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  • Alex

Lost and found - my sew-jo​

A few weeks ago my sewing machine decided to take on a life of it's own and not stop stitching when I took my foot of the peddle, a bit like the brakes on the car not working so it had to be repaired. I bought my machine from Bambers and always have it serviced there, the service is very good but popular so they warn you that it's likely to take three weeks. Luckily for me my mother in law offered to lend me her machine, which was fine for a couple of weeks, then that stopped behaving itself and became unusable - I was bereft. I prepped some projects, but once I'd cut out four or five patterns I was stuck for what to do so I did something drastic, I cleaned. Clearly that's not something any sane person would do for very long, so when the day came for my planned visit to London I was very excited. I had booked tickets to see the Dior exhibition at the V&A, planned to meet a friend for a drink and decided to do a bit of non-shopping in Oxford Street.

Non-shopping is brilliant if your a sewist, the idea is that you try on a load of clothes that have something about them that you're tempted to replicate. This way you can see if that colour or shape is for you without having spent hours and hours creating an item that looks dreadful. I've hardly bought any ready to wear in the last year, so a big try on session in John Lewis was on very useful. Some shapes suited me more than I thought and others were just awful, like the jumpsuit that just made me look like a Telletubby. So much of what I tried on seemed so expensive, the cotton Toast dress I tried on was £180 although I liked it, I muttered the Sewists mantra "I could make it for less' and put it back.

Liberty London

I had a really lovely time In London, the Dior exhibition was great and so inspiring but the queue was long and meant that I wasn't going to make it in time to see my friend, which was such a shame. However I took the tube to Oxford Street and had a wander around the fabric department in Liberty, which is a shadow of it's former self. I used to pop into Liberty in my lunch break years ago on one of my early attempts to learn to sew and it had a huge selection of fabrics, not just Liberty prints. I hate to shock, but I'm just not that keen on Liberty prints, too girly for me. I've dug out a photo of me on holiday in what I guesstimate was 1989 wearing a pari of culottes that I made from fabric bought at Liberty, I seem to remember it took me weeks to make and I don't think I tried again for a few years.

Me aged 20 in my Liberty fabric culottes

After Liberty, I popped up the road to The Cloth House, which I really recommend anyone to visit, they have some amazing fabric and I treated myself to some olive green cotton, which I've just made into a jacket - see next blog.

My day in London filled me with inspiration, but I still didn't have a working sewing machine. I made a couple of sweatshirts on my overlocker including the Papercut Patterns Bowline top which wasn't easy, but it's a great pattern and on a regular sewing machine it would be a doddle.

Papercut Patterns Bowline top review

Eventually my machine was repaired and I was ready to go, not - my sew-jo was gone, I didn't even check Instagram!!! It didn't last too long though as the Love To Sew podcast came up trumps with an episode on how to get your sew-jo back, I listened and I could feel a little glimmer of sewing excitement. One of the suggestions was to organise your sewing patterns or your stash, Helen from Helen's closet has used Trello to sort hers so I shamelessly copied her last week and began the process of logging and photographing all my sewing patterns. It worked a treat, I suspect I've only managed to upload about half of my pattern stash, not only had I forgotten a lot of the patterns there were some I'd swear blind I'd never seen before. So, I'm pleased to report that I'm back, I have just finished making something and will post asap.

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