Simplicity’s New Collection: the 8131 Blouse

simplicity-8131-blouseIt’s October, it’s a new season and, with it, comes a new collection of sewing patterns from Simplicity! I was emailed by Simplicity a few weeks ago with a link to their new collection of patterns and couldn’t wait to get sorting through them. Which one is your favourite? I picked to make the new 8131 blouse!

The Simplicity 8131 blouse is ‘a V-neck bow blouse pattern allows you the ability to choose different bow styles and sleeves plus round or pointed hem.’ You can also do an off-the-shoulder style if you want to be really on-trend! I chose to make view B which has no sleeves, a rounded hem and a cute little pussy-bow neck tie. Despite all those features I actually think I selected the most simple pattern of the lot, but I wanted to make something that I’d be more likely to wear regularly than the bare-shoulder or long-sleeved variants.


The fabric I used for my blouse is a navy floral viscose that I actually bought on eBay, but there are loads of other lovely navy viscoses available at Minerva Crafts here if you want to take a look! Viscose is a really soft, drapey fabric and suits the bow neck-tie feature on this blouse really well. It feels a little like wearing pyjamas when you’ve got it on which is win/win really! However, viscose can be both quite slippery and stretchy to work with so make sure you cut our your pattern pieces accurately and use lots of pins to avoid producing a slightly wonky garment…


simplicity-8131The pattern instructions are what you expect from Simplicity – very easy to follow with clear pictures for each step and I didn’t have any problems. I’d probably recommend this pattern for an intermediate-beginner as there are a fair few techniques needed, such as the rounded hem, gathering on the shoulders and attaching the tie/collar. If you’re new to any of these techniques then the pattern instructions are clear enough to help you out, but it’s always good to know what you’re doing beforehand!

So what do you think? Will you be having a go at any of the new Simplicity patterns this autumn?

Blogger Network #27 – Father Christmas Cushion

Design Works Santa Cushion Kit

Welcome, October! It’s time for a new Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post and this month I’m crossing my fingers and hoping you don’t think it’s *too* early for something a bit festive! I actually made this Design Works Embroidery Santa Cushion Kit on the first rainy weekend back in September and I’ve been feeling wonderfully Christmassy ever since. Isn’t he just¬†adorable?!

Click here to read more about my make!


Yarndale 2016!

This weekend (24th-25th September 2016) saw the return of the annual wool-based festival in Skipton, Yorkshire – Yarndale! I love going to this huge knitting, crafting (and some sewing) fair every autumn with my favourite crafting friend and this year we certainly weren’t disappointed. Here are a collection of my favourite pictures from the day – enjoy!

yarndale-2016-buntingThe walk down to Skipton Auction Mart was covered in Yarndale bunting.

thirsk-yarnbombers-yarndale-2016All the posts on the way into Yarndale were also decorated by the Thirsk Yarnbombers!

yarndale-2016-bunting-mandalas-ice-cream-van-sheepYarndale sheep, a yarnbombed ice cream van (selling finger puppets!) the mandalas outside above a knitted Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the bunting that makes an appearance every year.


Knitted animals! A rag rug sheep, an enormous knitted bluetit (I nearly bought the kit for my Grandma) and a faux-taxidermy tiger rug from Sincerely Louise.


Real animals! Goats, alpacas, sheep and a man with a massive Angora rabbit on his knee.

yarndale-2016-with-lucy-attic-24We met Lucy from Attic 24! And what a lovely lady she is, too.

That’s it! Did you go to Yarndale this year? Did you enjoy it? We went first thing in the morning before the crowds got too mad and had a great time. I came away with the Mini Knitted Christmas book (signed by the author/designer, Sue Stratford) plus a box full of coloured yarn to make all the Christmas decorations with. My friend bought a crochet blanket kit full of Stylecraft DK. Until next year!

Blogger Network #26 – A Summer Bolero for Grandma!

King Cole 3111 Cardigan Bolero

Happy September everyone! Part of me loves these monthly Minerva Blogger Network posts as they keep me productive and show how much you can accomplish if you set your mind to it, but part of me also winces slightly as I watch the months pass us by so very quickly. Anyway – on with the show!

This month’s make was made by…. my Grandma. I had every plan to start this project myself and ask for her guidance as I continued (my Grandma can knit in her sleep and is the best person to learn from) but one moment I had a bag of yarn and a knitting pattern and the next thing I know she’s whipped up the entire bolero behind my backūüėČ

And doesn’t she look absolutely beautiful/super cute in her new summer bolero? I love it and I love her so much! (The pattern is the King Cole 3111 Cardigan/Bolero and the yarn is King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK in Navy, by the way).

CLICK HERE to see more of my (Grandma’s) make!


Simplicity 8086 Cynthia Rowley Overlay Dress

Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 8086Wow, I can’t quite believe that I finished this one! You know when you spot that perfect dress pattern and know instantly it’s one you just have to make? I found the Cynthia Rowley 8086 dress from Simplicity online a few months ago now and I’ve been quietly working at it every weekend since. This dress isn’t for the faint-hearted and will challenge your spatial awareness skills like no other – but it’s so worth it.

The dress is almost like two dresses in one: it has a high neck/low back dress underneath and then a high neck/open back overlay over the top. The skirt is full and pleated, there’s a zipper down the centre back and a button loop at the neck. It also has a bodice lining and an overlay lining. (The fabric is a woven brocade from Minerva Crafts, by the way) Can you see why this project took me forever?

Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8086 Overlay Dress

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though – in fact, I loved that I could do a little bit each weekend and could see it slowly coming together on its coat-hanger. I spend quite a lot of time whipping up projects over the course of a weekend so it was nice to take a bit more time and care when making this dress! However, I did also run into a few problems… the pattern instructions are largely wonderfully written (as is often the case with Simplicity) but I had so much trouble when it came to attaching the overlay to the bodice. The instructions for this part were so unclear and it seemed as if steps had been missed out – which is a nightmare when this dress is already quite complicated. After a bit of Googling I found that other people also had the same issue (see Pattern Review for more!).

Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8086 Overlay Dress Back

I also had trouble with the fit around my back and had to take it in and out a few times before I got it to sit right and not gape. This resulted in my back zip being massively off-centre, by which time it was too late to do anything about it! I think I’ve got away with it though – I wore this dress to my friend’s birthday party last weekend and all I got were lovely compliments. I think us sewists are too hard on ourselves sometimes: no one else ever spots the wonky bits that we berate ourselves for!

Simplicity 8086 Dress

Despite the few hiccups, I got there in the end. There was a bit of unpicking and trying again but I don’t mind that so much – how else am I going to learn new things? Trial and error is often your friend when it comes to dressmaking! And I really love my finished dress too. I’ve got a couple of weddings coming up in September so I’ll probably wear it again to one of those – I think this dress will become a nice staple in my party dress wardrobe. What do you think?

SImplicity Cynthia Rowley 8086 Button loop neck

I definitely recommend this pattern for the more adventurous intermediate/advanced seamstress. I’m super proud of my finished dress and I’m really pleased with how it turned out, especially because at one point I wasn’t sure it was ever going to work! Has this ever happened to you before? I think my cat Barnaby approves too – he loves being in my blog photos these days, perhaps I should get him to do my modelling in future.



Sew Over It Knicker Kit!

sew over it knickers kitIf you’re a family member, friend or work colleague then look away now! (Although luckily for you there are no photos of me modeling in this post…) Yes, that’s right, I’ve made my first pair of knickers!

Making your own lingerie is a big thing in the sewing world right now – it seems there’s a blog post cropping up almost every other day from some talented seamstress who’s gone back to basics and whipped up their own undergarments. Maddie from Madalynne is an obvious inspiration, but they also turned their hands to bras and slips on this year’s Great British Sewing Bee¬†which has perhaps caused this upsurge of interest.

sew over it knicker kit contents

I’ve never really considered making my own underwear as, at first thought, it sounds quite complicated and fiddly. But then I spotted the Sew Over It Knicker Kit on the White Tree Fabrics website and my curiosity¬†got the better of me! The Sew Over It knicker¬†kit is a fantastic introduction to making your own underwear – inside the cute little box you get everything that you need to make a pair including pretty cotton fabric, a reel of thread, a length of elastic, the reusable sewing pattern and the instructions. In my box I got a lovely purple floral fabric which I’m very pleased with (each box is different so the fabric you get is random – which I love!).

PS – use my code SEWSENSATIONAL when you checkout at White Tree Fabrics for 20% off and free shipping!

sew over it knickers

The instructions included in the kit are well-written and easy to follow. I finished my garment in an hour, from cutting out the 3 pattern pieces to stitching the fabric together and adding the elastic. There’s the option to embellish with ribbons or bows but I like the simplicity of mine without the added extras. I think what I enjoyed most about this project was the fact that you get everything you need all in one box – there’s no need to go out and buy extras, it’s all right there ready for you to get going.

knicker kit

And that’s really all there is to it! I really recommend this kit if you’re new to lingerie making or just want a quick sewing project that’s a little out of the ordinary. I had good fun making them and will definitely be reusing my pattern again! What do you think? Have you ever made your own knickers?!

sew over it knicker kit contents list

Blogger Network #25 – New Look 6407 Elephant Shirt

Simplicity New Look 6407 shirt

Well who¬†doesn’t¬†want an elephant print shirt? Click the link below to see more of my August Minerva Blogger Network post! It features this elephant print cotton and the New Look 6407 shirt pattern (and my kitten, Barnaby)…

Click here to read about my make!