Sew Inspirational!

I read a lot of sewing blogs. And I mean a lot. If I don’t check my feed reader for a couple of days, it starts to burst at the seams with all those wonderful blog posts, chock full of gorgeous pics, nuggets of wisdom and general sewing chat. Reading the latest sewing blog posts is my absolute favourite thing to do in the morning, generally accompanied by a big mug of tea and a few minutes of (relative) peace and quiet while the kids watch telly.

But I’ve got to admit it, I’m absolutely terrible at leaving comments on blogs. Partly it’s down to the way I read–typing comments just isn’t as easy on the phone as on the computer keyboard for this touch typist–and partly it’s down to the feed reading software, which has often booted me off a site without saving my brilliantly phrased, witty comments. So you’ll just have to take my word for it that they were A: sparkling with wit and brilliantly pithy observations, and B: actually written.

This blog post, then, is an attempt to make up for all those missing comments, by stalking publicly namechecking five of the online sewists who have most inspired me over the last few years, and coming up with an idea of a sewing project inspired by them. It’s been really tough to narrow it down and I’d love to have included way more people here, but in the interests of writing a blog post you can finish in one sitting rather than a novel-length love-fest, let’s introduce my five choices:

Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing

Gretchen Hirsch–aka Gertie–is a genuine sewing legend. I’ve been following her blog for years now–it was the very first sewing blog I ever found, and I was drawn to her retro styling and love of couture sewing techniques. Since then I’ve watched her launch a range of patterns with Butterick, publish three sewing books, and launch her own, vintage-inspired fabric ranges in the US and Australia (sadly not currently available here in the UK–boo!). She’s just about to launch her very own indie pattern range too!

Yep, Gertie’s been busy and doesn’t blog her own makes as often as she used to, but over the years I’ve been seriously inspired by her. Not only have I made some of her patterns (particularly the ones in Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, because they’re more practical than party dresses), but I’ve also made other patterns I’ve seen her make, such as the Sewaholic Cambie dress. For me, Gertie is really all about the vintage-style dresses, so, for a make inspired by her I’m planning on using her Colette Crepe Dress sewalong, as her finished dress was absolutely gorgeous!

Two On, Two Off

Dawn is an incredibly prolific sewist and is usually found sewing knit fabrics. She’s tackled just about every type of knit clothing you can think of, including the cutest leotards for her daughters! I’m totally in awe of her bold fabric choices, and if I ever visit Alaska I’m definitely going to seek out the intriguingly named National City Swap Meet, where she seems to buy most of her fabric. Dawn has introduced me to the wonderful patterns by Jalie and the Ottobre magazines–indeed, she sews from those two pattern companies most of the time. I’m also seriously tempted to save up for a coverstitch machine as Dawn seems to use hers all the time and I’m sure that’s part of why she’s so prolific!

So, for a Dawn inspired make I’d have to go for something stretchy. Probably a knit dress. Okay, I make lots of those already, so I’ll make it a Jalie pattern and pick out some crazy fabric. Let’s go for the Anne-Marie mini dress and I’ll find the brightest, boldest pattern I can!

By Gum, By Golly

Tasha is a true vintage enthusiast and her passion for retro clothing, decor and jewellery really shines through in her blog. I’m totally jealous of the large basement studio space she shares with her artist partner, and even more jealous of her fabulous wardrobe! Tasha might make the occasional spectacular vintage-inspired party dress, but she generally makes much more wearable, everyday separates. I love her retro modifications to the Ginger Jeans pattern, and she’s made so many wonderful (and colourful!) knit tops and shirts. She also designs and sells amazing knitting patterns with intricate colourwork–hopefully one day I’ll be a good enough knitter to try one out 🙂

For a make inspired by Tasha, I think I’ll have to go for a shirt. Perhaps a true vintage style with a cropped, tied waist and flat collar. And plaid or big gingham in black or red would definitely be the way to go.


Melissa Fehr somehow manages to run an activewear pattern company from the tiny studio pictured above, on a boat on the Thames! I lived in a boat for a couple of years, so believe me when I say that’s a tall order. I’m also totally in awe of Melissa for her sheer determination in the face of adversity (she had a bone marrow transplant 8 years ago and recently won 6 golds in the World Transplant Games). She’s also written an activewear sewing book that will be coming out early next year, which I’m really looking forward to getting my paws on!

Melissa does specialise in activewear, but she also blogs other garments she’s sewn. She has a love of bright colours, crazy patterns, unusual seam lines and origami-style pattern pieces, and she’s definitely opened my eyes to some patterns I’d never have considered before. However, despite following Melissa’s blog for years I still haven’t sewn my own activewear, so I think my project inspired by her would be a pair of running shorts. Perhaps her Threshold Shorts pattern in some seriously bright fabric!

Sew Sarah Smith


Sarah is one of those annoying people who has only taken up sewing fairly recently, but is now amazingly good at it! I really enjoy reading her blog posts and checking out her latest makes, which are usually incredibly wearable classics in solids or (again) classic patterns, like stripes, spots or florals. She recently co-hosted the Sew Together for Summer shirtdress challenge, and is proof that the sewing blog is far from dead. Every time anyone says all the sewists have closed down their blogs and gone over to YouTube or Instagram, I just want to point them in the direction of new bloggers like Sarah!

For a make inspired by Sarah I’d have to go for a shirtdress, in a solid navy or black. You can’t beat a classic shirtdress for effortless chic, and I know there are loads of gorgeous, vintage-inspired patterns out there to choose from.


After that hefty dose of inspiration I’m raring to go with some sewing of my own. The only question remaining, which of these garments should I make first? What would you vote for? And which sewists most inspire you to get stitching?

mmmay17 28About Anna-Jo:

Anna (sometimes known as Jo) is a tea-addicted mother of two who somehow still finds time to sew! She lives in Somerset, England with her partner, eleven-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. And two cats. Mustn’t forget them–although Anna frequently does, since child #2 turned her life upside down!

Anna has recently discovered her true style, which she calls Rockabilly-Librarian for reasons best known to herself. Since discovering this she has been sewing up a storm and is usually to be found avoiding the housework in favour of “just a few more minutes sewing.” She blogs her sewing adventures over on Anna-Jo Sews, and can sometimes be found lurking on Instagram and Pinterest.