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Archives: November 2017

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Prada Crepe Vogue 9235 by Simona

I am back with another product testing for the lovely team from Minerva Crafts.

This time I signed up to test their Prada Self Lined Crepe Fabric. I used it to make a middy dress from the Vogue Sewing Pattern 9235 which you can get from Minerva Crafts website as well.

On the Minerva Crafts shop the fabric is described as...

‘Fabulous quality Prada crepe suiting fabric. Self satin lined with a slight one way stretch across the width of the fabric. Because this fabric has a matt and shiny side, you can use either or a combination of both textures to create dramatic effects. This fabric is PU coated and both anti static and anti click, ensuring the highest quality for special garments. Beautifully soft with a lovely drape, perfect for jackets, dresses, skirts, trousers, waistcoats and more!’ 

It comes in 11 colours: aubergine, beige, black, cerise pink, dusky pink, ivory, jade, purple, red, royal blue and teal.

Originally I wanted to make a jump suit which needed 2.5 m of fabric. However later I changed my mind, but by then I already had the fabric. So although I would have made the maxi version, I had to make do with what I had. Being a kimono type bodice, I shortened to bodice in the sleeve area by 3 cm (this is a usual adjustment for me) and the skirt by 20 cm from the bottom of the hem to reduce the bulk of the skirt. This way my skirt is about knee length not as intended on the pattern on the top of the calf.

Before cutting into my fabric, which slips a little bit, I washed the fabric as I would with the finished garment. Then I tested my marking tools on a scrap of fabric. Originally used water erasable to mark it, but did not start to sew straight away. In one day the markings were gone. So I tested several types of marking tools on it. The best was the water erasable pen that stayed on for me to actually make my dress.

The fabric is surprisingly easy to sew with. Though it has drape, due to the crepe it’s quite stable. So it looks luxurious and easy to work with. Darts and pleats went in quite easy.

I did finish the raw edges of the seams as I constructed the dress. Some seams I left unfinished as I knew they would be hidden into the facings or turned over twice into a hem. Other edges I finished separately as they were to be pressed open. The fabric frays a little, not too much, but if you like your insides to be pretty as well, I think it is worth thinking about finishing the raw edges.

On many occasions I prefer thread tracing my hems, press and sew. I hurried through the thread tracing and the line was not straight. I suggest if you use the same technique to go slower on this part, the fabric tends to slide a bit when sewing on one layer, I found.

Once I put the dress on and looked at the back, I realised I chose the wrong type of zipper for this fabric. I decided to go for a normal zip. However the fabric is a bit to heavy and now think an invisible zip would have worked better. I just don’t fancy taking out the current one and replacing it.

Although when on the flat the zip is not exposed when I wear it I can see it. Good thing it’s in the back and with my hair I can hide it, which means I can leave with it.

As I felt there was a bit to much shine I used the wrong side of the fabric to make the sash. And to make it a bit different, without using a different fabric.

Though I shortened the bodice, when I tried the dress on, I felt that the V neck is way too indecent. And I’ll never dare wear the dress in public with a V neck that goes almost all the way to my waist. I thought that my modesty needs to be saved and hand stitched closed the centre seam by about 15cm.

Yes you can see my handiwork on the inside, but nothing is visible on the right side.

Although not all went to plan I do like my dress, and for now I’ll wear it with my hair falling on my back to hide the zipper mistake.

Here are my tips for working with Prada Crepe:

  • Though it does not look it, it is a heavier fabric. So think about what patterns work best with it and how many layers you need to sew. In my case the waist and the ties added a bit too much bulk.

  • Test your marking tools. Some water erasable pens disappear after a while.

  • Think about the closures you want to use. I think invisible zips are more suited for this type of fabric.

  • As the  fabric slides a little, I found thread tracing your hems helps. But go slow when sewing as this fabric seems to slide a bit more when sewing on one layer.

We would love to hear and see what you make if you use this fabric. Please share your makes with us. Tag @minervacrafts on Instagram and @minervafabrics on Twitter.

Like always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my review and happy shopping!

Love Simona

SewingAdventuresInTheAttick

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A Toast Inspired Work Wear Jacket for Breadcrumb Money

Hi guys! I’m super excited to be sharing a make here on the Minerva Crafts blog. I usually post over at Lucky Sew and Sew and it’s nice to take a little detour (who doesn’t love an adventure, right?).

I’ll be sharing with you my most favourite make in a long time. You know, one of those makes that just feels so totally you? This is one of those. It’s me all over.

I’ve recently started to sew more consciously, a really think about my sews in a more direct way. I rarely buy any clothes from the High Street these days and that’s due to a few facts. Firstly, fast fashion doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t want to feel the need to change my entire wardrobe every season. I’d much rather have a much more well-rounded wardrobe that can mix and match for every season. Secondly, I can’t guarantee that the workers who make the garments for these fast fashion chains are being paid a fair wage. Lastly, I like the challenge of taking inspiration from a fashion label, and seeing how much cheaper I can make my own version for. A massive plus point is that I can then guarantee that my me-made garments are being made with love and fuelled by coffee and biscuits, which is a bonus!

One of my favourite brands to lust over is Toast. I love literally everything from Toast so much. They have a very utilitarian, work wear, androgynous vibe that I totally dig. One of the things they do so well is the cord work jacket. Coming in usually around the £150 mark, this is one of those items that will always be in my online basket and not in my wardrobe.

So, I decided I’d try and make my own version! I searched for jacket patterns and stumbled across the Tello Jacket Sewing Pattern by Pauline and Alice, which was perfect for the look I was going for. I hadn’t used a Pauline and Alice pattern before so I was excited to try it.

For the fabric, I went for a stunning Needlecord Fabric in Teal, which I required 2m of. Unfortunately the teal colourway has now sold out, but there are plenty more Needlecord Fabrics to choose from at Minerva. I think this would also look lovely in black too, or a gorgeous denim. The needlecord has a lovely feel to it, with a good stable drape -perfect for my work wear jacket!

I chose 6 Grey Buttons for contrast, a blue Metal Zip for the pocket, and a scrap of cotton from my scrap box for the zipped pocket lining.

The pattern comes in a lovely card packet which has it’s own Pauline and Alice ribbon tag included inside for you to sew into your make. The pattern is printed on a thicker paper than other patterns I’ve used, so it would be great for tracing your pattern size from if you weren’t cut throat like me and just ruthlessly cut into it. The instructions come in a little booklet with lots of diagrams and also has other languages included. I loved the whole presentation of the pattern, the best pattern aesthetically that I’ve come across and I really dig the instruction booklet. Much easier to use than loose bits of paper which are easy to lose and a pain to re-fold!

The jacket itself isn’t lined, but it does have facings. There’s no interfacing to iron on either which makes me fall for this pattern even more. I love the little details that all add to the finished result. The back elbows are darted and topstitched, the pockets are topstitched too, as well as the back seam. All of those little finishing touches I really enjoy taking my time over. I made sure I pressed all of the seams well to get a nice crisp finish, and I used a bamboo point turner to make sure the edges on the collar are nice and crisp also.

There were certain aspects of the pattern that I was a little nervous about sewing. The zippered pocket for instance, and the button holes. In hindsight, there was absolutely nothing to worry about at all, and by just slowing down and concentrating on each step in the instructions, there were no hiccups at all along the way – a first for me!

The fabric was a dream to sew. I hardly had to use any pins when sewing because the nap of the needlecord pretty much stuck the fabric pieces together, so that only aided time-wise on this already speedy sew. I didn’t altar the pattern at all, and the sleeves are a little long on me. But really I didn’t mind as I prefer to roll the sleeves up anyway. Overall, the fit is spot on.

I am totally in love with this jacket. Like, really in love. My husband was so impressed when he saw it that he asked me how much I paid for it because thought it was actually from Toast! When I told him that I had made it myself, he was not only relieved that I hadn’t paid £150 for a jacket, but also really proud of me for making something that looks so professionally finished, by myself. I can’t take all the credit for that though, it’s all the finishing touches that have been so thoughtfully included in the pattern that add to the finished affect. But the star of the show is the fabric by far. It makes the jacket, it really does. It looks and feels like it could be jacket that costs hundreds of pounds, but the fabric cost less than a tenner for the whole thing!

The fabric, finishing touches and timelessness of this jacket have cemented this make as not only my favourite current make, but also a make that I’m sure will last the test of time – construction-wise and style-wise.

The supplies for this jacket (fabric, buttons, zip and pattern too) came in at under £30. Less than £30! For this dream jacket that I probably eventually would have paid £150 for, for a similar one at some point. However, instead of buying a jacket, I had the pleasure of sewing one, and will get the recurring pleasure of telling everyone who will listen for years to come, that I made this beautiful garment myself – for less than £30! That’s a me-made wardrobe win!

Thanks for reading!

Carly @ Lucky Sew and Sew

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Adding some Sparkle to the House!

I was lucky enough to get to review the Mermaid Sequin Fabric from Minerva Crafts this month.  This stuff is mesmerising; stroke it one way and you get one colour of sparkles, stroke it the other and it changes. Or just do what my children do, and make pictures in it!

I was sent some of the blue/silver combination and it’s gorgeous.  I was surprised by quite how soft it feels, I kind of expected the sequins to have hard edges and feel uncomfortable as they are obviously not all always lying in the same direction, but it just isn’t the case.

Having been subjected to far too many adverts on children’s TV channels, I decided when the fabric arrived to do a blatant copy of some cushions I’d seen advertised.  The theory on the advert was that children would sit and concentrate better if they were playing with something soothing; I just liked the idea of sparkly cushions!

To make the cushions, I cut a square of the sequins the same size as my cushion inner (which was 16” square).  I was not entirely sure that the sequins alone would stand up to the wear and tear on a cushion, particularly one designed to be played with, so I cut a matching square of muslin and hand stitched the two together well within the seam allowances.  I then treated the combined piece as a single item.

For the reverse of the cushions, I used some off white Fake Fur Fabric; why not go for full on tactile while you’re at it?

I started with inserting the zip; I marked the zip length on the wrong side of the fabric, ensuring that length was centred, and then stitched from the corner to the mark on the machine.  I used a heavier needle (a 100) and it coped fine with the sequins and fur.  I also kept the speed down low so it wasn’t trying to race through the fabric.

If the machine had struggled, I would have removed the sequins from the seam allowance, but it was absolutely fine.  From previous experience, I would be very loathe to use the overlocker on this stuff, I just stuck to my normal sewing machine and a slightly longer stitch length than usual.

I then hand tacked the zip to the wrong side of the fabric, checked the appearance from the right side and machine sewed it in.  Leaving the zip open, I then sewed the other three sides of each cushion, right sides together, turned them out and inserted the cushion pad.

I’m absolutely thrilled with the finished cushions. They look so fun and both my daughters and my husband are mesmerised by them; there currently seems to be a deal that at least one of them will “draw” something in the sequinned fabric before they leave the house each morning.

The cat, however, is less than thrilled; every slight movement near the cushions causes them to sparkle and she’s desperate to find the source of the ever changing light patterns!

I have a little bit of sparkle left so I’m now in search of the perfect party top or skirt pattern to use for the remnants; it’s just too pretty to waste!

Thanks Minerva!

Becca @ Red W Sews

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Stunning Christmas Table Decoration by Michelle

Stunning Christmas table decoration for the home…

Traditional Christmas fabrics, makes this the perfect centrepiece for the table at Christmas lunch – just add a candle.

Materials

Cutting

  • 12 6” green squares

  • 12 6” red squares

  • 12 5” squares of interlining

Haberdashery items (All available at Minerva)

  • Iron-away Marker Pen

  • Quilters Ruler, Rotary Cutter/Scissors

  • Iron

  • Glue Gun

  • Dresden Plate Template

  • Basic Sewing Supplies

Finished size of table wreath: 17” diameter

Once all your green squares have been fussy cut, iron on the interfacing to the wrong side, in the centre of the fabric, repeat this for all 12 squares.

Take the red and green fabric squares, and with right sides together, sew using ¼” seam all the way round. Don’t forget to leave 2” gap along one edge for turning the squares right way out. 

Once turned right way out, press and ladder stitch up the gap with a white cotton thread. Repeat this process for all 12 squares.

Take your Dresden Template, and mark along each edge using your ‘iron away’ pen, then stitch along this mark using the metallic gold thread, repeat this process on all 12 squares.

Take two squares and with red sides together, sew along your stitched Dresden plate seam, repeat this process until all 12 blocks are joined together.

Using the metallic gold thread, hand sew with a ¼” over lap the red tops.

For a special touch – well it is Christmas… using a glue gun, add sparkly snowflake gems on the inner and outer tips, and where the red tops were joined.

The table wreath is a real show piece with the candle lit.

Here is what the back looks like...

And here are some photos of the finished piece...

Thanks for reading,

Michelle

creativeblonde x

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Festive Prada Fabric Dress by Chloe

When the prada self lined stretch Crepe Fabric first arrived I was so pleased with the colour. With the festive season rapidly approaching I wanted to make a dress that would be suitable for Christmas parties. The fabric has a dark red matt right side, and then a super shiny satin wrong side. You could use either side of the fabric as your right side, or even use both sides as a way to highlight different panels or interesting construction of a pattern. To show off the fabric and the difference on both sides I knew I wanted to make a fancy party dress with a high-low hem, so that you would get flashes of the satin side, but with the deep red matt side being the right side throughout.

I found the Mccalls 6953 Sewing Pattern, which has an option for a high-low hem, and a contrast band. I altered the pattern so that it had no contrast band, but added approx. 6 inches to the shorten/lengthen lines, to make up for the length I lost by not including the bottom band. I wanted to have a dress that was suitable for quite fancy parties (now I just need to find a fancy-pants party to go to!) and didn't want to risk it being too short, after all you can always take length off, but you can't add it! I had 3m of the fabric, and the pattern calls for nearly 3m plus an extra 2m for the contrast band, so I was pushing my luck trying to add all that length and still get it all on. I pride myself in being able to fit a dress out of less than the requirements, and although there wasn't a lot left I just about managed to squeeze it on.

I washed this fabric on a normal 30 degree wash, and it washed beautifully. The fabric didn't fray much at all, and I decided to finish all my seams with just pinking shears which turned out fine. I worried that this fabric would be quite difficult to sew with, but it was super easy and stable to sew. I did use a Microtex Needle, and some Silk Pins to ensure that I didn't damage the fabric - I didn't want to put all this effort into sewing a party dress for it to get ruined. I did have to unpick a few seams here and there and the fabric has held up well to being unpicked and re-sewn (in one particular place I've probably unpicked and re-sewn the seam about 5 times and it's not at all noticeable).

I made a size 18 (I’m a size 12 RTW) based upon the finished measurements, but it came out huge everywhere apart from the waist. I sewed it up with fairly large seams, and then spent a morning fitting the bodice, with someone to help me pin the excess out. 

The dress also was more than full length (I'm 5ft 3) and the back ended up dragging on the floor, so I took approx. 5 inches off the back blending to 3 inches off the front. The skirt hem is then finished with a very narrow rolled hem (there was no way I was going to be hand sewing a hem that long!), and I've kept it super neat because it’s such a feature of the dress.

The pattern calls for the bodice to be fully lined, but seeing as this fabric is self-lined that seemed like an awful waste of time, so I used a Bias Binding finish on the neck and the arms.

I was very, very, very, careful when using an iron anywhere near this fabric, as I don't think it would handle a high heat. I used a low heat, I moved the iron constantly and didn't use steam. I haven't damaged the fabric using this method, although it does mean it took an awful long time to iron the hem as I had to go over it 4 or 5 times to get it nice and flat.

I'm super impressed with just how easily the fabric sewed up, and how stable it was. It didn't stretch or shift at all whilst sewing, and I think it has led to a really neat finish. 

I love this dress, I can't wait to wear it out at fancy-pants parties - and if I don't get invited to any of those, I’ll just be lounging around my house, perhaps with a cocktail in hand, wearing this dress because I love it so much!

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Machine Stars Kit Bag Sewing Pattern Review by Sarah

Like most children, my daughter gets bored with things quickly, so a quick sew kit bag seemed like the perfect project. Before we started, she read through the Sewing Pattern instructions and thought they didn’t look too complicated. Personally, I think they could have been less wordy and more illustrative. Patterns for beginners can be quite daunting and pictures can be incredibly helpful. I was expecting a picture for every step of construction, but this wasn’t the case.

The kit bag is a really basic pattern, consisting of two equal sized rectangles. There are also pattern pieces for applique letters, to spell out KIT. 

We cut the bag out and marked onto the fabric where to leave a gap on the side seams. Once both pieces were marked, we realised the gap was marked on opposite sides. Unfortunately, the markings are incorrect with the gap placed on the wrong side on one pattern piece. Annoying but not a huge problem. 

My daughter didn’t want the appliques letters on her bag so we moved straight onto sewing it all together.

The first side seam went together no problem. The second side takes a bit more attention as you need to leave a gap for your cord later on. The instructions weren’t read too thoroughly at this point as the gap was marked on the pattern piece. 

Now the instructions say to turn your bag right side out. But they miss out the part where you need to sew the bottom edge of the bag together! Easy enough to spot if you’ve sewn before, but quite confusing for a child! I must admit I had to read through the instructions quite a few times to check I hadn’t missed it.

With the bag right side out, the instructions say to fold over the top edge twice and edgestitch it all the way round. The pictures and instructions say the gap for your cord will then be on the outside of the bag. Ours wasn’t. We went back through the instructions and realised they give you the correct measurements but the pattern pieces are marked differently. If you follow the pattern pieces as marked, as we did, you end up with the gap for your cord too high up. When you then come to folding the top edge down, the gap ends up on the inside instead of the outside. 

The instructions say to use a safety pin to thread your cord though the top of your bag. I used an elastic threader instead as they’re much easier. And so much quicker! 

After a not so straightforward sew, we ended up with a simple drawstring bag and a very satisfied little girl.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah @

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Q&A with Becky from Notes from the Sewing Room

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

My name’s Becky, I’m 34 years old and live in Nottinghamshire with my husband, Neil and Labrador Bentley. I’ve been sewing for about four years and am also the author of notesfromthesewingroom.wordpress.com.

I’d wanted to make my own clothes for a long time but it took me a long time to build up the courage to dive in and give it go. Looking back that seems a strange thing to say, but I’d not touched a sewing machine since I was at school (a long time ago!) and I was worried what people would think.

However, I always think if you put your mind to it and think positively you can achieve anything. So… off I went on a journey that I can honestly say has changed my life for the better.

I now make most of my own clothes and simply cannot imagine my life without sewing. It’s really become part of who I am.

I set up my blog primarily because I wanted to share my sewing experiences with other like-minded people. I also wanted to document the things I’ve created online for my own reference.

Although I’m only at the beginning of my blogging journey, I also really hope other people can read my posts and be inspired to give crafting a go.

Can you show us a photo of your crafting space?

This old photo was taken by my husband when our dining room was still our dining room – before my sewing equipment and fabric store took over completely. As the name of my blog suggests the dining room is now very much my Sewing Room! Anyone coming for dinner at our house now has to compete for space with many mounds of fabric and an over locker that rarely leaves the table!

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

I love anything handmade. I have always wanted to make my own clothes, but I suppose I just got tired of never really finding what I wanted in the shops and being unhappy with the fit of skirts and dresses particularly.

Although I mainly make clothes, I do like to try to turn my hand to other crafts, especially at Christmas time or when there are birthdays on the horizon.

In terms of my recent craft projects, I’ve had a go at lino printing, card making, pom poms and table runners. I’m always interested in learning new skills and get really excited when I master a new craft! 

I also love to bake and faff around generally in the kitchen. I recently tried making jam at the WI I attend which was great fun, so I definitely hope to have another go at that in the future as I was pleasantly suprized how little time it took (bearing in mind I didn’t have to pick or buy the berries and other ingredients).  

What do you love most about crafting?

I find crafting really stress relieving. Before I made things I found myself worrying unnecessarily about things and stressing out about work, but now I can focus on my latest project (or projects) and I honestly believe I’m much happier for it.

I can’t believe I didn’t find my love of crafting before; I’m always encouraging friends to join me for a craft-a-noon!

Who do you make things for? 

I guess I’m quite a selfish sewer – mainly making projects for myself. However, I do love to give handmade gifts to friends and family. I like to make them something that is truly unique.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

As we say in England, I am a real ‘tea belly’. I drink numerous cups of tea everyday and seem to get especially thirsty when I’m at my machine! These numerous cups of tea are often accompanied by a biscuit or cake, depending on what I have in my cupboard.

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

That’s easy! I’d be completely lost without ‘Pin Dog’, my faithful pin cushion who is always at my side whenever and wherever I am sewing – at home or at one of the many courses I attend in different parts of the country. Other than that I’d say it would have to be my ruler and chalk for marking fabric.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

I love to sew with Jersey Fabric, particularly Ponte Roma. The Coco Pattern by Tilly and the Buttons is one of my favourite patterns and I’ve made the top and dress version many times. Ponte fabric is easy to sew with as it doesn’t move around too much, plus I can achieve a professional looking finish on the inside of my jersey projects using my over locker.

What is your favourite pattern you have ever followed?

I love the Cambie Dress Pattern by Sewaholic Patterns for a few reasons. Apart from the fit and the pretty design of the dress, I enjoyed using the clear instructions and found that I got to try out a few new techniques such as the way the front of the shoulders are inserted and sewn on the inside. 

I’m a big fan of the Sewaholic designs generally. 

Another recent favourite and something new for me was the Frazer Sweatshirt. I’d not tried make a jumper with a faux collar before, but again found the step-by-step guide really informative and in the end I got a new sweatshirt I love. I only made it a few weeks ago and have worn it loads of times already.

Another one of my favourite patterns is the Agnes Top Pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. I’ve made this quite a few times and really adore it. It’s smart but casual, comfortable and easy to wear. Perfect for loads of different occasions.  

What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?

There are loads of patterns and fabrics on the Mineva Crafts website I’d love to use, however, I’m a big fan of the Grainline Studio Patterns Linden Sweatshirt so as the nights are colder now I’d go for the ‘Atelier Brunette Dazzle French Terry Fabric’ to make another one of these.

I’ve never really been a sweatshirt type of person until I discovered the Linden, reading other people’s posts online I think a lot of people love this pattern just as much as me!

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

That’s a difficult question. I always have great plans to finish one project before I start another but it doesn’t always work out that way. My imagination runs away with me and I look through my fabric stash thinking ‘I could just make a start on…’ and then I end up with a few things on my sewing table at the same time – something that drives my husband mad!  If I had to put a number on it I’d say three!

At the moment I’m working on a Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, some PJ trousers for my husband for Christmas and some homemade Christmas cards!

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

This is really hard to answer, because I really enjoy wearing so many of the things I’ve made. 

Possible contenders are the Sewaholic Cambie Dress.

Or the Simple Sew Patterns Ruby Dress with added sleeves. I also made the Ruby Dress last year for a Christmas party out of a gorgeous midnight blue shiny material.

Another recent contender would also be my mustard Sienna Dress by Simple Sew Patterns. I’ve had lots of wear out of this so far. I made it out of a lovely peachskin fabric with flamingos on it.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

I never thought I’d say this but I’ve developed a real thing for Country music. We went to Texas early this year and listened to the local music stations a lot when we were away. Since then I’ve rarely had anything else on my Spotify stream. Music, much like crafting, makes me happy.

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

I enjoy googling sewing projects before I start to find inspiration from tweaks people have made to patterns I’m using and fabrics people have used to create their projects. Some of my faviourites to look at are The Crafty Pin Up, Tilly and the Buttons and Lauren’s blog from Gutherie and Gharni.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Just give it a go! I’ve not been blogging for long but I kind of wish, much like sewing, I had started earlier. It gives you a platform to interact with other crafty people and gives you a personal way of sharing your sewing journey with others.

Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?

Hhhmmmm. I’d say creative, enthusiastic and resourceful. I recently started to upcycle a few bits and pieces which is fun.

What are your crafting ambitions?

Just to keep learning and developing. In the grand scheme of things I’m still new to crafting, I started about four years ago, so I’m always looking to pick up new skills. I’m a great believer in you never stop learning if you want to!Have you a favourite tip or trick to share with our readers? 

Just take your time with your projects. I’ve learnt the hard way; sewing when I’m tired, making mistakes and launching into projects without fully understanding the instructions. However, I’ve tried to learn from my mistakes – although, like most people, I still encounter a few hick-ups every now and then!

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Give it a go and don’t worry what other people will think. I’m always trying to encourage friends to get crafty because I can honestly say that it’s one of the best things I ever got involved in.

How can we keep up-to-date with your latest sewing and craft projects?

Apart from my blog, Notes from the Sewing Room - you can also find me on Instagram.

Thanks for reading,

Becky

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Little Girls Sparkly Crochet Poncho by Ember

Since teaching myself to crochet I've been trying to improve my skills by making different items and challenging myself. My daughter challenged me to make her a sparkly poncho, dark & light pink to be more specific!

We decided the gorgeous Hayfield Bonus Glitter Knitting Yarn in Fairy Dust & Glow would be perfect for the job. Minerva crafts kindly provided us with 3 lots of each shade to help me with this project.

I was a little nervous using glitter yarn for the first time as I wasn't sure if it would unravel but luckily the Hayfield Bonus Glitter Knitting yarn is great to work with. Using a 3.5mm Crochet Hook I started on the neck using the triple crochet stitch. My daughter wanted the option to lace a ribbon through at the end so I chained 2 between each set of 3 triple crochets.

Once I was fairly happy (for a beginner) with the neck of the poncho I moved on to the body of the poncho using the granny square technique. The poncho worked up very quickly using this technique and I love how the Hayfield Bonus Glitter Knitting Yarn in Fairy Dust & Glow look together. My daughter is very happy with how her poncho turned out too.

The poncho worked up rather quickly and although I can see where I can improve in future I am rather pleased with my first attempt at crocheting a poncho. I will definitely be attempting another poncho in the future and using Hayfield Bonus Glitter Knitting Yarn for future projects too.

Thanks for reading,

Ember

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Tilda's Fairy Tale Wonderland Book Review by Emma

I love books and pretty illustrated craft books are the perfect accompaniment to a sewing room so when I was asked to look the Tilda's Fairy Tale Wonderland Book how could I resist.
Tilda's signature, clean style follows throughout and the book feels classic and tidy. 
For those who love to make little dolls and toys, this is perfect, the little faces have only eyes and rosy cheeks which you paint on but they manage to still have expressions which reflect the characters they are representing. The characters are varied, from little deers to The Nutcracker. However, the way the characters are constructed is the same throughout so it doesn't offer a great deal of variation in terms of skills.
For me, for a book which is sold as having 25 paper and fabric crafts, there is a theme of the small dolls and animals throughout so I think the subtitle should suggest this but if this is your thing then this is definitely the book for you. The little characters are so endearing! 
The tutorials and beautifully presented with lots of pictures, which are a pleasure to look at and flick through. The pages are beautifully illustrated throughout following the fairy tale theme, making the book a pleasure to read and get inspiration from. 
The patterns are included in the back and need tracing, many of them are on top of each other, so a careful eye is needed!
I made the little make-up bag which was really easy to follow and makes a change from a standard make-up bag. It doesn't have a pattern for it, it gives you shape sizes to cut so it would be easy to size up and down. Though I think the top pieces are a little tall!
Just a quick note - many of the projects need you to use Tilda equipment or products to make the projects, some you will be able to use any fabric with but others, especially the hair of the dolls will need Tilda Products
Thanks for reading,
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Clover’s Sweetheart Rose Maker Review – Super Simple Pretty Embellishments

Hop onto the romance embellishment trend with these “oh sew easy dainty roses”!

With everything on the high street still floating on the romantic and embellished trend, make these fabric roses tonight to add to this seasons wardrobe staples.

I was delighted to review Clover’s Sweetheart Rose Maker as I love the idea of making lots of fabric roses fast to personalise my clothes and accessories. As I am obsessed with all things roses I couldn’t wait to get started. I choose the largest fabric rose template to create 6cm roses as I wanted a vintage tea rose look and the template is also easier to photograph. Both 4cm and 5cm templates are available to create smaller versions of the flower.

The template is from a Japanese haberdashery company so it’s like creating Japanese origami with your fabric sandwiched in the middle. Extremely satisfying to make! I made my first rose at my weekly textile group and that ‘voila’ moment when the rose pops out of the template is a very much a, ’I made it myself’ moment and a great crowd pleaser I can tell you.

The kits comes in a A5 size clear envelope so can be stored with your dressmaking paper patterns or paper stock. Inside, you get really clear instructions (see above) and the two pieces of the rose maker template plus a hair grip to hold it all in place. 

I loved how the instructions (English is just one off the multi-lingual sheet) has very easy to follow diagrams, so you can chat whilst make. You can also determine how ruffle-y or bud tight you want your roses to be. So even though you are using the same template the roses could be a range from full bloom to rose buds about to flower.

Here’s how I made my shoe rose decorations in a few easy steps. Firstly you need to sandwich your top and bottom template between your fabric. My fabric is pink Organza Fabric which doesn’t show up fantastically in the photos but it is the best fabric in my opinion to get pretty tea rose flowers!

I loved that the template had ‘START’ on one corner and a different pattern on the front and back to help you fold.

I sandwiched my chiffon between the templates.

And pinned my fabric sandwich together through the punched pin holes. At this point the pre-folded template wanted to fold itself in! It virtually folds for you!

I followed the instructions and my rose then looked like this, all folded in a perfect pentagon with a running stitch along the top (just seen).

I then created a wrapped tube by unpinning the two templates. It looks nothing like a rose at this point...

From this long snake like chiffon tube, I pulled the running stitch to gather up the fabric and followed one of the diagrams to make these cute chiffon roses. I was pretty amazed that I could create these from a tube of twisted chiffon in minutes.

Thank-you to Minerva Crafts for giving me the opportunity to make my plain ballet pumps pop with chiffon roses. I think I have the bug and I’m going to try this look on a knitted cardigan for a vintage starlet look. What would you do?

Samantha hosts vintage craft parties and workshops at www.crafternoonteahostess.co.uk

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