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Archives: November 2018

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Matching Christmas Me-Mades

Christmas is such an exciting season! I love all the decorating, the baking, the songs, and of course, the sewing projects! Today, I get to share with you the Christmas project that was at the top of my list for this season - outfits for myself and all of my daughters.

Since I have 3 daughters to sew for, I needed a project that was simple and yet beautiful to wear over this upcoming season. I chose the Laurel Dress by Greenstyle Creations for myself. For two of my daughters, I chose the kid’s version of this same pattern – the Laurelette, and for my oldest daughter, I made a quick pair of Bonny Leggings by Made for Mermaids.

I wanted a classic red plaid and chose this Jersey Fabric in the red colorway for all of my projects. I love the shade of red in this print. It is not too bright but is still very festive for Christmas. I think it looks great paired with black and gold.

The Laurelette pattern can be made in a dress or tunic length, has an optional cowl or a neckband, and can be made in three different sleeve lengths. It works for any knit fabric with at least 25% stretch. It fits sizes 12 months to 14. I made the 12-18 month size for my 11 month old daughter to wear and the 9-10 for my 8 year old based on their measurements. I made my youngest daughter the tunic length so that it did not get in the way of her busy crawling, and I made my 8 year old the dress length. I used the straight hem included in the pattern, but the pattern also has an optional high-low hem.

The only alteration that I made to the Laurelette was that I gathered the skirt before attaching it to the bodice rather than sewing pleats as the pattern instructs. To gather it, I sewed a basting stitch at the top of the front and at the top of the back of the skirt and pulled my bobbin thread until the top of the skirt was the same width as the bottom of the bodice, making sure to match my side seams and gather evenly. I love how pretty the dress is with gathers.

My 8 year old daughter’s favorite part of the dress is the deep pockets that it has. She showed me during the photo session that she had some candy hidden in her pocket already!

For my dress, I also gathered the skirt instead of sewing the pleats. For the Laurel, you select your size based on your bust measurement. The rest of the dress is not form fitting so there is no reason to grade or adjust for larger or smaller waist or hips. My bust measurement was in between sizes, so I chose the smaller size (XXS) since this fabric has lots of stretch. If I had used a fabric that was not as stretchy, I would have made an XS. In the women’s version of the pattern, there are three bodice lengths for short, regular, and long torsos. I made the regular torso bodice and cut my skirt at the above knee length.

The neckline has a lower cut so it is very easy to breastfeed in this dress. It also is forgiving enough that it would be perfect for maternity or for the extra indulgences of the holidays. I took these photos right after Thanksgiving celebrations and was very happy with how forgiving the silhouette is.

My oldest daughter wanted a pair of leggings that she could mix and match with her favorite tops. I was glad that she wanted to mix it up a little and that she picked the quickest sewing project of us all. I used the Bonny Leggings pattern by Made for Mermaids for her tights. It is a free pattern that has always fit her very well.

I love how the scale of this plaid looks on leggings and how versatile this fabric is for knit sewing projects. I think I need a pair of leggings like hers for myself now too! This fabric has great stretch for leggings and nice recovery as well.

I am so happy that I got my first project marked off of my list for Christmas sewing this year and that all of my girls have a special outfit to wear over the upcoming holidays. I am also really glad I finally tried the Laurel and Laurelette patterns. It is definitely going in my bin for my favorite patterns.

I hope I have inspired you and that you have a Merry Christmas!

Sharon @ Sweet Mama Life

1 Comment

The Noodlehead Minimalist Wallet

Hi everyone, it’s Dani from Pocket or Two. I’m really excited to share my idea for two festive gift makes that look impressive, but don’t take too long to make: the Minimalist Wallet from Noodlehead. The pattern itself can be purchased as a pdf pattern direct from the Noodlehead website and everything else that I needed to make the wallets was kindly provided by Minerva. 
The wallet comes in two sizes - small and large - so I decided to make one of each to show you the different options. Both have a space for cards, a zip up pocket and another open pocket at the back of the wallet. The large version has three card slots and will also fit a normal sized mobile phone in the open section at the back, so it can be used as a clutch wallet. The small version has one card slot only and is small enough to fit into your pocket. 
There are quite a few options for customisation. The pattern is designed for two different fabrics. Minerva very kindly let me have free range on the materials for this project, so I chose two fabrics that are great for bag making for the outers: a metallic blue Vegan Leather and – this is something I’ve wanted to try for ages – a Cork Fabric (with metallic flecks). The vegan leather makes the wallet look professional and the cork is just something really different (and quite on trend in the bag making world at the moment!) Both fabrics really lend themselves to the wallet as they are stable so hold the shape well. 
For the lining fabrics, I chose an orange and white Polka Dot Quilting Cotton to compliment the blue and a Leopard Print Quilting Cotton for the cork lining. This is the fun part; you can really go to town on customising the wallet for the gift recipient here. If they’re a cat lover – why not add a cat print for the inside wallet? Harry Potter fans? Why not add their ‘house’ print inside. The possibilities really are endless. 
With the vegan leather, I used a leather needle (size 90) and a stitch setting of 3.5 for the topstitching. It irons well on a hot setting with steam (just be careful not to imprint the iron holes onto the fabric, if you leave your iron on for too long!) The ‘leather’ softens with heat but then goes back to normal once cooled, so don’t worry about that. I also decided against using interfacing with the vegan leather as it’s a stable fabric anyway, I didn’t think that it really needed it. For the cork, again, I just used the leather needle but it would work just as well with a 90 in a universal needle. The cork is also fine to be ironed on a hot setting. With the cork, as it’s thinner, I used interfacing, as per the instructions. 
I really like to use a Chunky Zip in these wallets. They’re going to get a lot of use, so you want to use something that will withstand it. With the metallic ones, you can then chose the hardware to match the metal as I have done with these two. For the button tabs on both versions, I decided to use the outer material – the pattern uses either leather or the inside pocket fabric for the tab – because it was the more rigid of the two. As I was using the Heavy-Duty Hardware, I wanted the tabs to be able to handle these and I also preferred the look of the main fabric for all of the outer. Again, these tabs can be customised to suit your recipient’s tastes. If you are using the inside fabric for the tab, I would recommend using a heavier-weight interfacing.  I used my Prym Vario pliers to install the hardware but the pack also includes the tools to be used with a hammer. Another way to customise the wallets would be to either make a fabric zip pull or to buy a charm for the zip pull. 
These wallets really make lovely festive gifts: the patterns take around 2 hours to make and don’t use a lot of fabric. You can get a wallet (and more) out of one fat quarter of each fabric. The trickiest part is when you come to turn the entire wallet out. It is useful if you have a point turner, but you could use a pen (with the lid on) or something similar to push out the corners. The main thing is to be patient, and to make sure that you push out the corners from each pocket. The prep time is minimal and, if you were making a few, would be easy to batch cut and sew. You don’t need an overlocker to make these, just a regular machine (and a leather needle if using the vegan leather). They’re so easy to personalise, which makes a thoughtful gift that looks great! If you have personalised labels, you could add one to the wallet or wrap in tissue paper and ribbon to give it that final hand-made touch!
Happy Sewing!

Furry Sewing Goodness!

Time for some furry goodness today!
I have kindly been given this wonderful little pink Bear Sewing Kit to try out by Minerva Crafts and who could resist that face! Having previous made Nanu The Snail from the Minicraft series I thought it would be great to try another creature and see how the construction and pieces compare. Would it be the Rolls Royce of bear kits? Or a ‘Furrari’ if you will…
The bear comes from a kit make by Minicraft Toy Kits, who have a whole host of lovely cuddlies to choose from. This fella is part of their ‘Cuddle Time Bear’ range and you have the option of blue, pink, green, or the traditional bear shades ‘chestnut and honey’. I initially wondered whether I was properly ‘koala-fied’ to undertake this task but you’ll just have to ‘bear’ with me…… (I heard you all collectively sigh but you’ll have to grin and bear it).
The kit contains all pre-cut pieces of fabric and eye parts together with instructions so that you can get making the bear right away. The only thing you need for this product is a needle, thread and some toy stuffing which can be bought separately. The stuffing goes a long way trust me!

This particular bear is 35cm high and the fibres are 100% acrylic. The pack indicates that the product is not suitable for children under 3 years as there are small parts for assembling the eyes. To be fair if that’s the only reason that making a bear from scratch can’t be done by a 3-year old I‘d be pretty impressed.  

Let’s unpack this hairy beast.

The bear comprises of 16 fuzzy pieces, 4 pieces of felt whose purpose is yet to be revealed and 7 facial components.

As you can see from this picture it does look like something pretty sinister kicked off down at teddy bear’s picnic and CSI: 100 Acre Woods is about to rock up and conduct an investigation. 
The great thing about this is that you can sew it on the machine or easily stitch it with needle and thread, by your own ‘bear’ hands. I made this on the sewing machine but to be honest there were times where hand-stitching would have given better control, especially with so much fuzz flying around and the kit’s tiny 5mm seam allowance. I tacked where it said to – they were pretty serious about that.

The ears came together really quickly, and after that, the head started to take shape after a bit of read and re-read of the instructions. I think with a bear and all these weird pieces there’s no frame of reference so it's tricky to see if you’re on the right lines and not sewing a leg to a head bit etc. With a dress at least, you can see if its ‘about right’. I was flying blind here people. The instructions and diagram of the pieces are however very clear and give good guidance. I would also give these instructions 10/10 for hilarity factor as it references such classics as ‘the furry head gusset’ which for some reason I could only read in the voice of Joe Lycett. (Side note: Yay to the sewing bee coming back!) 

Tip for sewing the head together – keep the fur tucked inside, right sides together, otherwise when you turn it out and the fur catches in the seam allowance, your bear looks like he’s got a bit of a toupée centre part going on. 

At this point, I did wonder if I’d made a possum or other such small rodent until it was time to attach the eyes. The instructions say to sew around the eye hole to reinforce it. I did not. I could barely see the eyehole due to all the fur let along jet that under the machine so just gave that a miss. The eyes take some force to pop into place securely so don’t be afraid to go for it. 

This is the only time I ever want to see what the insides of a bear's head look like. 

The arms and legs were relatively straightforward if a little fiddly. All was going fairly smoothly UNTIL I turned the arm out, it got stuck on a thread and this happened. Not sure Minicraft has made this themselves… I think they need to revise that age limit. Absolute panda-monium. 

Now lets paws for a second…. The rest of the body construction is great, it whips up like a little pimp jacket!

Looking good so far but we’re not out of the woods yet…. (and we all know what happens there). The legs are attached to the body and the whole thing gets turned inside out so you can attach the bear’s bum. Weird but true. 

The head goes on quite easily as at this point its just a straight seam to attach the head to body, as the back remains open for stuffing.

Now fill that bear up! I used some multi-purpose washable Polyester Filling which is certified safe for toy stuffing. 
The last few steps are to hand sew the gaps where you stuffed the bear with a ladder stitch. This gets hidden nicely in the fur and keeps him securely together. The final touch – his nose!

Meet Terri. Here he is channelling his inner Yogi.

I thoroughly enjoyed making Terri, it was a lot of fun, especially as it's not something I usually sew. This kit would make a wonderful gift – a toy presented ready-made for a kid or even the kit itself for those a little older, so they can enjoy the process of making and keeping their own woodland friend. 

Just watch where you put those pic-a-nic baskets….
Thanks for reading,

Christmas Tree Skirt

This year I decided to make a Christmas Tree Skirt, I’ve been admiring them for a while so when Minerva Crafts asked me to make something Christmassy it was the first idea I had. I found a pattern by Deonn Stott called Star Medallion Tree Skirt which looked perfect and not too difficult either. 

I chose some gorgeous Christmas Fabric with gold swirls on, this was ideal as I wanted three different colours and this fabric comes in red, green and cream. A few days later a lovely parcel arrived from Minerva.

The skirt is made like a quilt, the slit and the centre circle are not cut until almost the end. My first job was to cut out 18 large squares and stitch them together to make pairs of half square triangles. It was lovely arranging them on my design wall and seeing the colours come together. It was then a fairly quick job to stitch them all together. 

Once it was well pressed I could sandwich it with a red fabric backing and some cotton batting in between. I laid it out on the dining room table so I could get it nice and smooth and used 505 adhesive spray to hold it in place.

It took me a while to decide how to quilt it, the pattern picture has feather quilting down each diamond, which looked stunning but I don’t think my quilting is quite up to it yet! In the end I decided on a flower pattern which I’d seen in a tutorial on facebook just a few days before. I liked the idea that it was just curves and points, I find patterns with curves and points easier to do neatly with free motion quilting as the point gives me somewhere to stop and ‘regroup’ rather than wiggling on a straight line. I quilted in red, green and cream Gutermann thread with red in the bobbin for most of it. The fabric was lovely to quilt as it has a smooth sheen to it which seem to let it move really easily under the foot.

Once the basic ‘quilt’ was complete I had to make it into a tree skirt. I cut a straight line from the outer edge to the centre with a rotary cutter and then cut a 4” circle in the centre. I trimmed all the outer edges and reinforced the inner corners with a row of stitching. All that was left was binding and buttons.

I cut some lengths of ribbon to make button loops and pinned them in place down one side so they would be stitched under the binding.

Binding a star shape was a bit of a learning curve for me, I’ve only ever bound nice 90’ outside corners. The star had narrow angles and inside corners too. Luckily the designer Deonn had a couple of tutorials on her website so I watched those and went for it! I stitched the inner circle first with a length of bias binding in the red swirl fabric. I hand stitched the back which is how I prefer to attach binding.

The star shape proved easier to bind than I thought with my points coming out better than I thought. I didn’t fancy hand-stitching the whole of the binding down so I found my clover clips and turned the binding to the back. I then stitched in the ditch from the front, catching down the back as I went.

I covered some buttons with the red fabric, trying to cut the circles so I had a swirl on each button. I stitched them on and my Christmas Tree skirt is all ready for the festive season.

Thank you for reading,

Merry Christmas!

Margaret @ thecraftycreek


Burda 7148 Sweater Dress

This past month I have had the opportunity to try out a lovely polycotton fleece back Sweatshirting Fabric from Minerva. I have to say I was very surprised how thick it is when it arrived with a lovely soft finish on the reverse side. 

My intention was to make the Burda 7148 track suit hoodie dress but I almost changed my mind and made a jacket as it is such a good weight. I did however stick to my plan and I am glad I did as this will make such a good addition to my winter wardrobe. Trying it on for the photographs it felt really warm and I could imagine on a cold day with a long sleeve t-shirt underneath there would be no need for a jacket.

I found this dress an easy make so great for a beginner and as this fabric behaves so well this would also be a good choice for the inexperienced. There is not a problem with fraying edges and while it is thick it runs through the machine well without bunching.

On this dress I did choose to omit the drawstring purely because I forgot to buy one! So I made the decision to just have elastic to bring up the skirt where it bags over, I was going to add some eyelets and ribbon but after trying it on I like it just the way it was so thought it best to leave it alone.

Another adjustment I made was to the length, I am only 5’ 4 so this is not uncommon and the pocket is perhaps a little closer to the bottom because of that. If I had thought about it before I top stitched my pocket in place then there would have been no difference at all, so consider that when you are making adjustments.

The sleeves are wrist length with a hem but I have chosen to roll them up as they are in the pattern photo. Actually I have styled my photographs just as the dress is worn on the pattern as on inspection I noticed that the lady is wearing boots very similar to mine so why not!

One more thing I ran the sleeves in a little bit so they were not quite so baggy, this is just my preference and I did feel that if I need to wear a coat with this I would rather the sleeves were not too baggy underarm. This is easy to do just put the dress on inside out and pin up the seam (get a friend to help you) do not take too much off though as you still want this to be a comfy, slouchy garment.

As I mentioned above the fabric does not really have much fray so no need for overlocking which is great if you don’t have one. I chose to turn the fabric under at the neck, sleeves and hem and use a fine zig zag stitch I think it gives a neat finish inside and out and again great for a beginner. This is also my preferred method for waist elastic; I think sewing should always be about how you like things so don’t be afraid to add your own favourite bits.

This is a smart and comfy dress and will keep me toasty in those winter months, thank you Minerva for another super fabric.  

Thanks for reading,

Dianne @ sewinggreenlady


Create-a-Pincushion Kit Review

Hello everyone. For today’s blog I will be telling you all about this amazing little Create-a-Pincushion Kit by Clover.

The idea of this is you can very easily make a customisable pincushion using whatever print fabric you want. As you can see here, I used a cross stitch embroidery as my choice of fabric, however I do like the idea of changing the fabric to coordinate with your project, or with the changing seasons. Sometimes you just can’t find sewing accessories in your favourite colours.

The kit is available in either brown or white and comes in at around £10. The package contains the plastic inner container and cover for the main structure of your pincushion, and the silicone ring that will eventually hold your choice of fabric in place. It also comes with instructions in four different languages – English, French, Spanish and German – with step by step photo instructions. You will need to supply the fabric, stuffing and scissors.

So the first step is to select your fabric. This needs to be 5 1/2 inches square. If there is a particular part of the fabric you like, make sure this is in the centre, as you will only see the centre 3 inches of fabric when it is complete. For my pincushion I selected a cross stitch design that would produce a 3 x 3 inch embroidery.  Once you have your fabric you need to grab 5g of stuffing, or a big handful like I did, and ‘loft’ it by pulling it apart to reduce the chances of getting a lumpy pincushion.

Next you need to grab the inner container, the silicone ring and your fabric. Shape the stuffing into a ball in your hands then squash it into the container. This is the tricky part. Whilst holding the stuffing in with one hand, you need to place your fabric centrally over the inner container and whip your hand out from underneath, using the fabric to hold the stuffing down. Put the silicone ring on top and push it down so it stretches over the sides. You should have a little squashy fabric dome. At this stage you can readjust the position of the fabric if you need to, to centralise a design for example. It recommends evening out the creases in the fabric below the ring so there are no really bulky bits.

Next you need to cut the excess fabric off. I cut it to the level of the bottom of the container so the fabric won’t stick out the bottom when finished. Next, simply push the cover over the top, the silicone ring will hold this on, and TA-DA your gorgeous, customised pincushion!

This took me minutes to put together, and was pretty easy. I was worried the cover would be lose, as it is when the kit arrives, but it is tightly secured on there with the addition of the fabric. Saying that, it is easily removed by holding the sides and pushing down the cushion in the middle, for when your pincushion needs a revamp. I can see me keeping this pincushion forever as I can keep changing its look, and the casing is really good quality. Do not hesitate to give this product a try.

Until next time, you can catch me on Instagram and YouTube as Stitching_Joanne


Day Dress by the Avid Seamstress in Cotton Lawn Tartan

When the chance came to make a Christmas inspired garment the first thought that popped into my head was tartan. I’ve made plenty of glitzy dressy frocks for Christmas, but never made a day time Christmas inspired frock so I knew I wanted to make one for a change. Tartan immediately has me thinking festive outfit, but I didn't want to use a heavy weight tartan either or the most obvious choice of a berry red or holly green. I’d been really drawn to this Cotton Lawn Fabric in blue and brown tartan on Minerva's website and when I checked there was the most gorgeous colourway in grape and grey which fitted perfectly with the idea in my head. 
I chose to make the cotton lawn into a Day Dress by The Avid Seamstress. I'd already made a  plain front Day Dress in Scuba so I knew it was shape I really liked and would be perfect for any Christmassy outings we have coming up. This frock is one that can easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For this version I decided to make the button front Day Dress so I could add a proper Christmas Sparkle with clear sparkly buttons.  I had a rummage in my button tins and found just enough mismatching vintage buttons the same size. Christmas for me is about candles, sparkly lights and icicles and these buttons remind me of all of those things. Add in the grape colour of the tartan and there's a healthy dose of mulled wine in there too. 
As a cotton lawn the fabric has enough weight to hold the shape of most garments, but as I had chosen to make a button front dress which needs a bit more structure, I decided to line the dress. The cloth is lovely to work with and feels wonderfully soft to touch. It's one of those perfectly behaved fabrics to work with, the sort that don't throw up any issues as you go along. It is obviously slightly more see through than a standard cotton so lining the bodice meant my bra was hidden.  I didn't want to lose the drape of the skirt by making it too stiff so I didn't opt to line this as well. Any see through issues down below have been solved with a petticoat. 
The instructions for the Day Dress don't include how to line the dress, so I would say if you're a beginner then read around how to line a bodice and you’ll see it’s not as difficult as you might have first thought. I chose to make the lining in the same fabric rather than a contrast as I usually do as I knew this lawn would feel so much nicer next to my skin.  I made pleats at each of the dart positions in the lining, instead of the darts which allows for ease of movement. Once the sleeves were lined I stitched them to the main bodice before sewing the lining around the neckline and button front bands (which is where you would be sewing your facings if you weren't lining the dress. I used the facing patterns to add a medium weight interfacing to this part of the lining and stitched the edges down as after a few washes the glue sometimes comes away. 
To be honest the Day Dress is a really straightforward shape to put together so I didn't use the instructions. I do read through them first of course just to check there are no surprises. I really liked the method of sewing elastic to the skirt pieces to gather it up rather than sewing gathering stitches and then pulling it in by hand and then trying to get the gathers evenly matched. When I make a frock, I always sew the bodice to the skirt and then hand baste the zip in so I can check for fit and usually I have to bring it in by another inch or two. If I followed the Day Dress instructions, then the zip would have already been sewn into the back piece before sewing it to the front piece, which wouldn't have let me check for fit and then there would have been that nasty seam ripping to do on the zip. You might want to consider this if you choose to make your own version. I’m not faulting the pattern or design at all as I really do love it, but this is something you might find helpful for getting your fit right.
The main part of the Day Dress that needed a bit of tweaking was making sure I matched up all those lines in the tartan. I was far more successful on the bodice than the skirt, but I'm still very pleased with the finished look. I'm thrilled that the picture in my head came out just as I imagined it would. The dress feels smart casual and is super comfy to wear. It really is such lovely fabric to work with and wear. 
Thanks for reading,
Lisa @ Bobo Bun

Custom Made Christmas Table Coverings

When it comes to sewing, I'm mostly into garment making like many of you readers here. But I do like to sew home decor items for special occasions. The truth is home decor projects can be quick to sew and yet so effective. For this holiday season, I went for something super simple to make and will be used over and over in the years to come. 
The centre piece of our home during the Christmas season, aside from the tree, is our formal  dining table, a black monastery trestle style from Restoration Hardware that seat 10-12 people. While I love its simple geometric lines and sleek dark patina, it can look a little on the austere side during winter seasons. I wanted a classic table cloth that says Christmas in a modern and fresh way, instead of the traditional red, white and green variety. I decided on the rustic and organic look of a classic ticking stripe after looking in the magazines for ideas.
Custom made table coverings can cost a fortune for a large table. But luckily, it's a quick sew for anyone with a sewing machine! I searched Minerva for Ticking Stripe Fabrics and was delighted by their lovely selection of colours and patterns. To go with a holiday theme, I chose this Cotton Canvas Fabric with traditional red and cream narrow stripes.
Do you know that ticking tripes date back almost a thousand years? The greek word Theka (ticking) means covering. Usually a tightly woven cotton or linen twill, ticking fabric was originally used for mattress covering and upholstery for its strength and longevity. In the 1940s, American designers started using ticking stripes for home furnishing mixed with florals, and brought this humble fabric into fashion. Today ticking stripes are loved for their versatility and can be used for anything from home decor, bags, to garment sewing. 
My fabric from Minerva is a medium weight cotton canvas with red 9mm stripes on off white background. It's fairly loosely woven with a nice weight and drape. The rustic texture is just as I had pictured for our tablescape. I washed it on regular warm cycle and was delighted that there was no colour bleeding at all (which is always a potential worry for red coloured cotton isn't it). It had a little shrinkage from the 139cm wide pre-wash to 134cm after wash, which worked out great for our 96cm wide table. 
The construction of my table cloth is super straight forward. The fabric hangs over the side of our table about 19cm each side. Since the selvage is neat and pretty, I simply left it as it. I cut the length of the fabric so it hangs over 19cm on the short end as well when hemmed. I wanted the table cloth to wrap around the corners of our table neat and square, so I simply folded each corner diagonally (see photo above) and stitched a 19cm long line to mitre the corner. You can then cut off the extra fabric and serge the seam allowance. Flip it over and there you have it - a perfectly squared corner. Repeat for all corners and your customized table covering is done, easy as pie. 
I loved decorating our table with the new ticking stripe table cloth. This year I went for a wintry theme of freshly cut greens, deer antlers, candles and iridescent white baubles. The red and cream background of the table cloth, paired with the green and white decoration, says Christmas in a modern and fresh way with a hint of farm house style. We love to entertain and nothing says welcome like a festively decked out tablescape, classy and homely. 
I also love that my new table cloth is versatile beyond the Christmas seasons too - Swap in some pumpkins and it's ready for Thanksgiving here in North America! I can also see it decorated with white and blue for a summery theme, or other bright colours for a kid's birthday party. I'm sure it will be well used and loved in the years to come. Thank you Minerva for a lovely product! I will definitely be looking into more ticking stripes for future projects like cushions and curtains, maybe even a tote bag?
Happy Holidays!

Art Gallery Fabric Patchwork Sewing

Hello everyone!  I’m super excited about today’s project.  I was very inspired by the gorgeous Color Master Boxes that Minerva started carrying from Art Gallery Fabrics.  I picked No. 9 Fresh Water palette and I will be sharing about my makes with this set today.  This kit includes 10 fat quarter pieces, 18 x 22 inches or 45 x 55cm (which is 2.3 meters or 2.5 yards of total fabric).

As you open the box, the fabrics are beautifully displayed, begging to be sewn into gorgeous projects.

I have to share about something that might easily be missed with this project, the beauty of the box itself. The details printed on the outside of the box are so intricate.

There is a small cardboard insert (to raise the fabric) that I removed.  I plan to enjoy using this box for future storage in my craft room.

There are little stitch lines along the box that look like sewn stitches.  

The first project that I was inspired to make is a project with the selvedges. This might sound funny as I think more commonly people save the selvedges from fabrics, over time, to make something with after they’ve gathered them and the fabric is long gone.  Cutting off the selvedges is a fun way to see the fabrics together and save the fabric names for future reference.


Cotton Sewing Thread

9" / 23cm Zipper

0.5 m Grey Linen Fabric

AGF Fat Quarter Color Master Kit (Freshwater Edition)

Hemline Swivel Clip (13mm)

I first cut the selvedges off of each fabric at a 1.5” (3.8 cm) width.  The pieces are cut to 18” (45.7 cm) x 1.5” (3.8 cm).

Arranging selvedges and picking projects for them is a fun and creative process. There are no rules but I will share my approach and thought process with sewing selvedge projects.

I first like to lay out the selvedges to decide what order I would like them in.  I’ve found that I enjoy “framing” the selvedges to keep in mind that the fabric on the very bottom and the very top can get lost a bit in the seams (so I like to keep my favorite selvedge pieces in the center).

I overlap each selvedge edge by 3/8” (1 cm) and sew along the selvedge on top of the seam (at around 1/4” seam allowance, 0.6cm).  Selvedge edges are finished so overlapping them in this way offers a nice finished look and the edges won’t unravel.

After sewing the selvedges together, I trim off the edges to even out the fabric.

You have lots of options with what projects to make with selvedge fabric.  It is now essentially a new “fabric” that you can treat as such and cut out any pattern from (that is smaller than the new selvedge fabric dimensions).  You could keep the selvedges horizontal, cut the fabric in half and add a solid linen to the bottom of the fabric to make a colorblocked pouch.

I decided to get the most usage of this selvedge fabric by turning the fabric so that the selvedges run vertically.  I made the pouch based on the dimensions of the selvedge fabric, as is. I had a 17” x 11” (43cm x 28cm) piece of selvedge fabric.  I also decided not to cut the fabric in half (so the folded section on the bottom of the pouch will be one less seam to sew).

If you would like a general tutorial for sewing a zippered pouch (with zipper tabs) you can reference the following tutorial.  Just an FYI that the dimensions of my pouch are slightly different.

I cut a small rectangle for a swivel clip tab from grey linen.  I love adding a clip or key ring to pouches that I make (to clip them onto another bag). The tab dimensions are 3.5” x 1.5” (9cm x 3.8cm).

I folded this fabric in half, long ways.  I then folded the edges of the tab to the center and folded this length in half again.  The final length of the tab is 3/8” x 3.5” (0.9cm x 9 cm). I top stitched along both edges of the zipper tab.

I also sewed zipper tabs for this pouch.  Utilizing zipper tabs, it gives a nice finish to the pouch so that the zipper is flat and doesn’t get bulky in the side seams.

I will share that I didn’t not add interfacing to the fabrics.  When I make pouches like this, I will sometimes use a medium weight interfacing or a fusible fleece to stabilize the pouch.  With utilizing linen for the interior, this pouch is soft and will fall over with the weight of the swivel clip.

A benefit to choosing not to interface the pouch is that the flexibility of the fabric makes it easy to place it inside other bags.  A remedy to the pouch falling over is to place something inside the pouch. You can see this skein of yarn in the next photo that I enjoyed tucking inside the pouch (which may hold a new sock knitting project in the near future).

The next project that I made is a fun patchwork tray/pouch that I found via this Snappy Coinpurse Tutorial from i heart linen.  You will notice a theme with my projects that I share for Minerva.  I tend to enjoy changing patterns to customize them, for fun. Although this pattern is beautiful as is, I thought it would be fun to try a few changes to the pattern with this project.


AGF Fat Quarter Color Master Kit (Freshwater Edition)

Hemline Heavy Duty Snaps (Antique Brass)

Cotton Sewing Thread


Craft Knife

Fabric Marking Pen

0.5 m Medium Weight Interfacing

Darice Round Paper Hole Punch


I started out by printing off the template that is included in the tutorial.  My first finding is that you need to select “fit to page” when you print the template (to match the 1” scale block on the page).  Typically with garment patterns, you select “100% scale” before printing out the pattern not “fit to page.” As you can see from the photo, the 100% scale size template is too small, the “fit to page” template matches the intended pattern dimensions.

This finding offered a fun twist to this project (that I’ll share more about in a bit).

I followed the tutorial for the Snappy Coinpurse, with a few changes.

I first pieced four fabrics together (as mentioned in the tutorial).  One aspect that I really liked about the Freshwater kit is that a solid fabric is included with the nine other prints.  I love the contrast of solid fabrics paired with prints. With the patchwork block that I pieced together, I really liked that the bird is facing the tree.

I chose this next fun fabric for the interior of the pouch.

The following pic shows a view of what both fabrics will look like together in the pouch.  The two blocks are 8” x 8” (20.3cm x 20.3cm).

I chose to interface the fabrics.  With this tutorial utilizing metal snaps, it’s always a good idea to reinforce the fabric with interfacing (to prevent the snaps from ripping out of the fabric with usage).  I decided to modify the template to cut out the center with a craft knife (to view the center area for the pouch for fussy cutting).

I normally enjoy using a rotary cutter to cut out patterns but I decided to trace around the template in this project with the fabric pen (to view the area for the pouch, prior to cutting).  I then used fabric shears to cut the fabric. If you decide to center a motif on the pouch, you can move around the cutting area with this technique, prior to cutting the fabric.

The pattern calls for a 1/4” (0.6cm) seam allowance.  I decided to mark the corners and curves to reverence the seam allowance on the pattern piece.

Although I do have a point turner, I’ve found that a paintbrush has been my favorite tool to push out the corners in a sewing project (after turning the pouch right side out).  The paintbrush end is small yet rounded (to help gently push out the corners without poking through the fabric).

The tutorial suggests to hand sew the opening closed but I decided to top stitch (at 1/8” or 0.3 cm) around the perimeter of the pouch.  This gives a nice finish and eliminates the need to hand sew the opening.

One mishap that occurred during clipping the corners (before the pouch was turned right side out) is that I cut through one of the stitched seams and into the fabric.  This mishap was fixed with the added top stitching step. You can see in the next photo the area at the inside corner that was reinforced during top stitching. I did backstitch a couple of times at this location to reinforce this area.

This tutorial calls for adding metal snaps.  I decided to make a little “swatch” to practice adding metal snaps with scrap fabrics prior to adding them to the actual pouch.  In knitting, swatching is recommended to practice before starting a pattern. I enjoy utilizing this concept with sewing as well (practicing on a swatch of fabric first before applying a new technique to the finished item). I mimicked the project with fabric and interfacing scraps by ironing interfacing on two pieces of fabric and sewing them together in a rectangle. I cut this rectangle in half for two scrap pieces (to test adding the male and female snaps).

The snap kit includes all the tools you need (except a hammer).  The kit suggests using the included punch to first pierce a hole into the fabric for the snaps.  I marked a plus sign with the fabric pen to practice intentionally marking the snap in a set location.  I first tried using a rubber mallet (instead of a hammer) at this step and found I needed a traditional metal hammer (the mallet didn’t punch well through the fabric).

I found that a mini hole punch (that I had on hand) helped give me more control to center the hole at the marked location.  This isn’t shown in the photo but I found that punching three small holes around the center location worked well.

Through some trial and error I found that the best surface to hammer the snaps in place is a rigid surface.  After failed attempts of hammering the snaps on my sewing desk, I found that the best surface for me was outside on concrete floor.  I also tried hammering in the snaps on a hardwood floor (but concrete worked the best for me).

After adding the snaps to the pouch (in the suggested locations given in the tutorial), I made another change to the tutorial.  I wanted to try to avoid hand sewing with this project so I machine sewed each of the four sides together by placing the edges together and top stitching at 1/8” (0.3cm).  The result was quick and I didn’t feel the shortcut had a negative effect to the end project. There was no hand sewing needed with the changes that I made with this project.

After finishing this pouch, I thought a fun twist to this project would be to make a second, smaller pouch following the “100% scaled,” smaller template.  I first started a patchwork square for this second project but I found that the square ended up being too big for the template. The second smaller template needs a 6.5” x 6.5” square (16.5cm x 16.5cm).  I loved the framing with this patchwork block as is so much that I decided to set this one aside for a future project.

I decided to veer from the tutorial to sew a traditional, smaller, log cabin style patchwork piece.  The tiny two squares in the center are 1 1/4” x 1 1/4” (3.1cm x 3.1cm).

I thought I’d twist the process a little more with this second pouch to cut out the corners and curves on the template (to quickly mark the seam allowances to reference when sewing).  I used the craft knife to cut out these areas in the template. I skipped cutting out the corners on the left side (as shown in the photo) to flip the template around when marking the corners on the left side.  I also cut out the center area of the template with the craft knife to reference for fussy cutting.

I enjoy finding ways to streamline steps in a sewing project, especially when making multiple versions for gifts (or for myself).  Utilizing the template to mark the corner seam allowances saved me time (instead of hand measuring these locations).

I did find that with the scale being off from the suggested size, the seam allowance as shown on the template was not exactly at 1/4” (0.6cm).  This wasn’t a big deal, just an FYI. I top stitched the second pouch as well.

The end result is a cute and functional, smaller pouch.  As a knitter, I think this pouch would be a fun way to hold stitch markers when working on a knitting project.  I will say that when items are left inside the pouch and the front is snapped closed, I’m not sure if small items (like knitting stitch markers) might fall out of this pouch.  To me, the function of the pouch is more for standing up as a tiny bowl and storing the bowl flat when not in use (but I’ll experiment with this question).

Both pouches are really cute, side by side (one holding knitting stitch markers and the other holding fabric clips for sewing).

Although piecing patchwork fabrics together does take more time, the end result is so satisfying and quite enjoyable.  I’m really happy with each of these three pieces and I look forward to using them together.

I decided in the end to utilize the AGF box to store the leftover fabrics and fabric scraps for future projects.  I have a surprising amount of fabric left over and I look forward to making more patchwork projects with these lovely leftovers in the very near future.

I wish you all a very happy sewing day with your own sewing adventures!  Let me know what you make with these beautiful fat quarter collections.

Rachel @oakbluedesigns


A Very Tartan Christmas

I am very excited to have got the chance of making something for Christmas for the Minerva Crafts blog from this Tartan Fabric. When most people think of Christmas, family springs to mind and I just knew my make had to include my family.
I already knew what pattern I wanted to use for myself but I wanted to make a miniature version for my daughter too. I requested Simplicity 1208 Pattern for my daughter, which has 3 super cute novelty dresses and accessories. I thought the shape of the dress was closest to The Day Dress by The Avid Seamstress. But, what do I make for my hubby and son???
As I have a limited amount of sewing time each day, I planned my time very carefully. First I cut out all the pieces which took some time. I wanted mine and my daughters bodices cut on the same part of the pattern. I also had to pattern match the backs, easy enough with my zip closure but calculating how much overlap was required for my daughters button closure was more tricky. I also wanted to cut the skirts on the bias as I’d found a picture on Pinterest which became my inspiration for these makes.
The next day I overlocked all 26 cut pieces of fabric, the Avid Seamstress pattern instructions say to do this and this fabric really needed it. While it behaved really well during cutting single and double layers, I could tell that with a little handling it was going to start fraying quickly.
Simplicity patterns have very limited sewing instructions which tell you to line the dress bodice but as I was not lining my dress, made from the same fabric, I decided not to do so for my daughter. In fact, I only used the Simplicity pattern for the pattern pieces in my daughters size and then used the Avid Seamstresses amazing instructions to sew the dress! This is the second time I’ve used the pattern and it really comes together well.
A few other changes I made to my daughters pattern was to add 1.5” to the length of the bodice, the first one I cut was too short. I also decreased the width of her skirt to be the same width as mine which still gives her more gathers that me. I imagine the original size skirt would be really full! I cut facing for the neckline and inseam pockets for the skirt too. It really is just a miniature version of The Day Dress.
My daughters favourite part and possibly mine too is the beautiful Silver Glitter Buttons, from Minerva, on the back of her dress. I think they add a lovely festive touch.
For the boys I decided to make bow ties. There are numerous tutorials on Pinterest and they are relatively quick makes which could make a lovely Christmas gift for someone special. I think a slightly lighter weight fabric would be better as the pinched part of the bow ended up a little chunky, just something for you to bare in mind if you give bow tie making a go.
I cut the following:
1 bow piece 12.5cm x 37.5cm
1 knot piece 9cm x 7.5cm
2 neckbands 47cm x 4cm
Velcro 2.5cm set
For the neckband I measured my husbands neck and then added 5cm. (1cm each end for the seam and 3cm overlap for the Velcro close).
I overlocked all these pieces too as I thought the fabric would fray while turning the pieces out as it is a little fiddly.
I love that The Day Dress pattern is so versatile and can look so different in so many different fabrics. I really enjoyed this project and I even got everyone to smile at the same time for a photo! 
Happy Christmas Sewing!

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