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Q&A with Lisa of Bobo Bun Craft Blog

Can you tell us a little bit about your blog?

My blog Bobo Bun has evolved since I started writing it in 2009. At first, I wrote about every aspect of my family life and how my creativity fitted within that. I started blogging before Instagram arrived and so this was the ideal place to connect with other creative people. Suddenly from all over the world I could have a conversation with people who enjoyed the same things as me, share stuff and have a good laugh into the bargain. I love writing and taking pictures so blogging brought these two together, plus it’s given me a wonderful place to hold so many memories. The only downside of blogging for me was and still is the difficulty to connect with a flowing conversation. My reply to a comment will only be seen if that person checks back. I used to blog a few times a week, but when my marriage ended a few years back I lost my creative mojo for a time, plus it was pretty difficult with our belongings in storage while we looked for a new home. Once my daughter’s and I were settled again I found my creativity came back in full force. Throughout this time I always used instagram, but was less frequent with my blog as I felt it needed a new direction. Now I blog about my dressmaking as I cover that and life stuff on instagram. On my blog I love being able to go into more detail about the process of making each garment, sharing which patterns and cloth I used and hopefully inspiring other people to try them out.

Can you show us a photo of your crafting space?

I used to dream of a room to myself to make in, but since my daughter’s and I have moved into a small terrace that’s not possible and to be honest I actually prefer sewing in the heart of the home. I cut out my cloth on the dining room table and I sew on a table underneath a long window so I have a lot of natural light. All of the bits and bobs I need are stored in cupboards and baskets. My treasured Sylko drawers are behind my sewing machine and this is where I keep my scissors, needles, seam ripper…everything I need immediately when I’m sewing basically. It all works perfectly for me, although a shelf for my books and a pinboard would just make it that much better.

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

I can’t remember a time when I wasn't doing something creative. My earliest memory is sitting on the floor when I was about five or six making an owl out of an old dress, stuffing it with my mum’s tights and glueing cake tins on for the eyes. I moved on to making clothes for my dolls who in my imaginary world went to boarding school after reading Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers and St Clare’s. Being creative is a strong urge in me just as it is in my daughter’s. I’ve always sewn and as the years have gone by I’ve just learnt more and more which I love, there’s always so much more to tackle and learn. I also knit, crochet, quilt, embroider, make bags and felt brooches (which I sell through my small business). I taught myself to crochet after quite a lot of initial swearing and my mum taught me to knit so I’d sit still while I was pregnant with my second daughter Millie. I enjoy lots of crafts in bursts, but my first love and my passion is dressmaking every single time. 

What do you love most about crafting?

The happiness it gives me. I truthfully can’t imagine a life where I wasn't coming up with ideas or making something new. My head is always buzzing with projects and ideas. I stopped looking in high street shops quite a while back as I rarely found just what I was looking for and as I am 6ft it never fitted properly anyway. Sewing means I can buy the cloth I want and either use a pattern, draft my own or pattern hack to get the exact outfit I want to be wearing. I love the individuality of it too as no one will be wearing exactly the same thing even if we have been initially inspired by the same pattern. It also means I can pretty much make anything we need, new curtains, clothes requested by my family and presents for everyone. 

Do your friends and family craft along with you?

I have a few creative friends and ones for who it is full-time job, but I much prefer chatting about it with them. When I’m sewing for me I like to sew alone and lose myself in the pleasure of it. I like talking too much so I’d get distracted. That said it’s absolutely the opposite when I’m teaching as I love being part of a groups sew then. My youngest daughter is studying GCSE Textiles and will be going on to do this as an A’level this year so I do help her with technical issues and look for ideas that might help her with her projects. In the summer I’ll be teaching her and a friend dressmaking to help them with their A’level as they both want a career in this or fashion. 

Who do you make things for?

It’s a mix. I take custom orders for frocks through my instagram page and I make a variety of vintage fabric bags and accessories to sell. I’ve built up such a lovely network of customers who I have known for many years through my blog that in reality I’m sending my products off to friends to enjoy which makes it even more special. I squeeze time in around family life and stay up ridiculously late to sew for myself. I did stay up until 3am to make sure I could surprise my man with a waistcoat for a family party later that day. I make clothes for all of my family as requests or surprises which they love to wear.

What made you decide to start blogging about your crafting?

I wrote my first blog post in January 2009. I followed the lovely Donna Flower who sells amazing vintage fabrics, she was so supportive and said do it, so I did. At that time, I was a stay at home mum, living in the Norfolk countryside after a career teaching in London. I was also selling my bags and accessories at markets under my small business name of Bobo Bun. I used my business name for my blog as I also do on Instagram so people could find me easily. The name comes from Bobo, the handknitted rabbit given to me by my nanny Daisy when I was one. She was my first crafty thing and is still loved to this day, she sums up all the joy and love of handmade things to me so was the inspiration for my name. I've also made my own versions of Bobo Bun bunnies wearing the outfits that Bobo wore before the moths attacked them. With blogging I wanted a way of connecting with other people interested in the same things as me. I had no idea at the time though what a marvellous world I was entering into. Several new opportunities came my way, I made new friends who are still in my life today and we natter away online, I am constantly inspired by the creativity out there which gives me confidence to pursue what I love. 

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

My mannequin named Foxy Lady has become an essential sewing friend. Being able to pin patterns on her and check the overall fit of a dress to see how it hangs has helped my sewing enormously. She was one of my best buys. After that it’s the seam ripper. That’s saved the day plenty of times.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

My first love is vintage fabric, especially barkcloth which I swoon over. I love the one off nature of it, the quality of the cloth and the individual prints. Often I can only get a small amount so the cloth decides what it will become which is fun. That said, there is some amazing great quality contemporary cloth out there. I’ve got tons of pictures saved of cloth that I want to use in the future. It’s always the colours and design that inspire me. Sewing with cloth that isn’t good quality totally lets down the time spent creating something to my mind. At the moment I’m obsessed with jerseys and am constantly looking for great designs, I’ve seen quite a few on the Minerva Crafts site that I’ll be buying. My other new interest is pleather. I’ve just bought a couple of pieces to experiment with.

What is your favourite pattern you have ever followed?

Oh my word, choosing a favourite anything always makes me panic a bit because how do I say just one thing. I have so many patterns I love for different reasons. Narrowing it down a bit, I’d say Indie pattern designers are my favourite over the Big 4. My favourite pattern at the moment though and my current obsession is The Rita Blouse by Gretchen Hirst’s Charm Patterns. I have all her books and have used several of her patterns for Butterick too. I love to wear contemporary 1950’s style clothes that are fitted and ooze sass and fun. I’ve made several Rita Blouse’s as they need only a small amount of cloth, don't require an FBA for my FF’s, are really easy to make up and great to wear with everything. Recently, I pattern hacked the blouse into a fitted dress with a wiggle skirt. Next up will be one with a full skirt.

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

I love the Atelier Brunette French Terry in black with gold spots. I’d make a Seamwork Astoria Jumper and maybe a looser fitting top to snuggle in when I find exactly the pattern I’m after.

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

Far too many. I have so many WIP’s that have been sitting in a bag for an age because I get excited about a new project. Currently, I’m making a dress for my youngest daughter, plus some birthday gifts, I’ve just started making my first pair of jeans, using Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans, then there is a dress I’m halfway through for myself and an absolute pile of cloth that I know exactly what it will become once I get round to cutting it. 

What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?

Pretty much I love everything I’ve made. There’s only a few things I make that afterwards I just think no, it just doesn't do it for me, but I’m glad of what I learnt while I made them. I'd say making the Wearing History Overalls was a favourite. It was a tricky pattern adapted from a vintage one. I made a toile in an old sheet first to get the fit right. I've worn them loads since, they're especially comfy to wear at our Lindy Hop dance class. Everyday summer frocks are another one of my absolute favourites with full skirts and a fitted bodice in a pretty floral fabric. Making shirts for my man is also on my list of favourite things. I absolutely love topstitching and the professional look it gives. Men’s shirts give you a lot of topstitching opportunities. 

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

Always. I’ve never been able to concentrate without background noise. It stops my head wandering off into other thoughts so I can stay focused. I sew either with the radio on or catch up on TV shows on my Macbook while I sew, not that I see much of what’s going on, I just tend to listen and look if something important happens. 

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

Inspiration comes to me from so many places. From watching films and period dramas where I see outfits that I’d like to copy, Instagram and blogs inspire me to find out about new to me patterns and being surrounded by fabric. Fabric always inspires me. 

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

Don’t rush things or be tired when you’re making. I’ve made mistakes when I’ve forgotten to wash new cloth first and then it shrinks which makes it a bit tight to wear. If I’m tired I’ve cut pieces out the wrong way round or knitted and ripped the same row again and again because my tired brain read the instructions the wrong way round. My best tip though is to not be afraid to make a pattern your own and mix it up a bit. Change the skirt, bodice or sleeve if you don’t like that bit. You could add frills, piping lace to jazz it up too. Just let your creativity wander as the pattern is only a starting point really.

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

I follow quite a few blogs, but my favourite sewing blogs are The Crafty Pinup, Like Sew Amazing and Sew Dainty. I like the fun and passion they put into their sewing.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

I would say write from your heart. Use your own voice and talk about what makes you tick, what you’re passionate about. Basically keep it real and then you’ll enjoy it and so will your readers. Good photos are really important too if you’re showing your makes. 

What are your crafting ambitions?

For quite a while now I’ve been taking on sewing commissions for lovely customers. I was approached recently to teach dressmaking and crochet classes at The Makeplace in Norwich. I’ve dreamt for a long time to be able to help people learn to sew and inspire them with how fabulous sewing is, especially when you get to wear your own creations. As a qualified teacher, I’ve taught academically as well as creative workshops in the past so this will bring together everything that I absolutely love to do. I’ll also be teaching workshops for my Happy Shopper Bags as well as other creative classes so it’s all hugely exciting. There’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes at the moment, class dates will be available very soon though. I also want to start my own Vlog to share my passion for fabric and dressmaking. I do think it’s pretty fair to say I’m addicted to sewing, but that’s a good thing isn't it. My other ambition is to go to one of the short courses run by London School of Fashion so I can learn pattern drafting and couture techniques. 

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

Enjoy the whole process definitely and don’t beat yourself up if things go wrong. I’ve learnt so much from the mistakes I’ve made far more so then when it goes right. I think we tend to think too much about the end product rather than just enjoying every bit of crafting from choosing the cloth or yarn to working on our current project. Once you find the craft that is for you it can become a real passion that gives you 100% happy time.
Thanks for reading,
Lisa @ Bobo Bun
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Q&A with Simona from Adventures In The Attick

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

My blog is called Sewing Adventures in the Attick. I decided to call it this, because I my sewing studio is actually located in a converted attic, and is my favourite room in the house. I started my blog from the need to try and keep a record of my makes and share with the amazing sewing community my impressions about patterns, fabrics or supplies I use in my projects.

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

Oh, I was always interested in the clothing. As a child, I used to draw fashion sketches, and dream of actually making them. However, during that time in Romania, I did not know how to go about finding a sewing machine or how to learn how to sew. Hand sewing was not an option. I tried making dolls’ clothes by ruining old clothes or pillowcases and then gave up. Then when I moved to UK, over 10 years ago now, I was gifted my first sewing machine and there was no turning back. I like sewing so much because I make for myself a select few garments that are unique for which I did not pay an arm and a leg. My first project was a simple top. It was similar to view C of New Look 6464 (no longer in print). I no longer have the pattern nor the top. But I remember how happy I was for making it all on my own.

What is your favourite craft?

For me, sewing garments is my favourite craft. I’ve tried other crafts such as knitting or quilting but I just not enjoy them as much.

What do you love most about sewing?

I’d got to say its spending time doing something I love and at the end of it I have something useful. Also, for me sewing is a way of expressing my creativity while solving problems. Many times, I’ve made mistakes that required me to figure out solutions to bring my projects to completion without having to start again or completely abandon them and feeling I wasted my time.

Do your friends or family sew along with you?

I tend to sew alone. My family is not really into crafts. I am the only one obsessed with it. I have a friend with whom we sometimes get together for a sewing day, when we sew together all day. At the end if we manage to finish our projects we might even have a little photo shoot to have a little memory keepsake.

Who do you make things for?

Mainly, I sew for myself. I am quite selfish when it comes to sewing, also because I find it hard to part with my projects. But, I am known to have made a few gifts for my friends and family. All with the help of my cat, Bella, who checks out the project mostly by sleeping on it.

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

The main reason I started my blog was to keep a diary of my projects as well as to improve my English, as it is not my first language. Slowly, it became a way of me to connect with others who love sewing as much as I do, as well as to share my opinions about patterns or fabrics. I feel very happy when my ramblings about sewing are useful to others or they find inspiration in my words.

Do you have a favourite snack when sewing?

No, I tend to be so engrossed into my sewing that, I actually forget about snacks. Which is a good thing, because chocolate is my downfall and need to stay away from it. Sewing helps me do that. However, I do enjoy the odd drink while I am doing sewing related activities such as blog writing or reading sewing literature (this includes, blogs, books or magazines about sewing).

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

Hmm… This is quite difficult for me. But If I a to pick only 3, I’d say my sewing machines (includes my overlocker), my SimFlex Sewing Gauge (marking buttonholes or button positions is a dream with this) and the unpick (I never fail to use it almost every project I have the need for one). My collection of unpicks is extensive. I have them everywhere, so I never run the risk if not finding one when I need it.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I do not really have a favourite fabric to work with. I try to challenge myself to work with any fabric. The main thing about the fabric has to be soft against the skin. I used to work mainly with wovens that were quite stabile while working with them. But, with a few tricks up one’s sleeve tricker fabrics such as knits or silks can also be nice to work with. Besides, liquid fabric stiffener that washes out, works wonders on most fabrics.

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

I try too keep myself on track by working on one project at the time. However, sometime, when I make something a bit more complicated, from which I need a bit of a break, also work on a simpler make to get some instant gratification by having something completed.

What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?

Another difficult question for me. I don’t really have a favourite make of all time. Usually my favourite one is also the last project I have made. So at this moment in time, I’d say that the outfit I made for a sewing challenge in December is my favourite.

What is your latest WIP (Work in Progress)?

Right now I am working on a product testing project, using a poly-cotton to make a jumpsuit.

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

I do both. Sometimes I watch TV, other times I listen to music. It all depends on my mood. But there is no rule to it, as I’ve spent many days sewing without TV or music.

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

I do not have a particular process that inspires me to sew. Over the years. I’ve amassed a huge list of projects I want to do, that I don’t need to spend time deciding what to sew. I just need to decide what to sew next form my To Do list. I do sometimes get distracted from my To Do list by new patterns I discover on Instagram or Pintrest or by my wish to join in with sewing challenges going on in the Sewing Community.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Do not be afraid to do it. You do not have to try to come up with something new, that no one else has written. Just write about what make you happy and be yourself. Remember that it’s a hobby and you do not have to stress yourself in creating the perfect blog from the start. As many other things blogging is a learning experience, just embrace it. You never know where it will take you.

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

Not necessarily, but I’ll try: fabric hoarder, sewing gadgets lover and perfectionist.

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

Just try it! You never know if you do not try. I do advise, start small with a little kit, see if you like it. These days for most crafts you can find introductory lessons/workshops where you can use the tools and materials offered by the provider.  

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Q&A with Eleanor from nelnanandnora

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

Hi, I’m Eleanor, from nelnanandnora. I’m married and have two daughters and we live on the edge of Leeds, UK. Crochet and sewing are my great crafting loves and are the main focus of my blog, along with occasional travel, events and other creative adventures.

Can you show us a photo of your crafting space?

I’m fortunate to have half of a room at the side of our house, which is shared with my husband’s Lego, guitars, books and other random household storage. On sunny days I sew at the dining table where the light and view are much better.

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

I started making things when I was very young, thanks to my Mum and Grandma. The first project that I remember clearly was a plaster of Paris decoration that we made at nursery. I was given my first sewing box when I was 6 or 7 years old and loved playing with my Grandma’s fabric scraps and buttons. It was at and after university that my great love of dressmaking really started to develop. Living in Belgium for a few years challenged both my language and sewing skills as I discovered Burda Style and Knip Mode magazines. Crochet followed more recently and took over for a while as it felt more manageable when my girls were younger, but sewing is definitely my favourite.

What do you love most about crafting?

I love being able to take a flat piece of fabric or ball of yarn and create something unique. It fulfils a deep-seated desire to make life more beautiful and helps keep me calm and focused (most of the time!).

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

My daughters (aged 7 and 10) are both creative, and although they generally prefer to draw and make models, the elder one has tried some crochet and really enjoys sewing. She determined the placement of each flower motif on this dress and helped to sew them in place. They both love choosing fabrics and patterns so that they have unique garments and accessories (including a completely ridiculous flamingo hat!) I have a growing network of creative friends, which is wonderful after sewing alone for many years. I don’t craft so often now with my husband - he prefers Lego and jigsaw puzzles - although we did make our wedding invitations together.

Who do you make things for?

Most of my creations are for me, my girls or other family members. Sometimes I take on commissions, which have varied widely from cuddly chickens to a flat cap and waistcoat for a 5 year old. Our next family project will be making decorations to sell at a school Christmas fair, to raise funds for the PTA.

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

I’d been crocheting for a year or so when I started blogging. It seemed like a natural progression to share what I was learning and to start writing patterns and tutorials. My rediscovered love for sewing - which had lain dormant for a few years when the girls were little – has taken over my blog somewhat during the last year or so. It’s been a while since I wrote a crochet pattern but the shell stitch hat has remained popular.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

Biscuits, toast or cheese (or quite often all three).

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

A needle, thread and fabric. With those three, anything is possible.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

I love silk, cotton, linen and wool. Much as synthetics are practical, they just don’t feel the same.

What is your favourite pattern you have ever followed?

This is a tough one! The Clare Coat by Closet Case Patterns is probably the one that has challenged me most. Unfortunately I made a poor fabric choice so I’ll be making another for this winter.

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

Boiled Wool Coating is one of my favourite fabrics. It is practical and warm but feels luxurious and a little quirky at the same time. Perfect! I’d make a cocoon coat with the Sapporo Papercut Pattern or simple raw edge jacket.

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

Hmmm, quite a few! I’d say two or three current ones that can be finished relatively quickly and a slow one that could run for a few weeks or months. I always have a few planned in advance, but sometimes they’re overtaken by new ideas that won’t go away.

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made? 

I’d have to say my friends’ wedding dresses, one in 2001 from a Prima magazine pattern and one in 2005 using the Vogue Sewing Pattern no 2788, a classic that is still in print. It was almost a magical process and such a privilege to make them.

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

I’m crocheting a blanket for my Mum (the Hydrangea blanket by Lucy of Attic24), sewing a sweatshirt for my husband and will soon be starting a Sew Over It Chloe Coat, ready for the winter.

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

I listen to podcasts or have YouTube - almost always sewing vlogs - on in the background for crafty inspiration, or if I need to concentrate more, then I’ll have some music playing, mostly Corinne Bailey Rae or Pink Martini. I’ve been following the French version of the Sewing Bee (Cousu Main), which is great for both my sewing and my rusty language skills!

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

I often go for a wander round local craft and fabric shops – we’re very fortunate to have a good selection around Leeds and Bradford – or explore Instagram, Ravelry, The Fold Line or Pinterest.

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

Don’t hurry! That seems to be when most things go wrong (especially with late night crafting).

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

I tend to pick up blog posts via Instagram and Facebook if the content appeals to me; Attic24Saturday Night StitchHandmade by ChrisRedWSewsThe Yorkshire SewistThe Magnificent Thread and Thimberlina are among my favourites. I feel more connected with bloggers who I’ve met and most of these lovely creative women are based close to here.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

I still feel a bit clueless after 3 years! Finding your voice can tak time. The blogs that I appreciate the most are the honest ones, telling their stories with all the ups and downs of creative life.

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

Quirky, inquisitive, persistent.

What are your crafting ambitions?

I’d like to find ways to support and encourage others as I develop my own skills.

Have you a favourite tip or trick to share with our readers?

Wonder Clips are amazing! I find them so handy for working with knits, zips and bulky fabrics, or anything that is difficult to pin.

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

Take it slowly at first, be kind to yourself and keep it playful!

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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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