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Product Reviews

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Too Many Ideas!

I really panicked over what to make with this Viscose Fabric when it turned up. I had so many ideas it took me ages to whittle them down. The fabric is so soft and drapey that I knew I needed something that would show that off.
The Deer and Doe Sureau Dress is a pattern I've had in my stash for years but never made. I absolutely adored it when I bought it but then worried that the style was a little girly. It has a gathered skirt and bodice with a faux button placket. 
This fabric is perfect for gathers as it is lightweight and stable, but also has a lot of drape and movement. It is a viscose, so much more fluid than a cotton. It has a lovely dense weave, so no need to line it. The little pin dots are beautiful and really lift the fabric out of the ordinary.
I decided to add in-seam pockets to the dress, but then forgot that it has an invisible zip in the side. This means that the zip has to end above the pocket, which means it finishes just below the waistband. It makes it a little bit of a wriggle to get into, but is actually fine. I think if I make this again I'll add patch pockets to the skirt rather than the inseam ones, so I can put in a full length zip!
I didn't think the instructions included in the pattern were particularly thorough, they definitely assume prior knowledge of lots of techniques, such as invisible zip insertion. This isn't a problem for me, but it wouldn't be a suitable pattern for a complete beginner in my opinion.
Another thing that threw me is that the flat pattern drawings make it look as if the sleeve head is gathered, but when I was inserting the sleeves there wasn't enough fabric for them to gather and I ended up with a smooth sleeve head. I actually much prefer this as I think gathered sleeve heads can look a little pouffy, but it is something to watch out for!
At the centre front of the bodice is a faux placket, with the bodice front gathered into it to add shape. This is the detail I love the most about the dress. In reality I found it quite hard to gather the fabric evenly. There just isn't much fabric to gather so it's hard to spread out the gathers evenly. Next time I would increase the length of this part of the pattern so that there is more fabric to gather. I think this would help with a fuller bust too.
There are waist darts to the front and back bodice, which help create a nice shape and a good fit. I didn't make any fit adjustments to this pattern at all and it is amazing how well it fits straight out of the pattern. I love it when that happens! Having a gathered skirt definitely helps with the fit as it means the whole bottom half of the dress doesn't require any adjustments, apart from skirt length. The bodice length is spot on for me, I usually find bodices come up a little short. I'm 5'8" so that's something to think about if you are shorter.
It turns out the fabric and the pattern were a perfect match and the finished result isn't too girly for me. The fabric is lightweight, soft and breathable, so has been perfect during the heat over summer. This dress has got a lot of wear so far and I'm sure it will continue to be a wardrobe favourite.
Jenny x
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The Downton Abbey Dress

Hello friends! I’m happy to be here today to share an extra special project with you. I’ve fondly nicknamed it my Downton Abbey Dress! I was lucky enough to have the chance to make something out of one of Minerva’s many gorgeous special occasion fabrics. After pouring over the website for ages, I finally chose this incredible lace fabric. When it arrived, I was absolutely speechless.

It comes in either gold or silver, and the metallic thread is woven with black, so it’s kind of like a two-tone effect with black and gold. I will say, I don’t think the website photos do it justice. I thought it was pretty there, but when I saw it in person it was stunning.

This is easily the nicest, fanciest fabric I’ve ever worked with. I knew I had to make something special. As I was deciding on a pattern, I was a bit conflicted. My first instinct was to make something practical; maybe a skirt and top, so I could mix or match and dress them up or down, or a cocktail length dress that wouldn’t be too formal for church.

BUT then I decided to be entirely frivolous and make a full-length ultra glamorous gown, because WHY NOT? And because I never have before. I started sewing clothes only about five years ago, so I didn’t sew my wedding dress, and as a stay-at-home mom, I never really have the opportunity to get extra dressed up. I’ve always wanted to sew a formal gown though, and I felt like this glorious fabric deserved to be something special.

I decided on the Anna Dress pattern pretty quickly. I know it’s a tried and true pattern for many, but I’d never made it before and had been wanting an excuse to try it out. The silhouette is just so timeless and beautifully simple, and for such an elegant fabric I thought it would be a great fit.

After sewing up my muslin (I usually skip the muslin process, but for a fabric so precious and a pattern I’d never made, it was an absolute must to make a muslin.) and making a few fit adjustments, I was ready to cut into this beauty. I decided to line the lace in black to really make the gold and the lovely pattern stand out. I chose a really lightweight rayon because this fabric is quite heavy. It’s a midweight and in a full length gown, it’s pretty substantial.

I don’t have tons of experience sewing with lace, so I was a little bit nervous to sew this up, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it very easy to work with. It is non-stretch, and the heavier weight made it really easy to handle. My serger didn’t love it a few times, just because in places the lace is really tightly woven, but I only suffered one broken needle in the process, and all worked out in the end.

Because it was lace, and because it was a heavier fabric, I made a few changes to the finishing processes. I basted all my lace pieces to their rayon counterparts, and then treated the two pieces as one, so it was more like underlining than actually lining the dress.

I skipped the neckline facing for two reasons: 1. Because I detest neckline facings. I never finish a neckline that way. I know it’s the traditional method, but I just don’t like them. And 2. It would be uncomfortable against the skin and add bulk at the neckline. Normally I use a bias binding for my neckline finishings, but I didn’t think that would have worked here either. So instead, I serged the raw edge of the neckline and turned it over and hemmed it. I would NEVER finish a neckline like that normally, but it made for a really nice finish here.


I also cut the skirt panels so the finished edge of the lace was at the bottom, which was nice, because then I didn’t have to hem the skirt, which would have been tricky and not look quite as nice. The fabric drapes beautifully and is perfect for a full length skirt.

The only change I would have made is probably ordering an invisible zipper meant for bridal gowns. Those ones have bigger teeth and are more substantial, but I just used a normal one that I had on hand. So far it’s worked fine, but it does get stuck on the waist seam. I think maybe a more heavy duty one would help get over that bulky seam.

The dress turned out better than I even envisioned. I’m pretty proud of it, and I couldn’t stop grinning when I tried it on. The way the gold catches the light is so lovely, and I really love the large scale floral pattern. It made me wish I had been able to sew my own wedding dress.

Now I just wish I had somewhere I could wear it! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll have a swanky holiday party this year, or maybe I’ll buy tickets to the ballet. Or maybe I’ll just put it on one afternoon and pretend I’m having tea at Downton Abbey? Sounds like a plan. Sew yourselves up a matching one and I’ll see you there.

Vienna @thelatesew


Simplicity 8338 Airtex Running Top

This year I’ve started running again after an 8 year break! It has been so good for my strength, energy levels, confidence and mental health after a tricky start to the year.

My sewing has, of course, followed along with this, and I’ve really enjoyed starting to sew more activewear. 

When I saw this Airtex Knit Fabric, I thought it would be fun to try it out and see how it could be used. The holes were a little bigger than I expected, but that just added to the fun of the challenge!

I considered all sorts of options, including a carrier for a gym ball, but eventually decided on Simplicity 8338. It includes a variety of racer back tank tops/ vests that are loose fitting, fairly quick to make and very comfortable to wear. I chose to make view A, the simplest option, an A-line vest with racer back and bindings around the neckline and armholes.

The fabric behaved better than I expected and was easy both to cut and to sew. I cut the front and back panels from the airtex mesh and used a scrap of matching jersey (a sample kept from a project last year) to cut the bindings and a partial front lining for a little extra coverage:

The side and shoulder seams are overlocked together. For the binding, I experimented a little. First I joined each binding piece into a loop, overlocked one raw edge to each armhole and the neckline and pressed the binding to the underside of the fabric. Using my cover stitch machine and a two thread narrow stitch, I then topstitched the bindings in place.

Rather than trying to bind or turn and stitch the hem, I used a three thread narrow stitch on my overlocker to finish the raw edge (not that it would have frayed anyway, so it wasn’t strictly necessary).

Overall, I’m very happy with the result. The fabric was much easier to work with than I expected and it’s really good for wearing on warm days or for races. I tested it out in my first race a few weeks ago, and it was really comfortable and breezy!

Thanks for reading,

Eleanor @ nelnanandnora


A Marvellous McCall's 6044 Shirt

Hello again Minerva Crafter's!
Rather shamelessly, the majority of my sewing has been for me and every so often my husband has mentioned that he'd really like me to make him a shirt. I'm not entirely sure whether he realises that this is a bit of a leap into the unknown for me but after seeing this lovely blue stars and stripes shirting fabric I just thought it would be perfect and I'd have to go for it!
This Lady McElroy Shirting Fabric is lovely and lightweight and is spot on for a summer shirt. As it's a shirting fabric, if you wanted to use it for a dress then you'd need to line it or wear a slip.
I've chosen the McCall's 6044 Shirt Pattern. It looks like a reasonably slim fit shirt and a similar style to some of my husband's casual shirts. As this is the first shirt I'll have sewn, I've chickened out of doing a long sleeved version as I'm a little bit scared of cuffs. If this version goes well then I'll summon up the courage for cuffs for the next version!
I've chosen version A, but will be adding the back yoke and I'll also be adding two pockets with flaps. I'm trying to recreate a ready to wear shirt that my husband loved, but is now beyond saving. I've cut a size medium as my husband falls right in the middle of the sizing so I'm hoping that this will fit him well. 
When I was making the pockets I cut a template of the actual finished pocket size in cardboard and used this to iron and fold over the edges. I didn't remove it until the fabric was completely cool and the folds held their shape well and made it much easier to sew them in place on the shirt.
I've recently got a blind hem stitch foot and thought I'd use this for the top stitching and edge stitching as I wanted it to be as neat as possible. I set my needle to the far left position and this was just the right width for top stitching. It made the finer finishing details so much easier and they look almost professional.
As this shirt has a western style about it, I wanted to use snaps rather than buttons. I've never used them before and was overwhelmed by all the different types out there. I found some pearl effect ones that you use with generic snap pliers but they just didn't want to play ball and I had to re-cut the pockets and flaps.  Luckily I had a back up plain set that come with the hammer tools and these worked perfectly.
This shirt was much easier than I thought it would be to sew. It has a sewn on yoke so no need to sew one together. The collar was straightforward to put together and looks really neat. 
Overall, I'm really pleased with this shirt - I feel a bit silly having put off making one for so long, because, actually, it was a joy to sew together. And more importantly, Mr WhatSophieSewed loves it too!
Thank you once again Minerva for the supplies!
Until next time...

The Dress with a Twist

Have you ever ordered something and then waited so impatiently that you bit your nails of? Well waiting for my latest parcel from Minerva Craft practically ruined my nails. :)  I got a chance to review the Lady McElroy Viscose Knit Fabric in Turquoise and was thrilled for the opportunity. The fabric had all I wanted for a new dress: It was in bright, vibrant colours, the material was a viscose (yey!) and it was a knit. I was in the mood for a challenge and I haven’t tackled knits in a while.

I’ve made a few garments for my kids, beanies and t-shirts, from knits the last couple of years but before that, the last time I made something in jersey was probably 1998. So when reading this blogpost keep in mind that knits aren’t my strongest side.

And let me tell you, I have never worked in a material like this one. The fabric was beautiful, soft, slinky, bouncy, and had a good amount of stretch (two ways). When the fabric arrived I noticed how incredible soft it was but not before I'd finished drooling over the vibrant colours.

I’d decided to make 7429 from the McCall’s Pattern Company. I have seen some fantastic makes on Instagram from that pattern and I thought that the knot design in the front was a great feature and hoped the design would hug me in the right places.

The first problem occurred after washing, since I forgot to put softener in. Don’t do that! The subsequent problems with static electricity gave me some headaches in the beginning. Other than that the fabric behaved just as it should. No colour changes or shrinkage at all.

The fabric behaved like soft knits do, so I had to take some extra time laying it out for cutting. And I had to take a break from laying after the front pattern piece turned out like this:

Could I really pull this off?

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the fabric was to pin and stitch. I only had one problem, where I had to get out my seam ripper, and that was when I tried to pin the fabric with about 6 cm between my pins. Yes, I told you I´m a rookie.

If you are a newbie to this kind of drapey knits, here are a few tips:

1.      Pin, pin and then pin some more pins between your existing ones. If you do, the fabric will (almost) behave as a woven fabric.

2.      Check your stitches on a piece of fabric before stitching into the real thing. (I know that you should always do this, but sometimes I just wing it on woven materials.) This is not a fabric you want to overuse your seam ripper on. I went for a little longer stitch than I usually use to get a nice finish. You don’t want curly seams!

3.      The pattern instructs you to do the hemming in two steps. First baste and then stitch a normal stitch. I would recommend using a twin-needle instead. You get a nicer hem that stretches a little more.

4.      The inside seams I put together with the narrowest zigzag stitch instead of a regular one as it gives you a little stretch. I then overlocked the raw edges approx. 5 mm from the zigzag seam. I´m not sure I really needed to do the zigzag stitch at all, but the instructions clearly stated that it should both be a normal stitch and an overlocked one (and being a knits rookie, I didn’t feel comfortable straying too far from the instructions).

5.      The knotted part on the front of the dress was a little tricky, but not as much as I anticipated. I followed the pictures and instructions of the manual included in the pattern envelope and managed to pull it off without the use of my seam ripper.

This was a fantastic make for me, I really put myself out there and learned a lot in the process. I haven’t done anything like this before, pattern or fabric wise, and I really love the result.

I’ve used my new dress a lot already. As you can see in my pictures, I've tried styling it in different ways. I can truly recommend this fabric, it has fantastic qualities and just LOOK at it! :) 

I would recommend that you have some experience in dressmaking before making this combo of fabric/pattern, but I think the drapey fabric really features the front of the dress nicely.

Thank you for reading!

Malin from ByGousheh

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A Few Stitches Can Turn A Scrap Of Fabric Into...

A crafter but not a stitcher? Please, read on. This little gadget could work in your tool box too.
With the impact of a handmade garment, or quilt, or curtains, or toy, all containing hundreds, if not thousands, of stitches, it’s easy to forget that just a few stitches can turn a scrap of fabric into an item too.
I’ve been lucky enough to review this Clover Kanzashi Flower Maker for Minerva. It is a template form of a traditional Japanese craft of fabric folding to create petals and flowers to adorn kanzashi hair decorations.
There are several petal shapes, which all come in several sizes; extra small, small, and large.
I have the extra small round petal maker. It is a plastic hinged template, with numbered holes and slits. It looks complicated, but isn’t at all. I’ve shown my 5 year old how to use it, and he is thrilled with the flower he made. 
Each template requires a certain size and number of fabric squares; the extra small round petal needs six squares 2.5”. Yes, perfect for that jelly roll strip you’re not sure what to do with!
The instructions give fabric guidelines, and types to avoid. Most of my scraps are cotton, but I wanted to try some different fabrics too, so treated myself to a Scrap Bag of Fabric from Minerva. 
What a bargain! Look at all this fabric! 
Obviously each bag has a different selection in, but this should give you a rough idea of the amount of fabric you get. There were some great pieces in this bag to use for petals.
I also bought a bag of Yellow Buttons. Isn’t this a great selection? 
I like the variety of ‘yellow/orange’, and the range of buttons. 
The template is only embossed on the outer side. It is marked with a little graphic of the end flower, the end size, numbers, and start and finish. 
One of the things I like about the template is how portable it is. I wanted to test this, so cut a selection of squares, and took them, the template, the bag of buttons, and my sewing tin, on holiday.
My sewing tin used to contain biscuits, and I thought it was a cute hinged tin, so it now holds my most used hand sewing tools. I didn’t need all of them on holiday, so there was plenty of room for everything to fit in my tin, so thumbs up for compactness.
I love being outside, so this holiday, instead of my book, or my tech, I sat out and sewed. Luckily it wasn’t too windy; that would have changed plans! This was my workspace. 
The first fabric I used was this cheerful checked cotton. 
I used white cotton, but it doesn’t matter what colour you use, as the stitching isn’t visible from the front. The same thread is used for all six petals, and the suggested 75 cm is ample for the petals, and the button too. You might want to use a colour to match or contrast with the button, as you can use the same thread all the way through. I used a double thread to add a bit of extra strength.
Place the template wrong side down on the right side of the fabric. It should sit on the diagonal, so when you close the template with the fabric trapped inside, it makes a triangle. You could also pre-fold the fabric and slide it into the part open template. I tried both ways, and it works either way, as long as the fabric sits right into the hinge of the template. 
Holding the template securely, trim the excess fabric away. I had forgotten to take my small fabric scissors, so used the embroidery scissors from my sewing tin. They were great for a small area.
Once trimmed, make sure the ‘start’ side of the upright template is facing you. 
The easiest way to think about this is as a dot to dot. The needle goes in through ‘start’, so the knot is on that side. On the other side, the needle should pass through hole number 2, and come out back on the ‘start’ side. Continue like this until ‘finish’, but don’t tie a knot or cut the thread; this is the first petal, and the same thread will link it to the second petal, and so on.
Open up the template and remove the petal. 
Gently pull on the thread to gather the fabric, and a petal will appear. Don’t trim the thread! 
Petal two is formed exactly the same way, but you use the same thread as petal one, so they’re immediately connected. Once the template is opened, slide the petal up to petal one, and gather the fabric for petal two. 
Continue this way until you’ve made sufficient petals; this template is a six petal flower, but depending on fabric, you can add a few more to change the look. 
Using the thread, I secured the petals together, selected a button, and stitched that to the front. Then I secured the thread at the back, and cut it.
There is a quick and attractive flower. The whole process, including choosing a button, took less than 30 minutes.
I made flowers with a range of fabrics to see how easy they were to use, and what, if any, difference it would make to the flower. 
My least favourite was the white organza type fabric. It was a bit fiddly to use, and the sheerness of the fabric didn’t really show. I think this would benefit from a larger template, and it’s something I will try, because I thought it would be a lovely delicate flower.
This is cotton with glitter decoration, and it’s stiffer than quilting cotton, so I wasn’t sure how easily it would form into petals, but the slight rigidity actually made the petals look more defined. 
The glitter hasn’t photographed very well, but works well on the petals, and the flower looks quite celebratory. 
This is a stretchy velvet, and I love the flower it became. 
It’s such a rich, eye catching flower, and you can see how the different buttons give it a different look. 
It’s worth trying different buttons, because they really do change the look of the end product. Be mindful of the size of the flower when choosing a button; too big will look odd, and too small won’t cover the centre join. 
I hope I’ve not made this sound complicated, because it isn’t. 
It’s a simple and quick activity that’s a great way of utilising odds and ends of fabric, and stray buttons. You could even use beads in place of buttons. You don’t even need to add the buttons at the time of making; secure the flower threads, and store it until you’re button ready.
It’s an activity that can travel with you, with a bit of forward planning. It’s sewing that can be done in front of the television, in your lunch hour, on the bus...
The flowers were originally made to decorate hair, and they would look really cute as clips, on hair bands, on buns, or even pigtails.
They could be used to decorate hats, clothes, bags, cushions, serviette rings... I’m sure you can think of a few more! A brooch to match your dress? A necklace?
If you’re a scrapbooker or card maker, these would make lovely 3D adornments.
Instead of using a shirt to make a memory cushion cover, the buttons and fabric could make flowers which could decorate a picture frame, or even become a picture themselves.
And don’t forget seasonal decorations! Daffodils, poinsettia; there’s a range of sizes and petal shapes, so you could easily become a fabric florist.
Thank you to Minerva Crafts for the opportunity to review this great template.

Sewing The Origami Shrug By Two Stitches, Using The Nancy Zieman Tool

I wanted to try a new tool for measuring my seams, hems and buttonholes, and noticed the Nancy Zieman Multi-Functional Sewing Tool. The idea that the gauge could be used to accurately measure curves, like a compass was interesting and I had the perfect project on my to-sew list to use it with.

The Origami shrug is a pattern-less-pattern meaning that you follow the instructions to measure accurately the dimensions of the shrug and sew it using the instructions, as in origami construction with paper. 

The plus points of this tool: it’s incredibly sturdy and attractive for a tool! I’ve used cheaper, sometimes ugly gauges in metal or finer plastic, but this seems both indestructible and appealing. It would be incredibly useful for marking buttonholes, and the gauge’s yellow attachment holds a measurement well, in case you need to re-measure (as we sewists often do!). 

It was very helpful for measuring the neckline curve and the freehand drawing of the pattern onto the fabric – and preparing my fabric to fold into the correct shapes to form the neckline and sleeves.

There was one negative point to this tool for me, all the markings are in inches, which may be due to the US origin of the design. I work pretty consistently in metric, I calculate measurements for seams and so on in my head as I work, and having to convert them to inches can be a bit frustrating. But I know many sewists who consistently use imperial measurements and would love this tool for that very reason.  

If you are inspired to use the tool to sew a shrug, you can use jersey as well as fine fabrics such as crepe or silk.

Thanks for reading,

Emma @ She Loves to Make


Olfa Compass Cutter Tool Review

Hi again everyone!

I’m Anita, from DIY with Manneken. I’m here once again to review a “new” Minerva product. It’s the Ratchet Compass Cutter from Olfa. A precision tool for cutting circles in thinner materials such as paper, film, arts and crafts. Cuts Precise circles from 1cm to 15cm in diameter and comes complete with 10 spare blades.

When I saw it at the Minerva Makers list I thought it would be an interesting product to try. At first I thought it was a compass to cut fabric, which would have been wonderful. (Let me know if a fabric compass does exist).

Once I received the compass I saw it was a paper and film cutter which is really practical for making circular patterns. When I make circular skirt patterns for example, I am never able to cut the circles properly with the scissors. It always looks like the circle is bit by some small fish or a bunny rabbit. With this compass cutter, circles are cut perfectly.

The compass cutter blister includes the following pieces:

The compass

10 Extra blades

A rubber pad to prevent pinholes

It’s designed for right handed and left handed uses. There is an integrated cm ruler, so you can measure the circle radius accurately. The blades is retractable so it remains protected and no one gets hurt.

To experiment with the compass cutter, I decided to make blocks for circular skirts with the different sizes I need.

I first tried the blade on pattern drafting paper. I placed my craft mat on the table to protect it, as the manufacturer recommends.

I placed my paper and calculated the radius of my circle. My waistline measures 61cm, so to find out the diameter of the circumference (which is my waistline), I applied the following formula:


61 = Pi x Diameter

Diameter = 61 / Pi

Diameter = 19.4 cm / Radius = 9.7cm

I used the radius value as I the compass cutter has a 13 centimetre ruler. As you can see in the image, I place the pin at 9.7 centimetre mark and place the rubber pad underneath to prevent pinholes. This rubber pad is a util instrument.

I place the blade downwards, and just turned the compass the same way as you use a pencil compass. Move the compass slowly, and eventually the paper cuts.

It’s really useful for small circles. I could not cut the hem of the pattern, but I found another use. My girls love crafting, and we’re always making different paper crafts, so I decided to prepare circles of different diameters for them made of colour cardboard. I made circles they could use for eyes, bodies, faces, and loads of different cute figures you can imagine.

And that’s my experience with the compass cutter which I found really useful.

Here's a short video showing you how to use the compass cutter. It’s short, but very clear. I hope it comes in handy.

What would you use the compass cutter for?

Thanks for reading,

Anita @ DIY with Manneken


Habico Mini Iron Review

For this month’s review, I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted to review a product instead of fabric, so I went for the Mini Iron as it has been on my wish list for a very long time (well, ever since I started sewing).

I find that pressing is an important part of sewing my projects and where I share my sewing space with my dining room, space is very limited and there is no space for a proper ironing board. So I have had to have my little ironing board from ikea set up on our kitchen counter with my travel iron. Occasionally my large iron and ironing board will be set up in the other room if I have to press larger garments.

This mini iron comes with a two pin plug, so you will need to get the necessary adapter for if you are in the UK like me.

I have two other irons, my standard steam iron, which I love as it is cordless and my travel iron which I can take with me where ever I go. This one is even better for taking to quilt classes as it is much smaller, thinner, easier to hold and control.

This mini iron only has two settings, hi (230?C) and low (150?C). I find I was using the “hi” setting for most of my projects and that the iron just glided over the fabric and pressed the seams open with ease.

When making the bias binding, I could not believe how easy it was to hold the mini iron in one hand and the bias binder maker in the other hand. It was a little more difficult with the standard iron or my travel iron.

All in all, this is a nifty little gadget to have in your sewing room. Thank you Minerva for letting me try it out.

Thanks for reading, until next time, Happy sewing.

Justine @justaboutcrafting


Prym Turning Tool Set Review

Hi I'm Julie from Sum of their Stories and I'm delighted to be back today to review the Prym Turning Tool Set.
I make a lot of bags and these little gadgets make turning the handles out really quick and easy.
I tested the set out making this denim tote bag.
In the set from Prym you get 3 different sizes of turning tool, Small, Medium and Large. A plastic tube and a pokey stick for each size.
For the denim bag handles I used the large size.
I had cut my handles out, each 2.5" or 6.5cm wide. I use denim on one side and a poly-cotton on the other side for the lining.
When using the turning tool you need to make your handles about 2 cm longer than you would normally. Then you stitch round them along one long side, across a short side and back down the other long side. You are making a pocket rather than a tube. Then you pop the plastic tube part of the turning tool inside the pocket.
You then take the wooden stick and use it to push the closed end of the pocket up into the plastic tube. With this thick denim fabric it took a little jiggling but once it gets started it pushes in pretty easily. 
As you push the wooden stick up, the tube turns itself inside out. 
Keep going until the plastic tube come out of the top, leaving the wooden stick inside. You can use the stick to poke the corners out. 
Then remove the stick and snip across the closed short end.
That's it, your tube is turned and ready to top stitch if required. 
I also tried the Prym turning tool to make some handles from a finer, slippery net fabric for another bag, For this lightweight fabric and smaller tube I used the medium sized tube turner.
Super quick and easy! 
I used to use either a safety pin or the method I'd seen online where you cut a strip of the selvage and sew that into the tube to turn it through. These turning tools work in the same way as the 'selvage strip' method but you can use them over and over. 
The 6.5cm wide denim fabric is about as thick and wide as the largest turning tool can cope with, I think I'd have struggled with anymore thickness of fabric. 
On the finer fabric the tool was amazing, so much quicker than any way I've tried before. 
I made a little drawstring bag to keep my Prym turning tool elements safe and together. I figured it would be too easy to loose one of the elements otherwise! 
To make one you'll need:
2 pieces of fabric 34cm x 9cm (13.5" x 3.5").
Thread - I used a contrast so you can see my stitches but your's will look best with a matching thread.
A length of ribbon.
A bead.
Starting and finishing 6cm (2.5") from the end, stitch round 3 sides of the fabric rectangles as shown in the photo. 
Working on each layer separately, turn and stitch a hem on each side. 
Fold those hemmed flaps in half, and stitch across to form a channel.
Thread a length of ribbon through the channels, add the bead and tie a knot to finish.
Now they all stay safely together.
These turning tools are not a sewing essential by any means but if you do turn a lot of tubes it could be a handy gadget. 
I think it would be a perfect gift for a sewing friend, you know the kind of person who already has everything! You could make them a pretty bag to keep them in too.

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