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Q&A with Chelsea of SewDarnNeat

Hello everyone! 

We have a lovely tutorial for your today from Chelsea at SewDarnNeat. We have collaborated with Chelsea in the past on several tutorials on her blog using our products. We are really excited to welcome her to contribute to our craft tutorials here on the website very shortly, so we thought you might like to meet her by way of a Q&A here on the blog first :)

So here goes...

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

My name is Chelsea and I’m a 20-year-old Math student from Wales. My blog is Sew Darn Neat. It’s my space where I share my homemade home decor and clothes (and everything in between). I’ve been blogging for less than a year but loving every minute so far.

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

As a child I was always crafty, I loved saving up bits of rubbish and turning them into my treasures. I’d save up toilet roll inners, egg cartons and sweet wrappers and make all sorts of creations with them. Every once in a while I would pick up knitting needles with the ambition to make a scarf. I religiously got bored with it after a short time and only ever made a bookmark!

When I was around 10 years old I asked Father Christmas for a sewing machine which I fortunately received. I was so excited! We opened the box and couldn’t find a manual. Back then YouTube wasn’t really a thing so it wasn’t easy to find instructions online. The sewing machine stayed in the box for a while and eventually made its way back to the shop for a refund.

Around September 2014 I was going into my second year at University, I decided I wanted my Uni room to look nice and cosy so decided to make bunting. I guess this was my first sewing project, I bought a fat quarter bundle, white ribbon and white lace trim and hand sewed it all together. The bunting has followed me into my third year at uni.

The feeling of self-satisfaction after making the bunting was great and so I wanted to sew some more. A crafty friend asked me if I had ever watched the Great British Sewing Bee, which I had not. I found the episodes for series 1 and 2 and watched all of them in two days! Christmas 2014 came along and I received my current machine (Ditsy) and my sewing journey began…

What is your favourite craft?

My favourite craft has got to be sewing but crochet must be a close second. I’ve been sewing almost a year now and love that it is an endless learning journey and that I will only get better with time and practice, in fact I have seen some improvement already!

Within the last month or so I’ve had a stab at embroidery (quite literally), which I’m quite enjoying.

What do you love most about crafting?

Doing my degree can be very stressful at times, the work is difficult and there is a huge workload. Crafting definitely helps to relieve that stress, I find it very therapeutic. However, my favourite thing about crafting has got to be when someone complements me on what I’m wearing and asks where I got it. Nothing beats that feeling of pride!

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

My sister has adopted my Nana’s old machine and will sew with me when I’m home from uni. This past summer we spent a day sewing lined tote bags together (tutorial) which was so much fun. Also, I made bunting with two of my friends in the summer. They seemed to really enjoy it and being able to watch someone else enjoying your hobby is a wonderful feeling. Being able to share the experience with others is great.

Who do you make things for?

I have to confess… I’m a selfish sewer. I love making clothes for myself. Does that make me a bad person? I am also a self-confessed fabric addict. I feel attached to all of my fabric and hate to be parted from it, which is probably the main reason I sew for myself. When I’m not sewing for myself I love to sew for my niece and nephew (1 and 3). I made my nephew some pyjamas for his third birthday and he LOVES them, he still wears them even though they have become too short for him. Every time I go to visit and he is wearing his pyjamas he gets excited telling me that his 'Aunty Che Che' made them for him.

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

I got my sewing machine December 2014 and started blogging within a month. I wanted a way to document every item that I created which blogging allowed me to do. I also wanted to engage with the online sewing community, they are such a friendly bunch of people.

Do you have a favourite snack when crafting?

Snacking and sewing aren’t two things that happen simultaneously for me. In fact, I usually completely forget to eat! Many a time I have started sewing before breakfast and stopped around teatime having completely skipped lunch. Oops!

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

My sewing machine (duh!), pins (to lessen the amount of mistakes I make) and seam ripper (to fix the mistakes that are inevitable).

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

I haven’t ventured out too much yet. 99% of the time I sew with Cotton/Polycotton. It is a great fabric to begin learning to sew with! However I think I need to start challenging myself a bit more fabric wise.

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

So many to choose from! I recently made a nurse costume with supplies from Minerva Craft. I made a nurse hat out of felt, there is such a great selection of beautiful looking felt fabric on the website. Keep your eyes peeled for a new felt creation from me coming your way!

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

Usually just one. I like to finish a project before starting another. Sometimes if I lose my mojo with a project I will make something fun and simple to get my mojo back.

What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?

My proudest make is probably my gingham dress. It was the first time I had *successfully* made anything to fit the top half of my body and love the outcome!

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

Another set of pyjamas like this pair for the “Wrap Pyjama Fairies” charity I co-run. We make wrap style pyjamas and gowns for children undergoing heart operations. Feel free to join in on Facebook.

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

I generally listen to music when I sew and love singing my heart out. But when I’m feeling a bit tamer, I love watching films snuggled in a blanket while I crochet.

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

Cliché answer but Pinterest is my go to place for inspiration, every time!

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

When I’ve finished sewing a buttonhole on my machine I pop a pin at both ends of my buttonhole, perpendicular to the buttonhole (covering my bar tack stitches). Then I put my seam ripper in the centre and work my way outwards. The pins stop you from cutting too far and cutting through the end stitches.

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

I love The Pineneedle Collective, Danamadeit and Tilly and the Buttons!

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

Short and sweet: Do what you enjoy and don’t be afraid to experiment!

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

Dedicated, Determined and Addicted.

Thanks so much for that Chelsea! It was lovely to get to know you a little better! As mentioned above Chelsea will soon be creating a sewing tutorial for us here at Minerva which we are very excited about so be sure to pop back to see that! And to find out more about Chelsea's creations and other sewing projects be sure to pop over to Chelsea's blog to see more.

Until next time,

Vicki x

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