Saturday, 28 May 2011

Guest Post by Casey: Planning Your Sewing


Hello! Casey of Elegant Musings here. I am so delighted that Tilly asked me to guest post for her. I have long been a fan of her blog and jumped at the chance to help out and say “thank you” for all her inspiration and sewing know-how she shares with us. Today I wanted to discuss the idea of planning your sewing: how do you prepare each project? What method do you use to keep track of things? How do you stay organized with your sewing?

I think I, like many who love to sew, tend to sew based on whims. For a long time I didn’t have a set idea of what I really needed to sew and just let whatever caught my fancy dictate what I occupied me next. Which is fine—I think sewing should be fun and enjoyable! But in many ways this approach left me feeling a bit dissatisfied that there were things I did need to sew that weren’t getting addressed. So I started to keep track of things and plan them out a bit.



Last spring I started making spreadsheets of my projected sewing plan for the season. Sometimes the majority of projects were completed, other times they were not. For me it’s a good way to list everything out at once, prioritize projects, keep track of supplies I need, and also log adjustments I’ve made. Above you can see what my late spring/early summer plan looks like. I unfortunately didn’t have a plan for early this year—and I feel like it showed a bit with my sewing productivity. This summer I plan on spending some time working on a few garments that have been on my to-do list for a bit, and I have a visual way to keep track of things and see my progress (or lack thereof!).

To create this document, I just use a spreadsheet program; in this case Open Office. There is no fancy coding or formatting—just simple rows of information in each cell. Pretty bare bones! I have the following columns:
  • Project number (I rank them by priority or urgency)
  • Project Title/Description
  • Pattern Number: to easily reference my stash.
  • Fabric: what I plan on using from my stash or envision and need to acquire. I also usually add yardage if I have to buy fabric. I will usually bold-face or highlight the specific materials I still need to purchase.
  • Notions: I use the same method as fabric for tracking what I still need to buy.
  • Fitting notes: I like to keep track of any changes I’ve made to a pattern by jotting down the basics here. I’ll usually write whatever else I’ve done on a piece of paper that goes in the pattern, but the synopsis goes here.
  • Construction notes: any changes I want to make to the pattern, ideas, etc.

Once a project is completed, I’ll highlight the entire row for that project. It’s really satisfying to see a solid block of highlighted cells towards the end of a season! Or motivating to get done what is still undone…

I also keep my seasonal sewing plan ideas in my sketchbook or have a folder of images easily accessible on my computer’s desktop for reference. Another method I have tried is keeping loose-leaf pages with sections to write in the particulars for each project, and swatches and sketches stapled on. I love this method too, but often forget to pull my binder out to double check! This method, for me at least, is easier to pull up when I check my email and manipulate the data and see at a glance what is done and what isn’t! Case in point: a skirt I was able to cross off my list recently:


Because I’m always the nosey type… what is your favorite method for planning sewing projects and keeping track of things? Or do you prefer to let the spirit move you when it comes to your next project?

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Maker Faire: Crafting Your Online Presence


On Sunday, I went to Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, one of the most mind blowingly inspiring events I've ever been to. Described as "the people's World's Fair", Maker Faire celebrates DIY culture of all kinds, uniting amateur crafters, hackers, growers, engineers, poets and chemists. The philosophy of the event is that everyone is a maker. Part of the purpose of my blog is to encourage other people to make their own clothes, to feel the same pleasure, satisfaction and connection to the world that I've felt since I started sewing 17 months ago. So it was so exciting to be at such a large-scale event which recognises the creative potential in everyone. From skittles-powered robots to embroidery demonstrations, gardening to soldering workshops, upcycling to cheese-making, the day spread such joy to everyone who was there, who played and made stuff.



I happened upon the Craft Stage just as a panel discussion was beginning called 'Crafting Your Online Presence'. The session focused on how to turn a craft blog into a successful business, with insights from panellists Jenny Hart from Sublime Stitching, Drew Emborsky from The Crochet Dude, Moxie from Made by Moxie, Garth Johnson from Extreme Craft, Cathe Holden from Just Something I Made, Alice Merlino from futuregirl, moderated by Craftzine's editor Diane Gilleland.

Here are ten nuggets of wisdom that the speakers shared:

1) Be authentic. Do and write about what you're excited about, not what you think people want. It may not be for everyone, and that's fine. If you really care about what you're doing, you'll find your people.

2) Be passionate, be reckless, but be organised.

3) It may take years before you get widespread exposure or generate revenue, but keep in mind that you're building up your brand during this time.

4) The more you give, the more you get.

5) Blog stats and numbers of followers don't mean anything. What matters are the people who really like what you're doing and interact with you.

6) If you want or need to make money from your online presence, people understand that. They know that by paying for your product or service, they're helping you to grow your business, not fund a decadent lifestyle.

7) Don't accept every opportunity that comes knocking, or you'll be too busy to do the stuff you really care about.

8) You don't need an MBA to solve business problems. As a creative you can solve problems creatively.

9) If you're serious about building up reader numbers, consider paying for adverts. The Crochet Dude takes out adverts during snow storms when he knows people have time on their hands to browse websites.

10) Don't waste too much energy protecting your intellectual property. Let it go, give stuff away, and stay creative.

What was interesting was the range of opinions and approaches, not all compatible, demonstrating that there are no set rules. In fact, while I was nodding along for much of the session, I didn't agree with absolutely everything that everyone said, and that's okay. What about you? Do you strongly agree or disagree with any of the points above? Do you have your own thoughts on how to make a craft blog or online business successful?

And finally, my favourite thing at Maker Faire - motorised muffin mobiles!



[Soundtrack: 'Some Written' by Metronomy]

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Guest Post by Debi: Increasing Your Sewing Productivity

I was very excited when Tilly asked me if I would do a guest post on her blog about my thoughts on sewing productivity. It’s really only recently that I’ve felt even remotely productive with my sewing…

Let me first take a step back. My name is Debi and I blog over at My Happy Sewing Place. I started sewing earnestly in 2009. Though I took a few lessons back in 2007 it wasn’t until late 2009 that I finished my first garment. I sew almost exclusively from vintage sewing patterns and am mostly self-taught. I absolutely LOVE sewing. In fact, when I’m not sewing chances are that I’m either a. thinking about sewing, b. checking out other sewing blogs, or c. thinking of buying that extra pattern I don’t really need! I do have a full-time somewhat demanding job and I also occasionally do freelance consulting on the side as well.

In 2010 I joined as a contributor to the Sew Weekly website to sew one outfit a week for the duration of a whole year (with a few breaks allowed)!! Just so you don’t get the wrong impression… I sewed up a total of 12 garments during 2009, which could probably make up a total of 5 outfits. Well to go from 5 to 50 odd outfits - that’s quite a leap!!!! I knew it would be a huge challenge for me and I decided to do it because I really wanted to start focussing more time on what I loved - sewing.

So we are now in week 18 and I’ve created 17 outfits so far.


I’ve been really amazed at what I have been able to do and I have really enjoyed the challenge. I’ve also learned a lot along the way about my own personal style of working, what motivates me, what hinders me and what keeps me going with the same enthusiasm week after week.

Now the thing that I’ve found useful with the Sew Weekly that I didn’t have on my own — is a deadline! Ok, I know what you are saying… I have deadlines in my day job; I don’t want or need deadlines with my hobby… Ok, hear me out with this one. You know how they say that the way to create a new habit is by doing the same action over and over again (consistently) until it’s just second nature? I think the same is true with sewing. Having a structure that is consistent helps to get the ball rolling until it seems much easier to get into the rhythm. I think this is especially true with sewists. Just from the type of blogs I read, I notice that we tend to be the type of people that have lots of demands on our attention and time (we’re passionate about many things in our life - from our children, to our jobs, to our social life, etc.). With this increased pressure on time and attention there is likely to also be procrastination - especially by those that want to succeed with sewing the most.

I’m the worst with procrastination. Due to everything going on, if it’s not something that’s immediately due it tends to take the backseat. What I love about a deadline is that sewing is forced to take equal status with other areas of my life. And why shouldn’t it?? Why should I relegate the thing I love most to the very last? I once read somewhere that we only procrastinate about those things that have value to us. Interesting thought, no?

Now the kicker is that it has to be some sort of external deadline. I’m rubbish at keeping self-imposed deadlines!!! An example of an external deadline would be creating an outfit for a specific event and telling people that you are doing it. As bloggers we also have the chance to create deadlines — whether through hosting sew-alongs or simply letting people know what we are working on (and maybe asking them to check in on us). I’ll never forget a comment from a reader asking how the 1930s cape I was working on was coming along (a couple of months after I had originally posted about it) — that was just the impetus I needed to get into the sewing room!!!


Not all of us will find having deadlines to be useful. There are lots of different working styles and deadlines may not be your thing — especially for your hobby. I do want to share another thing that I have found particularly helpful for me and that is visioning. I am a super visual sewer. From the very start of an idea, I try to create a clear mental image of the completed outfit and how I will feel when it is completed. Visioning is so integral to how I think about sewing—everything from my fabric choices, to the locations where I take pictures to where I will wear the finished outfit and how it will fit in with my existing wardrobe.

I keep my visioning very positive. I never imagine running into problems — I always imagine a smooth sewing process.

Part of this process is banishing negative self-talk. You know, those thoughts that come into your head without invitation. Here’s a few of my recurring negative thoughts: you don’t know how to do that… You’ve never done it before… You’re not good at lapped zippers… You’re not advanced enough to grade that… You can’t do this… Everything is always going to take you a long time… UGH! Let’s get out of that space QUICK! It’s amazing how those thoughts can just come in without even wanting them to! When I find myself thinking this way, I immediately say something aloud to counteract them (this can seem a bit silly at first—but hey, it’s just me in my sewing room so I don’t really worry about it). This may seem funny to say aloud but what I say the most to myself to counteract negative thoughts is, “I CAN have it all. I can have the job I love and have enough energy for sewing AND having an amazing time with my partner… etc.” I just keep going. However much I think I need to say for it to sink in. It’s really amazing how it makes me feel. I think especially for women, this can be very empowering. Society is always telling us how we can’t have it all... Your personal pep talk may sound different — whatever it takes to get you pumped up and to give you that little extra boost to do what you truly love!!

Those are my main productivity tips. There’s the usual stuff about removing distractions and breaking tasks into bite-sized portions but I find those things do little to improve my productivity. I’m the ultimate list-maker so chances are I’ve already made 20 lists of the task to do (which may or may not mean I’ll actually do them) and I tend to be able to work quite well with distractions — so that doesn’t really affect my productivity. My hurdle seems to be the little me (and some days the big me) inside my head saying that I’m too tired, or I don’t have enough time to actually accomplish anything. So for me, the biggest improvement to productivity seems to be countering the little me in my brain (in a gentle way) and reminding her that at the end of the day, there’s nothing I would rather being doing — whether I have 5 minutes or 5 hours.

What about you? Do you get those awful negative thoughts? What are your major hurdles with regards to actually getting to sewing?

Thanks again Tilly for asking me to guest post… happy sewing everyone!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Me-Made-June... On the Road



I'm excited to say I'll be participating in Me-Made-June '11! Each day in June, I'll be wearing at least one item that I have made myself, joining a bunch of other stitchers in this challenge to celebrate our homemade clothes. I've loved following other bloggers' Me-Made-Months but as a relatively new seamster I've thus far shied away from participating. Having taken an inventory of my self-stitched clothes, I think I'm now ready to join in... hopefully without resorting to my homemade pyjamas too many times!

Oh yes, and for the first week of the challenge I'll be on the road, on a research trip to San Francisco and Washington DC. I'll be a busy bee, but have of course factored in a few days holiday to explore, so if you have any tips - fabric shops or otherwise - please do share. First stop, Maker Faire - woop!

I've asked three of my favourite bloggers to write guest posts while I'm away. I'm so excited to see what they come up with! Look out for the first one on Sunday...

Byeeeee!

[Soundtrack: 'Fun Fun Fun' by the Beach Boys]

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

My First Self-Drafted Top!



Friends, please let me share my excitement with you - I've drafted my first pattern! It was sooooo satisfying. Drawing + Maths = Heaven. I started with a simple t-shirt, following the instructions in a fantastic book, Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch. The technicalities of pattern drafting can get complicated, but the book explains everything in refreshingly clear language.

I drafted the pattern a couple of weeks ago but my plan to make the whole thing in one day, from taking measurements to finishing, was scuppered when the upper knife on my overlocker snapped in half. It was quite a shock when a bit of metal bounced off my face, but mercifully it was the blunt end. I guess I must have gone over a pin - a mistake I will never make again. What was more of a shock was the price of a new knife - £30 for this tiny bit of metal!



As well as making the pattern, this was also my first attempt at serging single knitted jersey. The curling ends were a bit annoying but manageable. I followed Patty's advice to use wonder tape to stick the hem and cuffs down before topstitching, which made it much easier.


I'm now dying to make this in navy and red stripes. Anyone know where I could get some?

[Soundtrack: 'I Walked' by Sufjan Stevens]

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Blogger Meet Up on Goldhawk Road




Exact numbers are a subject of contention and may never officially be confirmed. By my calculation, it was at least 40. 40 sewing bloggers who hit the 13 fabric shops of Goldhawk Road in West London at 2.45pm yesterday.

Karen of Did You Make That? had arranged for a few of us to meet up, and by some bizarre coincidence, or cosmic alignment if you prefer, The Sew Weekly British contingent were planning a meet up of their own, on the same day at the same place!

As you can imagine, meeting so many sewing bloggers in the flesh was pretty exciting. Add 13 fabric shops into the mix, and you have one pretty awesome afternoon. Karen has written a hilarious post summing up the day, so I'll just let my photos do the talking...

"Calm down, Zoe!"

Handmade Jane and Scruffy Badger coordinated outfits

Portia and Zoe share an Essex joke

This was the point where Catherine, Pia, Laura and I got physically stuck in the fabric aisle


Dibs wins the shopping!

Inspecting the finish on the bags Karen was handing out - flawless French seams!


Having learnt my lesson from previous fabric shopping blogger meet-ups (fabric + bloggers = overenthusiastic purchasing), I was extremely restrained and limited my purchasing to this beauty above, which I'm going to make into a simple Toast-style A-line or shift dress.

Heartfelt thanks to Karen for organising another fantastic meet-up. It was so lovely meeting everyone, I'm just sorry I didn't get time to chat to each of you properly. Next time!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Kitty Embroidery



The other day my friend Sarah came over for an Embroidery and Sherry (TM) evening. Yep, rock 'n' roll. I stitched this little kitty case for my iPod, which has been in need of a cosy home for long enough. The pattern was from the Sublime Stitchingbook, embroidered onto some plain calico. I love it so!

[Soundtrack: 'Drunkard's Special' by Coley Jones]

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Sewaholic Patterns Giveaway Winner

Firstly, thank you sooooo much to everyone who has already responded to my questions about sewing blogs and collective creativity. I've been in Iceland for a few days (which was great, thanks for asking - spotting whales, floating in the Blue Lagoon, learning about viking history, admiring stylish people...) and nervously opened my laptop last night to see whether anyone had responded and if so whether they thought I was mad. But I was so heartened to see lots of thoughtful comments on the post, emails in my inbox and posts on other people's blogs about it. Oh and a classic "anonymous" comment, which is always fun! Sorry I haven't had time to respond to everyone yet, but I hope to go through everything properly in the next couple of days.

Now onto the fun bit, the winner of the Sewaholics Pattern giveaway is...

   

Katharine said...
I love the skirt, and I've never sewn one before. I think I'd use the incredible cotton lawn that I bought in a boutique fabric store a year ago [above].

True Random Number Generator  
Result:
171Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Woooooooooo! Congratulations, Katharine! Can you email me your address so we can arrange your winnings?

Thank you to Tasia of Sewaholic Patterns for donating the prize!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Are Sewing Bloggers Cultural Leaders?


Readers, I’m calling on your input once more. Not with a sewing project this time, but with a paper I’m writing.

I usually keep my work life and sewing blog separate, but there’s an overlap here, so I should give you a bit of background. In my normal life I work for a support agency for independent cinemas and film festivals. For the past few months I’ve been on sabbatical as a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme, a development scheme for emerging leaders working in arts and culture.

We have been asked to write a provocation paper – a paper to provoke thought - about cultural leadership.

So I’ve decided to write about you. About the world of sewing blogs.

What am I talking about?

As we well know, there has been a recent resurgence of DIY culture. People are increasingly turning their back on consumerism – whether for ethical, environmental or economic reasons – and are reengaging with the process of making things themselves, whether that’s editing a mash-up video or knitting a scarf.

At the same time, for the past few years web 2.0 or social media has been providing people with a platform to share their thoughts, interact with each other, and “curate” and distribute what they think is valuable.

For online networks of makers, social media provides a platform to showcase what they’ve made, but also to create in a collaborative way - to pool knowledge, share ideas and inspire each other.

Arts organisations, accustomed to being the experts and to curating “professional” artists, have been thinking about how to respond to this cultural shift. What can they do to remain relevant in an increasingly participatory culture where people expect to be involved in both creating and curating? If they are to continue to engage with the public, how should they adapt their traditional models of programming, marketing and audience development? There has been excitement and resistance, experimentation and debate, action and confusion.

What’s this got to do with sewing blogs?

I’ve been thinking about these questions a lot, and have attended and participated in various conferences, workshops and, okay, arguments about it. And while there is some brilliant work going on in the arts, the examples I kept returning to in my head are from the online sewing network.

Think about the structure of the sewing blogosphere for a moment. Thousands of people from all over the world, who’ve never met in person, come together to form a virtual sewing circle, to encourage each other with their projects, teach them new techniques, and form a self-led community to celebrate their passion for the craft. (Don’t you just love looking at your world map report in Google Analytics? Holler to my readers in Namibia!)

Think about the sew-alongs, where a geographically disparate collective of individuals agree to work on the same sewing project. The leader sets the schedule and offers tutorials on the construction techniques, wanting nothing in return but to know they’ve provided a support network and have empowered people to make something.

And then there are initiatives like A Common Thread, where a piece of vintage lace was divided up between eight women around the world, who each made a unique garment embellished with the same trimming. Or Me-Made-March, which celebrates the achievement and excellence of home stitchers’ work by challenging them to wear the fruit of their labours every day for a month.

The online sewing network epitomizes the spirit of collaboration and partnership. It is self-governed, communally organized, without a profit motive. It fosters dialogue, innovation and creativity in regular people, not professional artists. And it has a big impact on people’s lives, empowering them to become makers, to consume less, to feel connected to the world and to become part of a community.

In my paper I want to present a case study of the online sewing network as a microcosm of the user-led world and as a collaborative model of leadership. If arts organisations want to embrace participatory culture, what can they learn from sewing blogs?

“Online sewing circles – a leadership pattern to follow?”

How can you contribute?

Just as I write about a sewing project on my blog, I’m planning to post updates on how my paper is going, the questions, the obstacles, the lightbulb moments and (hopefully!) the progress. More crucially, I’d love to get your input.

  • What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
  • What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
  • Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
  • Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?

If you’d like to offer your thoughts on any of these questions (yay!), you can leave a comment below, drop me an email or, even better, write a post on your own blog. Thank you!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Giveaway! Sewaholic Patterns


Did the interview with Tasia get your pulse racing over Sewaholic Patterns? If the answer is yes, you'll be excited to know that Tasia is offering one of my readers the chance to win a pattern of their choice from her line - the Pendrell Blouse or the Crescent Skirt.

   

To enter, leave a comment below saying which pattern you'd choose if you won and what fabric you'd make it up in. Don't forget to leave your email if it's not linked to your blogging profile. The giveaway is open internationally, with free shipping. The deadline to enter is midnight GMT on Monday 9th May.

Good luck!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A Day in the Life of Tasia Sewaholic

Ever wondered what it's like to be able to think about sewing all the time? To actually make money from it? Well, readers, I have an exciting new feature for you which I'm hoping to develop into a monthly series. A Day in the Life lets us have a nosey into the daily routine of the people who have made a full time career out of their love of sewing. The series takes us behind the scenes of small stitchy businesses, gives us an insight into what it's like to make a living thinking about sewing, and answers the burning question of what successful stitchers have for breakfast.

I'm so excited that Tasia of Sewaholic Patterns agreed to be my guinea pig for this feature! I've loved following Tasia's journey from blogger to business woman when she recently started selling sewing patterns. So let's find out what it's like to be her...

*****


"I get up at six-thirty in the morning, as soon as the alarm goes off. If I don't get up right away, I'll sleep forever! Then it's the standard morning routine of showering and getting dressed. I'm really lucky in that I can wear whatever I want to the office! That can be a bad thing, as there's no one forcing me to dress professionally. Most days, I'll put on a full skirt or dress, tights, a lightweight jacket and a scarf - or some variation on this look. And my Keds! I bike in Keds and keep a spare pair of platform pumps at the office to change into. Breakfast is Mini-Wheats (nutritious and delicious!) and a cup of black coffee. I used to be a cream-and-sugar girl, but I've adopted Mr Sewaholic's coffee-drinking habits.

Just before I leave the house, I'll put on my bike shorts underneath my skirt and my gloves. If it's raining, I'll put on Mr Sewaholic's 'functional' rain jacket - a rather utilitarian olive-green man's jacket, but at least it's waterproof! (I have grand plans of making my own, much cuter version someday.) I try to leave the house by 8am. When I was attending seminars every day, we had to be there before 8:30 so I got in the routine of leaving the house early, and I'm trying to keep it up! It's easy to get off schedule when you work on your own. The earlier I get to work, the more I can accomplish!

I ride my bike to work, which I love! I can get there in about half an hour. Really, it takes about the same amount of time as it does to drive because of the traffic. It's much more fun to bike, and I arrive totally energized and awake!


The first thing I do when I get to work is turn on my computer, and look at the note I've left myself the day before. (Yes, I do that! Before I leave, I write a note with the most important things to do the next day.) I get a good start on the list, check emails, return phone calls for the rest of the morning.

These days I'm working on the Crescent Sew-Along, instructions for the next pattern for Sewaholic Patterns, and getting the new office completely set up and moved in. I'm also planning what I want to accomplish this year and revising my business plan. (For school, but also for my own planning.) There's always something going on!

Where I work is a shared office space, so there are about twenty or thirty other offices in my shared office. We share the lunch room, reception, and boardroom. So far, I've chatted with a couple of the others in the lunchroom, but haven't made any friends yet. The receptionists and office staff are super friendly and helpful though!

For lunch, if I don't bring leftovers or something from home, there are two great options downstairs. There's an all-you-can-eat sushi place that also does take-out, and it's delicious! The other choice is a sandwich shop which is amazing. When I told friends where my office was, they knew the location based on the sandwich shop downstairs! Usually I'll bring something from home though, but treat myself to lunch out once or twice a week.

In the afternoon, I work on the more relaxed tasks and anything I worry won't get done by the time I leave! You can only spend so many hours staring at the computer, so if I need a change of scenery I'll sew, plan projects or organize - anything that doesn't involve a glowing computer screen! I also pack and ship the orders for the day.


What I enjoy the most about my job is that I get to do something I love every day! I love sewing, talking about sewing, thinking and dreaming about sewing. If I didn't get paid, this would still be what I'd want to do. So it just seems perfect to be able to spend my workdays sewing and designing sewing patterns. I feel really lucky every day! I love when someone says I've inspired them, or taught them something brand new, or helped them feel more confident about their sewing. More and more people are taking up sewing, according to the research I did for school, which is just wonderful to see! I love the freedom that comes with sewing. You can make anything, regardless of what's in fashion or in stores. I love reading blog comments and I love checking my alerts and seeing new versions of the Pendrell Blouse and Crescent Skirts. That's the best part!

The hardest part of having my own business is switching my mind off when I get home. I wake up in the middle of the night with ideas! I'll be watching a movie and all of a sudden, the answer to a sewing problem flashes into my mind! That's one of the main reasons I got an office, to get some separation from work. When everything was at home, I felt guilty if I wasn't constantly working. Now I leave my stuff at the office, lock the door and go home - and try really hard to leave it alone until tomorrow! That, and fitting it all in. Being a one-woman show is hard! There's always so much to do, and I love doing it all, which makes it a challenge to finish everything and have a proper work-life balance. It's also a challenge having to make every decision myself. What happens when something goes wrong? There's no policy or rules in place, just me and a decision to make. Scary! But fun and challenging all at once.

I started Sewaholic Patterns because I had an idea - patterns to fit a pear-shaped body. No one else was doing it! I knew I couldn't be the only one who had to alter every sewing pattern to fit my body. Also, I knew that even if I designed patterns for a certain body shape, anyone could alter them to fit! So I decided to start with one pattern, and if it was successful, then I could keep developing new patterns. Well, it just happened that I was laid off in October of last year, so I decided to follow my dreams of having my own pattern company and turn it into a real business. It was perfect timing! I'd worked at the same company for eight years, and suddenly had the opportunity to do something new, something I believed in. And that's how I got started! I knew I had the passion, the motivation and the drive to start my business - which I thought would be enough to get me going! I also have a degree in Fashion Design and years of experience working in the apparel industry. What I didn't have was the business knowledge and formal training, and I knew I had to learn these things to be successful in the long run. Luckily, when I was laid off, I was eligible for a government-sponsored Self-Employment Program. It's a wonderful training program! The seminars and courses are taught by actual business owners, not just teachers reading from a book, so you know that what they're telling you works in real life.


What I've learned about myself is that I'm determined, hard-working and passionate about what I do.. to a fault, sometimes! I've learned that sometimes the right decision is scary, but if a big weight feels like it's lifted off your shoulders afterwards, then it was the right decision. I've learned to trust my instincts but do my research. And most importantly, I've learned that I can do this, that I have what it takes to run a business, and that all I need to do is believe in myself and I'll be just fine.

Before I leave the office at the end of the day, I'll write myself a note for the next day with the most important things to do. It helps me get started the next morning! Also, I won't let myself leave until I've written and scheduled a post for tomorrow. Usually I leave when my post is done, and I start to get hungry! On average, I've been leaving the office around 6pm, getting home just before 7. If I'm really, really lucky, Mr Sewaholic has made dinner. (Or ordered in dinner. Both are fine with me!) Dinner can be anything from Thai takeout to chicken strips and fries. We like food, but we're not picky. Anything goes! After dinner, this is when I'd usually sew some more, so it's an adjustment not having my machine at home. We'll watch the hockey game or a movie, or go for a walk. I like sleep, so I'm happy to be in bed between 10 and 11pm. And that's my day!"


******

Thank you, Tasia! Readers, have you enjoyed this post? Does it deserve to become a monthly series? Who's daily routine would you like to read about? And what would you ask them? Pray tell!