Sydney Craft And Quilt Fair 2018

Each year I go to the big Craft and Quilt Fair in Sydney, in previous years I have gone to it for 2-3 days but this year I only went for the one day and to be honest only really spent a couple of hours at it. I can’t explain why this year but this year I just didn’t have the craft show excitement. Before the show I look online to see what classes and workshops are running and this year nothing took my interest so I didn’t do any workshops or talks. I needed to return back some raffle tickets to the Quilting Guild that I had received in the mail to sell but didn’t so I went in to drop those off plus just do some minor shopping. I had no “big ticket” items I wanted to purchase this year, it was more just some supplies of things I needed. To be honest I am starting to feel a little cluttered by my craft stuff which I never thought I would say. Instead of crafting relaxing me the supplies around me are starting to make me anxious because it is visual clutter. On my shopping list was rotary blades as I have none, yellow wool felt and some owl fabric for a couple of gifts. On one stand I did purchase a “showbag” of different types of interfacings. After the NSW Industry day earlier this year I decided I am going to make up an interfacing sampler with different types of interfacings and different fabrics so I can see which works best when I need to use interfacings in different situations. I hadn’t gotten to the shop to purchase the interfacings yet so this showbag was perfect. I did make 2 indulgence purchases, a shawl pin and a cake of yarn. I don’t have a shawl pin so one will come in handy. The cake of yarn is Scheepjes whirl, I have seen this online many times but have never actually had the chance to hold some. The day before the craft show I started a new shawl with a ball of yarn so in my mind I could justify adding this to my stash as I am likely to use it. This year it is in its 25th so everyone attending to a tote bag as they entered the show.

Over the years I have gone a bit crazy at the craft show and purchased items which I have never used or given away. I am over doing that. I don’t want to think of my craft supplies as a waste of money but in some ways if they just sit around and I eventually give them away then they are. I am really happy with what I purchased this year, I didn’t lose my craft mind and just purchase random stuff.



Me Made May Lessons


Last week I was tagged on YouTube and Instagram by the wonderful Laura @sewingfrommystash  for #memademaylessons which is a challenge to answer 7 questions after doing Me Made May. During the month of May I wrote a few blog posts about it but I thought it would be really fun to answer the questions below because sometimes you don’t really think about something in a certain way until someone askes you a question and it makes you think, well that is how I am anyway. Laura also made the comment she thought I was stylish. That just spun my mind out completely!!! I don’t feel stylish, I am a dag!

The 7 questions are –

  1. What prompted you to join MMMay this year?
  2. What percentage of Me Made clothes do you have in your closet?
  3. Do you still buy RTW? If so, has sewing changed the amount that you purchase?
  4. Did you learn anything new about your Me Made clothing by joining the challenge?
  5. Did you find anything difficult whilst participating in the challenge?
  6. What do you feel was the best about the challenge? Or lessons learned for you if any
  7. Will you join the challenge again?

Thanks Laura for the tag so here goes!

1. What prompted you to join MMMay this year?
I had watched it in previous years and it looked like a fun personal challenge. This year I had more garments in my wardrobe that I had sewn/knitted/crocheted so I felt like I had enough to actually complete the month without wearing the same item several times in a week which is what I normally do. My challenge was to wear items to work each day which I had been doing for a number of months but I hadn’t taken much notice of it so I wanted to be more aware of what I was wearing. I normally don’t put much thought into what I will wear the next day I just grab something placing it ready to get dressed. I wanted to see if I could actually make proper outfits from all the bits that I have made up over time.

2. What percentage of Me Made clothes do you have in your closet?
My clothing is broken into several categories
– tops, bottoms (pants/skirts), underwear, gym gear, pjs
Tops – Only about 10% of my tops are me made at this stage but it is an area I want to increase with me made to replace existing RTW. All my current fittied RTW tops I call my “work shirts” which limits how I feel about wearing them as I don’t want to wear “work wear” on weekends. I want to make tops that I feel I can wear any day of the week.
Bottoms – 90% of my skirts are me made, I only have 2 RTW skirts I wear now. Confession my old RTW skirts are still in my house as I just haven’t done the cleanout yet but I don’t consider them in my wardrobe as I don’t wear them.
Underwear – 5% undies me made the rest RTW, bras aren’t even on the radar to be made
Gym gear – 50% me made. My gym top is me made my bike pants are RTW
Pjs – 60% me made, most of my tops are me made and I have a summer pj skirt but all my pants for both summer and winter are RTW

3. Do you still buy RTW?
I have just brought a couple of new bras as I won’t even try making them. I am looking at making different undie patterns but I may have to buy some RTW if I don’t get sewing before I need them. I have never been a big shopping person and only will go into a shop for clothing if I need to replace an item. Generally I have enough clothing already both me made and RTW that I don’t need to go clothing shopping, I hold onto clothing for a very long time if I like it. I need to replace my winter coat at the end of this season so I may have to go and purchase one if I don’t get one done in time for next year. Last year I was desperate for pants and I realised how much I didn’t like going and trying clothes on in a shop. I made one pair of pants (still not blogged yet) so I can get by for a while now without having to shop again for them. When I go to a shopping mall (about once a month) I don’t go near the clothing shops or the clothing section of a store as I don’t need anything so I don’t even window shop.

4. Did you learn anything new about your Me Made clothing by joining the challenge?
From this challenge I learnt that a few of my items look pretty good just like RTW items. I actually surprised a few work collogues who are used to me only making toys when they commented on my clothing and I casually said “yeah I made it” I realised that I really get a buzz out of wearing me made items. If I think I am going to have a bad day throw some me made items on before I leave the house and I can look at those if I need a moment to calm myself or just be ok. I didn’t realise what such a confidence booster me made items were. I also discovered how much I love wearing my Granville skirt which is a white skirt I made a few months ago. Before I would run from a white skirt but I like it and have worn it lot so maybe I need to start challenging myself and picking colours that are not just plain blues for my me made clothing.

5. Did you find anything difficult whilst participating in the challenge?
I have a tendency to wear
skirts and pants multiple times before I wash them if they aren’t obviously dirty. I was wearing the same skirts most of the month and had to keep looking up Instagram to see what day I wore items the week before so I didn’t inevitably create a “Tuesday skirt” and wear the same item each week on the same day. I had skirts in my wardrobe I didn’t wear because I still had skirts out that were ok to wear before wash time and I couldn’t justify pulling out another item. I was struggling to change to what top or scarf I wore with each skirt so it wouldn’t be the same outfit combination each time. Up until the start of May I had never even thought of outfit combinations because I am a dag and just grab what ever to wear together. I think the lack of me made tops made me feel a little desperate too and I ended up wearing tops under my work jumper I don’t normally like just because I felt I needed a me made item that day. I was doing a daily photo on Instagram of my outfits and trying to not make my photos look the same each time I wore an outfit was a little challenging. I am not good at taking selfies but I did a lot during May which is unlike me so that was a bit outside my comfort zone. Next year I might write down in a diary what I wore each day so I don’t necessarily feel like I need to take a selfie to remember what I wore. Some days I wasn’t in a photo mood but I still needed to take some sort of photo as a reminder.

6. What do you feel was best about the challenge? Or lessons learned
It made me actually look at me made items as a collection and not just as singular items. I say that I struggled to put combinations together but at the same time that got me outside my comfort zone
and I realised some of the combinations really worked. On the saddest day of the month when I attended a funeral I actually felt the best because the combination of RTW and me made items I had on made me look pretty dam good. I looked in the mirror and smiled, instead of being in tears the person I was saying good bye to would have loved what I was wearing. I also realised that some of the items I wear make me look larger than what I am and that is mostly my RTW items because I always go for the biggest size I can. I have to really look at the finished garment sizes on the pattern and not just automatically make the largest size.

7. Will you join the challenge again?
Absolutely I enjoyed it this year. I achieved my goal of wearing me made items to work every day and on the weekends I often had a me made item or two on as well. Next year I will have to step up and do the entire 31 days. I wasn’t panic sewing for May but some of the items I ended up wearing a lot were newly made items in either late April or early May. Next year I think I want to wear some of my older items more and not just have new things. I am hoping by next year I have more tops or even dresses so I have more options but saying that is there really anything wrong with wearing the same skirt 4 times in a month? In my books no.

Thanks again Laura for tagging me in. It was interesting to reflect on different aspects of the challenge. I urge anyone to attempt the this challenge next May and not just people who sew. To answer the 7 #memadelessons questions I tag the following 3 people for a bit of fun

Amy @amymathomcd
Dayle @daisysewcrazy
Catherine @sewingthe60s

I know all the 3 above ladies and they sew wonderful garments. I enjoyed seeing on Instagram what they wore each day.




Letting Go Of My ScanNCut

I made the tough decision to pass on my ScanNCut machine.

Firstly I have to say I am sure ScanNCuts are great machines. From what I have seen others do with them they are really useful and handy machines. I got mine back in 2014 when they first came out. I think it is one of those machines you need to play with to figure it out and I just don’t have the patience required. I have a short attention span, if it doesn’t work the first or second time I loose interest in it. I had ambitions of making a quilt that was made of embroidery panels that I was going to trace out on the ScanNCut then embroider over. I nearly got through about 1 of I think 12 blocks but haven’t touched it in years. The machine has lived on my bookcase for a number of years.

Scan N Cut Mats Hanging Up

For some time I have been thinking of giving the machine away (I find it hard to sell things particularly to friends and family) When my sister asked to borrow my Sizzix machine as she making items for my nieces party I thought perfect time to offer her this craft machine if she wants it to keep. I think she will get more use out of it than I would particularly for paper crafts. I now have a big space on my bookcase that I can put craft books and things plus the space in my wardrobe where I was hanging the mats. I am trying to do a big declutter of craft items that I won’t use and passing this on is a big step in the process.


5 Years In Blogging

Wow I can’t believe yesterday marked 5 years of me blabbing on this site!!! Every so often I go back and read my first post.

I was inspired to start blogging after following Rhonda’s blog Down to Earth, at that stage Rhonda was posting nearly daily and I would pop over to her site every morning to read what she had been up to. I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Rhonda the same year I started blogging which was a big treat. Also going to Urban Stitches when it was first held in Sydney also made me start itching to blog. At that stage I was mostly doing fabric crafts like sewing and embroidery and as they were mostly gifts I was giving them away so I wanted a place where I could document what I had made. I am bad at keeping a diary, as a teen I never had a secret one hidden away because I would only last a couple of days of daily journaling and then forget to write in it. I was a big writer of “letters” to my closest friends which I guess in a way was like a diary. Over night I could write 2-3 pages (or more) of just babble (teenage girl stuff) and then give it to my friend the next day or post it in the mail if I wasn’t near them. Now days I still babble but instead of music and boys it now over fabric and yarn!

This blog has been a great venue to document not only what I have made but also how I have made. I fully confess that I refer back to my own blog to remember how I made things. I forget what size I make things, techniques used, blog links to other sites, deviations to patterns I have made. Sometimes I will scribble notes as I go but often they are on scraps of paper or in a notebook that I write draft blog posts in and once the book is filled up I toss it out. If I blog my notes here at least I know I will be able to find them again.

I am proud to say that I have kept blogging every Tuesday for the last 5 years. Some months haven’t been easy and I struggled to do it each week if I had other things going on (Mr StitchNSew was very sick in hospital once for over 5 weeks) other months I have done 2-3 posts a week. Sometimes I just get the urge to blog and I run to the computer, my fingers can’t keep up with the thoughts in my head as I hammer the words out. I might try a new technique or do something by accident and I am like an excited little kid I just want to share it on here. I don’t know if anyone is actually interested but in my mind I need to get it out there. Other times a blog post can take a lot of work, I need to take photos and edit them, try and write the words so they make sense, spell check and grammar check (I am a terrible speller and words still slip through that are wrong)

My blog is literally like how my mind thinks. My posts jump from topic to topic. I can’t keep still, my thoughts don’t focus on any one thing. I can go from talking sewing, to knitting, to a new book. Sometimes I will finish a project and blog about it straight away other times it will go on my “to blog list” and it might be a few weeks before I post about it. At present I have 2 jackets and a skirt which I haven’t blogged about yet plus some gifts. Confession there are projects I have done that I have even forgotten to blog about. They have jus seem to slip through. The other thing is that the majority of the charity sewing and knitting that I do I don’t post on here as I have talked about it before. I regularly still sew and knit for WIRES.

I have never found blogging tiresome and that’s why I have kept doing it. Little blog secret is that you can write posts ahead of time and set them to publish at a certain date and time. I confess that is now how I do my Tuesday posts, I finish it all on either Saturday or Sunday morning and put the magic in place for it to publish on the Tuesday. On the odd occasion when I am full of projects half done or I haven’t had the time to spend crafting I have had become a little desperate for ideas but I have always found something to talk about. I want to keep blogging for years to come. I have a couple of ideas I want to do one example is creating a links page of all my favourite places that I purchase supplies or patterns from because at times I am hopeless at adding in links. I have never wanted to copy anyone else’s blog as there are many wonderful bloggers out there who have their own unique style. My style I guess is a bit Craft Scatterbrain, I never know what I will jump to next.

I would like to say a big thank you to anyone who has read any of my posts and also to those who have left comments. It still blow my mind that anyone is reading this and I think it is awesome. I am honoured to share my craft experiences with you, the good the bad the what was I thinking! I hope to continue sharing with you for years to come.



MMMay 18

MMMay 18 stands for Me Made May and is a personal challenge for anyone who makes their own clothing or accessories to wear those items for the month of May. Zoe from So Zo What Do You Know created this challenge and it is now in its 9th year! If participants want to they can share what they are wearing each day on social media but this is not compulsory. It is open to anyone who makes things so the challenge isn’t just restricted to those who sew, knitters, crocheters, jewelry makers anyone makes things you can wear can join in the challenge.

Over the last few years I have been seeing people on Instagram post photos of what they are wearing. I have decided this year to sign up to the challenge. It is really easy to sign up all you do is click on the Sign Up post and follow the instructions to copy in the comments section of the post your sign up pledge. There are no set rules of what you must pledge so there is no obligation to wear an entire outfit of Me Made each day or wear an entirely different item for each day of the month. I have thought about my situation and have set myself the challenge of wearing one me made item to work each day in May. Some days I might have more than one item on, some weeks it may be the same item worn on 3 different days. Between the items I have sewn, knitted and crocheted I think this year I have enough items to participate. This is a no stress challenge and if by chance for whatever reason one day I can’t wear Me Made I’m not going to beat myself up about it, it is more about aiming to wear the items that I have put love into making and feeling good about them.

If you are interesting in setting yourself this fun challenge go check out Zoe’s blog and sign up.


NSW Industry Day McCall’s 2018

I am a member of the Australian Sewing Guild. Last Saturday an Industry Day was held in NSW at McCall’s Bankstown and I went along. Industry Days are a lot of fun and very informative.

This year we had 3 guest speakers Larraine Jenkins, Hollie Belle and Gail Ferris. Larraine educated us all about interfacings and stabilisers and the importance of using them. We all got a sample pack of different types of interfacings which were labeled which was very handy. I’d thrown a notebook in my bag and I’m glad I did as I scribbled down little tips Larraine gave us. Now that I am more serious about making my own clothing the terms and steps Larraine was referring to were starting to make sense. Lots of ideas were ticking in my head during her talk. Gail gave us a talk on how she dyes and spins her own yarn and textiles and the processes involved, it was interesting to see different yarns she has made and the properties each yarn contains. Hollie is the inventor of Sew Sister which is a dressmaker form which is constructed to your own body measurements after a 3D scan is done. Hollie spoke at the industry day last year about her plans for this and it was great to see it actually happen. She showed us a video of the process she has of making them and actually scanned a volunteer as a demonstration. It was fascinating to watch and many of the attendees actually got scanned later in the day so they could have their own form made up. Part of me wants to get a dressmaker form but I don’t know how much I would use it. Unlike the dress forms you normally buy these aren’t adjustable and at the moment I don’t how know how much my body fluctuates in size. If you know your body and know how stable you size is I think this dress form in wonderful. For me I think any dress form would just become clutter and used more as a hanging piece rather than a fitting piece. You never know in the future I might change my mind if I find I am needing to use them.

In NSW we are lucky our industry days are held a factory within the sewing industry we get spoilt with discounted products to purchase. There were some great bargains including $1 mettler thread, discontinued rolls of sun silky lining, patterns, $2 Vogue magazines and more buttons then you knew what to do with!

Before the day I went online and decided on a few things I needed. I stock up on my rolls of Trace & Toile particularly now that I making more clothing and using larger pieces I use a lot of the stuff so that was on my list as was Knits For Real People.

What wasn’t on my list was the Vogue magazines. Looking at last years shopping from McCall’s it turns out I brought one of these magazines last time (I thought the cover looked familiar) but at $2 the error didn’t break the bank.

The other non shopping list items I got were some threads and a bag of buttons. I have decided that I am going to pull out my coverstitch machine and learn how to use it so I have brought some threads to play around with on it. I’m not actually sure what I am going to do with all those buttons. I got some unusual ones or ones that might look good on toys. That was maybe my “caught in the moment must buy this bargain” purchase at $4 for all of them again hasn’t broken the budget. Oh and I won a lucky door prize too of a pair of snips.

Thank you to the organisers for the great day. It was lovely to hear the guest speakers talk, if you are a beginner sewer or one who has been doing it for many moons you still learn so much from them. It was great to catch up with friends and make some new ones too. Hopefully I can make the next industry day in September.


Crafting With Pain Series – My Advice

This might sound a little strange but I have enjoyed sharing my experience of crafting with pain and disability on the blog. Thank you to everyone who has commented on Instagram on my personal Facebook page (sorry I keep my Facebook friends private) I do believe that there a lot of people out there who are in a similar situation to myself. You may not necessarily have the same conditions or issues that I have but many people do have issues that I wouldn’t say limit but more result in them having to do their crafting a little different to other people. I am by no means an expert but I would like to share some advice with people.

Seek Help
If you find you are developing pain when you are crafting seek professional help. Have a chat to your Doctor they may suggest you see a occupational therapist or maybe another trained professional who can help. My personal trainer is brilliant as he is very knowledgeable in areas outside regular fitness. He helps with posture and stretching, he integrates exercises to build up strength in my muscles so that I can craft. We work on the smaller muscles in the hands and feet that sometimes get overlooked. For me it is important we work the small muscles and not just the larger ones.

Buy The Best Tools That You Can
I know how easy it is to jump into a new craft, buy the top end equipment then decide you don’t like the craft and you have wasted your money. We’ve all done it. If you find you are sticking with a craft and you enjoy it then buy the best quality equipment that you can. Think of it as a long term investment. If you want to be doing the craft for a long time then get some comfortable tools so you can continue doing it. You might build the tools up slowly over time but it will be worth it. When people ask “What do you want for your birthday/Christmas” tell them that craft item you really want as it is something you can actually use.

Adapt Your Space
You need your craft space or area to work for you. Change your area around so that everything is convenient for you. Raise a table up on blocks if you need it higher, change your storage solutions so you’re not having to lift heavy crates if you can’t move anything heavy, rearrange your furniture so that you can move about and craft easier. If you need to sit when doing the ironing lower your ironing board and move a chair over to it.

Take Regular Breaks
It is easy to get so focused on the project you’re working on and forget to take breaks but you really should. To minimize pain I need to keep taking regular breaks to give my body a rest between tasks. Use your break times to stay hydrated or read your pattern or just sit for a few minutes and think about the upcoming tasks you’re about to do so it is more clear in your mind. Regular breaks can also stop brain fatigue, we all know when tiredness kicks in is when you start making those silly little mistakes.

Stretch And Move About
Do basic stretches of your hands and feet. If your craft involves a lot of sitting move your legs and feet about to keep the circulation moving in them. Stand up if you have been sitting or the opposite sit down if you have been standing. You can find some great stretching exercises online if you do a google search. Even just simple movements like rotating your wrists or ankles around or just clenching a releasing your fingers. These all get the muscles moving.

Its Ok To Say No
Don’t feel pressured to take on a project for someone if doing so is going to cause you pain or discomfort. Yes you could spend hours on an item so someone could have it in time for a deadline but if as a result you will be in pain for a week then it isn’t worth it. Say No sorry I can’t make that for you and don’t feel bad. You deserve to put yourself first

Set Yourself Realistic Deadlines
If you are making a gift or you want to enter a piece in a competition give yourself adequate time to make it including buffer time just in case things go wrong. Don’t leave it to the last minute rushing to get it finished as you will be less inclined to take breaks and cause yourself pain. Plan ahead, start things early and if you miss a deadline its ok just relax it isn’t the end of the world. If it is a gift you could always show the person the project you making them and they will still adore it.

Get To Know Your Body
Learn the signs your body is telling you of when it is getting tired, when it needs a break. Work out what you body needs you to do to reduce your pain and discomfort. If your body needs you to stop every 10mins when crafting then stop every 10mins. If your back gets sore after standing for 20mins then only stand for 15mins before taking a break. If crafting and all of a sudden you feel a pain or twinge then stop and take a break, if it is still sore after that maybe your body is saying that is enough for today. Learn to understand your bodies limits so you don’t push yourself too much.

It Is Ok Not To Be Crafting
Don’t feel bad if you’re not crafting all the time. If you need to take a break from crafting for a day or a week or however long your body needs it is ok. Don’t force yourself if you are in pain to craft as crafting is meant to be fun. We all have times when our body needs us to stop and do nothing. When your body is up to it you will get back to crafting and you will enjoy it. If you still need your crafting fix during that time read a craft magazine or pattern book, write your “to make” list or do some online shopping for any supplies that you need.

Don’t Hide Your Pain
It is really easy to put on the brave face and act like it doesn’t hurt but you don’t have to. Be open about your pain. Pain is a very isolating condition which I think more people suffer from than we realise because it isn’t talked about. You don’t actually have to be disabled to suffer from pain you may get it from a long term injury, medical condition, it could develop from repetitive motions or sometimes it seems pain just develops for no reason. You may suffer from pain short term or long term either way pain is pain. Life doesn’t stop because of you have pain and you do have to learn to manage but that doesn’t mean you need to hide it away and pretend it doesn’t exist.

There is no rule book when it comes to crafting with pain as each person suffers from pain in their own way. Don’t compare yourself with others just do whatever works for you. Discovering how you need to do things sometimes comes with trial and error but don’t be afraid to try things. Once again a big thank you to Gillian for inspiring me to share my story about the way that I craft with disability and pain.