Burda and Big 4 : Our #sewtogetherforsummer Wrap Dress Pattern Picks! (Plus a Wildcard and a Freebie!)

Hello again!!

Looking for some more #sewtogetherforsummer 2018 wrap dress inspiration? We’ve got loads for you today! Firstly, have you seen Helen from Helen’s Closet’s fabulousIndie Darling’ Wrap Dress blog post?She’s chosen some amazing patterns from a whole host of Indie designers which are bound to inspire you! Here we bring you our top Burda magazine and Big 4 Pattern Picks plus we’ve thrown in a Wildcard and a bonus Freebie at the end for good measure!

(Pssst, click on the images or their titles to find out more!)

Starting with Burda… Read More

Sew Together For summer

Announcing the Giftees of #sewtogetherforsummer 2017 plus our meet up in Bristol!

Sew Together For summer

You’re all winners!

I could end this post there. But I won’t! It is quite a lengthy one, so stick the kettle on or, y’know, pour yourself a glass of wine!

At any rate, any of the 400+ completed shirtdresses are totally deserving of a prize, or a gift. As you’re probably aware, the recipients of the sponsored #sewtogetherforsummer gifts were entirely chosen at random in order to ensure that everyone who entered had a fair chance of receiving something irrespective of sewing skill – this Challenge was always about inclusivity and participation; about upping your own sewing game, meeting new sewists, sharing knowledge and encouraging others. To put it simply, it was about being part of our wonderful online sewing community. And you all stepped up and proved without a doubt the power of that community – what a vibrant, talented and supportive group of people you all are – thank you all so much!

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On Saturday 24th June, I (@sewsarahsmith on Insta) met up with my co-hosts Suzy (@sewing_in_spain) and Monika (@rocco.sienna) in Bristol to spend the day and to select the giftees. We’d talked online via Instagram for over a year and almost daily since January when the idea for #sewtogetherforsummer was born. I admit it, I was a bit nervous. The relationship we’d developed online felt incredibly special but meeting face to face was fantastic! They were both exactly as delightful as I thought they would be! From the very first second they burst out of the car to greet me outside Bristol train station, it was like a meeting between old friends. A reunion rather than a first meet. Sewing people really are the best and I feel incredibly fortunate – what a team!

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First things first, we hit FabricLand – that place is great for a bargain – followed by a fabulous guided tour of Bristol before stopping off for lunch at the River Station, a great restaurant, err, stationed down by the river! Prosecco was poured (or Appletizer in Monika’s case!) and three fabulous courses eaten. The conversation and the laughter never faulted – I think we were probably more exuberant than a Hen Party taking place on a table behind us!

 

Then down to the business of selecting the winners!!

Sew Together For summer

Once we’d established internet connection, we began to pick the winners! Using an online number generator, we checked off each of the randomly generated numbers against our list of entrants. Then after  checking their Instagram feed to ensure compliance, we wrote down each picked name on pink card, folded them and put them in a hat with pictures of the gifts and selected the final combinations. Amid much laughter … it felt such a joyous thing to do.  I think the waiters in the restaurant were rather bemused!

I talk a little about #sewtogetherforsummer 2018 and the potential for a #sewtogetherforwinter challenge together with a personal message from each of us at the end of this post but now, without any further ado, here is the list of the 17 amazing sewists and the gifts they will receive:-

 *   T H E  G I F T E E S   *

#sewtogetherforsummer

* Hattie @hattie_van_der_krohn receives the £100 fabric bundle from Minerva Crafts

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* Nic @shecouldsewshedid receives her pattern of choice from Megan Nielsen

Marianne @mariannes_makes receives two patterns (PDF if outside the UK) from Sew House Seven

* Isa @isaribeiro1 also receives two patterns (PDF if outside the UK) from Sew House Seven

* Dawn @dawn_doniquedesigns receives a pack of French Fancies Pattern Weights from Oh Sew Quaint

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* Meg @meg_huckstep receives a £30 gift voucher from Beyond Measure

* Nina @nina_loves_sewing receives two sewing patterns of choice from Sew Me Something

* Anna @ompeleomaonnesi receives one pattern from Sew Over It

* Judith @judithcreations receives the Makers Workbook from Creative-Industry

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* Jessie @jessiehuenmade receives a £30 voucher to spend online at Sewisfaction

* Elaine @laineemakes receives a copy of The Tunic Bible thetunicbible.com

* Jennifer @jenniferhbabey receives a £30 voucher to spend at Cotton Reel Studio

* Jess @jessamyb receives a copy of the Blackwood Cardigan from Helen’s Closet

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* Hayley @stringsews recieves a £30 voucher to spend at from Adam Ross Fabrics

* Sue @acolourfulcanvas receives the Tapton Skirt and Fulwood Dress patterns from Wendy Ward

* Jenny @craftysewandsewindorset receives a medium sized subscription box from Sew Hayley Jane

* Marta @cosmia receives from a dress length of fabric from Suzy’s local shop tejidosarcoiris

CONGRATULATIONS to all of you!!!! We’ve also announced the winners across our Instagram feeds – can you please direct message myself, Suzy or Monika over on Instagram with your contact details (postal address and email) if you haven’t already done so so we can arrange to get your gifts sent to you! 

Thanks again to all our generous sponsors for supporting this event!!!

And also to Diane of Dream Cut Sew for her contribution to the buttonhole post and to Helen of Helen’s Closet for her Indie Shirtdress roundup.

So what happens next?! There have been lots of enquiries on our Instagram feeds as to whether #sewtogetherforsummer will be back next year. Yes it will! We’ve got a pretty good idea of the garment of choice but we’re keeping schtum for now! We’ve also been asked whether there will be a #sewtogetherforwinter challenge too – all I can say for at the moment is … watch this space!

And on that note, I’ll leave you with a personal message about what the Challenge has meant personally from each of us:-

Sewsarahsmith

SarahSewing has always been, for me, a way of connecting both with myself and, thanks to the power of social media, others. It is so (sew?!) much more than stitching together pieces of fabric – it’s self-care, it’s about learning to accept failure and allowing yourself to accept compliments. I’m still learning. #sewtogetherforsummer was my way of trying to put back in to our community, and to each individual sewist, at least some of all that I have gained. As a woman, a working class northern lass, I grew up with the sense of women competing against each other – but not here. Amongst our sewing community I feel I have found my tribe. I’ve made friends for life. Sewing is not about being the best, of trying to better others, but only ever about besting yourself. These were the sentiments upon which the #sewtogether Challenge(s) are built and, given your response, I know this resonated with so many of you! The uniqueness and originality you all showed in your Makes really showcased and highlighted the importance of diversity in any community. It has proved any experience, sewing included, really is ‘Better Together’. 

Sew together for summer

Suzy “Personally, #sewtogetherforsummer has been an amazing experience. I live quite far from most of the sewing action, and Instagram has allowed me to feel a part of the sewing community, so I saw that this challenge was a way of giving something back and having fun along the way. However, I think I´ve probably got more out of the challenge than I put in! Working with Monika and Sarah has been a joy, and I think we made a great team. Seeing all the gorgeous shirtdresses was hugely enjoyable, and I particularly loved the diversity and how sewists stamp their personality on their makes…so inspiring. I´ve also found talented people to follow and made more sewing friends. It´s impossible to describe the satisfaction at seeing less experienced sewists blossom, challenge themselves and then feel so happy with what they achieved. But, above all, the most important aspect for me has been the sheer energy given off by all these amazing people sewing together, supporting and encouraging each other. In a time of uncertainty, what could be better?”

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Monika  “I’m so glad we decided to run #sewtogetherforsummer. I was genuinely overjoyed to see people from different parts of the world not just making their own shirtdresses but also encouraging and advising others. I often feel that we are defined by our jobs, marital status and nationality so I’m always encouraging everyone to have a hobby they feel passionate about (get sewing people!!!). To see beginners and experienced sewists challenging themselves felt pretty epic!
I loved working with Sarah and Suzy; having 3 different outlooks made for a friendlier challenge and we had such a good laugh along the way!
The internet and social media often gets a bad reputation but our friendly sewing community has proved that you can find genuine friendship and encouragement along the way, here’s to #sewtogetherforsummer2018!”

Until next time, sewing friends x

Sew Sarah smith

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Sew Sarah smith

Weight Changes, Fitting Issues & Me Made May #MMMay17

Sew Sarah smith

I’ve debated whether or not to write this post, questioning whether anybody would find it useful, meaningful or remotely interesting. But I’ve always reasoned that if I am here to document my sewing journey, I owe it to myself and any Reader to portray that journey honestly; to not prettify it or make it ‘Instagram-worthy’ only. As a WYSIWYG* type person, I’m not great at that anyway!

IMG_8526Back in the autumn of last year, I was diagnosed with Hydronephrosis and underwent two surgeries to correct my blocked kidney. I’d been feeling unwell for the longest time, constantly tired and seemingly unable to pick myself up. Paradoxically, every time I tried to get healthier by, say, drinking lots of water and eating more vegetables or salads, I’d be bed ridden within days. After a particularly agonising bout I was admitted to hospital, diagnosed and treated in record speed. Thank goodness for the NHS eh.

Once recovered, I got stuck straight back into my sewing plans. However, as time went on, I began to feel increasingly frustrated with the results, noticing issues I hadn’t really had to deal with before. Bewildered by gaping necklines, shoulder seams that were too long and armsyces that were too low, I began to question my sewing. It wasn’t until much later that I finally stepped on the scales and realised just how much my weight had changed. Being able to eat anything I wanted without feeling ill afterwards had simply meant I had automatically made healthier choices.

My body may have changed then but my self body image was taking rather longer to catch up. It was dispiriting to realise things I thought I knew about my body were no longer strictly true; I was having to seriously re-evaluate how I approached fitting sewing patterns. You can find frustrated comments to this effect peppered throughout my posts in this period. All the clothes I had lovingly sewn but which no longer fit, I donated (to my Mother, she’s delighted! Truthfully, as a to-the-core selfish-sewer, it was hard handing over my Me Mades; thank goodness for visitation rights!) Then, overwhelmed with feeling I was facing a massive fitting learning curve together with the mammoth task of practically resewing my entire wardrobe, my sew-jo understandably took something of a nosedive.

But this hiatus gave me the opportunity to have a word with myself; it shocked me to realise that, even as a Stitcher, I’d paid so little attention to my own body, which no doubt contributed to ill health. The culling of my wardrobe has allowed me to re-evaluate and plan properly. It’s been liberating learning to look at, and think about, my body objectively rather than emotionally. Now, rather than feeling stymied, I feel energised. My sewing plans are more considered; I’m selecting the patterns I want to sew based on the idea that I can justify taking the time to fit them properly; patterns which I will want to sew multiple times knowing that they will fill a core gap in my wardrobe and that, ultimately, they work for my body.  

Sew Sarah smith

Which brings me onto Me Made May (#MMMay17). This is a fantastic yearly sewing challenge set up by Zoe that has been running strong for a staggering eight years now! If you haven’t already done so, you can read all about it over on Zoe’s blog So Zo…What Do You Know? but, in essence, Zoe states that the Challenge, which works on a personal and community level, is simply about “…improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, and perhaps also learning about yourself and your creativity...” Never has that felt more apt than now. I’m going to participate with a very limited pledge and I’m completely fine with that:

I, Sarah Smith of www.sewsarahsmith.wordpress.com and @sewsarahsmith, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’17. I endeavour to fit, sew up and wear at least one new handmade garment per week for the duration of May 2017.

I’ll probably wear more than that but this pledge represents my focus right now. I’ll be posting my fitting, sewing and #MMMay17 adventures over on Instagram, although this is by no means a requirement of the Challenge itself. Which is good to remember for future years as the idea of standing in front of a camera daily would, in all likelihood, have me running screaming for the hills!

Are you in?

Until next time,

Sew Sarah smith

(*Wysiwyg = what you see is what you get)

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