Posted in Projects on Monday the 20th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Christmas for me is all about spending time with friends and family, eating yummy food and reminiscing about times gone by. The dining table is a big part of my festive experience from Christmas Eve through to New Year’s Day – with me welcoming loved ones into my home for drinks, nibbles and general chatter.
With this in mind, I wanted to share a quick and simple crafty project with you. Here, I talk you through how to make a festive table runner.
I love Christmas time and giving handmade gifts, so if like me you are searching for something to make this year - this could be the project for you.
I have made two different example table runners both using materials in stock at Minerva Crafts, all of which are linked below:
All of the fabrics are good quality and I felt perfect for making this project.
Supplies Needed for this Project:
Chalk / Pencil / Fabric Pen
Iron / Ironing Board
Two pieces of contrasting Christmas Fabric. The back to be 40cm and the front to be 30cm.
Thread to match your backing fabric (I used the same green cotton to both stitch the inside of my table runner and top stitch the project at the end).
1cm seam allowance is used throughout unless otherwise noted.
Choose your christmas fabric.
Choose which fabric you want on the front and back of your table runner.
For the back you will need 40cm of fabric and for the front you will need 30cm of fabric.
Cut your front and back fabric.
Note: It doesn’t matter what width your fabric is e.g. 45inchs / 60 inches wide as both will look nice. The fabric I used was just under 45inches wide.
The fabric should be cut as a single layer and measured from the narrowest part of the fabric (the fabric should be in a ‘portrait’ position rather than being ‘landscape').
Unless the fabric you are using has an obvious line to follow, I’d recommend marking you cutting line using chalk or a pencil.
You should now have two pieces of fabric that look like the below images. The cream fabric is the front and the green fabric is the back of my table runner.
Pin your fabric together at the long edges – right sides together.
You will have to move the backing fabric to meet the front fabric as they are different widths.
Note: The below image shows one side pinned. You will need to repeat this step on the opposite edge.
Using a 1cm seam allowance – sew in a straight line down both long edges of your table runner. Start at the top of one side – remembering to back tack at the start and end of each side. Then repeat for the opposite side.
The short edges should remain un-stitched at the moment.
Then turn your table runner the right way out (wrong sides together) and place it on the ironing board. It should look like a long tube at the moment.
Using your hands, pull the backing fabric in equal amounts to the sides of your front (centre section) fabric – or as close as you can. This looks like a border at the sides of your front fabric. Then iron in place.
Now fold the table runner in half to form a narrow rectangle shape – the backing fabric should be right sides together.
Then pin the short edge at the top. Ensure all of the edges are the same length. Trim if needed.
Using a 1cm seam allowance - sew the short edge – back tacking at the start and end of the line of stitching. Then repeat this step on the opposite short edge. See image below.
Next turn through the section you just sewed to the front. This forms a triangle shape on the front of the table runner.
Pin along the bottom edge of the triangle and top stitch in place. You will need to sew as close to the bottom edge of the triangle shape as you can. See image below (I’ve included a picture of both the front and back of my table runner at this stage).
The repeat on the opposite end.
Give the table runner a final press with the iron and you are done! I hope you like your new table runner.
And here is another one I made using the other two fabrics mentioned at the beginning of the blog post...
Which is your favourite?
Thanks very much for reading,
Becky @ Notes from the Sewing Room
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 15th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
When Minerva Crafts were looking for product testers for this Gorgeous Fabric, I immediately jumped at the chance! I'd been coveting this fabric for a while on their site, but had so many projects on the go and so many ideas kicking around my head that I just couldn't make up my mind what I wanted to make with it, so it was always a 'one day...' project. It then skipped to the front of the queue and became a 'now!' project when I saw the opportunity to be a product tester!
This fabric is called 'Prada' and is a satin backed crepe, which means you can use either side of this fabric - the crepe side is matte, the satin side has a shine to it. It's a medium weight fabric, which would be perfect for evening dresses, jackets and trousers. I think it's just a *smidge* too heavy to make a shirt from, so if it's a silky flowy blouse you're after I would definitely recommend something a bit lighter in weight.
I had originally planned to make the Butterick Pattern 5209 (above), copying the black dress on the left pretty much exactly. I've had this pattern for a while now and knew it would be destined for black satin, so it seemed the obvious choice. But when I saw the fabric in my hands in natural light I could see that the shiny satin side of it isn't true black - it has a very, VERY dark midnight blue sheen to it. It's only after you hold it up next to something black that you can notice it - check out the pictures below of the skirt next to my black shoes and you will be able to see the very subtle difference.
But this isn't a bad thing at all - it just meant that I had to rethink my pattern choice as I wanted an absolute jet black for the Butterick dress. Instead, I went for Simplicity Pattern 1099, *another* pattern that I'd had in the back of my mind for a while (there's a LOT more back there too... too many ideas too little time!).
This pattern contains three skirts and three tops, so it's really good value if you're looking to make some evening wear! Full skirts in two lengths plus the slim skirt I have made here (view F - how amazing is that pink colour they've chosen! This fabric is also available in a cerise pink which might be quite similar), a loose-fitting and a slim fitting crop top and finally a top that you can add a contrast band to. You could get a fair few outfit combinations from this one pattern! I really like the fitted crop top (A) that the slim skirt is pictured with, but I don't quite have the stomach to carry that off :) So here's my finished skirt.... ta da!
I absolutely love those pleats on the front, the sheen of the satin looks beautiful as the light catches it. If you're using the shiny satin side as the right side (as opposed to the matte crepe) I would suggest using a pressing cloth rather than putting the iron directly on to the fabric - this should prevent any shiny marks appearing, which is the last thing you want on your beautifully made garment.
The skirt closes with an invisible zip and two hooks and bars on the waistband. As it's unlined, it is actually a pretty quick make. In case you missed it, there is a thigh-high slit up the side of the skirt, which you could alter the length of if you so desired. Just be sure to follow the instructions and back-tack your stitching at the opening, to avoid the seam unravelling!
This satin is quite easy to work with, it's not at all like the lightweight slippery satins that shift all around the cutting board and make you wonder why you ever thought it would be a good idea to use such fabrics. It's got a good bit of body to it which makes it easier to control! I would recommend cutting out your pieces single layer, rather than folding the fabric and then cutting - this will make cutting much easier and also help prevent any distortion of the layers to make sure you get everything correctly on the grain lines.
As always, pre wash your fabric the same way as you will wash the finished garment, to allow for any shrinkage or initial colour run - it's always better to be safe than sorry. I washed this fabric at 30 degrees with no problems.
I overlocked the edges of the satin purely for a nice finish, but there didn't appear to be any real danger of fraying edges, because the weave of the fabric is nice and tight. This also reduces the potential for snags and plucking - I'm sure I'm cursed in some way because I ALWAYS catch delicate fabrics on stuff but this satin doesn't seem to be prone to snagging which is definitely a plus point if you're making a luxurious item with a nice sheen to it!
For the hem of the skirt I used half-inch bias tape, rather than hem tape, and hand stitched the hem after pressing. I also hand stitched the slit facing open to avoid stitching showing on the outside.
Although this fabric does have *some* stretch, there's not a huge amount so bear this in mind if you're making something close-fitting like trousers!
I might go back and make the fitted cropped top from the pattern envelope (view A). I'm pretty sure it could easily be lengthened to meet with the skirt and cover the stomach gap - I'm not sure I'd go for a satin-on-satin combo but it would look lovely in a lace or sequin fabric. A matching jacket made from the satin would look gorgeous paired with one of the skirts from the Simplicity pattern, using a combination of the shiny and matte sides of the fabrics to highlight the lapels or pockets.
I really love how the skirt has turned out - the pattern is the perfect pairing for this lovely Satin Fabric! I'm tempted now to buy some of the other colours... the cerise pink calls to me purely because it's PINK, and the jade also looks lovely. I'd like to make a shorter version of this skirt because it fits me so well - I'm thinking a knee-length pencil skirt. Might have to glam up my work wardrobe so that I can wear these pretty things every day!
Until next time... happy sewing!
Sarah @ Wanderstitch
Posted in Projects on Friday the 10th November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi All! Welcome to my review for Minerva Crafts of the Prada Self Lined Stretch Crepe Suiting Dress Fabric in Aubergine.
When I received the email with the products that was on offer for this round, I couldn't believe that there was Prada fabric!! So I jumped on the chance to give it a whirl as I haven't really used a crepe before and thought well why not now!
It’s such a fabulous quality fabric, it's self satin lined with a slight one-way stretch across the width of the fabric. I'm so glad I went for the Aubergine colourway as its just such an autumn colour but really glam at the same time!
Because this fabric has a matt and shiny side, you can use either or a combination of both textures to create dramatic effects especially as evening attire. This fabric is PU coated with both anti static and anti click, ensuring the highest quality for special garments. Beautifully soft with a lovely drape, it’s perfect for jackets, dresses, skirts, trousers, waistcoats and more! I came across the freebie a-line skirt from Love Sewing Magazine and it screamed at being a nice winter skirt using this fabric.
I couldn't stop stroking this stuff when it first arrived as it is just that beautiful! If you have seen my Instagram feed I’ve popped on a short video showing the matt and shiny side.
When it came to cutting the fabric, it was a delight - it didn't move around as much as I thought it would and my pins didn't leave any mark holes either! So I used my rotary cutter, mat and pins with ease!
I prepared my sewing machine with my even feed foot to be on the safe side and the fabric really did behave itself when sewing! I even kept the stitch length/width set as standard.
The a-line skirt is a pretty simple make with it being only 6 pieces, the only thing I had to alter was the skirt length as per usual but I only took 2 inches off for a change. It involves inserting an invisible zip but I do love installing them compared to the normal zip…. Yes I am odd one!
To finish this skirt off I decided to get out my blind hem foot and finish the hem neatly as the waistband was stitched in the ditch and there was no visible stitching anywhere on the outside! If you are lucky enough to have a setting for this on your machine, then please use it as it does save a lot of time compared to hand stitching which I hate with a passion!
So here is the elegant a-line skirt being kindly modeled on Dorris as I have made a size smaller then I am at the moment to keep me motivated in keeping up the running so fingers crossed I’ll get into it soon!
The saying goes “You get what you pay for!” This is very true as it’s such a Good Quality Fabric that hardly frayed once cut! So go and treat yourselves to a bit of Prada without the huge price tag!
Sally aka The Yorkshire Sewist x
I am back with another review for a product I tested for the huge online store, Minerva Crafts.
On this occasion I was asked to test a Christmas Themed Fabric. As some of you might know, I initiated a little tradition for myself a couple of years back, each year using a Christmas themed fabric I make for myself a garment to wear on Christmas day. So far, I have made myself a top, a jacket and a dress. So I jumped at the opportunity to review this lovely Christmas Polycotton Fabric called 'Christmas Wishes'.
This fabric is described as...
‘This fun Christmas printed design Polycotton fabric is suitable for a whole range of sewing, craft and quilting projects! It is widely used for anything from dresses, skirts, tops and shirts to cushions, quilting, patchwork, handbags, accessories, baby and children’s wear and more!’
It comes is two colours: Green and Red.
I started with washing the fabric before sewing with it. It is a bit stiff and the colour runs a little. This is way it is important to give it a wash first. Also it’s a good idea to use a colour catcher cloth and like colours, to avoid staining something else.
Because the print on the fabric is directional I did a little pattern matching for the side seams (I drew myself some guiding lines on the pattern piece, which I used later), so the writing runs level on both the front and the back. I also cut the front the fold. For my Christmas dress I chose to add the sleeve. By the time I am wearing my dress, it is winter after all!
To make my dress even more interesting, I decided to add a strip of Satin Ribbon on the centre front and centre back before starting my construction.
For obvious reasons I used green thread to stitch them in place.
The fabric is quite stable and easy to work with. I had no problems and did not use pins for the rest of the construction, except for attaching the neckline facing, which I under-stitched and then also added a few hand stitched to keep it flat and on the inside. The V is not as sharp as I would have wanted, but I was afraid I’d mess up if I cut too deep into the seam allowance.
Once I attached my facing, I added my sleeves and topstitched them in place. I have done so, because I decided not to finish the raw edges for this make, and the top-stitching keeps the seam allowance flat.
The hems were done easily by turning over twice, press and then sew them in place. This was achieved quite easily as this fabric is easy to press.
I know it is a bit to early to think about Christmas, but one has to be prepared and start planning early, especially if we make stuff. I am happy I no longer have to stress about this year’s Christmas outfit.
Yes, I do look like I am wrapped as a present! Doesn’t it look fun?
Here are my tips for working with poly-cotton:
make sure you pre-wash it, with like colours and use a colour cacher product. You will need to do this again once your project is made up just to avoid accidents in case the colour is bleeding further
it is very easy to work with, as it does not slide and presses well
it is suitable for a variety of projects from home furnishings to clothing. Because it has structure, I don’t recommend you use this in project that require fabrics with fluidity.
Please do share your makes if you use Christmas themed fabrics, whether they are stockings, garment, accessories or home furnishings. Tag @minervacrafts on Instagram and Twitter.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review and happy shopping!
Love Simona @ SewingAdventuresInTheAttick
Posted in Projects on Wednesday the 1st November 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi, I'm Su, I blog about sewing at Butterflies and lemon drops and am excited to tell you all about this gorgeous Viscose Fabric.
Tropical prints are very on trend at the moment so I jumped at the chance to review this viscose challis. It comes in 5 colourways and costs a mere £2.99 per metre, after much deliberation I decided on the lime green colour. I have sewn with viscose before and it can be a bit of a challenge if the fabric is really light weight so I wasn't sure what to expect.
The fabric is fantastic, it has a good drape but is not too light. The print is bold with great colours, and a large tropical leaf pattern.
Now what to make? Floaty maxidress/skirt? Sundress? Cute jump suit?
As soon as my daughter saw the fabric she asked me to make something for her. I wanted to make a pattern that would test the fabric a little so I chose the Lulu pants pattern from the summer issue of La Maison Victor. These are loose fitting trousers with pockets, front pleats and an elasticated waist band.
The fabric was a dream to sew with. No puckering along the seams and perfect creases after being ironed. The photo below shows one of the pockets mid-construction.
Pleats can be difficult in some fabrics but these were easy to form and again pressed nicely.
The fabric really suits this type of garment as it is stable enough to hold a crease but hangs nicely where needed. perfect for cooler summer days and Autumn.
My daughter loves them and has already been wearing them lots.
I had a fair amount of fabric left over from making the trousers and decided to make myself a summer top. I used the Ogden cami pattern by True Bias. I have made it several times before so know what the fabric pitfalls are! It is a simple top with a facing and V neckline. It has thin straps which can be tricky in some fabrics. As you can see no strap issues - nice and straight.
Again there was no puckering of the seams when sewing them or when finishing off the raw edges with the overlocker.
All in all this fabric is fabulous – great price, great pattern, great colours, great drape and great weight!
Posted in Projects on Monday the 30th October 2017 by Vicki Ormerod
Hi everyone! It’s Anna of annajosews.com, back with another make. After making some cute vintage-inspired tops and dresses for my previous Minerva makes, this time I decided to change things up a bit and go for a more contemporary style garment. However, as this is a pattern I’ve made before I know the shape of it goes well with lots of other items in my wardrobe.
The pattern in question is Jalie 3248, the Drop Pocket Cardigan, and you can find my first version of it over on my blog here. I love that cardigan and wear it all the time. Literally! It’s so comfy and cute I throw it on all the time at home, and often wear it out of the house too as a coatigan. So I figured it was high time I made another to spread the wear and tear a little—and thanks to a generous offer from Minerva I was able to obtain the most glorious fabric to do so.
If you’ve sewn with stretch knits before you’ll already know that they are not all created equal. Not only does drape and thickness vary much in the way of wovens, but you also have the matter of stretch to contend with. Does it stretch in one direction or both? And how much does it stretch? These variables can have a huge effect on the fit and shape of your finished garment, and they can make a massive difference to how easy it is to work with. That’s why I’ll always recommend ponte roma fabric for beginners to sewing with knits. It is fairly thick (a medium or heavy weight, so suitable for cardigans, dresses, skirts, trousers, you name it!), has some stretch but not too much so it’s stable under the machine, and it’s a hard-wearing fabric because of the high polyester content.
Now, I’ve sewn plenty of different ponte fabrics at various price points and they’ve ranged from a highly disappointing one that bobbled up horrendously after one wash, to some really nice, thick ones that have been worn lots and still look as good as new. But I’ve got to say, the Ponte Roma Heavy Stretch Jersey from Minerva is the very best I’ve ever sewn with! The colour is beautifully saturated and the fabric is incredibly soft and drapey, whilst still having that body that makes ponte a dream knit to sew with. At £14.99 a metre it’s also the most expensive ponte I’ve ever sewn with, but believe me, it’s worth every penny and I will definitely be buying some of the other colourways for future projects.
One thing that’s different about this ponte to any other I’ve used is that the two sides are slightly different, and you definitely need to pay attention and choose a right and wrong side before cutting. One side has tiny horizontal stripes that you only notice up close, and the other is slightly more fuzzy with a slight vertical rib effect. I think either would work as the “right” side, but as I plan to wear this cardigan over sleeveless tops I wanted the fuzzier side next to my skin, so went with the smoothest on the outside.
For those of you who’ve never sewn with a Jalie Sewing Pattern, there are a few differences to most printed patterns you need to be aware of before you start. But don’t worry: they’re mostly good differences! For a start, you get a huge range of sizes in their patterns. Rather than splitting their size range between two different packs like Butterick and the rest tend to, Jalie go the other way and include a size range from toddlers through to adult plus sizes in most of their patterns. That means that you can easily create a matching item for your child, should you be into that sort of thing. I’m not sure I am, but I do like the idea of making one for my twelve-year-old daughter in a completely different fabric. Probably involving Barbie pink and unicorns, or whatever it is she’s into this week!
The downside of all these pattern sizes being included in the one envelope is that there are so many lines on the pattern sheet, making it more challenging to follow the correct line for your size. They are colour coded and marked regularly, though, so it’s not too hard. And the pattern paper is pretty sturdy, so you will need to trace it out or cut it out first. You can’t rely on pinning it to the fabric and cutting it in one go like you can with tissue patterns. Personally I prefer this as I always trace my patterns anyway, but I know some people much prefer tissue patterns so I figured it’s worth mentioning.
The only thing that I feel lets down Jalie patterns is their instructions. These are fairly minimal—although they give you enough to know how to sew the garment, beginners will probably need to find additional info on the best way to proceed with certain steps. The instructions are also printed on the edge of the giant pattern sheet, with the pictures in a different block to the written instructions. This would be a real downside, but fortunately you can go and download a pdf of the instructions from Jalie’s website for free, regardless of whether you’ve purchased a pattern there. This is a genius idea as it means you can go and get an idea of what’s involved in sewing up one of their patterns before you buy it, and I wish more pattern companies would do this. And even better, it means that you can print the instructions out or put them on your tablet, which saves wrestling with giant pieces of paper. Yay!
Anyway, that’s enough about the pattern envelope. How about sewing this baby up? I have to admit, despite having made this one before I did still have to study the instructions and it actually took me slightly longer to sew up than it did last time. The construction is really clever and leaves you with a beautiful clean finish on the inside of the cardigan, but it’s not intuitive so you definitely need to concentrate. I do enjoy a bit of pattern origami, though, and it’s incredibly satisfying seeing this one come together. You could sew this entirely on a regular sewing machine, but as the seam allowances are only 6mm I used my overlocker instead. That said, I did still have to keep swapping back to the sewing machine as there are plenty of times you need to baste seams before sewing, so it’s much quicker if you can leave both machines out.
Now for the finished garment. Is it any surprise that I love this cardigan?! I mean, I knew I probably would seeing as how I love my first version, and have been wanting one in a solid colour for ages. It’s a really simple, classic fit with lovely slim sleeves, but the unusual pocket design sets it apart from any other cardigan pattern I’ve seen. I particularly love the long sleeves. They reach down to the base of my thumb which is a great length for keeping cosy. Jalie say the cardigan is intended to be worn over sleeveless tops and dresses, but I find it works fine over tight fitting sleeves too.
As for fit, I know I could probably make a narrow shoulder adjustment to perfect the fit, but honestly I think it looks fine the way it is. I’m certainly not in any danger of the cardie slipping off my shoulders. I’m also happy without having graded out at the hips, like my measurements indicated I should. The finished garment doesn’t meet at the bottom front, but this cardie is intended to hang open so that’s not a problem.
And now, can we talk about those pockets? Honestly, the pockets are what makes this cardie for me. You don’t need a handbag when wearing this. You can fit paperback novels in there, along with snacks for the kids and a knitting project. Well, maybe not all in one pocket, but hey, you get two of them! They are seriously roomy, and the way they are constructed with a double layer means there’s no danger of them bagging out of shape when well loaded, in the way patch pockets can. They’re also really easy to access and comfy to put your hands into if you need a little extra warmth.
In some ways I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t use contrasting fabric for the lining for this cardigan as it really does highlight the pockets. However, if I’d added in another colour or print it would make this a less versatile garment. As it is I can wear it over pretty much any of my printed clothes with no worries about clashing. Yeah, I’m trying my best to see the positives of sewing with solid colours. I have too many prints in my wardrobe and desperately need more neutrals to go with them.
The only way I can think of improving this cardigan pattern would be to add in a front closure to keep me warmer on chilly days. However, this would completely change the look of the front of the cardie and wouldn’t really go with the shape of it, so I’m not going to attempt any pattern hacks in that direction. I’ll just wear this with my thermals and a big, cosy scarf as it gets cooler. Or maybe I should get crocheting a giant shawl. Hmmm, that could look good. I’m off to see if I have any yarn that goes with this one.
So, do you have a favourite cardigan pattern to sew? Or have you not yet taken the plunge into sewing your own?
I have a lovely frilly scarf, that was knitted for me as a gift, made from this type of unique Yarn but had never tried using it before myself. One 200g ball is enough to make a nice long scarf, or 2 short ones, and the ball band has the instructions for making one printed on the inside of it (albeit in very small writing!)
I thought I’d see what else I could make with it instead and chose this beautiful rich green colour from the range available.
Rico Can Can is 100% Acrylic & machine washable. It looks a bit like a ribbon when wound on the ball but when stretched out it looks more looks like a narrow net. I understood that to get a frilled effect you need to knit into the top edge and try not to twist the yarn at all so it produces the ruffles as you go.
Instead of casting on you need to pick up the stitches at the start. They need to be picked up along the top edge of the yarn with an approx 4cm space between. Then as you knit carry on leaving about the same amount of space between each stitch, although a small change in spacing will not spoil the effect it will just produce slightly different size ruffles!
I did find this process a bit fiddly to start with as I couldn’t wind the wool around my fingers as I normally would when knitting, but I soon got the hang of it and found the knitting happily grew very quickly.
If you are knitting a scarf only a knit stitch is used as this produces ruffles on both sides but I was picturing a frilly cushion cover or a throw to go on the arm chair so after the initial few rows I changed to stocking stitch; one row of knit stitches followed by a row of purl ones. This produced a piece of knitting that had a flat side and a frilled side where the frills are more closely layered together.
I used 8mm Knitting Needles and cast on 20 stitches which provided a knitted piece wide enough to fit an 18” cushion. The finished knitting is very stretchy so has a flexible shape. I used almost 2 balls of yarn for my cushion cover as I didn’t want to stretch it too much so I could keep the frills close together.
This is a great yarn for any frilly projects, it’s beautifully soft and I love my finished cushion cover. Now I’m imagining a large cosy blanket to go with it!
I really enjoying trying Can Can Yarn out and think the suggested scarf would be a great make for a beginner to try.
Nicky @ Sew and Snip