I'm currently sat in my living room with the most enormous bunch of lilies (bought for me by wonderful work colleagues for my birthday) and a beautiful candle lit (the smell is Emperor's red tea by wax lyrical - amazing!) reminiscing about #sewphotohop and thinking about how August seems like many moons ago... yet it was only two weeks since the challenge ended. How time flies!
For those of you who don't know, #sewphotohop was a photo a day instagram challenge organised by the wonderful Rachel of House of Pinheiro. I have wanted to get involved in an instagram challenge for a while now but didn't get myself organised enough in time for #MeMadeMay (next year - I'm on it!) so I took the plunge.
I thought I'd do a round up of how I interpreted each days theme and what I wrote. I've separated it into weeks to make it more manageable - it's 31 days worth of pictures! (Actually, 32 if you count the bonus day!)
1. Hello - Hello everyone! My name is Kylie and I've always loved making things. The fist thing I remember making was a caterpillar cross stitch which my mum framed (and I still own!) I've been garment sewing for a year (self-taught) and I've been hooked ever since!
2. What I can't live without - For many reasons I couldn't live without @robtrounce (please try not to throw up too much!!) but for sewing purposes, he's always on hand to pin me into my muslin's/ toile's and tell me when something doesn't look quite right or that it's perfect but my perfectionist brain can't see it! He encourages me every step of the way. He also tries to learn the sewing 'lingo' which is cute because he never gets it quite right. Whenever I make him something he is so appreciative- he literally wears them until they fall apart. Case in point is the above tshirt. The hem is coming undone but I can't seem to get it off him long enough to fix it! We're currently working on making him a coat and it's so much fun deciding on the finishings together. Togetherness is helping each other out in their pursuits.
3. Colourful - I'm a big fan of colour (and prints!) and I believe colour is a big influence on mood. My favourite colour has always been emerald green but I always have a tendency for yellow and sapphire (my birthstone no less!) and I sometimes can't help myself around pink!
4. Work/ Play - I'm lucky enough to actually like my day job. I'm even luckier than I work next door to the Brighton Pavilion. I walk through the Pavilion gardens to get to work each day and it's such a beautiful place. For play I quite obviously sew- above are just a few of the items I have sewn up recently. It's so nice to have an actual hobby to enjoy after work and sewing really allows me to have a great work/play balance which is so important with all the stresses that can arise in life.
5. Silhouette - I have always been a fan girl of the 1950s cinched in waist and full circle skirt. It is so much fun wearing a circle skirt (unless it's windy!) I also love 1940 style tea dresses- simple and elegant. Here are some of my sketches in the ever growing 'to sew' pile!
6. The pattern that changed my life - The 'Megan' dress by @tillybuttons this was the first dress I made successfully and despite a few flaws (ahem, a not so invisible zip being one!) this pattern well and truly established my love affair with sewing. Every time I wear this dress I feel great in it because it reminds me of the sheer joy of having made something myself that I can actually wear! I never get tired of that feeling and I don't think I will ever tire of this dress. It also reminds me how far I've come in my sewing journey since December 2014.
7. Sew up close - I thought I would show you the insides of my current project (to be revealed later!) I'm still a little scared of my overlocker but we're getting there. And it makes finishing seams sooooo much quicker and professional looking. J'adore
8. Playlist - I listen to a mix of podcasts and my absolute favourite Ludovico Einaudi (if you haven't heard of him Google it now- honestly the most beautiful music I have heard! ❤️) Hammock and Purity Ring are also good sewing companions of mine. When@robtrounce isn't on the computer, I like to stick Netflix on- a good dose of indie films and the odd Disney nostalgia trip makes for a wonderful afternoon at the sewing machine!
9. Stash - So probably not the best photos of my stash (I need a new organising system!) but here are a few of my fabrics. Plus a peek at my swatch book which is mostly up to date with everything!!
10. Would exchange closet with - I have always been a huge fan of Gwen Stefani and her style - especially in my teenage years. I always lusted after those boots in the bottom left picture! I love how cool she looks but how she can also be very classy.
11. Bucket list - So I have a looooong list of 'things I want to sew' but my big tasks are make a jacket and a shirt for @robtrounce and then I will tackle a coat of my very own!
12. Motivation - At first I made my own clothes because I liked sewing and I liked making. But a few months ago I was walking past a high street shop and saw an item of clothing in the window so ridiculously cheap and it just clicked- there is no way you can make that item of clothing for so little money without screwing someone over along the way. When you make your own clothes you start to realise the amount of work that goes into each item. Even a tshirt! I now make my own clothes to stand up against the sweat shop trade. To do my bit for the environment and the people. I recently watched 'The True Cost' which is a beautiful documentary about the clothing industry and I urge you to watch it too. I am currently reading 'Stitched Up' which is a book with similar themes. We owe it to humanity to educate ourselves on these issues. 'To see nothing is as political an act as seeing something'. That my friends is the biggest motivation out there.
13. Sewing space - I am so happy to have my very own sewing space. It's not completely ready- I need to organise some storage for fabric and patterns etc but it's definitely my happy place!
14. Style - I am a classic dress kind of a gal. I veer towards fitted bodice and flared/ him skimming skirts. And give me a cute print and it's on! And these days if it's me made I adore it even with the flaws!
15. Secret corner of shame - In my defence... Ok I have no defence :( haha. One day I will get proper storage for my fabric stash. I'm just far too busy sewing and buying fabric to worry about it!
16. Tiny v big - On the left is the dress I made for my niece at Christmas. So proud of that one - she loved it so much! On the right is me in my latest make, a daisy print Bettine.
17. Proudest achievement - I've posted this before but my proudest achievement (so far!) is my @sewoveritlondon Betty dress. I overcame a lot in the dress - my first actually invisible, invisible zip being one. I made this as part of my sewing course I decided to do and it helped me overcome a little bit of my social anxiety. I love this dress and feel great each time I wear it. And I wear it a lot! I currently have three Betty dresses and I look forward to making more!
18. Sewing resolution - I want to be able to make beautiful lingerie from the secrets of sewing lingerie book. One day!
19. Bold fabric - I adore this knit fabric I bought from Remnant Kings. Such summery colours!
20. Learning - Here is my ever growing library of sewing library! I love combining my two great lives - sewing and reading. Part of the reason I love sewing so much is the fact that you are continually learning. Every stitch is something new and helping to increase your skill.
21. Shades of summer - This summer I have mostly been inspired by muted/ pale colours with a pop of bright colours for variety. I take inspiration from the flowers I surround myself in at home and the wonderful scenery down here in #brighton. This summer has been a fantastic foray into dressmaking and every day I wear a#memade is a great day!
22. Last thing I made - I keep posting pictures of this dress but I love it and it fits so many of the categories so I shall keep on! I have a few things 'on the go' but I managed to finish this a couple of weekends ago. Technically it's not the last thing I made (I managed to make an Arielle skirt before the hen party I went on last week but it's in the wash and I didn't take pictures, d'oh!) but it's the second to last thing I finished! The pattern is the Bettine and the fabric is from @guthrieghani - it's so lovely!
23. Favourite sewing technique - I love stitching a gem by hand. It's laborious but I enjoy sitting on the sofa watching a film with some candles burning and hand stitching. I also enjoy that hemming (usually!) means it's near the end and I get to wear it soon! Plus there's the extra excitement of moving on to the next project!
24. Worst part of sewing - When things like this happen. A broken seam ripper is never a good thing. Especially when you need to rip out a seam. Undue stress... Luckily I have spares!
25. Behind the seams - Since learning how to do the basics I have fallen in love with overlocking (or serging if you're in the U.S!). This doesn't mean I'm still not terrified every time I use it but the finishes are worth the moments of terror!
26. Labour of love - I have recently started making clothes for my boyfriend and I'm actually loving sewing for men! On the left is the toile version of the Albion jacket I'm currently making for him, the right is a tshirt I made him (which is now falling apart because he's worn it to death!) I just wish there were more great men's patterns out there. On this note really looking forward to the next@dressmakerssocial in #brighton as the talk is on sewing menswear! Exciting!
27. It's been a while... - since I attempted knitting. Luckily I have a week off work and I'm heading to Cornwall. I can't take my sewing machine with me but I can take some knitting!
28. Trims and haberdashery - my very own haberdashery above my sewing space. Love this space - so full of colour and a different treat inside each jar! The stacked three jars at the back contain my most prized treasures.
29. Eye-level - So I had planned to do some sewing today. But i went to buy holiday supplies (aka three balls of wool) and decided to make a start on that knitting. Perfect relaxed start to my week and a half off work! I have a candle burning in the background too - wild fig and grape. Delicious! I'm considering putting on a podcast too. Clearly I know how to have a good time when in annual leave! Party on!
30. Favourite era - Although I love a good 1950s Dior dress my very favourite era has to be the 1940s. The make do and mend decade. The tea dress
31. Last thing I bought - @byhandlondon Kim dress. I'm currently tracing this out to make my first toile. Planning on sewing variation 1 ready for a wedding in October. Fingers crossed. Need to find some worthy fabric!
Bonus round: zips or buttons - Button holes still terrify me but there are some great buttons out there! And when zips look this great it's just hard to know what to use them in! It's been a fun month of getting to know you sewists - thanks for organising Rachel. Can't wait for the next one.
I had so much fun completing this challenge and I must say, I was so impressed with myself for posting a photo every day and completing the challenge!
It was also really nice to meet more seamstresses through searching the hashtag and seeing how others had interpreted the day's theme. One of my favourite days had to be day 13 - getting to nosey into other people's sewing spaces and taking away some great ideas for improving my own!
The sewing community is such a lovely one and this challenge proved that 10 fold - everyone was sharing the love and it was great! It really made me fall more in love with sewing and more determined to challenge my skills and finally make that handmade wardrobe a reality!
Thank you Rachel - already looking forward to next year!