Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 26th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Sometimes it's nice as a sew-person to have really simple instructions on a little card so you are not battling through reams of paper instructions or pausing and starting YouTube. However, sometimes a simple piece of card can leave you a little confused too.
The Villa Rosa Designs Quilting Patterns are just that, a little postcard with all you need to make this quilt.
It tells you what you need (8 fat quarters and 2 and a quarter yards of fabric). Then has some very basic instructions on putting it together.
Away I went, I sliced my fat quarters up. I love using Fat Quarters for Quilts, they are so readily available and usually so well coordinated. I know you see lots of tutorials about what to make with fat quarters but I find quilts the most satisfying by far. I chose a lovely bundle in spring greens which came as a pack of 7 so I added one more from a woodland themed pack I had.
I sliced and labelled, determined to be organised so the simple instructions didnt catch me out.
I really enjoy the process of sewing up strips like this, I find it one of the most relaxing parts of sewing, something that takes little concentration and you can do whilst the TV or radio is on. It was slightly overshadowed here by my nerves though as I was worried I would get the placements wrong and I could see that this is would be crucial to the design. It meant that I didn't manage to do much chain stitching, as I wanted to get it right but I'm sure a more experienced quilter would be able to whiz through this.
At this point the pieces look like this...
I then sliced them in to five inch pieces, this is where it got sticky because it says to make 4 lots of 5 inches from each strip, I'm not sure if I did it wrong or the fat quarters were not to be relied upon but I could only get three lots of 5 inch squares out of some of my Strips. However, I've made it work so don't give up on this just yet!! I suspect that there is a direction in which to cut the fat quarters and in it's determination to be concise there isn't any tips like this on the card.
I am not an experienced quilter so I don't want to patronise anyone but the trick to getting this right is to continually label up and make sure everything is facing the right direction.
I began to piece together the strips using the code on the card and luckily, because of the way the blocks line up I managed to skip around the 'not enough blocks' situation and sewed the patterns in place. It has just meant that the quilt is shorter than it should be. Not the end of the world. Luckily, I left the theme fabric until the end so I was able to cut it to size.
However, I was unable to get the pattern running throughout like the mirror image it shows on the card as I didn't have enough pieces but I still think it looks effective. You can still see a pattern between the block, I feel.
As you can see, there's quite a lot of doing as you see best or that fits.
I quilted it by using chunky straight lines as I don't have the equipment, time or patience to freehand or motion quilt and I think it looks really smart.
As much as the colours I chose are pretty, I think to really make the most of the pattern it needs really bright or contrasting colours. I think it would help the pattern and make it look a little bit more modern. What do you think?
In conclusion, whilst I think it's a charming little quilt and a quick way to make a really effective pattern for a cute quilt, my warning would be that it is definitely not for beginners! Measure, measure again and label the life out of it!
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Emma and her Machine
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 25th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Who doesn’t love pompoms? I was so excited to receive these Clover Pompom Makers from Minerva Crafts to review. In this review, I’ll be giving a few tips on how to make the use of these tools easier. The advantage of making your own pompoms versus buying store bought pompoms is you can make it as fluffy, as big or small and as colorful as you want.
I started doing ‘research’ right away (pinterest, instagram, etc) to figure out what to make with these treasures. I was so overwhelmed with all the crafts you can make with pompoms, I finally decided to make something I’ll actually use regularly so to try I decided to make bookmarks and a wall art.
Tip #1: Use a small scissors such as an embroidery scissors especially if you have an extra small maker.
I received a small and an extra small package. One advice I have for anyone planning to buy these makers especially in the extra small size is make sure you have small scissors (such as embroidery scissors) as well. This will make cutting the yarn once it’s wrapped around the tool easy to cut. I struggled with my scissors for a while but once I switched over to my Embroidery Scissors, I was in pompom heaven!
Tip #2: The more yarn you wrap around, the fluffier your pompom gets.
I wanted medium fluffiness for my bookmark, which was inspired by several pinterest posts. I used the small pompom tool to make these, cut out hearts from felts to cover the knot on the other end by sewing a pair of the felt hearts together and voila! You have yourself a fun, diy, and functional craft!
Tip #3: Tie more than one knot when securing your pompom.
This helps ensure that the yarn is strongly in place. I made a wall art piece using all the sizes I received, another pinterest inspired project. This will find a home in my sewing room soon.
The instructions on the back on the pompom packaging are great but it still took me three pompoms to get used to making perfect pompoms. So don’t expect to have a perfect one the first time. Just keep at it and you’ll find you get better with each pompom you make. Enjoy and go crazy with these little treasures!
Sylvia from The Ravel Out
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 21st July 2017 by Annette
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 20th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello to you reading this – I'm Harriet and I blog over at hobblinghandmades.com and am a sewing vlogger on YouTube!
I'd been looking for Dressmaking Fabric to use for a Simplicity Sewing Pattern for ages, but couldn't find anything wide enough (or pretty enough) so when I got an email from Vicki and saw that this beautiful Cotton Lawn Fabric was up for grabs, I couldn't resist it!
The Sewing Pattern that I wanted it for had a very big full circle skirt, which was where the issue of fitting the pattern pieces onto the fabric presented itself. Before I popped this lovely broderie fabric in the wash, I had a trial run of fitting the pattern piece onto the material and – thank goodness - it fit perfectly and it meant that I could have a stunning border print along the bottom of my skirt.
It did occur to me as soon as I heard the water start running in the machine that really I should've measured the fabric before and after washing it, so that I could report back on the shrinkage – but I think that the amount that it did shrink was so small that it wouldn't have been much of a percentage at all. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't pre-wash this fabric though!
As I was cutting out this lovely polycotton, I noticed that there was hardly any fraying going on at the raw edges, which was definitely a big bonus! Although it is always a good idea to do something to the edges of cut fabric (whether that's using pinking shears, overlocking or using a zig-zag stitch), the exposed raw edges of a garment in this fabric would probably survive okay without any kind of edge finishing.
Another thing that I noticed was that, unless you accidentally press a massive fold into it with an iron, the fabric does not crease. This is due to the polyester percentage in the fabric – it means that it's less likely to crease because of the man-made polyester component, but that its percentage of the fabric isn't so high that it feels at all synthetic! A win-win.
The material was so lovely to work with – gathers were easy to put in, pleats, it dealt with unpicking well, but it is slightly see through when you wear it; something I didn't notice until I started to take my photos! This isn't a massive problem, though, and can easily be fixed by wearing lighter coloured underwear, a slip, or adding a lining underneath.
I did intend on using this fabric to make the dress from the patern above, but I had a fitting nightmare with the bodice and ended up abandoning it and just using the skirt pieces from the pattern, and added my own waistband. The fitting issues were through no fault of the fabric – it was the pattern, and it's made me cross that I've wasted some of the material!
I'm so pleased with the finished skirt – it has a beautiful drape, the colour is very sophisticated, and the border broderie anglaise detail adds interest without detracting from the simplicity of the skirt. I know that I'll be wearing it a lot – and buying the fabric in the creamy blush colour as well!
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 14th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Inspiration comes from unusual places at times. However this morning I just couldn't think what to write about. Then hey, I dived among my new samples, closed my eyes and picked 3 randoms. What beauts have I come up with!!
First up is this Lace Applique & Pintuck Cotton Lawn Fabric.
This is 100% cotton lawn fabric with fab pin tucks sewn in the fabric and a beautiful white braid sewn on at intervals. I am visualizing a white cotton shirt making full use of that braid for the collar and cuffs. My first pattern choice would be Vogue Shirt Pattern 8927.
This is a traditional shirt style with a two piece collar (easy to do a grandad collar, see version C) and various sleeve options. If you fancy something a little easier try Vogue Pattern 9226.
That collar is so easy and if you don't fancy the dipped hemline, it would be quite easy with this pattern to just straighten it. You will notice on both patterns that the back and front pieces don't have any seams just darts. I think this is a must when choosing this fabric because you don't want to stop the flow of these pintucks and braid. There are 3 lengths of the braid across the width of the fabric which is 140cm wide so care should be taken when cutting out these randomly placed tucks and braid. Possibly an extra half metre would come in handy bearing in mind it is priced at £8.99 per mt so not too expensive.
My next 'random' pick is this beautiful shimmer Linen Fabric. This also comes in a lovely salmon shade of pink.
This fabric is made from 55% linen and 45% rayon and the shimmer side of the fabric really glistens. It is from our range of clearance fabrics and is priced at just £2.99 per mt while stocks last. Last year I bought myself a beach cover up/dress in a peach linen that looks exactly like this apart from the colour obviously! As is usual with me I washed it in the machine and dried it in the tumble dryer after my holiday and yes, as was expected, it shrunk a little. It was a little too long to begin with but hey now it's perfect. So where I am going with this is please wash it first, my dress from last year only shrunk in the length but this fabric could shrink in just the width or even both.
Something like New Look Pattern 6500 would be gorgeous for this fabric, quite a simple shape dress.
Last of my 'random' fabrics is this beautiful Felted Coat Fabric...
This is brand new in stock! Last year we had a tremendous response to our 'felted' fabrics and now we find lots more coming into stock for the coming months. This is simply stunning. It does say handwash only so beware, I feel it must be because of the felted areas because the whole fabric is made from 100% polyester which is usually very easy to wash.
I think this is perfect for a coat, to take us through those Autumn months and continue on into the Winter. How about Butterick Pattern 6423...
With this fabric being priced at £19.99 per mt, I think I've covered a few price ranges today in my 'random' pick. I may do this again!!
Thanks for reading and please comment to let me know if you enjoyed it,
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 12th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
I've recently been product testing Hard and Soft Felt Squares for Minerva Crafts and my major observation is if there were no limit to the day, to my time available to work with this product life would be so joyous, well life is full of more than this BUT - I have so many ideas and considerations that I still haven't gotten to!!!!
I've created a keepsake, trinket box out of the Hard Felt, with some embroidery for added surface design....
It's bright and cheery..... I then used the Soft Felt as a building block for a mixed media postcard - you can see the blue felt on the edges. This postcard represents Hope and Dreams, where as we move from one to the other a window opens while the other closes....
My most recent creation used both hard and soft Felt to make some studio decor using block lettering, some other fabric scraps and paper - decoupaging it to the lettering....
I haven't stopped yet though, I am assembling pieces using the hard felt to make a small book journal....I also plan on making some whimsical succulent type flowers/plants by cutting petal shapes and layering them on top of each other to create the actual succulent shape..... I believe my own creativity or ideas are my limit, I can make these items realistic or whimsical based upon the colour/design of the felt I choose!! The hard felt has a nice firmness or stiffness to it that makes it perfect for applications or crafts that you might want to construct a shape or design that holds...for that reason I used the hard felt when making my keepsake box, because it needed to maintain its shape on its own. While the soft felt I really could use in almost any application, especially if I used another product to decoupage over it or firmness didn't matter. I urge you to let your imagination go wild as you come up with your own ideas to make with these terrific felt squares!!! Have fun, I am.
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 11th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello! My name’s Dinushi, I’m a sewing blogger at stuffivesewn.blogspot.co.uk. I regularly sew and occasionally knit. I’m excited to be trying out the Clover Pom Pom Makers as although I love adding pom poms to my knits, making them is always a chore!
The two sizes I’m trying out are 35mm, 45mm and 20mm, 25mm.
After ripping open my pom pom makers from their packaging I was pretty excited and a tad confused… Mostly because I hadn’t used anything similar to this product before, but also because the instructions on the back were pretty basic and don’t go into much detail (though I should say I’m not the best with reading instructions and following diagrams).
So I jumped right in, and after some experimental pom pom making, my first few attempts turned out a bit wonky and disappointing (despite the technique behind the pom pom making being quite simple).
But before writing off these little gadgets, I looked up a tutorial for the clover pom pom makers. Fortunately, I quickly found this video explaining how to make even and fluffy pom poms. (And by the way, there are loads of creative tutorial videos for Clover pom pom makers, including ones to make heart-shaped and even panda-shaped pom poms!)
I learnt that I was skimping with my wool (wrapping them around the arms only once), and to end up with beautiful fluffy pom poms just make sure you wrap your wool several times around the arms, adding multiple layers of wrapped wool (the more wool the fluffier). Then trim your pom pom after you remove it from the maker to make sure it’s all even.
I ended up making loads of these pom poms for a couple sewing projects, and would recommend these to anyone. It’s good if you want to quickly and painlessly add a pom pom to a knitting project, but also great if you’re making several at a time (though my arm did start to hurt after repeatedly winding wool :P). I did find making the smaller pom poms a bit trickier, as you need big sharp scissors to cut the wool and maneuvering these around the little pom pom maker is not easy.
The only thing I’d find annoying about buying the product is that I think it would be better if you could buy each size individually (instead of buying 2 similar sizes each time). However, this isn’t a fault with the actual product.
To conclude, these little things are a fool-proof and fast way to make pretty pom poms (as long as you wrap enough wool around your pom pom maker)!
I’ll end my post with what I made with my pom pom makers… (hoping to add tutorials to my blog soon).
The cushions were made using the 35mm and 45mm pom poms, and the zipper case was made using the 20mm and 25mm pom poms.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 8th July 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
I love surprises! Especially when I know I’m going to like the surprise, so when Minerva Crafts was looking for people to review their Fabric Lucky Dip Bags I jumped at the chance. I mean what could be better getting a lovely parcel of fabrics delivered and it being a surprise!!!
So I ordered the 5 metre Summer Fabrics bundle. At £9.99 which works out as roughly £2 per metre. Now its a lucky dip of what you get but the minimum length you will receive is half a metre. So you might get a 5m length of one type of fabric or you might get 10 half metre lengths of fabric. And all of the fabrics are brand new! Which is brillant especially considering most other fabric bundles contain seconds or soiled fabrics!
Which bring me to the important bit!!! what did I receive? Well I got 2.15m of apple green cotton gingham by rose and hubble (this Fabric alone sells for £7.99 on Minerva's website, so I got over £17 worth of fabric in this one piece), 2m of a cotton flowers and hearts print also by rose and hubble and 1m of a very floaty boarder print fabric! Now the eagle eyed of you will notice that I ended up 15cm over the 5m advertised! So you could say I was feeling pretty smug!
So my first impressions were that I loved the smallest piece which was the boarder print! I loved the weight of the fabric and the print and colours were beautiful. I'm a huge fan of gingham [who isn’t?] so I liked the 2.15m of apple green gingham I received although the colour threw me at first because I don’t really “do” green, but I guess that’s what fabric bundles are all about! Pushing boundaries! Now the last print is definitely not something I’d choose for myself, In fact my hubby mentioned that it reminds him of some of the prints that Screech used to wear on saved by the bell! That said I think I’ll be able to use it as lining or to make a pair of pjs! Actually I think its quite a nice fun fabric for pjs!
But seen as the boarder print was my favourite that’s what I decided to test!
Seen as it was such a small length I knew I’d have to do something really simple so I opted for a hack of the camisole pattern from the third Great British Sewing Bee book!
And I even had enough left to add a cute ruffle to the bottom of the dress! The fabric itself was a pleasure to sew and the cost of the dress worked out at just £2!
So would I recommend the bundles? Well I think it depends on what sort of person you are! If you are very organised with your sewing and only buy fabric with projects in mind and are generally quite fussy then I’m not sure you’ll like the surprise factor as much as I did! However if your a new sewer who wants to try different fabrics or someone who wants to jump-start their sewing mojo then I think this is a great product for you. In fact I’ve already suggested it as a birthday/Christmas present option for myself, that way I get the joy of fabric but he doesn’t have to deal with the pressure of choosing things!
And there are lots of options if you don’t like the fabrics you receive, you could make a gift for family/friend, you could use it for lining clothes or bags, making muslins or for pyjamas, because lets face it no one really sees you in your pjs do they? But if you really do hate them Minerva even offers an opportunity to send them back [but you pay postage].
But to be honest looking at the beautiful selection of fabrics that are on the Minerva crafts website I’m not sure you could really go wrong with one of their fabric bundles!!!
Frankie Baldwin @ KnitwitsOwls