Monday, October 6, 2014

A Short Stop on the Around the World Blog Hop

Beverley (also known as BeaJay) of On the Road to Sew Wear has graciously nominated me for the 'Around the World Blog Hop.'  BeaJay is a relatively new sewist who has sewn up lots of great Style Arc  patterns, many of them especially for workwear.  She lives in Australia (where Style Arc patterns are native) and I'm jealous of all the fun get-togethers Aussie sewists seem to have!
Anyway, this particular blog hop is more focused on the actual creative process, and if you would like to know a bit more about BeaJay, you can read her answers here.

There are four questions to be answered.

1.  What am I working on?  

From L to R:  white batting on back of lining, black nylon lining, silver and black coat fabric

Having just finished a summer dress right at the beginning of fall, I am trying to get ahead of the season (for once) by working on my first coat.  The pattern is Katherine Tilton's Butterick 5960, a duster style with no closures.  I know I will wear this style because I have had a similar maroon coat for probably 20 years and I still wear it.  I love this kind of coat over jeans and with boots.  I am using a silver and black rose-printed double-knit ($4 thrift store purchase!) for the outer layer, and am lining it with a black quilted nylon fabric that I bought off ebay.  This is somewhat experimental for me, but so far, so good.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Not much.  There are lots and lots of great sewing blogs out there.  I will say I don't totally consider this to be a sewing blog.  I am interested in lots of things -- quilting, crochet, sewing clothing, aging, personal history, travel, Christian faith, cooking, etc. - and I purposely chose a broad title for my blog so that I can put any of that in that I choose.  Currently my time is rather squeezed, with five teenagers/young adults still at home, so I have mostly been keeping my sanity by sewing clothes. This is something my daughter and I are enjoying together.

As far as sewing goes, one small difference is that I'm sewing for a rectangular/cylindrical/brick-shaped (pick an adjective) figure.  Most sewing blogs that I have found are working around other figure issues.  A lot are curvy and/or petite, and are making adjustments for that.  I, on the other hand, am tall, non-curvy, and not particularly thin;)  I'm also approaching the big half-century mark next year.  So if this is the kind of sewing role model you need.......

3.  Why do I write/create what I do?

I will start with sewing.  I come from a long line of creative women.  Almost all of them were poor, but they did beautiful needlework, quilting, sewing, cooking, gardening, etc.  I grew up believing that what women did was make things and feed people, and on some level that's how I still operate.

I knew how to sew but was discouraged by a very temperamental sewing machine.  When it finally broke, I began to research blogs about vintage machines (I eventually got a Singer 401A, which I love).  It so happens that a lot of vintage machine owners also sew clothing, and from there I became a reader of sewing blogs.  What a revelation!  There were all these people -- all ages, shapes, styles, skill levels, countries -- who made their own clothing and then wrote about it - with photos!  It had been since the early 1990s that I personally knew someone who sewed clothing for adults.  Sewing blogs gave me access to a community of technical help, style inspiration, and friendly faces.  And finally I lived in a town that actually had a fabric store. So I jumped in!

I was already blogging about other crafty things - quilts, bags, toys, etc.  However, it was a leap to post about the clothes I was making.  If you don't read sewing blogs, then sewing posts (featuring yourself modeling the clothes you've made, no less) might seem a little bit odd. It can feel a little vulnerable and a little exposed.  However, I love reading and seeing what others have made, and I love that they are real people with real lives and real bodies.  I find that to be empowering, liberating and encouraging.   In fact, I rarely read magazines any more because it is so much more inspiring for me to see and read what these real people have been up to.  I decided to be as brave as these other sewists.

Besides, it is fun to share what I make with others who like to make things. And hopefully somebody will think, "if she can do it, so can I."

4.  How does my writing/creating process work?

I get most of my inspiration from sewing blogs and Pattern Review.  Also I keep a style inspiration file on my pinterest board.  I do almost all my sewing from McCalls, Vogue, Butterick, New Look and Simplicity patterns.  I'm not opposed to other pattern companies; it's just that these are affordable and I can buy them locally, and I really haven't had many problems with them.  I try to keep the patterns catalogued on my pinterest boards too, and if you look you will see that I have WAY too many, but I am buying them for both me and my daughter, and the truth is, a lot of the fun of sewing is in the dreaming of possibilities:)

I start with either the pattern or the fabric, but usually they are not purchased at the same time.  The patterns are only purchased during a sale, so I buy any I am interested in then.  In general I try to only buy fabric for a specific project, but there are a few fabrics that I just had to have (like here), and the idea of what to do with them comes later.  I make exceptions for any usable fabrics I find at the thrift store; I go ahead and buy those.  (Despite these policies, I have amassed a considerable fabric stash!)  With sewing (unlike crochet and quilting) I am a one-project-at-a-time gal.  It just gets too chaotic otherwise and this forces me to finish things instead of giving up when I run into problems (which is almost always:)  I am a slow sewer -- I have to work in small bits and pieces of time -- so it takes me awhile to get things done.  I also usually take my own photographs, and there can be a big gap of time between finishing an item and getting it photographed.
The actual writing of blog posts usually begins with the photos.  Then I blather on about the construction details.  It may not be the most exciting content, but I try to include information that will help me (and possible readers) if I decide to make this particular pattern again. This is also a good way for me to keep a record of my projects.

My very very favorite part of blogging (and why it is so different from keeping a private journal) is the interaction with others and the making of friends.  One such friend is Coco of Coco's Loft, and I am passing the blog hop baton over to her. Coco is a beautiful lady, inside and out.  I love what she makes, and she also occasionally shares about her life in South Florida.  I married a native Floridian and two of my children were born in Florida, so seeing her posts reminds me of those days - in a good way.  Be sure to give her a visit:)


  1. I think your sewing is totally inspirational - you make me think that fabrics or techniques which I could not possibly contemplate sewing with are manageable and worth giving a go. Your coat will be fabulous - just adore the black and silver outer fabric paired with the quilted velvety black inner layer - I think I'd eat, drink and sleep in a coat like that! Enjoy every stitch! E x

  2. How fun to learn a little more about you, Angela. The coat will be spectacular, and I hope you share the process with us.

  3. An interesting review of your thought process and how you do things here. Can't wait to see the coat. Would I be wrong to think that it will be a big savings to make your own?

  4. Great to read more about you. I love getting inspiration from PR too. Love the look of that coat.

  5. I love this blog hop - I had no idea you were married to a Floridian or that two of your children were born here. I apologize for my late comment...I've been visiting Cleveland Clinic Hospital again...aaarrgh. But am home and in home care and hopeful that my league of doctors will get me better soon! Anyway - thank you for kind words. I loved hearing more about you, Angela.

  6. That was fun to read, and good luck with your winter coat! Can't wait to see the results. The interaction in the blog world is wonderful, isn't it? I find it (generally) to be constructive, encouraging, positive. That's such a relief these days!

  7. So fun to know more about you, dear friend. Looking foward to see more of that coat, it will be wonderful !!


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