Category Archives: Social Media

Listen While You Sew

listen while you sew

One of the many things I love about sewing is that keeping my hands busy frees up my ears and head for listening. If I’m writing or doing what I fondly refer to as “thinky work” I need complete silence as I’m just too easily distracted. However, when I’m doing any kind of practical work like sewing, drawing or pattern cutting I love to listen and my choice of listening includes what you might call “eclectic” tastes; from Radio 4 to 6 Music to Seamwork podcasts.

I feel like I absorb things that I’m listening to more when I’m sewing, almost like I’m concentrating on what I’m listening to but in a different kind of way because I’m also focussed on the familiar movements of sewing or drafting patterns. It’s the same when I listen to stuff while driving; maybe the two activities use different but complimentary parts of your brain? I’m not sure, but it’s a habit I got into early. I remember spending many enjoyable hours working on my textiles homework and various art projects from school in the 80s while listening to A-ha and Transvision Vamp on cassette, or watching Treasure Hunt and Moonlighting on the telly. Sadly I don’t sew at home any more as I don’t have space for a sewing machine in our tiny Brighton flat, so I never get to sew with the telly on, but I do plenty of listening.

Here’s some of the stuff I enjoy listening to while I work.

At home I have a radio in every room and also have one permanently on in MIY Workshop, mostly it’s tuned to:

  • Radio 4 – without doubt my favourite radio station, I just love the unexpected things I learn, it also has great drama, spoken word, topical discussion and political and intelligent debate.
  • When the news on Radio 4 starts to get a bit depressing (or I just can’t bear to listen to another episode of Woman’s Hour talking about childbirth) I retune to 6 Music; Radcliffe and Maconie in the afternoon always has me laughing out loud at some point during their show, Lauren Laverne is a good listen in the morning, particularly Desert Island Disco and I was once on Steve Lamacq’s “Good Day Bad Day”. It was a good day and I chose Michael Jackson’s “Shake Your Body” still a great track in my book (there are soooo many things to love about it and this video: if you don’t love those jumpsuits there’s something wrong with you, some excellent trumpet playing and a fresh-faced Jackson without all the cosmetic surgery…..).

I admit to being a bit of a late-adopter of podcasts and only really got into them a couple of years ago, but now I love them and they’re a big part of my listening. Here are some of my favourites:

sewing podcasts

While She Naps by Abby Glassenberg – Abby began her US podcast in 2012 and at time of writing she’s currently on episode 102, with a new episode usually released twice per month. Episodes are roughly an hour long and Abby talks with a varied selection of craft designers, personalities and business owners; from big business such as Etsy and Spoonflower, right through to local businesses about topics as broad as body image through to how to be successful on Youtube.

sewing podcasts

Blogtacular by Kat Molesworth – UK based Kat organises the popular Blogtacular events in London that aim to inspire budding and already successful bloggers and online influencers with her line-up of talks from the latest creative movers and shakers. The Blogtacular podcast continues this theme with interviews from creative bloggers and indie business owners. The podcast started in 2015 and at time of writing has just reached episode 24. Episodes are roughly an hour long and are released at the rate of around 2 per month.

sewing podcasts

Seamwork Radio by Sarai Mitnick of Seamwork magazine and Colette patterns – the Seamwork podcast began just after the launch of Seamwork magazine in the US in 2015. I was really enjoying the Seamwork podcasts; they’re a bit shorter in length than the others at around 30 minutes and have featured some great guests from Jenny Rushmore (Cashmerette patterns) to Joost De Cock and I love the podcast’s strong focus on “Stories about designing, making and wearing your own clothing.” The podcast started out with a similar fortnightly schedule, but they do seem to have become a bit sporadic; we’re currently on episode 15, but this was released in September 16.

sewing podcasts

Thread Cult by Christine Cyr Clisset – another great podcast that mainly keeps its focus on dressmaking. Started in the US in 2012, Thread Cult is a well-established podcast. Episodes are roughly half an hour to 45 minutes in length and don’t seem to follow a set release schedule. Currently on episode 42 which is the first one since August of last year. Christine interviews designers and makers from both the home sewing communities and couture experts and museum curators, her varied guests have included our very own Rosie Martin of DIY Couture through to couture sewing expert Susan Khalje.

sewing podcastsCrafty Planner by Sandi Hazlewood – is a varied podcast about craft and the creative process and so has a varied line-up of guests. Started in 2015 Sandi is prolific with her podcasting being on episode 120 already! Her guests have included Jen Beeman of Grainline patterns and Charlotte Newland the last winner of the Great British Sewing Bee. Episodes tend to be around 50 minutes in length and are usually released weekly which is one hell of a schedule to keep up!

UPDATED 18/8/17 – I can’t believe I forgot the Modern Sewciety Podcast! Here it is:

Modern Sewciety by Stephanie Kendron is a podcast about all things sewing. She features bloggers from across the crafting industries and chats about what what blogging has brought them. Of course there’s also a sprinkling of behinds the scenes and what makes each guest tick. Recent guests have included Blair Stocker of WiseCraft Handmade, Taylor from Blueprints for Sewing and Kate of The Foldline. The podcast started in 2013 and at time of writing is on episode 127, averaging around 2 episode per month and episodes vary in length from just over half an hour to over 2 hours!

If you’re new to podcasts and are tempted to give them a go, here’s a quick guide to getting started:

  1. You need a podcast player – sometimes you can listen to podcasts directly on the podcaster’s website. It’s ok, but you’re likely to want to listen to a variety of podcasts so you really need one place to keep them all.
  2. If you use an Apple (Mac) computer, Ipad or Iphone you can find podcasts through Itunes – just search for the name of the podcast (note: not all podcasts can be found via Itunes). Once you’ve found the podcast, select it and click on the “subscribe” button. On Ipads and Iphones this will then open Apple’s own podcast app. If you use an Android tablet or phone and have a computer other than Apple, you need to use a different podcast player – I use Stitcher other players are available, just search “podcast player” on Google Play. You can also use Spotify and Deezer to listen to podcasts.
  3. Once you have your player, you can get subscribing. Search for the podcast you’re interested in and click on the “subscribe” button. You’ll get a list of the most recent episode and all the previous episodes.
  4. If you want to listen to an episode while not connected to the internet, you will need to download the episode. Some podcast players do this automatically, others require you to manually download each episode you want to listen to offline.

I also have an Audible account. I like the idea of this more than I actually use it. I originally signed up with the intention of listening to lots of dry business type books that I wanted to read, but knew that I never would. Confession: I have started listening to a few, but not reached the end of any yet….

So, there are my recommendations, how about you?! Do you listen while you sew and if you do, what tickles your ear canal? If I’ve missed anything that you love, leave a link to it in the comments!





My Month on Social Media – April 2017

Not everyone does social media, but as someone who does, I can see its pitfalls:

it’s so quick that sometimes it’s easier to post something on social media than to give it more time and space in a blog post,

not everyone uses social media and I have no real control over who sees what I post as they’re now all controlled by algorithms (with the exception of Twitter)

and its advantages:

because I post regularly on social media it acts as a kind of diary.

So, for a while now I’ve been trying to think of a way to bring the 2 (blogging and social media) together and this is what I’ve come up with. A blog post at the end of each month to collect the highlights of my news and news I’ve found elsewhere and shared on my social media channels.

So, here goes……


  • I started doing the #100daysproject, where you set yourself a creative theme or challenge and post a photo a day of your progress. I set myself a #100daysofpattern challenge to continue the work I started on my screen printing course at the end of last year and have included some of my posts here: top centre is work I started at a collage workshop led by local Brighton artist Esther Cox, centre left is a one of my designs printed on a length of cotton poplin from Spoonflower that I’ll be sewing up very soon and centre bottom is one version of a pin print I started working on.
  • Some gorgeous makes from my patterns old and new popped up on Instagram this month, my highlights were these 2 completely different Fulwood dresses (centre right) – I just love how the same pattern can produce such different results! Bottom left is Naz’s 2nd make from a new pattern I’ve been working on for a while (perks of being a MIY Workshop student), she’s a big fan of it already.
  • We shot the last batch of samples for “A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics” this month (centre image and top left). I got the neon pink fabric paint out for that top left sample and I was soooo happy with the results, I can’t wait for you to see the finished thing.
  • Finally I had a relaxing long weekend with the dogs back home in Sheffield for my dad’s birthday (top right and bottom right), highlights included visiting one of my favourite places – Yorkshire Sculpture Park. If you’re ever up that way (just off the M1 between Sheffield and Leeds), go visit; if you like art and the outdoors you’ll love it.


I have two Facebook pages; a MIY Collection one and a MIY Workshop one. Occasionally I share interesting things I’ve seen elsewhere on Facebook, my blog posts and this month links to my Sewing Dictionary and Fabric Dictionary. Have you seen them? They’re right here on my blog:



On Twitter I shared this review of the the Granville Wrap skirt from ” A Beginner’s Guide to Making Skirts”,

this great tip for zip ends from C-L Hardie (sewing producer on the Sewing Bee TV shows)

and a polarising piece about feminism and labels which really is a thought-provoking read if you’re a woman, a feminist, running a business, or all of the above…..


I have to confess I mainly use Pinterest for my own ideas / inspiration (I’m thinking I really should up my Pinterest game…… day, soon…) and have most recently been collecting images that have been inspiring my print / pattern experiments…..

I’ve recently discovered John Piper’s beautiful collages thanks to Esther Cox

and have become a little obsessed with Ellsworth Kelly’s beautifully simple line drawings of plants and flowers.

I did also find and pin some great sewing resources recently,

such as this great illustration of how to sew a cuff placket.

Last but definitely not least, each April sees growing awareness for Fashion Revolution Day and this year I had a timely postal delivery of this Kickstarter project by Safia Minney (founder of ethical clothing company People Tree) that I backed way back last year.

Anyone who buys clothing from high street brands should read this book, but I know that most sewists in particular will find it useful (if not shocking). You can get a copy here.

So, that’s it, my April on Social Media. I’d love to know what you think?

MIY March 17: Week 5 Prizes

MIY March sponsors

It’s here already, the final week of MIY March for this year *sobs*. I’m going to assume that by now you know what’s involved, but if you need to check, it’s all in this blog post.

So as it’s the last week, let’s go out with a bang and a prize bundle from some fantastic sponsors, a huge thank you to:

Here are the prizes these sponsors have generously donated to the final Prize Bundle that you could win this week on FRIDAY!

MIY March Prizes

  • Ernest Wright – a pair of 8″ dressmaker’s shears with winner’s choice of handle colour and a pair of antique stork embroidery scissors
  • Seamwork – a 6 month subscription
  • Discovery Knitting – a £50 voucher to spend in their online shop.

Wow, what a month!

Next, watch out for the MIY March MIY Maker finalists and get ready to vote.

MIY March 17: Week 4 Prizes

MIY March sponsors

It’s the penultimate week of MIY March already. If you’re only just joining us, where were you?! Better late than never. All the details for how to play along if you’re not sure what to do are in this blog post.

Here are the sponsors of the prize bundle for week 4:

And here are the prizes they’ve donated that will be up for grabs on Saturday……

MIY March prizes

  • Fashion Formula – a £75 voucher to spend on custom printed fabric
  • Sew DIY – PDF copies of all 3 of Beth’s sewing patterns
  • Love Sewing – a 3 month subscription (sent monthly in print to a UK winner, an international winner can choose either a digital subscription or the 3 months in print sent in one package).

Prize Day this week is again open to international players! I’m looking forward to seeing your pictures…..

MIY March 17: Week 3 Prizes

MIY March sponsors

We’re almost half way through already!! If you’ve only just discovered MIY March and want to play along, you can find all the details in this blog post.

Here are the fabulous sponsors of this week’s prize bundle:

Feast your eyes on the bumper bundle you could win this Saturday…..

MIY March Prizes

  • Minerva – a £100 fabric hamper
  • Textile Garden – a £30 voucher to spend online
  • By Hand London – your choice of 3 PDF patterns.

Not bad eh?! And this week’s Prize Day is open internationally. Off you go, get snapping and posting!

MIY March 17: Week 2 Prizes

MIY March sponsors

Hopefully you now have the hang of MIY March and you’re ready for week 2?!

If you’re only just joining us; welcome, all the details for how to join in are in this blog post.

Let me introduce you to the generous sponsors of this second week:

Here is the bundle of prizes from them that will be up for grabs on Saturday…..

MIY March Prizes

  • Ditto – a denim bundle containing 2m of denim, thread and a zip
  • Paddleboat Studio – PDF copies of the Carson and Mitchell patterns
  • Cico – 3 sewing books: my latest book “A Beginner’s Guide to Making  Skirts”, “Sew Scandinavian” by Kajsa Kinsella and “Sewing for Babies & Children” by Laura Strutt.

This week’s Prize Day is open to UK players only.

MIY March 17: Week 1 Prizes

MIY March sponsors

So, are you ready to play MIY March?! If you’re not sure how to join in, have a read of this post which has everything you need to know.

A big thank you to the generous sponsors of this first week:

Here is their fabulous bundle of prizes that will be up for grabs on Saturday…..

MIY March Prizes

  • Faberwood – a £25 voucher to spend in the Faberwood online shop and a goodie bag of t-shirt and badges
  • Marilla Walker – a PDF copy of the popular Roberts Collection pattern
  • Beyond Measure – a £30 voucher to spend in the Beyond Measure online shop.

This week’s Prize Day is open to international players, so get posting your pictures!