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My Crepe Dress by Anna

Hi there, I’m Anna of Anna Jo Sews here with my second blog post for Minerva - the first was my version of Butterick B6217, and I’m now back with another retro inspired make. This time I went for the Colette Crepe Dress Pattern: a woven summer dress with a wrap closure, that unlike most wrap dresses, wraps at the back. 

I’ve had this pattern in my stash for a while now and was just waiting for the right fabric to make it up. I was over the moon when Minerva offered to send me this gorgeous floral viscose Crepe Fabric to sew it up, as it’s a fairly fabric intensive dress, requiring 3.5m of the main fabric, and another 1.5m to make the contrast waist ties. Thank you, Minerva - I don’t think I’d have been able to make this without your generosity!

The pics of the finished dress were all taken on our recent holiday in the South of France, with a view of the stunning medieval hilltop town of Saint-Paul de Vence. Well worth a trip if you’re ever on the Côte d’Azur.

Crepe is a pattern aimed at beginners because it’s actually very simple to sew, without having any fiddly closures to worry about. The neckline and grown-on sleeves are faced, and there are two different neckline options: round and sweetheart. Of course, I went for the sweetheart version, as I’m a complete and utter sucker for sweetheart necklines. I think the majority of my me-mades now feature this neckline - what can I say? When I find something I like, I stick with it! I also chose to make the contrast waist ties as I thought having a solid navy here would look good against the busy floral print.

While the lazy sewist in me initially contemplated just cutting into the fabric without going to the trouble of making a toile (hey, it’s a wrap dress - you can just tie it tighter or looser to adjust the fit!) in the end I’m glad the perfectionist sewist in me won out, as I ended up making a fair few alterations to the fit of the bodice. The toile was much too big all over, so I took it in by 1cm on each side seam (that’s 4cm off the overall width) and I changed the shape of the darts below the bust to give a more figure-hugging fit. I also decided the front neckline was too high for my liking, and I took it down by 2cm. It’s still high enough not to worry about any accidental cleavage flashing and I reckon I could have taken it a bit lower still - tart that I am - but it’s nice to have a dress in my wardrobe that’s a bit more modest than the rest of them ;-)

My final alteration was to take the curve of the shoulder in a little, as my toile was making me look like an American football player. I will now admit that this might have been a mistake, as my final fabric had much better drape than the bedsheet I made the toile out of, and I think I’ve now made the arms a little on the tight side. Not a problem when indulging in cocktails and general lounging about, but if I make any sudden arm lifting movements I can feel the stitches straining. Note to self: this dress is not one for running around after the kids or doing the housework in!

You can see the alterations I made to the front bodice in the next picture (new lines drawn in within the original bodice), and of course, those alterations changed the waistline, armholes and neckline so resulted in knock on changes to every single pattern piece except the ties and pockets. Gah! Sometimes I do like to make life difficult for myself.

Next up: cutting. I’m going to admit here that I’ve never worked with viscose crepe before. There was that one time early on in my sewing career when I made a dress lining out of silk crepe-de-chine and that was pretty easy to handle, though, so I figured I’d be all right with this stuff. The main Floral Fabric was very like that crepe-de-chine, having a light weight but a bit of body to it, while draping beautifully and having it a tiny bit of stretch. While it took a bit of care to keep the grainlines straight while cutting out, it was a seriously lovely fabric to sew. It behaves well under the machine and takes a good crease under the iron. I made absolutely no attempt to pattern match, by the way, and I don’t think that matters with an organic, irregular pattern like this one.

The plain crinkle Crepe Viscose Fabric was a very different beast, and I have to admit, I didn’t really know how to handle it. It crinkled right up when I pre-washed it, and became this heavily textured, really stretchy fabric. I wanted to preserve that look so I didn’t press it after washing, but I’ll admit now I probably should have, as all those crinkles made it a nightmare to cut out and sew! Luckily the ties are just two simple rectangles, so it wasn’t too big a deal. I do have some of this fabric left over - possibly enough for a tank top - so I’m thinking before I attempt to sew with it again I’m going to need to press it well. It does have a lovely texture to it, though, and I think it would be perfect for a lightweight woven top or swishy summer skirt. Minerva sell it in four different colours, and I have my eye on the red for a summer skirt, although I admit that might have to wait for next year now as it looks like the British summer is pretty much over. Boo!

The construction of this dress is pretty straightforward and the instructions are clear. The only thing that wasn’t mentioned that I thought should have been, was to staystitch not only the neckline and armholes, but the corrosponding facings too. I mostly stuck to the instructions while sewing up, but did add a bit of extra interfacing. With this shifty, lightweight crepe I thought it would be best to stabilise the neckline and armholes on the bodice as well as the facings, so I cut narrow strips of interfacing on the straight grain (I used this lovely Lightweight Woven Fusible Interfacing) and fused them along the stitching lines before staystitching. 

Interestingly, this wasn’t as successful as the staystitching at preventing the edges stretching out, as the facings were all interfaced, but they ended up stretching during construction. I dealt with it by sewing them on with the facing on the bottom, relying on the slight gathering action of the feed dogs to pull in the excess fabric. Worked a treat, but in future I will definitely be staystitching all my facings too.

The only bit of sewing that I found tricky was attaching the bodice to the skirt, as there was just so much fabric to deal with. I tacked the skirt seam allowances open at the top and stitched with the bodice side up, which made it a little easier to handle but I still had to take it really slowly. I also have to admit that I haven’t fully decided on how to treat the bottom hem, and so the dress in the pictures is finished with a simple overlock stitch in black. I’ve already shortened the hem by a good couple of inches, but I’m contemplating taking it up to above the knee and wanted to wear it first a few times first before making the final decision on length.

So, what about the finished dress? Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. I love the fabric and the way it feels against my skin—cool and with a nice bit of give to it. I also really like the overall shape of the dress, that back neckline with its deep vee, the pockets, and the way those grown on cap sleeves cover up my shoulders. Perfect for the Mediterranean heatwave! The dress has the kind of vintage vibe I was after, and will be great for summer parties.

However, I wasn’t really after a party dress. What I wanted - no, needed - was a dress that I could wear every day, and this isn’t it. The wraps feel too restricting around my middle. Somehow, in all my excitement to make this I’d completely forgotten that there’s a reason I don’t have any wrap dresses in my wardrobe, and it’s because I decided years ago that I found them uncomfortable. Not only are they bulky and hot around my waist, but the tie can be really annoying when lounging back in chairs. I don’t really have the patience to wear uncomfortable clothing any more, and one of the joys of making your own is that you don’t have to!

I’m also conscious that I still haven’t quite perfected the bodice fit. It’s a little loose under the arms, although I have to admit, it looks pretty good in these pictures so maybe I’m being too much of a perfectionist. I also wanted this to be a good holiday dress, but with all the extra fabric with the back wrap and ties it takes up more than its fair share of suitcase room. And it creases too. And I hate ironing - especially when I’m on holiday!

So, I’m in two minds about this make. If I leave it in its current state I doubt it will get worn very often. I already have a wardrobe stuffed with pretty party dresses, and a tragic lack of occasions to trot them out. While the contrast ties look cute, I’m seriously considering going for a fairly drastic remodelling by removing them, cutting it down the centre back and inserting a zip. I reckon that would preserve the look of the dress, while making it much more comfy and easy to wear.

What do you think? Is it worth reworking a partially successful finished make until you have it just right for you, or do you always want to move onto the next project?

Anna-Jo x

Instagram and Blog


The Rockabilly Pirate Top

Hi there, I’m Anna of annajosews here with my third blog post for Minerva—and if you’ve been following my other makes (here and here) you won’t be surprised to see this is another retro-inspired make! What can I say? I’m all about those Rockabilly vibes these days. I should just get me a flaming hot rod tattoo and be done with it!

Anyway, as I’m on a quest for cute clothes that are a little bit bombshell, but not so much that they aren’t appropriate for taking a toddler to playgroups, one of the recent Simplicity patterns instantly caught my eye. 

Simplicity Pattern 8342 is a bumper pattern pack that features a Rockabilly style knit top, pedal pushers and a pencil skirt with an amazing ruffle detail. Honestly, I could see myself wearing all the garments, but it was the top that hooked me in first. Apparently I really can’t say no to sweetheart necklines, cap sleeves and bust ties!

I figured as this was a knit top it should be practical for everyday wear, and it didn’t look too revealing (bearing in mind I’m quite happy with skintight clothes and plunging necklines—your mileage may vary). There are two versions, and much as I love the halter neck I thought the cap sleeves would be good for protecting my shoulders from the sun, and more practical to wear with a bra. You can see the cute retro stylings on the pattern cover models in the picture below—and I’ve got to say, kudos to Simplicity for showing two models of very different sizes on the one envelope—I wish more pattern companies would do this as I think it helps out everyone to see how the same pattern can fit different sized bodies.

And check out the fabric! I have to admit, I thought my first venture into nautical inspired prints would be more subtle—a ditsy anchor print, perhaps—but I fell in love with this Spanish nautical print Jersey Fabric on the Minerva website. While I was a little apprehensive about the pattern scale, I figured this top could take it. And I reckon I was right—what do you think?!

The jersey is a lovely quality—a true medium weight cotton lycra with good 4-way stretch and excellent recovery. The white base will show through the navy if it’s pulled really tight so it might not be suitable for something with a lot of negative ease like leggings, but for this top it’s just perfect. Cutting through it was easy with my rotary cutter and the fabric behaved nicely without too much rolling at the edges. Cutting did take me AGES, however, as I had to think really carefully about pattern placement and matching. Any inconsistencies would have been really obvious in a print with that much contrast in such a large scale. I ended up tracing out the front bodice pattern piece flat rather than on the fold which helped keep everything lined up. I’m pleased with my cutting decisions and glad I took the time to plan it all out. And it meant I didn’t end up with ships wheel nipples, which is always a good thing ;-)

For reference, my measurements put me at a size 14 for the bust, a 16 for the waist, and between 14 and 16 for the hips. Rather than grade between sizes I decided to go for a straight size 14, reasoning that the stretchiness should help it to fit. And besides, Big 4 patterns tend to be sized generously, so I figured I’d be likely to need to take the pattern in, anyway. I did measure the pattern pieces at the waist and figured the size 14 would have zero ease on me there, which seemed fine to me with this kind of style.

This version of the top uses a little more fabric than the halterneck, but can still be made out of just 1m of fabric (for the sizes 14 and below—larger sizes need a little more but it’s still very economical), so it could be an excellent stashbuster for those of us with too much fabric hidden around the house. Come on, I know I’m not the only one who does this!

Making the pattern up was a little bit more challenging than sewing a t-shirt, but that just made it more fun! It’s not a particularly difficult one to sew up and it could definitely be tackled by an adventurous beginner. The only bit that confused my poor little brain was the unusual and clever technique for sewing the sleeve where you end up with all raw edges completely enclosed. I couldn’t visualise how it worked from just looking at the instructions, but The Crafty Pinup has an excellent YouTube tutorial for sewing this top. I watched this through once, figured out the steps were straightforward if unfamiliar, and then sewed it up from the pattern instructions.

The back is held tight at the top using elastic in a casing, and I went for the 19mm Woven Elastic. The pattern specifies 13mm elastic, but as I tend to prefer wider elastic (more comfortable!) I went for this and made the casing was wide enough by simply overlocking and stitching down the casing, rather than turning under the edge before stitching. I cut the length of elastic specified for a size 14 but ended up reducing it by a whopping 3cm after basting the side seams and trying the top on for fit. Definitely a sign that I could have gone for the next size down in the bust!

The only other supply I used for this top was some H609 Vilene Fusible Knit Interfacing for the straps. The instructions do specify hem tape as well, but I decided not to go for that as the jersey behaved itself so nicely, and simply zigzagged my hem. Oh, and I used a 90 jersey needle for this one. I’m sure I could have got away with an 80, but as there are a few places where you have lots of layers to stitch through I’m glad I went with the thicker needle.

At just two and a half hours to stitch up I’d say this was a pretty fast make, although obviously a bit more involved than some knit tops (like I said, that’s a good thing in my book!). A couple of tips should you be thinking about tackling this top yourself: stitching the upper bodice together over the strap is much easier if you sew with the tacking side on top. It’s also well worth basting this seam first through all layers at the strap as it makes it so much easier to handle under the machine. I’d also baste the tops of the side seams to make sure you get them lined up perfectly at the underarm. I did this by hand and it worked a treat (after my first, abysmal attempt at sewing it without and a few minutes spent cursing as I unpicked all those annoying overlocker stitches).

So, what’s my take on the finished top?

Can you tell from the pics that I love it! It’s exactly what I was after to go with jeans or a skirt and it makes me feel like a Rockabilly Pirate with all those anchors on display. My little boy loves it too, but then again, he’s a sucker for anything pirate-themed. Prising him out of his pirate PJs is almost impossible some days, and I have been known to take him out of the house in them (Shhh! Don’t tell!), so he’s definitely getting something made out of the offcuts. There isn’t enough for a whole t-shirt, but I’m sure with some colourblocking I can make him something cute. Then we can be matching pirates! Arrgh, matey!

Before I finished this top I was a little concerned that there might be a large hole under the knot, but it’s pretty tiny on me. I’m guessing larger cup sizes might find it’s pulled a little wider. So yes, you do end up flashing the tiniest bit of bra here, but with the tie pulled down it’s barely noticeable. Still, not a top to make if the idea of random people knowing the colour of your bra gives you the heebie jeebies. Just sayin’.

My only problem with the finished top is the straps. They keep falling off my shoulders. Sizing down in the bust area would help, but what I really need to do is shorten the straps. However, you can only adjust the length at the back and if I shorten these any more they knock the cap sleeve too far back on my shoulder and it looks silly in profile. Next time I will definitely cut a much smaller sleeve, and will experiment with the best size for me. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is necessarily a problem with the pattern as drafted. I’m used to having to make narrow shoulder adjustments, so I think it’s down to my body shape. I could pick apart my straps and redo the sleeves, but since I’m a bit lazy busy, I’ll probably settle to adding some bra strap carriers (or these ready made Strap Retainers) and call it a day. Or just wearing a close fitting cardigan over it. That works too, and let’s face it, I’m not sure how much more bare arms weather we’ll be getting this year. I’m still hoping for an Indian summer, though. Let’s all cross our fingers for that!

So, next time I make this top I’m going to grade down to a 12 at the bust, and an 8 or 10 for the sleeves. Although I reckon my next one is going to be the halter neck as that’s seriously cute and summery… Or perhaps the next time I make from this pattern I’ll go for the skirt (I’m drawn to that hemline, which is weird as I’m not normally a ruffle girl) or maybe even those skintight pedal pushers… Which would you sew first?

Anna-Jo x

Instagram and Blog

All supplies for this make were kindly supplied by Minerva in return for an honest blog post. Thank you, Minerva!


The Kielo Wrap Dress by Wanderstitch

Well hello again, dear readers! Sarah from Wanderstitch here, super excited to be back on the Minerva Crafts blog sharing with you my Kielo Wrap Dress by Named Patterns.
I've been a long-time admirer of all the patterns on the Named website, but never actually got round to making any of their designs. As summer slowly bloomed in the UK I kept seeing beautiful versions of their Kielo dress popping up all over social media and decided it was finally time to make my own. I hadn't seen many patterned versions, they all tended to be plain - but you know I can't resist a good crazy print!
You can use a wide range of fabrics for this dress, but the key point is that it must have some stretch to it - 20% to 60% is recommended on the Named website. You could use a lightweight stretch chiffon or crepe (though you may have to think about a lining!) or any jersey that takes your fancy. A word of warning - the yardage stated on the pattern envelope is for uni-directional fabric designs as they instruct you to cut one piece the 'right' way up and then one piece 'upside down'. So if you have a fabric like mine, which has a clear 'this way up' vibe, you'll need to buy extra. One more metre over and above what's stated should do it, or two metres if you've got a large scale pattern that you want to match up.
When I saw this elephant print jersey on the Minerva Crafts site, in those gorgeous bright warm colours, I knew it was destined to become my Kielo. (Unfortunately Minerva have now sold out of this fabric, but there are loads of other gorgeous Jersey Fabrics to choose from on their site). It makes me think of lazing on a Thai beach, sun shining, lush green trees all around. Refreshing coconut drink in hand.
Sadly I don't live anywhere near a Thai beach for a photo shoot, so you'll have to use your imagination with this London park instead!
The Kielo is a full length, sleeveless wrap dress with waist ties that you can fasten in a couple of different ways. The waist tie is what drew me to this dress - I need some sort of definition around the middle or I end up looking like I'm wearing a bin liner. You can fasten it either at the front or at the back depending on your preference - It's photographed on the pattern envelope tied at the front but I actually quite like it tied at the back as I feel that it's not so much bulk on my stomach that way!
Named package their patterns in an über-stylish sturdy cardboard envelope, and the pattern itself is printed on white paper as opposed to tissue paper. Seam allowances are included (yay!). Due to the size of the body pieces, you have to trace two separate parts to get the one complete piece which you can then cut out, but this is no biggie. Cutting the front piece on the fold is a little bit tricky so I would recommend tracing a complete front piece (rather than one that is to be placed on the fold) to make it easier to see what you're doing and check that the fabric is where you want it to be. With this fabric, getting it straight was really important as it would be glaringly obvious if the coloured bands were wonky!
The construction of the dress is pretty simple as there are only three elements - the front (one complete piece with bust darts), the back (two pieces, one dart on each joined with a seam at centre back) and two straps. The straps require interfacing for extra support. I don't usually work with jersey so I didn't have any of the recommended knit interfacing to hand, instead I used regular woven interfacing (no stretch). I figured that I probably didn't want the straps to be able to stretch anyway or I'd be wrapping them around me a hundred times just to stop them from flapping about behind - check out the size of the dress when it's unwrapped!
To keep the edges nice and neat on the inside, I overlocked them. Though you could totally use a zig-zag stitch if you don't have access to an overlocker. To hem the dress, I used a normal straight stitch as I don't have a coverstitch machine - because there's a vent at the centre back of the dress the hem isn't under too much strain when walking so I'm not worried that the stitching will break. Working with jersey needn't be as scary as you think it will be - you can get along just fine with only your sewing machine, you don't have to have the other machines. If you've never tried working with it before, this would be a nice easy project to start out with as the fit is very forgiving!
My only special recommendation would be a Ballpoint Needle (also called a jersey needle) which has a slightly rounded tip to allow the needle to slip past the fibres of the fabric rather than piercing through them as a super sharp needle would do.
The dress is unlined, and there are no facings (bear this in mind when choosing your fabric!). If you wish you can use Knit Bias Tape to finish the armholes and neck opening (instructions are provided) but I didn't have any of this to hand. I guess I could have potentially made my own, but instead followed their alternative method of turning under the seam allowance twice and then stitching in place. This is the same method as used for the hem of the dress and worked out pretty fine.
I'm really pleased with how this has turned out, and I think the design has massive potential - you could achieve a classy look with a sheer fabric over a slip dress, or add some sleeves and make a winter version from a thicker jersey (which I am totally planning on doing). There is a free PDF template on the Named website for sleeves that you can download, so you don't even have to draft your own!
There will definitely be more of these dresses in my life. I don't usually get excited about fitted jersey dresses because they cling to my stomach, but this one has just the right amount of detail around the middle to not make me feel self-conscious. This dress is a game-changer for me!
As a parting gift, I'll leave you with the obligatory sugar-glider shot :)
Thanks for reading,
Sarah @ Wanderstitch

Pauline Alice’s Aldaia Dress by Lara

Hi Everyone! This is Lara from Handmade by Lara Liz and I’m so excited to be back on the Minerva Crafts Blog for another guest post!
As an indie pattern designer addict, I am always looking for new indie pattern designers to try. When I was browsing the Minerva Crafts Website, Pauline Alice’s Aldaia’s Dress jumped right out at me. So much so that I wanted to make the exact version on the pattern envelope! The pattern sample is Version C in a bright pink. It is just so beautiful, I couldn’t get it out of my mind!
I was browsing the Minerva Crafts website for the perfect Jersey Fabric. The pattern recommends medium weight knit fabrics with 20-30% stretch. I wanted to give Minerva's Plain Ponte Roma Fabric a go – it comes in SO many colors. I figured it would be a good basic to have as an option for all your knit dresses needs!
I had never sewn a Pauline Alice pattern before, but ended up settling on making the size 38 which was the closest to my measurements.
What I liked about this pattern is that while I was dead set on making View C there three very different views included in the pattern. View A is a v neck dress with elbow length sleeves with bands and a short paneled skirt. View B is a wrap style bodice that is sleeveless with a below the knee pencil skirt. View C, which I chose, was a jewel neckline finished with a facing, short sleeves and a 6-gore skirt.  You could make three very different dresses with each of these views which makes the pattern so worth it!
Because each version was so different, I really liked that the instructions were specific to each version. Sometimes it’s hard to follow when instructions have steps that are a specific view only mixed all together. The Aldaia dress had 3 sets of instructions, one for each version.
When I traced the pattern, I thought it would be a complex sewing project. It has a lot of different pieces and small steps that all add up to a beautiful dress. I was pleasantly surprised that the dress actually came together SO quickly. Before I blinked, I had a full bodice and then I was attaching the bodice to the skirt, adding sleeves and ta-da! All done!
The fabric was a perfect fit for the dress. It was such an easy fabric to work with and was the perfect stretch and weight for the pattern. I sewed the entire dress on my sewing machine and finished my edges with my overlocker to make it more finished on the inside. I hand tacked the facing and sleeve facings down and left the skirt un-hemmed. I don’t have a coverstitch machine and felt that a double needle would make the dress look more casual.
The pink of this fabric makes it the perfect girly work or weekend even attire! I am planning to wear it to a bridal shower and think it will be a perfect thing to wear! I would highly recommend this Fabric – and it comes in so many colors, the opportunities are really endless!
I am really thrilled with the way this has turned out and so glad I decided to give the Aldaia Sewing Pattern a try!
I’d love to see your versions of the Aldaia Pattern – make sure to reach out to me on Instagram or connect with me on my blog! Thanks for stopping by today!

The Red Midsummer Dress by Papercut Patterns

Hi I’m Lauren and I like making stuff – knitting, sewing – I’ll happily have a crack at pretty much any craft going, and I tend to document it all on my Instagram (@craftworksblog) or occasionally on my blog

This summer I’ve mainly been focusing on light, easy-to-wear dresses, that I can just throw on and get on with enjoying whatever I’m up too. This year in general I’ve been trying to sew more every-day garments, and spend less time on those cocktail dresses that I sadly never really have the occasion to wear. One dress I’ve made recently and one that’s been on my ‘to-sew’ list for a while, is the Midsummer Dress Pattern by Papercut Patterns. It even featured on my 2017 Make Nine list, so I’m feeling mega organised right now.

Until recently, I didn’t realise the wealth of Indie Sewing Patterns that is actually available on the Minerva crafts website. (I feel very behind the times.) When I realised that they do indeed stock the very pattern I wanted to sew, I jumped at the chance to order it and also order a few meters of some lovely red Viscose Fabric to go with it.

The Fabric

This Woven Viscose Fabric has the most amazing drape. It feels light, airy and perfect for summer, without being too see-through. I washed it before I used it and it washed really well. Since making up the dress it’s been worn and washed many times and still looks fabulous.

I tend to stick to very neutral colours with the occasional hit of pink or blue, so red isn’t a common colour in my wardrobe, but I thought I’d step a little out of my comfort zone this time, and as the pattern has a simple silhouette, I could get away with it.

The Pattern

As with other Papercut Patterns I’ve tried, the instructions were very clear to work through; I think this pattern would be great for pretty much anyone to have a go at, even I they’ve not sewn many garments before. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is the fact that the seam allowances are a little different to the traditional ‘big four’ patterns.

It was also a very quick pattern to put together, although the metres of bias binding do get a bit tedious after a while!

I used a regular foot and straight stitch on my sewing machine for the whole of the dress, but I also used my overlocker to neaten the seams on the inside of the dress, as the fabric is a little more fragile and I didn’t want it to fray in the wash. 

You’ll have to excuse my white overlocker thread though – I was so impatient to sew this up that I decided to just go for it instead of waiting for delivery of some red cones of thread. It kind of annoys me now because it really stands out against the red, but as it’s only the inside, I’m trying not to bother about it too much!

The Fit

The only negative thing I have to say about this make, is that it came up a lot bigger than I expected. This could just be me and my measurements, but I have found the same issue with another Papercut Pattern, and I think next time I make anything of theirs I’ll just need to make sure I size down a little. The good thing is that this issue is easily rectified, as the shoulder straps are adjustable and the wrap-style can be cinched in as tight as I need it, so it definitely hasn’t stopped me wearing the dress – I even took it along with me to my honeymoon in Florida.

All in all, I love the style of the dress - the colour and the design detail, like the shoulder straps. And I can definitely see myself wearing this for what’s left of the summer, hopefully it will be a long one!


Freelance Contribution: 4 Ways to End Your Stitching Project

Every stitch project has an ending. The way that you choose to close off your handsewn creation is largely dependent on your preferences. Here are four methods for securing a stitch that many crafters take when finishing off their artwork. 

Method #1: Looping Once

The goal of looping when closing a stitch is to create a knot that secures the creation. You begin this process by leaving no less than four inches of thread, but no more than six inches of the freestanding filament, out of the crafted piece. Then, do the following: 

  • Lay the project on a flat surface such as a counter or dining table and turn the crafted piece over so that the backside is turned upward. 
  • Carefully pick up the nearest stitch with your hand and pass it through the rest of the creation so that a loop is formed. 
  • Use your freestanding hand to pass the threaded needle through the loop and slowly pull the combination tight. 
  • The result should be a knot that secures your project. 

Method #2:  Winding 

As with looping, the winding process’s end goal is safeguarding the project by forming a knot. Such a task is accomplished by:

  • Making sure the needle is sticking out of the project.
  • Winding the remaining thread around the needle and holding it in place.
  • Passing the wound thread through the fabric so that a knot is formed.
  • Tightening the knot and trimming the thread that was not included.

Method #3: Multiple Loops

Creating multiple loops for a secure end is ideal when you make a blanket. You go about this procedure by: 

  • Inserting the needle through the fabric near the final stitch of the project.
  • Gently pulling the insert until a loop is formed. Do not tighten the loop but rather leave it loose and ready for the second loop.
  • Passing the needle through the first loop to form a second of its kind. Keep the second loop free as well so as to prepare it for the third pass of the needle. 
  • Passing the needle for the third time through the second loop to form the third and final loop. 
  • Taking the thread near the first loop and carefully pulling it until a knot forms. You should be sure to keep the loop sequence straight so as to prevent twists and tangles in the closure. 
  • Clipping off the remaining thread not included in the loop series. 

Method #4: Looping and Threading

The looping and threading process requires you to create space for a knot and use the needle to thread through the circle: Accomplish this form of end stitching by doing the following: 

  • Pass the needle through the back of the finished project.
  • Pick up 1/16th of an inch of the stitched fabric with the needle and pass it through the loop.
  • Hold the loop with your index and thumb fingers, and use your free hand to thread through the loop with the needle.
  • Keep the loop straight and slowly pull the thread tighter so that a knot forms. 
  • Place your finger on the knot and continue pulling the thread through the loop to create a tight and secure knot. 

A Quick Note

Those who sew with double-threaded needles should be sure that both threads pass through the loop before attempting to tighten the knot. Failing to take this precautionary measure could result in a sloppy and even insecure knot. You do not want to see all of your hard work go down the drain because of shoddy stitch closures. 

Thanks for reading,

Sally @ Stitch and Sew


Sunflower Summer Dress by Georgina

Hello, Im Georgina from Sew in the Garden. I'm very excited for you all to be reading my first Minerva Crafts post!

As soon as I saw this embroidered cut work boarder print Cotton Lawn Fabric I knew it would make the perfect summer dress. The Christine Haynes Emery Dress Sewing Pattern has been on my to sew list for a few months now and decided they would work well together.

The fabric is lovely and light but is quite see through. The boarder detail has a scalloped edge and flower shapes. It is along one selvedge edge and measures approximately 7 inches.

I love wearing bright colours and although I love cream dresses the colouring isn't for me and I would end up looking filthy by the end of the day. However I had a plan... Hello sunflower yellow Dylon Fabric Dye!

I haven't dyed fabric since I was a teenager when me and friend use to customise our clothes. I remember it being messy and the results were always slightly patchy but that was probably because we weren't allowed to use the washing machine and had to do it in a bucket! Now I own my own washing machine I can fill it with fabric dye as much as I like!

Dying complete and I was very impressed with the results. The dye has take really well to the fabric. Some of the stitching on the back hasn't taken but you can't see that anyway. There is a small area of stitching on one of the sleeves where the front stitching hasn't taken as well as the fabric but unless you are standing very close and staring at my arm I don't think you would notice.

As I've never made the Emery dress before so I was aiming for this to be wearable toile. I finally mastered the FBA and it has definitely changed my sewing life. There are still some adjustments I need to make to the dress, hence no full photographs of me wearing it but I will get it altered and worn this summer! Dying the fabric has made the fabric less see through but as I had enough fabric I have lined the bodice and made a shorter skirt lining so that you can still see the cut work boarder detail.

Instead of hemming the dress I very carefully, and I mean very carefully, cut along the scalloped detail in the boarder. This gives the dress and sleeves a pretty finishing detail. I did spend some time trimming all the loose fabric on the inside of the embroidered boarder as I didn't want them sticking through the cut work.

When sewing with this fabric I noticed that my pins kept catching. I would definitely recommend using finer pins and pinning within the seam allowance. To finish the seams I used French seams, I do love a French seam. I would normally use my overlocker but it wasn't threaded with the right colour and I was being too lazy to rethread!

I would definitely recommend this fabric for wearable toiles and it would make the perfect throw on dress when hanging out in the garden or on the beach. It's also great if you want to give fabric dying a try. 

Thanks for reading,

Georgina @ Sew in the Garden

1 Comment

Vintage Floral Collette Laurel By Lara

Hi Everyone! This is Lara from Handmade by Liz and I’m so excited to be on the Minerva Crafts Blog for another guest post!

I have been eyeing the Laurel Sewing Pattern from Collette since I first started sewing and decided to finally take the plunge and give it a go! The top version really caught my eye as it is such a great “work week” basic. You could have it in a million colors and prints and always have something fun to wear to work. I found this really vintage feeling floral Poplin Fabric on the Minerva website and felt like it would be a perfect fit!

Having never sewn any of the Colette patterns before, I was a little bit nervous about the fit of the pattern block on me. I sewed up a quick toile version and it seemed to be a good fit and decided to dive straight into my fabric from Minerva. I chose to sew up the top version but added on the ruffle sleeve because I thought it would be a fun addition to this vintage look.

I made only one modification to the pattern and removed the center back seam of the top, but other than that, I sewed the pattern as is. I sewed the entire pattern with French Seams which is my favorite way to finish a garment.

My favorite part of the pattern is the finishing of the cuffs. The way Colette has you finish and assemble the cuffs is so beautiful and a clean finish.

The Laurel Pattern is nice because it comes with a couple different variations including a dress and a top version, the option for an underlining on the dress, and the option for patch pockets. I am always opting for patterns that have a variety of different views in order to be able to make the same pattern a couple different ways – once you find a pattern that fits, you should make multiples, right?

My favorite finishing on the neckline is always a bias binding so I was excited to see that this pattern was drafted for a bias binding. If a pattern has a facing, I usually substitute bias binding for it anyways! I used a pre-made bias tape in a fun design similar to this here. I also finished the hem with bias binding which is also my preferred method – no burning of fingers trying to turn the hem under!

When I made my toile, I used a lighter weight fabric and the stiffer fabric of the floral poplin made for a bit of a tighter fit. I still love it, but I think if I make another version in a poplin or stiffer, I might size up or decrease the seam allowance a bit. I also am dreaming of making a version in a drapey Rayon Fabric – I think it would be beautiful. I’ve got my eye on this Fabric too! I might also add an inch or inch and a half to the length as well in my next version.

I am really thrilled with the way this has turned out and so glad I decided to give the Laurel pattern a try!

I’d love to see your versions of the Laurel Pattern – make sure to reach out to me on Instagram or connect with me on my blog! Thanks for stopping by today!

1 Comment

Embroidered Border New Look 6434 by Diane

Hi everyone,

I'm Diane and I blog over at Dream Cut Sew. It’s a lovely opportunity for me to be part of the product reviewing team for Minerva Crafts and today I’m reviewing this lightweight embroidered Cotton Lawn Fabric. I chose the silver grey colourway and I’m glad I did because light grey is a great neutral for me in Spring and Summer.

The pretty embroidered border runs down the selvedge edge on one side of the fabric only and with that in mind I asked for 1.8m so that I had enough of the border to play with. 

I pre-washed my fabric length because of it being 100% cotton and I used a short wash with a medium temperature setting of 35 degrees C. The fabric was a bit creased when it came out of the machine though it ironed nicely. I would recommend ironing whilst damp for best results. The weight is very fine and a little sheer so if you planned on making something like a breezy summer dress or skirt I think an added cotton lining would be advisable. With the deep border (approximately 8” deep) a floaty maxi skirt or a boho style dress or even a tunic would be lovely style ideas and the border could be used on the hems. Also what about a pretty dress with a full gathered skirt on a plain bodice for a little girl? This would be fabulous for beach cover ups too.

For my project I wanted to showcase the embroidered borders for bell shaped sleeve cuffs and a gathered bodice hem on a little Spring top. I used New Look Sewing Pattern number 6434 and did a little pattern hacking to it. I lengthened the sleeves and added the gathered border along the front body and on the sleeves. When you buy this fabric you really need to consider where you’ll want to use the border detail too and be sure to order enough length to cater for that. I knew I wanted sleeve frills and something along the front….1.8 was the perfect amount for me.

So, for my top, I wanted a bit more detail on it besides the borders and I decided that some decorative tucks were the way to go. 

I made eight tucks down the front and six on each sleeve. The advantage of the front tucks is that they provide a little more modesty so I don’t necessarily need to wear a camisole underneath, just a flesh toned bra would be fine. 

As I worked on it, the fabric stitched up like a breeze using a standard universal size 70 needle in my machine and it pressed well too. You can see how nicely the tucks lie in these pictures and I’ve also shown how I measured out for each one. I pressed a line 2cm from the stitching of each tuck and used the edge of my machine foot as my width guide along each fold line.

I made a really narrow stitched hem for the sleeve and body hems….for a while, I did ponder the idea of cutting close to the scalloped embroidered edges of the fabric in order to showcase the curves along the lower edge, but I decided against it in the end. I was a little worried that after a couple of washes there could be a bit of fraying, so I think If you want to try this for yourself it would be a good idea to practise on a scrap of fabric first and wash it a couple of times to see what happened. 

Finally I just used a simple bias binding for the neckline. You definitely need to think delicate and fine with necklines and hems when working with this cotton lawn. 

I’m really pleased with how my top turned out and the fabric feels soft on my skin, plus I think it’ll also be nice and cool to wear. I really hope you feel inspired to sew something yourself.

Thanks for reading,

Diane @ DreamCutSew


15 Things Only A Seamstress Can Understand

You know when you just love something - that thing you have found that you are so passionate about, but not many people understand? We know what you mean. When it comes to being a seamstress, it seems as if we have our own language. It is almost like living in your own little world that only you and a few of your friends can understand.

As a seamstress, Fabric, sewing needles and our handy-dandy sewing machine are our thing. Just like a nice football is to an athlete, our tools are our prized possessions. While everyone around a seamstress can appreciate a nice, finished project, only the seamstress themselves can appreciate all the work and each and every aspect that actually went into the process of making the completed piece.

There is just something so pleasing about the materials that we use and the feelings that our tools provoke – in addition to the feelings provoked by the hobby itself. A great sewing needle, or the smell of brand new fabric that you have just been waiting to get your hands on - these are the things that only a true seamstress can understand and appreciate. The joy that you feel when you learn how to finish that new stitch. All of these things are so pleasing, but only to a select few.

Other things that we have learned to appreciate as seamstresses are the everyday habits, our do’s and don’ts and the things that we might even forget to do when we get into the sewing zone. Being a seamstress can be a full-blown lifestyle, rather than just an occasional hobby. For those who aren’t that engulfed in the field, it can seem a bit confusing.

Check out these 15 things, that Wunderlabel have narrowed down, that only a seamstress can truly understand! 

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