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!

Fabric Friday Review: Hey Sew Sister

Hello everyone and welcome back to Fabric Friday! This week we are talking about a wonderful new start-up that I’ve wanted to visit for ages, Hey Sew Sister. As part of my birthday celebrations I did a fabric haul and tried to purchase from a few indie shops on my wish-list of which Hey Sew Sister is one. Firstly can I just say that I love the name, I love a sewing pun and I really like what they’ve done with it the branding. The pink and green creates a distinctive brand with a pleasing degree of subtlety and although the range of fabrics is understandably limited, I was really impressed by their stock and particularly the quality and sustainability of the fabrics.

Hey Sew Sister

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://heysewsister.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/2 metre 

My first purchase from Hey Sew Sister comprised a metre and a half of black floral cotton, the design and colour way was so gorgeous I just couldn’t resist! Also the cotton is OEKO-TEX standard and GOTS certified which I thought was excellent. The fabric descriptions are excellent if a little short but I really like how they provide suggestions for the sorts of garments that would work well with the fabric. The selection of fabrics on offer is small but well curated to offer a wide range of fabric types from basic cottons up to sports/technical fabric with a nice range of woven and stretch fabrics with a few well-known statement fabrics. I really like the range of patterns and I think its great how many of the fabrics are sustainably sourced even if this does add to the price. Hey Sew Sister is mid-range in terms of cost but still accessible to beginners if you are looking for more simple fabrics. The cotton I bought was £6 per half-metre which is about average for the shop as a whole. There are some stunning gingham fabrics that are cheaper and the technical fabrics are of course a little more expensive. I would really recommend their gingham selection if you’re looking to make something floaty for the summer. Personally I’ve got my eye on the mustard yellow double gauze with birds on it as I love yellow and I’m looking to make a yellow Lotta for Endometriosis Awareness Month in March.

In terms of ease of purchase and delivery, my customer journey was easy and stress-free. I found payment and ordering very easy. Delivery cost £3.10 which is about standard, particularly at the moment, and it was shipped very soon after I placed my order. One thing that really endeared me to Hey Sew Sister was the packing on delivery. I loved the little hand-written note on their card, I absolutely loved the woven brand badge and the fabric swatches and the packaging was made of recycled paper. As I had bought it as a birthday present to myself I was very impressed with how like a present it felt when I opened it.

The website is very simple and looks very chic, my only issue is the lack of sub menus and ability to filter by fabric type. When you enter the ‘Shop’ section of the website you are provided a simple menu which is great as it allows you to choose remnants or patterns etc but I would really like to be able to filter by fabric type or even just a stretch / woven division. I understand that these issues, particularly sub-menu differentiation, will most likely be solved as the business grows but as someone who browses a lot of fabrics on my phone and looks for specific fabric types I found it frustrating having to scroll through one big catalogue page with no ability to reorder or filter.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 7/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 9/10
  • Ease of Use – 6/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.2/10

Despite some small frustrations on the website I was really impressed with the quality of my fabric, the speed of delivery and the personal touch. I enjoyed my experience with Hey Sew Sister and will definitely be shopping with them in future. I’m looking forward to seeing how they grow and develop this year!

Pattern Review: SizeMe Sewing Florence Boxy Tee

Today I want to tell you about one of my favourite tried and tested patterns. There are very few patterns I’ve made again and again but the Florence Boxy Tee from SizeMe Sewing is one of them. I love the flattering cut, the comfortable fit and versatility of this wardrobe staple pattern. It’s a super simple construction and from cutting out to wearable garment it took me 45 minutes. I made myself another one over Christmas from the off cuts from my sister’s present and I decided I would document the process for you all to show you just how quick and easy it is. Also its worth mentioning at this point that this blogpost is not affiliated or sponsored by SizeMe Sewing, I just wanted to share a favourite pattern of mine.

Materials Required:

  • 1m / 1.5m Lightweight Jersey – I used Rust Viscose Jersey from The Rag Shop
  • Florence Boxy Tee Pattern – SizeMe Sewing
  • Sellotape, Scissors & Printer to assemble PDF
  • Matching Thread

Step 1: Neckline

Top Stitched Neckline

Fold the neckline and stitch down front and back. I did this but turning down the neckline where it joins the shoulder and then i did the centre fold and worked my way along each side. It’s important not to stretch your neckline at this point so take it slowly and use lots of pins. Also remember this stitching will be visible so stitch the fold down from the Right Side and lengthen the stitch.

Step 2: Attach Shoulder Seams

Shoulder Seams Joined

Nice and simple step here, the only trick is to make sure you match the neckline correctly and I used a lightening stitch to make sure the seam was nice and secure. A zigzag stitch often puckers on this fabric so I found a lightening stitch to be a lot more effective.

Step 3: Hem Sleeves

Step 4: Attach Sleeves

Carefully matching the edge of the sleeve with the edge of the bodice, pin and stitch. Nice and simple but I used a lot of pins given how light the fabric is and I really had to take my time as the fabric slipped about loads!

Step 5: Close Side Seams

Again, a very simple step, I would recommend pinning at the under arm join to ensure a smooth side seam and even sleeve and base hems. Use your zigzag or lightening stitch for this step as this seam gets a lot of wear and tear so needs to be reinforced. As this jersey is so lightweight, I double stitched my side seams, doing a second row of stitching 1cm away from the first to make sure they won’t split.

Step 6: Hem

Nothing much to say about this step except that you need to press your hem before and after you do it to make sure you get a nice crisp finish (unlike me who forgot to press this at the time however it has been ironed now I promise!).

And you’re done! It really is that simple, this make has never taken me more than an hour and is now a wardrobe staple for me.

#FeelingSewMuchBetter Challenge: My Week Of Slow Sewing

I stumbled across the #feelingsewmuchbetter challenge on instagram after a few people I follow posted for the first day. Its run by Sister Mintaka, a fabric shop and haberdashery, and the premise is to pick a project and sew a bit everyday and hopefully finish by the end of the week and a winner is picked randomly each day to receive Sister Mintaka vouchers. I thought I would join in as I often sew for a whole day straight and I very rarely take more than 2/3 days of continuous sewing to finish a project. As a very busy person I decided it would probably do me a lot of good mentally and physically to force myself to just do a little bit each day. Its not about finishing, its about doing every step slowly and consciously and enjoying the process. I thought I would blog about it for this exact reason because its a new experience, something to document, discuss and share. I will do a micro-blog each day and then I’ll review at the end of the week. Without further ado lets get going!

Day 1

After only finding out about the challenge at lunch time, I spent the rest of today thinking about what project, fi any, I would like to attempt to join in. I say ‘if any’ because I didn’t want to just sew for the sake of it if it wasn’t something I had planned on making but I went through my stash extension – which is the part of my stash that has escaped the main box and so needs to be sewed more urgently – and decided that it was finally time to have a go at my Tilly and the Buttons Nora jumper. I’ve been meaning to make one for ages and this pattern does feature on my make nine grid for 2021. For fabric I chose a fun scuba/textured midnight blue jersey remnant which I’ve had in my stash for a while. Looking forward to sewing this project this week!

Day 2

Disaster struck almost immediately tonight as I laid out my pattern pieces on my fabric and immediately found I didn’t have enough fabric. I always forget that Tilly and the Buttons patterns do actually use the amount of fabric they say they will on the pattern envelope! So it was back to the drawing board and I came up with the two fabrics you can see on my instagram story below. I asked you all to help me choose which fabric I should use and it came back as a straight 50/50 which was unhelpful. At that point I mentally decided that I am definitely going to make both of these into a Nora as I think they would both be cute for different reasons but honestly it came down to the fact that I am absolutely freezing so I chose the extremely cosy Salmon/Coral-Coloured Knit from Lamazi Fabrics and I will make the Polka Dot Nora in the summer as the fabric is very light. I then got on to cutting the fabric and stupidly I decided to use my mid-range scissors instead of my super fancy new ones and I wish I hadn’t! This fabric was a pain to cut and foresee some frustrating and slippery sewing so the jumper better be super snuggly. One thing I would mention is that once again the Tilly and the Buttons patterns have got my back up as I think the sizing is way off. I came up as a 12 in the pattern due to my bust which I wouldn’t mind if the waist was right but its not, I wear a 36″ bust but a 26/27″ waist which normally puts me between two sizes which I have to grade. However for Tilly and the Buttons I am two sizes apart and trust me its really hard to grade between an 8 and a 12 especially when we think about shoulders and back pieces. I don’t know what it is about the bodice block because the waist to hip ratio is pretty standard. I come up as an 8/10(by an inch) which is absolutely fine but I wonder if there is a reason the bodice block is so square? In this case I’m making a 12 because its for loungewear so I don’t care about a close fit but its really frustrating!

Day 3

Today I was exhausted but I wanted to do something relating to my project so I decided to do something I almost never do – I actually read the instructions…in detail. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who does this so I might sound a bit weird but I often don’t read instructions, I will give them and the picture a glance for a bout 5 seconds and get one with it. The instructions I read are for techniques I’ve never done before, the first step of a pattern and of course I will depth read if I’m pattern testing for someone else. However on a normal day-to-day sewing basis I normally find that I know how garments are constructed and after about two steps I just get on with it. To me it feels like doing ‘nets’ in maths where you have a flat-lay of an object and you can see how it goes together so the instructions are kind of secondary unless its a complex garment – does that make sense? let me know in the comments below if its just me who’s weird like this. Anyway, I sat and I read as much as possible particularly as I’m determined to really make this jumper step by step. I know some people have chosen really tough projects this week but I have chosen something extremely simple that I would normally do in a couple of hours to make sure I actually take my time and sew slowly and consciously. Now I’m off to bed but I feel better armed to tackle this project step by step!

Day 4

Shoulder Seams Attached

I actually started sewing today and I made myself just do the first two steps. I stabilised the shoulders with some ribbon I had in my stash, it doesn’t match but its on the inside so who cares. Also I almost never use ribbon so I have no idea why I have so much? The pattern instructions suggested using a satin ribbon but I went for a quite stiff textured ribbon as my fabric is so fine and slippery so I thought it would work better, which it has. I then attached the shoulder seams and stopped there. Although I’ve been thinking about this project all week I feel strange stopping after these two steps as I know I could sew more right now but I am making myself stop and do something else. I’m trying to celebrate the steps, the little wins that make up a project. This fabric also has the potential to be immensely frustrating as its so fine that pins just fall out of it soo maybe its better for me mentally to take this make day at a time.

Day 5

Neckband is on

I’m starting to get into this slow sewing malarky! When reviewing my progress tonight and posting to instagram I got some lovely comments praising me for my stripe matching on my neckband which is hilarious because its entirely accidental. I swear whenever I don’t think about it I match patterns really well and whenever I try it doesn’t work. Regardless, the neckband is on and I’m pretty proud of it. Its nice and wide so I’m hoping I will be able to pull it on without having to take my glasses off. The dream.

Day 6

The Sleeves are on!

Today I nearly fell into the trap of keeping going and finishing my jumper today I’ve got the sleeves on which I’m happy with, they are even and neat and I’m so happy that due to the marl of the wool my white zigzag stitching is completely invisible as I had to fix one bit where I had accidentally caught the sleeve. I was just going to move on and do the side seams but I had to stop as I was getting so frustrated by the pins falling out of the fabric. Also I’m feeling really under the weather today (not Covid don’t worry) but I feel hot and cold and I keep shaking so I’m going to give it a rest now and have a very early night.

Day 7

Getting some use out of my fabric clips!

It’s the final day of the challenge and all I have to do is finish up the side seams, hem sleeves and close the stepped edges. I have been sat editing this blog this morning and listening to the Un:Cut Podcast which has been really relaxing and as I was sat thinking I realised the solution to my pin problem – I have fabric clips now! I’m not used to them yet as I only got them over Christmas but they worked like an absolute dream on my Nora. The only issue I had is that the sleeves were SIX INCHES, yes you read that right, six inches too long so I had to chop half the sleeve off to make it fit! Head over to my instagram to see how bad the situation was!

Completed TATB Nora

Here is my finished Nora! I love parts of it. I like the neckline, the fabric is so cosy and soft and I like the stepped hem. On the downside it is like a literal tent on me and honestly I don’t think I could wear it outside the house unless its tucked into something. The sizing is way off and after a rant on instagram this morning and many conversations with you all it seems the consensus is that Tilly and the Buttons sizing is not made for anyone with a significantly larger bust than waist. I chose a size based on my bust measurements but the rest of the garment is so enormous and its not even fitted on the bust so I think next time I will make a size smaller. Also having to cut 6 inches off the sleeve surely shows that something is wrong with this pattern? Although I love Tilly’s patterns I will be approaching them with caution in future and plenty of measuring, toile making and further attention to the finished garment measurements as well as the pattern sizing!

As for the Sister Mintaka #FeelingSewMuchBetter challenge I’ve loved it. I’ve loved giving myself permission to take things slowly, I’ve loved taking time over my makes and its been nice to do 5 minutes everyday. I’ve really enjoyed the consistency! Also its been wonderful to be part of a big community effort and see what everyone else has been making this week. Now I’m off to have a cosy night in my enormous Nora before the work week starts again!

Fabric Friday Reviews: My Sewing Box

Hello Everybody and welcome back to Fabric Friday! This week’s fabric purveyor is My Sewing Box, a wonderful independent fabric shop and haberdashery run by a mother daughter team, Amy & Angela. I particularly enjoy their instagram where they do long stories on the different equipment, fabric and notions they sell and what you should use it for; making My Sewing Box an extremely beginner friendly store.

My Sewing Box

  • Online Shop / Physical Shop / Both
  • Web Link: https://www.mysewingbox.co.uk
  • Core Purpose: Dressmaking Fabrics
  • Units of Sale for Fabric: 1/4 metre 

I have followed My Sewing Box for quite some time, as I’ve mentioned I love their instagram account and the way they relate to and understand their customer base. Their website is excellent and although I found the main menu a little overwhelming when I first looked, the main body of the website is simple, user friendly and well designed. Equally the payment process was simple and delivery was affordable and exceptionally quick even during an extremely busy Christmas period. They apologised on their IG for slow delivery but honestly they were quicker than most companies normal delivery! Delivery is free over £45 and standard delivery I paid is £4.50, again a little steeper than other suppliers but very speedy and very reliable so again, good value for money.

One thing that put me off to begin with was that fabric is priced and bought by quarter meter. Something you guys know I find a little frustrating! However the choice of fabrics available does make up for it. They stock a fantastic range of fabrics, haberdashery and notions for all skill levels and projects. I finally took the plunge after seeing their range of Christmas French Terry and I bought two types in their Black Friday sale to make myself a very cosy Christmas Jumper! My Sewing Box is a little pricier than other stores but I would say excellent value for money. I love how they have diversified and stock sewing gifts and books. They also offer a monthly subscription box which I am tempted by, I am actually going to look into whether I can buy one box as a one off to try it out first.

Rating

  • Range of Fabrics – 7/10
  • Cost – 6/10
  • Delivery (Speed / Cost) – 8/10
  • Ease of Use – 8/10
  • Ease of Payment – 8/10

Overall Score: 7.4/10

Overall My Sewing Box is a wonderful independent fabric shop, ideal for beginners because of their helpfulness and knowledge of their stock. They are a little pricier but I would say fulfil value for money easily and offer a wonderful service – I will definitely be shopping here again!