Is sewing making you a better person?

Did you ever wonder how sewing was changing your personality? Life skills? Or even hire-ability?? This post has been a long time coming and I’m still not sure it’s conveying exactly how awesome you’ve become through learning to sew. I talked about it with the Stitcher’s Brew team and Karen Ball in our super fun episode OUT TOMORROW and they encouraged me to finish the post and hit publish! I’ve tried to summarise all the ways sewing transfers to real world skills you may be better at than you realise.

Stay with me; it’ll all make sense! (I hope)

Project management

almond rock  blueprints for sewing, creativity, didyoumakethat, logic, memory, passion, problem solving, project management, sewing, Stitchers brew

There’s a reason we call our makes projects! You work out your requirements, gather all your supplies, execute the steps and keep up momentum. You’ve got end to end sight of where you’re starting and where you’re ending. You also set goals for yourself review them and feel accomplishment. When you feel bad over failures it’s just because you’re invested in the whole process but there’s always lessons to learn in project management! Perhaps you’re also trying this skill out by setting yourself deadlines… oooh that yummy adrenaline gets pumping.

Attention to detail

almond rock  blueprints for sewing, creativity, didyoumakethat, logic, memory, passion, problem solving, project management, sewing, Stitchers brew

Just like cooking you understand the method to creating. Which steps have to stay in order, and which can be slightly juggled for the same result. You can follow directions showing your attention to instructions and chronological working. And you can interpret the result from technical diagrams because your brain is logically and methodically predicting future steps. You know the importance of how seam allowances affect finished measurements, how neat straight lines of stitching help the polish of your garment and how a new fabric can change both the process and the results. You’re constantly paying attention to little things you’re taking for granted, and improving your skills with every new make.

Spacial reasoning

almond rock  blueprints for sewing, creativity, didyoumakethat, logic, memory, passion, problem solving, project management, sewing, Stitchers brew

Okay so this one isn’t wildly applicable in real life but you have gathered the understanding of making flat shapes curve around your 3d form. With every dart, seam, pleat or drape you are showing off a special kind of intelligence that you might have seen in those funny tests with different shaped cubes. Once you understand the spacial requirements of a situation you can reason yourself solutions meaning you’re forecasting answers to problems before testing them out, just like planning fit adjustments or design alterations. You’re a psychic seamstress!

Memory

almond rock  blueprints for sewing, creativity, didyoumakethat, logic, memory, passion, problem solving, project management, sewing, Stitchers brew

You’re a sponge and you didn’t realise it! Learning new skills like sewing is a constant memory booster. Every project can introduce you new techniques and each time you practice or read a tutorial you’re embedding expertise into your brain. Similarly you’re being exposed to more pattern and fabrics than you can imagine. I bet you can recount several patterns you’ve got your eye on with the designer and name or number close to your tongue. This us great for long term memory retention, beating off the early effects of dementia and keeping your brain young!

Decision making

almond rock  blueprints for sewing, creativity, didyoumakethat, logic, memory, passion, problem solving, project management, sewing, Stitchers brew

From pairing patterns with fabric and working out which size to fit, to automatically course correcting your sewing as it’s disappearing under the presser foot, you’re making a range of quick, instinctual, educated, considered or methodical decisions at every stage. Your initiative grows with every scrap of knowledge you learn and remember. And we’ve all had to dive into some problem solving from time to time, assessing the issue and deciding the solution. These problem solving methods can work with any kind of dilemma; just think it through, apply reasoning and weigh up the solutions. And because sewing teaches you the art of mindfulness, flow and quiet calm, you’ve got the mind-space to breathe and work through issues in a level headed way. Channel this the next time something goes wrong outside your craft room!

Passion and creativity

almond rock  blueprints for sewing, creativity, didyoumakethat, logic, memory, passion, problem solving, project management, sewing, Stitchers brew

This one is a little obvious but super important! Creativity is a way of living life that embraces originality. You are literally making yourself more unique! Creative actions help you express your emotions, experiment with risk taking and refine your motor skills giving you nimble fingers. Did you know creative people are better at teamwork and team bonding? Its true! Studies have shown creative people are more sympathetic to others because they understand the feelings of putting yourself out there and they want to collaborate to create better ideas! Strength in numbers you know. And to feel fulfilled you can simply keep seeking new information, new knowledge and new ways to do things, constantly, and then turn it into something magnificent. Plus the fear of being a beginner humbled you in a very raw way, teaching you to appreciate the act of learning and increasing your attention span for new ideas.

Quality standards and consistency

almond rock  blueprints for sewing, creativity, didyoumakethat, logic, memory, passion, problem solving, project management, sewing, Stitchers brew

Seeing your skills grow in a measurable way is really important. Personal growth means working to understand and develop your skills in order to meet your fullest potential. And even better, learning to recognise and reach for benchmarks can be applied to both general career development and other skill building areas. Define your own standards of excellence! For some it’s learning about the strength of a hand sewn stitch, the superior feel of special fabric and the polish of a well finished design element helps you believe in yourself and your skills. You deserve to be great at what you do and you’ll appreciate your best efforts more than anything.

almond rock  blueprints for sewing, creativity, didyoumakethat, logic, memory, passion, problem solving, project management, sewing, Stitchers brew

Phew! That’s quite a lot? Well I probably could go on for longer. It’s hard not to sound like a cheesy self help tape but the facts are there, you just may not have looked at your favourite hobby this way before. Of course we’re all still learning and maybe not all these topics apply for you yet. But don’t do yourself down; sewing is a skill. You may also have a talent for it but you have learnt the techniques, built your confidence and push yourself regularly. How many non-sewers can you say are working this hard on themselves?

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Thoughts on neglected clothes

Hello June! And hello everyone else. We’re well into a new month and well past the end of Me Made May. If you participated I hope you enjoyed the challenge. Maybe you’re keeping the fun going with #memadeveryday a great way of documenting your outfits more regularly.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

If you weren’t aware, I started my blog with Me Made May way back when. I had only a handful of handmade garments but I wanted the kick to wear them out in public and share my thoughts online. This was several years ago so it’s always like a kind of anniversary for me when I take part now. I wear my handmade wardrobe everyday now so I have to get a bit more creative with the challenge aspect of the month.

This year I pledged to wear unloved or neglected makes to see whether they could be resurrected. You can see the highlights of this experiments at the top of my Instagram wall.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

The main reasons for neglect were:

  • I hate ironing
  • Too short/too big/too tight
  • Needs nude lingerie
  • Inexperience on early makes
  • Style mistakes

This list contains both easily avoidable issues and things that you need to accept as part of life!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

I really don’t need to pick fabrics that rely on ironing. That’s my own stupid mistake. I know my lifestyle and patience levels aren’t compatible with ironing. I’ve got better things to do and I don’t get any enjoyment out of it! And nude lingerie is easily available so that has been pure laziness on my part. It’s been brilliant to rediscover some of those light-coloured garments.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Working out your style is a lifelong exploit. Anyone who doesn’t experiment can’t be having much fun with their wardrobe. You’ll create a few mistakes but you’ll get a clearer idea of what you like!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

While it was fun to try on some of those experimental garments again, I’m still not convinced they have a place in my wardrobe. Other than the maxi skirt… I really need to try that out a bit more!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Chasing a great fit can be an endless obsession with fluctuating success. Our bodies are constantly changing with age, activity and diet.

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

And interpreting wrinkles and drag lines on garments can be a black hole of fit iterations that you have to start again when you revisit the pattern after your body has changed or even just if you’re changing fabric!

Almond rock me made May neglected clothes

Lastly, I’m both fiercely proud and terribly embarrassed by my early makes. So I don’t think I’ll be ever able to get rid of them but they can stay out of heavy rotation.

I know I’m a little late with this round up but I hope you enjoyed stepping into the world of my neglected clothes. Sometimes I worry that it looks like everything goes dreamily for me but that’s not real life! Failure and mistakes are part of learning and succeeding.

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Sip and sew Vogue 1434

It’s Friday!! Lets raise a glass of something delicious to celebrate.almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Vogue Patterns Cocktail Hour? I mentioned a while ago here! This is the latest charity sewalong from The McCall Pattern Company in partnership with The Eve Appeal. almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

A portion of the sales from 20 selected patterns go to this kick-ass charity who are raising awareness and funding research into the FIVE female cancers. Yes there are five…. It’s like the seven dwarfs, you can never think of them all in one go.

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

My garment for this year’s blogger tour is a designer Vogue pattern by Isaac Mizrahi who I love from his appearances on Project Runway. The envelope styling is a little bit bridesmaid-like but I could see gorgeous potential and Pattern Review showed me some stunning versions.

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

It’s a classic little dress and probably doesn’t surprise you that I chose it. There are lovely knife pleats at the waist that come with a separate guide pattern piece so you can mark more easily (very handy), the dress is fully lined which is a nice touch and there’s an interesting shape to the upper bodice where it’s sort of cutaway at the shoulders in an athletic style. I tried my best not to decapitate any people in my bodice seam placement.

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

I cut the longer length skirt of view B with a size 12 bodice. My only adjustments after the toile were to reposition the princess seams inwards a little and do a hollow chest adjustment above the bust. I skipped the tie for the waist as you can see. And I added my favourite… a lapped zipper! It’s a great little dress which I’ll definitely make again.

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

My fabric is a beautiful sateen featuring illustrated ladies and gents at an event (possibly a day at the races if you take in the hats). The sateen was crisp enough for the pleats and soft enough to shape around the body. I’d looked into brocade but was worried about bulk at the waist. This lovely print was bought in March from Ditto Fabrics and I think it was called “gathering”. Sadly it’s now out of stock and to be honest I never saw this sateen on sale anywhere else….

TIME FOR A MASSIVE BUT… there is the same print available on a crepe base with either a blue or oyster coloured background. I’m very tempted by the blue I have to say.

PLUS this if you live in Germany I’m told this shop has a couple of metres left in the cotton/elastane on blue. The size of a lady is about 5cm. And two remnants of about 2m from the Crêpe. Size of the print seems to be smaller than this and MacCulloch’s version though.

I’m very proud to support the campaign as someone who has lost several family members to cancer. Cancer in any form needs a good old fashioned kick in the pants so let’s raise some money for Eve Appeal and look fab doing it!

And why not put on a fancy frock and come to our cocktail party??

almond rock sipandsew cocktail hour vogue 1434

HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYONE

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The Vintage Weekend at Lotherton Hall

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend and hopefully some sewing time. On the 15th I had my birthday and planned a few treats throughout the week to help me celebrate. Last weekend involved afternoon tea served on a miniature picnic bench and a little bit of fizz. Sneak peek of my new Simplicity vintage top.

On Tues I took the day off work (always a must in my book), slept in, ate pancakes, went to the spa and then had cocktails and curry with friends. It was fabulous. And this weekend I went to Lotherton Hall to the annual Vintage Weekend.

Lotherton Hall is in village called Aberford, about 15mins from my parents house. I’ve been a few times over the years as there is a beautiful house and gardens, plus a fashion exhibit and bird garden. This was the first time I’d been to the Vintage Weekend. There were 25 stalls of vintage fashion, homeware and collectables. Lots of garments from the 1920s to 1980s and some modern dresses that were vintage style if I’m honest. There were some handmade garments which I loved examining and a few pieces of fabric but they were somewhat overpriced. I wont be offended if you scroll past the photos if you’re only interested in what I picked up from the fair.

I treated myself to a few bits and pieces. A red seed bead necklace (I didn’t even haggle I wanted it so badly). A couple of spools of thread and some red shell buttons. Plus a size 16 60s day dress that I’ll salvage fabric from, an 80s CAMISOLE in forest green and a sweet swiss dot Jaeger blouse with contrast collar and cuffs.

I thought you might also be interested in the fashion exhibit. It’s based on donations from local women of significance or influence including the past owners of the house. The collection is small but immaculate and spans the decades. Here are my favourites… that’s an incredible Ossie Clark at the end.

It was a windy and cold day but I still got dressed up with a vintage vogue floral dress, 50s makeup and jewellery. And for a year without a big party or a special number I think this birthday was a success! My cheeky cat certainly looked life he enjoyed it!!

I’ll leave you with some of my sewing related birthday treats. Fabric from Jimi and Marie, plus patterns and a beautiful vintage Simplicity catalogue from my parents.

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The Dressmaker’s Ball Simplicity 1606

A bit later than planned I wanted to share some pics from The Dressmaker’s Ball!

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball

In case you missed it this was the event that took place on May 14th at Leicester’s City Rooms. Organised by the fab team at Crafty Sew and Sew we were treated to an evening of dinner and dancing. It was fab!! Here’s me and Sarah, one half of the organising team.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball

 We had a complimentary drink in arrival, access to a glittery photo booth, buffet dinner and live music from Gabby Young. I had the honour of being part of the judging panel for the optional competition. I was joined by ElisalexMarieElle and Becky on the panel. It was incredibly hard picking winners from all the amazing garments on display. I loved how everyone dressed to the nines for the night.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball

I wore a version of Simplicity 1606, an amazing fit pattern I picked up last year. Its a great little versatile pattern and I’ve already made a hundred from it since the ball.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball

My fabric was a medium-weight polyester satin in a sort of crystallized print from Abakhan Moyston. 3m came to about £20 but with a 15% off voucher this dress pretty much came to £17!

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Of couse I added pockets. I used a concealed zip and boning from my stash. Plus grosgrain ribbon I had as a waist stay.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

The fit was near perfect I think but I should have added more boning to stop the bodice sagging I think. The waist stay keeps it in place but it’s not as rigid as it could be.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

I actually hid my waist stay inside the garment, having it emerge through buttonholes added to the lining before construction. To finish I hand sewed hot pink braid to the circle skirt to keep the drama and added a petticoat for extra floofiness.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

It was such a lovely night and I got to chat to so many sewists! Gabby entertained us with her gorgeous vocals and Marie was an excellent hostess! (I even got to meet Charlotte and the bunnies).

I’ll leave you with a few more pics of the evening to enjoy. Maybe I’ll see you there if it’s repeated next year? Thanks so much to Freya and Sarah for xreati g this wonderful event.

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

Almond Rock Dressmaker's ball simplicity 1606

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