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Q&A with Sarah from WanderStitch

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favourite craft?

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

What do you love most about crafting?

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

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

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

Who do you make things for?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

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

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

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

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

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

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

Alternative, loud, individual!

What are your crafting ambitions?

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

What would you say to anyone looking to start sewing?

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

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