Thursday, 2 October 2014

September Projects Report

None! Pitiful. I did a lot of hemming of blinds if that counts for anything.

Black Polka Dot Laurel Top by Colette Patterns

Fabric: Black with large white polka dot poly cotton
This has been in my pile cut out since August. I have sort of lost my sewing mojo a little recently. I am hoping to get it back enough at least to finish this top! When I got it out to photograph I actually realised that I've done a lot more than I though so perhaps I will finish it off this weekend.
Buy the pattern here

Mustard Yellow Alabama Cardigan by Rowan Studio

Yarn: Rowan Wool Cotton 4ply in Brolly
I have been working away on this since about February but I am not intending to rush myself - I just want to take my time and enjoy the process. It is billed as a summer cardigan in the Knit Today magazine I got the pattern from, so I have until next summer now! This is going to be on hiatus for a while so I can concentrate on baby projects
Buy the pattern here

Turquoise 4ply Simple Baby Hat by Dappled Things

My friend is due to have a baby in January and I am so excited! I have a list as long as my arm of projects that I want to knit for him - this is just to kick me off.
Free pattern here

Teddy Bear All-In-One and Mittens by Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake Chunky
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake Chunky in Teddy
Buy the pattern here

Converse Baby Booties
Yarn: Stylecraft Special Aran in White & Black
Free Pattern Here

Easiest Baby Booties

Yarn: Deramores Baby DK in Apple Green & Rico Design Baby Cotton Soft DK in Jeans
Free Pattern Here - the English version is below

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Interview: Chatting with Samantha Claridge - Haberdasher & Blogger Supreme!

Sammy on the left with her blogging partner, H

Samantha - known as Sammy - runs Sew Crafty Sewing Centre in Maidenhead & co-runs Live It. Love It. Make It. with her lovely best friend & partner in craft, H. She lives in Maidenhead with her husband & 2 cats. I am so excited to be chatting with her about her exciting and crafty life!

Sammy, was it always your plan to have a creative career? What was your dream job?
The only thing I knew was that I wanted a job that I loved. I had so many ideas when I was younger about what I wanted to be when I grew up but the one thing they all had in common was the need to be creative within my job. Even when I worked in pubs in my late teens/early twenties the event planning, cocktail mixing and chalk board painting was the part of the job I enjoyed the most.

You have been blogging with your best friend H now for 2 years - what is the best thing about that for you? What inspired you two to start blogging together?
H and I had both been reading blogs for about a year before I started a blog of my own, it didn't get very far, I think I wrote about 4 posts before deleting it a few months down the line. About a month later H said to me that she was thinking about starting a blog. I suggested that it might be fun to write one together. H and I are so similar in so many ways and so different in others, but we are united in our love of crafts, so we thought it would make more interesting reading to work as a team. To this day that is what I enjoy most about our blog, and working with H. We always try to have balance. H keeps me in check (literally spell checks everything for me) and I do the same for her. We motivate each other and each pick up the slack if the other is suffering from bloggers block.


How did you get involved with Sew Crafty Sewing Centre?
11 and ½ years ago my Mum phoned me for our usual weekly catch up and mentioned that she was thinking about doing something a little crazy. She was looking to buy the haberdashery shop that she had worked in for the past 8 years as the owner was about to retire. She asked if I would like to be her partner and run it with her… of course I said yes. I had been managing a bar after leaving collage as I had become disillusioned with the design industry that I had trained in, so I jumped at the chance to a) get back to being creative and b) work with my Mum. Six months later we opened our doors for the first time as owners of our very own haberdashery shop. Eleven years later and we are still going strong and just about to open our ‘doors’ online.

What do you love most about running a haberdashery shop? Are there any down points?
Being my own boss, being surrounded by pretty things all day long, working with my Mum, our lovely customers and getting to choose what we sell are probably the things I love the most.
The down points are keeping your momentum going year after year, mean people,  doing accounts, and being responsible for everything, that can way heavy.

How do you choose what to stock in your store? How do you stay up to date on the latest craft trends?
We learnt early on that we shouldn't stock things that we wouldn't use ourselves, just because they are fashionable. It is too hard to sell things that you wouldn't recommend to a friend or use yourself, it shows when you talk about your products if you don’t believe in them. People come to our shop because they like the things that we choose. They like how we display things, and the brands we choose to sell, that is why they come to us over other places. It makes it easier for us to choose what to sell too if we keep to our aesthetic. Of course we update our choices every season as our tastes change. We read a lot of fashion magazines, craft magazines and blogs to keep up with what is current and websites like Pinterest are great for trend spotting. We also visit trade and public shows like ICHS and the Knitting and Stitching shows to see what people are buying. We also listen to what our customers are asking for, we have a rule of three, if three people ask for something (on three separate occasions) we don’t currently have we will try and find a way to stock it.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to open their own independent haberdasher?
Firstly for anyone starting any kind of business, take a course in business basics! Tax and accounts can make or break small businesses. Get a handle on cash flow, profit and loss, gross and net profit before you go choosing all your pretty stock. Trust me! I wish I had paid more attention in Business studies class. Secondly I would say work to your strengths, Pick your genre and don’t try and please everyone. If you are a dressmaker the specialise in dressmaking fabric and equipment, If you are a quilter at heart then stick to quilting supplies, at least at first. Once you have built a customer base you can expand your supplies to meet demand.

Find Sammy around the Web:
Sew Crafty Sewing Centre | Facebook | Twitter
Live It. Love It. Make It. | Bloglovin' | Facebook |  Twitter

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Me-Made-May '14 - the aftermath

So first I must apologise for not fufilling my promise of plentiful Me Made May outfit photos. I assure you that I did complete the challenge - with the exception of one day when I was taking part in a charity walk and needed sportswear.

on the left Tilly and the Buttons Picnic Blanket Skirt; on the right Colette patterns sorbetto top

I am glad that made quite a broad pledge - I could not have worn all me - made as I just don't have enough things and frankly the things that I do have don't really go together.

By Hand London Polly top, worn 2 ways

It turns out everything I have made or even my upcycled pieces are patterned... And all of the fabric in my stash is patterned, too! Crazy. So - a new pledge! I must use all of my patterned fabrics - perhaps to make dresses as I missed wearing dresses very much this month - and then focus on making some plain wardrobe basics to wear my lovely patterned pieces with.

On the left - 2 pairs of pyjama bottoms from the first Great British Sewing Bee book; On the right a skirt which used to be a dress

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Knitting My First Cardigan - Progress Report

This is me knitting in the park in Bath - what a lovely afternoon that was :) So, I am plodding on with the cardigan - as I mentioned before in my Getting Started Post, it takes me quite a while to knit even one row. I am progressing a bit but I am not rushing myself! Anyway, this is where I am with it - I will keep you updated on my progress!!