Sewing is my superpower and I'm using it for good! It helps me curb my fashion consumption whilst still having a stylish wardrobe. It enables me to teach others to be creative and sew their own clothes too. It connects me to the most amazing community on the internet: online sewing community.
This does sound a bit overdramatic, doesn’t it? Well, maybe a tad.
But no other dress I ever sewed, except my wedding dress, put me through the wringer quite as much as this Sophia Dress from Burda Style Magazine Vintage Special. It took a long time, a lot of head scratching and a lot of swearing to turn from pattern+fabric into a dress I can slip into. And all for just one wear…
Was it worth it? Well, read on and tell me what do you think…
Hi everyone! My name is Irina, I live in Cluj, a lovely city from Transylvania and I am thrilled to take you along on a virtual tour of the best fabric shops the city has to offer. I’ve started sewing about a year ago, and I’ve soon become obsessed with all things fabric and notions. The fabric shops in my city have quickly become one of my happy places and I love to pop in to see what new stuff they have. Also, whenever I’m travelling somewhere I always check out the local fabric shops, I think we can all agree that fabric is the best souvenir. So, if you ever find yourself in Cluj, I hope this little guide will help you.
I for one stopped bringing souvenirs back from holidays ages ago, but I do love a bit of a foreign addition to my fabric stash. How lovely to make a project that will not only add a great new garment to your wardrobe but also bring back memories of fantastic far away holidays!
But where are the best places to go fabric shopping when you are in a foreign city? You have Lonely Planet for travelling, but what’s our sewing equivalent?
It brings me great joy to introduce to you all an idea that has been running through my head for a while and now finally it’s becoming reality!
I was out with my sister and her girlfriends during my recent visit to Copenhagen and of course, we love to talk. A lot. My sister is really passionate about psychology and usually, these outings tend to turn into impromptu pour-it-all-out sessions where we lay things out for analysis. And the first thing that spilt out of me was about how much sewing means to me, but also how guilty I feel about it completely taking over my life.
So I started thinking about this a bit more. Clearly, there are many positive effects of sewing on our lives. We create, we unwind, we connect, we escape reality. We surround ourselves with beautiful fabric, we create beautiful clothes that fit the bodies that we have, not that the ones that the fashion industry says we should have.
But is this all there is to it?
Sometimes I find myself feeling overwhelmed as often as I do excited. Or anxious. Or self-pressured. In relation to sewing, of course.
And then there is the guilt. It takes so many shapes that I sometimes feel it’s not just one feeling, there are dozens. So I’ve made a list of the top 10 ones for me so we can compare notes.
Before I started sewing, if someone mentioned TNT, I would think of bombs and explosions. You know, trinitrotoluene, the stuff that is used to detonate things and would show up in cartoons, usually blowing up Wiley Coyote. How misguided I was…
In the sewing world, TNT actually stands for Tried’n’True patterns, i.e. a pattern that you have made loads of versions of and has stood the test of time, fit and wear, to become a wardrobe staple.
Why are we talking about this now?
November is TNT month over at the Sewcialists, the online sewing community. So I wanted to give you my take on them as well. Join the conversation with #sewcialistsTNT.
Well, I don’t mind showing you mine, but I genuinely have no idea how big it is. Or what I really have in it. I am a glutton for sugar, fabric and patterns, not necessarily in that order. So I binge, on fabric (like my upcoming trip to Abakhan in Bolton with my friend Simona from Sewing Adventures in the Attic – quivering with anticipation!), on Burda Magazines, PDF patterns, paper patterns, on cake, you name it. Problem is that I end up with a ginormous fabric stash, a massive patterns collection and a few inches on my thighs.
And although I have no answer to the latter problem, I recently found a solution for my pattern collection management.
It is, of course, an app, what else? Please allow me to elaborate…
A few years ago, in a moment of insanity, I ordered a big lot of scuba remnants off eBay. Now, all seasoned sewists know that a remnant lot will most likely be random pieces of fabric, that most of the time cannot actually be used for anything useful.
Well, somehow, I forgot this little details. And I clicked ‘Buy now’ without thinking anything of it. And, surprise, surprise, when my order arrived, there were indeed random pieces of scuba, in various colours, none bigger than about 40×30 cm and some even smaller.
I am definitely of the ‘waste not, want not’ persuasion, so for the past couple of years, I have been working my brain to figure out what to use these pieces for.
I don’t know about you guys, but I find it quite hard to define my style in a few words. I try to go for modern minimalist, but not sure if that always comes across.
However, I can easily tell you what my signature look is. Anything with a little bit of pleather on it. Man, I love faux leather and I could literally add it on to anything! Case in point, the pleather sleeves here and here, the pleather chiffon dress here, more pleather inserts here and more sleeves here.
So you would have thought that I got this pleather sewing down to a T.
Well, you would be wrong! I only realised last week that I have been making my life harder than it needed to be for no good reason.
Let me tell you what I learned that changed it all!
My train arrives in Manchester at 12.30 on a very cold, but sunny Saturday in January 2017. I am literally chomping at the bit to get off the train. With a brief, absent-minded kiss to my husband, I rush as if hypnotised out of the train station. Never mind pedestrians, traffic, Saturday tourists. I am dragging my minuscule suitcase after me at an incredible speed. I almost run, filled with giddy excitement. It feels almost like a date, my heart rate is up, my cheeks are flushed. And finally, I arrive…
My living room floor is currently covered with the ENTIRE content of my sewing room! It’s complete CHAOS! (Psst, don’t tell my husband, he’s away for a few days and I hope to have it all back to perfection before he gets back). And it all started with getting my eyes checked and having pupil dilation drops put it.
Lately, I have been thinking about overhauling my sewing room more than I do about new sewing projects. I am really grateful to have a sewing room – our spare bedroom – but that leaves us with the issue of where do our guests sleep. Currently, it’s an airbed on the sewing room floor. I have been working my brain for ages to figure out how to put in a better sleeping solution. Well, try as I might that’s not happening, but I am getting a built-in wardrobe to tidy things up a bit. And I am shuffling things around to make a bit more room on the floor for a bigger air bed. Not ideal, but I will have a really nice sewing room.
Sometimes you just need a short and sweet little make in your (sewing) life. Something that sews up quickly and it’s also satisfying, and if it happens to be a wardrobe filler, well, then, that’s a Brucie bonus. You would not believe that this little top ticks all those boxes, buy my oh my, it so does. I had a completely different idea when I first picked up this pattern but in the end, I just left it as it was and super happy with it. (more…)
Like the last of the summer wines, the last of the dresses I’ve been sewing for the summer are making their way on the blog. Even if they do come with the sprinkling of goose bumps for accessories…
I’m so happy to be showing you one of my favourite makes of the year, which brings back amazing memories of my wedding in the Caribbean and another awesome wedding I attended in Italy in May this year. This is a hack of the Esplanade bra pattern from Orange Lingerie into a glamorous dress. Also, I have tales of jeopardy and crazy last minute sewing, so keep on reading to see how it all links together.
Don’t know about you, but I have a little ritual of visiting at least one fabric shop when I’m on holiday abroad and buying even just one little remnant. Though usually it’s actually much much more, woe betide my luggage allowance!
I might have mentioned that all my Romanian family now live in Copenhagen (don’t ask, it’s a long story), so it’s not exactly a holiday destination anymore. I usually see the airport, the suburb where my sister lives, and then the airport again. Would you believe that in over 20 visits, I have not been to any fabric shops?!? However, a few weeks ago I got a treat: my mum and auntie took me fabric shopping, as a belated birthday present. So I got to see the inside of the local fabric stores, took back a nice little haul and now I am going to share my impressions with you in this mini guide.
When I first saw Mimi G wearing Sew Sew Def Katie dress, I was immediately in love! And I knew I must make one right away. Then came the perfect excuse too: the #SewTogetherforSummer Instagram Challenge that Sarah (from Sew Sarah Smith), Monika (@rocco.sienna) and Suzy (@sewing_in_spain) have hosted earlier in the summer. I did finish it like Cinderella by the stroke of midnight on the 21st June to take part in the challenge and wore it the very next day for my birthday. But what do you know? Yet another project that I made ages ago and did not get a chance to photograph.
Why, you might ask? Well, because this dress is blinkin’ cursed! Allow me to elaborate…
I feel that I definitely did not make enough jumpsuits this year! And as you guys know, I absolutely LOVE them. I had planned this one for ‘Jumping into June’ challenge, but I didn’t even get close to finishing this one in by then. So here I am showing this red knit jumpsuit in mid-August, but with my track record and the backlog of unblogged projects, this is really not too bad.
So, as I was saying, I’m a sucker for a new jumpsuit pattern. And I was looking for a new summer TNT pattern for a while, as an alternative for my all time favourite pattern, V9075. I have been following Nikki from Beaute J’adore for years now, so when I heard she is releasing a range of patterns for McCalls, I was intrigued. M7444 got on my radar and after umming and erring for a while, I bit the bullet and bought it in a sale.
As I wrote in my previous post, August is #TributeMonth in the #sewcialists world. I wrote on the Sewcialist blog about 5 inspirational bloggers and instagrammers, 5 ladies whose style and attitudes I love. But there are so many more sewists I get inspiration from. So I want to dedicate my first post in August to some more of my favourite sewists.
As you already know, I love Burda Style Magazine, in spite of the copying sheets bonanza and dodgy instructions, so I take a lot of inspiration from sewists like Mokosha and Chris from Said and Done, who bring Burda designs to life in so many inspiring ways. So this particular project is a tribute to Mokosha, Chris and all the ladies who sew a lot with Burda. Mokosha made this very pattern here and here, in two very different fabrics. Thank you, ladies, and here’s my version.
I’m not one for the regular sewing magazines, as I never actually have the patience to actually read the content. The only ones that do attract me are the pattern magazines. I do love Burda, with all its limitations, and I feel I get so much for my money because of the tons of free patterns, but they also have such great styling and photography. To be honest, I had seen other pattern magazines, like Ottobre, but I was never convinced, they just did not catch my imagination in the same way. Though I keep an open mind and I am quite curious about other options out there.
So, I kept hearing about this Belgian sewing magazine, called La Maison Victor, on French sewing blogs and sometimes here and there in the UK ones. And lo and behold, it’s now landed in the UK as well. So off I went to check it out for myself and write a review for you guys.
You guys, the summer seems to be holding on in London, and it’s absolutely amazing! Nothing makes me happier than hot, long days and balmy summer nights. And wearing summer dresses and other delightful projects that I get to only put on a few days a year. And because I only get to enjoy them for a short time, most of my summer clothes are stored away for the majority of the year. But that’s ok, it’s even more fun to unpack the summer wardrobe and rediscover clothes you almost forgot you had.
Though sometimes there’s a downside… Things I loved last year just don’t work for me this year anymore. Sometimes I just pass them on, and sometimes I can actually be bothered to do something about them.
This is what happened to this particular dress. You might remember it from last year, the pattern is a rather peculiar asymmetric shape that I had also added a few modifications to as well. Well, when I put it on one day the other week, I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. But it’s a really lovely fabric and I quite still like the shape, it was just the elastic gathering didn’t work for me anymore, it felt really constricting.
I’m sure you guys have learned by now that I am probably the most selfish sewist ever! I HATE sewing for other people! I don’t like how hard it is to get hold of them for fitting, how they always want things I quite dislike (ditzy florals, beah!) and how in the end, I have no new item to add to my wardrobe. Selfish, I told you! Plus half of them are blinkin’ ungrateful! With one exception: my sister. We are virtually the same size, so I don’t really need her for fitting, I can just take my measures. She is always suitably impressed and grateful. And she wears what I make for her. Even so, I still procrastinate like the dickens when she asks me to make her something.
Hi guys! It’s my birthday today, so I’m taking the day off to stay home and sew. It’s my present to myself, and of course my lovely husband will take care of treating me as well. But I am generous like that, and I actually have a present for you as well.
The word came out earlier in the year that there will be a Great British Sewing Bee live show in September this year and I can now confirm I will also be taking part. I will be doing some demos and other activities yet to be revealed, along with my dear Bee friends. Paul from my series and Angeline, Joyce, Jamie, Tracey and Jade from series 4, as well as Tamara from series 2, are all doing workshops and you can book your place here.
I am embracing #YearoftheSleeve, at long last! As you might remember, I am still on a retail fast (only one emergency pair of trousers bought since 1st Jan 2015), so the only way to access trends and fashion is through sewing my own. Flutter sleeves are everywhere this year, both in shops and in our very own sewosphere. And McCalls made it all easier with this pattern, M7542, a simple top with a lot of sleeve variations, that can be a great starting point for all sort of yummy designs. And so I jumped on the bandwagon and bought the pattern to have a play myself. I was really gutted I didn’t get around to actually entering the competition, but there were some great winners that provided loads of inspiration.
As I was planning this post, I was thinking that yet again, I am being very weather inappropriate. This is because of course I’m behind on my blog pictures and did not post this when I actually made it. Then again, what’s new? However, when I stepped outside to take the pictures it felt well suitable, it’s really nippy in London. So, let’s pretend we’re in the Southern Hemisphere and it’s autumn rather than summer.
Hey guys, I’ve got the post-holiday blues! You might have spotted on IG that I was in Tuscany in Italy last week. I know it’s now almost a cliche to rave about how amazing it is, but it really is. I had been dreaming of going to Florence since I was 14 and got an A+ for my essay on Lorenzo the Magnificent in History, but this was the first time. And I was truly blown away! I absolutely adored Florence, in spite of the hoards of tourists being spewed out of tour buses and the ridiculous queues for anything remotely interesting. But perhaps the best parts met us when we stepped out of the cities, in the Chianti countryside, with vineyards and rolling hills and the most beautiful light anywhere!
This was supposed to be the perfect sewing weekend. My husband is away indulging in his time consuming and expensive hobby – karting, so I had the house to myself and absolutely no chores, plans or obligations to take me out of the house. Or rather, I had plans: to spend as much time as possible sewing! I need to make a dress for a wedding we’re going to next weekend, so I needed to get going.
It is now Saturday evening and I have not sewed a stitch. Why, you might ask? Did something come up, did you get lazy? No, actually, I have been doing sewing related things until 11 last night and from 9 AM this morning. And still haven’t cut out my dress.
And the reason is TRACING!!! I am using a Burda Style (the magazine) Special Vintage, but this goes for any Burda magazines. It’s a lovely design, but has 12 pieces and it took me hours to copy them out!! I could have finished the whole blinkin’ dress in that time!!
I’m finally getting around to posting about a little dress that I made ages ago (I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern here…). I took picture last weekend, while enjoying the fantastic weather we had in London. In hindsight, good call, Batman, because it went back to being freezing here (although quite sunny) and those toes would not have lasted in sandals even for a few seconds. And I had it in my head that this dress requires chunky heels. I feel like I’m impersonating Mimi G while wearing this dress and you can’t do Mimi G without the heels.
Guys, beware! The jumpsuit season chez Sewrendipity has begun! Again! Yes, that’s a few good months to go until #JumpIntoJune hopefully kicks off again. But as I was saying in my previous post, sometimes a fabric + a pattern just equal love, and you have to go for it! And I do love my jumpsuits, and as a matter of fact, my culottes too!
You know how sometimes you’ve had a piece of fabric in your stash for a while and then you see a pattern and they were just meant to go together? This is what happened in this case. I was browsing the Seamwork website just before Christmas, as I had some credit to spend and I saw Ida. She really spoke to me, and then I remembered that I had this piece of embossed scuba in my stash, so the decision to get it was a no brainer. And it turns out to be such a quick make that a few days later, it was ready to wear during the Christmas party season!
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s been a bit quiet on the blog lately. We have actually been closed for holidays, and if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you would have seen some pics from South Africa popping up. And of course, I was not organised enough to schedule any posts while I was away, so you got radio silence.