A very late Liebster

Liebster Award


I am so late with this but the lovely Emily from Dressing the Role nominated me for a Liebster Award last month. Don’t let my tardiness be mistaken for apathy – I’m dead chuffed (I hope that means the same thing other places than Australia…). You may have seen this award around the blogosphere – it is a really nice way to recognise smaller blogs (less than 200 followers) and find some new-to-you blogs to read (ALWAYS a great thing as far as I’m concerned), as well as find out a bit about fellow sewists. I’ve been given 11 questions to answer, and then I put together my own Q&A for 11 other bloggers that I’ll pass the award on to.

First up: the questions!

1. When did you start sewing?

I don’t remember exactly when I first started sewing, but when I was a little kid in primary school (maybe age 10?) I sewed soft toys for my friends, and I did a little in high school as well as part of our home ec classes. I dipped in and out of sewing after that, made a couple of things for weddings or my sister’s formal (prom) dress (can’t believe she let me do that!), but only seriously took up sewing again 5 years ago. And since then, I’ve been sewing with a vengeance!

2. What is your favorite pattern?

If my Me-Made-May is accurate, I think it must be the Sewaholic Renfrew – I must have made this about 30 times.  But I’m guessing I’m not alone here, but my favourite pattern is always the next one I’m going to make!

3. Do you have your own sewing space?

I have hijacked a section of our living room for my sewing space (I do have a study where I was supposed to set up, but I got creeped out sitting up there by myself) which means I can have company as I sew, or I can watch TV or DVDs. Of course, my fabric stash has started breeding and encroaching out of this space onto lounge chairs and tables, and my poor husband hasn’t seen the top of the dining table for 6 months. Someone tell me this is normal!

4. Do you do other types of crafting (knitting, crocheting, card making, etc)?

I like to dabble in lots of crafty pursuits: I do a bit of painting and illustrating and hopefully soon some screen printing (doing a course, woooo!). I’m also the world’s slowest knitter. Like 30cm of scarf after 2 years slow.

5. How do you balance sewing with work and family?

I work long hours a lot of the time which does curtail greatly on sewing time, as well as drain my energy levels (but does pay for fabric, and my house I suppose :P) but I’m lucky to have a pretty undemanding husband and furry children. The Mister is quite happy to indulge his gaming hobby as much as I will let him get away with, which means he is pretty tolerant of sewing dominating my time, and we can both pretend to ignore the messy house.

6. What are some of your sewing strengths?

I’m going to go with two answers here – firstly being a bit of perfectionist means I will unpick and unpick until I get something right (with much swearing however) and secondly, my stubbornness means I will often bite off more than I can chew. I feel that constantly challenging yourself is the best way to become better at whatever it is that you want to do.

7. What are some of your sewing goals – new skills, different patterns, etc?

I want to keep trying to challenge myself, so I think that some of the next things I want to tackle are pattern drafting and also a really elaborate boned dress. Also, jeans, and making a pair that fit as nicely as bought ones.

8. Do you tend to sew with a plan, or do you wait until inspiration hits you and run with it?

I keep lots and lots of lists, especially now Pinterest is around, because there is just so much inspiration and I want to make everything all at once. My theory is, that if I can’t work out what to do I just have to pick something off the list. But saying that, I usually get struck by something and just go with it.

9. How often do you sew, and for how long?

I will get withdrawal pangs if I don’t get to touch my sewing machine for more than a week, but I at least try to get a couple of hours over a few week nights, and an afternoon (4-5 hours) on the weekend if I can get it. But like most things, it is often feast or famine – I spent last Sunday sewing, but it was the first time in weeks.

10. What project are you the most proud of?

Always the next one! But I am proud that I just made jeans (soon to be blogged, I promise). I’d been putting it off because I thought it would be too hard, but it wasn’t actually that bad (thank goodness for Grainline’s fly tutorials!). Hopefully soon I can perfect them and get them fitting right.

11. What project are you least happy with?

I am always unhappy if I cut too many corners or do a lazy job on something. If I know I can do better, I will be upset at myself.

And now for the funnest bit – nominating some new blogs. Now, with this, I had no idea how to find out how many followers a blog has, so I have gone for some great new-to-me blogs that I’ve discovered in the last few months. I feel bad because I am the world’s worst commenter, so this is a great chance to let people know that I read and appreciate their posts. There won’t be 11 though, because I am feeling rebellious against arbitrary numbers…

First up: Trial and Erika, who hasn’t been blogging for a long time but has super awesome style and a great writing voice.

Zoe Livana Handmade: another lady with awesome style. Check out this awesome Belladone!

A Handmade Wardrobe: Chantal makes some *beautiful* things, and also has made shoes! Shoes! I’m so impressed.

Sweet Alchemy: I am jealous of people who can knit as well as sew, what can I say? 🙂 So many lovely sweaters!

Seems Right to Me: Look at this coat. Need I say more?

And last, but certainly not least, Lady Stitcher. So many patterns have moved up my sewing list because of her great bold colourful styling, and also: fox skirt. Foxes are awesome.

Okay, here are your questions!

1. What’s your earliest sewing memory?

2. Where do you get your sewing inspiration from?

3. What do you watch/listen to while you sew?

4. Do you snack and sew?

5. What’s the latest you’ve stayed up just to finish a sewing project (or what other crazy sewing deadline have you had)? Just one more hem….

6. An important one: cat or dog? (Or, if you are feeling rebellious: tortoise, or snail, or moose…)

7. What’s the make you’re most proud of?

8. Sewing for others – yes or no?

9. Pattern first, or fabric?

10. How do you get yourself out of a sewing rut?

11. If you could sew one thing, where money, skill and time were not limited, what would it be?

The End!

(Thanks so much again for the nomination Emily!)

A very late Liebster

A feathery Meissa

Perhaps there is some sort of sewing collective consciousness? How else to explain that the lovely Amy from Sew Amy Sew beat me to posting her fantastic Liberty Meissa blouse by just a few days? I feel like such a copycat now, but as the weekend was full of Mother’s Day celebrations and Eurovision (magnificent Conchita!) I haven’t had a chance to photograph anything else. Such is life and all that.

Feather Meissa – Apr 2014

What to say? This was one of those impulse sewing things – I had a hankering to make a shirt and I wasn’t sure this feathery Liberty print was quite suited to a Grainline Archer. I’m not entirely comfortable wearing large scale prints like this, and I thought the extra detailing in Papercut’s Meissa blouse might help stop it from wearing me (as opposed to the other way around), and besides, I was feeling bad that I hadn’t sewn up anything by Papercut yet.

Feather Meissa – Apr 2014

To help moderate the print even more, I took inspiration from something I have been itching to do since I saw something similar on my husband’s shirts (which I was reminded of because of Lauren’s equally lovely version), and used grosgrain ribbon as a detail behind the buttons and in the cuffs. I would have run it around the inside of the collar stand as well except I couldn’t for the life of me work out how to wrangle the curve at the end. I also topstitched in navy but you can’t really see it at all (oh well).

I made an XS and I’m pretty happy with the fit. As others who’ve made it attest, it has a special type of sleeve placket situation happening that makes it virtually impossible to scrunch up the sleeves, and given I will never wear a shirt without scrunched sleeves, I added in a placket as per the Grainline Archer (I would’ve attempted a tower placket for the first time, but I had barely any scraps left after over-enthusiastically cutting out a Datura from the remains of the fabric). I would recommend doing this BEFORE you set in the sleeves, because if you forget (*ahem*) then it is a massive pain. Massive. And yeah, you have to remember that this will change the size of your cuffs as well. Ask me how I know all this? Let’s just say fixing the sleeves was somewhat of a scramble and involved cursing and sulking.

If I did make it again in another similar fabric (and I take this small moment to attest to how lovely to sew with Liberty is, each and every time) I would make a few changes to the way the gathering sits – as drafted, the gathering I feel starts a little too close to the underarms, so it can look a little funny in fabric that has this kind of ‘body’. It would be an easy fix, just to compact the area the gathering occurs in. In a slinkier fabric, I think you would not have the same problem (and it would look fantastic).

Feather Meissa – Apr 2014

While I’m pretty happy with the look of the final shirt, and I will be making another Meissa, I’m not 100% sold on how well this version fits into my wardrobe. This could just be that the shirt looks too summery for me to judge properly while I get deeper into my winter black and grey fest, so I’m going to put it away for 6 months and see how I feel at the end.


And… I haven’t forgotten the Liebster either – I will respond very soon I promise – just want to give it the attention it deserves!

A feathery Meissa