Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 22nd November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Tuesday the 21st November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hop onto the romance embellishment trend with these “oh sew easy dainty roses”!
With everything on the high street still floating on the romantic and embellished trend, make these fabric roses tonight to add to this seasons wardrobe staples.
I was delighted to review Clover’s Sweetheart Rose Maker as I love the idea of making lots of fabric roses fast to personalise my clothes and accessories. As I am obsessed with all things roses I couldn’t wait to get started. I choose the largest fabric rose template to create 6cm roses as I wanted a vintage tea rose look and the template is also easier to photograph. Both 4cm and 5cm templates are available to create smaller versions of the flower.
The template is from a Japanese haberdashery company so it’s like creating Japanese origami with your fabric sandwiched in the middle. Extremely satisfying to make! I made my first rose at my weekly textile group and that ‘voila’ moment when the rose pops out of the template is a very much a, ’I made it myself’ moment and a great crowd pleaser I can tell you.
The kits comes in a A5 size clear envelope so can be stored with your dressmaking paper patterns or paper stock. Inside, you get really clear instructions (see above) and the two pieces of the rose maker template plus a hair grip to hold it all in place.
I loved how the instructions (English is just one off the multi-lingual sheet) has very easy to follow diagrams, so you can chat whilst make. You can also determine how ruffle-y or bud tight you want your roses to be. So even though you are using the same template the roses could be a range from full bloom to rose buds about to flower.
Here’s how I made my shoe rose decorations in a few easy steps. Firstly you need to sandwich your top and bottom template between your fabric. My fabric is pink Organza Fabric which doesn’t show up fantastically in the photos but it is the best fabric in my opinion to get pretty tea rose flowers!
I loved that the template had ‘START’ on one corner and a different pattern on the front and back to help you fold.
I sandwiched my chiffon between the templates.
And pinned my fabric sandwich together through the punched pin holes. At this point the pre-folded template wanted to fold itself in! It virtually folds for you!
I followed the instructions and my rose then looked like this, all folded in a perfect pentagon with a running stitch along the top (just seen).
I then created a wrapped tube by unpinning the two templates. It looks nothing like a rose at this point...
From this long snake like chiffon tube, I pulled the running stitch to gather up the fabric and followed one of the diagrams to make these cute chiffon roses. I was pretty amazed that I could create these from a tube of twisted chiffon in minutes.
Thank-you to Minerva Crafts for giving me the opportunity to make my plain ballet pumps pop with chiffon roses. I think I have the bug and I’m going to try this look on a knitted cardigan for a vintage starlet look. What would you do?
Samantha hosts vintage craft parties and workshops at www.crafternoonteahostess.co.uk
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 19th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
As an avid sewer, and someone who likes to try anything new or different, I was keen to take part in the Minerva Crafts product testing scheme. The opportunity arose to try this Leaf print stretch Needlecord Fabric and I chose the Burnt Orange.
The colour of this is just so lusciously rich and it’s peppered with a brown variable leaf design. Add to that a random embroidered thread pattern in contrast cream and you get this fabulous abstract fabric! It’s also available in Brown, Green and Olive Green, so plenty of colours to choose from.
I was rather excited when my parcel arrived from Vicki, and this was washed and outside on the line, blowing in the breeze within a couple of hours of posties delivery! It washed well and barely needed any ironing (always a bonus!) but as with most dark colours, wash separately.
There was definitely a tad of orange lurking in the soapy water. Anyway, fabric washed and dried, it was time to cut. As with all fabric with a pile (nap), all pattern pieces need to be cut in the same direction. If you run your fingers up and down the fabric, you can feel the pile. It will feel smooth in one direction and a slightly rougher texture the opposite direction.
Due the abstract design I chose a sewing pattern with quite large pattern pieces and Megan Nielsen’s Brumby Skirt Sewing Pattern was a perfect choice. The corduroy is medium to heavy weight but with fine wales (those vertical ridges) and also a slight stretch. It wasn’t applicable in my case with making a full skirt but that slight stretch is always an added bonus for fitting and comfort of wear!
One thing I noticed is that this corduroy barely frayed. Some you get shed like a dog in summer! Sewing this was also easy. I often find that fabrics with a pile tend to shift around when sewing and using a walking foot helps with that. But I didn’t find the need at all with this corduroy, even with my long seams. I pressed all the seams open and overlocked the edges.
Corduroy always needs to be pressed with the nap side down. A velvet needleboard is excellent for this but these can be pricey! A soft towel works just as well or (as in my case) I used an off cut of the fabric itself, right side up. This is so the pile isn’t crushed whilst pressing.
For the gathering of the waist, I used a zig zag stitch over a narrow cord as recommended by the pattern and it gathers beautifully in this fairly heavy fabric. And, I even managed to add some piping. Well those super huge pockets needed a little showing off! I lined the pockets and the waistband in the same cream fabric that I used for my self-made piping. This was to reduce the bulk.
Overall this was a pleasure to work with and sew. I almost opted for a jacket but I am just so happy that I chose a full skirt instead as it just shows how versatile this fabric can be. It’s not just for jackets, straight or A-line skirts and dungarees!
Thanks for reading,
Dawn @ Dawn-Whitham-Holloway
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 18th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone, it’s Wendy from wendystitch.com, here to review some baby yarn for you.
I have been a knitter since I was a child but I have to admit that I only really knit things for me and very rarely have I knit anything for babies. However, the call from Minerva Crafts for testers of this Baby Yarn came right on the day that we found out my partner’s sister is expecting her first child – it seemed like a sign!
The yarn I am reviewing is Sirdar Snuggly Tiny Tots DK in shade 0986 - a delicious banana yellow with white flecks running through it. There are loads of lovely shades to from and I chose this particular one because, as well as being such a happy colour, it is gender neutral. Perfect for a new-born.
Here’s some more info about the yarn, straight off the label:
Type: Double Knit
Fibre: 90% acrylic, 10% polyester
Yardage: 150 yards/137 metres
Wash method: machine wash at 40 degrees. Can be tumble dried.
The yarn is a 100% manmade and I have a confession to make…. I am a bit of a yarn snob. I usually only knit with good quality natural yarns and the thought of acrylic yarn brings back memories of the cheap, squeaky school jumpers of my youth. However, it seems I have had the wool (pun intended) pulled over my eyes for too long when it comes to acrylic. There is nothing squeaky or cheap looking about this yarn.
What it looks/feels like
Straight from the ball the yarn feels very soft and I would never have guessed that this was acrylic. If I were to compare it to any other fibre I would say that it feels most like cotton. The white textured bits in particular feel very cotton-like.
Knitting with it
It is a double knitting weight yarn and the suggested needle size is 4mm. I decided to test it out by knitting a baby cardigan, knit seamlessly from the top down, with a slip stitch pattern around the yoke, a garter stitch button band and a stocking stitch body. I deliberately chose this pattern as I wanted to be able to show you how the yarn looks in a variety of stitch patterns.
As you can see, the yarn knits up all of these stitch patterns beautifully with really good stitch definition. I think you could probably knit any pattern in this yarn and you would have great stitch definition. Though personally, I think I prefer just the simple stocking stitch. I think the simplicity of the pattern helps to expose the wonderful textured white flecks in the yarn.
What I love about this yarn is that it is machine washable and does not need any blocking or reshaping when damp. I washed my swatch on a 40 degree cycle and there was no shrinkage or misshaping. If anything, it got a little softer in the wash but that is all. This makes it perfect for a baby knit that will be spending a lot of time in and out of the washing machine.
Ideas for using it
I would recommend sticking to quite simple baby patterns and let the texture of the yarn provide all the detail you need. I am thinking of making a cute little romper suit with it next but this yarn would also be great for jumpers, hats and booties.
Spending a fortune on fancy yarns is all well and good (and it is a habit I am unlikely to break I’m afraid) but it is not really the most appropriate course to take when knitting baby items. You want something affordable, soft against the baby’s skin and machine washable. This yarn ticks all of those boxes. An affordable yarn in a variety of lovely colours, that feels pleasant to hold and knits up beautifully. Acrylic yarn has greatly improved over the years and I will definitely be back for more of this.
Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 17th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 12th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
As a keen quilter I have sewn with many different types of wadding, but I’ve only very recently heard of foam. Vilene the manufacturer actually call it Foam Interfacing, but I’ve heard people also refer to it as foam batting on blogs and in tutorials.
From the pictures online I was expecting this sew in foam to be a thin dense layer of foam but it’s really much better than I had hoped, it’s almost ¼ inch deep and it’s really soft and bouncy.
I decided to make a toy bucket for my son’s room with some fabric left over from other projects.
I noticed straight away it’s lovely and easy to cut. I decided to quilt the sides of the toy bucket, did exactly the same as if it were wadding/batting, basting it with spray.
I used a cotton quilting thread in white and a size 12 needle. The foam gives really amazing stitch definition, I did think it could actually be used for quilting placemats or even for wall hanging it would really show off beautiful quilting designs. I used a Fabric Marker to help guide me when quilting. I did use my walking foot on my machine, but I also tested without the walking foot and it was fine. I would suggest if you don’t have walking foot for your machine then every couple of inches stop sewing keep your needle down and raise your presser foot, that way if the presser foot is dragging the top fabric it releases it.
Then I bound the top of the bucket just the same as for quilting
When I sewed the sides of the bucket together and instead of binding the raw edge, (because I had run out of fabric), I used French seams. I know that in dressmaking a French seam is really for fine fabric but it worked out great here, my machine sewed through the layers with no trouble. When I attached the base again there were raw edges. This time I hand stitched a blanket stitch around the raw edge to neaten and then sewed the raw edge to the side of the bucket to it was less visible.
Here you can see the French seam on the inside.
Here you can see the base on the inside with the blanket stitch over the raw edges.
I decided to put some handles on the bucket/basket, I did this by making tubes of fabric and then putting some of the foam inside.
Then I folded the tubes in half length ways and sewed together apart from 4inches each end.
I decided to hand stitch the straps as I thought it would be easier to ensure they were straight and even rather than putting the bucket under the machine. I guess you could have placed the straps on before sewing the side seams.
The foam was really easy to hand stitch through so you could use it for hand embroidery on bags and the embroidery would really stand out and add texture.
So here’s the finished toy bucket completely empty I’m super impressed how it holds it’s shape!
I do think in some ways my quilting lines took away from the strength of the foam as the foam folded along the sewn line so that’s something to bear in mind using it, also because it’s bouncy it does roll up under the machine like wadding so bear that in mind when designing your project. I think it would be brilliant in bags and I can see why it’s so popular with bag makers.
I was really pleased with how easy it is to work with, just as easy as wadding for my machine to feed through and stitch into, so now I need to think of some more projects!
And here it is with toys in;
Thanks for reading,
Emma Thompson @ Sand Piper Sewing
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 11th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Fabric roses are a great way to use up scraps of Fabric, make co-ordinating accessories or add a feature to a make. This Clover Rose Maker plate helps you create them with ease. I chose to test the medium size which helps make roses approximately 2” across using strips of fabric approx 4” x15”. Lightweight and fine fabrics are recommended. I have used a polycotton in these details with some examples of ones I’ve made using organza and cotton sateen at the end.
The rose maker pack consists of a pattern, which has two layers, a hairpin (yes I have written that right it is a normal hairpin!) and a detailed instruction leaflet. In addition to that you will need 2 pins and a needle & thread.
The pattern needs to be unfolded to start with and you will see it flattens out to two strips which are used to sandwich the fabric between. There are holes at each end of the strip so you can pin the layers together to secure the fabric.
When you use the Rose Maker you will see that their main instructions show the fabric facing the opposite way up to how I’ve put it but in the advanced hints section it describes how to make so you can hide the seam/raw edge; this is the method I’m using as it gives a much neater finish.
From the end that says start you simply fold in direction of arrow and stitch through both layers of the seam allowance, using a running stitch, up to the first point. Try to keep the stitches even and leave a little space from edge of pattern so you don’t catch the pattern piece as well!
Carry on folding and stitching each section as you go until the last piece. Remove needle from thread but leave hanging loose.
At this point the pins are removed and the outer template can lift off.
Flattening the fabric slightly the section inside the tube of fabric is also removable.
Now time to turn the fabric through to the right way.
The final edge should now have its seam allowances turned inwards and the opening closed with a ladder stitch using the same length of thread as before. This thread will be used to gather up the rose.
Gather the fabric by pulling the thread. The rose effect will vary depending on the tightness of gathers.
Once gathered place hairpin on end you started the sewing and gently wind the fabric around it.
When wound use the thread to secure the gathers and sew through base of rose to hold in position before removing the hairpin.
This Rose Maker seems a little fiddly when you read the instructions but once you try it and see how it easily folds into place you’ll see it’s a great idea for a quick and portable project, in fact I was making them on the train for these pics!
I particularly like the ones I made using the Organza Fabric and these are now glued to a hair clip ready to wear :)
Happy flower making,
Nicky @ Sew N Snip
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 9th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 4th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello all! It’s Karen here, and though you can usually find me over at Hyacinth Bloom, today I’m reviewing some Festive Fabric that the lovely people at Minerva Crafts sent to me.
What sort of sewing project comes to mind when you see this fabric? Perhaps you might think to make some decorative Christmas bunting, or maybe even gift bags ready to fill for Christmas morning. But me, I thought: skirt. Yep that’s right, as soon as I saw this fabric I knew it needed to be a skirt. This is the Christmas Wishes Fabric in the green colourway. One of the reasons I knew it had to be a skirt was because of its colour. It’s a lovely dark forest green, which will pair nicely with my bright red Christmas jumper. I am indeed one of those peculiar people who enjoys wearing festive themed clothing throughout the month of December. I currently own three Christmas jumpers and enough Christmas earrings to see me the entire way through Advent. Last year I made myself a Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdress in this adorable Gingerbread Man Fabric. What, therefore, could be better than adding a Christmas skirt to my collection?
What took the most time was in fact choosing which skirt pattern to use. I knew that the skirt needed to be comfortable (as Christmas tends in our house to involve quite a lot of sitting, chatting and eating). I also knew that the skirt couldn’t be cut on the bias because of the directional nature of the print. The fabric is a woven polycotton, and it is also actually rather stiff with little or no drape. After an amount of dithering I eventually decided to have a go at ‘drafting’ my own skirt pattern. (I say drafting, but really I just cut out a bunch of rectangles that were approximate to my measurements). I chose to create a button-up gathered skirt (with pockets, because you always need pockets). To do this I needed a waistband piece, a back piece, two front pieces and pocket pieces.
The width and length of the rectangles I cut was the result of how much fabric I had to play with. (The fabric is relatively narrow). With the fabric folded in half I cut two large rectangles. One of these I cut along the fold line to create the front pieces. For the second of these I cut a few inches off the selvedge side of the fabric to create a slightly smaller back piece. (The pieces I cut off then became interfacing for the front button plackets). I used the pocket pieces and construction method from the McCalls M6696 Pattern, which I have made up several times this year so am most familiar with.
The fabric pressed well during the construction process. The stiffness of the fabric certainly lent itself to a crisp finish. The pockets and majority of the seams were finished with pinking shears and a zig-zag stitch. (Though the fabric doesn’t really fray so wouldn’t require that much finishing if you didn’t want to). For the gathers I used the dental floss method, which sees you creating a channel for the floss with a zig-zag stitch. When one end is securely fastened, the other end can be pulled tight to gather the material. The result is the same as using gathering threads, but without the frustration of continuous snapping. I opted to hem the skirt using a contrasting white ribbon as I think it gives a neater finish and I quite like the look of it. For the finishing touch I just used a handful of green coloured Fish-Eye Buttons as my fastenings.
I’m really happy with how this Christmas skirt has turned out. This Christmas Fabric is perhaps not one that immediately seems an obvious choice for a garment. I’m not entirely sure that this fabric would work as a full-on garment like a dress, but I think it works pretty well as a skirt. The stiffness of the fabric gives the skirt a more voluminous shape than you might achieve with a more drapey fabric. It was an easy fabric to work with and is also incredibly budget friendly, meaning that this is a great place to start for a beginner dressmaker.
Perhaps this isn’t the softest or most professional looking garment in my handmade wardrobe, but it is a great deal of fun. And isn’t that what you want at Christmas?
With many thanks to Minerva Crafts for this festive addition to my wardrobe, and seasonal greetings to you all!
Thank for reading,
Karen @ Hyacinth Bloom
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 2nd November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hello again everyone, Elaine @laineemakes with another product review mission gratefully accepted from Minerva Crafts; this time I’m trying out the new Prym Trouser Pocket Templates. This is a set of very useful templates for making perfectly matching pockets for your jeans or other garments.
I immediately thought jeans when I saw these, probably as I have just ordered lots of Denim Fabric and I’ve got jeans on the brain, but really any garment to which you want to add patch pockets could benefit from these and especially if you decide to add some impromptu pockets to a garment that does not have them already in their life story.
This kit comes as a set of three pairs of different sized templates. Prym provide you with a large, medium and small set which although the pack says ”trouser set”, I think they could be used for jeans, skirts or jackets, or even shirts/shirt dresses.
The process works in two stages, following your pattern, once you are ready to add your pockets, choose your desired size. Remove the small cut outs which you can discard leaving a series of slots near the edge of the template.
Next place the template onto your fabric on the wrong side and using a Fabric Marker Pen, felt tip pen or Sharpie style marker, draw around outside of the template for the outline of your pockets, making sure to use a marker which won’t stain your fabric or show through on the right side. If you are not using a thick fabric like denim, you may want to use a coloured Dressmaking Pencil or something else that will not leave a permanent mark.
Then using the inner slots, mark a broken line which indicates where you fold over your edges.
Now you can cut out your pockets using the outer guidelines you drew.
Next phase - using the second set of templates, take a stroll over to your ironing board, lay your pocket on the ironing board and place the second template on top aligning it with the broken line you traced earlier.
Fold over the edge of your pockets and press in place. The pocket templates helps you achieve a really neat even edge.
Once you have done this you are ready to add your top stitching if you are making jeans or any other embellishment you want to add, then attach them to your garment.
Another use you could put these to is to use as templates for designing your own jeans motif. I made some jeans recently and I still keep giving the plain pockets the side-eye and wishing I’d added some decoration to them. Draw around your template and practice your design on these.
Total thumbs up for Prym’s Pocket Kit! This is one of those cases where something I didn’t know even existed has become something I think I really will use a lot. The symbols on the templates are really clear and they’re easy to use (I actually did all of this in a tent in France!)
Obviously garments with intentional pockets will have them included in the pattern but if you are drafting your own or want to add pockets to a pocket free item this kit will really help you out.
You can also get the Prym Blouse Pocket Templates at Minerva too!
Thanks for reading,
Elaine @ That Random Madam