern at least once and I felt I had to give it a try, obviously I was very happy to be able to write a review for it here in the Minerva Crafts blog and off course I'm talking about the Walkaway Dress which is Butterick 4790!

This pattern comes in only 3 pieces, front, top back and circle skirt pattern which is cut twice, the construction is really simple as you just attach the two pieces of skirt together, attach the top back to the circle skirt , join the front and back pieces on the shoulders and that' s it. Off course there are darts, meters of bias binding to attach and hem to turn but despite all these it's a simple dress to make and even a beginner can manage, considering my first ever thing that I made which was a fitted woven dress with zipper and facings this is really a piece of cake.

The fabric I used is a polka dot chambray that I had for over a year in my stash, the pattern calls for 3.5 meters of 150cm wide fabric, what I had was 2.5 meters so I had to make a few changes to make it fit. Minerva have loads of beautiful Chambray Fabrics for you to choose from. First I shortened the circle skirt by 17 cm which was very useful as in this way I could cut the 2 pieces of the circle skirt (which are huge) in the cross grain, I also had to add a centre seam in the back of the top as it was impossible to cut that on the fold.

I read a lot of reviews about this pattern and there were two issues that were mentioned quite often and bothered me, first was the gaping in the armhole and second was the feeling of being exposed in the back as the front pieces that goes all the way to the back is left open like an apron.

One of the many versions of this dresses I saw was on Instagram and the lady that made it seemed to have added sleeves and there was no gaping on her dress, I was intrigued by the idea of adding sleeves and so I sent here a message asking her help on how to achieve the same result, it was very kind of her to send me detailed pictures and instructions on how she did it. In my version I did it differently but I did follow the most important part which was to draw how I would like the sleeve to lie directly on the fabric before cutting it and as one piece with the top (there is no seam) then cut the pattern including this so called sleeve.

About the open back of the inner skirt I just used the slash and spread method to make the skirt fuller so that I can add a seam and also a zipper, in this way I feel covered and not exposed wearing this dress and it is still easy to wear. Both changes I made are obvious in the picture that shows the front pattern piece on top of the cut fabric that includes the changes.

All in all I love how this dress looks on me the only thing that I'm not satisfied with is the uneven hem which I have to find the courage and remake, I did not hang the dress for a couple of days before hemming as it is suggested for circle skirts so I have to do the additional work now.

Thank you for reading!

Aida @ idaaidasewing

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