Things I’ve learnt in January

things I learnt Jan

1/12th of 2016 almost gone already… I know, time flies when you’re having fun! But it’s also scary and a bit sad. Today, while randomly looking for something completely different, I came across the ‘7 things I’ve learnt so far’ series on Writer’s Digest and it sparked an idea. What if instead of getting depressed that I have grown older (even if just by 30 more days), the last post of each month will celebrate all the things I’ve learnt lately? This will help to just remind myself that I have also grown a tiny bit wiser and celebrate the small ‘aha!’ moments and little everyday victories. I will mostly focus on sewing related things, but if there are other non-sewing related things worth mentioning, I’ll pop them in too.

So here we go for January…


You’ve heard about this a lot by now, so I won’t bore you with the details. But the main lesson for me was that anything, no matter how complicated it might seem to begin with, can be broken down into steps and suddenly it becomes more manageable. I loved that I could sew in small chunks, as jeans making have very finite operations. I am one to sew in massive chunks, ‘stay there until it’s done’ sort of philosophy. And yet I found this incremental sewing very rewarding, only allowing myself an hour of two to finish something and then stop and try to have a life outside the sewing room.

Also, Alex, just stop procrastinating already and start that darn ‘hard’ project already!! You won’t really achieve anything until you actually start it. And if you muck it up, you much it up. Something will come out of it, event if it’s just a lesson on what not to do.

And guess what, I have already ticked off one out of my three must sew projects for the year!

Red Ginger Jeans (2016) #04



I got mine especially for dealing with the massive amount of topstitching that I needed to tackle for jeans, but it’s been amazing for a lot of other things. I know people say that having a gazillion feet is a bit of an overkill, but if you were to spend money on one thing, get this one. I usually get all my feet and accessories from GUR Sewing Machines online, (no affiliation) as they have a really good selection for Pfaff.


The last few days I had to take time off work to deal with this horrendous flu type thing. I get sick very very rarely and I always thought that there is nothing short of broken limbs that would stop me from sewing if I were at home. Well, I can tell you, it didn’t even cross my mind to get out of bed with this one, for two days I could not even think about sewing… I did a bit of cutting today, but even that made me so tired, I had to go lie down to recover afterwards. My husband did say that this was some serious stuff if I ignored the sewing room for so long…


If you remember in my post about the teal culottes, I mentioned that I felt the crotch is a bit too low hanging and I was thinking to unpick them and sort that out. Well, new year, new resolutions, I decided to do just that, feeling all empowered after the jeans success. And it was a right ol’ pain in the backside to do, as I had to take out waistband, zipper and side pockets, plus a heck of a lot of top-stitching. Which I patiently did. And then, I cut out the excess. Then I patiently put it all back again, including pleats, minus the zipper, followed by the realisation that I HAD CUT TOO MUCH!! So now, instead of a hanging crotch, I was the proud owner of both a camel toe and a wedgie. And it totally broke my heart, as I really loved those culottes. Not to mention the waste of time to make and un-pick them. But I have reused the fabric into a dress, which I’m in the process of sewing together now. And I need to remake those culottes soon!


Since I started this blog, I really wanted to improve my photography skills. I have tried various tools and courses and at some point, I came across Emma Davies Photography. Emma teaches a free online course called ‘A year with my camera’ which teaches you how to get off auto mode and take the best pictures you can take on your own. And in January, I learnt what is this aperture thing and how it can be changed to make the backgrounds blurred or clearer. If you are interested in learning more about photography, I very much recommend Emma’s weekly lessons.


I am a bit overwhelmed by my stash. I also know that I have a lot of fabric that I don’t know how to use. Ditto for patterns. I also can’t justify buying more fabric when I have it coming out of my ears… So maybe the solution would be a swap. Maybe someone else will have some use for the pieces I can’t use and I can find a gem in someone else’s unwanted pile. So I asked the question via Twitter on how you go about organising a swap and the lovely Chuleenan from C sews replied to me with the most helpful and comprehensive email possible. I am gutted I don’t actually live in the Bay Area in San Francisco so I could take part in her super fun and super well organised meet-ups. But she gave me the low down and perhaps I could try organising one in London too. So, 2 questions for you: 1) Are there any meet-ups that you know of in London (please let me know the deets). 2) Would you be interested in taking part in one if I were to set one up?


Did you know that? Also, September is National Sewing month, at least in America. Are we doing anything related to this in Britain? Have we got any national sewing related days over here? How about celebrating it in a special way this year (see above).


That’s my little recap of nuggets I picked up in January. How about you guys?

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great February!

Alex xx




  1. You must make another pair of culottes! I loved your teal pair – my favourite make of yours. My last pair (no.3) were made out of a mustard colour designer corduroy.


  2. Hi, over on the fold line there is a London get together soon, sadly I’m working that weekend and can’t go. Would love to meet up with others sewers and I’m certainly up for a fabric/pattern swap!


  3. Such a shame about the culottes! I shall be in the UK in September/October, so if there’s a meetup when I happen to hit London that would be awesome!


    1. Well, don’t you worry, official meet-up or not, I’d love to see you! I was gutted you only had a whistle stop tour last time you were here. I’m working on a Phoenix dress from the culottes’ ashes :). As soon as I can muster the energy to get out of bed, I’ll whip it back into my wardrobe :).


  4. Hi Alex, I’ve just found your blog and think I’ going to enjoy it! I’ll definately be interested in a meet up and have several friends who, I’m sure, would also.


    1. Hi Sue, welcome! Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. It would be great to meet you and your friends if I do end up organising something. Keep you posted via the blog.


    1. Thanks Charlotte! I should actually exchange ideas with you, I know you already organise a really good meet-up in Birmingham… I’ll ping you an email at some point.


  5. You are so funny Alex, your escapade with the culottes made me laugh out loud! Organise a meet up and I’ll definitely come! Hope you’re feeling better now! 😘


    1. True story :). But so sad, I really loved those. I hope I can find the fabric and make them again… Also, hoping the Phoenix dress will work out ok. I swear that fabric is cursed. I had 5m of it and no wearable garment to show for it… :S


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