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Archives: November 2016



#FabricFriday - Christmas Inspiration

Christmas Fabrics are coming out of our ears (so to speak) here at Minerva. I think our biggest seller this year has to be our fantastic range of Polycotton Fabrics which was shown in a previous blog post of mine. The choice is pretty awesome and at just £2.99 per mt lots of decorations can be made. If your Christmas deoration budget can stretch a little further we have the most amazing collection of Contemporary Fabrics now available here at Minerva. They are made from a calico fabric base and all start from a basic colour range of red, grey and cream and can be mixed and matched by design or indeed by colour and design. The first choice I have put together could look good anytime of year, in fact the only real Xmas contribution is the striped fabric which has the tiniest trees, holly leaves and what I think are gift tags within the stripe. 
These three fabrics you can find herehere and here.
Next I am combining 3 colours with 3 designs...
These combinations are the heart design (again), a tiny star design and our Christmas stripe design. Now you couldn't get more 'christmasy' than the grey, which includes pretty snowmen, the rows of trees, the cheeky little penguins and the reindeer. So with this combination we are sticking to cream and grey but with a hint of red via the stars. (I'm sounding poetic, am I not?) 
Christmas and reds go together so my next choice reflects this...
The stars are so pretty, combined with the tiny stars and those gorgeous reindeers - I love them. 
My last photo of fabrics for today shows a selection of greys and creams which are a rocking horse print, a floral stripe designChristmas bells, a mini stripe design, a penguin print and last but not least our wintery bears. Done they looks gorgeous together like this...
All the fabrics features today are made from a 100% cotton calico with a tiny fleck in the weave - they blend in perfectly with the contemporary look of today.
Just before I go take a look at my 2 Christmas cushions from last year, just made from polycotton and a few trims.
This year I am making a Christmas wreath with a Metal Wreath Base we sell here at Minerva for just at just 89p.
I am using Plain Red and Green Polycotton Fabric cut up into 7" x 2" lengths also a Christmas Print Fabric. I chose this design, I like the boldness of the pattern - not too big not too little. These strips are literally tied onto the two metal circles, they then fan out into an array of christmas colour. At the moment I am using my pinking shears to cut the pieces but I'm going have to invest in a rotary cutter and cutting mat, it's taking me forever!! Finished photo next week, hopefully!!
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx

#KnitPicksforEwe - Grandchildren and knitting!

Well hi everybody, a new chapter has started for me this morning. Anybody who follows my #fabricfriday and #patternoftheweek blog posts will know we had a little addition to our family back in June. I say little, she was 9lb 3. This bundle of love is now 5 months old and her Mum has gone back to work part time and I (lucky me)  am looking after her two days a week. After working 6 days a week, sometimes 7 for the last 20+ years, this is my first grandchild that I can look after for two full days each week. I thought I would just start writing a little blog post about what I intend to knit, especially those projects for Emily. I've also managed to knit a couple of inches of a gorgeous throw I'm making for myself, with Emily asleep beside me!
Emily has so much pink, everybody has either bought or made her pink, especially me! Recently I bought her some little needlecord trousers, made by Liberty in the sale. I just couldn't resist them!!
And so the problem was what colour should I knit to go with them? I was immediately drawn to the little blue flower in the fabric and found a perfect match in our Hayfield Baby Aran Yarn. The pattern I chose was King Cole 3133 mainly because I wanted a hooded jacket but also because I loved the wavy edge on the yellow version. 
Many patterns now have dropped shoulders and it is so easy to 'tighten' the armhole when sewing in the sleeves. I've seen this happen so many times. It makes the top sleeve edge look 'bunched up' So I was really pleased to find that this pattern not only had raglan sleeves but was knit in one piece up to the armholes. 
It's looking like I will have enough yarn over to make a hat to match the jacket. I know that the jacket has a hood but I have always found hoods don't fit close enough and therefore the wind etc., will make baby cold. So hopefully by next week I'll have an update showing the finished jacket and maybe a hat modelled by the beautiful Emily.
Thanks for reading and hope I don't keep you waiting too long for an update!
Annette xx

#PatternOfTheWeek - Thread Theory Strathcona Henley

Hi to every sewist guy out there. Or to every sewist lady out there if you are thinking of making something special for the man in your life, possibly even for Christmas. (Yes, you do have time and yes I'm probably wishful thinking). 
Now do any of you lovely sewists read our blogger network? If you do you will no doubt have read Duncan Carter's posts, or if you haven't treat yourself to a read right now! 
Duncan (for his first blog post) chose a pattern from the Thread Theory range of sewing patterns which primarily design for men (just one for the ladies). I have chose Duncan's pattern to offer you as #patternoftheweek, mainly because Duncan made such a fabulous job of his top. The pattern is Thread Theory - Strathcona Henley.
And just to give you a taster of Duncan's finished top, here is one of my favourite photo's taken from his post...
His photo's are stunning as is his finished top don't you agree? Most of these patterns retail at £15.99 so at just £8.00 for this week only, this is a pretty good buy!
First of all I must mention the packaging, how manly is that? It is like a neatly made brown paper package all folded together and then tied in a contrast string. There are 5 needles printed on the flap and this shows how easy or how hard the pattern will be by highlighting some or all of them. The more needles that are highlighted the harder it will be. 
Now this pattern has two needles highlighted so is relatively easy. I just love the instruction booklet, a nice change from the fold out instructions on the 'big' pattern guys!
Although I said it is relatively easy the pattern suggests the skill level is beginner to intermediate. For beginners version 2 is perfect, I would class this as a round neck t-shirt with short sleeves. There is a self binding for the neckline and the sleeves and bottom edge are finished with a hem sewn on the machine. Now the pattern either suggests using a twin needle or a zigzag stitch. I would add further to that, use the stretch stitch on your machine (here's hoping you have one).
Version 1 has a 3 button/buttonhole placket opening. Duncan, for his top, chose to use poppers which give a fab effect, don't you agree? Easier than buttons and buttonholes. An even easier option would be to hand sew  snap-fasteners in place and then position some buttons directly over the top of the snap-fasteners and sew in place too. Now if you fancy going for the buttons and buttonholes but are still a little nervous, the pattern is suggesting using a woven contrast fabric for this placket. What a good idea! For me this is giving you the option of going a stage further without going too far. Hehe I hope that makes sense.
Now for some suitable fabrics, you've probably gathered from reading the above that this pattern is suitable for jersey fabrics. Don't forget the placket though!! I do think it is worth having a look through our Art Gallery Jersey Fabrics especially if you are making this for the love of your life for a special Christmas present. These designs are simply stunning and many of them would be most suitable for a man's t-shirt. Take a look at 'Dotted Boulevard'...
I can only describe this as a polka dot with an abstract design behind so to speak. Weird but wonderful!!
My next choice out of this amazing collection would have to be 'City Lights' (I'm limiting myself to picking just one more to show you, or else I'd go on forever haha!). How do I describe this? 
I will let our website do the talking... 
"From Art Gallery Fabrics, With an elegant palette of azure, marigold and black, Gramercy eloquently captures the magic of the city. Shimmering lights, aerial views and the beautiful circuitry underneath it all create a metropolitan enchantment that sculpts this collection."
How romantic does that sound?
And now back to Duncan, we have a little of the fabric he used left and one more colourway in stock (shown below) and when you see what a fantastic job he's made out of this Clearance Fabric here at Minerva, you will be even more pleased when I tell you it is now just £2.99 per mt.
I will end for today by saying I have chosen 2 of our more expensive jersey fabrics and one of our cheapest we have here at Minerva, but in the middle there is a World of Fabric Choice just waiting for you to explore. 
Happy hunting and thanks for reading.
Annette xx
PS. Take a look at Thread Theory Comox Trunks. Yes you heard that right, mens boxers in jersey fabric. I would love to know what fabrics you would choose for these and what fabric your husband/partner would choose. Will all the messages be printable? Haha xx

#FabricFriday - Three Fabrics, Three Looks with Simplicity 8217

Three fabrics and three designs, all from one lovely Simplicity Sewing Pattern - No 8217.
A very elegant coat don't you think, which is fully lined. Also a fabulous long-line vest, very much in fashion at the moment.
My first choice of fabric today would be Ponte Roma (I know one of my favourites) and it just so happens this is one of the suggested fabrics on this pattern. I have likened it to version A especially because of the drape it shows around the sleeve area. As you may know our Ponte Roma Fabric comes in 22 fab shades but I have chose Marl Blue to show you on my next photo as it replicates the pattern a little and just because I love it.
This version has quite an interesting belt or half belt I should say. The two belt pieces are sewn within the front darts.
You will cut out 4 of piece 3, two of which are sewn onto the front edge.
The sleeves are sewn to the garment and then the sleeve and side seams are sewn in one continuous seam (very easy, not much fitting required).
The remaining two of piece 3 will be used as facings. First they will be interfaced then attached to the lining so when completed will sit on the inside edge of the coat.
I love the clever but simple use of a broad black belt used on version D. I know this is just a drawing but they are useful for giving us ideas. My choice of fabric to give this effect would be our Woven Wool Fabric and at just £14.99 per mt you are getting a 90% wool,10% polyamide heavy coat weight with a fantastic intricate design.
But, but, but my favourite this week has to be our English Herringbone Wool Fabric for version C.
Our website description of this fabric is...
"This beautiful quality heavy wool blend fabric is made in England from 100 percent wool fibres and has a beautiful soft and fuzzy texture. The herringbone weave is very subtle and you can only see it when you look up close. The weight of this fabric makes it ideal for making warm coats and jackets, even bags, luxury cushions and blankets for the home"
For me this would be absolutely perfect for this longline waistcoat. With this fabric being quite a good weight and with it being lined, it would be ideal to wear with just a chunky jumper underneath. More pricey than my other choices today at £23.99 per mt but being 100% wool and made in England and the fact that less fabric would be needed for this vest or a gilet it doesn't seem too bad. If cream is a little too light for you but you want a neutral look check out the other shade in this fab fabric - mushroom.
If I could add an emogi right now it would probably have a sad face because lets face it we are at the start of Winter but then I'd follow that with a happy, smiling face when I think of all the wonderful 'winter' fabrics I have lined up to show you in the coming weeks and months.
Yet again thank you for reading.
Annette xx

Guest Post: Dungaree Dreams

Hi Everyone!

It's Vicki here and today on the blog we have a very special guest post by the lovely Aimee from the fab creative blog called Wrong Doll. Please go and check out her blog for more of her gorgeous makes, but for today we have a very special project to show you here on the Minerva Crafts Blog using our distressed Denim Fabric from Art Gallery.

I'll now pass the post over to Aimee, enjoy!!...

My love affair with the pinafore extends way back into my childhood days and when I started sewing a couple of years ago, I dreamt of making one of my own. 6 months later, I came across Art Gallery Fabrics and their Denim Studio range in Love Sewing Magazine and I had my fabric of choice. It took another year until I had the confidence to attempt a Victory patterns/Kwik Sew mash up, melding the Madeleine skirt with the K4138  dungaree bib. The resulting dungagree dress is my proudest make to date and even got me a mention in Love Sewing’s Stitcher of the Year category.

Having achieved a longheld dream, I disappeared down a Google rabbit hole in search of dungaree dress patterns and found them to be in woefully short supply. So I was ecstatic when I happened across a vintage multi-size Maudella pattern on a late night eBay trawl. Initial excitement turned to dismay, when I realised the delicate pattern tissues had been cut into. Thankfully, the previous owner had left the excess strips attached at the base of each piece, so I was able to painstakingly re-attach them.

Having re-instated the pattern at its extremities, I graded the skirt waist up from a size 16 to 18 by adding 1cm to the sides. Confusingly, I only had to add 0.5 cm to the sides of the waistband but maths isn’t my strong point and I decided not to labour the point. I cut the bib on a size 12 and ignored the fact it seemed a little shy - barely spanning from point to point - assuming this was reflective of vintage stylings. However, I recently discovered on a pattern cutting course, that I’ve been working from a bust mis-measurement for the last two years and should have cut on a 14. Thankfully, the disparity in measurements hasn’t affected my handmade wardrobe to date, with my propensity for loose fitting Japanese tent dresses.

In the past, I’ve made the mistake of believing what looks good on the pattern envelope will look good on me. But not this time – I’ve learnt the error of my ways. I don’t do mini and I don’t do mustard. I extended the skirt length by 4cm and eschewed yellow for blue. But not just any old blue. For a pattern of such provenance, I felt myself being pulled back to those textured denims and I scoured the internet for a UK supplier. Minerva Crafts stood out with their huge range and maximum bang for your buck, with free postage for fabrics over £20.

For my first dungaree dress, I bought 3 metres of Scarlet Brick and it felt like a massive indulgence. However, when the fabric arrived I can attest to the tag line – you really can ‘feel the difference’! So, this time around there was a noticeable absence of hesitancy – the only question was what to choose from such an enticing array. In the end, I plumped for 2 metres of Distress Denim Fabric Rainy Night which lived up to my expectations and then some. I also pushed the boat out and changed my overlocker threads to four shades of grey, as recommended by May Martin at The Big Simplicity Blog Meet earlier in the year. And it worked a treat – they blend in perfectly and are a pleasing change from the green I’ve refused to deviate from, due to a strong case of 'overlocker rethreading anxiety' – it’s a thing, trust me.

Initially I’d planned to add in-seam pockets and I know I’m in good company when it comes to pocket love – whenever they make an appearance on Instagram, a social storm of appreciation gets whipped up. But my fella pointed out they could interfere with the thigh skimming lines of the skirt and I had to admit he was right – this was an exception to the rule that pockets make EVERYTHING better. I stayed true to the pattern instructions apart from turning under the waistband facing - I overlocked the edges instead and attached to the waistband by stitching in the ditch. And I eschewed what looks like a lapped zip for my first invisible zip, guided expertly by the instructions in Wendy Ward’s latest book – A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts.

So, here is my second dungaree dress in what promises to be a series – I just can’t get enough of them! Thanks to Minerva Crafts for the denim and giving me the opportunity to write my first guest blog and share my dungaree dreams.


#PatternOfTheWeek - Simplicity 1197

Retro - still pretty big, isn't it. None more so than the 60's shift dresses with matching coats. Simplicity Sewing Pattern 1197 definitely fits this category and I would like to present it as our #patternoftheweek offer!
As you probably know by now, our sewing pattern of the week offer is offered to you at half price so take a look each week and add to your stash! This pattern we have chosen for you this week is a remake of an actual 60's design as you can see from the pattern cover. Simple geometric dresses known as shifts were high fashion and so this dress and coat pattern absolutely fits the bill. The dress is a fitted A-line with an unusual front panel and is not lined. The coat is a full A-line (a little like a swagger coat) with welt pockets, a buttoned up neckline with collar, raglan sleeves and is fully lined.
The front panel of the dress extends into the shaped neckline, now this is where stay-stitching comes into it's own and is a must! The following photo shows where this stay-stitching will be and how the side fronts are attached.
Everything else is quite straightforward with this dress, just a simple facing around the neck and short set in sleeves.
The coat is a little harder, having said that the fitting of it should not be too bad because of the shape or dare I say lack of it! Raglan sleeves can be quite flattering and there isn't the same fitting involved as with set-in sleeves. They are definitely a 'kinder' fit. Welt pockets are used on this coat, now these are not the easiest of pockets but if 100% care is taken you should have a good result.
However if you don't feel confident enough to tackle these professional looking pockets, how about making good old patch pockets. They would look perfect on this style coat and be much easier. And if you don't feel up to that well leave them off altogether! There is no rule saying you have to have pockets, in fact many suits and coats purposely don't have pockets because it can spoil the 'outline' of the garment. 
Regular readers of the Minerva blog and my posts will notice I have mentioned the following fabrics before but not together. So sorry for repeating a fabric (especially when we have thousands to choose from, in fact over 100 listed in the last two days alone haha) but I'm sure you will agree they look absolutely stunning together.
My first choice is this beautiful Stretch Cotton Fabric that would not look out of place worn in winter especially with it being lined. There are three colours in this beautiful fabric but my favourite has to be the mustard...
I have teamed this swirling circles fabric with this amazing Suiting Fabric which is in 14 super colours and guess what - although I had no hesitation in choosing the mustard, I then couldn't decide between the grey and the black. Both go perfectly with my first choice fabric (which I am sure you'll have realised is for the coat and therefore the two plain fabrics are for the dress). The next photo is with the black (more striking) and the following photo with the grey (more subtle).
I would probably use Cover Buttons for the coat, talking of which, have you seen the new black plastic cover buttons from Prym. Lots of sizes to choose from but I think I'd choose a large one for this coat. Again a very 60's look.
Just in case you're not too happy with covered buttons or indeed fancy something quite bold how about a plastic or resin button. I've just had a peep at a new range of Dill Buttons now in stock here at Minerva. Take a look at Dill 346711, these slightly elongated buttons come in two sizes and  15colours but obviously the mustard has won for me. Did I mention I like mustard? 
Thanks for reading and until next time Happy Sewing
Annette xx

#FabricFriday - Christmas Fabrics

As you are reading this, Christmas is just 7 weeks away. I love this time of year, especially Christmas day when all my lovely family come round to our house to celebrate. Each year I make something new, it may be cushions or tree ornaments either knitted or sewn. 
Last year I made 2 cushions and a polystyrene cone covered with King Cole Tinsel Yarn. This year we are having quite a lot of work done in our house so I'm not actually making anything, I'll just be glad to have a dust free environment for a couple of days (hopefully). 
Here at Minerva we have the most fantastic range of Christmas Polycotton Fabrics in stock and yes as with all our polycottons they are just £2.99 per mt. The patterns range from cutie Father Christmas and Snowmen designs...
To quite traditional Norwegion designs...
And not forgetting holly, gingerbread men, stars, stripes and xmas greetings, must not forget little Robins too! With a choice of over 100 different colours and designs we feel we have something for everyone. 
Moving on from polycottons, 100% Cotton Fabric comes to mind. This year there are some wonderful contemporary designs here at Minerva - take a look at these Fabric Designs. Here are pictures of my favourites from this range...
The colours are quite subdued and blend with each other perfectly, some even have the positive/negative effect. It is such a versatile fabric that can be used in so many ways for so many of your sewing projects this Christmas. I just love the grainy texture it has (like Calico) it really gives it a contemporary feel.
One of my favourite patterns at the moment is McCalls 6453.
Just look at the possibilities here. My favourite here is the wreath. The pattern is suggesting 4 fat quarters but I'm sure you will agree you could use up all your 'bits'. I love the combination of red, white and green but think of using 4 of the grey/cream fabrics with a beautiful cream bow.
As I said earlier I love Christmas time and because we now have our beautiful little Emily in our lives, I have purchased yet another Christmas Tree, this time it is a half tree that leans against a wall for in a small living room in our house. Very pretty tree with a not pretty base so hopefully, even though I haven't time to make anything major, I will find a little time to make a half 'skirt' for this tree. Now when I look at this pattern, if I make 3 of these sections (instead of 6 that will go all round the tree) it should look pretty good. Hmmm just which fabric to choose? Now because of the time factor (not to mention the work going on in our house) should I use Felt Fabric? Yes good old reliable felt, here at Minerva we have an amazing craft felt that comes in numerous colours and sizes even 60" wide by the metre. I could easily cut 3 pieces of red felt to the shape in the pattern and adorn it with a couple of Christmas Felt Motifs (we have lots of designs to choose from). Take a look at these beauties (these are my 3 favourites!)...
Last but not least I just want to mention our Christmas Quilting Panels, these make up into beautiful xmas stockings or fabulous advent calenders.
These are just a couple of designs, we ahve lots more to choose from!
Hope I've inspired you and thanks for reading.
Annette xx