Posted in Product Reviews on Friday the 19th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, my name is Jill and I run The Craftmobile (www.thecraftmobile.com). 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:
A plain t-shirt that could do with a make over
Basic sewing kit
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.
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.
Jill – The Craftmobile
Posted in Product Reviews on Sunday the 14th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 10th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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!
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 8th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
Posted in Product Reviews on Saturday the 6th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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
Posted in Product Reviews on Thursday the 4th October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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!
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 3rd October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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,
Posted in Product Reviews on Monday the 1st October 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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
Posted in Product Reviews on Wednesday the 26th September 2018 by Vicki Ormerod
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.