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Product Reviews

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Jersey Work Can Be Simple With Vilene Fuse n Tear

Hi, my name is Jill and I run The Craftmobile ( Cutting and applying shapes when using jersey can be difficult. The fabric moves, edges don’t always come out as clean or defined as you would like. Luckily Vilene Fuse n Tear is around to make the work a whole lot easier. This temporary stabiliser is simple to apply and peels away once you are ready, so you get the look you want without having to use a permanent additional layer.

I used the webbing to give a child’s t-shirt a new look with jersey applique and simple stitching. To create a similar look you will need:

Vilene Fuse n Tear Embroidery Webbing

Vilene Fuse n Tear Embroidery Webbing is one of a variety of stabilising materials you can buy, it is a temporary layer meaning that you can just remove it once it has served its purpose. By fusing the webbing to fabric you create a more stable base that is easier to work with. Without the backing the fabric moves and slips but with it applied it holds steady, this is especially useful for stretchy fabrics. Since Fuse n Tear is removable your finished design is not impacted by having another stabilising layer in place, there is no extra stiffness and the fabric can flow as normal.

How To Use

Using Fuse n Tear is very easy. It is an iron-on stabiliser so warm up your iron to a medium heat and turn the steam off. Place the glossy side of the webbing onto the fabric you are using and iron for just a few seconds. You don’t want to be moving the iron around too much and you don’t need to press hard. Let the heat rest on an area and then move it to another section if you are using a large piece. 8 seconds is all it takes for the webbing to take hold of the material.

Cutting Shapes With Fuse n Tear

For an easy way to cut shapes from jersey fabric you can sketch a design onto the matt, paper side of the Fuse n Tear. If drawing isn’t your strength you can use a cutter or template to draw around.

Fuse the webbing to your fabric and cut the shape out. The scissors go through the fabric much easier with the extra layer in place. Once you are done you can just peel the webbing layer off and your shape is ready to use.

Creating a Design On Jersey

You can also use Fuse n Tear to help you attach pieces to a jersey base. In this case I am going to sew my cut-out shapes from jersey onto a jersey child’s t-shirt. Without Fuse n Tear the fabrics would be slipping about everywhere, with it in place the work is a lot more stable. To get started iron a piece of the Fuse n Tear onto the reverse (front inside) of your t-shirt.

You can then pin your shape in place and sew it on round. For the look I want I am doing a basic hand stitch using two strands of embroidery thread, I’ve already checked that my fabric won’t fray and I want it to turn up slightly at the edges so I am leaving a little border. You can choose whatever method suits you best, machine or hand, just remembering that you need to leave some freedom so that the stretch is unrestricted.

Once you are finished attaching your shape you can remove the Fuse n Tear. If you have hand stitched make sure that you are careful not to pull on the threads too hard, you can use some small scissors to help remove the paper around the stitches if necessary.

Next Steps

I kept cutting and attaching shapes, just using the same easy method until I had a quick design for a plain child’s t-shirt with dragonfly and a flower.

There are many more ways to use Fuse n Tear, try it on any stretch fabric or any materials that are tricky to cut to get a cleaner, straightforward result.

Jill – The Craftmobile


What Is Decovil? (+ Purse Tutorial!)

Now I love a big of bag making….and I am no stranger to many types of mega-interfacing that gives structure and stability to those types of projects that need to be flexible and durable. What I hadn’t heard of though was Decovil therefore many thanks to Minerva Crafts I got to test it out!Decovil is made by Vilene and comes in a light weight option or a ‘leather like’ version. The product is described as tear resistant, resilient, resistant to bending and fraying but still easy to cut and shape. Intriguing… When it comes to bags and purses, ‘leather like’ is the ideal texture so let’s give it a whirl. You can see here in the picture that it has a grainy texture and is folded like cardboard however in reality it is incredibly flexible. One side is rough and the other has a slight sheen of adhesive used to bind to your fabric.
I’m going to do a quick tutorial here on making a zip purse – an oldie but a goodie as they say. Also, an excellent project if you are a beginner to sewing. Lots of straight edges!Firstly, the ingredients. You’ll need some outer fabric, lining, fabric, Decovil interfacing and a zip (together with the usual scissors, pins and thread). You will see here that I used some excellent soft Canvas Fabric, also available from Minerva, which was left over from a previous tote bag project. 
My pieces here are 15cm x 22cm for the outer fabric, lining and Decovil interfacing. I’ve also cut some small rectangles which will be used to bind the zip for a clean finish. Happily, the dinosaur fit nicely into the frame!
Firstly, place the Decovil, adhesive side down onto the wrong side of the main fabric. Holding the iron and pressing down onto the back of the Decovil for approx. 10 sections at a time, move along the fabric in sections so it is all stuck down. Leave about 30 seconds to cool and voila! The Decovil stuck REALLY well – in fact the fabric and Decovil became one and it really was like the fabric had been made into a leather-like piece. Its bends nicely but it really did turn thick and sturdy.
On to the zip – take those little rectangles and fold the ends into the centre and fold again. These get placed over the top of the zip ends. 
In order to get really close to the zip stoppers, open the zip a little so that you can sew a line straight across the tab as close as possible to the stoppers. Trim any excess from the sides so the tabs are the same width as the zip. 
To the bag making! Flip that zip and place the top edge along the top right had side of the main fabric piece. You will see I have left a small seam allowance on either side of the zip tabs so ensure you have enough room either end to sew up your purse in the later stages. 
At this point you can baste the zip down to keep it sturdy or move straight to the next step, which is to place the lining fabric, right sides facing, on top. This creates a little zip sandwich. 
Use pins, or much better for bag making, binder clips, to attach all 3 layers together and sew straight across that top edge with a zip foot. I find the width of my zip foot is a good guide for how far away to stitch from the zip teeth. 
Flip your lining and outer fabric outwards so that it starts to look like a side panel. You can see here that although the Decovil was easy to sew, it really started giving some thickness when seams were created. At this stage you could topstitch the lining and main fabric down to squash those layers together. I chose not to as I was experimenting to see how all the Decovil bulk would look at the end. As it turns out, a strong press with the iron sorts it out no problem!
Repeat the above steps for the other side of the purse. 
You should now have all your pieces assembled! 
At this point. Open the zip! Trust me your future self will thank you.The next step is to flip the layers again so that the lining pieces face each other, and the main fabric pieces face each other. Pin or clip all away around the edge, leaving a gap in the lining for turning. Here I am going to sew all the way around, leaving a gap between the two pink clips on the right-hand side.
When you sew around the purse, make sure that the main fabric (Decovil pieces) have the seams at the zip, pointing towards the lining side. This allows the zipper tab to bump upwards towards the outer part of the purse as below.
Once you’ve gone around the edges, trim the seams back to reduce the bulk again. That Decovil really does get thick!
Now for the weird bit. Get your hand right up into that lining opening and pull all the layers through so that the right sides are now visible. This is where leaving the zip open comes into play as the whole thing has to pass through that gap. With the sturdy Decovil this was difficult! It has essentially set like rock, which is amazing, but a bit awkward to handle on this step.
This is where the Decovil was fabulous as even though I had man-handled and wrestled that stuff through the lining gap, it sprung right back into shape afterwards without having been damaged or ripped or stretched. Amazing!
After popping out all the corners as best you can (use a ruler or knitting needle for good corners), pull the lining out and stitch up that gap. You can hand sew for an  invisible finish, or just whizz a line across it on the sewing machine. Push the lining back into the purse and you’re all done!!
Now not to disappoint, of course I added a little tortoise to mine. You can find all sorts of fun things to put on zips, this is my preference!
I found the Decovil to be excellent and I would certainly buy and use it again. The purse has some serious structure to it, and had I made something with a flat bottom, it would easily stand-up on its own, unsupported and without sagging. The purse is rigid, but flexible enough to use well – ‘leather like’ is a very accurate description! Impressed.
Thanks for reading,
Emma @ Crafty Clyde

Clover Needle Felting Tools Review

Hello again! I’m thrilled to be back on the Minerva crafts blog, this time I am sharing my experience of using the Clover Needle Felting Tool and large Needle Felting Mat. These are quick and easy tools for adding applique to a base fabric of your choice. Although I have tried needle felting in the past, I hadn’t ever tried applique using a needle felting tool so I was very keen to have a go!

The needle felting tool has 5 barbed needles which catch the wool fibres and push them into the base fabric, quickly and easily attaching your design without the need for glue or thread. The brush-like mat allows the fibres of the design to be easily meshed with the base fabric with little resistance, and the open bristles of the brush help to reduce the attachment of the felted fibres to the mat.

I decided to test out the needle felting tool and mat by adding applique designs to some tote bags. On the package instructions for the needle felting tool, wool is recommended as a base for applique, but other woven fabrics will also work. I used some tote bags made from 100% cotton and other bags made from recycled polypropylene, as I wanted to see how the tool would work on different base fabrics. For my applique designs, I used a combination of wool roving and felt sheets (both available from Minerva crafts). I used a Sizzix Big Shot machine to cut out some flower shapes from felt sheets, which I first attached to the bag, then added a wool roving centre to each flower. I also tried some freehand designs using a combination of wool roving and felt sheets.

The needle felting tools were very quick and easy to use. The needles in the felting tool are very sharp and I was glad that the tool has a plastic guard around the needles, to reduce the risk of injury. This is a great design feature as it makes the tool safer to use. I also liked the fact the guard can be locked to cover the needles when the felting tool is not in use. I found it much easier to remove the base fabric and my design from the brush-style needle felting mat compared with my experience of using foam felting mats (which tend to become quite easily attached to the item being felted). It's important to make sure the tip of the needle felting tool does not reach the base of the felting mat during use, as this could lead to breakage of the needles. I was very pleased with the speed of felting and ease of use of the needle felting tool and mat and I was happy with my finished designs. One thing to note is that as the felting mat is quite large, it can be quite tricky to fit it into small spaces such as into the corners of a bag. I found I was able to work around this, although smaller mats are also available if required. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to securely apply my designs to each bag using the needle felting tool and mat, and I found this worked equally well with both the cotton and polypropylene bags I selected.

The possibilities for applique using the Clover needle felting tool and mat are endless, and the tools should work well on most woven fabrics. Wool roving is fairly inexpensive and is available in a wide range of colours. Minerva Crafts also stock an extensive range of felt sheets as well as handmade felt embellishments which could also be used for applique designs. With correct and careful use, the needle felting tool and mat should last for a fairly long time (replacement needles are available if necessary). If you are feeling creative and fancy trying something new, why not give needle felting a try?

Thanks so much for reading, I hope to be back again soon with another product review!

Jemma @buntingandbuttons


Prym Maxi Rectangle Loom Review

Hello! Today I'll be reviewing the Maxi Rectangle Loom from Prym.
I've never used a loom before, so when I received it and saw all the pegs and instructions I thought, what have I gotten myself into??
The thing that overwhelmed me the most was the instructions. They are written in quite a few different languages, so it was confusing at times and difficult to find the right directions.
I ended up circling the English instructions, which made things much less stressful.
After getting the instructions sorted out, it was actually pretty easy to understand what I was supposed to be doing. The only problem I ran into, was that it doesn't have you secure the starting yarn. If you watch some videos on using looms, you'll notice that a lot of times they secure the yarn to the starting peg using a slip knot. Perhaps this particular design doesn't need to be secured at the start?
What I ended up doing was securing the starting yarn to the tie-up point, like the instructions say to do with the ending yarn.
Here is what the finished project looks like.
The instructions also have a tutorial for crocheting a frame of sorts around the whole design, but I chose not to do that.
So...what am I supposed to do with this rectangular flower thing?
The box has some ideas on it, namely a bag and a shawl, as well as a scarf (or necklace? but I think it's a scarf). It doesn't tell you how to make these items, however, I don't think it would be very hard to figure out.
At first, I was planning on making some washcloths but the spaces in the design are pretty large for that. I'm not sure it would clean very well!
So, in the end, I decided to make a wall hanging. I've been seeing them everywhere and have been thinking of making one. This was the perfect opportunity!
Side note: Does anyone else have trouble buying things when they know how to sew, knit, crochet,etc.? Sometimes it's freeing to be able to create things, but it also makes shopping a little less enjoyable for me...
What you will need:
Prym Maxi Rectangle Loom
One skein of Peaches and Cream cotton yarn in the color Ecru
Any 120 yard skein of medium weight cotton yarn
A stick (or perhaps a painted dowel) for hanging
Step 1:
Set your pegs out as I have below.
Now make three of the loom instructions flower design.
Step 2:
Next, we're going to make tassels to connect the three rectangles together.
To make a tassel, cut eight strands of yarn of equal length. They need to be long enough to weave through the design and to have a bit hanging at the end, and then twice that length. That is so the tassels will be thick and so we can secure the weaving. If you followed my peg layout, you will need eleven tassels total.
P.S The picture above does not show the whole tassel! It should be at least three times that length.
Step 3:
To connect the rectangles together, we will be weaving the tassels through the design.
Set your rectangles in a row. Now take a tassel and weave it under the first rectangle like so.
Continue to the second rectangle and weave it under the first little yarn bridge.
Now for the last rectangle, do the same as you did for the second rectangle.
Lay the remaining yarn over the weaving you just did. We won't be weaving this in.
Step 4:
To secure everything we will tie strands of yarn around the tassel at certain points.
Before you do that though, make sure the tassel is positioned how you want it.
Tie a piece of yarn under all three area's we have weaved the tassel through the rectangle, as well as in between each rectangle.
Hopefully, you can tell what I mean by the picture. It's difficult since I chose to use one color. I've circled the points where I've tied it.
Go back and repeat steps three and four to the remaining ten spaces.
After you've finished securing it all, cut any excess yarn from the ties. You can also trim the tassels if you'd like.
This is what the front will look like at this point.
Step 5:
We're almost done! This IS a wall hanging so we'll have to make it hang-able.
Find a good durable stick or a dowel. Here is mine:
To attach the wall hanging to the stick, we will use three of the top loops and some small pieces of yarn. Take a strand of yarn, bring it through the first top rectangle loop and then tie it to the stick. Repeat this on the middle loop and the last loop. Trim any extra length of yarn.
Now cut a long strand of yarn, we'll be using it to hang the wall hanging. Tie each end of the yarn to each end of the stick.
Like so:
There we go, all finished!
You don't have to make yours the same as mine. You could use different colors of yarn, maybe add some beads in the design, or somehow figure out a way to get shells on it. You can make it bigger with longer, dramatic tassels. Or you can make it smaller! Check out Pinterest for some cool ideas. I feel like I'm always recommending Pinterest! But really, there are some neat things on there.
That was kind of fun! I'm excited to experiment and learn more about this weaving loom. I wonder what other designs I can make with it?
Until next time,

Erika Knight Studio Linen Yarn Review

Today I am reviewing a yarn by Erika Knight called Studio Linen. It is made from recycled fibres and creates a summer weight fabric.

I am lured by yarn on a skein, are you? But this was a pig to roll into balls. It is slinky and smooth therefore my yarn winder was hopeless because the ball didn't have any purchase and just kept slipping and unraveling. Andy spent 2 hours one evening unknotting one ball that I made a hash of. That said, knitting with it was sublime.

The pattern is free from Ravelry called The Summer Vacationt Top. You knit it with two strands held together on 7mm needles, this creates a very free flowing fabric. It is a quick knit and ideal for taking on holiday or knitting in the garden because it is simply two squares with no shaping. Great for a beginner too.

I used six skeins comfortably. Six would enable you to make the S, M or L sizes available on this pattern. The linen based yarn is so cool to wear on hot days and I love that it is made from recycled fibres - 85% viscose and 15% linen giving it a beautiful silky feel.

It is a very versatile pattern: you could change the length, width, mesh section to suit by using more or less of the lovely yarn. If I was to knit another, and I surely will, I will lengthen the stocking stitch and make a more shallow mesh section. Mine seems to have a larger section than others on ravelry. 

Thinking ahead, I am also planning to wear it well into autumn with a white shirt underneath for work. The drape means it does not stick to the cotton shirt.

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xxx


Lucky Dip Fabric Bags Review

For this Minerva Crafts review, I was delighted to receive three x two metre Lucky Dip Bags of Fabric. These bags of fabric sell for £4.99 each and are excellent value for money.  I received a bag of blue fabric, one of green and one of black.

In the Black Fabric Bag were two pieces of fabric, one metre of 60" wide plain jersey knit fabric, and one metre of 60" wide, patterned, silky, viscose type of fabric.  It was quite a challenge to find a pattern to suit the amount of fabric, but I decided on a gypsy style top with cap sleeves for the patterned fabric, using a New Look pattern from Minerva Crafts, and a pair of leggings for the plain knit, using a Simplicity pattern, also from Minerva Crafts.  Both items were easy to make and the only other item I needed was elastic. There wasn't quite enough fabric to make full length leggings, so I just altered them to make them a bit shorter, ideal for the summer.  I was so pleased to have a new outfit, made in one day, and it would have cost me less than £5!

With the Green Fabric Pack, I received four smaller pieces of fabric. There was some dark green heavy jersey knit, a piece of cotton type pale green with a shiny side, a piece of lightweight voile type fabric in various shades of green and black, and a small piece of green patterned cotton.


As there wasn't enough of the dark green jersey to make anything for myself, I made a pair of leggings for my three year old granddaughter, and a matching pair for my 18" American girl doll.  This was lovely fabric and easy to sew.  I downloaded and printed a pattern from the internet for basic children's leggings, and made ther dolls leggings from an simplicity pattern for 18" doll clothes.  I don't know if this pattern is till available, but there are lots of similar doll clothes patterns on the Minerva crafts website.

With the green cotton fabric, there was enough to make my American girl doll a gathered skirt and matching headband.  I didn't use a pattern, just cut out a rectangle of fabric the length required and around two and a half times the dolls waist measurement.  I then gathered this fabric onto a waistband, and made a button and buttonhole fastening at the back.  There was a long, thin piece left, which I sewed into a tube, and made a matching headband.

The voile type fabric was a long, thin piece, which I made into an infinity scarf for myself.  I just sewed the two ends together, and then folded it in half lengthwise, and sewed it together, leaving a small gap to turn it through to the right side, and then sewed the gap up by hand.

I was unsure what to make with the pale green, cotton type fabric, but eventually decided on a shopping bag, as you can never have too many bags!  Again I didn't use a pattern.  I cut out four rectangles of fabric, two for the outside of the bag and two for the lining, then two pieces for the handles.  I then cut out two pieces of lightweight interfacing to give the bag more body.  As the fabric was plain, I drew and cut out a flower shape for decoration, using the dark green jersey fabric, and backed it with bondaweb, before sewing onto the bag using satin stitch.

There is a tutorial on my blog, cherylcrafts9 for making a shopping bag like this, and many more patterns and tutorials on the internet.

I have yet to make anything with the blue lucky bag. This consisted of one metre of navy blue lining fabric and one metre of navy blue net.  I shall probably use it to make a princess style dress!


Tilly and the Buttons Coco Pattern Review

I’ve been sewing my own clothes for two years but I have to admit, stretchy fabrics scare me; not because of bad experiences, but mostly because the big sewing patterns seem to assume you have a serger, and are somehow competent in a way I, frankly, am not.

The thought of distended necklines is also worrying, as I want my clothes to last a long time, so I can enjoy wearing them without the pain of unpicking stitches fresh in my memory. However, I have a wardrobe of lovingly made pinafore dresses, so I need tops with necklines that sit nicely under them, and I figured that I couldn’t do that much worse than the sad, barely worn attempt I bought from a high street store. I decided to make a top, and if it was awful, hide it under my favourite jumper dress (Simplicity 1252, as seen in the pictures).

I chose Tilly and the Buttons’ very popular Coco Sewing Pattern for my first attempt, because as an independent pattern maker, her instructions are very much orientated around the beginner. They are in full colour and not only does she assume you are sewing on a regular machine, she even gives you important tips such as the exact stitch size it would be best to use, and if that isn’t detailed enough, there are even a series of free blog posts on her website taking you through the process step by step.

Incidentally, I also took it as a good omen that on the website the Coco dress seems to be modelled by Amber Butchard, who my small son adores after a failed attempt to bore him to sleep by forcing him to watch ‘A Stitch in Time’ (please note the history of sewing is not boring, sewing is not boring and A Stitch in Time is riveting. I had to rewatch the whole series with him.)

The pattern is printed onto good quality paper, not tissue paper, which you can cut out or trace easily, as the pattern pieces are all individual and not lying over each other, like you get in pattern books and some independent patterns. To keep things simple as possible, I chose a plain ponte de roma fabric, which is not too stretchy, so really good for beginners. There are lengthen lines for the dress pattern marked on above the waist but to be honest all my length is in my legs and I needed to add 4 inches, which means I lost a bit of the waist shaping, so it might have been better to add the length to the hem.

I sew quite slowly, generally sewing a garment gradually over 3 or 4 days, and when patterns claim you make a dress in three hours I’m perfectly aware that I’m going to spend more than three hours cutting out the pieces, unpicking things I shouldn’t have sewn and picking off little bits of cotton off everything I own. This pattern, however, is really very simple: the simplest version has four pieces, a front, a back, and two sleeves. The seams to not need to be finished as the fabric doesn’t fray, and simply turning the neckline over rather than using facing to make the neck opening is so easy it honestly felt like cheating. Also, the sleeves are set in flat, which is a very painless way to sew a sleeve.

It was so quick and simple to make, not only did I successfully make a top in record time, I used the scraps and some black roma to whip up the dress version you see here, which, even with the more ambitious funnel neck and pockets, took less than a day. The only unpicking happened because I sewed a pocket on sideways (in the instructions the pockets are sewn on after the dress is made, which made it a bit trickier, and I next time I’ll sew them in place first). I finished the hemming with a double needle because I prefer the look to a zigzag stitch.

The colours I’ve chosen in this Ponte Roma Fabric make me feel a little bit Star Trek (if you want to go full Trek, there is a contrast yoke modification tutorial on the website, too), so I will probably use this dress mostly for exploring alien planets, while rocking a sixties vibe in with my sunglasses on. In fact, the project was so successful, I ordered Tilly Walnes book, Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics, to continue my adventures.

Thanks for reading,

Deborah @champignons


Mettler Christmas Thread Collection Review by Michelle

I LOVE thread….Good thread. I have been sewing for too many years to tolerate anything but the best. The time you waste rethreading and fixing snags because the thread you bought at a bargain price constantly snaps or shears, turns out NOT to be a bargain in the end. Nothing will put you off sewing quicker than your machine not working well – either from inferior thread or bad needles.

Combine my love of thread with a bit of embroidery and I am sold. I haven’t been doing free motion embroidery for long (a couple of projects) and really wanted to create a nice design in these delicious Christmassy colours of Mettler Embroidery Thread, and get ahead on my Christmas wish list for a change! I have been using another amazing brand of thread for a few years now and the Mettler had a lot to live up to. You absolutely CANNOT do machine embroidery without good thread and needles, so this was a great test of the product.

I chose and drew a poinsettia onto my cotton fabric, applied spray adhesive to the back of the design and stuck my stabilizer onto the reverse. On the machine, a Juki DX, I changed the needle to a small size embroidery needle (I saved the larger size needles for the metallic thread), threaded up the top with the Mettler and my bobbin with my usual polyester embroidery thread. The foot was replaced with the darning/free motion foot and on this occasion I lowered the feed dogs (I don’t usually); set it to a straight stitch and turned my stitch length to zero and I was ready to stitch.

The entire design was placed into an embroidery hoop to keep it sturdy and then I began with the green and outlined the leaves. Slowly at first because I have used other threads in the past and they were so rubbish that within a few stitches they either snapped or started to fray and bunch up around the eye of the needle. This was not a problem at all for the Mettler thread so I speeded up a bit as I began thread painting the leaves. After a few minutes I was still going along without a hitch – I was getting quietly confident that this may be a ‘good’ thread.

I moved onto another leaf and then another – still no breakage – WOW! I was now getting impressed.

At the end of the fifth leaf I was sold – this is a GREAT thread. I had started to become super confident towards the end and pushed it a little bit harder; going over the same area at least 15 times and NO shredding, snapping or fraying. I was one VERY happy lady.

Next came the white – for the ribbons on the design. Same results for this colour. In the past, I have found that some thread colours are better than others – why? I have no idea, but in this case I had 2 successes in a row.

Now for the red; this was the biggest challenge because it was very dense stitching which would be a real test. Three petals later and I am sold – this Mettler is incredible. I couldn’t be happier with the results.

If you have ever done any hand or machine embroidery, you will be familiar with how difficult metallic thread is to work with. I was rather dreading the metallic threads because of this and also because I had decided to use them on top of the other threads for a bit of bling and emphasis.

This was a bit more slow going and the threads did shear quite a few time – especially where the bottom thread was really thick or I went too fast – but on the whole, it did remarkably well.

Any thread that can sew metallic this well definitely wins a place in my sewing room.

Just goes to show, with the right needle and thread, all designs are possible.

Thanks Mettler and Minerva for an outstanding product :)

Thanks for reading,

Michelle @ swissarmywife


Sirdar Dazzle Yarn Review

Hello every one, well the weather seems to have stuck on Winter in the UK at the moment, somebody seems to have forgotten to tell Mother nature that it is now Autumn! 
Therefore I was very happy this month to be given the chance by Minerva crafts to road test a lovely Yarn by Sirdar. It's an on trend colour wheel ball in a dk weight and a range of 6 yummy colours to choose from with added sparkle running through it. 
I chose Sparkling seas!
And at a great 150grams a ball with 568 yards/ 520 meters per ball I knew I could get a fairly decent size make out of one ball. If that was not enough the ball band actually has a knitted scarf pattern printed on the inside.
I am an avid knitter and brave novice crocheter and I am always on the look out for patterns that catch my eye and I was lucky to come upon the "Spring Showers shawl by Maria Bittner". The pattern is available to purchase on ravelry as a download or on her blog as a free CAL (crochet a long) This is the pattern I decided to do as the meterage fitted in nicely  or if you want an actual printed pattern you could try either of these Crochet Patterns by Sirdar, specifically designed for this yarn...
The pattern I chose was so easy to do and the yarn is lovely to work with, I could tell how warm the finished shawl was going to be and I just did not want to stop working with it, the colour transitions were very good too.
I worked on it over Saturday evening and Sunday day and was disappointed just how quick it was to finish, somewhat bereft when I finished it in the evening, I really did enjoy working with it that much.
That being said I knew  I had the excitement of giving the finished shawl a light block and a glamour shot to take the following day, but then the weather took hold which made that slightly difficult. I did however manage to get one quick one outside. 
Have I mentioned how much I loved this yarn, it blocked out lovely and the finished shawl is great to wrap around my shoulders on a chilly spring/summer evening if they ever come, but for now I am so happy to be able to wear it as a neckerchief, keeping the cold at bay under my winter coat.
I really would recommend this yarn, whatever you decide to make with it I am sure will come out lovely. Thank you Minerva crafts for giving me the opportunity to work with a yarn I would not normally have looked at.
Thanks for reading,

Diablo Jersey Review

Hello everyone!

Today, I am back on Minerva Crafts blog with another product review. On this occasion, I was asked to try out this Diablo Jersey Fabric and I had the choice of colour. This fabric comes in 34 colours, so I had to think about it a little. In the end I felt that ‘Rust’ is an unusual colour perfect for what I had in mind. Unfortunately, I was not able to take a picture that shows the real colour. In the pictures the colour is a bit more red than rust.

On the Minerva Crafts store the fabric is described as; 

gorgeous knitted jersey dressmaking fabric called Diablo has the most wonderful soft and slinky drape. This fabric would be perfect for making into tops, cardigans, skirts and dresses.’ 

It is a bit see through, so if you are making a dress, skirt or trousers consider the fact that you might need to wear it with a slip underneath or make a lining for it.

From the beginning, I had in mind to make River, one of the new patterns from Megan Nielsen Patterns. I wanted to make the dress version and if the left over fabric was big enough a top as well. What can I say, I like to use up all the fabric.

Although, I don’t recommend it, I started on my projects straightaway, without washing the fabric first. Sometimes fabrics shrink in the wash and your garment might shrink as well if the fabric was not washed before construction. I found that the fabric was shedding a little so a little bit of fluff went everywhere.

As I mentioned before, the fabric is a little see through, especially in good lighting or on sunny day. Therefore, I decided to underline the main body pieces for the dress with self-fabric. I did so by cutting one piece and then use it as a pattern to cut the second one. Afterwards I basted them together to be used as a one layer.

As both sides of the fabric are so similar I’ve used pins to mark the right side of the fabric, so I wouldn’t get confused later. This can be done by using safety pins or other marking tools which will save you from stabbing yourself in the pins like I did. LOL

I always use knit interfacing to stabilise hems on knit fabrics. It makes hemming easier and helps reduce the wavy effect that we sometimes get when we hem knitted fabrics.

I did most of the construction on the overlocker/serger, which makes the seams stretch and finish off the raw edges in one step. This fabric does not fray, so it’s not necessary to finish the raw edges if you do not have a serger/overlocker. I only used the sewing machine for the hems and to top-stitch the neckband.

Because this fabric is quite slippery, I felt that a triple zig-zag stitch is the best for hemming after testing a few stitches on a scrap of fabric.

On the dress, before hemming it, I realised that the layers were not equal. I ended up cutting off 5 cm (or 2 inches) of the bottom. And then hemmed the dress. I should note that the dress has a deep hem which I skipped, and make is less deep.

It turned out that, because the fabric is a bit to heavy, underlining it with itself makes it heavier. No matter what I did it just looks wrong. It also causes the dress to look like it is longer than it actually is.

I tried the dress with the tie belt. It makes things better but you can still see those drag lines. Darn!

For a while I felt that the dress is going to end up in the failed projects pile, until I decided decided to separate the layers above the hem but cutting loose the inner layer of the dress. To my surprise, it worked. The dress hangs better and no longer shows those drag lines you can see in the pictures. It is a bit messy on the inside, but that’s ok, no one will see it.

As for the top, it all went ok because I did not underline it. I like the colour and the fabric is quite soft against the skin, even though it is made from polyester.

These are my tips for working with this slinky diablo stretch jersey:

  • I do not recommend it to beginner stitchers because the fabric is a bit temperamental.

  • best used in tops, or cardigans.

  • as the fabric is a bit see through consider using a slip underneath for skirts or dresses.

  • baste before stitching the seams, the fabric has a tendency to slip, and you can end up to mismatched edges.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my blog post. We would really love to see your projects made with supplied from MinervaCrafts, so please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @MinervaCrafts or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.


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