I’m Emma of Emma and her Machine and I write a blog here on WordPress about my sewing adventures – I made my first pattern last year and I’ve been learning ever since. I use my blog to record my journey, the improvement of my skills and to make sure I push myself to keep on getting better.
I’m so so excited to be part of the Sewcialists bloggers team! Anyone who reads my blog knows that I talk all the time about how grateful I am to have found such a warm and inspiring community of sewists after only starting to write a blog this time last year.
Tribute Month is right up my street and provides the absolute ideal platform to share some of the people who inspire me with everyone (read: some of the people who I shamelessly stalk!)
As a sewer I tend to gravitate towards bright fabrics and dress patterns. It hasn’t taken me long to realise that this isn’t always very practical. I have recently been trying to create a more casual wardrobe and there is no-one better for inspiration for this than Lauren of Guthrie Ghani. She was once a contestant on The Great British Sewing Bee and I loved her on that. She is currently writing a capsule wardrobe series and is sharing lots of laid-back, classic pieces.
She chooses fabrics which are muted but beautiful for both her makes and her shop – you should check that out too. This is the kind of loveliness I mean! She has lots of goodies, like this Atellier Brunette fabric.
She focuses on making garments which are really well-made but often simple, which in my opinion makes for a real classic and relaxed style. She often does little tutorials and I love listening to her accent on YouTube! Being more of a reader, I don’t watch LOADS of vlogs but hers is one I really look forward to!
Photo credit: Guthrie Ghani
She inspires me to focus on those casual, practical pieces which should be in my wardrobe and to stick to simple lines and well-made pieces. With this in mind, I’ve just bought some muted pink/grey linen in the John Lewis sale at Sew Up North which I intend to make a casual, simple shirt with … any thoughts on patterns sewcialists?!
In a similar way to Lauren, I find that Monika of Rocco Sienna has a style which inspires me in its laid-back but sleek simplicity. She is only on instagram but has written some posts, along with Sew Sarah Smith and Suzy of Sewing In Spain for the Sew Together for Summer challenge they did recently, where you had to create a shirtdress. I’m so glad they did this challenge as it forced me to try a trickier shirtdress and added even more to the sewing community. Bonus!
Anyway, back to Monika – she makes lots of simple, well-made pieces, like her pink Pauline Alice Sorell Trousers, which I love to see her wearing because they are so ridiculously on-point! I am yet to tackle trousers so I think this is perhaps a bit of skill envy too! AND … she does all of this on exactly the same sewing machine as me!
Monika uses lots of block colours, which I’m guilty of not doing pretty much ever, because I get so distracted by pretty patterns. If I got my act together and invested in some good quality plain fabrics I might be able to have a wardrobe like hers (sigh). She really shows that good quality garments don’t have to be patterned or complicated.
She really seems to dress to her mood, which I love because that’s what I do! So whilst she has many classy pieces, she’s also throws out the odd curve ball, like this amazing Simplicity Dress in this wacky flamingo print!
Next up, is our very own Gillian from Crafting A Rainbow. Not only does she organise this super group of sewcialists but she’s so encouraging of people and really promotes dialogue amongst the blogs. I’ve recently found out she is also a teacher and knowing how it feels to juggle school and sewing, adds to my respect for her.
Gillian really knows her colours, she knows what suits her and she plays around with some amazing fabrics. I love to see what she makes and I take lots of inspiration from her blog.
She recently did a series about finding your colour palette, which you should check out because I found it really helped me and it was actually pretty realistic. It made me think about which colours to put together and which colours are obviously working for me. I have a lot of boring blacks and blues in my work wardrobe and with the help of this, I am definitely going to spice it up!
I am also going to copy her maxi version of the Appleton Dress which she made last year– I feel this shows the extent of my stalking. My plan is to do exactly the same as she has with the Appleton pattern.
The first challenge I ever joined in the Sewcialist community was the Moneta Party over on Instagram. It has become my absolute favourite pattern. It’s by Colette Patterns and if you haven’t tried it yet, seriously, what are you waiting for?! Anyway, the challenge was for everyone to make one and post it over one weekend. I have since made several here and here.
It was organised and founded by Elle of Sew Positivity alongside, Rach of Rach against the Machine, and Abigail of Sew Abigail. It really made me feel like part of a community and I was really grateful to them.
It is Elle who I wanted to champion. She is on both Instagram, writes her blog and also founder of the #internationalannaparty. She fills my feeds with the prettiest of fabrics and inspires me to continue to hunt for gorgeous fabric ( as if I needed an excuse!) She makes the prettiest dresses in them and really knows how to utilise a pretty fabric to it’s full potential.
She is so involved in the Sewing community and a great advocate for Sewing as therapy, in my opinion.
When I told her that I was including her in my post, she said that ‘my reasons behind my Sewcial sewing is I love the community for supporting me and it gives me great pleasure supporting the community in return.’ This is pretty much what I would have said about her anyway and something I couldn’t agree more with! She also tells me that there’s another inclusive community event, which is a secret but coming soon so she’s definitely one to look out for!!
My particular favourites are her Sail Boat Dress, her Lemon Dress and of course, her amazing Moneta Dress. She takes these really bright and fun fabrics and makes beautiful dresses which fit her perfectly and really showcase the fabric. She doesn’t do anything complicated, just well fitted and made dresses in fantastic colours and designs.
With this in mind, I’ve purchased this amazing Honey bee Cotton Poplin fabric, which I intend to make a well fitting and perfect dress with. I was thinking the Seamwork Lynn would work really well. what do you think? I was wondering whether to buy this fabric; I was drawn to it because the bees really represent my home-town of Manchester, which is prevalent at the moment (if you’re interested in why- see here) but I thought maybe I couldn’t pull it off. Then I saw that Elle was crating the swimmers you see above (yes swimmers!) and I thought, yes! I can do bees!
I also bought some Harry Potter fabric after seeing her amazing Hufflepuff Dress from Frumble (though in my mind I’m definitely a Gryffindor!)… I’m a bit addicted to this tribute thing, I’m going to have a busy August!
Finally, Maddie of Maddie Made This. She wears everything like it is the most comfortable thing she has ever worn. She always looks really cool and stylish and I’ve looked into so many of the patterns she uses. For me, she sums up everything we sew for, which is to feel comfortable and happy in our clothes. Plus, she’s a librarian, how cool is that?!
She has also started a challenge called #AnOrlaAffair alongside Rachel, Anya and Allie which encourages you to make up the Orla Dress. As you can tell, I like anyone who does a good challenge because it adds so much to the sewing community.
The Orla Dress is a free pattern from French Navy. It’s a really easy PDF and I really recommend it. I have mine cut out ready in this beautiful fabric called ‘Cranes’ by Emily Burningham so watch this space!
I have asked all these lovely sewcialists for permission to use their photos. I hope they can inspire you as much as they do me. I’d love to hear what you think, on here or over on my instagram. Enjoy having a browse around and I’ll see you for a project post and round-up soon! x