Minerva Crafts Blog: Joni Dress in Scuba

For my Minerva Crafts Blog Post this month I used the notorious Tilly and the Buttons Stretch Book to make a Joni Dress from black and white crepe scuba.


Pattern: Joni Dress from Stretch
Fabric: Monochrome Scuba Crepe from Minverva Crafts
Notions: Swimsuit/ Clear Elastic to stabilise the seams
Modifications: None.
Fit: Great, very flattering.
Difficulty: Advanced beginner.
Watch out for: Neckline is a little tricky, I used this great sew-along from Sewisfaction.
Make Again? Happy with just this one, as I haven’t found many occasions to wear it to yet.

For more photos and to read more about construction and working with scuba fabric head to the Minverva Crafts blog here

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links

Happy Making

Claire & co.



Since I started sewing, by default I started becoming more and more interested in textiles and surface pattern. Right at the start of this blog I experimented with surface design, but I was put off because I felt print design meant Laura Ashley style flowers, and I don’t often wear florals, so I thought it just wasn’t for me. But the more I started sewing and started to define my style more, I still had a niggiling itch to design my own fabric for both interiors and garments to make something that was truly mine.

The problem was and still is, is that surface pattern is a huge topic and producing professional looking repeats seemed like a huge and impossible task. So I wanted a project to get my teeth into and to break it down into small manageable chunks. But most importantly, I just wanted to stop thinking I wanted to make repeat patterns and actually start.

Along came the #100dayproject, established 6 years ago it is a free art project that takes place online. Every spring, thousands of people from all around the world commit to 100 days of exploring their creativity. Anyone can join (yes, that means you!). The idea is simple: choose a project, do it everyday for 100 days, and share your process on Instagram with the hashtag #The100DayProject.


Simple, but the plot thickened, as I knew I wanted to produce surface patterns, but as it stood I had 100 days of blank sheets of A4 pages in front of me, the thought of it was panic inducing. So I began to search the hashtag, #100daysofpatterns and found 10, 048 posts (at time of researching), connecting me to like minded individuals and I saw some inspiring work. Diving deeper I came across an archived blog post on Make It Design by Rachel Taylor. It outlined new design themes for each week, for 15 weeks, to provide prompts and inspiration to the Make It In Design students and pattern community online for #100daysofpattern.

Bingo! I had my project, with enough parametres to keep me accountable, but enough freedom in the prompts to take it in the direction of my own style. So below are the prompts for each week. Every week I’ll be sharing my inspirations and my 7 days of pattern design and hopefully at the end of the 100 days I’ll have a feel for pattern design, how it works, if I like it as much as I think I will and hopefully get some products made up in my own pattern designs.

Let me know if you’re doing your own #100daysproject. I hope this project is the kick start of inspiration I’m looking for at the moment. I decided to share my progress every week so keep your eyes peeled over the coming months for regular updates. I’ve also decided to do a personal challenge of 100 days of yoga alongside my creative challenge in a hope a healthy mind and body helps kick start the creativity. Now to start gathering inspiration.

Claire & co.


#Portrait Challenge 2019

There is an amazing, inspiring, creative community on instagram with designers, illustrators and makers all sharing their work. To inspire and encourage new work challenges are a great way to step out of your comfort zones, plus it’s a great way to get a body of new work with the gentle push of a few prompts. Ohn Mar Win and August Wren set up the portrait challenge, it was manageable, just 8 portraits, but would encourage me to draw faces, which naturally I avoid because, frankly capturing the character of a person with a pen, can be nearly impossible. But the only way to get better, is to put pen to paper. So here it goes…








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What did I learn from this challenge? Well, portraits will probably always be my nemesis, but I have enrolled onto a portrait class at the Open Studios in Altrincham later in the month, with the hope of picking up some technical tips and finally stepping away from just line drawings and adding some depth with tone. So more to come.

What did work for me, was showing up and working on a project from start to finish and not being too precious if things weren’t great. My drawings were hit and miss, some days they were good, other days, they were off. Going forward, I want to focus on consistency.  I’m trying to complete 100 portaits in a sketch book by drawing a range of faces, both people I know and from newspapers and magazines with a focus on trying to create a likeness of the individual’s character, easier said than done. Here’s some more from my 100 faces project sketchbook so far.



More faces to come. If you have any tips for drawing faces I am all ears, so please share them in the comments below. Thanks so much.

Claire & Co.


Spring Sewing Plans

It’s the first day of spring, and it’s time for some (as always) over ambitious sewing plans for the new season. I’m big into the concept of a capsule wardrobe. I don’t want to start from scratch and sew a whole new wardrobe, but instead I want to create a few new pieces that I hope to wear time and time again. I wanted to share my patterns and fabric for my up and coming projects. And this time, if you’re short of time or if you’re not a sewer yourself, I have included some ready to wear alternatives to put a spring in your step.

Trench Coat

A trench coat is a spring staple,  but I want to make a twist on this classic with this colourful fabric. I’ve been dreaming up this yellow trench coat since last autumn when I finished my first coat, which is featured on my make nine and it’s still not made. I’ve been put off by all the pieces, but I have cleared a week in my diary to give it my undivided attention. I’m using the Named Clothing Isla Trench Coat Pattern and have this glorious Mustard Robert Kaufman Twill from Sew Me Sunshine, that I bought with some vouchers I got for my birthday in October. I have my eyes on some polka dot lining and bold black buttons. It was hard to find a mustard trench on the high street, that’s the beauty of making your own, but the Whitstable Trench in navy or beige is a good alternative especially with the burst of colour provided by the lining.

Paper Bag Stripe Trousers

The McCalls 7661 pattern came with the Love Sewing Magazine. When it landed on my door step, the pattern encouraged me to experiment with paper bag waist trousers for the first time. I was always a bit adverse to creating any extra bulk with the layers of fabric around my waist and hip area, so I’ll be making a toile to test the silhouette on my figure. If all goes to plan, I want to keep it classic with this navy and white stripe Gutermann fabric. I spotted this blue and white pair of linen and cotton blend trousers on the high street that create a relaxed, tailored look.

Breton Top

Finally, I want to add, yes another, breton top to my wardrobe. This time I want to make it in a sunshine yellow colour to bring a bit of joy, even if I have to pair it with jeans, a jacket and umbrella (let’s be honest, it does always rain in Manchester). I was given the Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top from a friend of Rob’s whose sewing career was sadly short lived, so it will be my first time using this pattern. I bought some yellow and white cotton jersey from Sew Me Sunshine. The yellow is a bit on the lemon end of the scale and I prefer more mustard tones, but I searched fabric shops online looking for the perfect yellow and white mustard breton jersey and it was nowhere to be found. It was hard to find a ready to wear duplicate, instead I found this colourful breton long sleeved jersey top that would be a great colourful addition to any spring wardrobe.


Now that’s enough to keep me occupied over the coming months. First up, I’m making  the trench coat so keep your eyes peeled over the coming weeks for a full detailed review of the pattern and construction.  I hope you’re enjoying the first signs of spring and I’d love to know what’s on your spring sewing table.

Claire & Co.













Sewing for Interiors

The reason my family clubbed together to get me an entry level sewing machine was because I’d murmered something about being interested in sewing some cushion covers and blinds for our new flat. 18 months later following serious procraftination, with a coat, a pair of jeans, a lined jacket, countless skirts and dresses, I finally got round to making the long-awaited cushion covers.

Our flat is neutral with white walls, wood floors and wooden sideboards. When we moved, we were on a budget, so most of our furniture was sourced from freecycle or was gifted to us from friends and family. All the furniture is neutral and it is on the minimal end of the scale. In an attempt to add some personality and creativity into the interiors I wanted some really bright colourful cushions, I took inspiration from Oliver Bonas, Anthropologie and found some inspiration on pinterest.

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After collecting inspiration, the starting point for this fabric was an old salwar kameez I had worn in India back in 2012. I picked it up from a supermarket, it wasn’t particulalry fancy, but it was 100% cotton. I loved the yellow colour with gold and orange thread woven through it.


The fabric was quite narrow and would only be enough for a pair of small cushions. The small cushion fits well into our bucket chair, we picked up from a chairty shop, (which I have promised to upholster, so eyes peeled for a post soon). I finished the cushions with some pom pom trim because well, frankly, everything is better with a pom pom!


To accompany, I wanted a pair of larger square cushions to go on the sofa. What took me so long to get this project started was finding the perfect fabric. However, as soon as I saw this Okina Hana, Graphical Pattern Quiliting Cotton from The Village Haberdashery, I knew this print from Rico Designs would compliment the yellow. Finally, I finished the cushions with some pre-cut piping from my local fabric shop, but this can be easily found anywhere, or you can easily make your own by sewing fabric around piping cord.

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I’m pleased with the burst of colour these cushions give to our netural colour scheme, it was such a satisfying project to make envelope cushions come together so easily. I love, love, love, this fabric from Rico Design. The project has spurred me to explore surface pattern design and in turn to make my own cushions from fabric that I have designed. Next up for interior sewing is making some velvet cushions, knitted cushions and a chunky knitted throw for our bedroom. So many projects are being brewed up at the moment.

Until next time,

Claire & Co.