1 January 2015

Five Year Blogiversary!

My first blog header (yikes!); a redesign in 2012; and today's cleaner logo

OMG this blog is five years old today. Half a decade old!

Five years ago, sewing wasn’t really a thing that people did - at least, not in the UK, and not in my social circles. When I would tell people that I made my own clothes, they would look at me like I was, frankly, totally nuts. There were only a handful of sewing pattern brands to choose from, mainly aimed at a target audience who were older than me and only one that I found inspiring in terms of style, accessibility or branding – certainly nothing like the choice that we are lucky to have today. So when I discovered there were normal people online sharing their homemade creations, sewing tips and cute patterns, I felt so excited and wanted to join the party!


So, on 1 January 2010, I began writing this blog with the intention of sharing my love of sewing and connecting with other makers. When I started, I knew absolutely nothing about blogging, and I certainly never imagined it would become such a big part of my life. But I kept writing, kept learning, and bit by bit this space has evolved, as all blogs should (I like to think for the better). It’s now a place where I share not only my own homemade creations, but also sewing tips, tutorials, design ideas, patterns from my own brand, plus the occasional peek behind the scenes into building a sewing business. Throughout the last five years, my original intention of sharing my love of sewing and connecting with other makers has remained the same. Gah I still just adore sewing and the sewing community! Isn’t it the best?

The last year has been a particularly big one for me, the first full year of working for myself. As you’ll know if you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, for the first few years I was sewing and blogging during the evenings and weekends, while holding down a senior management job in the film industry during the week. Gradually over the years, I became more interested in maker culture than in my film career, and I started to realise that what I really wanted to spend all my time doing was making my own clothes for fun and inspiring other grown ups to make their own clothes for fun too. As you know, eventually I plucked up the courage to leave my job and build my own business to do just that.

The first full year was, well, full on! Some of my personal highlights were:


* Launching printed versions of our sewing patterns with gorgeous step-by-step photo instructions, including two new designs – Coco and Francoise – to join Mathilde and Miette.



* The publication of my first book, getting onto the Sunday Times bestseller list and having it translated into eight languages (yay for sewing books!).


* Getting the patterns stocked by 70 shops around the world, including a nerve-racking but successful pitch to Liberty at their British Design Open Call. (Did you see it on the first episode of the Liberty of London TV show? Not my pitch, I mean, the Open Call? And the #CapeDrape, of course!)


* Getting out and about and meeting lots of lovely people - at the workshops in our studio, at The Village Haberdashery, and for Janome at the Handmade Fair; giving talks on blogging, book-writing and start-up business for Crafty Fox, Blogtacular and the Clore Leadership Programme; at the party that Lauren hosted for my book; doing my first pop-up shop at Makegood, in Selfridges’ basement; and going to Paris with the other Lauren and a whole load of other lovely bloggers and readers!



* Behind the scenes, moving the office out of my flat to a gorgeous studio; hiring Laura as the company’s first employee; and starting a partnership with the lovely people at Janome - all of which is helping me to improve what we offer, now and in the future.

* Also behind the scenes, overcoming some yucky “challenges” along the way - because, of course, not everything is always rosy - including a major copyright violation (as in, someone literally copied and pasted my website and passed it off as their own business) and a horrible medical scare that forced me to stop working for ten weeks. The lessons learnt from those experiences are that I'm lucky to have awesome people looking out for me, and that sometimes you've just gotta stop working and rest up. You know?


* Doing some sewing - I made 14 Cocos, four Francoise dresses, two Delphine skirts, two Nettie tops, one Lola dress, one Picnic Blanket Skirt, one pair of (glow-in-the-dark!) Margot pyjamas, one Bruyere shirt, one Dove T, and a partridge in a pear treeeee.


* And the best part of all? Seeing the wonderful creations that you people have been making with our patterns. Love them! This collage still makes me giggle :)

After a whirlwind year I was pretty exhausted in December, but after a restful few days on the sofa I’m now getting very excited about 2015. It’s going to be a good year, I can feel it! I’m planning to create some wonderful stuff to share with you, strengthen and grow the pattern line, and, on a personal level, take good care of myself. Do you have any plans, goals or resolutions?

Whether you’ve discovered this blog recently or you’ve been reading right from the early days, whether you’ve ordered something from the shop, have recommended my book to a friend, have sent me a lovely email, or have supported my small-but-blossoming business behind the scenes, I want to say a heartfelt thank you. I’m very lucky that I get to do what I love for a living, not just in any field but in such a wonderfully inspiring, positive and creative community of makers. Group hug!

Happy new year – and here’s to the next five years!

40 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for great inspiration and a lovely and very useful book. I discovered your book and blog sometime in 2014. It seems that those 5 years have been very exciting and I look forward to the next years to come.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations on all your successes and 5 years of blogging, if that isn't enough inspiration I don't know what is. I'm new to your blog and this Christmas I got my first ever sewing machine. I have always enjoyed sewing ever since I was in high school and finished my gcse in textiles (9 years ago!! Jeeez). And since working in a secondary school and supporting in a some textile classes, it's made me want to explore and make Again. So my lovely parents got me a sewing machine this Christmas and I have promised myself to start having a go, making some garments /bags and a beanbag chair for my partner whilst he plays his playstation. Anyways, before I ramble away, I would just like to wish you a happy and successful new year, and thanks for being inspiring, having a lovely blog and encouraging us newbie sewers to just go for it.

    Happy Days.

    Rebekah|0910 Studio Blog

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here's to the next five! I love reading your blog! And your book is one of my prized possessions!
    Xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congrats to your five years! And what a year you've had, especially as you managed to do everything in 42 weeks. I know I wasn't as productive as you in my 52 weeks... I hope you're feeling better - and wish you splendid 2015!

    ReplyDelete
  5. YAY! so excited to read this and so happy to have known you from the very beginning! I am so excited for the next five years! Happy 2015 Tilly!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Huge congrats to you!!
    It doesn't come by magic....you have worked so hard and you deserve every moment of your amazing success.....
    Now then how about a holiday for you?
    Bestest wishes and even more success in 2015

    Daisy J

    PS (yes its gonna be huge!)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations! What a wonderful journey!! Looking forward to read your blog for another 5 years!

    Take care
    Anne (Crochet Between Worlds)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Amazing! What a fantastic year, thanks for sharing it with us! I'm looking forward to making my Francoise dress very very soon!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for your blog. I've learned so much and am inspired to sew more. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  10. congrats en gelukkig nieuwjaar !

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations!! Thanks for sharing all what you know and what you create. I have ben reading your blog for about 3 years (or more) I really enjoy reading it. I hope some day I could buy your book but I don't know if they sell it here in Mexico.Go for another 5 years!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Happy blogiversary! I've enjoyed watching your journey. Here's to the next five being even more fantastic!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congratulations Tilly. Living the dream! Looking forward to reading along with you as you create more and more awesome stuff. Sucks that someone copied your work- there are some bizarre people out there!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy New Year and Happy Blogiversary! Here's hoping that 2015 is an even more thrilling adventure at Tilly Towers!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey that's me lol! Congrats on your success so far with your blog and sewing career, 2015 is going to be an awesome one!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy Anniversary, Tilly! I felt worn out just watching all your adventures this year. The Coco pattern and Love at First Stitch were both hi lights for me.
    Sorry to hear anout your website, im afraid this has also happened to a friend of mine. Must be really frustrating,

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congratulations on your blogiversary Tilly - you have had a jam-packed five years! Good luck creating some more fabulous sewing patterns and other exciting adventures x

    ReplyDelete
  18. Happy blogiversary Tilly! May 2015 be an even better year.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations on your wonderful year (and your blog birthday)! I love reading your blog because it's such a wonderful source of sewing inspiration. Here's to another amazing year of sewing--I'm excited to see where you and your new company go.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dear Tilly,

    Congratulations on all you have achieved so far. Your work is a true inspiration and I just love the things and styles you create. Please keep up the good work but also take good care of yourself! Everyone deserves holidays from time to time;-) Wish you all the best for 2015 and looking forward to getting all your lovely updates!

    Lots of love from Cologne,
    Selmin

    ReplyDelete
  21. Congratulations, Tilly and Happy New Year. Look after yourself and keep the fun. All the best for 2015.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Happy New Year and Happy Blogiversary! Thank you for a fantastic year of reading your posts, even though I watched you on GBSB I only started reading blogs in 2014 and you (among others) have really inspired me to do more sewing and start my own blog to share my makes. I'm thrilled with what I've achieved so far and am looking forward to progressing further in 2015. Thank you for all your wise and entertaining words, and good luck with everything this year.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Congratulations on your 5 year blogiversary. Just reached my 1 year blogiversary and that feels like enough of a milestone. Looking forward following your blog in 2015.

    ReplyDelete
  24. You are such an inspiration Tilly!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Happy New Year Tilly! You're an inspiration and I feel lucky to call you a stitching buddy ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Congratulations Tilly and Happy New Year. It's been a big year for you, and something to be incredibly proud of. This year I have bought your book and two of your printed patterns. I've made two Mathilde blouses and one and a half Coco's (I took my second Coco in a bit too much!). I've followed your blog for the past couple of years and I think you've done an amazing job. I also love sewing, but the majority of people I share that love with are part of this wonderful online community. I hope that 2015 turns out to be a successful year for you.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu 5 Jahre Bloggen, ein gesundes glückliches Neues Jahr und auch für die Zukunft alles Gute.
    Liebe Grüße Jacky

    ReplyDelete
  28. Bonne année Tilly! I really really really love all your makes and your lovey blog! Thank you for beeing and staying how you are. Even if I don't know you, I know you are a great human beeing!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Congratulations! Thank you for your contributions to the sewing community!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Congratulations on your blogiversary and Happy New Year! Your posts are always inspiring and I've loved making the Mimi blouse and Megan dress from Love at First Stitch, I'm hoping to make up a few more of the patterns in 2015. I'm looking forward to reading more fantastic blog posts in 2015.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Congratulations on your 5th blogiversary! I just made my 5th version of your lovely Coco top. It's at http://carolineparadigmdesign.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/warming-up-january-with-pink-coco.html. A very Happy New Year to you Tilly and all the best for 2015. Happy sewing :-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Congratulations Tilly! I've been reading your blog for several years now and thoroughly enjoy it. Thanks for what you write and I wish you continuing, growing success both with your blog and your business.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Congrats! Does that mean your book got translated to French? I would love to buy a copy for my sister. She looked at my copy of your book and fell in love, but I'm sure she would prefer the french version.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not in French yet - I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the future though!

      Delete
  34. I love your blog and I'm so happy your book is being translated into Finnish!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Happy Blog anniversary Tilly. Five years?!!! Gosh, that's whizzed by! Thank you for inspiring me to start my own blog, here's to another five years my friend. Xx

    ReplyDelete
  36. Five years already? Wow, imagine how much you'll accomplish in five more years!!! Your patterns are fabulous Tilly.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Aw thanks so much everyone for your lovely comments :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. Kudos and congrats. I had my 6 year in October (2014), but had a family emergencyand wasn't able to really celebrate. I'm in the states and would love to purchase your book. Hoping even through amazon, the international fees won't kill a poor girl! Great job and thanks for looking out for for the beginners. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  39. happy new year and happy 5th birthday to Tilly and the buttons! Your little blog is off to Kindergarden! hehe. I do love you blog Tilly, so im really glad to see it grow and take off this year as it has. I was so excited the other day to be at the book shop in Sydney and saw your book on the shelf next to Gertie sews casual, but your book was the one that had the Store managers recommendation on it! maybe the busiest book shop in the city and you were getting all the kudos! snaps for you Tilly! xo

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to chip in! Please don't comment anonymously though - you can leave your email if you don't have an OpenID. Comments on older posts are moderated for spam so won't show up immediately.