Hey, It’s OK…

Readers of Glamour magazine will be familiar with the ‘Hey, It’s OK’ feature, which takes a light-hearted look at the little things we feel secretly guilty about, but really shouldn’t.

It seems to me that sewists in particular are prone to these hidden-away anxieties. So many sewers (myself included) lament a wonky seam, a slightly off pattern match or not-quite-right dart, when in reality these minor mistakes are rarely – if ever – noticed by anyone else. Life isn’t like the Sewing Bee (thank goodness).

I say it’s time to stop worrying about the errors and start celebrating the successes, so I’ve compiled a Glamour-style list especially for sewers. Do you have any secret sewing-based niggles you want to let go of? Don’t be shy – chances are everyone else will be thinking the same thing.

Hey, It’s Ok…

…to reuse the same pattern

Trying out a new pattern for the first time is both exciting and stressful, and a whole host of questions run through my mind: will it turn out like the pretty picture on the front? Will I ruin my expensive fabric? Will the design suit me?

Yet that doesn’t stop me trying out new ones – after all, the only way to push your sewing skills forward is to step out of your comfort zone once in a while. However, sometimes it can be just as satisfying to revisit an old pattern; you already know it works for you, so there’s no need to worry about fit issues or dodgy instructions. But it can feel like a bit of a cop-out.

Whenever I reuse an old pattern, I can’t help but feel a bit secretly guilty, like I’m cheating by not sewing something new. But you know what? Practice makes perfect, meaning you can make your second (or third, or fourth, or fifth…) version even better than the first. This is why I’m on my third sorbetto (and have no plans to stop making them…).

...to have a not-so-amazing sewing space

Although gazing longingly at beautiful sewing rooms on Pinterest may be a fun way to pass a lunchbreak, it doesn’t help me feel any better about my real and rather unimpressive space. In fact, it isn’t even a dedicated sewing area – I have to move a whole lotta junk out of the way first before I can even think about getting started.

Don’t get me wrong – I’d love nothing more than a beautifully decorated sewing room, complete with ample shelving for my huge stack of Liberty fabrics (a girl can dream). But I’ve used my trusty sewing machine on many a surface – my parents’ dining room, a coffee table, a footstool (yes, really) – and can attest to the fact that it doesn’t really matter where you sew. As long as you’re comfortable, it’ll work. That dream sewing room can wait.

…to keep it simple

So, your last project was an elaborately panelled evening dress, a tricky lined jacket, or perhaps a perfectly tailored pair of trousers – onto the next one, right? Well, not for me – after a particularly difficult crafting session, the last thing I want to do is immediately dive into another complicated pattern. Instead, I like to tackle something I know I can handle to give myself a bit of a break. And to stop me swearing off sewing forever (don’t deny it – you’ve been there too).

…to sew what you love, not what you need

This post by Sewaholic got me thinking about this one. I certainly sew too much ‘frosting’ (pretty prints) and not enough ‘cake’ (plain and practical pieces). In fact, I’m also concerned that my ‘frosting’ isn’t even particularly co-ordinated – one minute I’m buying pretty florals, the next I’m into abstract, modern prints. I am yet to sew something without a pattern splashed all over it, although my wardrobe is in dire need of practical separates. But I’m not going to feel bad about sewing something pretty rather than something plain – after all, sewing is a hobby, not a chore. And everyone knows frosting is the best bit of the cake anyway, right?

Photo credit: dutch blue / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND


Review: The Great British Sewing Bee, BBC Two

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a needle and thread and tried my hand at sewing for the first time since studying A Level textiles (which is too many years ago to mention) so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that a new Great British Bake Off-style sewing series was about to hit BBC2. Judged by no-nonsense sewing expert and WI Institute member May Martin and dashing Savile Row tailor Patrick Grant, the show features eight competitors battling it out to be crowned the country’s best home sewer. Cue frantic seam-finishing, bungled buttonholes and sweaty-palmed stitching galore. Continue reading “Review: The Great British Sewing Bee, BBC Two”