This week on the vlog I'm answering some more of the fantastic questions you've been asking. I talk about my love of sewing, the most challenging dressmaking project I've ever worked on, how I choose buttons and lots of other sewing and dressmaking chat.
Sewing Q & A Question One
Evanick Holmes asked: what is the most difficult thing you have made (sewing)?
The most difficult thing I ever made was a cocktail dress for the McCalls pattern company cocktail hour blogger tour. I was relatively inexperienced at sewing, but was flattered to have been asked to take part so decided to make something extra special.
I made a Vogue pattern which had a satin backed crepe strappy bodice and satin pencil skirt with a tulle long sleeved bodice overlay and full skirt.
I machine embroidered floral designs onto the tulle, bound the edges with satin bias, hand sewed the buttonholes and sewed the armholes and side seams with French seams.
It was an extremely challenging project so early in my dressmaking career, but I learned so much from it and felt such a massive sense of achievement when it was finished.
I'm a real advocate of taking the plunge with a project that really pushes and challenges me every now and again because it does help so much with my learning and confidence.
You can see the blog post about the dress here where the photos do it a little more justice.
Also, do you always use paper patterns or do you draft your own?
In answer to your second question I use paper patterns. I did have a go at drafting a pair of trousers once and really enjoyed it, but I just struggle to find the time to draft patterns. This is something I would love to learn and develop more in the future.
Sewing Q & A Question Two
Cyndy Regeling asked: what is your role at the office?
The main focus of my role is content creation and managing our social media accounts, however, we are a small business and therefore I am involved in lots of other things as well. The general running of the business, ordering, buying, sometimes in the warehouse, whatever it takes to keep things ticking over.
How do you pick buttons for your projects?
I'm really glad you asked this question because I think it can be quite difficult to know where to start.
My top tips are to look up a garment similar to what you are planning to make on the Internet and use this for inspiration. You will often find something similar advertised on a website and it will give you an idea of what you like the look of.
Once you've found the right sort of buttons, try them against the garment before sewing the buttonholes just to check you are happy with how they look.
If all else fails and you just cannot find the right buttons our self cover buttons are a great option and will match your garment perfectly. Simple and easy to use you cover them with your chosen fabric (I usually go for the garment fabric) and sew them on.
Where do you see yourself as a sewist in 10 years?
It's difficult to say where I would like to be in 10 years time in this respect, hopefully able to draft patterns and with a wide range of garment sewing experience having made coats and jackets and more trousers. I always say I'd love to make a jacket or coat, but never get around to it due to time constraints.
I'm sure I will still love sewing in 10 years time too!
Where do you see yourself as vlogger in 10 years?
I often wonder about this, I have no idea where will it end up, but as long as it is still enjoyable I will keep on going. It would be amazing to crack 100k followers, I'm at 23000 now so have a long way to go, but that would be wonderful.
Sewing Q & A Question Three
Marie Venezia asked: when did you start sewing and what's your favourite thing about it?
I started sewing about five years ago after having my children and taking voluntary redundancy from my old job.
I loved it straight away and got more and more into it and then got involved in my Husband and Mother in Laws business more and more.
For me it is a great form of mindfulness. I'm a very busy, active person and find it very hard to relax, but find that sewing forces me to stop and concentrate on one thing and then i forget about all the other thoughts buzzing around my head.
I love the fact that no matter how long you've been sewing there's always something new to learn. My Mother in Law has been sewing for over 60 years and she will still discover new ideas and sewing techniques and I love that.
I've always been interested in fashion and clothes and love the fact that I can create (almost) anything I like. I get such a buzz from wearing clothes I've made myself.
I think learning to sew has helped to bring out a part of my personality that I've never really embraced before. I was always very academic and career focused and never saw myself as a creative person, but sewing has shown me I can be creative and I enjoy it so much.
Sewing Q & A Question Four
Sew Crafty Nana asked: I’d love to hear the Sew Essential story - is it a physical store or are you just online?
I love sharing this story. The business was started by my Husband and Mother in Law in 2004.
At that time my Husband was finishing his degree in computer science and my Mother in Law, who has sewn her whole life, was struggling to find the supplies she needed to continue her hobby.
It was right in the very early days of the Internet when Internet shopping was only just starting and they spotted a hole in the market. They decided to start the business with just a few hundred pounds from their kitchen table and see what happened.
We're now 16 years down the line and so much has changed. The business has grown and grown and we often look back at those early days fondly.
What changes do you see for the business (if anything) with the new “normal” we have now?
Not a great deal has changed for us because we are an online business, although we have had to stop customers from visiting the warehouse now.
We had to make changes in the warehouse to keep our staff safe, but other than that we haven't really had to make any changes.
I do think more and more people are discovering the joy of sewing though. Many people have been isolated or staying at home more, which has been very difficult and I think lots of people have found a focus and a purpose in sewing.
I hope you enjoyed that today and I'll be back next month with more answers to your questions.
Have fun sewing!
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