OK, ok so I didn’t actually win a lottery, but it does feel a bit like it! For years now, I have been signed up to freecycle and my husband is forever asking why. I signed up years ago to get rid of some of the stuff that came with our house and just never quite got around to closing my account. A local lady was clearing out her mums sewing stash, and I got lucky. I have now ended up with a stash about twice the size it originally was, but this fabric came at no cost, and therefore I am much happier to use it for toiles and learning, so it really doesn’t matter if the final garment doesn’t get worn all that much, just as long as I learn something.

In addition to the fabric,

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I know that some of you haven’t been reading my blog for all that long, so before I start, this is just a quick overview of the premise of my Use 5. This is not a challenge designed to reduce my stash (although that is a great benefit) it is more to get me to tackle my fears and expand my skill-set and confidence levels. Essentially, if I don’t cut into one of my Use 5 fabrics in the year they end up on the fire in the new year. It sounds rather drastic, but it does rather free me from that feeling that I can’t make anything with the special fabric unless it’s going to be perfect, and well, perfect is the enemy of good, right?

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The contents of the box from SewHayleyJane

A while back I made a cardigan for myself, and at the time the Cosy Cardi Challenge was going on on Instagram (I’m @sewsmartuk if you want to follow me there). As such, I decided to enter, and a couple of weeks later it transpired that I won one of the prizes. I won a super Stash Box from SewHayleyJane. Just to be clear, I don’t think this is one of Hayley’s usual monthly boxes, so I wouldn’t take my stash to be what you’d receive each month; I think this is more of a pick & mix. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but suffice to say that when the parcel was opened, I was so happy. Just have a look at the goodies.

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A Selection of 5 Fabrics to Use in 2018

Last year I set myself a challenge to use 5 fabrics from my stash that I was nervous about using for one reason or another. The intention was that any of those fabrics that I didn’t use would end up on the log burner at the end of the year if they weren’t touched. Well, to summarise, last year I only cut in to four out of the five fabrics. I have however, not thrown the last fabric on to the fire, because I have good reason for not cutting in to it. Over the past six months I have lost quite a lot of weight, and after losing that weight my shape has still to stabilise. I have decided on the pattern for this piece of fabric, but I don’t want to make a dress that is unlikely to fit me a month after I have made it, just so that I can complete the challenge. As such, this one piece of fabric has been added to my Use 5 list for 2018.Continue reading

A beautiful summer sky

So another three months have gone past, and it doesn’t feel like I’ve had all that much time to spend at my sewing table. I have been busy recently doing other things; work has been busy, I’m trying to do more work on our house, spend more time with the kids and get more exercise. I’ve never been all that keen on exercise, but I’ve always liked to do a bit, but I’m getting more focused – I am really enjoying challenging myself to run that bit further or faster. As a consequence, I am losing weight, which is also having an impact on my sewing; after all, I don’t want to sew something for me if it’s not going to fit me at the end of the process, and I think we are all aware by now that I’m not one of those sewers who can rattle something off in an afternoon.
So, now the excuses are out of the way, let’s just have a quick update on progress on my Use 5 2017 challenge:Continue reading

One of the reasons behind Use 5 2017 was to reduce some of the stash. It’s gone quite well so far, and I have completed a couple of the projects. That said, I’ve not done too well at reducing the stash. I’ve had a couple of work trips that have taken me close to fabric shops, and much as steel is attracted to a magnet, I am attracted to fabric shops. Additionally I needed to buy some interfacing, so of course I had to add a little extra to the online basket and get free shipping!

So the end result is that we’re only half way through the year and I’ve added the following beauties to my little collection.Continue reading

Use 5 - 2017

Well, somehow we’re already 25% of the way through the year. Spring has sprung and we’re right in the middle of March winds and April showers.

Spring has Sprung

I don’t quite know how we got this far, it certainly doesn’t feel like Christmas was 3 months ago. Anyway, I think it is time to see how I am getting on with my Use 5 challengeContinue reading

Battered Needle Plate

Can you see the problem? You can, can’t you – it’s just me, that’s been using this machine possibly for years with this issue that didn’t notice it!

I was recently pampering my sewing machine by giving it its annual (ahem) deep clean, and I noticed that the needle has been hitting the needle plate occasionally – it’s not been hitting at the side (which would be due to say using a twin needle in the left hand needle position rather than the centre needle position) it’s actually that the needle seems to be too far back (or the needle plate and possibly bobbin case are too far forward).
I have searched online for solutions to this problem, but so far to no avail. As such, I have contacted the manufacturer in the hope that this can be fixed. Unfortunately I found this issue on a Saturday evening, on a Bank holiday weekend; hence I haven’t been able to actually sew anything. So, you’re asking, what is there to write about on a sewing blog if I haven’t been able to sew? Continue reading

Use 5 - 2017

I have spent this festive period enjoying time with my family and lounging around reading sewing blogs and eating too much. In doing so, I’ve noticed that lots of bloggers are doing their version of a best and worst of 2016 and plans for 2017 posts.Continue reading

65 Open Tabs on my Phone

As I’ve said before, I read sewing blogs quite a lot. I find them really interesting and useful for finding out techniques, patterns and ways of dealing with those little gotcha’s that the less experienced sewist doesn’t quite know how to handle. I very rarely find that the latest post someone has written is directly relevant to my current issue, but sometimes I am wondering how to tackle something, and hurrah, my brain comes up trumps and reminds me that a few months ago I read something about this and how to tackle it! I tend to read blogs on my phone on the train, and unfortunately the best way for me to remember all the blogs I like is to keep each one open in a different tab. I don’t tend to subscribe to blogs, as the notification that a new post is up means that I get on and read that post immediately – that means that when I’m on the train with nothing else to do I’ve read all the blog posts! Unfortunately the browser on my (rather old) smartphone has a tendency to crash, and as such, on a fairly regular basis, I need to try and remember all the sewing blogs I like.Continue reading