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29 January

In the summer of 2016, my boyfriend and I were casually strolling through the city (as you do during Scottish summer because there’s no real summer, to be honest) and we walked into John Lewis for a bit of window shopping. I pointed at a mint green sewing machine as we were walking through the shop and mentioned something along the lines of ‘wow, that’s a cool unusual colour for a sewing machine’. Mint was all the rage (like lilac now) a few years ago. To my huge surprise he just said, ‘I’ll get it for you!’. AND THEN HE DID! So that’s how my first sewing machine came into my life at the age of 22. I decided to pick up some cheap cotton (it was grey) and contrasting thread (red) to practice and that night we made a top. I didn’t use a pattern or anything, really messed up darts (because we just thought that the top needed them, but did not use any tutorials on how to make them). We just folded the fabric at the level and then I stitched over it at the armpit (LOL). Even though I loved it (in theory), I realised that making clothes will not be easy (in practice), so the sewing machine stayed largely untouched for most of the next year. University life is so busy! In the summer of 2017, really bored of working full time as a waitress, I was again looking for something to do that didn’t numb my brain. So, I remembered about my pretty sewing machine! I somehow came across Tilly’s first book Love at First Stitch and, boy, it really was. You guys, it was mind-blowing to me that there were sewing patterns out there and that, no, you don’t have to make your own darts! I know it sounds so silly now, but I genuinely was shocked. So that’s when I really started sewing and once the Stretch! book came out, there was pretty much no stopping me. Last year I took my sewing to a new level – I got a separate sewing Instagram account! In all seriousness, I got myself an overlocker and this year I upgraded my sewing machine. Don’t get me wrong, the John Lewis machine is still my baby, and I love it so dearly, but I felt like it was time for me to grow. My last project on my JL machine was the Named Patterns Solina dress you might have seen around (it’s by faaaaaaaar the most popular picture on my Instagram). I struggled so much with the invisible zip and the fine viscose, so it really was time to upgrade – now I sew with my Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 and I love it!

These days I like sewing because it helps me to unplug from my PhD and just relax (even though sewing is stressful sometimes). I’ve come a long way from the wonky jersey tops I made last year – I’ve made my first pair of jeans this year, and now I’m working on a coat and a shirt dress. I’m genuinely so excited about sewing and stroking fabrics that I could talk about it all day. I’m by no means an expert – I still struggle to accept that I’m probably not a beginner anymore…but I also am much more mindful about buying clothes from a shop – it has to be something I don’t see myself being able to make in near future. My sewing journey has been uneven – there’s been plenty of breaks from sewing. Sometimes it’s really overwhelming seeing everyone’s gorgeous make on Instagram and thinking that I don’t have time to make my own. But that’s okay. I’ve learned to live with the fact that sometimes I need a break from sewing – and it always feels so much sweeter to return to it once I feel all giddy and excited again to make!

Happy Sewing! – Anna x