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Product Reviews

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The Butterick Walkaway Dress Pattern Review by Tina

I would call myself an enthusiastic beginner when it comes to dressmaking. I have only recently really been bitten by the sewing bug. So much so that I decided to challenge myself to wear me made every day. 
When Minerva offered to send me a copy of the Butterick B4790 Sewing Pattern, also known as the Walkaway dress I jumped at the chance. The pattern is a reproduction of the original 1952 one that was a huge success. At the time all other designs where stopped going to print to keep up with demand for the Walkaway dress. It is called the walkaway because the idea is that it is so quick to make if you start after breakfast you will be going out in it later that day. There are two options with the pattern. I chose to use one fabric but you can have a contrast front. I thought the dress would be easiest for me to manage in a Cotton Poplin Fabric and would give the structure needed for the dress. I used Instagram to see the dress made in different fabrics to help me decide on the look I wanted. Minerva had the perfect Fabric with little sheep which I thought was fun and made the dress more of a smart day dress rather than an occasion only outfit.
There are only 3 pattern pieces but with a full circle skirt so cutting out was very interesting. I have never worked with this much fabric before. I ended up cutting out on the floor with two cats helping by sitting on it . 
Debbie Shore has an excellent video on Youtube for this pattern. It has a step by step tutorial with lots of help and advice which was fantastic for me. The dress is like an apron which is wrapped around the waist, front and back with buttons. There are no button holes only loops and no zip to worry about. 
The edges of the dress are finished with bias binding. Debbie recommends ironing the bias binding in half to make it easier to sew. I followed this advise but where she had sewn hers on in one go, I found I needed to sew on the bias binding to the inside and then top stitch the front. This gave me more control and a better finish. 
On the pattern it calls for three packs of Bias Binding. Minerva sells it by the metre so I was unsure how much would be in a pack. I ordered 4 meters thinking there would be a metre per pack plus 1 extra. I was way under and needed to order more. I have been informed that a pack would be 3 meters so 9 meters is the required amount. 
I found the dress very easy to make. The main things I had to deal with was fabric management because of the amount I was working with. This is by far my largest project. Also the bias binding was a new challenge making sure I was attaching it neatly and well secured onto the fabric.
The dress was a really good fit. It fastens at the back at waist level. I found this did not hold the front in the right place for me. This may be due to my bust size as I am a D.  I found that putting a few stitches under the arm holding it in the right position stopped the movement. It creates a little arm hole. This does make it slightly harder to get on and off but is a far better finish.
This is by far the best dress I have made and I have had so many compliments. It is really easy to wear and I love the fun fabric. I think the cotton poplin was a good fabric for this dress as it feels lovely but gives the skirt a beautiful shape. I will be making another next year as it gives me so much pleasure to wear it. If you would like to see how the dress moves I have a video on my Youtube channel called Simply in stitches.
Thank you for reading my review
Tina x
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Prym Pocket Templates Product Review by Sarah

Have you ever started working on a dressmaking pattern only to think how perfect it would be with added breast pockets but the pattern doesn’t have a piece for that? Do you feel unsure how to draft your own, or like me far too lazy to take the time to do so? Look no further than the Prym Pocket Template Set for blouse pockets. It’s the easier option that provides perfect results every time. What’s not to love? Oh and did I say its super simple to use as well?

So once you decide you want the additional pockets (and who wouldn’t because pockets on everything is the most important thing on any item of clothing in my eyes) you need to decide which style you want. As you can see the Prym pocket set comes in three styles so you can switch it up and choose something slightly different for all of your new shirts and blouses.

My choice was the simple v bottomed pocket. My go to pocket on shirts. The bonus with this set is that you don’t need written instructions as each template has visual instructions on them. Being a more visual person than sensibly being able to follow written instructions I found this really helpful. I always make mistakes if I have to read things!

So how do you use it? Firstly grab the fabric for your pocket, the template with holes in and a no iron sign and a marker of some kind. I used my fabric washable marker though a chalk would also work, just make sure it isn’t something that will leave a mark when you wash it later. Trace around the outside of the template and inside the cut out areas in the template. The cut out areas mark where you need to iron the fabric over to make the pocket shape.

Next you need to cut the pocket shape out and then move on to the smaller template with the iron sign on. Get your iron ready and hot and then with the right side of the fabric face down iron the seam allowance marked by the cut out holes in the previous template up and over the template edges. This should provide nice clean pocket edges.

On this smaller template you will notice a perforated top. You need to bend this over, don’t take it off of the template, and then place it over the pocket shape again. Iron down the top of the pocket to create a small flap.

Now to move to your sewing machine. With right sides together sew the flap down that you just created along the seam allowances on either side of the pocket piece. Turn out the pocket to the right side and then with a pin pull out the little corners to make them crisp and square. I gave it a little press at this point to sure all the seams were lying flat. At this point you should sew across the flap edge, about an inch from the top of the pocket.

Almost there! Grab your garment and pin the pocket in place. Topstitch around the outside edges, leaving the top free for putting things in and then voila! A brand spanking new pocket.

Now it only took me about 15 minutes from start to finish. With something that easy you can go forth and put pockets on everything!

Find these blouse Pocket Templates by Prym here and you can also get them for Trouser Pockets too!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah @ Sewing-Beautifully

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Prym Blouse Pocket Template Review by Simona

Hello!

I am very pleased to share with you my impressions on a new product that Minerva Crafts are selling in their huge online shop. The lovely team at Minerva Crafts sent me a pack of Prym Blouse Pocket Templates to test.

Here is the description on the Minerva website...

"Great set of marking and ironing templates from Prym. Three marking templates and three ironing template blouse pockets, quick and easy in only a few steps with the aid of the marking and ironing templates which can be used repeatedly."

I really like the idea of having a couple reusable templates to make patch pockets. This particular pack has three different pocket templates – two for each pocket type (one template for cutting your fabric to size and one to use to press the seam allowances in). The templates themselves have the instructions making clear which one is used for cutting and which one for pressing only. That in case one does not realise that the bigger one is for cutting and the smaller one for pressing.

To make your pockets apart from your pins and sewing machine you need:

Yes, I am making full use of the Prym Ironing Sheet I tested before (here is the link to my review if you fancy a read of that as well).

You need to start by deciding which shape you want to use of the three and pair them together. If you are unsure which one you like you can make three pockets and decide later. Each pocket only takes a minuscule amount of fabric. I used scrap fabric left over from another project and I still have some left to make another three.

Use the template that had the little holes to mark the folding lines first to cut your pocket.

Mark both cutting lines and folding lines (I used a Water Erasable Pen).

Then cut around the solid line.

Using the templates that have the symbol for the iron centre it on your cut pocket piece and press using the instruction printed on the template itself.

To make it easier as well as to protect the pressing template, I have decided that it will be easer to just, mark on the wrong side where for fold should be.

I used this mark to fold the fabric and stitch the corner.

Once this is done, I clip off the corner, ready to turn to the right side and press again.

As I mentioned before, I could not decided which one I want to use on my top, so I made all three of them to test on the garment.

This gave me the opportunity to place each template onto the garment front as decided which shape I like best.

Once I decided on which one is my favourite, I pined it into place ready to sew.

Here is my pocket stitched in place. It’s perfect.

Perfect corners every time. I think this is a great idea and would not mind having a pack that has more shapes for the pockets. I will definitely use these templates to add patch pockets to a variety of tops, whether the pattern has one or not. I just need to remember to place them a bit closer to the centre front than to the side.

We would love to hear and see how you have used this pack of Blouse Pocket Templates in your projects. Minerva also have Trouser Pocket Templates too! Please share your makes with us. Tag @minervacrafts on Instagram and Twitter .

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

Love Simona @ SewingAdventuresInTheAttick

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Tropical Leaf Print 70s Daniel Hechther Butterick 6832 by Vasi

Hello everyone, this is Vasi and my first product review for Minerva Crafts.
There’s a certain escapism in most of the things I do and sewing is no exception. When Vicki sent through an e-mail asking for people to review a tropical leaf print Viscose Fabric, I just thought: yes please! Not just because viscose is one of my favourite fabrics to work with, but also because that print had me dreaming. 
I found its perfect match in the 70s Daniel Hechther Butterick 6832 and in my escapist dream this tropical dress was walking among the white washed houses of a Greek island a September evening, when the temperature would have dropped a bit and you wouldn’t have minded this lovely fabric caressing your skin. 
As I was away when the e-mail came through, I had no idea how much fabric the pattern required, so I asked for 3 metres, which I then discovered was less than what I needed, but with a bit of unorthodox creative cutting, I managed to fit everything in. I also shortened the skirt, so some more centimetres were gained this way. 
At first glance (I mean prior to sewing) this viscose is just beautiful. The print is very elegant and the tan version makes it even more exotic. It feels soft to the skin with an almost cooling effect. It drapes really well so it would be perfect for long or short flowy dresses, loose blouses, kaftans, tops and the summer weather of the UK. 
On the Minerva website there is a mention of possible 10% shrinkage after washing, but unfortunately I didn’t measure the fabric before and after washing, so I will not be able to comment. However, since I managed to fit everything on the length I had, I’m assuming that the shrinkage if any, is unnoticeable. What is noticeable though, is how easy it is to cut the fabric, as it’s not slippery at all and the fraying is minimal. I finished the raw edges with my overlocker.
In terms of creasing, although it presses really well and holds the press, it doesn’t easily crease. This is what it looks like when it comes out of the washing machine. 
The pattern I chose calls for gathering on the bodice, the sleeves and the waist both front and back. Gathers scare me, I can never get them to behave and although these aren’t perfect either, I think the quality of the fabric helped a lot with evening them out and achieving a much smoother effect than previous attempts. 
Another sewing fear of mine is buttonholes and this dress has a lot of them. The fact that I also didn’t measure correctly between the buttons (this is what happens when you sew in the middle of the night) meant I had to add even more to eliminate gaping. I used very thin interfacing on the buttonhole band, also from Minerva Crafts purchased some time ago and it worked perfectly well with the weight of this fabric. The buttonholes aren’t very good or at least not all of them, but despite the fact that the layer of fabric and interfacing isn’t really thick, the fabric remained intact as opposed to crumbling during sewing the buttonhole.
I decided to use fabric covered buttons, which turned out marvellous but slightly too big to fit through the tiny buttonholes I made, so I used them only on the sleeves and found some grey ones for the front.
I didn’t attempt any pattern matching because I didn’t have enough fabric on the one hand and the pattern on the fabric is so busy on the other, that I didn’t consider it necessary. The disadvantage of a busy pattern is that it is really hard to photograph any of the details but on the plus it’s an excellent camouflage for some unintentional design features.
Overall, I loved this fabric and the dress it became. At £2.99/metre and in a selection of five different colours, it begs to be purchased. As for the dress, it begs to be worn, so I may not wait until the next Greek island to take it out.
For anyone who would like to see some of my past sewing adventures, I blog at www.delightfullypeculiar.wordpress.com but I'm more often on Instagram under the same name. Vicki, thank you for giving me the opportunity to play with such a beautiful fabric.
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Chunky Rib Linden by Ruth

When Minerva offered me this grey Chunky Rib Stretch Jersey Fabric I just couldn't resist. More and more I'm finding grey as a staple colour in my wardrobe and Grey Fabric is just something I can't help but be drawn to!

I've been wanting to make a proper jumper for a long time but when buying fabric I've ordered online only to find it's not quite thick enough or just doesn't live up to the job. So I was thrilled when this arrived to find it very cosy and warm - perfect for what I wanted.

It’s very thick, so perfect for those chilly winter days coming up. It’s so thick that I would say a jumper would be my main use for this fabric. I wouldn’t attempt a dress but maybe a cardigan or jogging bottoms would be super cosy.

I know everyone has been raving about Grainline Studio's Linden Sewing Pattern so I decided to give it a go for this project. With the fabric being so thick it was a dream to measure and cut out. I find it's always helpful when the fabric includes natural lines you can follow too!

The front of it is a ribbed light grey, with the wrong side completely white. This worked great for me as I didn't even need to change the thread in my overlocker! The fabric didn't fray at all and because of the ease of the pattern and material I managed to finish nearly all the project on my overlocker - another bonus! This Fabric is fantastic to use. It doesn’t slip around or cause problems with your sewing machine so making something with it is quick and easy. I am also so happy with this finished product and think it’s the most professional finish I’ve had, just because it’s easy to be precise with this fabric and it doesn’t move around as you’re trying to sew.

The stretch is great so the final product feels like a ready to wear item. No trying to fit it over my head when taking it on and off!

I'd highly recommend this fabric for jumpers, especially for the winter season. I know in winter I can just wear this with some jeans and it'll keep me warm in all weathers! The fabric is fantastic quality for the price and I’m tempted to just make three more jumpers exactly the same.

If you’re looking for Sweater Fabric to start making your first jumper this is the fabric for you.

Thanks for reading,

Ruth @ A'hem!

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Lucky Dip Fabric Bag Review by Paddy

Hi everyone!
I'm Paddy from Dragon's Flame Designs and Im here guest posting on the Minerva Crafts blog today to review their Lucky Dip Fabric Bags!
When it came to picking a “Mystery Fabric Bag” for this product testing review, it was a challenging decision – there are lots of different bags available, so how could I narrow it down to one that would work for me? Each fabric piece is guaranteed to be at least 50cm long, so in the end, I chose the 5m summer-weight fabric bag, as that should give me enough to make a couple of items.

The bag of fabric was surprisingly heavy, making me wonder just how many pieces of fabric were in there! Opening the fabric delivery is a bit like Christmas; the anticipation of what you might get, and wondering what you will make with it all. Would it be soft, floaty fabrics, or linen that my Gran would be insisting needs ironing? Or perhaps pastel shades, that don’t necessarily suit my skin tone, or maybe some bright summery lemons and oranges?


First up is a linen-like lined fabric; something I’ve never come across before. I had a generous two metres, which worked out as a perfect length to make a pair of Blank Slate Oceanside trousers. Being lined, it would also have worked well for a jacket. It was a bit more “fray-happy” than I’d anticipated, but swapping over to a ballpoint needle seemed to help when it came to finishing off the seams.


The Oceanside trousers have quite a relaxed feel, but the fabric looks dressy enough for them to be smart casual. I think these trousers will get a lot of wear, as they feel like they would be plenty warm enough for spring and autumn as well as cool summer evenings.

After making these trousers, I had just enough left over to make a pair of Oceanside shorts as well. This time rather than just zigzagging the raw edges, I chose to finish the seams as mock flat-felled seams which not only gives a slightly different look to the shorts themselves, but should also make the seams a little stronger.



If I’d come across the stretchy striped fabric in a shop, I probably would have walked straight on by – the pattern is a lot more vivid than I would normally pick. However, with just over a metre and a half of this fabric, I knew it could make a fantastic unique jacket. New Look Pattern 6351 was my pattern choice, as being a cropped jacket, I knew I should have enough fabric length to make it work.



I did hack the pattern a little, adding in an extra half inch on both sides of the back seam just for ease of movement, and also added pockets in the side seams. I find three quarter length sleeves really don’t suit me, as they look more like 7/8 length. So rather than hemming the sleeves to the 3/4 length specified in the pattern, I used some blue bias binding. This meant that I ended up with full length sleeves which look much better. Sewing this fabric felt like a dream – it fed through my machine perfectly, and the small amount of unpicking I needed to do went really smoothly.



Next up we have some purple fabric with a diagonal metallic thread running through it; I was debating for a while on whether I should make a top or craft item - a much needed new container for my collection of sewing patterns. In the end, the metallic thread looked too fancy for simply storing my patterns, so I settled on view E from this New Look Sewing Pattern (6110). 110cm was just enough to make the top and belt. This one was quite challenging to sew, as it was rather slinky and slipped about while I was trying to pin the seams. The metallic thread made spotting the stitches a little more challenging when it came to unpicking, (is it just me that needs to unpick?) but the fabric has a really nice feel to it, which balances out the challenge of sewing it!

I will admit I gave up on trying to sew the belt “properly” – there was no way the fabric would turn on such a narrow tube, so I simply folded the fabric over as if I was making bias binding, and stitched down one side.



Finally, I had just over 120cm of a chiffon-like fabric with what I’m assuming are ‘pleather’ pieces sewn on to make a border design. I’d left this one for last, as I really hadn’t a clue what to make with it. I’d considered making it into a bag, but I thought the chiffon might be likely to catch and run. Or maybe it would work as a maxi skirt – but I couldn’t work out how to squash the pattern into the 120cm width, so I could have the border running neatly along the bottom edge.

In the end, I decided to use some gold coloured lining fabric with it, and cut out the Blank Slate Oceanside Shorts pattern from the top of the chiffon. It would have looked great if I had been able to use the pleather border on the legs, but again there wasn’t quite enough width to achieve it. However, I found a perfect place to show off that pattern effect – on the pockets! I didn’t follow the pattern entirely for these pockets; the top corner should be turned back, but to allow the main focus to be the pleather border itself, I cut that pocket edge across the diagonal fold line. That way you get the angle, without the turned fabric corner.



I will admit that the chiffon was my least favourite fabric to sew – I’m not used to sewing something so delicate, and there were a few arguments between me and my sewing machine before I’d finished! This was one reason why I decided to sew a bound hem on these shorts instead of simply folding the hem allowance twice and stitching; I didn’t think I would be able to get the hem to sit neatly otherwise.

Overall, I had a great time picking out the patterns and sewing them. This mystery Fabric Bag has given me some challenges, and I’ve got 5 great garments from it, and the knowledge that I don’t just need to stick to basic polycotton when it comes to picking fabric for clothing!

Thanks for reading,
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Red & Blue Fabric Bundle Review by Wendy

Hi everyone, it’s Wendy here from Wendy Stitch blog, here to tell you my thoughts on the Minerva mystery Fabric Bundles.

There are loads of different types of bundles available  - sheer fabrics, knit fabrics, summer fabrics to name a few. There are also a number of coloured bundles to choose from.

When I first spoke to Minerva about reviewing a bundle I mentioned a couple of colours that I like but that I was open to anything really and to surprise me. They certainly did surprise me! I received not one but two 5m bundles in the post in my favourite colours  to wear - red and navy blue.

I wasn’t expecting to get quite so much fabric. Nor was I expecting it to be so lovely. At £9.99 for each bundle they are such amazing value for money.

I am a high school textiles teacher, so I am used to working with all different types of fabrics, but these packs would be really great for new stitchers who want to experiment with different fabric types without spending much.

Let’s take a look at what I got in each bundle and match it up to some summer patterns.

Red Bundle

Red and white striped, 2 metres. 

This is a heavy weight fabric, that is quite sturdy, possibly a canvas but I could be mistaken. A furnishing fabric rather than a dress making fabric. And so much of it! I’ve got this ear marked for a beach bag for a holiday I have coming up but there’s enough fabric here to do a lot more with it. A Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress would be amazing.

Red and white polka dot, 1metre.

I love polka dots. Very happy to see some woven polka dot fabric has been included. This appears to be a cotton and is a light/medium weight. I love the combination of spots with stripes so this is going to become the lining of my striped beach bag.

Red floral, 1 metre. 

This is a really good quality cotton with a gorgeous bright floral print. I could imagine this fabric becoming an amazing Hawaiian style shirt or a vintage style dress. I do love this fabric but it’s not really my style, so I probably wouldn’t wear it. Instead I am going to turn it into a lovely make up bag. If there is enough left I might also make a vintage style head band.

Red and white narrow stripe, 1 metre. 

A beautiful narrow striped cotton seersucker. This is just crying out to be a summer top. Perhaps an Ogden Cami by True Bias Patterns.

Blue Bundle

Navy stretch, 2 meters. 

I’m not sure what this is to be honest. It is a knit fabric with quite a lot of stretch. I suspect it is synthetic but without burning it I can’t be sure! This is my least favourite fabric from the bundles. I could see it being made into a casual day dress or sports wear, but it is not really me. I will use it for when I am making toiles of garments that need a stretch fabric.

Navy and white stripe, 1 metre. 

Don’t you just love navy and white stripes. So nautical and summery. I am thinking of making a simple self drafted gathered skirt for summer with this striped cotton. 

Blue and white narrow stripe, 1 metre. 

A classic blue and white striped seersucker. I am hoping I can squeeze a pair of shorts out of this gorgeous fabric. I’m going to have to order more of this, it would make an amazing summer dress. I’d love a Christine Haynes Emery Dress from it.

Tie Dye knit, 1 metre. 

I would never have picked out this fabric for myself but I absolutely adore it. It’s a tie dye jersey fabric with a bit of an intentional crinkle to it. I might actually try to iron out the crinkle but otherwise this fabric is so great. It’ll make a great summer top like the Rumi Tank and will be perfect for my holiday. 

Fabulous fabrics bundles and such amazing value. I am seriously impressed. I can’t recommend highly enough!

Thanks for reading,

Wendy @ Wendy Stitch

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Jersey Knit Fabric Bundle Review by Helen

If you’re anything like me then a surprise is just about the best parcel you could hope to receive! This is exactly what I got when I signed up to review a Fabric Bundle from Minerva. It’s so exciting to not quite know what you are going to get…of course it’s not a complete surprise – you can choose your fabric type or colour and amount. I opted for Knit Fabrics as I just can’t get enough of how comfy they are to wear. I knew I was getting 5m of fabric but did not know what lengths it was going to be. Each piece would be a minimum of 0.5 m but after that anything goes, 10 half metre pieces, 1 five metre piece, or anything in between.

When my parcel arrived, I was so excited to see what I had received. Each piece was as exciting as the rest. There were 5 pieces of fabric in my bundle, each a metre in length (some were even a little more). The first piece, which I was drawn to immediately was a deep red/burgundy colour. It is quite a dense knit, but with some drape and a slight sponginess. I think it is probably a scuba knit.

There was also a creamy white fabric with a similar feel to it but slightly lighter weight.

The next fabric that caught my eye was a black double layered knit. The two layers are held loosely together and are quite different in texture and weight. The back piece of fabric feels like Ponte de Roma with a loose patterned knit on the front. This fabric is so soft and feels like it will be nice and warm to wear due to the layers whilst being light weight.

Next up were two quite different fabrics which I probably wouldn’t have picked out myself but I already have lots of ideas on how to use them. This is one of the bonuses of getting a mystery bundle – you get to try fabrics you might not have otherwise chosen. This yellow shiny loose knit is a medium weight with a strange almost tie-dye effect but in stripes. It is very drapy and has a lot of stretch. I think it will be perfect to try making some sportswear, such as leggings and vest tops.

Finally, this black/blue fabric is particularly interesting, it feels like jersey fused onto tights! The jersey has cut out holes so you can see the tights material behind and creates an animal print. It is not something I would have picked out but I can see how you might use it for making a costume – perhaps for Halloween.

Once I had unpacked all the fabrics and made a quick assessment as to which ones were my favourites, I started to hatch some plans in my head as to what I could make with all of them. Whilst doing this, I stuck them all straight in the wash to avoid any nasty surprises once you’ve finished sewing. Nobody wants to spend all that time sewing something amazing, only to find it shrinks in the first wash. However, I needn’t have worried. All the pieces came out of the wash the exact size they went in! This is always a bonus when buying fabric as you really do get the yardage you had hoped for.

Whilst the fabrics were washing I set about hunting in the packaging for the packing slip. It was here I found the first and only downfall of the mystery bundle – it was just that, a mystery; no description of any of the fabrics. If you know your fabric types well I guess this is not a problem, but sometimes it is nice to know exactly what you have got, but I guess it is also fun to just go ahead and make something without sticking to the rules!

With so much fabric it was impossible to decide what to make first but I had to trust my instincts and go with the dark red material, with a metre of fabric it was plenty to make a pencil skirt and the weight of the fabric was just right! It was such a speedy sew, the fabric just glides through the machine and this type of skirt is so easy to make as you can just try it on and pin it to fit and then sew away!

To go with the skirt, I needed to make a cardigan and the black fabric from the bundle was perfect for this. Again, a simple sew but this time there were a few snags along the way (quite literally!). As the fabric has two layers the looser knit on the top kept getting stuck on the foot of my machine and so it was necessary to take it quite slowly but I think the result was worth it.

I loved my mystery bundle – 5 metres of Fabric and it is only £9.99, what a bargain! There is bound to be something you will love with such a selection of fabric and even if it is not all the sort of fabric you would normally choose to buy it is a great way to try something new without breaking the bank!

Thanks for reading,

Helen @ H's Handcrafts

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Crochet & Knit Cardigan by Maria

Hi everyone! I'm Maria, a hobby sewist, crocheter and cross-stitcher :) You can read more about my work and other adventures on my blog, my BurdaStyle project page and my Instagram account.

I got the chance to test Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots Knitting Yarn in shade 932 named Snug which is a baby blue with white decorative thread with some “pop-corns” running along it giving it also some texture.

My first impressions when I opened my parcel were:

-              Oh! What a cute color! The color in real life is a bit brighter baby blue than what I thought it’d be looking at the webpage. Very subtle difference but it looks even better in real life.

-              Oh…I thought it’d be softer…The label says baby fashion, in my head this translates to soft, maybe based on baby wool vs. wool…I don’t know. But it wasn’t as soft as I expected based on other acrylic yarns I’ve touched in my life. I thought it might just be due to the white thread on top, so I cut a piece and removed that thread from it, but no, the acrylic itself is like that. I’m not saying it’s rough, just not “baby” soft. It’s kinda half way between towel and velvet.

The above brings us also to the next point: The white trim thread is simply wound around the main blue one, which means that if you stretch the yarn a bit tight or something, you might get uneven distributions of the white trim and hangings in some places. In some cases, it’s how it’s wound and it’s not even your fault :) Also because it’s loose, it can slip off the hook when you crochet and you get a similar effect of loose bits here and there so pay attention!

The next thing I did was to knit a sample. I used the recommended 4mm pins and knitted a rectangle of 22 stitches by 14 rows which was supposed to be 10cm wide, 5 cm high (label says 28sts x 28 rows is a 10x10cm square).

Didn’t match exactly what’s on the paper, but I’m a beginner when it comes to knitting so it’s expected.

My project using this yarn will be mostly crocheted, so I did a small sample in single crochet just to get the feel for how it’ll look. This was also using a 4mm hook, 22 stitches but I did only 3 or 4 rows. (And now you can clearly see what I do most...Hint: it’s not knitting :))

What I was a bit worried about is how it behaved if I had to undo/unravel some. The answer to this question is: Surprisingly well! The little white bulges don’t get stuck and are easy to get through stitches again, but the more you unravel the same bit, the higher chance you have of the white trim sliding about and sometimes even hanging off the blue yarn.

I decided to make this cardigan I found on Verena.ru which is mostly crocheted apart from the elastic around the cuffs and front opening/neckline which is knitted.

Working with this yarn wasn’t difficult as such, a bit of extra care was needed around the bulgy white bits as expected, but nothing dramatic and it looked good.

I did however keep getting the issue of that same white decorative thread sagging a bit here and there. Doesn’t show unless you look closely and probably not a bad thing since it’s not stretchy while the acrylic blue yarn is so the one compensates for the other, but still a tiny bit irritating. You can see a bit of that in the photo above if you look closely and a close-up on the next.

I absolutely love how it turned out looks-wise and I still think this colour is super cute, so this cardigan will indeed see a lot of wear throughout the Norwegian summer (after I've redone the front opening elastic to make it a bit longer so it doesn't curve up...).

All in all, the plusses are more than the minuses: The color is great, it’s easy to work with, it’s fluffy, seems to be warm enough and looks good crocheted and knitted but it’s not so soft, not of a natural fiber and the white trim hangs a bit here and there.

I like it but don’t love it and I’d chose a natural fiber yarn (wool or cotton) over this anytime.

Here’s the finished product :)

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Woven Fabric Bundle Review by Sarah

There is nothing better than a little bit of anticipation and excitement and I have to admit that’s how I felt waiting for my mystery Woven Fabric bundle to arrive from Minerva Fabrics. I have to admit, however that when I received my package and immediately ripped it open the fabrics weren’t quite what I was expecting. I mean I don’t really know what I was expecting to be honest but it’s safe to say that a mystery package is not going to satisfy all of your wildest fabric desires on every level, but this is where I found it an interesting challenge, to take what I was given and make something fantastic and usable from it.

The first fabric I pulled out was a patterned corduroy fabric covered in stylised flowers that was reminiscent of paisley designs and a beautiful flowery fabric in hues of rust and oranges. I have no idea what type of fabric this is, nor its composition, but it didn't feel like typical dressmaking fabric. It is a sturdy, thick woven fabric and with my limited knowledge I am assuming it's a heavy cotton with something synthetic in it.

I have to admit to being a little bamboozled by what to make with these fabrics as neither were immediately popping out at me. Deciding to concentrate on my favourite of the two fabrics, the bold orangey, flowery fabric, I took some time brainstorming what to make. In the end I decided it would make a perfect statement clutch bag, settling on an accessory in part because I didn't know what the orangey fabric was made of and I didn't think it would be a comfortable dressmaking fabric. It turns out it's the perfect purpose for this beautiful pattern, to show it off and to get the most use out of it.

I searched high and low for the best clutch bag pattern. Having not made a bag before I wanted a base pattern to work from. I eventually settled on a free pattern from Grainline patterns and freelovefest. It was originally made for leather but as I didn't want to glue my fabric together I adapted it by adding a lining and at the same time stash busting my supplies! Here's what I did to make this super simple bag.

1 - Download pattern here, print, stick it together and cut it out. 2 - Cut out the pattern in an outer fabric and in a plain black cotton. You could also use a proper lining fabric for the interior.

3 - To make the fabric sturdier and to stop the handbag flopping about when finished you need to stabilise the fabric on both the lining and outer fabrics to make it stronger. Don't skip this unless the fabric is thick enough already. Cut out two pattern pieces in fusible interfacing. I used hair canvas as it's the only heavy weight one I had to hand and it worked perfectly. Fuse one piece to lining and outer fabric.

4 - If you want to add a label to your bag do it now just below the top fold on the lining fabric.

5 – You need a closure on your clutch to secure your bag when finished. I chose a tie closure from a piece of leather but you could also use ribbon, it just needs to be long enough to wrap around your bag a couple of times and tie in a bow.

Sew a small buttonhole big on to the lining big enough to fit your choice of tie through. Use the marker for the clasp on the lower flap for the buttonhole. 6 - Secure your ribbon or leather thread with several neat stitches on the wrong side of the outer fabric at the marker for the clasp on the bottom flap. 7 - Sew the lining and outer fabric together, right sides together. I used a small 3/8 allowance here. Remember to leave a hole big enough to pull the fabric out the right way again.

8 - When the fabric is the right way out iron flat. At this point I also cut out some wadding to put into the bag to make it squishy. I notice a lot of patterns asked for this and it just adds more volume and sturdiness to the fabric. You may feel it's not needed. I didn't have the normal stuff to hand so used thinsulate which when added to coats helps keep you warm in winter. It's still pretty thin so was just about OK! I cut it out in the pattern piece and then cut off the seam allowance and a teeny bit more to make sure it wouldn't buckle inside. I then fed it in through the hole and moved it around until I was happy with the position. 9 - Make a button hole through the front flap. This is where your ribbon or leather thread will go through to tie the bag when in use. I moved my button hole up very slightly from where it was marked on the pattern to take into account the seam allowance I had taken away from the pattern piece.

10 - Sew up the open section by hand and then pin the envelope together. You will now see the shape of the final bag. Hand sew the bag together and viola! A lovely new bag! Enjoy!

The best bit about this experience is that it really made me think outside the box and it pushed me to be a bit more creative. I love what I have made and the fact it's something slightly different from my normal makes. When I first looked at the fabrics, I can't lie, I wasn't sure I would have bought either of them but I love them both now. I now plan to wait to winter and sew up a Moss mini skirt from Grainline patterns in the corduroy so they will both be used.

So in essence I would highly recommend buying a mystery Fabric Bag because it really pushed me to think about how a fabric can work best and what it’s perfect purpose is, something I should probably adopt more with my own fabric stash!! I will definitely order one of these mystery bags again and as you can get them in so many different variations, including wovens, jerseys, abstracts, floral and all sorts of colours, as well as being sold at bargain prices you can’t really go wrong.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah @ Sewing-Beautifully

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