Category Archives: Inspiration

Minerva’s Craft Club Day

If you’re reading this today (Saturday 13th March 2021) then Minerva are holding one of their special discount days for Craft Club members today! Craft Club membership is £20 for the year, and gives you 10% off all purchases year round, plus a couple of these special 20% off days in the year.

*aff
Offer valid Saturday 13th March 2021

But “what can I make from Minerva fabric?” I hear you ask – here’s a selection of my makes but I’m sure you would be even more creative.

This cotton linen blend was crying out to be a skirt & jacket combination and the contrast facing & cuffs really help to lift it from being just plain purple.

My first time sewing with Scuba fabric, resulted in this top & trouser combination. I could’ve made the top a little larger to compensate for the fabric being more structured, but the trousers worked particularly well.

And speaking of trousers, these jeans were made from a super stretchy fabric which removed most of the jeans-fitting problems I’d had previously. I do need to add some elastic to the waistband though, as I made it a little too generous on the sizing!

Onto a more summery make, with this nautical polycotton. I made this dress and a pair of shorts from this fabric, which definitely helps liven up a dull rainy British summer’s day. I did line the shorts with some plain white polycotton just in case this was a little see-through, and they’ve held up to multiple wears on long walks so far.

Typical British Summer’s weather means I really needed a decent waterproof coat to wear. I really never thought I’d ever sew myself one, but this memory raincoat fabric (lined with a spotty polycotton) was perfect! I used the Tilly and the Buttons Eden jacket pattern for this, with no alterations.

Another pair of jeans, this time in an embroidered cord fabric. These are made from the Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans patterns, with a few alterations (I think I still need to tweak the pattern to get the best fit for me). It was an experience sewing with embroidered cord, but once I had a new denim needle in my machine, it was pretty easy to sew.

It’s not just clothing – I made a family of three bears from some Christmas cotton fabric! I would normally pick stretchy fabric for bear-making, but this cotton worked really well. The advantage of this fabric is that the pattern is non-directional, so it didn’t matter which way up I had the pieces.

My most recent Minerva make is this Halifax Hoodie from a textured knit fabric. I’d never sewn with textured knit before, so I was wondering how well it would work. I’m pretty pleased with the end result!

And finally, this is a bag which will (eventually) be a tutorial here. It’s made from ripstop fabric which is showerproof and also can be wiped clean. The bag can also be folded up to fit in a trouser pocket, so it’s a great reusable alternative to plastic carrier bags.

I hope that’s given you some inspiration for what you could make – why not check out what Minerva have available (even if you miss the 30% off day, it’s worth just browsing their fabric and sewing supplies)?

*aff
Offer valid Saturday 13th March 2021

* aff – The banner link at the top & bottom of this post are affiliate links. This means I get a small amount of commission if you click through my link then go on to purchase anything from the Minerva website. It does not cost you anything extra to use these links, but does help fund my next fabric purchase!

I am a Minerva Ambassador, which means that I have the opportunity to get a piece of fabric for free, in exchange for photos and text to feature on their website. Some of the makes in this post were done as part of that role, and others are made from fabric I purchased myself.

Nine for 2021

Ok, I will admit it’s been a looooooong time since I posted anything on my blog! 2020 was a strange year in more ways than one – I didn’t get as much opportunity to work on sewing projects as I’d planned, and I struggled to get into the swing of blogging about them too!

But I thought I’d start 2021 properly and actually get sorted with a Make Nine post of what I’m hoping to make this year. I wanted to pick patterns I’d already bought but not yet made anything from, and also a couple of ones that help me use up some oddments & offcuts of fabric – those pieces that are too big to just throw away, but too small to make a whole item from.

Image of my Nine things I want to make in 2021 (listed below the image itself)

So from the top row we have:

5oo4 Ryan Raglan *
Who says a Make Nine has to be solely for me to wear? I’ve wanted to make my Dad a Raglan sweater for a while, and I think this pattern might just be the one that works!

Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers
I’ve had the pattern for what feels like an eternity, but still haven’t made an Forsythe Trousers. These look comfy and suitable to sit in all day (no high waist that’s going to dig in after a few minutes) so I’m hoping these will work well.

Megan Neilsen Tania Culottes
I had some culottes when I was a child, but the Tania pattern golds appeal as looks like a skirt from a distance… just without the risk of flashing anything on a windy day!

Second row, left to right:

Hey June Handmade Evans Blazer *
I bought the pattern not long after the Evans Blazer was released, but it’s a more complex jacket pattern than any I’ve made before. However, if I can find the ‘right’ fabric and be brave enough to actually cut the pieces out(!) then I think this could work.

Love Notions Game Day Jersey
You can never have too many t-shirts, right?

Ellie & Mac Sew It Forward Socks
As the name suggests, this is another one that’s destined to be a gift for someone rather than making just for me. I’m hoping to make my Dad some slipper socks (regular socks just with a grip on the base), and also to make some funky socks for a friend.

And third row, from the left:

Ellie & Mac Be Creative Hoodie
Although I’ve made quite a few hoodies, I’ve never made myself a Be Creative one – it looks like a great way to use up some of those offcuts that aren’t quite big enough to make a complete garment from.

Tillie and the Buttons Tabitha Ringer Tee from Make it Simple
I bought Tilly’s Make It Simple book when it was released, and I think it’s about time I made something from there, don’t you? The Tabitha Ringer Tee caught my eye when I was flicking through, and I think that would be a good one to start with, especially as my t-shirt neck bindings never seem to work out all that neatly!

Stitch Upon A Time Midnight Slippers
I’ve never tried making slippers for myself… but if the product I’ve ordered to make the grip for slipper socks works, then I’m hoping to use that on the soles of Midnight Slippers so I can use up some of my fabric oddments and make myself something useful at the same time!

2019 Nine to Try – recap

And we’re back! That was a longer hiatus than I’d anticipated, so I do have a few blog posts I’d planned for December, which will obviously now be pretty unseasonal… but they’re heading onto the blog over the next few weeks anyway!

So let’s start with the recap of my 2019 Nine to Try


How can it be the end of 2019 already?! The biggest question though, is have I managed to make any of my 2019 Nine to Try, or have I just been making other items instead?

  • Fashionista Jacket* by WinterWear Designs
    I’ve actually made two Fashionista Jackets – one from softshell, and the other from denim…. and I have a linen-like fabric set aside to make a third Fashionista too!
  • Bryce Cargo Trousers* by Hey June Handmade*  
    I haven’t even got as far as printing off the pattern for these. I do like the idea of them, but the shape looks like it could be quite complicated to get the fit just right.
  • Brunswick Sweater* by Hey June Handmade*
    Again, I love the shape of the sweater, but I haven’t got close to getting this one printed off even… maybe 2020 will be the year for that pattern?

Middle Row:

Bottom Row:

  • Neck Tie Top* by WinterWear Designs*
    Despite my best intentions, I didn’t even take another look at this pattern in 2019!
  • Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns
    I was all set to make this pattern, when the Eden jacket was released by Tilly & the Buttons. The Eden jacket is less fitted in its shape (there’s no waist drawstring either), so I decided to swap the Kelly over to the Eden instead!
  • Belladonna Bear by Emma’s Bears
    I have made several bears this year, but not from this particular pattern! If I can find some cotter-pin teddy bear joints, then I might give this pattern a go in the future though.


Overall, I made a grand total of three of my nine to try (or 4 if you count the Kelly anaorak swapping over to the Eden jacket) *laughs*
But really, it doesn’t matter how many I made – it’s fun to pick out some patterns at the beginning of the year, and have a rough idea of “I’d like to make that”, but those ideas are allowed to evolve and change through the year. Nothing is set in stone!


* affiliate link
WinterWear Designs*
Hey June Handmade*

Nine things to try for 2019

Top Row:

  • Fashionista Jacket* by WinterWear Designs
    I’ve always wanted to try sewing my own denim jacket, and I will admit I’ve already got the denim and some variegated topstitching thread ready to start this one!
  • Bryce Cargo Trousers* by Hey June Handmade*  
    I bought this pattern last year, realised that it was more fitted than any I’ve made before, and instantly shelved the idea. But this year will be the one when I make some Bryce Cargo trousers…. or at least start them!
  • Brunswick Sweater* by Hey June Handmade*
    Ok, so I have a lot of hoodie patterns, but the design of this one stood out as one to try, I’m quite taken with the button detail at the base of the bodice, which would make a good excuse to buy some fancy buttons to use!

Middle Row:

  • Provence Pea Coat* by WinterWear Designs*
    I’ve never tried sewing a coat before, so what better time than if I can get it started in the Winter? I do have some faux wool fabric sitting in a box, just waiting for this particular pattern
  • Around the Block hoodie by Ellie and Mac
    I’ve sewn several hoodies, but so far nothing from an Ellie and Mac pattern (although my latest hoodie is a mash of Hey June bodice and sleeves, with Ellie and Mac neckline and hood). This year I’m determined to change that, and make myself an Around the Block hoodie.
  • Scrundlewear by Stitch Upon a Time
    Ok, this one is a bit more unusual, but seeing as I tried sewing socks in 2018, why not try sewing pants in 2019?

Bottom Row:

  • Neck Tie Top* by WinterWear Designs*
    Not the style of top I would normally pick, but there’s something about this Neck Tie Top which makes me want to give it a go!
  • Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns
    Not content with adding in a Pea Coat, I really want to try sewing a showerproof coat this year – the Kelly Anorak was a pattern I kept coming back to browse during 2018, so maybe 2019 is the year I will attempt making it! I’ve already bought the fabric I want to use, so there’s no excuse now…. right?
  • Belladonna Bear by Emma’s Bears
    It wouldn’t be a 9 to Try if I didn’t include at least one plushie, would it? Belladonna is quite a large bear, but if I can find the ‘right’ faux fur, I think she could look amazing!

2018 was quite successful for achieving my 9 to Try, so let’s see what comes of my nine for 2019!


*affiliate link
WinterWear Designs*
Hey June Handmade*

Nine things to try in 2018 – recap

Remember my 9 to Try for last year? I didn’t really think I’d achieve making any of them, so let’s see how successful I was….

Finished Projects

Zen trousers – 12 – 3 –  plus a pair of shorts I haven’t yet blogged, and a guest post coming to the Minerva Crafts blog next week!
Giverney Jacket – 1 plus one I haven’t blogged yet
Novelista Button-Up – 12 – 3
Plush Bat – 1
Willa / Atilla – 1 plus a couple of Atilla the Bun plushies which I haven’t blogged yet
Real Deal Jeans – 12 – 3 (penguins) – plus my Anchor RDJs which are currently needing a bit of tweaking before they’re hemmed (oops)


Unfinished Projects (UFOs)

Just the Anchor Real Deal Jeans, seeing as there were too many mistakes which need amending before I can hem them (oops)


Projects Not Started

Cheyenne
Marigold
Refined Raglan

I thought my most likely projects to not complete from that list would be the Real Deal Jeans, and Zen trousers! Oddly enough, it’s the projects which require simple woven cotton which I haven’t attempted…. maybe that’s something to work on for this year?

Nine things to try in 2018

Most years I’ve set out my New Years Resolutions, and a lot of the time I can’t keep them past March. So when I decided to plan ahead for 2018, I took the idea from a “9 things” post on Instagram last month to make my Nine Things to try in 2018.

Top row:

  • Cheyenne Tunic* by Hey June Handmade
    I’m hoping this will make a change from trying to find jersey to make t-shirts, and give me a more varied selection of tops suitable for the spring and summer.
  • Zen Pants* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
    I was drawn to the Zen Pants as there are so many rise variations included – I tend to wear medium waist trousers, but I usually wear them a bit lower than they’re designed, so the medium rise of these might work brilliantly. It’s also the first pattern I have that recommends using Ponte fabric, so that will be an interesting experiment!
  • Marigold by Blank Slate Patterns
    I was planning on making the Marigold last summer, but time ran away without me and it was winter before I looked at the pattern again. But maybe this year I will get one made!

Middle row:

  • Novelista by Blank Slate Patterns
    I really dislike sewing buttonholes, so you might be wondering why I have a Novelista button-up shirt on my list…. well, either I’m going to cheat and use poppers, or I’ll add in a hidden button placket so you get a neat front without the stress of ensuring all those buttonholes are perfect.
  • Giverney Blazer by Winter Wear Designs
    Back when I started trying to sew clothing, I hadn’t read the information that said “jackets are hard to make” so naturally I made myself a few blazer-type jackets from duvet cover fabric. Other than one collar being put on the wrong way around, they came out surprisingly well! So I decided I really should make myself a decent blazer this year, out of some fancier fabric than a simple duvet cover. This pattern uses woven fabric, so there should be a great selection available in my local fabric shop.
  • Bat Plushie by BeeZeeArt
    On to the bats, and I admit I have made a few of these bats before! But when I was sorting out my bag of fabric last month, I came across some spare black and blue plush fabric which is just calling out to be made into a bat or two (or maybe three!). Because the wings and inner ears are made from woven cotton fabric, it’s a great pattern to use up oddments, or to so slightly crazy with glow-in-the-dark fabric like I did for the latest two bats I made.

Bottom row:

  • Refined Raglan by Winter Wear Designs
    Another top, but it’s not quite what you’re thinking – the Refined Raglan is made from woven fabric, not jersey! It includes details on how to alter the pattern to fit your individual shape, so it should be more successful than some of the previous woven tops I’d tried making – those never quite fitted ‘right’.
  • Willa Bear by Emma’s Bears
    On the theme of plushies, I’ve been wanting to make a Willa Bear for a while, but haven’t managed to get to grips with adding in non-jointed limbs…. hopefully this year I’ll find enough patience to sew them on, without arguing (too much) with my sewing machine!
  • Real Deal Jeans by Winter Wear Designs
    The thought of sewing jeans is quite scary to be honest, but if I can get to grips with some of the other patterns, then maybe (just maybe) I’ll hunt down some stretchy denim and try making some jeans! As with the other Winter Wear Designs patterns, the Real Deal Jeans have a section on getting the perfect fit, with the relevant pattern alterations you need for each fitting problem.

 

So there it is, my 9 things to try in 2018…. but it remains to be seen if I manage to make any of them this year! If I don’t, it’s no big deal, but I thought having an aim at the start of the year might help focus my attention a little!

 


* affiliate links

 

Fingerless Gloves Inspiration

Have you seen the 12 days of Christmas discounts and freebies over at Winterwear Designs? One pattern in particular caught my eye – the Alpine Fingerless Gloves are exactly what I’ve been trying to find. Unfortunately the eczema on my hands is so bad at the moment that I can’t sew anything, but I couldn’t resist planning a few pairs of these gloves!

The Alpine gloves are designed to be made from stretchy fabric, so they could look fantastic in sweatshirt fabric, or fleece.

  1.  Lucky Cards Sweatshirt Fabric – Minerva Crafts
  2.  Aztec Stripe Ponte – Minerva Crafts
  3.  Forest Animals Fleece – Minerva Crafts
  4.  Bugs Sweatshirt Fabric – Minerva Crafts

And for Spring, when my hands still need covering, but fleece might be too warm, a couple of pairs in jersey might be ideal.

    1.  Floral Print Stretch Mesh Jersey – Minerva Crafts
    2.  Rainbow Geometric Stripe Print Jersey – Minerva Crafts
    3.  Blue Butterfly Meadow – Fabric Land
    4.  Zoo Cotton Mix Jersey – Abakhan

Maybe if I’m lucky, Santa will take the hint and leave me some stretchy fabric under the tree, so i can make one (or five) pairs of these Alpine Fingerless Gloves in the new year!

Fake Fur Ideas

There’s nothing better for inspiration than a rummage through a fabric shop. On this occasion, I found two soft long-pile fake fur fabrics. They were more like 1/3 to 1/2 of the standard width, but at £8 a metre, I knew that 50cm of each would be enough to make a few small bears.

The red is quite a bright intense shade, which looks plain until it catches the light at a certain angle, when you can see an almost silvery shade to some of the fur strands.

The forest green is a more muted shade compared to the red, but the two tone look with the silvery tips caught my eye in the shop.

I will admit I normally wouldn’t pick green fabric, but this was too sleek and soft to pass up! It should definitely make a bear that you can’t resist running your hands through its fur.

Simplicity Sewing Challenge – Dressmaking Inspiration

“Your take on a Simplicity Make”

….it sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But just how can you show your individuality in a dress?

I had considered using some unusual fabric – maybe combining two colours, to separate the bodice, waistband and skirt.

Or maybe I should move the zip to the side and have a plain back.

Different still, would be losing the zip completely, and putting a front buttoned opening to make the dress into a shirt dress, although the thought of those buttons has me breaking out in a cold sweat!

I even considered taking a leaf out of a previous year’s winner’s book, and making the dress into top and skirt separates.

In the end, I decided to try adding elbow-length sleeves. I dug out some fabric oddments and made a rough version of the bodice, using version C with straps. I drafted a rough sleeve using another pattern I had as a template, and stitched them in.

Realisation 1 was that a boatneck style neckline with straps was never going to work – the straps slid off my shoulders almost instantly, pulling the sleeves with them.

I thought then maybe I needed to go for a smaller size, so I cut a size 10 from another selection of oddments, but realisation 2 was that a size ten made the armsyce way too snug so that it felt like I was about to bust the seam stitches each time I moved,

So it’s back to the original idea of a size 12, and I have just enough oddments left over to make another mockup version to check the fit before I cut into my ‘proper’ fabric.

Wish me luck – I think I’ll need it!

Shirt Inspiration – a Simplicity Sewing Challenge

I’ve made clothing for myself before, but the only wearable things I’ve ever made my dad (that fitted successfully) was a fleece hat. I think it’s about time I made hime something different, don’t you?

So I entered the menswear category of the Simplicity Challenge as an incentive to get something made.

At the moment I have taken the measurements (I didn’t want to rely on what dad said he measured!), and I’ve picked out some polycotton to make a “wearable muslin”.

I did get in a complete mess with sewing the facing – a combination of partially-written instructions, and a distraction while sewing, meant that I didn’t quite get it lying accurately. However, other than adding in the buttonholes and buttons and the final hems, this should be a shirt Dad can wear.

It does look a bit…. boring though. Plain polycotton might have been dad’s choice, but it isn’t going to look all that startling. So I had a rummage through dad’s wardrobe to see the kind of shirt design he prefers, and there’s a lot of checked fabric in there! I’ve got some gingham fabric and he’s picked out some buttons ready for the final version.

Wish me luck!