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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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