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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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