One woman, two blogs…and a dirty little sewing habit

70s Fabric

A clue of posts to come…

My name is Lisa and I am addicted to sewing. I can no longer pretend otherwise. This dirty little habit took hold before The Great British Sewing Bee aired last week but the fire is only being fuelled by the Beeb’s latest instalment. I was hooked from the very first stitch.

Already on my sewing journey, I’ve amassed patterns a-plenty (there was a sale) and a fabric stash to die for. In fact, if I’m not careful, this blog will be consumed by my madness and you’ll have to put up with all manner of nonsense about piping, seams and all kinds of whatnots I haven’t even learned yet. So, to prevent that happening, I’ve decided to split myself in two…I’ve set up a sewing blog where I can whitter on until my heart’s content (a LOT of whittering then!) I’ve rather nattily (I think, anyway) called it Stitched Up From the Start and will chart my journey from virgin seamstress to, hopefully, something a little better than total disaster.

Pattern Stash

Patterns a-plenty

If you’re following on here and you want to hop over, please do but don’t desert me here. I’m not going anywhere. I’m just greedy…and I can’t deal with messy blog content. Tidy house, tidy mind – or so my mother always said!

The sudden overwhelming love of sewing isn’t all that unpredictable by the way. I’ve always been a crafty type. And, as anyone who followed my January stylathon will know, I love a good project too. In the past, I’ve dabbled with various artsy hobbies – I made the hair combs for my wedding party, put together the flowers for my daughter’s christening and I used to make my own birthday cards (not actually my own…that would be tragic but you know what I mean!)

Fabric Stash

The fabric stash

So, follow my latest venture if you’d like to see the good, the bad and the downright ugly…but don’t leave me on my Bill here! Watch out for my new post on Nestle Against My Heart in the next few days…content hint: it’s called That Sunday Feeling!

Sew Far, Sew Good

Sewing Machine

As promised, a sew sew post!

I can count the number of times I’ve sat at a sewing machine on one hand. Everytime, it’s ended in near disaster. I blame my high school textiles teacher. On the outside, she was one of those home-spun, Good Life types – a little bit waif-like, always preserving jam and a fully-fledged member of the WI. The meekest woman you can possibly imagine. But underneath, she was a seething battleaxe ready to pounce on the nearest wayward pupil.

I wasn’t that wayward. In fact, I wasn’t wayward at all. I was a bit of a nerd and desperate to please, actually. But I just couldn’t sew. And that was my downfall. After a five minute lesson on how to thread a sewing machine, we were set on our way, making purses. Sounds simple enough but what happens when your thread snaps, your machine gets in a jam and you’re too scared to ask the monster hiding behind her glasses and a pile of marking how to fix it? Well, I’ll fill you in. What happens is this: you get a detention. And you’re made to sit behind your broken machine until you finish your purse. Which is never going to happen. So, you sit staring at your machine, hoping it’ll somehow fix itself whilst your blissfully unaware teacher sits eating her lunch at her desk. One cursory glance…and an ounce of teaching skill…could’ve saved me from a lifetime of sewing fear.

You see, I was always good with a needle in my hand so finding out I was a tragedy with a machine was devastating. As a youngster, I’d spend hours drawing dresses (of course it was always dresses!) and hankered after the clack of a sewing machine as if it was therapy. But, because of this one experience, sewing just seemed like such an impossible mystery and I was terrified to give it another go.

The Sewing Sessions Bag

The bag that changed it all…

Then I found The Sewing Sessions in Leeds (they also have a branch in Ipswich). And, in one day, Jessica taught me more than my textiles teacher in my whole school career…French seams, bias-binding, lined pockets – all in one miraculous little bag!

After doing the Beginner’s Session with Jessica, my fear has totally dissolved away…to be replaced by mad passion and a palpitating heart everytime I see my shiny new Janome. And, of course, a beginner’s enthusiasm. I dream of making dresses, adapting vintage patterns, reigning supreme on The Great British Sewing Bee(!)

The Pouch I Made

Check out that top-stitching!

But, for now, I’m satisfied with making this little pouch to put all my little bobbins and gubbins in. It took me far longer than it ever should have and my brain was in an almighty tangle just thinking about the upside down, inside out, pull-it-through of it all…but I did it. Without a pattern. With my own fair hands. And, I reckon, if I can do that with proper seams and top-stitching, I can do just about anything.

So, this year, I’ll be learning how to sew…because, inside, I am still that perpetual pupil, eager to please and desperate for knowledge. And, sporadically, I’ll let you know how I get on. My first dressmaking project is going to be Tilly Walnes’ picnic-blanket skirt and, do you know what, I’ll sit at my machine until it’s jolly-well finished this time!