Fabric Friday Reviews: Stitch & Ink Fabrics

Welcome back! Its been a hot minute eh? It’s been an absolutely crazy year with lots of change and upheaval and this blog series hasn’t been possible to maintain on a weekly basis.

Thinking about it, I’ve only actually reviewed one shop since we moved back in March because life has just been too busy. It takes time to settle into a new home even if you physically unpack quickly, mentally it takes time to settle. Then I had exams for my masters degree, then a period of incredible work stress at my previous job, then I got a new job which is my absolute dream job (yay!) and then just as I was starting to feel settled our landlords announced they will be selling our flat (boo!). I should say it has not been sold yet and we will of course be able to finish our tenancy but it felt like a shattering blow to that lovely feeling of settled domesticity we were just starting to achieve. 

So with one thing and another my sewing motivation and output dropped, my fabric stash started to build, the UFO pile has gained sentience, and basically I now don’t have the space to store any more fabric. Although, its worth noting that I almost definitely will buy more fabric because I want to make some more cosy loungewear and I’m sure I’ll have to make presents for some people. 

ANYWAY. One of the upshots of my sewing malaise has been that I have tried quite a few new fabric shops over the last six months and I finally have lots of wonderful shops to tell you about! In particular today we are talking about Stitch & Ink Fabrics. A new fabric shop and fabric subscription service run by the lovely Alisha, a fellow Scot living down in the south of England!

Before I go on to my usual more detailed discussion of the shop, I absolutely have to mention how fantastic the Stitch & Ink Instagram is. If you don’t follow them you absolutely should, beautiful fabrics, photo quality is amazing and Alisha really engages with the sewing community. 

Stitch & Ink 

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://www.stitchandink.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Haberdashery, Subscription Service & Gifts
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre 

Stitch & Ink Fabrics is a new independent fabric shop offering dressmaking fabrics, notions, sewing gifts and a fabric subscription service. For a new business it is already well known in the community and its been a pleasure to see them grow so far. My first purchase with them took place in the August bank holiday sale where I bought some beautiful Art Gallery black cotton poplin, a couple of metres of white polka dot georgette, as well as some pale green floral viscose which will go on to become the lining of my Closet Core Jasika Blazer.

The range of fabrics is fairly good for a new shop with the standard cottons, viscoses and jerseys as well as some beautiful chiffon and georgette options and they have really focussed on engaging with popular statement fabrics. Having watched a number of fabric businesses start, finish and grow over the last year it always seems to me to be a wise strategy when first starting to engage with those popular fabrics and become ‘the shop that sells THAT fabric’ before then branching out, so that you really make a splash on entering the fabric market. In particular Stitch and Ink are stocking some fabulous bright coloured tartans at the moment, the red and pink one of which I am definitely lusting after for a fun fit n flare style dress for Burns Night/my birthday in January!

While their fabrics are not the most affordable on the market, they are a fair price for high quality organic cottons and well known fabric designers. Costs range from chiffon at £1.50 per half metre up to up to organic cottons for £7.25 per half metre so although its a small fabric range at the moment there is something for most price points. In terms of delivery, I paid a standard delivery fee of £3.50 and the dispatch and delivery were actually blisteringly fast especially considering it was a bank holiday! My order arrived in a cardboard box with branded sticker (you all know I much prefer a box to a plastic post bag) with my order beautifully wrapped inside and a small branded card. The presentation was excellent and made opening my fabric parcel feel special.

One of my ultimate bugbears with fabric shops and something that will make me stop shopping somewhere on principle is poor website design and functionality. I am delighted to say in this case that Stitch and Ink’s website is fantastic. I love the branding, I love the filtering, the homepage is solid and all the sub menus actually work and make sense. I’ve browsed on my phone and my laptop and have found the cross device functionality to be excellent and I love the filtering on each fabric page for price and order. Its a simple thing but its the little things that improve user experience. I think where Alisha has really excelled her is that she has a website that is simple and functional. You would never know this is a new business. It’s slick, its professional and it’s user friendly. I only have two tiny recommendations or updates I would suggest. Firstly I would add a little more about each fabric in the description to give you a better sense of what it could be used for. Whether that is specific pattern examples or event just a note saying ‘would work well for structured trousers’ or ‘ideal for blouses’. That might just be me, but its a little touch that can be extremely helpful when you can’t physically feel the fabric yourself. My only other minuscule note would be that when I went to pay the mailing list option was pre-clicked which it shouldn’t be as GDPR regulations mean it should be an opt-in not an opt-out. I know its a little thing and I’m not nit-picking I promise, its just a bugbear of mine and I do pull everyone up on it.

The other large facet of Stitch and Ink is the subscription service which, from a recent instagram Q&A, it appears was in fact always meant to be a subscription box service first and foremost. However of course you can’t really run a subscription service unless you already have fabric so the fabric shop side of things came first. Now you all know I’m not much a subscription box person as I like to choose my own fabrics and patterns however if I was going to buy into one sewing scheme it would probably be Stitch and Ink. The respect for size inclusivity in pattern selection as well as the literal monetary value of the fabric and patterns is wonderful to see. The subscription boxes range from £30 – £50 per month. The Classic Box offers 2.5m fabric, matching thread, four fat quarters, and a sewing gift. The Ultimate Box offers 3.5m fabric, an indie pattern, five fat quarters, matching thread, and a sewing gift. If you are somebody who likes a subscription box style service then I encourage you to check them out.

So on to my rating system which is of course very scientific

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 5/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 9/10
  • Ease of Use – 8/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Average Score: 7.2 / 10

Overall Stitch and Ink is one of those fabric shops that I am excited about. I am really enjoying watching the business grow, I like to see somebody passionate about what they do and I look forward to shopping with them plenty in the future.

Back To Reality: Keeping My Sew-Jo Alive While Working Full Time

Hello everyone! Yes I am still here, I’ve not fallen off the face of the earth and I’ve not given up blogging. What has actually happened is something I think has happened to a lot of sewists. After 18 months of working from home and getting enough space and time to myself to enjoy my hobby, I’m now back in the office and crucially I’m back to commuting.

Now I wanted to say first off that I love my job, I am an event manager at a leading cultural venue in London, I’m lucky that I get to work on amazing events and with fantastic clients. However there is a reason I didn’t have much time for sewing pre-pandemic. There’s a reason I’m sitting on the sofa blogging before I head to work at lunch time and work until midnight. My job by its very nature is stressful, the hours are unpredictable and its exhausting. I pour my heart and soul into every event I run and it leaves me tired and all I want to do at the weekend is sleep forever. I will say though this job, unlike any other I’ve ever had, has got a greater awareness of welfare which is amazing. I’ve had jobs in the past where if an event runs from 6am – 10pm you would work the whole thing yourself, my current job recognises that not only isn’t feasible, it isn’t good for your physical and mental health.

Its not just that though, commuting is tiring (although I have to say I am loving how much reading time I get now!) and the reality is that once you are home you don’t want to do anything at all. I feel like it takes so much brainpower that its a struggle to reset and go and do some sewing because the reality is there is dinner to make, dishes to do and then I need to be in bed by 10:30 because I get up at 6am. In addition, I’m now back to my second year of my MA degree. Although it only takes one day of my week, it means that there is a lot of additional work i need to do on my evenings/weekends.

Plus I haven’t felt as inspired in this flat because I don’t feel as on top of everything. The office is a mess because I’m in and out all the time. The washing is piling up because Adam and I are both working in London. Our landlords are trying to sell our flat so I don’t feel like I can make mess on the weekends by sewing if they are coming around with viewings.

So altogether even when I do have the time to sew I don’t want to because I’m so tired. I’ve got beautiful fabrics, loads of projects I want to do, the equipment to make them but no brain power. Sewing should be relaxing and fun but its hard when you don’t have enough brain to relax. I’ve bought loads fo fabric because that was a way of getting inspired, now I need to find the time to do it. I’ve got two projects cut out that I’ve got no desire to finish.

And I guarantee I’m not the only person struggling with this. Last year at the beginning of lockdown Hobbycraft’s sales of sewing machines tripled. There was actually a global sewing machine shortage! So many of us took up sewing in the last year when we were working from home or furloughed and so there will be a corresponding number of people who are now having to fit their favourite hobby around commuting.

It’s hard. I miss the inspiration I had when my brain had enough space for it. I miss how relaxing saturday morning sewing felt when I wasn’t exhausted from a commute that went horribly wrong on Friday night. At the end of the day I love sewing and I love vlogging and blogging – I just need to find a way to fit it around my work life and to boost my energy levels enough to do it.

So What Is The Plan?

Firstly I’m going to plan out everything I do in a week without sewing, which looks like the following pie chart:

Realistically I have two hours every evening to myself or for myself. I won’t sacrifice sleep during the week because I know the effect that has on me so I’ve not included it on the pie chart, its a given that I need 8 hours sleep or I am useless. Lack of sleep reduces my ability to cope with stress and decision making so I prioritise that over everything else.

So maybe I need to change the way I sew. I’m big fan of long sewing days where I pretty go beginning to end on a project in one 8 hour day. I find that relaxing. I find I can really sink into the sewing and ideally I would still like to have one of those days at the weekend but maybe there are little sewing tasks I could do in the week? Maybe I could I cut out a pattern during the week so I’m ready for sewing at the weekend? Maybe I can do planning? Maybe I can dedicate one night to tidying to office so its all set-up and ready for sewing at the weekend? Realistically I go to Ballet on Monday and Thursday, Tuesday night I try and do my MA reading while its fresh in my head from Lectures that day so lets start small.

I’m going to commit Wednesday night(or morning if I’m working) to sewing activity. To doing something sewing related whether that is cutting out a pattern, filming a talking vlog, proper project planning, tidying the office or just pre-washing fabric. I will try and post to IG every Wednesday to let you know what I’ve done, I find accountability tracking really important for the way my brain works. After a few weeks Wednesday nights will be demarcated in my mind but I find its important to schedule it into my diary as a commitment so I take my own welfare and relaxation as seriously as I would an appointment or a work commitment.

Scheduling in down-time is actually a technique I was encouraged to use when I had a therapy session a few years ago. Its not for everyone but if you are a busy person like me then its important to block out time in your diary for yourself so you can’t book over it. You don’t have to schedule what you do in that time but its like creating a window in your week or your day for you. Even on a small scale I now actually put my lunch break in my diary at work to reclaim an hour just for me. I’m advocating this technique for everyone as I know it would stress some people out more but for me its having that reminder and committing the spending time on myself or my hobbies.

This month I will mark out my Wednesdays for myself and I will also be doing my Simple Saturday Sews on YouTube where I do a project on a Saturday that should only take a couple of hours and I’ll vlog along, the first of those will be coming up very soon!

Even writing this blog I feel like I’ve had the time and space to consider my needs and I feel much better. The key is finding the time to stop and think and find a way forward that works for you.

I should say I am off to the Knitting and Stitching Show on Friday, I booked a whole day off work to go and enjoy myself and I’ve even booked onto some workshops which will hopefully reignite my sewing passion so I’ll come home and will be sewing all of Saturday!

Have a great Wednesday everyone and I’ll back much sooner next time xx

One Year On, How Shopping Has Changed

Today for the first time in over a year I bought clothes. There I said it.

As many of you know what really kickstarted my sewing journey was my pledge to completely give up fast fashion and buy no new clothes for a year.

Now, a year on, I find my mindset towards shopping and clothes is completely different. Before I would shop when I was sad or needed a confidence boost but I would get sad when clothes didn’t fit and I would blame my own body, believe me I have cried silently in many a dressing room. So I would try things on until I found something I loved or something that made me feel better and a few hours later I would come home, arms covered in shopping bags and a big smile on my face. 

However taking a year away from all types of clothes shopping and focussing on my sewing really has changed the way I feel about clothes and my body and that’s what I want to talk to you about today. 

So, what prompted me to shop? Well yesterday I finished my last job and I start my dream job on Monday morning (excited is an understatement) so as a little present to myself I booked in for a manicure and a pedicure which really feels like a luxury when you go at mid-morning on a Wednesday. After my manicure I decided to have a wander through the town centre, I popped in to buy toiletries, I picked up my prescription, I had a mooch in Waterstones and then I walked past GAP. 

Now any of my lovely readers who are not based in the UK may not know but GAP is closing down in the UK forever and although the human rights record of GAPs parent company isn’t great I feel genuinely sad that we are losing this pillar of the high street. GAP is one of the shops I grew up with, its where you would go to get basics or holiday clothes as a child, its where my mum would take me to get proper jeans, its where I bought my favourite jumpers and jeans that actually fit my body. I remember when it was the height of cool to have a jumper with the huge GAP letters across the front, I remember them subsequently going out of fashion and now they are back-in [side note: aren’t trends ridiculous?]. 

Here I am now confident and loving life in the dressing room

Not only was it a big part of my childhood but also GAP had the most consistent sizing, the jeans are done by measurement sizes rather than dress sizes and they have a range of leg lengths. It’s easy to forget the mental impact size consistency or inconsistency can have on you. I have size 10 shorts from River Island bought in 2011 that are still too big for me and now if I tried to buy a size 10 shorts in River Island they wouldn’t even fit on one of my legs. Years ago I would have burst into tears thinking I’d gained weight [another poor side effect of 90s/00s culture] whereas now as an adult I’m outraged that sizing can be so arbitrary. 

So when I walked past the shop today and saw a huge red sign saying the store was closing for good in four days’ time I felt a pang of regret and nostalgia and decided to go in for one last shop. The second I stepped in I noticed a difference in my mindset, I was critical of the clothes not myself, I was aware of what I could make and I didn’t even look at items I know I could sew easily and probably make better versions than what was on offer. 

For me the one thing I’m still not up to yet with my sewing is jeans and one of the reasons I’m sad to see GAP go is that it was the one shop I could always count on to have good quality denim jeans in my leg length and the range of cuts meant I could always find something flattering. So I picked up a few pairs to try on as well as some denim shorts, a super soft black t-shirt and a nostalgic yellow GAP branded jumper and I headed to the changing rooms. 

Again when I tried the clothes on and inevitably some of the jeans didn’t fit I wasn’t sad. I didn’t feel let down by my body because I didn’t fit. Instead I looked at the cut, the fabric and pattern shape and I was critical of the garment. I didn’t want to break my pledge for the sake of it, I thought to myself that if I was going to buy anything I would buy something that fits me well, that makes me feel good and that I like. 

I spent about half an hour in that changing room evaluating each garment, I tried them on separately, I tried different combinations of everything together and in the end I bought a pair of light skinny jeans, a really nice pair of dark denim shorts that are a little longer than normal, the comfy black t-shirt (because I loathe sewing basics) and the bright yellow jumper. The yellow jumper is still making me smile as I sit here writing about it because its just so me. I love the super baggy cut, I love the colour palette and I know I will get a huge amount of use out of it because this gal loves a sweatshirt in all seasons. 

I was worried I would feel bad for breaking my pledge but I don’t. One of the key reasons I chose to give up fast fashion in the first place was to re-evaluate my relationship with clothes, to understand why I shop and not just to buy clothes I’ll never wear to make me feel better. I like making my own clothes but equally I’m not going to pressure myself too much. Buying fabric is expensive so I shouldn’t be buying that just for the sake of it either and there is nothing wrong with buying something every now and then if it’s something completely out of your technical sewing abilities or something you just don’t want to spend your valuable spare time sewing – no one really wants to sew plain t-shirts do they, but we all need them in our wardrobe. 

So will I be going back to shopping now? No, I don’t think so. I love the me-made wardrobe I’m creating, I love the awareness I have of my body and my figure, and I love knowing that my body isn’t the problem, the fashion industry is. 

Furthermore I have increased awareness of the labour of others that goes into my clothes. I see the effort that has gone into them and I recognise the need to pressure the fashion industry to tell us who is making our clothes and to provide those workers with fair working conditions and pay.  

But at the end of the day it is okay to buy things every now and then if you need to or want to as long as you doing it for the right reasons. Pairing Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans made in eco-friendly denim with a RTW jumper doesn’t invalidate the effort put into the me-made garment. In the same way that forgetting your reusable water bottle one time and getting a single plastic one doesn’t devalue the effort you make the rest of the time. We’ve all got to find a way that works for us and it doesn’t have to be all one way or all the other.  I have taken a step back and I see that the way the fashion industry wants me to shop isn’t good for me, it isn’t good for garment workers and it isn’t good for the planet. But if I want to make a considered purchase every now and then and continue to make the rest of my clothes then that’s fine too. 

Clothes should make you feel good and don’t get me wrong my me-made clothes do but so to does my sunny new yellow jumper. 

Happy Anniversary To Me!

Can you believe it, So What If I Sew is one year old! The fact that a year has gone by is stunning to me – my blog and instagram account and youtube channel have grown more than I ever would have thought possible when I dipped a toe into the online sewing community.

Celebrating 1 year in my new Mile End Hoodie from Closet Core Patterns

Although I’ve not blogged as regularly as I did when I first started the blog I still find this space an important space to explore my deeper thoughts and feelings about sewing topics as well as to provide accessible pattern and fabric shop reviews.

So, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and since I’m a data driven person I thought I would have a look at my stats. In the last year:

  • 3,224 of you have followed me on instagram
  • 1,845 of you have subscribed to the So What If I Sew YouTube channel
  • 59 of you have subscribed to the blog
  • I’ve had 9,481 views on this blog
  • over 500,000 views on both instagram and youtube individually.

What a year it has been!

How did So What If I Sew come to be?

28th June is a very special day as on this day one whole year ago I first considered having a sewing blog and Instagram.

I have tried to blog before and Instagram a hobby before but I could never keep up, I lost motivation and most times I tried to blog, my blog died in a few months. However at the time I was also struggling with sewing motivation and after a friend of mine shared a sewing account I went down an Instagram rabbit hole and discovered that there was in fact an online sewing community – a really really big one. 

June 2020 – GBSB Jersey Dress
July 2021 – Nina Lee Carnaby Dress

I wanted to really commit to a blog this time as well as to a hobby I love and to creating personal space. I also wanted to take the plunge and give up fast fashion. So on the 28th June, in my pyjamas, watching treasure planet in bed at 11am on a Sunday, I started brainstorming blog name ideas with my sisters over messenger. I am proud to say I am actually the one who came up with ‘So What If I Sew’. A few short clicks later and the blog and Instagram were born!

I wasn’t really sure what to post first so I posted my first logo effort, not fantastic but not terrible, and a few facts about me. Then I posted a couple of the pieces I had made and slowly started to expand my fabric and pattern horizons.

It was at this point that I did my first ever fabric haul on Instagram which I just decided to do for fun with some stunning fabrics from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn. After this I started to get more traction, I started to review fabric shops on the blog and posting more regularly.

Then on 17th August I started the So What If I Sew Youtube channel. I’ve never been so nervous in my life but sure enough 100 of you lovely people subscribed in the first two weeks and allayed my fears with your very kind comments.

In September I hit 1000 followers on Instagram and things began to grow and grow and here we are today, I hit 3k followers a few weeks ago and I’m sewing regularly.

How have I celebrated my first year?

By organising a sewing challenge on Instagram with a giveaway – how else would an events manager celebrate!

The ‘Sew New In June’ is a challenge designed to celebrate how far we have all come and challenge us to get out of our cosy sewing comfort zones and try projects we’ve always wanted to try!

Whether that’s plucking up the courage to sew with silk, insert an invisible zip, try a pattern RTW fashion tells you you’re not allowed to wear or all of those things together I want you to step out of your comfort zone with me and explore new sewing horizons.

Find out more over on YouTube where you can watch all of my vlogs from this week. Or head over to Instagram and search #SewNewInJune to see all of the amazing garments the community have stitched up this week.

So what have I learnt?

If there is one thing I have learnt in the last year its that the sewing community is an incredible space full of caring, talented and friendly people willing to support one another when we share our failures and celebrate each other when we make something amazing.

I’ve learnt so many new techniques, sewn with new fabrics, tried new patterns and explored new fabric shops. I’ve made some lovely new sewing friends and found a community in which I truly feel comfortable.

Nothing astounded me more than the response from the sewing community to Sew Yellow For Endo, I’m still blown away by the £1738 we raised as a community to support women with Endometriosis. 

So as I head into my second year I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for letting me be part of this wonderful community. I have learnt so much from all of you and my sewing has improved immeasurably just by seeing all the beautiful things all of you have made.

Hears to another year of sewing, blogging and vlogging!

5 Ways to Get Your Sew-Jo Back

No matter what type of sewist you are, chances you’ve lost your sewing motivation at some stage. So here are my five top tips for reigniting your sewing passion.

Picture the scene, you’re sat in your sewing room or at your sewing table, you’ve finally carved out five minutes in your day to get sewing but all of a sudden you just don’t want to. You’ve been thinking about sewing all day but now you’re there you just haven’t got the energy to turn on your machine or cut out a pattern.

This happened to me this week. I’ve been so tired lately that I just haven’t felt like sewing at all. What’s more I have been thinking a lot about sewing my dads shirt. Its one of the only projects I’ve ever truly messed up. I cut the first version so badly that I literally couldn’t even get to the sewing stage and honestly I felt so upset and ashamed that he couldn’t get his present at the same time as everyone else and that I’d messed it up so badly. So I got him something else for Christmas but people have been pushing me to start making it for his birthday that was in April and the more people pushed and asked the more overwhelmed I felt.

The thing is I’ve made myself shirts, none of the sewing is daunting at all apart from maybe cuff plackets. I was just so scared of cutting it incorrectly that I’ve let the project overshadow me. In April I took the plunge and bought the fabric however even then it sat in the sewing room looking at me. On Saturday I finally felt like it was getting too much so I set myself the target of cutting it out. No time limit, no concerns about sewing or vlogging the process. I got my partner to help me lay the fabric out and pattern match it really carefully and cut it out.

Today I did about half of the sewing, the shirt is together and currently sleeve-less, the collar is together and the buttonholes are marked and I do feel a little bit better but the project is still overshadowing me a bit and sewing it is not relaxing in the slightest because I want it to be perfect for him. I’m feeling better because everything I’ve done is good and I’m really happy with the sewing I’ve done but also I can’t wait for it to be done. Not only to give it to my dad as a very belated present but also to prove to myself I can do it and hopefully restore my sewing confidence and my sew-jo!

That experience got me thinking about my sewing motivation in general. What motivates and demotivates me and what you can do when you’re feeling a little low on sewing enthusiasm.

Why do we lose our sewing motivation?

There are many reasons we lose motivation for a hobby. It can be that you’ve lost impetus to make something new if none of your patterns or fabrics are really grabbing you. Maybe you’ve left a project half done and just can’t face going back to it. Maybe you’ve made mess of the last garment you tried and your sewing confidence is low. A hobby should be a relaxing space and if you’re struggling with a new pattern then suddenly your hobby time can become less relaxing. After a long day at work, you might not want to spend an hour cutting fabric or stitching buttonholes or deciphering complex pattern instructions.

I personally struggle with sewing motivation after a concentrated period of sewing. For example after a month of sewing everyone’s Christmas presents I just didn’t want to touch my sewing machine. This made me realise that I don’t like sewing for others precisely because it detracts from the relaxation of my hobby, there is suddenly a greater amount of pressure to make things ‘perfectly’ and it can leave you not wanting to spend your free time sewing.

However it can also happen when you’re sewing for yourself. Maybe you’re working on a big complex make you’ve wanted to do for ages like a new coat or a pair of jeans. Makes like that require brain power and sometimes after a long day of work or a long week you just don’t want to sew because you don’t want to make a mistake or sit down for a long period of sewing. I found after spending a lot of concentrated time making my Eden Coat that although I was in love with the garment I had made and very proud, it took a lot of brain power and I felt like I couldn’t face sewing for a few days after.

Sometimes we can be enthusiasm personified one day and have zero motivation the next day and thats pretty normal. So what can you do about it? Well my first piece of advice would be to give yourself the space to think about why you aren’t sewing and then try one of my tips below to see if you can coax back some enthusiasm into your sewing.

Top 5 Tips to get back to Sewing

1. Tidy Your Sewing Space

This is a simple way to do something sewing related without the pressure of sewing. You may have lost some of your motivation if your sewing space is messy or if its being used as a dumping ground for other things. Take 10 minutes and straighten everything up. Put something good on the TV or the radio or Netflix and just take your time, whether you’re tidying a sewing room, a sewing table or a tiny sewing nook. You never know you might stumble across patterns you had forgotten you owned or fabric you had a great idea for and then forgot about. Its a great way to spark a little sewing enthusiasm.

2. Pick a palette cleanser project

This is a great way to deal with the post project blues. If you’ve spent a month working on a coat or you’ve been toiling jeans for ages put them to one side, pick a super easy project that you’ve got the pattern and the fabric for and just make it. The golden rules for palette cleanser project are make it quick, make it simple and make it fun. I’m a big fan of whipping up a t-shirt in between projects as I never have enough t-shirts that fit me comfortably and they are so quick to make. Whatever your preferred palette cleanser is, just make sure its something quick to make as you don’t want it adding to a growing pile of UFOs in the corner!

3. Break down your projects into smaller goals

Can’t face starting something new? Then just cut out the fabric today. Nothing else. Have a really big project in the works that promises hours of sewing? As my history teacher used to say, you’ve got to eat your elephant one bite at a time. Break down big projects into small tasks and then reward yourself when you complete them.

4. Set a 5 minute sewing timer

This is a technique I use for everything not just sewing. If you can’t face doing something set a five minute timer and say to yourself ‘I’ll just do 5 mins’ whether that is writing an essay, tidying the kitchen or sewing your next me-made garment. What this does is it takes away the threat of spending hours doing something because you can stop when you’re 5 minute timer is up. More likely than not you won’t stop after 5 minutes because you’ve got into the rhythm of the task but what it does is motivates you to start rather than thinking about starting.

5. Do something else

Sometimes we can be full of enthusiasm one day and suddenly that enthusiasm dwindles all of a sudden. This can happen for rational or irrational reasons. Maybe you’re experiencing one of the situations I described above or maybe you’re hormonal and don’t feel like doing anything at all. You could be exhausted and stressed and tired and all you should actually do is have a bath and go to bed. The most important thing to do is not to beat yourself up about it, it is completely normal to have off days. Literally everybody does. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not sewing – give yourself the space to go and do something else if you want to. I don’t sew everyday. Sometimes I play the piano or go for a walk with my partner or bake or read or just watch TV with my partner on the sofa. It doesn’t make me a bad sewist, it makes us human.

I hope this tips are helpful to you and let me in the comments if there is anything else I’ve missed. My top piece of advice however no matter what the situation is to actively choose to take some time away from the sewing machine. whether thats 20 minutes to grab a cup of tea, a biscuit and let your brain catch-up with you or a full evening to do something completely different. Just remember that there is nothing wrong with losing motivation, it happens to the best of us and you will get it back I promise.

Fabric Friday Reviews: Sew Much Moor

Welcome back to Fabric Friday! The more astute among you will realise that it is not a Friday however I’m going with it. I’ve decided that this feature is going to be monthly as I have a huge fabric backlog to work through at the moment. I was on a fabric ban for the whole of March as we were moving house but now that we’ve settled into the new place, I’ve started looking to craft my spring wardrobe and try some new fabric shops. Top of my list was Sew Much Moor, a fabric shop and haberdashery very recently started and based in Tavistock, Devon. Not only did the branding and fabric choices instantly attract me, I also like supporting fellow sewing instagrammers!

Sew Much Moor 

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://www.sewmuchmoor.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics, Patterns & Haberdashery
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre 

Sew Much Moor is a new fabric shop and haberdashery that sells fabric as well as independent patterns and haberdashery. The shop was started last month by Jess from the instagram handle @SewMuchMoor and for the moment the shop is online only. Now I’ll be honest I was nervous because brand new sewing shops are often limited on choice and I wanted to be able to write a good review and I am overjoyed to say that Sew Much Moor surpassed my expectations!

Although a small fabric selection, there is a nice range of stretch and woven and the fabrics are already categorised by types. Something that will stand the shop in good stead for when the fabric range expands. The fabric types currently on offer are Needlecord, Jersey, Sweatshirting, Viscose, Crepe and Polyester which when I first looked seemed to be a bit restrictive but when I went looking through I found that I could make most of a winter/spring (and British summer) wardrobe with those fabric categories. Furthermore the fabrics chosen are a lovely mix of bright patterns and a good variety of feature fabrics suitable for a range of projects.

Fabrics are sold by the half meter with a price range of £2.50 – £7 per half metre. I really like the fact that all the fabric weights are listed, one thing that would be really helpful to add would be the type and amount of stretch on the jersey. For my first purchase I chose the white abstract polyester, which is going to become a pair of M7131 Culottes, and a pink, blue and white striped rib jersey, which I have been lusting after since Sew Much Moor first launched. No idea what my striped jersey is going to become but I’m exceptionally excited to sew for it!

In terms of the website, I am a big fan of the clear cut and concise navigation menus. Good use of drop down sub-menus and I like the categorisation of fabrics, lovely clear ‘About’ section and I am a big fan of the FAQs which are well thought through. Paying was very easy and simple with a good and very speedy interface, I particularly liked the way the checkout process told me exactly when to put in the discount code(I used the special bank holiday 10% off advertised on instagram). The delivery process was astoundingly speedy, I ordered it on the bank holiday weekend and it arrived on the Wednesday which is pretty impressive! The packaging was lovely and neat in crepe paper and I got a lovely hand-written note – which you guys know I love.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 5/10
  • Cost – 7/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 8/10
  • Ease of Use – 8/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.6/10

Overall I’m really impressed by Sew Much Moor. You genuinely wouldn’t know that the shop had only been open for just over a month. The website is really slick, the branding is great, absolutely love the fabric selection, although it understandably quite small at the moment, and the pattern collection is growing day by day so definitely check them out as well. It would be great to see some more information added to the descriptions, in particular information on jersey and sweatshirting stretch, and it would be great to see some cottons/cotton poplins on there for beginner sewists and anyone who hasn’t braved sewing with stretch just yet. Looking forward to seeing Sew Much Moor grow over the year and I will definitely be shopping again!

Guest Blog: Endometriosis & Other Conditions with Sewcrastinate

Welcome back to the blog! This month Fridays are going to focus on Endometriosis experiences and first up Sammy from Sewcrastinate (IG: @Sewcrastinate_uk ) is going to be sharing her experience of trying to get a formal diagnosis of Endometriosis alongside living with another complex health condition. I am extremely grateful to Sammy for being willing to share her experiences, its a brave thing to do and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say thank you to her for sharing with us. Take it away Sammy!

At 29 years old my endo diagnosis journey has begun; but my menstrual health issues predate this by many years.  

At 14 years old I found myself unexpectedly in excruciating abdominal pain one night, a trip to the hospital revealed ovarian cysts on both ovaries. This was highly unusual and unexpected as I hadn’t even started menstruation yet. I had to have surgery to remove these.

Due to previous surgeries from when I was born I wasn’t able to have keyhole surgery, so open surgery it was. Not many 14 year olds expect to have a caesarian style scar and hear the words ‘you may find it difficult to have children due to the severe scarring’. To stop the cysts coming back I was placed on the pill. 

I was also born with a rare disease named Hirschprung’s, the only cure of which is surgery to remove part or, in my case, all of the large intestine. So at age 14 I had already had 3 major surgeries. 

From age 14 till now I have always suffered with bad abdominal pain, with no pattern to it. Each trip to the doctor has always resulted in phrases such as ‘try a different pill’ , ‘you’re a woman, some women have this much pain’, and ‘it’s just stress’. I’ve always come away feeling like a burden and that maybe it’s all in my head. 

2020 was the year I had finally had enough of being in pain with no resolution. I was sent for yet another ultrasound and this time I was lucky enough to have someone that actually listened, she sent me to a specialist sonographer who specialises in endometriosis. It was confirmed there are signs on the ultrasound to suggest endo. The consultant I’ve seen has suggested due to my previous surgeries and altered anatomy he isn’t sure that endometriosis is the cause so wants to run more tests.

So In 2021, as it stands now, I have been for an MRI to get further images to understand what’s going on and I’m still waiting for those answers. Either way, due to the previous surgeries and scarring,  it won’t be possible to operate to remove endo, if that is the diagnosis, so I’m hoping for some good news and advice on how to manage this going forward. 

I am an active person and love mountain hiking and Spartan obstacle course racing; I refuse to let endo stop me doing what I love.  I’m hopeful the more awareness we raise and more money we raise we can help future generations with a better course. 

If you would like to support the vital work of Endometriosis UK please visit the #SewYellowForEndo Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sew-yellow-for-endo

#SewYellowForEndo: Where to buy yellow fabric & DISCOUNTS

Hello everyone! It is day three of Endometriosis Awareness Month and I have just done my first Instagram Live of the Series talking about my experiences with endometriosis and my journey. The response was overwhelming and I am so lucky to be part of such a wonderfully supportive community. Now onto the exciting part! I bring you not only yellow fabric inspiration but also DISCOUNTS! And the best kind of discounts as these ones also contribute a percentage of sales to my EndometriosisUK fundraiser on Just Giving.

Who’s Offering Yellow Fabric Discounts?

Felicity Fabrics

Felicity Fabrics are not only one of our fabulous competition sponsors but they are also offering a 10% discount on yellow fabrics throughout March and will be donating 10% of sales to Endometriosis UK. Check out the gorgeous yellow fabrics below to get you started! The discount is automatically applied on yellow fabrics.

The Sewist Fabric Shop

The Sewist Fabric Shop have some stunning yellow fabrics in stock and will be offering a 20% discount throughout the month of March on yellow fabrics and will be donating 5% of their sales to Endometriosis UK! They will also be donating one of our prizes for the #SewYellowForEndo so check out some of their yellow fabrics below to get your inspired! Discount code: SewYellowForEndo

Sewing at Number 51

Sewing at Number 51 will be offering a 15% discount on yellow fabrics throughout the month of March and donating one of our prizes for the #SewYellowForEndo competition! The discount is automatically applied on yellow fabrics.

https://www.sewingatnumber51.com/product-page/cotton-jersey-1

Jenny Stitches Fabric

Jenny has kindly offered a 10% discount on her gorgeous range of yellow fabrics and will be matching that by donating 10% of yellow fabric sales to Endometriosis UK! Check out some of her gorgeous yellow fabrics below and use code SEWYELLOWFORENDO to activate the discount.

The Specky Seamstress

The wonderful Laura from The Specky Seamstress has also provided a discount on her yellow ‘You are a Superstar’ bias binding and she will donating a portion of her sales to Endometriosis UK this month.

https://thespeckyseamstress.com/product-category/bias-binding/specially-designed-fabric/page/2/

Who Else Is Stocking Yellow Fabrics?

Hey Sew Sister

https://heysewsister.co.uk/shop/p/linen-leaping-leopards

https://heysewsister.co.uk/shop/p/organic-cotton-single-jersey-ochre-dots

The Rag Shop

The Rag Shop are one of our competition supporters and have a fabulous range of yellow fabrics in stock! Go Go Go!

Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn

Checkout these two gorgeous yellow themed fabrics from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn! There’s a gorgeous yellow floral viscose challis and the yellow version of the rose viscose I used to make my Trend Patterns Raglan Dress.

https://www.rainbowfabrics.co.uk/product-page/yellow-rose-viscose

https://www.rainbowfabrics.co.uk/product-page/yellow-mustard-kim-viscose-challis

Sew Anonymous

Sew Anonymous also have some wonderful fabrics in stock so check out their range of yellow fabrics!

https://www.sewanonymous.co.uk/fabric/p/pre-order-lucerne-yellow-crinkle-swiss-dot-viscose-12-per-metre

https://www.sewanonymous.co.uk/fabric/p/ochre-bird-pearl-peach-prints-7-per-metre

Hopefully these fabrics have inspired you to get started with your sewing project for #SewYellowForEndo! Let me know in the comments below if you’re using any of these fabrics.

#SewYellowForEndo Challenge: How to Enter!

Hello wonderful people! Appologies I’ve been a little quiet on here recently but I’ve been working on a very exciting project which I am now able to share – I am of course talking about my Endometriosis Awareness Month activities and in particular the #SewYellowForEndo challenge which will take place on Saturday 20th March.

Endometriosis Awareness Month

Endometriosis is a cruel condition that affects one in ten women and is the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK. It causes agonising periods, pain with sex, problems with bowel and bladder function and can contribute to infertility. Despite that diagnosis takes seven years on average and honestly? Thats way too long.

No one knows what causes endometriosis and there is no known cure however the earlier you catch it the more effective treatments can be. The first step to catching it is knowing something is wrong which is why discussing menstrual health is vital. I am an endo-sufferer and although I had a successful surgery back in June 2019, it is still a condition I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month and provides a chance for us all to talk openly about Endometriosis and menstrual health, to engage openly and share experiences. I decided to arrange a months worth of activities to raise awareness and champion experiences in the sewing community. The month includes Instagram Lives where I will be talking to a range of guests about their endometriosis experiences, I will sharing resources throughout the month, running mini-quizzes and sewing up plenty of yellow garments! I will also be raising funds for Endometriosis UK.

Endometriosis UK is a fantastic charity who support and advocate for the Endometriosis community encouraging research, running support groups and championing us at the highest level of government and after a very tough year for charities I want to support their vital work! 

So What Is The #SewYellowForEndo challenge?

I am inviting you to learn more about Endometriosis and sew up a yellow or partially yellow garment/outfit – yellow is the awareness colour for Endometriosis. Put your sewing skills to the test and support the Endometriosis community by whipping up a gorgeous yellow garment and show it off on 20th March on Instagram!

How Do I Enter?

Like the sound of the challenge? Well entering is super easy! All you need to do is:

  • Sew a yellow (or partially yellow) garment/outfit and post a picture on instagram with the hashtag #SewYellowForEndo on the weekend of the 20th March. Please tag me @sowhatifisew so I can find your entry.
  • Donate £1 to Endometriosis UK via my Just Giving Page – this challenge is for charity after all!
  • Include a fun fact you’ve learnt about Endometriosis or tell me whats been your favourite part of the Endometriosis Awareness Month in the caption of your post.

Entrants must be over 18 and UK resident to be eligible for prizes. If you’re none UK based and still want to take part I would love to see your yellow outfit!

Prizes!

I am extremely pleased to say that we have some fabulous sponsors on board who are donating prizes to the challenge! We have…. *drum roll please*

  • A stunning fabric bundle from The Rag Shop
  • 2m Metre of gorgeous yellow double gauze and £10 gift card from Hey Sew Sister
  • A £25 gift card from Felicity Fabrics
  • 3x Tilly and the Buttons Patterns + 3 x Yellow Pink Coat Club Pins from Fabric Magpie
  • A £25 gift card from The Sewist Fabric Shop
  • A beautiful fabric and haberdashery bundle from Sewing At Number 51

Winners will be chosen randomly on Monday 22nd March and I will also be aiming to produce a little video/reel of everyone who takes part to share at the end of the month (stay tuned for more on this in March!)

What Else Is Going On?

The other big event I’ve arranged is a series of Instagram Lives to talk about Endometriosis every Wednesday throughout March. Join us every Wednesday on instagram to talk about all things Endo! Lets normalise discussing menstrual health, raise awareness of the condition and the variety of experiences had within the Endometriosis community. We will also have some more scientific content talking about what the condition actually is so anyone who hasn’t heard of it can learn more. I’ve listed the lives below so check it out and come along!

3rd March 6pm – I will be kicking off by sharing my experience and hosting a live Q&A (I’m super nervous)

10th March 6pm – So What If I Sew & Martha Made Things – Endo Experiences

17th March 7pm – So What If I Sew & The Mindful Scientist – What is Endometriosis anyway?

24th March 6pm –  So What If I Sew & Sew Much To Say – Endo Experiences (with some surgery and post diagnosis chat in there as well)

The fact is that many women have to go through an average 7 years of agony to get diagnosed and it’s terrible. How many women will go their whole lives not being believed about their pain, being told its normal or ‘part of being a woman’ to suffer? This year I want to shout about menstrual health and wellbeing and support EndometriosisUK, an amazing charity who support 1 in 10 woman. Let’s end the stigma around menstrual health and getting talking about Endo. 

Fabric Friday Reviews: Fabric Godmother

Here we are again, its fabric friday and this week I’m excited to tell you all about a decadent purchase I made for my birthday from a shop I’ve wanted to try for ages but my wallet has not allowed…I am of course talking about the wonderful Fabric Godmother. With stunning, high-quality, fabrics and a great social media presence, Fabric Godmother has been on my to-buy-from list almost since I started sewing.

Fabric Godmother

Fabric Godmother is run by the lovely Josie, based in Hove, and it is truly the answer to all of my fairytale sewing dreams. Nothing makes me want to buy fabric more than watching Josie go through a new drop on their instagram account! The range of fabrics is fantastic with everything from sportswear technical through to floaty cottons and viscose. One of the things I found most impressive about Fabric Godmother alongside the range and quality of the fabrics is the number of different independent pattern brands they stock. I was blown away by the amount of different patterns they stock and they will definitely be my port of call next time I’m looking to buy a pattern online.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 9/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 9/10
  • Ease of Use – 7/10
  • Ease of Payment – 7/10

Overall Score: 7.6/10

Although my order didn’t have the personal touch I love, I was so impressed with the quality of the fabric and the speed of delivery. I can only say that I am sad I’ve not been able to sew with the fabric yet as I’m waiting for my overlocker to arrive still!