The Wedding Dress

Now don’t worry, it’s not my actual wedding dress. It’s a dress I made to wear to a wedding but “the dress I’m making for Lauren’s wedding” wasn’t quick enough to say when I was talking about it to people! So the Wedding Dress became its name.

This is my March Make for Minerva, a lovely taffeta dress using the By Hand London pattern ‘Elisalex’.

Best part is, the fabric I used, and many other taffeta fabrics, are in our sale at work! Mix this with the fact that Vogue Sewing Patterns are all half price, there’s no reason NOT to be sewing this Spring!

Hope you all like it!

Katie B


The long anticipated Great British Sewing Bee makes! – The Walkway

Well, 6 projects in 6 weeks didn’t exactly go to plan. I made a project for each episode but wasn’t able to finish them in time to post alongside each episode. I did, however, do write ups for the Minerva Blog so you can get my insight into the competition there, along with some insider knowledge courtesy of myself and Vicki, the Minerva Sales Director.

So lets start where I left off, episode three! This tied together my two passions; Sewing and Vintage! The really interesting thing about the Walkway dress is that it was so popular Butterick actually stopped production of ALL other patterns and solely printed this to keep up with demand. I can tell you know, I’m pretty sure they did it again because the demand for this pattern was phenomenal! We had to get stock Air Freighted from the States to keep up with demand!

So here’s my effort


I went for a lovely Lemon yellow for my dress to try and channel the sunshine we weren’t getting in Lancashire at the time. I rocked a Lemon Yellow Polycotton for the front apron with a Lemon Yellow Crinkle Seersucker Polycotton for the rear back and skirt. I would definitely go for a poplin for the front apron next time as it would hold the weight of the rear portion of the dress better as that isn’t a paneled skirt, it’s a full circle! I also had to strengthen the bust darts with interfacing as they popped open! Luckily that happened in the fitting stage and not in Media City, Salford!


I made up a side 14 as the measurement suggested, but I ended up having to take the back darts in my about 1 cm each to help the shoulders fit correctly. I also did ties instead of buttons to fasten the apron at the back so I can wear it through various stages of weight loss or gain!


I really enjoyed making up the dress, but it’s tricky to wear! The front apron of the dress is only fasten around the back at the waist to the front raises up your legs like crazy, you HAVE to wear a slip with it. I’m going to experiment with weighting the bottom with some chain. I’ll let you know how it goes!

I’ve got another project to tweak for episode 4, Structure! That will be a great write up and is really shows what can go wrong when you rush!

Keep Crafting!

Katie Betty x


It’s episode 2 time! This week the team tackled children’s clothing so I decided to make a little something for the newest tiny person in my life, my friend’s niece Harriet Florence Merlot! She’s tiny and of course adorable, and a great inspiration for this weeks Sewing Bee project. Taking full advantage of the sale we have at work at the moment (including McCalls and New Look Patterns, a BAGILLION fabrics and other such joy!) I used McCalls 7038 which includes two tops, a pinafore dress and my make, Dungarees! The baby staple. I used our Plain Indigo Stretch Denim fabric to give Harriet some literal wiggle room, and at just £3.99 per metre it would be rude not to use it, really.

I hadn’t anticipated just how many pieces would go into constructing a pair of dungarees, or how much top stitching was involved! The pattern instructed you where to top stitch so you didn’t have to guess and it gives it a really professional finish. Also, with baby clothes a spontaneous motif can hide a multitude of sins and not look out of place! I wanted to make the colouring neutral, so I opted for Gutermann Sew All Col. 1pearl buttons and snap fasteners to make them a bit special.

TOP TIP! – something I learnt from reading a jeans tutorial by Jo from Three Stories High is that using the long stitch setting on your machine gives a professional look to your top stitching. I think it does, but you can obviously judge my top stitching for yourselves 😀

The thing I found interesting about making baba clothing is the practicality of it all. For example, on the pinafore dress there are, basically, sewn in knickers with poppers on the gusset so baby can crawl away and not flash everyone their nappy but also gives parents an easier time when changing bottoms! The crotch of the Dungarees also has poppers for for this instance and as interesting as it is, the sheer AMOUNT of poppers is time consuming, but definitely worth it!

I also got to tackle bias binding, which is a first for me. I learnt a bit about it from last week’s GBSB but I turned to Vicki and Annette for some hands on advice. Time consuming? Yes. Worth it? Most definitely! As you can see from the photos, I think it really works well.

The press studs were fun, as I got to whack stuff with a hammer! So bizarre that such force goes into something that will be worn by something so delicate.

I cannot tell you how many times I tried and failed at the button holes! Thank goodness there’s a stitch on my machine for this, I very nearly replaced them with velcro or snap fasteners!

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So what do you think?! Please do leave comments, and I’ll be sure to upload some pictures of Harriet sporting them!

Next week the gang are tackling Vintage! This theme was tailor made for me 😉

Craft or Glory!

Katie B

Katie Betty Sewing Bee Sewathon

It’s here! IT’S HERE! The Great British Sewing Bee is upon us and wow-wee what an episode! Now I’ll be honest, I went into this season with a favourite, Debbie. She’s from my neck of the woods and she’s also a friend of a few people I know (small world or what!). Saying that, however, there are some stars in the making aren’t there?!

I’m taking this opportunity to really dive in head first and really grasp being a blogger with both hands and  thought I’d start with a BIG event- the Katie Betty Sewing Bee Sewathon! I’m going to do a project a week to tie in with the theme of each episode of the Sewing Bee. Six weeks, Six projects. Am I mad? Most definitely, but it’s going to be true challenge as a sewer and a blogger.

So this week saw the gang working with cotton. Being from Lancashire, particularly Darwen, that stuff practically flows through my veins! One of our major landmarks is an old cotton mill! Cotton is always a great fabric for first time sewists as it doesn’t slip and slide, it presses easily (often too easily hehe) and it’s a lovely natural fabric so it breathes and takes dye very well, too. There are many different types of cotton; drill, klona, lawn, all sorts! I opted for a poplin for my project this week as it’s not too thick to make it difficult to stitch but it has enough about it to handle easily. I decided to make an A-line skirt, which is a good starting point as it is all straight lines to sew and doesn’t use up a silly amount of fabric. I mixed it up a bit and added an invisible zip, which I’d never done before, and I even picked a tip up from GBSB tonight!


I used a lovely bright red cotton poplin to match a blouse I bought which typically was in the wash when I finished the skirt and needed it for photos! Luckily, I seem to have a plethora of red shirts to choose from.


As you can (kind of) see from the back is I have two small panels for the back, this is because I somehow make the thing two sizes too big! There is supposed to be one large panel down the back, but to ensure I took it in evenly I basically created a new seam up the back. It looks alright I think!

I took to Craftsy for a tutorial on how to do a concealed zip, but the main tip I got was from tonight’s Sewing Bee in that to get the stitch as neat as you can to the zip itself you need to roll it right out so it will then fold right back in all lovely and neat. Simply darling! It’s actually easier to insert a concealed zip than a standard zip, I think! Unlike the Sewing Bee I didn’t have a dedicated machine foot to insert a concealed zip, but I did have a normal zipper foot which worked well enough. I’d definitely recommend investing in a zipper foot. It creates a truly brilliant finish which makes your hand made garments stand out as something special.

I decided to omit the waistband from my pattern and create a simple hemmed top which is more the look I’m going for.

I used a pattern I already had in my stash but for a cheeky thrifty tip, Love Sewing magazine have THREE free skirt patterns included along with their other tutorials and a free GBSB fat quarter! A great way to start working with cotton 🙂 if you want another cotton based project, pop over to my latest post on the Minerva Blogger Network for my Stash Busting Fat Quarter Infinity Scarf.


So here I am all cottoned up with my poplin skirt and fat quarter scarf!

Next week it’s children’s clothing! I’ve never made children’s clothing before so this should be very fun. Also, keep your eye out for a customization tutorial!

See you next Thursday crafters!

Craft or Glory!

Katie B xo

Katie Betty Double Bill

Hi there guys!

Well it’s well and truly the new year, so why not kick it off with a bang with a Katie Betty Double Bill! Head over to the Minerva Blogger Network and see double with not one but TWO Katie Betty features!


First off there’s my monthly Minerva make, which this time around is a great stash busting Fat Quarter Infinity Scarf, but there’s also a quick Q&A with Vicki and yours truly!

It’s been a very exciting time over at Minerva Crafts with the launch of our SPANKING NEW WEBSITE! It’s definately worth a gander because we have a bunch of fantastic new ranges and some great new sale items.

and of course it Great British Sewing Bee time! So this year I’m really getting behind it and I’m going to try and do a post about each week’s feautre, episode 1 being….Cotton! So stay tuned for some excting makes over the next 6 weeks. Hopefully we can all learn something 😀

Craft or Glory!

Katie B

p.s. I have to say a big thank you to my good friend Matt who took some lovely pictures of me in my new scarf on our trip to York, Thanks Matt!!

The Lazy Betty Infinity Dress

Weeeeeeell it’s October, and it’s time for another Minerva make!

This tutorial may seem a little out of season, but not when you know I’m travelling to Australia in 3 weeks!

I’m certainly back to my frugal roots with another first this month. My first ever DRESS! Now before we all get ahead of ourselves, don’t worry I haven’t become a master seamstress overnight, nor have I been crafting behind your backs and not kept you informed! This idea came from a customer who rang and asked if I’d ever heard of the Two Birds bridal dress. I hadn’t, and a quick Google scan showed me the best dresses I’d ever seen. Commonly referred to as the Infinity Dress, or the Convertible Dress, this wonder garment really does what it says on the tin. All it is is a circle skirt with very long straps which are attached at the front of the skirt which are then wrapped around your torso to create the bodice, much like a Sari. What sold it for me was the fact there is no hemming at all. Na da. Zilch! Due to the nature of the dress it is made from an all way stretch material, more often than not jersey, which doesn’t fray. Also, if you want to be a real clever clog, some tutorials show you can do it in one seam. One. Seam! So Ladies and Gentlemen I present…

The Lazy Betty Infinity Dress!


Craft for Glory,

Katie B xo

The Elusive Elsa Dress!

Hello there everyone!

This Minerva Blogger Network post is taking on a slightly different format this month. Here at Minerva we have been INUNDATED with panicked people asking for advice on how to best replicate a particular Disney Princess. With the Disney store selling out as soon as stock arrives, and this dress selling for thousands of pounds online, many parents have gone all ‘Kirstie Allsopp’ and decided to lovingly make one. Yes parents, Elsa from Frozen!

So follow the link and Let It Go!


Craft or Glory!

Katie B x



Charity Bands

Hey there!

Got a big Minerva Blogger Post coming up later today, but I just wanted to take this chance to let you all know I’m currently selling charity bands on eBay for LGBT Pride, with profits going to Stonewall. Also, and I feel more importantly, I’m also selling Charity bands to show support for Palestine and Palestinians, with profits going to Medical Aid for Palestinians (M.A.P), a UK charity that supports the health and medical needs of Palestinians and other vulnerable communities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Lebanon. Working together with local partner organisations, MAP offers practical support to those whose fundamental right to health is compromised by occupation, poverty, exclusion and displacement.

These bands are made to order and I will ship world wide! 

See you all laterrrrr!

Craft or Glory!

Katie B

Sewing Machine TLC

Heyyy Youu Guyyyyys!

I have encountered another first fellow crafters- the sewing machine service!

Now obviously my machine decided to shout at me slap bang in the middle of a big project for my good friend Emma at My Vintage, so I was a tad frightened! I couldn’t afford to send my machine away to be fixed, let alone buy a new one if it was truly dead. So, I took to Google and low and behold I found the answer, and like a good blogger and Pinterest ADDICT I pinned it and read it. This is an eBay post from a sewing machine specialist/wizard who decided to write a helpful guide as to what to do if your machine stops working, as more often than not it just needs a good clean! So I duly headed to my Dad’s cellar and hunted around. From my time in the Army Cadets I knew a brush would be needed and some oil! Anything with moving parts needs dusting and anywhere where metal brushes against metal needs oiling. Simple Fact. I also grabbed some long nose pliers (tweezers would work just as well) just in case I needed to pick dirt out, and I grabbed a flat head screwdriver, some WD40 (life-saving oil 101!) and a torch! I then went to my tutorial and got quite scared. Like I said before I couldn’t afford to replace my machine, so I didn’t want to begger it up using the wrong tools! And it stressed to refer to your manual (which I didn’t have), and NOT to use ANY other oil other than Sewing Machine Oil. Now, I’m very lucky as I work in a haberdashers so I was able to pick up a maintenance kit and sewing machine oil pretty sharpish for £3.19 and £1.79 respectively. HOWEVER! I happen to know that Sewing machine oil is in most Pound Shops around here (or Dollar Stores for our cousins over the pond) and in my maintenance kit I got two screwdrivers and a nylon brush. Now, the nylon brush is handy as it is the BEST for picking up dust and dirt but you could use a simple paintbrush if you wanted. As far as the screwdrivers go, it turned out that I had a tool in my sewing machine’s secret compartment! After returning to my tutorial it turned out I would have been OK with what I already had in my house, except the machine oil which needed to be bought… *facepalm*. (Oh, and I managed to download my machine’s manual for FREE!)

I consoled myself slowly, “Of course the maintenance kit is going to be good as it’s what it’s designed for” la de da, so if you do have the extra pennies it’s a good investment, and for £3.19 it wasn’t too bad 😉 however it isn’t 100% necessary.

The tutorial really covers most things, as will your manual if you have it/can download it. Rule of thumb is: Dust down first, especially around the dog feeders (the little teeth that move your fabric). If metal is rubbing against metal, oil it! Not too much, you’ll only need a drop (or two at most!).  I was certain my machine was truly broken, but it turned out the it just needed a spring clean, and a new needle.

I feel silly for panicking,I should have put my thinking cap on and thought logically and thriftily, but for £5 worth of stuff I saved a £150 service bill. Looking at those figures… I ain’t even mad!

Stay tuned for a lovely Minerva Post hitting the KB Blog this Friday! This will DEFINITELY make up for any thrift-faux pas I made this week!

Craft or Glory!

Katie B xo