2013 Top 5: Reflection and Inspiration


Lizzy put it very succinctly when she quoted Malcom Forbes:

“Too many people undervalue what they are and overvalue what they aren’t”

She was writing in response to Rochelle’s post about yearly reviews and the unfavourable comparisons that some of us draw when comparing ourselves to any one else.  This is something I’ve been guilty of; I look at the productivity of others and think that I should be achieving similar numbers of garments.  I need to remember that I have a lot going on ‘behind the scenes’ as well as my sewing and blogging.  I’ve got Boy and Husband, a job, Husband’s business, and a house that somehow needs to be vaguely tidy, clean and stocked with food.  Everyone’s life is different and I’m just setting myself up to feel like a failure if I compare myself to others, and I’m not a failure.  I’m liked and loved the way I am.

And, quite honestly, sometimes I’m tired and I don’t want to sew or blog.  I want to sit on the sofa and watch a movie or another episode or two of Arrow or Elementary.  That’s OK too.  I’m not superwoman and quite frankly, don’t want to be.  I am going to be more realistic in my expectations though.  I’m going to try not to put so much pressure on myself.

I’ve surprised myself by making 26 garments this year plus a few other bits and bobs (PJ monsters and a veil to name them).  I didn’t think I’d been that productive as at the beginning of the year I’d planned a quite frankly ridiculous number of garments.  I’ve actually achieved a finished item every couple of weeks and that isn’t bad at all when I consider how cray-cray things get around here.

I sew for fun.  I sew for the creativity and the mental stillness it brings and the continual learning.  I have a wardrobe like no one else’s and its personalised to me, my tastes and my body.  That’s pretty damn awesome.  I also value and take care of all our clothes far better as a result as I know and understand the effort that goes into making them.  I’ve also become aware of how easily distracted I can be.  Shiny pattern!  Pretty fabric!  I purchase far more than I sew and that has got to stop!  I’m not going to be unrealistic and put a ban on new fabric – tried that, epic fail.  I’m going into 2014 with a better idea of what will work and what is completely unrealistic.

I also need to keep front and centre that the reason I blog is because I enjoy it!  I love being part of our online sewing community, it’s not a method to pay bills.  I’m not dependent on stats or followers or referrals to earn money.  I’ve lost sight of the reason I started to write this thing during 2013.  I hope to correct that in 2014.  Through this blog and Twitter I have met some amazing people, some of whom have become friends I trust implicitly, some I’ve met and some I hope to meet.  Every single one of them has enriched my life though.  All because I write about thread, fabric and pretty dresses when I get a chance.

My two main things to remember, looking back on 2013, is not to beat myself up and remember why I blog and sew.  I enjoy reading your adventures and simply want to share mine and occasionally yell “This dress is amazeballs!”  (Hah, that’s going to be a blog post at some point…)

As for inspiration – that’s everyone who shares what they do.  Blogs, twitter, instagram.  Anyone who sticks their head above the parapet and shares what they do.  I love your passion, your excitement, your willingness to share.

See you later 2013; 2014 is going to be a good year…


Sewing Hero Worship

First up, I’ve got to apologise to Karen of Did You Make That as this post is my take on her Gertie Crush she mentioned in this post about her Bombshell Dress.  Karen, you can take credit as the sole inspiration for this post!

So, sewing crushes.  Are you like me in that you’re impatient for the next post from certain bloggers?  I am and I’d never really thought about why until Karen’s comment:

“Because I subconsciously want to BE Gertie, I suspect. But sewing crushes are a whole other blog post. We all have them, right?”

So, here are my sewing crushes and why I love these bloggers, please click on their photos to visit their blogs:

The Goddess that is Gertie

Her amazing blog was one of the first I found when I started exploring the idea of vintage inspired style.  It was her blog that convinced me that maybe I could sew my own clothes.

Her styling is always beautiful – truly her and that shines through!  Not only that but she is an incredibly talented lady, writes beautifully and shares so much knowledge through her blog.  She’s also willing to stick her head above the parapet and discuss subjects others may not be as comfortable to raise.  Body image being one subject she’s been very frank about, although in my opinion she’s an absolute stunner!

One of the reasons I can’t wait for her book as if it’s anything like her online tutorials and sew-alongs it’ll be an absolute gem.  My anticipation is such due to the quality of her online instructions as well as her style – both of which appear to be the foundation stones of the book.  The shirt dress she’s designed for the book and given sneak peeks of on her blog is gorgeous!

Miss P

Portia’s blog is a treasure trove of inspiration and education.  Her refashioning skills are amazing and her top draft along was both epic and hugely educational.  It’s a set of posts I keep referring to.  I’m always eager to see what she’s created next, or what pearl of wisdom she’s unearthed.

Her Royal Selfishness

A lady who needs no introduction, the Selfish Seamstress.  She sews for her own gratification, and she does so beautifully.  She also writes the most fantastic posts and doesn’t pull any punches.  I wish I had her brass!


The talent and brains behind Sewaholic Patterns.  She is one incredible lady and is always so friendly should you need to email her.  Her sew-alongs that accompany her patterns are excellent and she designs clothes that I really want to wear.  I’ve just finished Crescent Skirt mkII which I’ll photograph this weekend I hope.  I wish I had her talent at the machine (but she’s being sewing all her life!) and as a designer.  I have no idea how she does it, but I’m very glad that she does.


This lady has style!  And sewing skills and the most supreme organisation as she’s a Sew Weekly contributor for 2011.  She’s sewing a garment a week to go with the theme that’s set.  I love the choices she makes and I’d quite happily nick her wardrobe, but as it’s all handmade I can make my own versions.  She really is a source of inspiration and comes across as simply a wonderful person.  I’d love to meet her in real life and have a good old natter about sewing, fabric, inspiration, style, vintage anything and everything…


This is the woman who made me socially aware about my sewing.  She has broadened my horizons and educated my shopping habits when it comes to my wardrobe.  I’m not quite at the point where I’m making my own knickers, but I’m seriously considering it!  To be quite frank this lady is the reason why I haven’t bought any brand new clothes for myself in the last year apart from hosiery and underwear.  Between her and Miss P I approach charity shops in a whole different way.  Instead of looking at what I can just wear I now look for the potential in a garment.  I haven’t struck gold yet as the offerings locally to me are limited but up cycling or refashioning is now a viable option for me as a result of this woman.  Plus she provides so much education and food for thought on the way we consume goods now.  As I say, a supreme educator in this field and an inspiration.

The Most Elegant Casey

I love Casey’s style.  Not only does she sew and thrift her wardrobe but she has a style all of her own and is fearless with it.  She’s probably my biggest styling inspiration because she varies her look so well but also shares how she does it.  Her YouTube tutorials are fantastic!  She’s also a really friendly person should you chat to her via email.  Her blog posts have led me to consider the look I want to have and given me a lot of information to enable me to make progress towards it.  Oh, and she does vintage inspires sew-alongs!


The brains behind Colette patterns.  One of the best independent pattern lines out there in my opinion.  The patterns are gorgeous and the instructions absolutely crystal clear.  Plus the packaging is unique but practical and beautiful at the same time.  She has well and truly got her product right!  But, not only all of that, she also writes incredibly informative blog posts.  Her sew-alongs are great and her pants (trousers) fitting series was epic and amazingly thorough.

So, they’re the women I’d like to emulate, to develop so that I have a talent that might show faintly in their shadow.  But there are also the girls out there who are just sharing what they do, providing encouragement to others and who you know you could have a great afternoon out with trawling fabric shops, charity or thrift shops or just chatting to whilst (or about) sewing.  Maybe you’ve heard of some and already read their blogs, maybe I can introduce you to someone new:

Karen of Did you Make That
Anna of A Few Threads Loose
Kate of Sincerely Yours, Kate
Reanna Louise of Curves, Patterns and Pins
Jane of Handmade Jane
Andrea of Stitch Parade
Suzy of SuzySewing
Suzy of Suzy Bee Sews
Patty the Snug Bug
Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons
Claire at Sew Incidentally
prttynpnk of Pretty Grievances (although I think we’d spend more time discussing the styling merits of some celebrities!)
FunnyGrrl of Falling Through Your Clothes