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I really enjoyed choosing my 6 inspirations and must-haves for Sewing Network magazine’s “Blogger Picks” feature this month.
In true form you might easily guess some of my choices, but can you guess all of them?!
Gees Bend Quilts
I love the social history of patchwork and quilting. I find the idea of the stories and meaning held in quilts made from re-used clothing really powerful and they can make me quite emotional. Ever since I first saw images of the Gees Bend quilts they’ve been a constant source of wonder and inspiration for me. I love their honest beauty.
Worn Stories by Emily Spivack
The idea behind this book is simple; the author asked people she knew to tell a story about a piece of clothing in their possession, something significant that happened in their lives while they were wearing it. It makes for fascinating reading and a bit like the Gees Bend quilts, reminds us of the significance that clothing can have in our lives and that it is more than a disposable commodity.
Began as a kickstarter project and championed by Patrick Grant this is a great project. Based in one factory in the north of England it aims to reinvigorate garment manufacturing in the UK by using the seasonal quiet times faced by all factories producing for brands to make their own range of good quality basic items such as jeans, harrington jackets and raincoats.
Just up the road from my hometown of Sheffield, Yorkshire Sculpture Park is heaven, how could it not be when it combines art and beautiful Yorkshire countryside?! There are permanent works set outdoors as well pieces from featured exhibitions and several indoor galleries including the stunning Longside Gallery whose huge windows not only flood the gallery space with natural light but also perfectly frame the most perfect views of the green valley below.
This might be my favourite of all my patterns. It’s one of the most popular and I’ve personally made myself at least 8 versions. It’s easy to wear and easy to sew which makes it a good first dressmaking project for beginners. However, I think its real secret is its versatility; it works in almost any fabric and can be made as a top or a dress in lots of different combinations. I’m always finding new ways to make it. I enjoy working that way; I’d much rather explore the potential offered by one pattern rather than churning out pattern after pattern.
Again, harking back to objects with meaning that can tell stories, I love my handmade Ernest Wright scissors. They’re made in my hometown of Sheffield and I’ve visited their factory to see them being made. It takes a huge amount of skill to make a pair of scissors and it shows in the finished product – they cut through anything and are sharp along the full length of the blade, including the tips. They’ll last you a lifetime and the more you use them, the more they wear to your hand and your particular grip. I love that. You can buy unique MIY Collection branded while handled scissors here.
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There’s an interview with yours truly in the February issue of Sewing World (out now, available at WH Smiths!):
My shrug sewing pattern (www.miycollection.co.uk) is also included as a full size pattern and instructions:
Sewing World has been around for a long time and the magazine has undergone a bit of a revamp in recent months, it contains a good range of projects including craft and dressmaking and there’s something in there for all sewing abilities. It’s also pretty good value at £4.95.
What are you waiting for?!