Tag Archives: thoughtful sewing

How To Sew Sustainably – a first look inside

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October MIY Makers – Celebrating Your Most Worn Makes

most worn makes

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What Happens to “Social Media Makes”?

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Upcycled Accessories Mini E-Book – Get Yours For Free Now!

upcycled accessory projects

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Handmade Christmas Gift Inspiration at the Martlets

Do you hate Christmas shopping? Always leave it until the last minute, get stressed out, buy things in a panic and spend too much money?

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Start Thoughtful Sewing With My Sewing Planner


Stop making garments you never wear and get your sewing on track with my Sewing Planner! I’ve had a lot of fun putting this together, it was inspired by my recent ideas on summer sewing and the proliferation of colouring books…..

The downloadable 12 page A4 PDF booklet includes:

  • fashion drawing croquis that you can trace and use to plan your garment sewing
  • fashion drawing croquis that you can draw straight onto
  • a sheet for each of my patterns with flat drawings of all the different options so you can play around with colours and prints and really make it your own style
  • a fun colouring page of outfits
  • a copy of my Sewing With Knits shopping checklist.

To get yours just join my newsletter here and you’ll automatically be sent a link to download your copy.

Happy planning!

Styling & Sewing Talk at MIY Workshop

Yesterday’s first Styling talk by Clary Fisher was a great success.  Even I left feeling inspired to organise a capsule wardrobe free of “wardrobe irritants” and one of our attendees Michala went home and spent 6 hours decluttering her wardrobe, putting unworn clothes into vac pack storage, collecting clothes for her local charity shop and making herself a pile of alterations to get stitching!

Here are a few snapshots of Clary and her engrossed audience…

stylingtalk2An on-the-spot interactive bit where Clary looked at unworn items that people had brought in to try to identify how they could be changed to become well-worn items!

stylingtalk1And focussed concentration while Clary talked about all the other aspects in addition to clothes – like hair, make-up and shoes and showed the group a collection of inspiring items from her own wardrobe that she has altered and adapted to make work for her.

Everyone took away some food for thought from the session and some inspired enthusiasm to go through their wardrobes with a fresh eye.  For me the key take-home ideas were:

  • balance – styling isn’t necessarily about hiding or disguising parts of yourself, rather about balancing everything out – as Clary reminded us “the eye reads beauty in symmetry”
  • editing – you’re not going to feel your best in every colour, shape or style, so you need to edit your wardrobe
  • focussed shopping, rather than impulse shopping – go shopping with a clear idea of what you’re looking for and research where you’re most likely to find it rather than dashing round the shops like a headless chicken and finishing up feeling frustrated and unsatisfied
  • be objective and start looking at your clothes (and those you try on in shops and sewing patterns and fabric you buy) objectively or with a trusted friend and step out of your comfort zone  – try on shapes and colours you wouldn’t normally go for and in shops that aren’t on your usual shopping route
  • shop less but better
  • make your clothes work for you – if garments in your wardrobe aren’t being worn, what can you change easily to make them into well-worn favourites?

As all of the above also applies to the clothes you sew and with this last point in mind myself and Clary are running a joint workshop in September.  Full details are below.  You don’t need to be a tailoring expert – with just a few sewing skills, some personalised styling advice and some sewing guidance and inspiration you can change those wardrobe-cluttering unworn garments into your new favourite outfits……

Let’s start thoughtful sewing and thoughtful shopping.


Sewing & Styling


So, how many times have you lovingly made yourself an item of clothing and then never had an occasion to wear it?  Let’s face it, there are only so many times in a year that you’re going to need a tea-dress/vintage style frock with nipped in waist/swirly skirt with a mad print.

This is the pitfall that awaits new stitchers.  You have some new skills, you’re all excited by these girly, cute, vintage style patterns, you’re loving all the printed fabrics covered in cute little animals and ditsy flowers.  But hang on a sec there, these things are a million miles away from the clothes you normally enjoy wearing and you don’t have a spring wedding to attend every weekend!  (Or do you?!….)

Save yourself a bit of sewing disappointment and ask yourself these questions before you get all carried away with that new project:

  • What styles best suit your body shape?  If you know that full skirts make you look a stone heavier, why spend time sewing yourself one?
  • What colours suit your skin tone and hair colour?  If you love to wear bright colours, put that pastel lemon floral fabric back on the shelf!
  • What sort of garments do you tend to feel most comfortable in? You love to wear trousers and very rarely wear skirts, so don’t choose a skirt pattern to make, thinking it’s time you “got into” skirts.
  • What garments and colours do you already have in your wardrobe?  If your wardrobe is full of cold colours, bold prints and separates that mix together well, why are you considering a Hawaiian print shirt dress to wear with flip flops in the summer?

Once you’ve got your rational head on, start looking at patterns and fabrics with a fresh and more objective eye.  Look at the small line drawings of the design of the pattern and ask yourself if it’s a style you can see yourself wearing.  When you’re out shopping for fabric, stop looking at fabric as an abstract thing in its own right (it may as well be wallpaper or a table cloth), imagine great chunks of the stuff draped around your body (grab the roll and hold it up against your face), can you really see yourself wearing it???

This post has been inspired by a meeting I had recently with personal stylist Clary Fisher.  Clary and I had been aware of each other online for sometime, but finally met up over a cup of tea to discuss an idea of Clary’s.  Well what a fab meeting and hopefully the start of something rather special, as it was so nice to have a good old chat with someone totally on the same wavelength.

It turns out Clary and I have very similar thoughts about the clothes-buying and clothes-making processes:

  • you have no idea of the conditions under which cheap clothes are produced, often workers are exploited and even lives put at risk (read about the factory collapse which killed over 1000 garment workers in Bangladesh in 2013 here)
  • buying cheap often means you compromise on fit, so it never looks or feels quite “right”
  • cheap clothes are usually badly made from poor quality fabrics making them uncomfortable to wear
  • if you know what styles and colours work for you, you can buy less at better quality and are less likely to fall for impulse purchases that you regret later
  • it takes the hassle out of getting dressed if you know that everything in your wardrobe works together, fits properly and makes you feel good when you wear it
  • once you know what colours suit you and have found a few patterns that fit and flatter, you can use your new-found sewing skills to eventually make a whole new wardrobe of clothes you enjoy wearing
  • sewing doesn’t always save money when compared to shopping on the high street, but it could result in you having a much more wearable wardrobe of things you feel good in.

Do you feel inspired to start sewing your “you” wardrobe?

Clary will be giving a talk at MIY Workshop all about styling which will include easy tips to work out shapes and colours that suit you and how to apply that to making something that you will love wearing.  We’ll also be announcing some exciting joint workshops soon!


Clary’s credentials are impressive, (as you’d expect from any industry professional invited to speak or teach at MIY Workshop) she’s worked as a stylist on West End shows, TV shows including Eastenders and The Mobo awards, for bands and on fashion shows and shoots.  She’s also a visiting lecturer at the London College of Fashion and even better, she also knows how to sew having studied tailoring!

If you’d like to join us, the date is Saturday 5th July at 11am.  

***30/5/14 UPDATE*** – as seats for the 5th sold out in a day (!) we’ve added a second date for Clary’s talk: Saturday 19th July at 11am. 

Tickets will be just £5 and there will only be 12 seats available.  

Don’t miss out.  Book your seat by ringing Wendy at MIY Workshop on 01273 693451 or email miyworkshop@gmail.com

This is……..

  • thoughtful sewing
  • grown-up sewing
  • making the clothes you want to wear.