Wednesday, 22 February 2017

My 3 Year blogiversary!

I can't believe it! I've reached my 3 year blogiversary! So I've been sewing now for nearly 4 years, come Easter, when I found my informal class with Lyn. I posted my first review on Pattern Review in July 2013, more a plea for help! The following are photos from PR, before I started my blog.
I think you can see why I needed help. This is an unfinished top - I wasn't happy with the dart and crossover position.
Never finished. Wrong fabric and I didn't know how to alter to fit. This was a Maggy London top
First finished item (Jalie). I still have this fabric but I gave the top away.

My first attempts at sewing were appalling. Lack of knowledge, lack of support and a wonky machine! I now have a better machine, support from tutors in class - and of course, my blog and PR, and some knowledge to let me try the things I want to.
I dared to enter this in a PR contest! I got a lot of help and advice. There was so much I didn't know that I didn't know I didn't know! I could make a nice shirt now. My machine can do things the last one couldn't eg eyelets to finish neckline!
Thank you
Thank you so much to all of you who read my musings. I particularly enjoy comments - and am happy to receive constructive criticism, hints,  tips etc on how to improve my sewing, my original focus. Please do carry on visiting my blog. I reread my first blog post and those who commented then are still with me - thank you! I enjoy reading others’ blogs too. I'm not quite into Instagram  - maybe because I have so little to show! Facebook, too - I have an account but rarely use it. Perhaps I should. But I love the greater interaction in a blog post.

What is a blog?
I started my blog as a personal log of my sewing, feeling that having it public would make me commit to it more  - I could never keep a diary. I had to put in a work log/process portfolio for my courses (which came from September 2014) so this helped. At the same time,  of course,  being public means that one has to be a bit more circumspect. I gradually expanded the subject matter from my beginning adventures in sewing and my course work to include family sewing. I struggled a bit with DH or name, photos or not. How much personal detail?

Most read posts
Until very recently, my most read blog posts were one on making a bodice block and dart manipulation from my first course, one on making a McCall's cardigan/ jacket, photo below, one on my first steps in the Seven Steps to Style programme and a post on Helen's wedding and dress. I say until recently. For some reason, the number of daily reads my blog gets has increased a lot since the end of last year and 3 of the previous 4 most read posts have fallen way behind in the stats. In general, posts on actual garments from patterns are the most read. Sadly, I feel that while numbers who read my posts have increased, comments have fallen off, though I believe that is a common finding. My most read post - the one detailing my best makes of 2106, including all the wedding finery. My most commented post (other than an early giveaway post) - Helen's wedding dress.

I still wear this. I'm planning to make another, but without the peplum this time. In navy

Not a great photo of the dress but it worked well in rather wild dancing!
The item I'm most proud of?
Helen's wedding dress, of course! I'm also pretty pleased with Anthony's waistcoat which he has worn to several weddings etc since and of the bridesmaid dresses.

Real life meet ups
Over the last 3 years, really in the last year, I have enjoyed meeting some fellow sewers in real life. In fact, I'm going to the Yorkshire Spoolettes Dewsbury meet up on Saturday coming. I went to last year's event and to the Sew Up North event. I briefly met Kate of Fabrickated in London. I have a fitting weekend coming up in March where I'll meet some more new friends.

Confidence and not buying RTW
Over the last 3 years,  I have become a more confident sewer. I'm happy to consider tackling anything. From a construction point of view that is! I'm still struggling with fit - I'm battling (again) with trousers at the moment,  though I have excellent help! I'm also struggling with making things I suit. In RTW you can try on,  like or not,  buy or not. It's frustrating when I make things that don't suit and I don't wear. I have given away most of what I've made. This is partly why I enjoy sewing for the family and will continue to do so. I need to find my sewn style. I'm fairly clear what I want to wear when I go shopping for RTW. It doesn't fit, I've become more critical - I haven't bought RTW for ages,  though I didn't commit to a fast this year. It's a diet rather than a fast! That is, if I saw something that fitted and I liked I would buy it in a flash! That hasn't happened, with the singular exception of my MOB outfit.
Me in my MOB outfit with Helen
Recently I bought a long black cardigan from Sainsbury's to pair with trousers on a day when I was cold and I think that's the only other thing I've bought in long enough. Quite a change.

My focus this year,  though, is on staples which I can't buy. A well fitting pair of trousers or two or three. A few well fitting tops,  various styles. Some well fitting cardigans, with a bit of style hopefully. A couple of casual jackets. In my colour palette.  It may take me a while! I've opted out,  or rather haven't opted in,  to a couple of wardrobe contests that,  while the things I wanted to make would exactly meet the brief, imposed too strict a time frame for my needs.

Fitting and weight loss
A note on well-fitting. I'm still losing weight and I realise that things I make now won't fit in a few weeks. I couldn't put off,  though. My RTW is fitting even less well than before. I'll have to revisit the trouser block in a few weeks. Should be easier by then I hope. I will ask Rory's help; she just sighed yesterday when I mentioned the weight loss issue. I'm afraid, too, I do go up and down a bit!

College Courses, learning skills and transferring them
My college courses were discontinued,  sadly, but Rory stepped into the breach with a level 3 Class, non accredited. That's good as we learn the skills but don't have to do a lot of the extra associated with the college course - business cases,  financial plans etc which no-one on the course wanted or needed. Even better that I don't have a long commute to Sunderland in rush hour traffic! The techniques I'm learning are expanding my skills. They may not be immediately relevant to my plans this year but many are transferable. I'm immediately thinking pockets  - a zipped pocket would be perfect in a casual jacket and the trousers I originally hacked had a zipped jetted pocket,  though I'm simplifying the design for the block.

The future
As far as the blog is concerned, I'm intending to continue as long as it gets read! I know my photography needs to be better - we'll see! To be honest, it's not a big priority. Are there any changes you would like to see me make?


  1. Congratulations! Its lovely to read why you started your blog. I also could never keep a diary so I blogged to catalog my makes. Its a shame that your classes have been discontinued but it sounds like you are getting help from Rory. Here's to another 4 years of blogging! I look forward to reading your posts!

    I just had a thought about the comments. My hypothesis as to why people comment less on blogs is because of 2 things - time and number of blogs followed. The sewing community has so many wonderful blogs to read and enjoy but at the same time there is no one easy click way of commenting. Because a lot of people are time poor, it makes for less commenting I guess. Wordpress does have a feature I like - the 'LIKE' button you can click on which is a quick way of saying you have read and enjoyed but may not necessarily be able to comment at the time. Unfortunately other platforms do not have this and require security protocols to reduce spam each time you want to comment. Spam control is very important though. So I think between time poverty (is there such a term?) and multitudes of blogs, comments suffer.

    Sorry for the ramble - I blame academia for that!! Looking forward to seeing you on Saturday!!
    Hila @saturdaynightstitch

    1. Thanks, Hila.
      I suspect you're right about reasons for fewer comments. On a couple of occasions recently I've had difficulty commenting on blogs where I haven't had an issue previously. I wanted to comment so persevered but could so easily have given up.
      Love the ramble. Keep on commenting! See you Saturday.

  2. time does fly, doesn't it? It doesn't seem three years. You have learnt a lot, and I do so envy you being able to be taught by a professional! Your wedding dress was superb, and you are gradually getting the hang of how to work with fitting. Mind you, I would have worn the top two knits, maybe not out, but perhaps for popping on in the evening after work, where you want to look dressed, but perfect is not required for cooking meals!
    And as for blog comments, I used to comment on everyone's blog, but now restrict myself to those that I have a two way blog relationship with. Like yourself - I chat to you, and you chat to me. That's how I operate in real life, after all. And some I will "like" on IG and they "like" my posts back, but now don't comment on my blog. That's fine, we all have time limitations, but now I tend to follow the lead of the other, so to speak.

    1. Thanks, Sarah Liz - yes, time certainly flies!
      The first top was actually uncomfortable because of the way the seams lay. I knew it needed altering buy jag no idea how to do it.
      I agree about the two way relationship. I have stopped commenting on some blogs where they have never commented on mine and have never acknowledged my comment on theirs. I don't see the point.

  3. I like reading about your journey. Sewing can be such an isolated activity that it is nice to touch base with others working on the same or similar skills. I recently started commenting because I didn't think I had much to contribute- working through that but now fighting with auto correct and different platforms. I think comments are declining because it is harder on small phone screens versus a full computer keyboard, and maybe for fear of igniting a fierce conversation. It is hard to put precise meaning into a typed message... so much gets lost in the script. But it is important that we keep trying to make these kinds of connections. We may never meet but I am richer for knowing you through what you share. Others must feel the same or they would stop popping by for a little one way conversation. Congrats on your anniversary!

    1. Thank you. Sorry, I don't know your name or your blog or where you are! I like meeting irl those I 'meet' on my or their blog. Thank you for commenting! Let me have your blog details, if you have one.
      It certainly sounds that cross platform comments are difficult. Phones (and I'm on my phone just now) make it even harder.

  4. Congratulations on your blogiversary! It's been wonderful to follow your journey. Like Hila I blame the growing amount of blogs and limited time for the dropping in comments. I'm always way behind in blog reading and often find myself spending more time in the blogosphere than in the sewing room. Not sure how to deal with that. Cutting down on blog reading is hard as I cherish the inspiration and the interaction with others that share my passion for sewing. I try to comment as often as I can but I never seem to be able to keep up!

    1. Thank you, Marianne. Loved your Moneta! As you know, I've now started with Instagram but will continue to comment on blogs and of course post them myself. Like you, I love the interaction but am always behind. I'm likely to drop some of the blogs I currently follow, but certainly not any of those I have an interaction with. Quite a number of those at #sewdowndewsbury didn't have blogs and couldn't understand why I didn't use Instagram. It can't replace but it can supplement! Thank you for reading and commenting

  5. Ann,
    I enjoy reading your blog, I do not always add a comment, and I apologize for that.
    This was a wonderful post.
    You have come far and tackle many projects!
    I am very jealous of yout sewing friends and events. Here in La Paz there are few women that sew with a passion, and no meetups!
    Keep blogging and keep sewing.

    1. Thank you, Susan. No apologies needed! I'm so glad you visit and you do comment - I count you as one of my stalwarts! You may be aware that we are considering downsizing and moving nearer our daughters - but missing out on my sewing is one of the considerations. There are not that many people here - Dewsbury is a 230 mile round trip that takes over 4 hours on the train, longer driving. Worth the trip occasionally but it couldn't be a regular thing, time wise or financially. One sewer travelled from Germany to the meet up at the weekend for a fraction of the cost of the train fare we paid!
      Best wishes, Anne

  6. I enjoy your blog as you explain your fitting issues and how you resolve them really well. You have made some amazing outfits. I am pleased that I have met you, and Helen, and look forward to meeting you again. Well done to complete three years (I am only just behind you).

    1. Thank you. You may be behind me in time but certainly not number of posts. I enjoy reading your varied blog posts.


Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Please leave a comment. I welcome each and every one. I value criticism (constructive of course! ), love hints and tips and would appreciate suggestions for future direction.

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