• Other stuff

    Would you try a sewing subscription box?

    There are a few different sewing subscription services you might have seen here and there. Like you I was curious what you actually received and Hayley of Sew Hayley Jane was convinced to let me in on the action by sending her November box out for a review!

    Plus keep scrolling for a link to a free patchwork stocking project perfect for festive FQs.

    Hayley sends you a box of beautifully curated fabric and haberdashery items, everything you need to create lovely homemade creations, from dresses and tops, to quilts, cushions and other homewares. Each month Hayley also shares a blog post of inspiration specific to your box and a youtube video of her stepping through an unboxing!

    So what was inside my November Classic box? Well it was Festive Fever time!! My box included:

    Choc coins which I’m going to have to hide from the sweet monster who lives in the house with me.

    A magnetic doughnut pincushion from Oh Sew Quaint. It’s like a special Christmas doughnut with festive sprinkles!! My favourite thing from the box I have to say.

    A range of high quality cotton FQs in nordic style with red and grey prints. Plus 2.5m of white on scandi red floral poplin cotton which is a great amount to get a garment out of or multiple smaller projects.

    There was also 2m of white crocheted lace trim which would look lovely on a garment or a home project. And 6 x 15mm floral white buttons with a lovely sheen on them. Matching gutermann thread as well!

    There’s lots to work with here and you could make bags, cushions, aprons, child’s clothes or something for yourself. As I have predominantly Christmas themed cottons I had a few ideas for projects.

    This sweet tree is from the latest issue of Love Sewing mag and would really work in coordinating Christmas prints.

    Similarly this stocking would work really well in mixed fat quarters! And Brucie Bonus, it’s a free download on the Love Sewing site with template and instructions all there for you to try.

    Finally if you’re keen on making a Christmas dress how about this beauty from SillyOldSeaDog? Visit the shop for endless Christmas dress inspiration. I’d recommend a classic style like the Sew Over It Grace dress for a vintage look or the Colette Laurel for minimal seam lines.

    I think that I’ll use the larger piece of fabric along with the FQs to make a table runner for my Mum as she loves these kinds of traditional prints.

    It’s hard to think of negative things to say about the items in the box, they’re all great quality. The main fear may be that you won’t know what you’re going to get each month and if you’re a bit of a control freak about your sewing that will definitely stress you out. But if you generally like the style of the boxes and love surprise post this is really a dream come true!  There are lots of beautiful prints in the boxes that you can see on previous unboxing videos if this Christmas collection is making it difficult to judge what you’d get.

    So let’s get into some knitty gritty! The boxes are then sent out around the 8th of each month to arrive within a few days for UK customers, international deliveries may take longer. When you sign up you will create a unique login which will give you greater access to content on the website. Some of the blog posts are available to subscribers only – you lucky ducks. I’ve put the prices below but there’s a super helpful FAQ page to help you decide.

    • The Mini Box costs £20
    • The Classic Box costs £35
    • The Luxury Box costs £65

    THERE ARE TWO DAYS LEFT TO SUBSCRIBE FOR DECEMBER!!

    So why not head over to Hayley’s site to read more, check out people’s boxes with the hashtag sewhayleyjane and check out finished garments with the hashtag sewhayleyjanemakes

  • Other stuff

    Sewing Room Swoon

    Recently I shared my sewing room in the magazine and thought it should definitely appear on the blog too! I hope you like this peek into my sewing space. I know how lucky I am to have a dedicated space to sew, and although it feels like an indulgence at times, it has made me so happy in the short year I’ve had it.

    Forgive the low light in the pics, these were shot in Jan!

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    This room is on the middle floor of my townhouse in Leeds. It’s a great size room and is definitely nice and warm, but it doesn’t get the best light and the view isn’t the prettiest. I’ve done my best to make it look lovely inside instead.

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    The main feature of the room is the cutting table, made by my partner. He used four Kallax units from Ikea, added a large MDF top and used ikea metal feet to raise the table to the perfect height. Underneath I use large baskets to store all my fabric, zips, and interfacing, as well as mugs of chalk pencils, tracing paper and bias binding. The whole thing is over 1m wide and 1.5m long, meaning I can cut delicate fabric single layer without them trying to escape. The only problem is that my cat Chewie thinks it’s the perfect sleeping spot so I have to shoo her away when it’s time to cut out projects. Then she just moves to another spot for a nap!

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    I’m fortunate to have several machines. The Janome SMD4000 is my main machine, then there’s the machine I learnt on – a Toyota Jeans Machine. I also have a Singer 14sh754 overlocker and two vintage Singer machines (a 1939 hand crank and a 1970s machine set into a table. My dad is a great antique hunter!). Having all my machines in a row means bouncing between each is easy and I usually keep the Janome and Toyota threaded in different colours in case I need to work on multiple projects at once.

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    My gorgeous pink mid-century inspired chair has a pretty scalloped back (Very.co.uk) and I’ll sit here when it comes to hand sewing and unpicking. The vintage glass cabinet was a gift from my partner’s grandmother and it makes perfect storage for yarn, ribbon, button tins and boxes of sewing patterns. (Orla Kiely tins, Selvedge yarn)

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    Decorating is still a work in progress but the majority of my wall space is used for spool racks. I chose polka dot wallpaper from Prestige Textiles (in Graphite – my first ever wallpapering attempt! Under the careful eye of my mum) as an eye-catching feature when you first enter. My most-used scissors hang from a pretty coat hook from BHS for easy access and fun quotes and pictures keep me smiling while I work. (Vintage decorative dressmaking stand, Korbond pear pin cushion, Sasse and Bell spool holder). A vintage sewing-themed calendar from SewDirect.co.uk adds retro inspiration and an illustrated portrait I was given for my birthday shows me wearing my favourite handmade dress (artist @andsmile). My plan is to frame some of my vintage patterns and add a bit more shelving space and then the room should be complete!

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    After years of working on my dining table and cutting out on the floor, it’s so nice to have a separate sewing space. I do miss Mr AR though, so we regularly run up and downstairs to see each other and take it in turns to brew up!

    I hope you enjoyed having a peek in my sewing room. Hopefully the next time I share it the walls won’t be as beige or sparse heehee!

  • Other stuff

    Gathering Supplies

    Over the last couple of months I’ve slowly been gathering supplies for a new jacket.

    Since making my Anise I sort of laughably said I’d never make another coat or jacket. Well that didn’t last long.

    I started in October by whittling my pattern choices down to three favourites. Burda Pattern 7115, Burda Download 9 2014 #120, and a Vintage McCall’s 8420.

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    You can see I was interested in a notched collar and a pea coat shape. I did want something a bit longer than a jacket but not quite a coat.

    I came pretty close to drafting something myself but then I settled on the Burda and will adjust as needed (pattern on offer here).

    While shopping at Samuel Taylors in Leeds I saw a beautiful pale aqua wool coating but couldn’t shake the idea of a darker teal colour.

    And at SewBrum Barry’s came to the rescue with a lovely textured green coating half way between teal and emerald. And I already had coordinating thread in my stash yippee!

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    During a fortunate spot of eBay surfing last month I found a seller offering this gorgeous high heel print silk satin and snapped it up for the lining.

    It’s a soft grey colour with some shoes in outline only and others coloured in pink, green, yellow.

    Now I need fusible underlining and interfacing, and coordinating buttons.

    Sadly with all the Christmas sewing I’ve got on my plate I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make a toile but I hope it’ll be soon. I’d like to get back to selfish sewing haha.

  • Other stuff

    Blog hop, skip, and jump

    What’s a blog hop when it’s at home!?
    It’s like a massive conga line of bloggy fun, that’s what!

    Trace it back to the start if you dare. I have been nominated by Louise of Sew Sensational to keep the party going. Louise is a fellow Minerva blogger and a total sweetheart. And I’m not biased just because she’s from Leeds.

    The premise is simple. Answer a few fun questions then shake your hips and name two more conga buddies to take over from you.

    Deep breath and here we go!

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    Why do I write?
    Well that’s an intense question so I’ll give you an intense answer…

    I need this blog to prove to myself and to some degree the world that I have dedication and commitment to sewing, that my sewing skills and the quality of my projects are improving, and to create visible proof that I’m doing something I’m proud to share with others. Plus blogging is pretty fun right?

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    What am I working on?
    So many sewing, blogging and personal goals are bouncing around in my head these days.
    I always have sewing projects queued up. My list could take up several years. But this year I definitely want to complete an advanced vintage pattern to as high standard as I can manage. I’ve been plugging away with this a little every night, hoping that patience can yield amazing results. You should see the final dress in mid-Sept.
    Also, I coded my site after teaching myself css and really want to improve on it with a better gallery and improved header art. I don’t even care if most readers never click through to my browser because they’re happily followng me in a reader, I’m redesigning for me!
    Finally when we move into our new home later this month I want to make sure I enjoy being in our new space as much as possible. I want to decorate and have friends round. We’ll be enjoying lazy sunny mornings, epic cooking sessions and post-work swims at the nearby pool. Life isn’t just for sewing and blogging!

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    How does your blog differ from others of its genre?
    This is a bit tricky as the premise of many sewing blogs is the same.

    I think there are two things that I’m proud of myself for doing. Firstly I choose sewing patterns that aren’t that popular. Either they have ugly pattern art or have been out of print for years or have somehow missed the attention they deserve.. But I don’t care because I can see they are hidden gems.

    I suppose it doesn’t make me unique but I generally try and keep my blog happy. There’s so much in life to get down about, I like this little corner of the Internet to feel good about what I’m doing. It’s bright and colourful and has subtle (and not so subtle) attempts at humour and I hope people enjoy reading it.

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    How does your writing process work?
    My commute is two hours long; that’s usually the perfect time for me write, edit and schedule blog posts. Except for when the signal cuts out and you can’t save your changes — WHY SO MANY TUNNELS!

    I like to post at least once a week, but that might be on any day I choose. Usually I’m sharing a finished garment.

    My drafts folder contains a series of article-style posts that I know I can call on when I don’t have a garment to share but mostly I’m just winging it.

    Phew. So there you have it! My answers. Thanks so much to Louise for nominating me.

    My nominations!

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    Now it’s my turn to nominate some lovely blogs to continue hopping.

    First up is the lovely Marie of A Stitching Odyssey. I’m so pleased sewing has introduced me to this lovely lady, she really is a good friend now and although I’m still a little in awe of her sometimes, she doesn’t seem to mind. She crafts beautiful clothes and always talks absolute sense.

    My second nominee is Helen of Mancunian Vintage. I love Helen’s approach to wearing vintage clothing and she even sews a bit too. She’s always a great source of Northern inspiration. But hold on! She’s about to move down South! How ever will I cope!? Well I’m sure she’ll do great things down there as she did in Manchester.

    Check out these fabulous ladies and the next posts in the hop on August 18th!

  • Other stuff

    Minerva Crafts Meet Up – Dress Reveal

    Hello hello!

    It’s time for the full reveal of my Minerva meet up dress. Let’s quickly recap, I had chosen a beautiful cotton sateen and had to make a lovely party dress for an evening of fun and frolics. Here it is!

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    Everyone was dressed to the nines which was great. I loved my dress; I can attest to how fun it was to dance in.

    This is McCalls 6833 (the strappy version with a gorgeous pleated skirt). Because I used red crepe-like satin as my lining the dress felt especially nice to wear. It didn’t take much convincing to get me back into the dress for additional photos!

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    almond rock mccalls 6833

    And how about some photos of the day? Words fail me to convey how busy, bubbly and fun this day was. I hope the photos show this!

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    See more photos here!

    Thank you Vicki and all the Minerva Crafts team for such a brilliant day! I hope you had as much fun as I did!