Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 17th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 15th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 11th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
I jumped at the chance to review this Mermaid Sequin Fabric. I love anything sparkly and I’ve been coveting this reversible fabric for ages. Be warned, you may spend longer playing with the fabric than you do sewing with it!
I’ve never sewn with sequins before and wanted to stick to a simple pattern without darts or multiple seams. I opted to make a simple fitted pencil skirt from the book ‘Gertie Sews Vintage Casual’. The fabric has a bit of stretch across the width and none on the length, ideal for something figure hugging. (Since this fabric doesn’t have a huge amount of stretch, you may need to size up. I can just about get this on and off but it involves an awful lot of wiggling!)
The pattern is really simple, with just two pattern pieces, a front and a back. I cut each piece in a single layer as cutting through sequins is not easy. A word of warning, tiny pieces of sharp sequin will fly everywhere. I managed to get a piece in my eye, thankfully without doing any damage. Through trial and error, I found the best method is to lay your fabric sequin side down and cut slowly. It really helps to minimise the amount of bits flying up.
The aftermath of cutting two skirt seams. This stuff gets absolutely everywhere.
Being a sequin newbie, I found lots of information online that says to cut away the sequins from your seam allowance before sewing. I started doing this, but it was so fiddly and time consuming I gave up pretty quickly.
Instead, I brushed aside the sequins each side of my seam allowance. This left a clear sewing line with no sequins. I also used a size 16 leather needle when sewing my fabric. It meant any sequins I did manage to sew through didn’t result in a broken needle.
After my front and back pieces were sewn together, I flipped the sequins over and ended up with an almost invisible seam.
The base fabric that the sequins are attached to is very see through and would most likely be very uncomfortable if worn next to your skin. I used a Stretch Lining Fabric in a beige/nude colour. Underneath the sequin fabric it’s not noticeable at all. It also means the skirt is easier to get on and off as the lining is very smooth and silky.
Once the lining and waistband elastic was inserted, I hand stitched the hem to the lining. Hand stitching obviously takes longer but it meant I could avoid sewing through anymore sequins.
I love love love the finished skirt and will more than likely use this fabric again. Yes, it is very time consuming but you definitely end up with a showstopper garment. If you’re looking to make an impact, definitely go for reversible sequin fabric.
Thanks for reading,
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 10th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 5th February 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Pressing is so important when Sewing, in fact I’d say that it’s equally as important as the Sewing itself, and there is so much pressing involved when making a garment.
Our family iron is a huge steam iron, with a separate water tank, it’s a great iron and presses really well, but it’s so heavy and takes up so much space!
My large steam iron is way too big to use in my sewing room, and it’s too heavy to move about, so when I’m sewing something I have to keep going from one room to the other to sew the seams etc, so ok the room is only next door, but its a faff and is so annoying when you are in the sewing zone.
When Minerva Crafts provided the opportunity to review the Habico Mini Iron, I thought that it would be perfect for my dilemma, just look how tiny it is in comparison to my family iron!
So let me tell you a little bit about the features of this mini iron. It’s a steam iron, so it has a little water reservoir to hold the water, as its a little bit small and fiddly, it comes with a handy little jug to fill it.
You can switch the steam on and off via the steam button, so for the times when you don’t want to steam e.g when pressing interfacing, you can simply switch it off.
It has variable heat settings just like a standard iron, meaning that you can adjust the heat dependant upon the fabric that you are using.
It does have a two pin plug so you need to ensure that you buy an adapter if necessary ie if like me you are in the UK.
The first project that I made using the mini iron was a Liberty of London tana lawn dress, so I set it to the maximum heat setting. When I switched it on I was surprised at how quickly it was ready to use, literally seconds (a little light flashes until it’s hit the correct temperature) which is so much quicker than my large iron as this takes a couple of minutes to heat up (the longest 2 minutes ever when you just want to crack on with your sewing).
What I also noticed was how well balanced and sturdy the iron is, it very easily stands up and does not wobble about or fall over, which surprised me.
It’s very light weight and comfortable to use which is also great.
I used my large steam iron to press the fabric before cutting out the pattern, but then for the construction steps I only used the mini iron in order to test just how good it is.
The dress that I was sewing required the following construction pressing;
- pressing seams open
- setting seams
- applying iron on interfacing
- pressing facings to give neat edges
- pressing hems
- pressing tie belts
If I am honest, I was totally surprised at how well this mini iron performed, I was expecting it to be a little bit like the travel irons that I used years ago when going on holiday, but it was nothing like that at all, it “steamed” through all the tasks at hand with ease.
The heat level was good and the plate glided smoothly. It didn’t steam constantly, and there is not a steam jet button, but I found that if you lift the iron up vertically, and then back down horizontal it lets out a jet of steam, but also remember that it only has a small water tank so you must re-fill it quite regularly.
I also found that it was great when pressing small ares such as sleeve hems as due to its small size it fitted in all the nooks and crannies, which is really difficult to do with a big iron.
It worked really well for pressing the seams open as it gives you great control.
It also worked well when attaching iron on interfacing, I did put a pressing cloth on top (as you always should with interfacing) and it fused perfectly without wrinkling.
It was also great for pressing small areas such as the dress belt, again this was due to having good control over the area that was being pressed.
I did have to be careful to ensure that I unplugged the iron when I’d finished as it does not have an auto shut off feature, my large iron has this function so my brain does not automatically think to unplug after use.
I honestly cannot fault the mini iron, it pressed really well during the construction stages of my dress and was super handy to have at hand, ready to use in an instant, and even better it does not take up much space at all in my sewing room.
In my opinion, every sewer needs a Mini Iron in their lives!
It certainly helped me to sew up this dress like a dream.
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 29th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello again. It's been lovely to be given some more yarn from Minerva to try out and tell you about. The Candy Swirl Cake Yarn by Stylecraft. Trouble is it looks so pretty it’s a shame to use and see it unravel!
Candy Swirl is an 100% Premium Acrylic Double knit that comes in a great value 150 gram ball. It is available in eight different blended shades, which look almost edible, but I picked the lovely Blueberry Gum option. I think each shade of blue is like a different shade of denim!
It’s a lovely soft yarn that is machine washable and I thought I would see what I could make from one ball. I wanted something plain to show off the changes in shades. I hadn’t used one of these multi tonal yarns before and expected the shades to change gradually but found the change to be quiet distinctive therefore once knitted it produces bold, clear strips.
To try out the yarn I decided to make a large snood or cowl that could be worn in a variety of ways.
The ball band suggests using a 4mm knitting needle but I wanted a more open, loose stitch effect so I used a 6mm needle.
Taking the loose end from the centre of the ball allows for the yarn to run smoothly without the ball jiggling all all over the place and falling out of my bag!
Casting on 66 stitches I used a simple stocking stitch, one row knit & one row purl, and repeated this until almost all the ball was used. 4
Casting off just before the final colour change meant that the cast on & cast off sections were in matching shades making it slightly less noticeable when these two ends were stitched together to form a big loop.
Now it’s made up I’ve found this yarn to be lovely, soft and comfortable to wear. With the size I’ve made it’s great to wear as a neck warmer or hood.
But it’s also long enough to wear as a long draping scarf or as a shawl/ shoulder cover by placing your arms though.
Or if your like me & feel the cold across the small of your back I also found I could twist and wear like this.
This Double Knitting Yarn would be suitable for a number of different makes but I hope you like my suggestion.
Happy knitting :)
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 27th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
How many times do you find that you have lovely fabric and sewing patterns that never make it out of the “stash drawer”. For me, I know that this is because I just aren’t organised enough with my sewing projects, for example I’d purchase Autumn/Winter fabric in the Summer time trying to plan ahead, but then totally forget about it until the following Spring, then it is too late!
My key focus in 2018 is to be more organised in what I am sewing and when, I’ve tried so many different apps on my phone to help with this, but I find that I quickly become distracted and forget what I had planned or the plans just don’t come into fruition.
So I was super excited to have the opportunity to test the Colette Sewing Planner through Minerva Crafts, somewhere to physically write down my plans. There is just something about writing in a physical book (preferably with a nice new shiny pen), a book that you can touch, feel, and pick up and flick through at a later date, some how it feels more of a firm plan.
This beautiful planner had been on my “Sewing goodies that I’d love to try” Pinterest board for quite some time, so lets take a look inside!
The planner is split into 4 main sections;
1) Styles and Favourites - this is a short section where you can note your favourite styles, fabrics and your measurements
2) Spring / Summer - this is a large section where you can document your sewing goals for the Spring / Summer seasons, there is then room for you to plan approximately 25 Spring / Summer projects (pretty much 1 project per week)
3) Fall / Winter - this is another large section where you can document your sewing goals for the Fall / Winter seasons, there is then room for you to plan approximately 25 Fall / Winter projects
4) Resources - In this section there are several useful resources such as needle types, metric conversion charts, sewing abbreviations and a glossary
I thought that the best way to truly test this handy little planner is to actually plan my next project, The Hudson Pants.
If like me, drawing is not your key strength, this planner includes 4 different Croquis body shapes that you can trace or photocopy, and then sketch your design onto, which is super useful for when it comes to planning the fabrics and details.
To start with, on the left hand page you give your project a name and note the pattern that you are using, so for me this was simply “Hudson pants”.
You then list the supplies that you need and the supplies that you have, so for this project I listed my Art Gallery Jersey (I love that fabric so much), contrast jersey for the waistband and cuffs, eyelets, interfacing, ribbon, elastic and thread. There is also a box where you can glue in a scrap of the fabric.
You can then list the learning resources e.g. websites or books that you will use to help you. There is also a customisation box for your own design ideas for example I noted here to use eyelets for the drawstring rather than button holes (as I never get on very well with button holes), and there is also a section to add your notes for example I noted here that the pattern is drafted for a 5ft 5” female.
On the right hand page there is a blank page so that you can sketch your design and add notes, for my project I simply cut out my sketch (that I traced from the Croquis and glued it onto the page.
Planning out the project worked really well, it made me ensure that I had all of the supplies before I started and sketching out the design really helped me to visualise the fabric, you don’t need to be a artist to do this.
My Hudson Pants were finished in no time!
There are also a couple of envelope sections in the back of the planner where you can save your pattern sheets or other useful notes and tools.
There are lots and lots of little surprise sewing tips throughout the planner for example “Always cut your thread on an angle to make it easier to thread through a needle” there are quite a lot of the tips that I had never thought of so an added bonus for sure.
I really like this planner, the colour scheme and quality is great, the information contained within the planner is super useful and I know that it will definitely keep me more organised with my sewing into 2018. It is also a good size to keep in your bag so that you can add ideas whilst you are out and about. I think that this will also be great to look back on, to see what I have made throughout the year.
The only thing that would have made this planner even better for me would be to have a couple of blank note pages between each project so that I could use this to plan my blog posts, YouTube videos etc… about the project, or to maybe have the planner as an open ring binder (rather than bound book) so that I could add extra pages, however I can work around this by using a separate note book and then use paperclips or small bulldog clips to add it to the relevant project pages.
If like me, you aim to be more organised with your sewing projects into 2018, I would definitely recommend using this Sewing Planner. I don’t want to plan out everything as part of the fun of sewing my own wardrobe is seeing a pattern or fabric that I love and deciding there and then to make it into something lovely, but this will help my overall sewing plans and commitment for sure.
I also find that I’m much more likely to get a project completed if its written down in a physical book, so I have added just the titles on the project pages for the key items that I plan to sew, then I will add the finer detail, sketches etc… in time.
This planner is a great gift for a keen sewer, or a treat for yourself, especially at the New Year Resolution time of year!
Thanks for reading and happy sewing,
Mel @ Ditsy Tulip
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 20th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Like most others, life can become very stressful and chaotic. Mine had too and had resulted in me not doing a lot of sewing, which is usually my relaxation. I recently embarked on a mini project to get back into my sewing hobby. It had been a while since I’d sewn anything so I chose to ease myself in with an ‘Easy Sew’ project by Vogue.
When I’m out shopping I always gravitate towards the cold shoulder tops and felt this would be the perfect choice. I ordered my fabric and I am a sucker for Scuba, which yes I know it didn’t specify using scuba but I’d simply cut a pattern size above to accommodate for the less stretchy material. This material is amazing and I’ve already lined up a new project for it. Even found my mother admiring it on the dining room table when it arrived. Definitely one for the fabric stash!
The pattern was super easy to begin with, I was all ready to go, pattern cut out and ready to sew my way through the instruction booklet.
One tip I would recommend if you are using black fabric like I did, definitely get a bright chalk for those notches.
The instructions were easy to follow and the project was going swimmingly until it came to the straps. This is probably my own fault for choosing a thick jersey from Minerva Crafts as apposed to a light weight fabric, but the straps just would not lie flat, no matter how much I pressed them. I continued on with the top and as it was coming together I got that feeling that all home sewers get when their handy work starts coming to life.
Here comes the bad parts, well not bad more little niggles I had with the pattern. The straps were very fiddly to finish and attach and I found the attachment of the flounce, back strap and armhole rather fiddly. Lets just say my poor thread picker was getting a lot of use with those straps!
The garment looks lovely in scuba but I must confess, even with the sizing up it does run smaller than I’d expected, either that or clearly the New Years diet needs to start sooner than I’d hoped but I love my new top. Next time Amy, listen to the instructions and suggested fabric. The cold shoulder section could have done with being a little looser like those types you can buy in stores but as a whole the garment works.
The top offers wearers the chance of cold shoulder style or normal strap vest styles.
I like this versatility that it provides and it will come in handy over the festive period as a 2-in-1 top. Simple pull the flounce under the arm instead over and viola you have yourself a whole different top!
The back is lovely and provides the feminine edge that I was looking for.
And the front V-neck which is perfectly situated, provides you with a feminine touch without showing too much off during the winter celebrations.
Did this project do what I hoped it would? Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the project and like I expected I have the sewing bug again. Would I repeat this project again? Had you asked during the debacle with the straps, I’d have said no but I’m intrigued as to what other materials would work with this pattern. Would I recommend this pattern to others? I would recommend this product to those who want an easy pattern to follow, however maybe avoid it as a brand new beginner, as it does have its fiddly tricky sections. It took me slightly longer than anticipated to finish the garment but that was due to a busy schedule. This pattern can be finished in 2-3 days easily which is always an added bonus.
Now it’s time for a girlie evening in the local with a nice pair of jeans, clearly some sucky-in pants, and my new cold shoulder top. On to the next new wardrobe builder project.
Amy-Louise @ Amy Professional Drama Queen
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 14th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 11th January 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello, Elaine @laineemakes here and I'm delighted to be product reviewing for Minerva crafts again. It's fabric time again. Minerva Crafts have let me have some delicious Prada Stretch Crepe Fabric to try. The name draws you in straight away, I'm thinking Quality, Glamour and Special Occasion Wear.
It comes in a huge array of bright jewel colours and looks very luxurious. The moment I saw it I envisaged a dream project for a slinky special occasion outfit.
The fabric washes well and I didn't notice much shrinkage although there was a little fraying at the edge as you can see in the first image.
It looks like a satin backed crepe but it is much richer quality. It's heavier than typical crepe fabrics and it feels gorgeous to the touch. I'm sure it would be comfortable to wear. It has two distinctly different faces, a matte one and a shiny one. Depending on the desired effect you can go Glam or even More Glam. Also, the weight and the finish mean there is no lining required.
This fabric is so beautiful that as soon as the Minerva package arrived I decided I wanted some more and ordered another 3 metres!
The pattern I've chosen is a very dramatic overshirt from a 1980s book I have in my library. It was a fairly easy sew but I thought it would really show off the fabric's quality. I had thought that this fabric might be a bit naughty and difficult to manage due to the silky finish, but it behaved really well and was easy to lay out and cut. It was not at all slippery and I found it very easy to manage.
I always use a rotary cutter for my sewing fabrics and this made easy work of this crepe. It leaves a clean edge and despite the fact I had noticed some frayed threads this did not seem to be a major problem while cutting.
It sews like a dream, no snagging and runs through the machine nicely. I used a rolled hem to finish but overlocking or some of the fancier finishes like a Hong Kong finish would be great (not that I know how to do one yet!) It even unpicks nicely as I discovered a few times, when I went wrong with the 'easy' pattern (my fault nothing to do with the fabric)!
A couple of things to be careful of; this fabric does seem to crease readily and when ironing do be careful, it will not tolerate high heat. I nearly had a bit of a disaster with this. Use the satin setting and preferably a pressing cloth.
Here it is, a different shape and bold design, seeking a special occasion.
The colour and sheen is amazing and the back has a lovely detail which is emphasised by the drape of the fabric.
I love how this fabric handles and sews and I now need to find an event worthy of it! I would definitely recommend it both for its looks and its overall user-friendliness. The full story of this is here on my blog. Thanks for reading and thank you Minerva Crafts for the chance to work with this beautiful fabric, I see more of it in my future!
Thanks for reading,
Elaine @ That Random Madam