Made by Me!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Looking Back - A Thought On Sewing in 2015

I recently came across Seamwork Radio, a podcast series made by Sarai Mitnick at Colette Patterns. I don't think I have ever really listened to a podcast before...which probably says a lot about my social media knowledge or lack thereof than anything else, but when I found one centred around sewing I decided tune in and have a listen. I didn't know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised to hear a rather wonderful interview that managed to strike some emotional chords. The series focuses on how sewing plays a part in the interviewees life and I found it really interesting to listen to someone elses experience of finding and loving this craft we all hold dear. I listened to all of the podcasts one after the other and felt inspired by these people's stories; people who have found purpose, solace, and in some cases, a living through sewing, all told in a very open and frank fashion. My favourite interviewee was probably Charlie, mainly because I identified with her story the most, and then I checked out her blog Noble and Daughter which is awesome. She has great style and makes great clothes!! Colette has opened up a really interesting discourse with these podcasts and it made me want to both explore the importance of sewing in my own life and reflect on my own sewing journey during the last year. So whilst listening to other peoples stories I started thinking about how I came to start sewing, why I was attracted to it and what it is that makes me continue to sew years later.


My sewing journey started when a past relationship had become stifling. We had moved in together too quickly and it was all a little too much. Stepping on eggshells in your own home is never nice. I have always had a creative leaning although my brother was the lucky one when it came to being blessed with true creativity, being a successful artist and graphic designer. I searched for something to do, to take me out the house a little and get me mixing with other people and thought an evening course would be ideal. I knew I wanted something within the artistic/ creative field but when looking for a course I seemed to be guided to try sewing. My mother and grandmothers both sewed in the past and so this definitely influenced my decision, I still remember the lovely dresses my Mum used to make me when I was little - indeed the fact I started sewing has made my Mum take it up again after years and years of her sewing machine lying dormant! Result!


Before I started classes I tried out a couple of patterns so I had an idea of what I was getting into - with a few helpful hints from my Mum over the phone  - but even with her help I was pretty unsuccessful and made all the classic mistakes of a first time, over enthusiastic seamstress (mainly not measuring myself!!) but I was hooked. And when the course started I finally had some space and some room to be myself and explore my creativity. It was something that I could focus on, and was just for me, allowing me mental space even in my own home. I created many items of clothing in those first few months of sewing - some which were designated to the bin and others to keep and parade outside the house proudly, although looking back they probably looked really homemade! I slowly gained some confidence in my skills and I just ran with it. When my relationship went bad and we split up I found a great solace in being able to sew. Being able to focus on sewing was very therapeutic. I wonder how many other people have used crafts to help them through moments of grief in their lives??

I look back at the first top I made all those years ago and see how far I have come, all the skills I have learnt and developed, and whilst nowadays I continue to sew it's definitely not as much as I would like. There are so many positives to this craft. In times of stress it allows me a moment of calm. I cannot concentrate on anything other than sewing when I am sewing and that gives my mind a break from the things that are troubling me, with work as always proving to be my biggest nemesis in terms of stress. It allows me to be individual, after all no-one has what is in my wardrobe but me! In turn it allows me to be creative, something I have found has been repressed in my working life even in the creative industry I work in. I admit to thinking a lot recently about what place sewing has in my life and where I am going with it. Looking to the future I would love it to be more than a hobby though I feel I have a long way to go before that happens. Looking back at the last year I have sewn a lot of diverse garments and I have learnt a lot, however I have failed at certain things this year, my resolutions for 2015 have all but been forgotten (vintage fashion pledge...yep never happened...) and skill sets in some areas have not progressed in the way that I have wanted. But looking at the positives I can see that I have honed my craft so much in the last 12 months, my sewing is better, more professional (and my boyfriend says less swearing comes from the sewing room now so that has to be good?!).  I wear practically everything I make now and I get compliments on everything which is a bit of a u-turn for me. People say I am good at it and I am starting to believe them. For the first time on my blogging journey I really am on the way to having a handmade wardrobe and it feels good. For so long it felt a little like an uphill battle to achieve this with items being relegated to the back of the closet but we all have the odd dud items that we should never have made don’t we?!


So when I look back on the year I realise I have come a long way with this hobby. I realise that resolutions weigh you down and make you feel like a failure when you don't rise to achieve them so I don't intend to make any this year. I just plan to allow more time for myself to create as that's what really makes me happy. I am mindful that this is something that I have chosen to do forever, well as long as my eyesight holds up, and I plan to enjoy every moment. Sewing is now a friend and as much a part of my life as sleeping and eating. I can’t imagine a day without it even if it’s simply perusing patterns and daydreaming about sewing my next item up.

My favourite make this year!
Do you feel the same? How did you come to sew and why is it so important to you? Have you decided to make any sewing resolutions? Whatever your plans I hope you all have a wonderful 2016 which includes lots and lots of sewing!

Before you go why not check out the most popular blog posts from 2015:
Gertie's wrap dress from 'Gertie Sews Vintage Casual'
My winter Rigel Bomber from Papercut Patterns.
My Erin Culottes by Style Arc Patterns
And finally the self drafted skirt and workroom social top I made for the Ultimate Vegas Outfit challenge


  1. I happened onto your blog while searching for coat tailoring inspiration -- go figure. Anyway, I'm so glad that I did, because your Burda coat is especially lovely! I enjoyed looking at your makes and reading about your sewing journey. I hope 2016 is a productive, creative and enjoyable year for you. -- Leanna

    1. Thanks for your kind words Leanna, lovely to hear from you and glad you came across my blog. I hope you got enough inspiration to start on a lovely new coat - I am now on my second, a shorter one - so check back in a couple of weeks to see how I do!I hope you have a great 2016 as well including lots of sewing!

  2. This is a lovely post and I think touches on things we all feel about sewing. Even in the midst of a particularly frustrating part of a make, it gives us space to escape the things that may be troubling us. Thanks for your lovely comments about the podcast and my blog. Right now I'm off to dig through your archives! Charlie x

    1. Hi Charlie - thanks so much for your comment, I'm glad you liked the post - I love your blog and style its a real inspiration. I hope you enjoyed perusing the archives! :-)x


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