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Christmas Gift Ideas!

Here at Minerva we are now being asked what presents are there to buy for your crafty loved one or friend. Here are a few ideas to browse. 
My first choices all cost under £10.00, in fact you could buy two and still be under £10.00! This is a new range for us and I can only say how well they are being met by our lovely customers. 
It is a range called Vanessa Bee Designs and covers everything from mugs at just £5.99, coasters at £2.99, fridge magnets at £2.49 and a range of jotter/notepads from just £1.99. 
Just for a taster in the photo I am showing you a saving's bank with "Mum's Knitting Wool Fund" printed on it. I'm sure most of us would like to receive one of these, I know I would! Are you reading Vicki haha? Alongside this is a notepad, they all have amusing quotes printed on them. View the whole range here, there are designs suited for both knitters and crocheters.
If your budget would fit under £20.00 an unusual but perfect choice for the home sewer is the Gutermann shade card. This is priced at £16.99 and is definately a "how did I ever manage without this" gift for anyone who sews. 
Here at Minerva we do offer a 'matching thread' service on each fabric we sell, just tick the box! but what if the thread is for that lovely remnant of fabric, from your stash, that you got years ago and finally want to sew. You don't have a match and it has to be perfect.... so now hey no more problems!
Under £30.00 comes this very pretty 'Sewing House Kit' from Tilda. 
It has everything in the kit to make this case for you to then add scissors, pins etc., and is priced at £27.99. The sewing kit when finished stands 19cm tall, nearly 8" so is a pretty good size, it shouldn't get lost too easy. 
This year Prym have launched their Super Easy Sewing Kits. This one I am showing you today is actually a Kit to Make Children's Clothes so you get the pattern, fabric, the co-ordianated elastic which forms the waistband and even 'handmade' labels to make a skirt and a top, both in a woven fabric and also a boob tube in a stretchy jersey fabric. Anyone who wants to have a go at sewing and has a little one, this would make a fantastic gift. It comes in 5 colourways and is priced at £26.99
If your loved one is an embroiderer and your budget will stretch quite far!! Or indeed if you just want to treat yourself, how about this wonderful Box of DMC Embroidery Threads. 
You get 1 of ever colour in the DMC range of stranded embroidery thread and they come complete with this beautiful collectors box. If you were to buy 1 of each thread individually this would cost you over £550, but here you can buy the complete set for just £495 and you get the wooden box for free. This is definitely an investment, but what an amazing gift this would be to receive!
If your budget wont stretch that far we also offer a smaller version of the DMC Collectors Box where you get one of each of the best selling 150 shades of DMC thread and a wooden collectors box all for £135.
That all for today folk's, I'm off to find a few more gifts to tickle your fancy!!
Thanks for reading.
Annette xx
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Pattern of the Week Kwik Sew 2858 - Toddlers Pants, Shorts & Waistcoat Jacket

Hello All!
We've got a POW for the small people this week in the form of Kwik Sew 2858 , Pants, Shorts & Waistcoat Jacket for Toddlers!
How adorable are these? The vest is fully lined, as well as having myriad of pockets on the pants and shorts to keep the tiny ones ready for play and action at all times! Teamed with an elasticated waist this patten is pretty spot on for toddlers. As well as having recommended fabrics along the lines of CottonsTwillsLinensChinosDenims and Corduroys, you can make these outfits rough and hard-wearing as they need to be! 
For me the clear choice for this pattern is Gaberchino. Machine washable, easy to care for, easy to sew, and comes is a great range of vivid colours!
 
Of course you can't go wrong with an Indigo Denim Fabric! 100% Cotton, this good old fashion favourite will certainly survive though many a play time!
 
Now with the vest being lined, I'd be tempted to try out our light weight Rip Stop Tear Resistant Fabric. Not only for the hardiness of it, an the challenge of testing it against a hyperactive toddler, but the colours are so bright and vivid that any child would fall madly in love with it, and you'll be able to spot them on the playground a mile off!
Do you sew for children? I so, what's your go to?
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Katie B x
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Fabric Friday - The Line Up!

Hello!
It's Friday again so it's time for a spotlight on my favourite fabrics of the week. This week I'm shining a light on our Lining Fabric! Though not just any Anti Static or Habotai Lining, as lovely as they are. I'm looking at our "O My Days that's gorgeous!" Lining fabrics. Many people ignore the lining of a garment, as it's hardly seen, but I say to you what could be better than a flash of something GORGEOUS when you take your jacket off, or a cheek peaky of colour when you're whirled around in your circle skirt?!
I'm going to start with...
How. Elegant. Is. This! I love the Silver against the deep Pewter, an the Circles and Clusters are so detailed. The perfect finishing touch to any garment. You'd almost want to wear it inside out!
Next, a lovely autumnal duo of Patterned Lining Fabric.
Available in two lovely natural shades, I was cooing over the Brown for a Linen Suit I was planning for my nephew. As for the Olive Green, I can see this lining anything in Tweed! Can you spot the subtle branding in the weave? A cheeky touch of luxury for yourself, how divine!
Speaking of luxury..
Our Paisley Weave Jacquard Lining Fabric is something I am forever waiting for an excuse to use. Available in seven stunning colours, the paisley weave on this is just so detailed and truly beautiful. We often see this used for Wedding Waistcoats, and it is easy to see why! A subtle class.
Last, but certainly by no means least, our Patterned Jacquard Lining Fabric in Red will light a fire under any garment!
Similar to the Paisley Pattern Lining, this fabric has more of  contrast to the light picks up the red patterned detail and almost smoulders with passion. Can a fabric be passionate?
I've got 3 projects in the pipeline that all call for lining. Hopefully by the New Year I'll be an expert in working with lining and can dive into this luscious collection head first!  
Have you ever used any fun lining fabrics?
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Katie B x
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Fabric Friday - The Spanish Influence

Today's Fabric Friday is all about Extravagance! Specifically our Spanish Dress Fabrics
These are the fabrics a sewist would dream of using one day, and it's easy to see why! Choosing just a handful was difficult but I just managed, so here we go.
Starting at the calmer end of the scale we have our Woven Print Spanish Dress Fabric Cream & Indigo Blue. A lovely woven polyester with a gorgeous drape, covered in Mandala-like print in Navy Blue, on Cream. Any garment made in this fabric will be instantly gorgeous.
Next, a fabric than can be described as nothing short of divine! Our Woven Jacquard Spanish Dress Fabric
Just look at that! This is pure elegance in a single fabric. The woven Paisley just cries beauty and the way the light catches the ivory is just exquisite! Also available in white, this also falls under the category of our Couture Bridal Fabrics, and is already on my Dream Wedding Pinterest board!
Moving onto one of the slightly more outlandish Spanish fabrics, our All over Sequins on Lace Spanish Dress Fabric in Black is subtle and over the top at the same time!
Now it may seem contradictory for a fabric to be called subtle and over the top at the same time, but this fabric manages it. Out of the corner of your eye, a simple black fabric but as it moves and you move with it the sequins spark into life and create a wonderful elegance! Not for the faint of heart, great for those wanting to make an effortless impact.
These are my top 3 from our Spanish Fabric range. I am waiting with deep anticipation for an event where I can use ANY of these fabrics!
Have you ever used any?
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Katie B x
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Quilting Fabrics Galore

We're all very excited here at Minerva HQ. For a few weeks bolts and bolts of gloriously colourful fabric have been paraded past our desks to Vicki's photo studio where she photographed over 1000 brand new Quilting Fabrics! The selection is truly outstanding with new lines from Timeless Treasures and Camelot Fabrics to brand new Designers such as Michael Miller and Tim Holtz! We're all so very giddy and we thought we'd share some of our favourites!
 
Starting with our old favourites, Camelot have some marvelous prints anyway as well as featuring free tutorials. Their Fresh Solids range is a breath of fresh air to the quilting game. The quality of the 100% cotton poplin has to be felt to be believed and the colours pop beautifully.
Their patterned fabrics are to die for, too! With Marvel and DC (Including special Wonder Woman Fabrics) prints for comic fans and Star Wars for Sci-Fi lovers, Camelot Fabrics are turning to the Geek Side (you should come, too, we have cookies).
BREAKING NEWS! Our suppliers have been in touch and due to lots of legal licensing stuff this fabric can no longer be supplied to the U.K.! We can sell what we have but then that's it! So get it whilst you can, I have ;D
 
Another favourite of ours is the Timeless Treasures. They have a great range of subtle, brights, traditional and funny fabrics and my top choices are a great example of that.
First up is their gorgeous Allover Butterflies Metallic Poplin, available in Turquoise, Cream, and my personal favourite Black. It reminds me of scenes from Fantasia; equal parts beautiful and dark!
Next is something I've already begged Vicki to include in my Blogger Network pack, Mustache Organic Poplin. Available in with Blue mustaches or Brown (below) this is a real winner! Especially with it's great quality.
Mustache dress anyone?
 
Moving on to our newer ranges, Michael Millar is a name I was totally oblivious to, until Catherine and Vicki schooled me and introduced me to the wonders of these designs! A lovely modern design, the Chrome Brush print is a great abstract design with paint brush strokes of bright or sorbet colours. My favourite is obviously the bright.
Going slightly more to the fashionable retro is the Rustique Trophey Print. Now I'm not a fan of hunting, but I am a fan of this fabric - all the style and no animals harmed! Available in four rustic shades, the Leaf Green is my personal fave.
Moving on to the cuter side of things, this adorable Camp Out Poplin. Available in three shades, this pale blue just steals my heart.
 
Another new face to the Minerva warehouse, Free Spirit have a great range of fabric and one that really stands out to me is their Victoria and Albert Museum collection. Working with the V&A Museum to research through their archives, this range has taken inspiration through time and place, including the Jacobean period, India and Indonesia. My top pick being their Bhandari Toraja Poplin in Indigo.
 
 A range that we've featured briefly before Rowan fabrics are beautifully bright, which I of course love, but what I really like about them are their Pre-Made Jelly Rolls and Fat Quarter Packs! For when you just can't make your mind up, these packs are brilliant at treats for yourself, or a gift for the quilter in your life. Trina recently made a gorgeous quilt from the red jelly roll over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, take a look at it - it is amazing!
 
Another big player in the Quilting Fabrics game, Tim Holtz has some of the most unique designs I've ever seen, taking inspiration from old and new. His Eclectic Elements Butterflight stole my heart with its anatomical text book design.
Another design that takes my breathe away is the Mercentile print. I love the vintage till numbers, it reminds me of Open All Hours!
  
A brand spanking new range from Sew Simple, featuring some truly outstanding Marble Prints. A great way to use block colours with a bit of character, or throwing a cheeky bit of tie dye effect in to the mix!
 
Yes, you read that correctly. Gutermann have introduced a truly fantastic range of fabrics and their Shabby Chic designs are to die for! The Ring a Roses Long Island Rose Quilting Fabric is divine. Available in three shades, the grey is the one for me.
Tugging on my heart strings is the Lizzy's Garden Tree & Dog design. Dog and Master sitting on a bench, looking out at the beautiful garden and weeping willow in front. Too beautiful! Of the three soft shades, the soft green wins out for me.
and if there's too much to choose from, Gutermann have made some darling Fat Quarter bundles to take the touch decision making out of the equation!
 
So that's my run down of what's new in our quilting game! What's great is, it's only getting better! There's lots happening here at Minerva HQ so keep your eyes peels for updates!
Be sure to share your makes! 
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Sew ya later,'gaters!
Katie B xo
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Amigurumi - the Tiny Craft from Japan

Hello Gang!
Well I'm back again and I've been let loose! Vicki is jet-setting around the Americas on her Honeymoon with her new husband Richard so whilst their sunning for the next 3 weeks on a well earned break we're all beavering away at Minerva HQ. I come to you today with something that has taken the crochet world by storm. Amigurumi! It's an amazing new style of toy making that had made its way over from the epi-centre of cuteness Japan. Often crocheted, but can be knitted, they're little figures of Animals or Personified objects, usually with large heads and small limbs (commonly referred to as a Chibli style outside of Japan). In true Japanese style, these things are always cute! 
Often with solid black toy eyes, brightly coloured cotton yarns are always the best accompaniment for a lovely polished finish, but regular Yarn can work well for a textured feel. They're very simple to do, too! More often than not you'll work in a double crochet in a spiral, as opposed to finishing off a round and chain stitching up. The smaller the cuter, obviously, but on my travels around the webesphere I spotted Zpagetti Yarn Amigurumi! Could you imagine how big they'd be?!
You can really see the spiral technique in the feet of the elephant.
Another fab thing about Amigurumi is there's a big online community for it and lots of free patterns as well as pre-made kits (great for gifts...to yourself hehe). The best online blog I've found is All About Ami. Run by a lovely lady by the name of Stephanie, she shared her yarn based adventures with the world as well as a collection of patterns and darling pictures of her children! My favourite by far is this Little Dragon and it's the perfect example of Amigurumi.
HOW CUTE IS THIS GUY?! Worked in 4 Ply, and a 2mm Crochet Hook this would be a great introduction to working with a low ply yarn. NOTE: Amigurumi is often worked on a smaller hook than the yarn recommends to keep the stuffing in!
Now Amigurumi doesn't have to be purely decorative and cuddly. For those who beauty is only in function, Sanda of Pepika has the answer. Her Bear and Bunny boxes are adorable, crafty and functional! Though I'm unsure if I could take their heads off to use them!
Possibly great in a nursery? The possibilities are endless.
So that's animals, admittedly one of them mythical. What about objects? Surely you can't make them cute? WRONG! Matt of According to Matt made this awesome Jammie Dodger, posted it, and got a million requests for the pattern. So he wrote it! You can find it here and it's just so fun! 
I'd be tempted to add eyes and a smile to the bottom. Watch this space ;)
So this is just a quick introduction to this little craze. I'm sure I'll end up featuring one of these gems for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network sooner or later, they're too adorable!
I always say this, but PLEASE share one of these with us if you make one! We needs the cutes!
Speak soon crafters!
Katie B xo
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McCalls Sewing Patterns

Hi Everyone,

This week I've been listing lots of new sewing patterns on the website. By the time I've finished we will have over 1000 new patterns on the website. Yep, 1000! They are all really easy to view on our new website too, with great filters so you can narrow down your search easily!

I've really enjoyed listing all the new patterns as I got time to study them all and look at all the pictures for each one. I've book-marked loads of them which have since found their way on to my to-do list...as if it wasn't long enough!

To let you know, we have started a fantastic 50% off all McCalls Sewing patterns offer this week, timed perfectly to coincide with the third series of the Great British Sewing Bee starting soon. So if you are a beginner-sewer, be sure to check out the fantastic range of beginner sewing patterns by McCalls. If your a sewing pro, then you don't need me to tell you that this is the perfect time to stock up your stash!

Like I said, having gone through all these hundreds of new sewing patterns recently, I've drawn up a list of favourites from McCalls, so I thought I would share these with you here. Please let me know if any of you have made these up so far and how you found them.

First up is a collection of patterns, 'The Archive Collection' which is brand new. The Archive collection is a range of beautiful vintage-inspired styles. The only problem is, out of the 6 patterns they have launched with, I really cannot decide on a favourite. Four of them coordinate together which makes choosing just one even harder. If you love vintage styles I really recommend you have a look at this newly designed collection. I am sure you will love it as much as I do. I decided to pick the skirt pattern to show you as 'my favourite' - take a look at that detailing on the waist.

Find our best selling vintage style sewing patterns here.

Next up is this AMAZING coat! Amazing had to put in Capitals to describe this sewing pattern. At first I thought it was a jacket and skirt combo, but when you look closely you can see it is indeed a full coat, which swings out at the bottom with so much fabric. It's going to eat fabric like there's no tomorrow, but boy is it worth it! Take a look at that topstitch detail!

Find our best selling coat sewing patterns here.

Next up is this classic shirt dress sewing pattern. I love all the panels in this dress and the way they have been used with the stripe fabric to create interesting changes of direction with the print. I think you could have lots of fun with this pattern, choosing prints that would make the most of the pattern piece placement. But then it would look equally great in a plain fabric too.

Find our best selling dress sewing patterns here.

Next up I've gone for this colour-block top sewing pattern. It is quite a simple style, but the pattern includes so many variations that you could be really creative with it and have lots of fun combining different prints, plain block colours or textures. I love the idea of choosing a colour of fabric and matching up fabrics of slightly varying textures and shades and using them all together in a top like this. Perhaps using something like our co-ordinating chambray fabric range. It would also be a great way to use up your smaller scraps of fabrics.

Find our best selling top sewing patterns here.

And the last pattern I've decided to include on this list is something new to me. Have you ever seen these 'right fit' patterns before? This one is designed to help you get the right fit for when making dresses. It definitely looks interesting and I imagine this sort of pattern could help lots of people out in getting the right fit. Please leave a comment if you have ever used one of these sorts of patterns before, did it help with the fitting process? The second image shows the style of dress you can make with the pattern, but I think I am right in assuming that the 'technique' you learn from this pattern-fit pattern could be applied to most dress styles.

So what do think, do you like my favourite pattern choices from the McCalls range? Have you made any of these up already - if you have please let me know by leaving a comment. I would love to hear from you!

Don't forget all these sewing patterns are currently 50% off the RRP, but the offer will end soon.

 

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