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Q&A with Diane from Sew Create and Recycle Blog

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

Hello I’m Dianne and my blog is called Sew, Create and Recycle. My blog is mainly about sewing and dressmaking but with quite a few other bits thrown in here and there. I love charity shops so finding and refitting items from there is featured, as is upcycling old furniture, a couple of caravan makeovers and lots of recipes for vegan food to keep me going while I sew! When I read blogs I enjoy the mixture of content and finding out about fellow crafters lives, so I believe there is something to be said for variety and sharing more than just the sewing.

Can you show us a photo of your crafting space?

My sewing space has changed over the years with the arrival of children, and then a house move.  Many years ago I had a bedroom dedicated to sewing, then when the children came along I moved to a draughty extension (more of a tool store) on the side of the house. In my current home I use one end of the sunroom, it is just a large desk with my machines, various sewing boxes and tools all over it.  My dress form stands beside it and I have a box for fabric under the desk, not being much of a fabric hoarder it contains mainly leftover pieces.  There is usually only ever a couple of full size pieces of fabric waiting to be brought to life and I’m usually amazed when I see photos of fabric stashes piled high.

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start?

When I was a child I always enjoyed making things, cardboard boxes to houses, clothes for dolls and all the usual craft sets. My favourite that I remember was a doll printed on to flat fabric that my auntie bought me for Christmas one year, my mum couldn’t really sew so I had to figure it out for myself. It was quite a crude make but I loved it. When I left school my first big purchase was a sewing machine, I went straight to the market, bought some fabric and had a go freestyle. I’ve been making clothes ever since.

What is your favourite craft?

Sewing has to be my favourite craft as I love the way you can just have an idea in your head and then be wearing it within hours. There is also the money saving element of it, making my own clothes has saved me a fortune over the years while at the same time keeping much of my wardrobe unique.

 

What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?

I started a blog as a way to catalogue things I made and share with others who enjoyed the same interests as me. None of my friends or family sew, so it is good to be part of this community, read other blogs, leave comments and get feedback on my own projects

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

I don’t usually eat while I’m in the middle of a project but I do drink lots of Earl Grey Tea.

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

I wouldn’t be without my seam ripper, good scissors and needles/pins. If the machine breaks I can carry on by hand but those things are essential everything else is just icing.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

Cotton has to be my favourite as it is so easy to work with, then jersey as it is so forgiving if you make things a touch too tight. I have a collection of jersey dresses and often have to remind myself to make something different but it is just so comfortable to wear too.

What is your favourite pattern you have ever followed?

I don’t use many patterns as I like to do things my way and figure it out as I go, sometimes more structural items benefit from following a pattern so I do own a good one for a formal shirt and a denim jacket.  The shirt pattern was my favourite to follow Burda Young 6849, the finish is just so neat.

What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?

Art Gallery Fabrics Jersey Fabric called Tiny Dancer Midnight, I have had my eye on this and would make a top for Autumn with long sleeves and either a granddad or scooped neck. I love the patterns in this range as they are a little different.

What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?

It really would be my wedding dress as I designed and made the pattern myself at 22, all my photographs are glossy and dated so it would be a poor quality image to share here so after that it would be my black denim jacket. This was made from another Burda Young pattern 7018, it originally had Paul Walker shirting as lining just because I loved it, that didn’t really work though as it grabbed on clothing. It has since had an upgrade to some nice turquoise satin.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

I always listen to music while I sew, mainly rock, indie rock but not too heavy. It keeps me company while I lose track of time, I sometimes listen to TED talks if there is something that interests me.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

Quite often I just see a certain fabric and I have in mind what I would like to do, other than that I like browsing on Pinterest and saving project ideas for later. Blogs are good to see what everyone else is up to

Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?

Always experiment with your old clothes, take apart a good fitting item rather than trashing it once it wears out.  This is the best way to learn and you will have a pattern you know fits. Also remove zips, buttons and any other useful bits from all items of clothing destined for the bin that are not good enough for the charity shop.

What are your crafting ambitions?

I would love to make more of a business from my sewing, I have sold one of a kind bags in the past and I sew for others when requested but having a day job I suppose I have never really taken the plunge to push myself out there. I would love to have a go at designing a pattern for sale as many of my own makes are from my own ideas.

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Jump in and have a go, there is lots of good advice out there on various blogs. If you want to learn how to do something, somebody out there has tips, photographs and tutorials on their blog. Be flexible if you don’t enjoy the first thing you try have a go at something else, there is something very peaceful about creating something for yourself.

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Q&A with Becky from Notes from the Sewing Room

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

My name’s Becky, I’m 34 years old and live in Nottinghamshire with my husband, Neil and Labrador Bentley. I’ve been sewing for about four years and am also the author of notesfromthesewingroom.wordpress.com.

I’d wanted to make my own clothes for a long time but it took me a long time to build up the courage to dive in and give it go. Looking back that seems a strange thing to say, but I’d not touched a sewing machine since I was at school (a long time ago!) and I was worried what people would think.

However, I always think if you put your mind to it and think positively you can achieve anything. So… off I went on a journey that I can honestly say has changed my life for the better.

I now make most of my own clothes and simply cannot imagine my life without sewing. It’s really become part of who I am.

I set up my blog primarily because I wanted to share my sewing experiences with other like-minded people. I also wanted to document the things I’ve created online for my own reference.

Although I’m only at the beginning of my blogging journey, I also really hope other people can read my posts and be inspired to give crafting a go.

Can you show us a photo of your crafting space?

This old photo was taken by my husband when our dining room was still our dining room – before my sewing equipment and fabric store took over completely. As the name of my blog suggests the dining room is now very much my Sewing Room! Anyone coming for dinner at our house now has to compete for space with many mounds of fabric and an over locker that rarely leaves the table!

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

I love anything handmade. I have always wanted to make my own clothes, but I suppose I just got tired of never really finding what I wanted in the shops and being unhappy with the fit of skirts and dresses particularly.

Although I mainly make clothes, I do like to try to turn my hand to other crafts, especially at Christmas time or when there are birthdays on the horizon.

In terms of my recent craft projects, I’ve had a go at lino printing, card making, pom poms and table runners. I’m always interested in learning new skills and get really excited when I master a new craft! 

I also love to bake and faff around generally in the kitchen. I recently tried making jam at the WI I attend which was great fun, so I definitely hope to have another go at that in the future as I was pleasantly suprized how little time it took (bearing in mind I didn’t have to pick or buy the berries and other ingredients).  

What do you love most about crafting?

I find crafting really stress relieving. Before I made things I found myself worrying unnecessarily about things and stressing out about work, but now I can focus on my latest project (or projects) and I honestly believe I’m much happier for it.

I can’t believe I didn’t find my love of crafting before; I’m always encouraging friends to join me for a craft-a-noon!

Who do you make things for? 

I guess I’m quite a selfish sewer – mainly making projects for myself. However, I do love to give handmade gifts to friends and family. I like to make them something that is truly unique.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

As we say in England, I am a real ‘tea belly’. I drink numerous cups of tea everyday and seem to get especially thirsty when I’m at my machine! These numerous cups of tea are often accompanied by a biscuit or cake, depending on what I have in my cupboard.

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

That’s easy! I’d be completely lost without ‘Pin Dog’, my faithful pin cushion who is always at my side whenever and wherever I am sewing – at home or at one of the many courses I attend in different parts of the country. Other than that I’d say it would have to be my ruler and chalk for marking fabric.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

I love to sew with Jersey Fabric, particularly Ponte Roma. The Coco Pattern by Tilly and the Buttons is one of my favourite patterns and I’ve made the top and dress version many times. Ponte fabric is easy to sew with as it doesn’t move around too much, plus I can achieve a professional looking finish on the inside of my jersey projects using my over locker.

What is your favourite pattern you have ever followed?

I love the Cambie Dress Pattern by Sewaholic Patterns for a few reasons. Apart from the fit and the pretty design of the dress, I enjoyed using the clear instructions and found that I got to try out a few new techniques such as the way the front of the shoulders are inserted and sewn on the inside. 

I’m a big fan of the Sewaholic designs generally. 

Another recent favourite and something new for me was the Frazer Sweatshirt. I’d not tried make a jumper with a faux collar before, but again found the step-by-step guide really informative and in the end I got a new sweatshirt I love. I only made it a few weeks ago and have worn it loads of times already.

Another one of my favourite patterns is the Agnes Top Pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. I’ve made this quite a few times and really adore it. It’s smart but casual, comfortable and easy to wear. Perfect for loads of different occasions.  

What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?

There are loads of patterns and fabrics on the Mineva Crafts website I’d love to use, however, I’m a big fan of the Grainline Studio Patterns Linden Sweatshirt so as the nights are colder now I’d go for the ‘Atelier Brunette Dazzle French Terry Fabric’ to make another one of these.

I’ve never really been a sweatshirt type of person until I discovered the Linden, reading other people’s posts online I think a lot of people love this pattern just as much as me!

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

That’s a difficult question. I always have great plans to finish one project before I start another but it doesn’t always work out that way. My imagination runs away with me and I look through my fabric stash thinking ‘I could just make a start on…’ and then I end up with a few things on my sewing table at the same time – something that drives my husband mad!  If I had to put a number on it I’d say three!

At the moment I’m working on a Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, some PJ trousers for my husband for Christmas and some homemade Christmas cards!

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

This is really hard to answer, because I really enjoy wearing so many of the things I’ve made. 

Possible contenders are the Sewaholic Cambie Dress.

Or the Simple Sew Patterns Ruby Dress with added sleeves. I also made the Ruby Dress last year for a Christmas party out of a gorgeous midnight blue shiny material.

Another recent contender would also be my mustard Sienna Dress by Simple Sew Patterns. I’ve had lots of wear out of this so far. I made it out of a lovely peachskin fabric with flamingos on it.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

I never thought I’d say this but I’ve developed a real thing for Country music. We went to Texas early this year and listened to the local music stations a lot when we were away. Since then I’ve rarely had anything else on my Spotify stream. Music, much like crafting, makes me happy.

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

I enjoy googling sewing projects before I start to find inspiration from tweaks people have made to patterns I’m using and fabrics people have used to create their projects. Some of my faviourites to look at are The Crafty Pin Up, Tilly and the Buttons and Lauren’s blog from Gutherie and Gharni.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Just give it a go! I’ve not been blogging for long but I kind of wish, much like sewing, I had started earlier. It gives you a platform to interact with other crafty people and gives you a personal way of sharing your sewing journey with others.

Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?

Hhhmmmm. I’d say creative, enthusiastic and resourceful. I recently started to upcycle a few bits and pieces which is fun.

What are your crafting ambitions?

Just to keep learning and developing. In the grand scheme of things I’m still new to crafting, I started about four years ago, so I’m always looking to pick up new skills. I’m a great believer in you never stop learning if you want to!Have you a favourite tip or trick to share with our readers? 

Just take your time with your projects. I’ve learnt the hard way; sewing when I’m tired, making mistakes and launching into projects without fully understanding the instructions. However, I’ve tried to learn from my mistakes – although, like most people, I still encounter a few hick-ups every now and then!

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Give it a go and don’t worry what other people will think. I’m always trying to encourage friends to get crafty because I can honestly say that it’s one of the best things I ever got involved in.

How can we keep up-to-date with your latest sewing and craft projects?

Apart from my blog, Notes from the Sewing Room - you can also find me on Instagram.

Thanks for reading,

Becky

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Q&A with Heather from Into The Sewing Box

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

I am a 27 year old Education Officer (at a Zoo, it’s amazing!!) from Cannock. I have been sewing for a little over a year and have had my blog, ‘Into the sewing box’ for a few months. I started this blog to help new sewers with hints and tips but have since found out how much I love posting pattern reviews and general chatter about my sewing attempts.

Hello!

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

When I was actually inspired to start sewing was the last season of the Great British Sewing Bee, as I loved the clothes they made and just wanted to have a go. For years I was adamant when growing up that I hated sewing and never would. Oh, how my mother is smugly laughing at me now! My first project was a pair of simple cotton trousers (or so we thought), as it was a great way to see if I would want to sew long term, so I didn’t end up wasting money. As I have been sewing a while now and have several pattern books I have since learnt that the ‘cotton trousers’ were actually pjs.....

First dress I ever made – 1950’s Inspired Swing Dress.

What is your favourite craft?

I really only sew now, I used to make sugar craft decorations for celebration cakes but generally now that is just for special family occasions. I find that I can’t do a lot with sugar craft flowers but I can wear my clothes everywhere!

My favourite creation to date.

What do you love most about sewing?

The things I love most about sewing is the fact that I can forget a lot of other stresses and worries whilst sewing as I have to concentrate solely on the garment and pattern, not everything else going wrong in my life. I also love the fact that no one will have the garment I have made in the fabric I have chosen. The last reason I love sewing is I can make individual presents for friends and family that they can’t get anywhere else.

Do your friends or family sew along with you?

I generally sew alone as I don’t live very close to my family, unless you count my cat; however my mum has sewn all my life and has recently started knitting. So we regularly meet up to go fabric & yarn shopping or just chatting in our whatsapp chat about recent projects, photos and most of all help!

My awesome sewing companion - Lauda

Who do you make things for?

Generally myself, but I will make presents for other people as well. Oh, and my cat, Lauda. My boyfriend is constantly short changed as he bought me my sewing machine and overlocker and I still have only made him half a shirt. I feel bad, but then I see a lovely dress I have to have and forget aaaaaaaall about it!

What made you decide to start to blog about your sewing?

My boyfriend started a blog about his biking adventures and I thought ‘what an amazing idea!’ I love taking about sewing but don’t have that many people that like to listen, so blogging is a great outlet for that part of my life. My boyfriend is eternally grateful.

Do you have a favourite snack when sewing?

If I am sewing at night it tends to be a nice glass of my favourite wine. If it’s on my day off then it’s a massive cup of tea and chocolate.

My sewing snacks!

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

My Tailors Dummy – It allows me to fit garments for closely to my shape and make the necessary changes.

Seam allowance ruler – I am terrible and judging distance by eye so this stops my hems/seams going all wrong.

My sewing journal – This is started to keep track of all my projects, so any issues I can note down for the next time I make the garment.

My trusty sewing journal!  

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I adore Stretch Fabric, I love how many different things I can make with this type of fabric, how comfy it is and how it fits itself to my curves, whilst skimming over areas I’m not keen on attention being drawn too. I also love the fact that I can make garments that don’t require zips, poppers, fastenings etc, so they can be made very quickly.

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I try and only have one on the go at a time as I don’t have a huge amount of space to have out numerous projects. I would rather finish one and then move on, however if I am in the middle of a project and something pressing comes up I will have two on the go max.

I feel I am getting closer to hoarder status with every fabric shopping trip!

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

My favourite garment I have ever made is a paisley soft cotton lawn dressing gown (Newlook 6233). It is so soft and drapy making it wonderful for summer and taught me several different skills to take forward to future sews.

First dress made from my favourite fabric – Jersey stretch!

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?

The current project I have had on the go for ages is my boyfriend’s shirt. It’s the first time I have attempted a shirt and I must say I am not a fan of the placket!!

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you sew?

I watch a lot of TV especially sewing shows and comedians as I tend to listen more than watch as I am concentrated. I do also listen to audio books on audible as I can combine my love of books and sewing in one afternoon.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start sewing?

I use a lot of pattern books and generally google for styles of clothes I like and see what other people have posted.

The prettiest yet most troublesome dress I have ever made.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Write about what you love. Don’t force it. If it becomes a chore your blogs won’t have the right passion for people to keep coming back for more.

Could you sum yourself up as a sewer in 3 words?

Fabric obsessed, methodical and solitary.

My sewing fortress of solitude.  

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Just go for it, nothing bad will happen and you may find something you love for the rest of your life. Also, start small. Don’t spend loads of money at the start in case you find it’s not for you.

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Q&A with Schmetrice from What Sew Funny

Can you tell us a little about you and your blog?

Greetings, my name is Schmetrice. I am from Arkansas, USA. Family, Nature, Beauty and Fashion are the aspects of life I am most passionate about! I have always been a creative person, from writing stories, singing, playing music, bead weaving, sewing, making things from clay and vegan cooking. I was always encouraged by my parents to do what I am interested in. After moving into a new City I started my blog in 2012, it was originally called, “the bored housewife…”. Back then I was posting food pictures and articles about things we made during sewing guild meetings. One day, I got a special request from my oldest who was then 7 years old; he wanted a “sleep” buddy? I was like, what? Can you draw what you are talking about? So he did! What came next, became the blog’s new mascot and the site name changed to What Sew Funny. I still collect dolls, and now, have someone to play with them, the stories my daughter and I come up with are hilarious! The blog features doll videos, custom toy how-to tutorials, sewing and beading projects.

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

As far as I can remember, I started young making “mud pies”, building forts with sticks, and making various art pieces from play-doh. My granny and mother sewed everything from quilts to the clothes we wore. I often got in trouble for breaking/touching their sewing machines. I was inspired by watching them and wearing their latest creations. When I got older, I was given my very own real sewing machine (Singer). I also learned to crochet from my mother. The first project I made on my own was sewing a dress for my Barbie doll and a crochet shawl!

What is your favourite craft?

My favorite craft(s) would be sewing and bead weaving.

What do you love most about crafting?

I love the process of bringing an idea from 2-D to 3-D! Getting something new and original is great too, but the journey between A-Z is what I love.

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

It was my granny and mother before they transitioned, but now I share the love for crafting with my children.

Who do you make things for?

I make things mostly for myself. However, I happily oblige the younger family member’s special requests.

What made you decide to start to blog about crafting?

Where I am from, the Arts aren’t appreciated as much these days. For example, sewing and bead weaving are quickly becoming a lost skill. There are none among my peers that share an interest in them, so blogging helps me connect with others that do have a love and appreciation for the Arts.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

My craft areas, are a no snacks zone. Tea/coffee are welcomed though!

What (3) sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

  1. Tape Measure

  2. Seam Ripper

  3. Button Foot

What are your favourite fabrics too sew with? And why?

My favorite fabrics are wax fabrics, because of its durability and vibrant colors.

What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?

My favorite products are all of the Women Sewing Patterns. I would make a new closet of fashion!

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I usually work one project at a time to give it all the attention and details it deserve. But one project can mean several mini projects like fabric accents, shoes and jewelry. “…yea, the world’s my runway…”

What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?

My favorite thing I have ever made would be our mascot, “Buddy”! From just a few pieces of scrap fabric to a useful item. When I was pregnant with our last child, it was the biggest I’ve ever gotten. I had back aches and swollen feet! It was useful for my back, propping my feet up and it stylishly fits every occasion where a travel pillow is needed.

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?

Yes, my current work in progress is a drafted dress pattern from my measurements. It was drawn to mimic the print on the dress. I call this new dress, “Umbrella” dress. The bodice and waistband is designed to stop at the belly button with box pleated skirt, double piped hem and bead embellishments to fabric print.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

Yes, I watch other sewists, Netflix, talk shows or listen to a music playlist

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

Pinterest.

Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?

Craft hard, Craft often, Craft what you love!

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

Yes, Amazing Women’s World.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Find your niche and never give up!

Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?

  1. What?

  2. Sew!

  3. Funny?!

What are your crafting ambitions?

My crafting ambition is to have an amazing closet full of fashion, my house to look like the inside of a museum and for my blog to witness it all!

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Greetings, My name is Schmetrice…

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Q&A with Karen from Hyacinth Bloom

Can you tell us a little about you and your blog?

Hello! My name is Karen and I blog over at Hyacinth Bloom. A (worryingly large) number of years ago I wrote a history blog where I also published some of my short stories, but I stopped when history became my actual job. This year, however, I started a new blog all about my crafty pursuits. I had always enjoyed reading other people’s sewing blogs and seeing them try out patterns I was interested in. This really inspired me to create my own place to share what I was making with other like-minded knitters and sewists.

Sewing is probably my favourite craft (there’s nothing quite like sewing up and wearing a swishy dress, is there?). But I also have a big affection for knitting as well. The process of knitting is just so meditative and calming. I also like to dabble with cross-stitch and embroidery when time allows. And baking, don’t forget baking. I love to make (and eat!) a whole host of different flavoured cupcakes. Hopefully my new blog will include an eclectic mix of the best of these crafts (with the odd nugget of history thrown in when I just can’t help myself)!

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

Well I’ve been crafting on and off since I was a child, as both my mother and grandmother enjoy a variety of craft activities. I still love being able to discuss my projects with them and visit yarn shops together. I started knitting and sewing more seriously, however, over the last two years or so. I was spurred on by the desire to create an entirely handmade outfit for my cousin’s wedding. I did manage to make a bag and a dress, but the cardigan I knitted went so horribly wrong I had to make a last-minute purchase from the high-street a week before the wedding.

What do you love most about crafting?

For me crafting is a way to relax and has really benefited my general well-being. The end product is usually the aim, but the act of knitting and sewing in itself is incredibly enjoyable. I love the way that crafting can focus your mind to what is directly in front of you, and during that time your usual cares and worries don’t seem so pressing.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

This may sound more than a little odd, but I have a bit of an obsession with duvet covers! There are a couple of reasons why I think they’re so great. Firstly, they are made from a stable fabric that washes well. Secondly, they are often pretty good value for money if you think about how much fabric you are actually buying. And finally, you can get some amazing novelty prints on duvet covers that you just wouldn’t find on a dressmaking fabric. A good percentage of my handmade dresses actually started out life as a duvet cover!

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

Usually I only have one project of each craft on the go at a time. So I might be in the middle of sewing a dress, knitting a jumper and cross-stitching a picture all at the same time. This enables me to move from one craft to another as the mood takes me, but I don’t end up feeling like I have too many projects started at once. Or at least that’s how I like to think about it!

What is your favourite thing you have ever made?

Oddly enough one of my favourite makes is a so-called ‘selfless’ make. Mostly I just make things for myself. The desire to learn to knit and sew came from the aspiration of having a handmade wardrobe filled with clothes that suited me better than generic high-street items. This year, however, I resolved to make handmade gifts for my friends and family. The very first garment I made for someone else was a dressing gown for my brother’s birthday (using the pattern New Look 6233). With this one I took even more time to make everything as neat as possible, going so far as to hand-sew a good percentage of the garment using couture techniques I found in a library book.

What is your latest work in progress?

At the moment I’m trying to plan a capsule wardrobe for the autumn. As part of this I’m attempting to make a lightweight jacket using the Victoria Blazer pattern from By Hand London. This isn’t just any old make though as I’m attempting to refashion this jacket from an oversized men’s shirt. Fingers crossed it turns out as I imagine it will in my head!

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

This is a new thing for me actually. Up until this year I used to craft in silence, as the whirring of the sewing machine was always oddly therapeutic. This year, however, I have been enjoying audiobooks (which you can get on loan from a local library). This enables me to read and craft at the same time, which couldn’t be more perfect as I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

The internet really can be a marvellous thing! Instagram is always a good place to start off seeking inspiration from other sewists or knitters. Reading or watching blogs is also a great motivation and a way to find new-to-me patterns or designers. There are some blogs that are all about vintage fashions that are truly inspirational and beautiful to peruse, but I also enjoy those blogs which are about more simple and uncluttered pieces of everyday clothing. Once a year I do also like to buy the ‘new season trends’ copy of Vogue to have a nosy at what styles might stand out to me.

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

To anyone looking to start a new craft I would say – go for it! Don’t be intimidated or put off by something that seems too difficult. So much of crafting is about trying new things, learning skills and techniques, and growing from mistakes. If anything, craft shows you that it is okay to go wrong, you can’t be perfect at everything. I would also say be careful of starting a new craft - it can very quickly take over all your free time, every waking moment and indeed most of your storage space!

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Q&A with Anna from Ompele Oma Onnesi

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

Hi! My name is Anna and I live in Finland. My blog is called Ompele Oma Onnesi which means ”Sew your own happiness”. I am also active in Instagram where I am ompeleomaonnesi.

I have always been a creative person and loved crafts, music, art and writing. I also love pretty dresses, which is why I spend most of my free time these days sewing.

When did you start sewing and what inspired you to start?

I started sewing already as a little girl. When I was seventeen, I made my own ball gown for my high school ball. That project was kind of a game changer for me. After all that boning and 4.5 meters of hand stitched hem I felt there was nothing I couldn’t sew. Then when I graduated from university, I realized how difficult it was to find any RTW business clothes that would be my style. That is when I decided that one day I want to be able to make all my clothes.

What do you love most about sewing?

I love the whole process! The most magical thing, however, is to start the day with three meters of ordinary looking flat fabric and end the day with a gorgeous me made dress. To be able to create something that makes me smile every time I wear it… It is amazing! Also, I am a big fan of hand sewing. Somehow I find it extremely relaxing.

What made you decide to start to blog about your sewing?

Since I have always loved writing and sewing, I realized that I should actually write more about sewing. That’s why I started my website. I have a career in communications, which means that I get to write a lot at work as well. I think writing about something that I am passionate about in my free time helps me to calm my mind after a hectic work day. Also, I just want to chat about sewing and often there is no-one who would really like to listen to my sewing stories for hours and hours. My blog is always interested :)

What other crafts you are interested in?

I love all kind of crafts. But recently I’ve started to knit more. I would like to be able to also make all my knitwear some day. It took me four months to knit a beautiful vintage inspired jumper, but it was worth it.

Do your friends or family craft sew with you?

Usually I sew alone. It is my me-time. However, occasionally me and my lovely cousin have a sewing day and spend a whole day just sewing and chatting. It is great!

Who do you make things for?

I sew mainly just for me but try to squeeze in a little bit of selfless sewing every now and then. I have made couple of really cute dresses for my little niece, for example.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

Chocolate! Although it is a very bad habit. Chocolate and delicate fabrics don’t go well together. And of course I drink more tea than I probably should. I even have an especially pretty thermal mug dedicated just to keeping my tea warm while I am sewing.

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

My amazing scissor collection (that is actually more than just one item…), my beloved sewing machine and lots of pins. I think it is all about good basics when it comes to sewing tools.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I love Cotton Fabric. One can create such timeless dresses with cotton. Also, cotton is easy to work with and nice to wear at any weather. I am also a big fan of Rayon Fabric which makes beautiful and chic blouses.

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

If I had to pick one - which is incredibly hard - I would say it is my maid of honor dress I made to wear at my cousin’s wedding some years ago. It was a winter wedding and I was so happy how I managed to combine lovely satin and delicate lace to create a beautiful winter dress.

What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?

Since I first saw this Silk-Rayon Blend Fabric I have known that it would make the most beautiful vintage inspired dressing gown.

I would also like to mention a beautiful floral Viscose Fabric which I recently used to make a Sew Over It Anderson blouse. It has the most amazing drape.

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I try to limit my projects to one or two. If I start a third project, it is very likely that one of the two first ones will end up to my UFO drawer.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you sew?

Yes. I love music and it is my number one sewing entertainment. Sewing days give me a great opportunity to listen to long operas and musicals. Lately I have also listened to audio books. Although I have to pause them when using my noisy overlocker.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start sewing?

Mainly Instagram and blogs. There is an amazing social sewing community in Instagram. I love how much encouragement and inspiration one can find there.

Do you have a sewing tip you would like to share?

My number one tip is to believe in yourself. It is so easy to think that something is too hard. But you just need to take your time and believe in your own skills. And my second tip is to pay attention to pattern placing. It can make all the difference.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Just write about what you love most. Also, stay focused and be ready to put some effort to your blog posts. But the most important thing is just to enjoy the process.

What are your sewing ambitions?

I dream that one day I have only me-made clothes in my wardrobe. My goal is that there is no sewing project too difficult or boring. I want to be able to create everything I can imagine.

What kind of impact does sewing have on your life/you?

Sewing has given me more confidence. It also helps me to relax and have fun. When I am sewing I can be as creative as I like and concentrate only on beautiful things. Sewing makes me happy!

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Sewing is the best hobby I could imagine. In today’s hectic world it feels so good to slow down and concentrate on creating something. Be it sewing or knitting or paper crafts, just start it. There is no requirements. Anyone can start creating. And once you start, you never know what kind of magical moments you will experience.

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Q&A with Monique from Crafty Crusader

Hi Monique, can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
I am a thirty-year-old woman working as a psychologist in London. I started the Crafty Crusader nearly five years ago. It is a space for me to record my adventures in craft, and to share ideas and tips with my readers. It started out mostly as a knitting and baking blog, but evolves as I develop creatively.
When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?
I have always liked making things, but I would say my craft life really started when a friend taught me to knit. I caught the bug immediately. My first project was a scarf from Stitch and Bitch. Unfortunately I have no idea where that scarf is now, and I don’t think I ever took any pictures.
What is your favourite craft?
At the moment, I am obsessed with sewing.
What do you love most about crafting?
I love making things that no one else has. I love starting with the germ of an idea in my head, and then coming out with something practical and beautiful, that I can use and wear.
Do your friends or family craft along with you?
Sometimes. My mother was a dressmaker when I was growing up, so I think that craft is in my blood. I have quite a few friends who craft, and it’s always nice to snatch a quick discussion about dropped stitches and the merits of different fibres.
Who do you make things for?
Mostly myself. Occasionally for friends and their babies.
What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?
A friend encouraged me to.
Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?
Not really. Often, I am so laser-focused on my craft that I will forget to eat or drink for hours on end.
What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?
1.                  Sewing Machine
What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?
I love Viscose Fabric because of its beautiful drape. I have just recently started working with Jersey Fabric, and I am amazed by how comfortable the garments I make can be.
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
Many. Different projects have different purposes, e.g. I will often have a small project like socks to carry with me and knit on public transport. Often, I will have most things ready to start a project but inspiration strikes at strange times. Once I am really into a project, I will normally work on that fairly exclusively until it is finished.
What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?
Probably my Totoro jumper. A similar sweater was the first project I ever favourited on Ravelry as a novice knitter. Five years later, I felt I had the skills and confidence to start it, and it turned out just as I had hoped. I was so proud that when I went on Pointless, I argued with the wardrobe person to be allowed to wear it even though they discourage wearing white.
I recently completed my most complex sew, which was a dress made from sheer silk voile. I was sure something would go wrong as it was a tricky fabric and I altered the pattern, but amazingly it went smoothly and I absolutely love the dress.
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?
For knitting, I watch a lot of series on Netflix. When I am sewing, I often have something on in the background, but I never pay much attention, so it has to be something I’m not that interested in.
What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?
I mostly get inspired by materials. Going into Liberty is great for that - both seeing the stunning new collections of beautifully patterned fabrics, and the haberdashery. Ravelry is also great for getting ideas.
Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?
1.     Colourful
2.     Bold
3.     Honest
What are your crafting ambitions?
At the moment, I’m not sure. I am enjoying developing as a crafter, honing my skills and learning to express my creativity through my makes.
What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?
Just do it! Lots of people say they wish that they could craft, but lack the confidence. The only way to learn is by doing it.
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Q&A Welcoming Athina to the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network

Hi everyone,

We have a new blogger joining the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network next month, so here is a little Q&A to introduce Athina to the team...

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Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

My name is Athina and I am 26 years old. I live in a small town in Greece and I’ve been sewing since 2012. My personal blog is athinakakou.com where I share my sewing adventures and my quest to a fully handmade wardrobe.

I love organizing my pattern stash but I wish the day had more hours so I could make them all!

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

I have always been a creative person and did lots of crafting since I was a little girl. Sewing came to my life much later, though, when I was in university and I was trying to find a hobby for my free time. I started making felt animals, key chains and softies and I then moved on to kids clothes and accessories. A few years later this became my job when I opened Craftaholic, my handmade business here in Greece.

A peek into my sewing space

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

Unfortunately, I don’t have many friends that share my passion for sewing but my mom and I like to crochet in the winter. My grandma is always a seamstress and when all of us are together we like to discuss our sewing projects and make stuff for one another, she helps me with fitting issues and offers me advice.

My SOI Nancy dress

Who do you make things for?

Well, as I said I sew for a living so I make kids clothes for many children every day. When it comes to... grownup clothes, I mostly sew for myself but I very often make things for my mom and my friends.

One of my favorite outfits is this Sew Over It combo, an Ella blouse with an ultimate pencil skirt

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I love a good quality Viscose Fabric. It presses really well and it hangs beautifully, it’s my go-to fabric!

This summer I made lots of Kimonos, one of them is this gorgeous Sew Caroline Florence Kimono made of a floral chiffon

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I always work on 2-3 project simultaneously. That prevents me from getting bored and if a project gets harder or it’s a bit trickier to work on in an evening, I pick an easier one and leave this for a day until I am well rested. However, this has it’s disadvantages because it can be very overwhelming.

My Vintage Shirt Dress from SOI

What's your favourite thing you have ever made?

Without a doubt, my first Betty dress, which I made for my birthday. There’s something about a full circle skirt that makes a girl happy :)

My birthday dress, a SOI Betty in navy polka dots. I love it!

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?

I recently made a maxi dress for my mom to wear at a wedding she attended. It was made out of a beautiful floral viscose and she looked stunning!

My Tilly and the buttons Clemence Skirt

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

A few months ago Pinterest was my main source of inspiration. These days though Instagram has taken over. The sewing community there is so active and my feed is always full of beautiful garments, ideas and useful advice. I find myself saving lots of pictures and I’m so thankful for everyone I met so far!

That said, The Foldline is a website I visit almost daily for pattern inspiration and of course the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is also amazing!

A “named clothing” Reeta dress in a floral viscose, which I made as a wearable toile before I cut into the “real” fabric. This will be my first project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, coming soon!

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

Oh, yes! I follow so many lovely bloggers that it’s hard for me to choose! From the top of my head, Jessica Lorraine, Rosabella from Sewn, Gabberdashery, Emilly Hallman, Self Assembly Sewing, The Crafty Pinup and many more!

A SOI Susie Blouse made of a beautiful viscose with contrasting cuffs and collar

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And that's it for today. Thanks so much to Athina for this lovely Q&A today, it's been great to get to know you ahead of you joining the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network!

Keep your eyes peeled for Athina's first post on the #MCBN, which will be out in September :)

Thanks for reading,

Vicki

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Q&A with Sophia from Jessalli Handmade

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?
I’m Sophia, the creator of Jessalli Handmade. I started my blog to show my customers behind the scenes in my studio and the production of my handmade personalised gifts. But it grew into a platform to share everything about my handmade life, latest makes and crafting discoveries. 
When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?
I’ve been crafting since I was tiny. My Mum taught me to sew. She used to make all our costumes for school plays and ballet showcases. I used to love wearing what she made me, and I was always interested in it. So she taught me how and the rest is history!
What is your favourite craft?
I love sewing. Sewing is my life. I’ve only recently got back into dressmaking, after many years of making soft furnishings and gifts. It’s come back with a bang though and I’m totally addicted. 
What do you love most about crafting?
I love the whole process, from drawing out ideas, the making and then the satisfaction of having something no one else has. That’s why I think I love making gifts for friends and family too. It’s more personal. 
Do your friends or family craft along with you?
Mum loves to sew with me. She used to help me a huge amount back in the day. I’ve tried to get my sister into it, but she’s more interested in baking (something I’m awful at!). Everyone else loves what I do, but doesn’t necessarily want to help - especially if it takes more than 15 minutes!
Who do you make things for?
Everyone. My mum always asks me to embellish her clothes with my designs. My friends love me making outfits for them. My sister likes me to customise her shop-bought items and most of my family love receiving handmade gifts. I’m always busy. And then of course I actually have a business to run too! 
What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?
It was a way for my customers to see me making their precious items. I wanted them to be able to see into my studio and all the processes of making. I’m so glad I did. 
What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?
Small Snips, Medium Dressmaking Scissors and my beloved machine Maggie. 
What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?
Most of my products and gifts are made from Cotton Fabric. But dressmaking wise, I love to sew with Jersey Fabric and Ponte Roma Knits
What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?
At the moment the Multicoloured Fleck Soft Sweatshirt Fabric in Pink. I love baby pink right now and think a gorgeously cosy drop-shoulder sweater would be amazing. 
How many projects do you have on the go at one time?
Gosh, too many. I maybe have 3 or 4 orders all ‘in the making’ at any one time. Then 2 or 3 personal projects too. I’m always in a state of making. And I love it like that. 
Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?
I’d have to say, now, my Palm Leaf print Holly Jumpsuit. It was my first project for the MCBN and so different to what I usually make and wear. But I’ve totally fallen in love with it and want to wear it all the time! I love how an item of clothing can make you feel so good!
What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)?
At the moment I’m actually making another Holly Jumpsuit for my best friend. She’s got a ball to go to and we thought a bright red crepe version would look stunning. Luckily we found the perfect red polyester crepe on the website!
Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?
I always listen to music. I usually go through Spotify playlists and listen to anything from acoustic tracks to 90’s pop songs!
What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?
Pinterest. If, say, I have a sweater pattern and am thinking about making a floral print variation. I’ll type in ‘floral sweater’ and see what looks great and what colours I think would look good on me. Then I can search for fabrics that are as close to my vision. 
Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?
Always have a good quality sharp pair of scissors. You will not survive without them. 
Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?
I try to. It’s hard to find the time to read and follow all my favourites. Youtube is now a great way for me to easily catch up with what they’re doing. I love watching Lisa Comfort from Sew Over It, and love reading Studio DIY.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Only write about what you love. However, If you’ve made something you’re not proud of, share it anyway and share your mistakes. You’ll be surprised at how invaluable that information is to others. No body is perfect!
Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?
Perfectionist, Passionate and Pattern obsessed! 
What are your crafting ambitions?
My one ambition is to have a Handmade wardrobe. As in, no matter what I’m doing or where I’m going I’ll have something I’ve made that I can wear! 
What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?
Don’t hesitate. Everyone has to start somewhere. And most importantly, have fun!
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Q&A with Sarah from WanderStitch

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

Hi everyone :) I’m Sarah, based in London. I’m a cyclist, dressmaker and dog mum and you can find my sewing blog over at www.wanderstitch.com where I talk about my adventures in creating things.

I am very much about ‘individualism’ – I love things that are different from the norm and challenge the status quo. My head is always in the clouds dreaming about my Next Big Thing – whether this is thinking of the perfect combination of pattern and fabric, or where I want to go next on holiday, or which country I would like to move to…

I named my blog ‘Wanderstitch’ because of this constant wanderlust I have. I imagine it to be what fabric and needles and thread dream of – wondering what item they will eventually be made into!

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

My Mum was a tailoress, and although she never taught me to sew she bought me my first sewing machine when I was 16 (which I retired only last year!). She taught me to knit when I was small, and since then I have crafted pretty much all my life - you name it, I’ve tried it! Knitting, scrapbooking, card making, crochet, embroidery, cross stitch… I’ve done it all. It’s been so long I can’t even remember what my first project was, though I suspect that it was a knitted scarf as I’m always cold.

What is your favourite craft?

I would say that sewing is my favourite craft, but closely followed by knitting. These are the two crafts that have survived through my years of making and that I’m still actively spending time on. I think these have been the ones that I’ve kept up because I enjoy making something that is useful and functional - it appeals to my practical and resourceful side!

What do you love most about crafting?

I love being able to create something that has come from my imagination. I enjoy combining colours, patterns and notions together into something unique. Seeing something develop from an idea into a real thing is amazing. However it can be frustrating sometimes when you can’t find that perfect pattern or the exact materials you want to bring your vision to life - but this just means you have to spend more time looking at craft shops!

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

My husband has some crafting hobbies, and I’m teaching him to sew. He also takes the photographs of me for my blog!

Who do you make things for?

I make things for myself, and my husband. We both struggle with getting the right fit with ready-to-wear clothes so this way I can tailor things to our shapes. Being a girl that doesn’t wear florals, pastels or anything too ‘girly’, a lot of the clothes I see in stores just aren’t to my taste so by making my own I can choose the fabrics and the style and create something that’s more ‘me’.

What made you decide to start to blog about your crafting?

In all honesty, it was a colleague that nagged me for a good few months to start one after seeing all my creations! I’m glad she did though, I really enjoy it and there is such a wonderful, encouraging community out there. I’ve promised her that if I ever become famous, she can have whatever job she chooses at my company!

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

1. My button foot for my sewing machine – no more hand stitching! It saves me so much time when I make shirts.

2. My pressing clapper - I’ve only had it a little while and I wish I had bought one years ago. It really helps with making seams behave.

3. The third item, unfortunately, is my seam ripper!

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

I think Quilting Cottons Fabrics would be my favourite fabrics, because of the wide range of cool prints you can get! Cotton Lawn Fabric is a close second favourite, as it’s my go-to fabric for making shirts (which I make a LOT of). I don’t really make a lot of things out of jersey so that’s something I rarely buy. I tend to shy away from slippery fabrics but I have some ideas for silk summer tops so it looks like I will just have to bite the bullet and master them.

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I try and stick to one project and see it through from start to finish, however if I’m making something really complex and intensive like a coat I will usually have another project on the go just to break things up a little! Sometimes though if I have a lot of really cool prints in the project queue I just want to work with all of them at the same time…

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

My favourite make is my Marvel Comics dress which I made last year. I just love the fabric.

What is your latest WIP (Work in progress)? Do you have a photo?

My latest WIP is a Melilot blouse from Deer and Doe patterns, in a cat print viscose. This is one of the afore-mentioned slippery fabric projects I’ve been avoiding - it’s looking good so far, but let’s see how it turns out!

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

I listen to music, but I don’t watch TV as I would find it too distracting. I like to give my full attention to what I am sewing, otherwise seams would get sewn with the wrong sides together and zips would go in upside down.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

I find inspiration everywhere, and it can strike me at the most random moments! I always wait until I’m completely sure about the combination of fabric and pattern before I start a project - I know that if I’m not totally sure, it’s best not to start it. Instead I will wait until I find the perfect partners. I go with my gut instinct - if I’m hesitating over something, I put it to one side and wait until I’m sure. I have a lovely shirt pattern that I really want to sew but I just haven’t found the right fabric yet - but I’ll keep waiting and looking because when I see the right one, I’ll know.

Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?

Check out charity shops for things like lightweight scarves (that can be used for pocket linings) and garments with interesting buttons that can be re-used. It’s a nice way to give your item a unique look, plus you get brownie points for recycling!

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Take lots and lots of pictures of your work, including ones of all sides of the whole garment and closer ones of the finer details. If you were looking at the item in real life, you would home in on any interesting looking details, so make sure that you have clear close-up pictures of these for people to see. Don’t be afraid to discuss what went wrong or what you struggled with either - we are all learning and your experience might help someone else.

Could you sum yourself up as a crafter in 3 words?

Alternative, loud, individual!

What are your crafting ambitions?

I would love to have my own range of patterns – I already have some ideas in my head, I just need to find the time to sketch them down, do some toiles, and then learn how to draft patterns… I think I’ve got enough ideas and projects to keep me going until I’m 100.

What would you say to anyone looking to start sewing?

I would say learn to look past the photos on the pattern envelopes. They are only one person’s idea of how that item could be made – instead look at the line drawings, these are your blank canvas for your own colours and styles. Don’t be afraid to try things out either - the patterns you buy are merely a guiding template for the construction. And absolutely do not be afraid of making mistakes, it WILL happen and it’s part of the learning curve – you’ll get better because of the mistakes you make!

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