One of the great things about blogging is that it gives you the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world - people that you would otherwise never have the chance to meet. Jane isn't one of those people. From the ages of 12 to 18 I saw Jane nearly every day of my life. We were best friends at high school and while we don't see each other very often any more it's still lovely to be able to connect with her over all things creative. Thanks for visiting Jane!
Thank you so much for having me here Caroline and Maryanne, so I can talk about one of my favourite things, my fabric collection.
I have been quilting on and off for 17 years now, and it should be noted that it’s all Caroline’s fault, since she’s my high school best friend and I’m sure it would have taken me much longer to find quilting if I hadn’t spent all those sleepovers tucked under one of her mother’s beautiful quilts. Her mum also took me under her wing when I decided I wanted to learn to quilt, fielding numerous phone calls that started with the words, “No, I don’t want to talk to Caroline, I have a quilting question...”
After many years of quilting, I have a sizeable fabric stash. I really do try and keep my fabric spending in check, but seriously, it’s fabric, peoples! Whilst I suppose, in theory, I could buy fabric as I needed it for a particular quilt, the reality is that’s not going to happen any time soon – and if I did it this way I probably wouldn’t be able to find what I want.
I LOVE having a big fabric stash, and I find it makes my quilting process so much easier. I don’t tend to make quilts using one particular range of fabric, I prefer to decide on a colour scheme and go from there. So when I decide I want to make a particular colour quilt, it helps that I already have quite a collection of that colour on my shelves. I might top it up with new purchases, but for the most part I don’t have to. This means I can start quilts on a whim, without having to wait for international parcel delivery or hoping I can find the right fabrics in the fairly paltry local offerings.
Since I quilt by colour, I stash by colour too. I am very fussy about my stash. I prewash and iron everything, then fold it just so. My scraps are also sorted by colour, pressed and waiting in their little boxes. (At this point, Caroline, who always laughed at my alphabetised CD collection in high school, is rolling her eyes.)
This may be a little more high maintenance than the bung-it-all-in-the-cupboard approach, but it works for me, for a few reasons. Because it’s on open shelving (not in direct light), I can see what I have at a glance. It makes it easy to pull fabrics for a new project and it serves as a reminder (sometimes) that I don’t need to buy anything. Sorting by colour is critical for me, both for when I need to pick fabrics and so I know what colours I need. For example, I could go a lifetime without buying pinks or blues, but purples, greys and yellows are in demand. So if I’m topping up an order (to make the most of flat rate postage), I’ll stash build those colours I don’t have much of.
When I’m stash building, I don’t tend to buy full ranges or busy, many-coloured prints – because my quilts tend to feature one or two colours, prints with lots of colours in them don’t work for me. But I am a sucker for blenders, big time. These useful prints are the foundation of a good stash, regardless of what you’re sewing. Spots, stripes, geometrics, squiggles, I love them all. And usually, I’ll buy every colourway in a range if I can. The simpler the print, the better it will work as a stash builder.
The advantage of stash building by colour is that you’re going to have much of what you need on hand when you start a new project. I recently started cutting a new quilt that required 100 different blue/aqua/green prints. I’m almost embarrassed to say I could do this without buying a single piece of fabric! But if I’d had to find 100 blues/aquas/greens locally, there is no way I could have done it at once and found prints I like. With fabric ranges changing so quickly, it is good to buy versatile, timeless prints when you can.
My inspiration for new quilts often starts with a fabric, and I build a colour scheme around that. The Sunshine and Shadows quilt started with a bundle of yellow/grey/black and white prints I purchased, and I built on it with more prints in the same colours from my stash, so it’s cohesive but not too matchy matchy. The Lattice Windows quilt started from the teal and lime lattice print my son took a liking too – we built the rest of his quilt around this colour scheme. The Diamonds in the Sky quilt grew from an interest in the high-contrast orange and blue colour scheme.
Whenever I’m working on a quilt, colour, and my colourful fabric stash, is my best friend.
If you’d like to hear more about my creative adventures, pop over to my little blog at http://wherejanecreates.blogspot.com.au/
Today, we are so excited that our Mum is writing a blog post for us.
How do you introduce your Mum?
It's tricky isn't it?
We always joke that Mum has two passions in her life - her quilting and her family. Sometimes we are not sure which one comes first, but that doesn't matter really. She loves her quilting so much that even if we come in second, she loves us incredibly!!!
Mum has been quilting for over 30 years. In that time she has made many beautiful quilts ( and many many partly completed ones!!!) and developed a wealth of knowledge that she can share with us at a moments notice. She belongs to quilting groups, has organised quilt exhibitions, coordinated quilting bees to provide quilts for those in hospital and taught many people to quilt.
Mum was adamant that she didn't want her photo on the blog, but I don't think she will mind this one...
Her wedding dress was made by our grandmother, Mardi, another great sewing inspiration for us both.
Thanks so much for writing this for us Mum and for continuing to inspire us to sew and create.
To write anything other than a shopping list or a Christmas card is a challenge for me. I make quilts. I don't normally write. But how can I turn down a request from my best and greatest friends, my two lovely and talented daughters, Maryanne and Caroline who can both turn their hand to anything? I have been enjoying Sew Together since the day it began. To be so lucky to see the original items for the blog and to have been the recipient of some of those wonderful gifts, gives me great joy.
So here it is, my first blog post...
My quilting journey has given me many "best friends". It began in 1980 when our youngest, Caroline started school. A local community group was offering daytime adult classes, one of which was Patchwork and quilting. From day one of this class I knew I was hooked!! However, at that time in Sydney information about quilts was almost non-existent, so I was limited to the sample blocks shown in class.
Then everything changed. I was lucky to have some distant relatives who lived in the United States. On one of their visits to Sydney they were genuinely interested in my quilting and generously offered to send some quilting magazines "Quilters Newsletters". For the next 15 years every month, these wonderful magazines arrived bringing excitement and inspiration.
From this little drawing...
Note from Maryanne - yes that is all hand quilted!
15 years on, these magazines are still in use and are a great "best friend". They bring back memories of the past, I enjoy their company in the present and they give me inspiration for the future.
In time, many other magazines for quilters arrived on the market, some imported from the United States, others locally produced. All are interesting but why are my old Quilters Newsletters still my favourites?
Even though the covers usually feature quilts with amazing wow factor, prize winners or "I could never do that quilts", the contents include every level and style of quilt ever made. There is something for every quilter, traditional and modern, different colour palettes to experiment with, tutorials and chatty articles - in fact they are the forerunner of today's blogs.
With the passing of time they have become "timeless". Dated hairstyles and clothing (Did I ever wear that?) only add to the entertainment factor.
So do keep some of your old magazines, particularly those you bought at the beginning of your crafting journey. They will become your best friends.
Although it is fun to trip down memory lane, here is a little more practical advice!!!
Rulers are my best friend
You can never have too many of them. There are rulers for all occasions but the ones I can't live without are my long ruler (22.5" x6") and my square rulers (16" and 6.5"). My very favourite is my Scrap Saver.
It is designed to be used for cutting half square triangles and its markings go from 1 1/8" to 3 7/8". Stitch two of these triangles into a square with a 1/4" seam allowance and you will create a square with a finishes size of 1" to 3". Magic!!! No fiddly finding 3/8" and 7/8" measurements on your grid ruler. Every time I cut fabric my trusty Scrap Saver is with me and any small odd shaped pieces are cut in to half square triangles. It gives me a great collection for my scrap quilts!
The last but not least best friend is my hexagon template
I like the 3/4" size and the 1/4" border style allows me to mark both the seam and the cutting lines, making it quick and accurate for handwork.
Patchwork and quilting tools have come a long way since my first efforts were to draft every template on sand paper. How lucky we all are to have have some many "best friends" available to us!
Happy quilting and crafting.
Palak is a new blogging friend of ours and she blogs at Make it Handmade. Her blog is looking so fresh - and that's because it is!! She has recently decided to concentrate on her sewing and so has renamed her blog to reflect where she is heading! And heading she is... She has written for Sew Mama Sew and her recent series on sergers (overlockers for the Australians among us!!!) is impressive. Make sure you check her out.
Thanks so much for the serger inspiration, Palak. Mine's been packed away for a while but you have tempted me to go and find it!!
When I was in primary school, I remember many conversations that went something like this:
"She's my best friend."
"No, she's my best friend."
"No, she can't be your best friend because she's mine."
On and on, round and round in circles for much of our playtime.
Today, Kristin from skirt as top has a best friend who is one of the most popular kids in the class. Thankfully we have all moved on from our younger years and realise that we are mature enough to share!!Anyway - I know Kristin would be happy to share. She is such a lovely, supportive blogger. Although I had been a regular reader of her blog for some time, our paths crossed when she sent us the most delightful email, the day we were voted off Project Run and Play. In our very sad state, it was so lovely to receive such thoughtful words of support and understanding from her. Don't forget to visit her blog - you'll have lots of fun there!!
hi, i'm kristin from skirt as top
, and i'm so happy to be here sharing my best friend in the sewing world with you today! i love how this series has really made me think about who (or what) has helped me along in my sewing journey. when maryanne and caroline invited me to participate, i had one immediate thought: my best friend is Oliver + S patterns
before i go any further, i should say that REALLY, my mom is the one that deserves all of the credit for me taking on sewing as a hobby. she sewed clothes for my sisters and i, for herself, she made all sorts of handy projects, and i believe she can sew anything. she taught me the basics as a kid, but what she really did was make sewing a familiar craft to me - i knew how the machine should sound, i saw the possibilities of what can be made versus bought, i knew what supplies i would need. from my mom i also learned that sewing is something that can be done with kids playing in the same room, a habit i hope to pick up more as mine get a little older (i have a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old). for now, i'm mostly a naptime/bedtime sewer.
my mom truly gave me a jump start in sewing i'm eternally grateful to her for that, but i didn't embrace sewing as my own
hobby and passion until my daughter was a toddler (summer of 2009). i couldn't bring myself to buy $20 simple cotton skirts from the store when i knew they'd be so easy and cheap to make exactly how i wanted them. my husband gave a sewing machine as a gift, and i got it set up.
i quickly realized that sewing is such an ancient craft and i was such a newbie, i wanted to learn from others. however, i didn't want to pay for a class, just in case it "didn't take." i think i ended up just googling "toddler skirt pattern" to get me started. lo and behold, i discovered the Oliver + S lazy days skirt FREE pattern
, and that was my first sewing project
the first lazy days skirt i made took me 2 hours, but i learned so much. the instructions walked me through each step, and i learned how fun (and challenging) it was to choose fabrics that would look interesting, mesh with her existing wardrobe, and look "boutique" rather than "homemade." the lazy days skirt (with or without ribbon hem) remains my go-to skirt method to this day.
once i was ready to take the next step to try a pattern with pieces (but still wasn't ready to pay for it yet), i tried the popover sundress pattern
(also FREE). my first
popover sundress is the brown with pink corduroy in the bottom middle:
aside from learning how to follow a simple pattern, the popover sundress also taught me how to make and sew bias tape! after that success i was hooked on sewing, and on Oliver + S patterns specifically. i knew that if these free patterns were so good, their "real" patterns must be even better!
i was right. i am now a full-fledged Oliver + S devotee. i see their patterns as the gold standard by which every other pattern is judged - they're interesting, classic designs, the fit is always good, the techniques are clever and the instructions clear. best of all, they're comfortable and easy for kids to wear!
(i say almost
my whole collection because i have a few digital patterns
too...they're not as pretty all stacked up)
with each Oliver + S pattern i make, i learn a new technique that i can apply to future projects. every step is explained so well, that even if i've never tried a particular technique before, it teaches me how and then i can continue to use it on my own designs. for instance, i learned how to line a bodice from the bubble dress
, and used that method when i created my project run & play
creation, the sweet tartan dress
). i also used the sunday brunch jacket
pattern to create my kimono jacket
and little red jacket
for project run & play!
my favorite boy patterns, hands down, are the sailboat top and pants
. they're really fun to sew and add unique style to a little guy's wardrobe without being overdone. i love that Oliver + S patterns are great basic designs that i can easily customize. he could have five sailboat tops in his closet and i would feel like, based on fabric/button selection, they could look completely different.
my other favorite "boy" pattern (actually unisex but i've only used it for boys) is the bedtime story pajamas
, especially the bottoms:
since they're so versatile and fun to sew, i also tend to make my Oliver + S patterns over and over (which helps justify the higher-than-commercial-pattern price tag). the bucket hat from Oliver + S creator Liesl Gibson's book, little things to sew
, is now a summertime staple. bucket hat is now also a free download
! check out a little gray's tutorials for no hand stitching
and widened brims
i've sewn more projects from little things to sew than any sewing/craft book i own.
while i have sewn most of my patterns a few times, some patterns i've only sewn once (though this post is making me want to get them all out again!):
i think Oliver + S, more than any other blog, tutorial, or class, has taught me to sew properly and has helped make sewing my passion. their flickr group
is active and quickly brought me into the "sewing community, and their blog
has fun "customizing with Oliver + S" posts that really show the patterns' potential. i've even made a real life friend
through the Oliver + S flickr group! pretty cool. a big thanks to Liesl Gibson
for creating such a great company and being such a generous person (commenting on people's projects, putting out free patterns, and helping people learn through her excellent pattern writing). i'll go ahead and shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE OLIVER + S!
if you'd like to read more about any of the projects i've shown here, please see my flickr set
for pre-blog details and links to my blog posts. and feel free to stop by skirt as top
thanks so much for having me, ladies! this was a fun trip down memory lane. (since this might read as a bit of a commercial, i feel the need to state that Oliver + S is not currently a sponsor of mine and i received no compensation for this post)
Thanks so much Kristin. O + S patterns really are the best. There is always at least one of them on my sewing to do list.
And as Kristin says, if you are new to sewing O + S patterns are a perfect place to start. All the patterns are graded according to their difficulty - from one to four scissors. If you work your way through from the more simpler patterns to the 4 scissor ones, when you get to the end, you will have taught yourself to sew!!
What is your favorite O+S pattern? And what new skills did it teach you?
Today it's Kathreen from Whip Up's turn to tell us about her best friend.
She has introduced herself...
Kathreen Ricketson is the founder and editor behind the craft website whipup.net
and the children's magazine action-pack.com
, she has also written several craft books for quilters and children.
Kathreen lives in Canberra, Australia with her two pre-teen kiddos, wonderful husband and whole heap of chaos!
My best friend - ah! I have several best friends in my sewing/design studio. My sewing machine could be called my best friend, but perhaps my nemesis is a more likely term. It is the agent of my downfall into the chaos and clutter and addiction that is quilting, sewing and fabric.
I am quite on intimate terms with my rotary cutter and quilting rulers and several favourite pairs of scissors, particular some little sharp snippers that seem to disappear quite a bit, it seems that they are two timing me quite abominably.
I consort quite enthusiastically with my fabric stash, I visit, fondle and play with joyful abandon at times and in quiet solitude at other times.
My confidante is my computer and several programs within, I am quite at liberty to visit with Photoshop, indesign and illustrator whenever I please and have an open invitation, which I flaunt quite unashamedly, with google.
My stauchest allies are my ipad, iphone and my Nook, together they help me to avoid work whenever possible, but do assist when I am in a bind.
I have more than a friendly acquaintance with my yarn basket and my crochet hooks, together we while away rainy afternoons when other playmates are otherwise indisposed.
I am passingly familiar with the box filled with glue, stamping supplies, beads, wire and scrap paper, it has helped me on various occasions when in the vicinity of raucous or curious children.
But perhaps my bosomest of buddies, my soul mates, my fastest friends are my pen and notebook. They go together with me everywhere, they listen and observe without judgement or criticism.
Thanks Kathreen for sharing your multiple friends with us today.I know you guys are all familiar with Whip Up, so I certainly don't need to introduce it to you. However, I would like to say something about it. Whip Up was one of the first craft blogs I discovered and it has been a tried and true friend to me. Kathreen balances wonderful personal crafting inspiration with book reviews, round ups and great collections of guest posts. It continues to inspire me.
And make sure you check out Action Pack - a growing collection of fantastic magazines for children aged 7 and above. They are filled with all the things you want your kids to be doing!!!!
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!