Today we're happy to have Shannon from luvinthemommyhood here to tell us all about her best friend. She doesn't really need much of an introduction because she is such a core part of the crafty-blogging world! Her space is fun and inspiring -hey, she even inspired me to pick up a pair of knitting needles to make her gorgeous Mallory Cowl!Over to you Shannon...
Hi everyone! I'm Shannon and I'm the blogger behind luvinthemommyhood.com
- a fun, friendly neighbourhood connecting creative moms.
I was so excited when Maryanne and Caroline asked me to be part of their fun new series "my best friend
"! Such a great idea! When it came time to write my post I had originally intended to talk about the people in my life who have had a huge influence on me when it came to sewing but I just kept coming back to one of my fave things in life - my sewing machine Poppy. Yep, that's right. She's got a name. Poppy the Pfaff is one of my best buds. I spend all my spare time with her, tell her all my secrets, cry with her, laugh with her, cheer with her, get angry at her, and just plain love the buckets outta her. She's my sewing machine.
When I first started sewing I was using a basic run of the mill sewing machine that my lovely mom/dad gifted me for xmas way back in 2001 if I remember correctly. It was a great machine for a starter and did me just fine for what I needed for years and years. It lived for a long time in storage until I started this blog and decided to dust it off and brush up on my skills and really learn how to sew. Now that machine (which is lovingly referred to as "the devil" in my house) went through war and back. I did some not so nice things to it while learning how to sew. I sewed on that machine much more than a person probably should have and and will openly admit to improper usage of fabrics/stitches/needles and all the other common mistakes newbies make. It's never been serviced/cleaned or properly taken care of. It was loved though, albeit in a love/hate kinda way.
You see, as I was learning I fell more in love with sewing and more out of love with my machine. I simply outgrew it. I couldn't afford to get a new one so I had to make due with what I had. I don't think my machine liked that very much. It started getting grumpier and grumpier, sewing wonkier and wonkier and then just began crapping out on me when I had deadlines and needed to be sewing. Yep, not a good thing when you are a blogger with things to sew. I cried many a tear and even admit to whacking it with my scissors more than a few times....lmao...now that was a sight to be seen.
So instead of having to end up in Sewing Machines Anonymous I decided to start saving all my hard earned pennies (a huge thank you to all my wonderful sponsors!!!) so I could finally buy a new one. Luck would have it my birthday was around that time and my loving family all chipped in and gave me money towards my new machine as a gift (thanks again everyone). So on my birthday last year I went and picked up my dream machine - the Pfaff Ambition 1.0
. I love her and she loves me. We get along just great. I know there are way fancier machines on the market (shhh...don't tell her I said that) with a lot more bells and whistles but she has everything that I need and want...for now (wink, wink). I put a lot of hours into research when it came to choosing a new machine and you can read all about the process here:*sewing 911 - the new baby is home
*sewing 911 - how the heck to choose & buy a sewing machine *sewing 911 - what's your machine of choice?
I'm so beyond thrilled with this machine. After buying my Pfaff
my sewing skills got so much better and sewing overall became a much more relaxing and efficient process. No more busted machines, wonky bobbins and scary buttonholes. Now it's smooth, streamlined, powerful and technological. The oomph my Poppy has is amazing. She will sew through anything. She puts up with me sewing on her almost every single day and hasn't let me down yet. She's a huge part of my "sewing life" and career and without her I think I would still be back trying to fix wonky hems, unprofessional looking garments, get a darn piece of stretch to feed through my machine and more sewing nightmares I would love to forget...lol.
I'm not sure I would have kept going to tell you the truth. I had pretty much hit my breaking point with sewing on my old machine at that point and was really assessing whether or not it was enjoyable for me. A quilt would never have properly happened on the ol'devil. So like a true friend, Poppy lifted me up, cheered me up, filled me with confidence and pride and set me on track to take on my dreams. So when it comes to who/what my best friend is when it comes to sewing her name is Poppy the Pfaff Ambition 1.0
and I luv her to bits :)
Want to read a full review on the Pfaff Ambition 1.0
? Watch for a full review post coming up very soon on the blog on how my first year with Poppy the Pfaff has been. In the meantime if you're still looking for your dream machine here's a handy little checklist I made last year that you can download for when you do your dream sewing machine shopping: Sewing Machine Checklist
(this is for personal use only)
Thanks so much for having me be a part of your series Maryanne and Caroline! You guys are so inspiring! Follow along with the rest of the "my best friend"
series on sew together.So...who/what is your best sewing friend? An indispensable tool? A machine like me? A family member or friend? C'mon...join in! it's fun!
Thanks for all the hints and tips Shannon - A good relationship with your sewing machine is SO important. Me and my machine? We're a little ambivalent, I think...Maybe it's time to start thinking about starting a new relationship!
Isn't it interesting that someone's best friend can sometimes be someone else's worst enemy?
Today Narelle from Cook Clean Craft is helping us reconsider a sewing companion that many of us don't have too many nice things to say about...
Thanks for helping us think about this nifty piece of equipment a little more kindly Narelle!
Who would have thought?
A seam ripper can be your best friend!!
Thanks so much Narelle.Now make sure you check out her great blog
- July was Boy's Own Style Month full of fun ideas and tutorials for the little boys in your life. And if you want to check out something else truly amazing you must have a look at her felt car play mat/house tutorial.
Today we are so happy to have Melissa from Melly Sews with us. We were lucky enough to meet her when we participated in Project Run and Play together. Even though Project Run and Play is definitely a competition
, it's also a great way get to know some highly talented, friendly and inspiring bloggers. Melissa is definitely all of these things!Make sure you check out her blog - it is full of fantastic sewing inspiration especially for yourself and any boys in your life. Thanks for being with us Melissa and introducing us to your best friend...
Thanks for being here Melissa, and sharing your Mum's amazing sewing with us. Like Mother, like daughter...Make sure you check out Melissa's fantastic blog and brand new patterns - Blank Slate Basics. These patterns look amazing and will be the basis of all the summer sewing I do for Will!
Today we get to meet the best friend of Margaret. She blogs at With or Without Nap
. She has two gorgeous daughters and a little boy due in October. She lives in our part of the world and it is lovely to see the sewing on her blog that matches our seasons! Today, she has come up with such a great idea for embellishing a pattern that many of us know and love.Thanks for being with us Margaret...
I would have to say that 'My Best Friend' when it comes to sewing, is the Lazy Days Skirt Tutorial from Oliver & S. In those early days, when sewing still seemed really intimidating to me, it really opened up my eyes to there being simple ways and 'short cuts' in sewing. Using a strip of fabric, selvedge to selvedge, eliminates the need to finish the seams at the join - genius!
I have made many a skirt using the Lazy Days tutorial, it's so quick and easy, I can whip up a few little skirts at once. The best part is Liesl's unique technique for hemming the skirt, and I love that there are lots of ways to embellish a Lazy Days Skirt, by adding contrasting ribbon, a fancy button, fabric flower, ruffle trim or simply leaving the hem plain.
With a little baby on the way and spring just around the corner for us here in Australia, I have made a few new Lazy Days Skirts for my girls recently;
What a great way to use yo-yos... I know my girls would love these skirts and they are definitely on my to do list.So, head over and check out Margaret's blog
. Have a look at all her great sewing and the lovely things her children get up to.
And if you are like me and love the arrival of a baby in the blogging world, keep checking back - I am sure Margaret will keep us posted!
Today, we're excited to have Cherie from you and mie to tell us all about her best friend. Cherie's post made me a bit teary... I think she's really captured the essence of what sewing is all about for me, too (and I am a teeny bit jealous of her super - organised crafting space). Thanks Cherie!
Read on to find out all about it!
Hello! I'm Cherie from you & mie
and I'm so happy to be here today as a part of Caroline and Maryanne's Best Friend series!
Truth is, I had the hardest time picking one thing that I wanted to write about. There are soooo many necessary tools, amazing resources and incredibly inspirational and creative people that help me continue to sew and blog. But I wanted to share something that I really couldn't do without.
(This is going to get a little long winded and actually ends up getting a little personal, but I hope you can stick with me till the end :) )
I started looking through all my old pictures to jog my memory about what really inspires me and how I learned to sew in the last couple of years. Then I came across a folder of pictures that really got me excited. My (then) new sewing area!
So I decided to tell you a little bit about my sewing area and how much I truly love it and can't live without it. It is, after all, where all the "magic" happens! So here's the story:
I've been sewing casually for several years now. But when Yuki, our daugther came along, it really ignited an interest in sewing things for our home and for our little baby. About one year ago, I started getting really serious about sewing and started considering starting a blog, creating an Etsy shop and really investing more into this growing passion.
I didn't have my own sewing machine - I was switching back and forth between borrowing my mom's and my mother-in-law's. I had my own desk to sew on, but it was ridiculously cramped and cluttered. But I was happy with what I had because it worked, and what more could you ask for, right?
Well one day, some time just before my birthday, I came home to see the most AMAAAZING sight!
My partner, Hideko, and one of our very best friends, Sanjai, had spent HOURS cleaning and organizing all of my stuff, purchased and built furniture and cleared a bunch of other stuff so that I could have all of this beautiful space. My jaw dropped and I was in tears. It was honestly the best gift I've ever received!
All of these pictures were taken the day that I came home to this amazing surprise (almost a year ago), so A LOT has changed since then. Namely, the huge piles of projects, papers and clutter all over the place, but there have been positive changes as well. The most important things have stayed the same though, the things that make this space so efficient and conducive to work. So I thought I'd show you around a little bit.
2. Scissors, ruler, rotary cutter, pens, pencils, water soluble pens, etc.
3. Sewing machine and small cutting mat
4. Pins, measuring tape, seam ripper, etc.
I think the most important thing is to keep all your essentials within reach. At any given moment during a project I might need anything of those things and nothing ruins a groove like having to put down the project and get up to go get something. Or even worse, go searching for something!
I love having all these drawers surrounding me. They are filled with office supplies, decorative paper, zippers, bias tape, elastic, needles, trims, and every other notion I might need for sewing. Again, all within reach from my chair. On the right of the machine I have a jar of buttons, my yard stick, more thread and bobbins. I also keep my patterns in the shelves near the wall. The magnetic board above the machine now houses some pictures as well as lists, ideas and inspiration.
This desk used to be Hideko's and we're actually still supposed to share it, but honestly, no one gets much stuff done here anymore because my "work in progress" basket had about a million babies and they have been strewn all over that desk. Hah!
I LOVE having my iron and board so close and always out. I'm a short cut taker, so unless I make it really accessible, I probably would never bother. I definitely value ironing during sewing, so this just makes it that much easier.
Something that I added immediately was a clothes line to one of the blank walls. There were actually already 2 nails in the wall from a large frame that used to hang there, so I just strung a rope between them and now I use it to hang and photograph almost all of my projects. It's by no means original or stunning to look at, but it allows me to document my projects in a consistent way. The clothes really stand out and I think it's almost become a trademark for me.
I also love that I can get great shots of detail or can photograph the clothes from unique angles. Something that I can't get when my lovely, super active model keeps running away from the camera!
Now my sewing area is really great and everything, but it isn't actually what my "best friend" is. See, when this gift was given to me, it wasn't just the sewing space that touched me. It was the fact that these people who were so close to me, really believed in me and wanted to support my dreams.
Shortly after that, for my birthday, a bunch of friends and family members pitched in to buy me my very first sewing machine. All of their support really changed the way I viewed myself and what I then considered, just my hobby. I decided to take the plunge and start a blog and start investing time and money into sewing and see where I could go with it. It's been almost a year and I have had the most amazing experiences since then. My sewing has improved by leaps and bounds, I've joined an incredible community of artists, parents, and bloggers, and every day I feel even more inspired and my "to do" list grows way faster than I can keep up with. And I really owe it all to them. My family and friends.
The people who offer to take Yuki out of the house for a few hours so I can finish my current project. The ones who listen to me DAY after DAY talking about my next project, my next blog post, or my next fabric purchase. The one that lets me buy SO. MUCH. FABRIC. The ones that hold up my quilt so I can take pictures or takes 300 pictures of me so I can get at least a few where I don't look too fat. The ones that console me when my project has gone awry, even though they can't even see what's wrong with it. The ones that give me advice every time I ask, even though I almost never take it (sorry!). The ones that compliment every little thing that I make. The ones that put up with the messy house, the unwashed dishes and the instant dinners because it's KCWC. The ones who put up with just one. more. trip to Joann's (it'll be quick - I swear!). The ones who love and support me through it all.
So it turns out that my best sewing friends really have little to do with actual sewing at all. They are my friends and family, and most of all, more than anything or anyone in the world, my real life best friend and life long partner, Hideko. And I am forever grateful!
Thank you, Caroline and Maryanne, for inviting us all to think about the things and people who enable us to do what we love and for letting me share my story with your readers!
Happy sewing, everyone!
Don't forget to go and check out you and mie.
It's a gorgeous chronicle of all things crafty!
Today we have a great post from Cindy at Siestas and Sewing - some useful tips and a tutorial for a cute summer tank. Cindy's blog is full of sewing inspiration for everyone. She shares sewing projects for young teens, little girls, boys and mums. If you live in our part of the world and are beginning to think about your summer sewing list, Siestas and Sewing is the place to check out. You can find great ideas for shorts, sundresses, tshirts, tops and swimwear.
Thanks for joining us Cindy and sharing your best friend with us.
Thanks again Cindy. We are definitely going to invest in some of those clips.
And saying your Mum is you best friend is not at all corny... We couldn't do without our Mum either!
Today we are excited to welcome Elizabeth from Simple Simon & Company. Simple Simon are such an integral part of the crafty-blog world they don't really need an introduction! We met Elizabeth when she was kind enough to ask us to be part of Project Run and Play. Recently Simple Simon have taken craft blogging to the next level - they encouraged people all over the world to sew over 300 skirts for girls in foster care through their Skirting the Issue series. What an achievement!Lets hear all about Elizabeth's best friend...
Today, we are excited to introduce Karen from And so, I sew... In June this year, we headed to Canberra to Sew It Together
, a wonderful weekend of sewing and crafty gossip with a group of bloggers who sew. We were delighted to meet Karen there. She has a fantastic blog featuring her 3 gorgeous daughters and the amazing projects she makes for them. She has also inspired us to think a little bit more about sewing for ourselves, rather than just our children!Thanks so much for being here Karen, and telling us about your Best Friend.
Thanks so much Karen.
You may have noticed that we are having a few teething issues with our first guest series! We are having issues with uploading custom HTML. All I can see is we are trying to work on it!!
We're so excited to have Jessica here today. She is one of the most prolific, generous and lovely bloggers we know.
Dying to find out all about her best friend? Take it away Jessica!
Today we kick off our exciting new guest series - My Best Friend.
Over the next few weeks we have a collection of fantastic bloggers visiting Sew Together to tell us about their Best (sewing) Friend. There will be posts about favourite patterns, favourite people, favourite equipment and other generally favourite stuff! We hope it will help you find new inspiration and try new things.
And who is the fabulous blogger who gets to start the ball rolling?
It's me, Maryanne!! (Being the big sister I get to be bossy every now and then and so I chose to go first!)
So let's begin...
Let's start by acknowledging this is a long post.
But it is worth it...
If you keep reading, I'll show you how to make this reversible wrap dress!Now we can really begin...
My best friend without a doubt would be Caroline. I am lucky enough to have my sewing buddy, blogging partner and sister rolled into one. I could chat about her all day long, but you can find plenty of her sewing inspiration right here on our blog. So rather than telling you all about Caroline, I am going to talk about my second best friend - children's vintage sewing patterns.
I regularly browse collections of vintage pattern images online to find inspiration for new sewing projects. I have resisted buying any - I really can't justify spending any more money supporting my sewing habit!! But you don't need the patterns to help your sewing along. The pictures are enough to start you thinking and then it is easy to work from there.
My favourite collections are the Vintage Children's Pattern Flickr group
, and the Vintage Patterns Wiki
(particularly the Helen Lee Vintage Patterns
and the general girl's pages
). Searching for children's vintage patterns on Etsy
can also be useful.
When I am looking for some inspiration I browse these collections until an image grabs me. The next step is to consider the basic shape of the project - is it a basic bodice with a full skirt, a variation on an A line dress or a standard skirt shape? Once I have worked this out, I pull out one of my basic patterns and tweak it to create the look I want.
Using contemporary fabrics, you can take vintage ideas and create something fresh and modern. Here are some examples of projects Caroline and I have worked on that have taken vintage patterns as their inspiration.
(click on image for source)
And for My Best Friend, I have a new project to share with you - a wrap around reversible dress.
It was inspired by this 1970 Simplicity pattern:
This is such a cute little dress idea. You put it on by pulling it over your child's head. It has a front piece that wraps around to the back and is secured by ribbon ties, and it has a back piece that wraps around to the front that is held in place by the fabric ties. The bow at the front shows a little peep of the lining colour and when your little girl runs and plays you can also see hints of the lining fabric because of it's wrap around design. A spilled icecream or just a change in mind about what she wants to wear? Undo the ties flip the dress over and your little girl can have a whole new (clean!) look.
If you have a basic A line dress pattern, you can very quickly draft up this variation and it is also incredibly fast to sew up. If you would like to make one for a little girl you know, click on the read more button for all the instructions.Before you do, I want to reminder you to check back here on Tuesday. Jessica from Me Sew Crazy
is going to introduce us to her best friend!