31 January 2014

First Look at My Book!

Love At First Stitch

Ta Da! Here it is – the cover of my book! It has Breton stripes on the cover - YES. Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking will be published by Quadrille on 8th May 2014, and you can pre-order it NOW!

So... what is it?

This is the book I wish I had when I began dressmaking – a book which I believe fills a real gap on the shelves. I own a lot of lovely sewing books – adorable beginner-focused books on making accessories and cushions; beautiful dressmaking books for people who already know how to sew; fantastic techniques books that are useful reference points when you get stuck on something... But I’ve never found a book I love that takes you from complete novice to confident DIY dressmaker – from the absolute basics of threading the sewing machine through to making a whole wardrobe full of gorgeous clothes you can be proud to say you made yourself. So I wrote it.

Love at First Stitch is about learning by doing. Rather than overwhelming you with tons of theory, you get to dive straight in to making gorgeous projects to wear. Each chapter centres on one such project, and takes you through the techniques you need to make it, as you make it. The book comes with full scale pattern sheets in eight different sizes (from 30-24-34" in to 44-38-48"). Plus there are variations for each project so you get to make it your own, and make it again and again. Think of it like a fun and informative dressmaking course, in which you make stuff and learn stuff at the same time :)

I worked really hard to simplify sewing so it’s enjoyable and un-intimidating for people who were never taught. The book is written in plain English, with all the jargon translated, plentiful colour photos to show you each step, and extra touches to take the head-scratching out of sewing, such as clearly labelled pattern pieces to help you visualise how the pieces come together to make a garment. Plus a can-do attitude and lots of encouraging words to keep you motivated!

And it looks absolutely gorgeous! Fresh, modern and totally different to what you might expect from a craft book. When I told Quadrille I wanted the book design to channel the modern aesthetic and colour palette of the Jean-Luc Godard movie Le Mépris, rather than laughing in my face, they put together a Dream Team to do just that! The result is a stunner.

I can’t wait to share more sneaky peeks nearer the release date, but in the meantime, you can pre-order the book here. (Amazon.co.uk the first place it’s available, watch this space for other retailers both in the UK and internationally.)

Thank you so much for your support!

[Soundtrack: 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams]

28 January 2014

A Day in the Life of Figgy's

Do you ever look at kids' sewing patterns and wish they fitted you? I do, especially when they're designed by Shelly Figueroa of Figgy's. Those are some seriously stylish children. So what's it like to be as talented a lady as Shelly? And what does she eat for lunch? Let's spend a day in her company, in this month's A Day in the Life...


“Hello Tilly and the Buttons readers! What terrific fun it is to be here today and have this opportunity to share my A Day in the Life! Thank you so much for inviting me to join so many great artists that have shared their day. Here goes…

I awoke today 30 minutes before my alarm. I think it’s because I have so much on my mind these days that it’s causing me to not sleep well. Today is my day to awaken with the boys. My husband takes the morning shift two days a week and on those days I sleep until 9am. I used to be able to sleep until noon if given the opportunity but it seems age has altered by inner alarm clock. Today I’m just going to lay with my thoughts until the alarm dings softly.

It’s 7.45am and time to get my sons up and ready for the school bus. I like to wake them slowly because I used to despise having someone wake me with a bright light or loud noises, so I try to offer them a little peace when they rise. I make them breakfast of eggs and toast, pack the lunch bags (I put in a little joke or note) and fill the water bottles. I check my phone calendar to see if they need bus passes for a friend date after school and if they don’t I kiss and hug them out the door. Once I see them off I like to sit in the quiet for 10 minutes with mint tea before I get ready for my day. I like complete silence and try to clear my head.

Depending on whether or not I need to leave the house for errands or if I have a class to teach affects my choice in what to wear. If I’m teaching a class I try to wear at least one thing handmade because my students love to try and guess which item I have on was hand made. I can’t work without shoes on, I feel like I’m a modern day Mr. Rogers. My work attire consists of skinny jeans, tank top with a high low tee layered over top and my grey booties. I dress a lot like how my pattern line is described: simple, modern and contemporary.

My office is just two flights of stairs up so I mix my morning protein shake and head up at 9.20 am. I open email first and the responding begins. It usually take me close to 2 hours before I’m done, but on some days I find myself done in just an hour (woohoo). I have a blog post for Michael Miller due tomorrow so I need to edit photos and finish my post to mail out by the end of the day. I’ve been pretty good at doing a little here and a little there that it only takes me an hour to finish up and email. I wish the next thing on my list is sewing but I have volunteer duties at the school today working with the HOPES committee so I’m off to the school.

The HOPES committee is hosting a “Sewing for Shriners” day in the school gym on March 15th. The day will include kids coming in every 1.5 hours to sew a hospital gown for a child at the hospital. We hope to have at least 100 gowns finished by the end of the day to donate to the hospital. It’s quite a lot organizing this big day but it’s very special to my heart and that makes it all better. It’s 1pm and I need to get back in the studio.

Back in the studio, I’ve printed off a new pattern I’m hoping to release at the end of the blog tour in February. My graphic designer sent back my sample pattern so it’s time to sew and test. I trace, cut and sew my muslin. It’s a fairly quick sew, but after looking at the finished product I noticed some tweaking that needs to happen. For this pattern I’m working with another designer (I can’t reveal this information just yet) so I snap some phone photos and jump back on email to see if she agrees with me about the changes.

Crud!! I forgot to eat lunch again. I run down to the kitchen and grab carrots, hummus and gluten free pretzels. I run into my mom and she gives me a little speech about how I need to stop skipping meals and eat some protein. I know, I know!! Did I mention my family shares a home with my parents? I call it living European style in America.

With a little food in the belly, I’m back at it and it’s time to set up for class. I check my calendar to remind myself which group is coming in at 3.40pm for class. Today is Figgy’s Fashion where the kids are making garments using Figgy’s patterns. I love this class because I love to see how the kids will take the pattern and make it their own by adding something special to the garment or using a fabric I never thought to use. Yesterday I had a birthday party with eight girls in the studio and they all made super cute bags.

It’s 3.20pm, so I pop organic popcorn in coconut oil and make sure all is ready to go. At 3.40pm, six kids have jumped off the bus and into my studio for some super fun creative time. I’m so grateful to have my mom here to greet my boys when they get off the bus and feed them a snack. My husband rolls in about 4.30pm and begins homework duty and that is a huge score for me because homework was never my favorite thing to do. I often fantasize about opening up a storefront, but if I did that now I wouldn’t have this great home studio where my children can simply walk up a few steps if then need a minute with mom. I believe doors of opportunity open when it is time for them to open no matter how often we know or bang on the door. Having my own pattern line and teaching studio has taught me two main things: you will never be able to please everyone all the time and PATIENCE.

It’s 5.40 pm and parents begin to show up to gather their children. It seems a tornado has come through my studio so for the next 30 minutes is cleaning and vacuuming. The smells from the kitchen are calling my name and it’s time to sit with my family, say grace and talk about our day. I only have dinner cooking duty twice a week thanks to my amazing mom and one pizza night a week. The days it is my responsibility I try to prepare something in the crockpot or I prep the dinner in the morning and my husband will cook during my class. ☺

Tonight is busy beginning after dinner. Jules has basketball practice and Franco is off to youth group so we split up and go our separate ways. Meeting back at the house by 8pm it’s time for bath and books. Reading to my children is my favorite part of the day. I get to escape with them into some fun fantasy book for at least two chapters, then prayers and lights out. I cross my fingers that I only get woken up by one of them once tonight.

My husband is currently in college studying to become a paramedic, so he studies and I hit social media for work until we meet at 10pm for some husband and wife time. It’s not much these days but we’re doing the best we can as we work towards our goal of having our own home one day. I end my day usually how I begin, with a hot cup of tea and silence. By 11.30 pm I’m reading, my husband and children are all snoring and I have a little quiet time until 12am when it’s my turn for lights out. Tomorrow it all begins again where I get to create something new, volunteer at school, design and love my family as much as possible.

Thank you for spending the day with me!”


Thanks for giving us a peek into your day, Shelly! Readers, if you have little ones to sew for, check out the new patterns from Figgy's, they are seriously cute.

Want to read about more Days in the Life of inspirational people who have turned their love of stitching into a career? Spend a day in the company of Christine Haynes, Lucie Summers, Colette Patterns and more

24 January 2014

The Sweater Book

Oh my, do I have a treat for you today. This 50p second hand bookshop find is just BURSTING with knitting inspiration... sort of. Are you ready for some eighties goodness? Brace yourself...

These checks are described as "racy". Yep, pretty hot...

Party time!

This one is called 'Bandit'. I would LOVE to see a bandit holding up a bank sporting this little number...


And now, here is a vest with some pineapples on it...

Does anyone have Jacob's phone number?

This one would actually be really nice if it were black and white, non? Very French Connection...

Ditto for this one. Although when I said that out loud in front of my man, he looked frightened...

Tired of following knitting patterns? Freestyle!

Who doesn't love a Big Pocket? I could actually do with one of these - so practical!

Fun with tassels...

Well hello sexy...

Some nature...

Okay, so are you ready for the pièce de résistance?

Seriously now, brace yourself...

Aaaarrrrrggggghhhh! It's got my throat, I can't breathe!

Once more in close up. Harrowing.

Well, I hope you enjoyed The Sweater Book as much as I did! Which one is your favourite, please?

21 January 2014

Glow in the Dark Pyjamas

My friends, I am now the proud owner of glow in the dark pyjamas. Not the most sophisticated of dressmaking projects, admittedly, but omigawd they're friggin' awesome! My photography skills aren't up to capturing the actual glow, so you're going to have to trust me that the glow is real. Hours of fun freaking people out in the middle of the night...

If you want to make your own glow in the dark pyjamas - for we will surely kickstart a trend - the fabric is Camelot Cottons Glow In the Dark Stars Flannel, gifted from Plush Addict. It's super soft and cosy, perfect for snuggling up inside away from the January chill. I drafted my own pyjamas pattern and finished it off with an elasticated waistband. Once I had the pattern, the whole project took just an hour from cutting the fabric to a final press of the overlocked seams - the perfect speedy make for a Monday evening.

I'm spending the rest of my time working hard towards the Coco sewing pattern release. Cripes, there are so many things to think about, but it's so much fun and I cannot WAIT to share it with you!

What have you been sewing this month?

[Soundtrack: 'The Lottery' by The Stepkids]

17 January 2014

How to Sew Japanese Sewing Patterns

If, like me, you lurrrrve flicking through Japanese sewing books and drooling over the adorable designs, yet your brain turns to mush when you so much as glance at the instructions, then these e-books might be for you. 

Rin Gomura-Elkan from the blog Sew In Love sent me her e-book, How to Sew Japanese Sewing Patterns, plus its accompaniment, Easy Japanese Sewing Patterns. They promise to help you navigate Japanese sewing pattern books and decipher both the language and diagrams. While seriously cute to behold, some of the features of Japanese sewing books can lead to a bit of head-scratching if you haven't used them before. Distinctive features include diagrams representing multiple steps, very brief text instructions, and no seam allowance. Oh, and if you buy a Japanese original, then the language may prove tricky too. That's where Rin steps in... 

How to Sew Japanese Sewing Patterns provides useful translations of common sewing terms such as "stitch", "waist" and "right side", into both English and Romaji (which is Japanese written in Latin script). It outlines the process of sewing Japanese, from navigating the structure of a typical book, through sizing and tracing your pattern, to deciphering symbols and diagrams so you can sew them together. It also includes further resources and links, such as books, blogs and shops.

The second e-book, Easy Japanese Sewing Patterns, then helps you put what you've learnt into practice. It comes with two print-at-home sewing patterns for a cute skirt and dress, with Japanese instructions so you can test out what you've learnt, followed by English instructions in case you get stuck. Such a great idea! Adeline from The Sew Convert made this adorable cat print dress using the book - isn't it cute?

Mercifully, more and more Japanese sewing books are being republished in English these days, including Japanese Sweet Dress Book (reviewed here), Happy Homemade: Sew Chic (reviewed here), Feminine Wardrobe and Stylish Dress Book (reviewed here). But if you fancy getting your hands on a Japanese original and are up for the challenge of deciphering the Japanese text, then these e-books will lend a helping hand.

14 January 2014

Interview with Weaving Destination

When you're handling fabric, do you sometimes stop to think about whose hands it has passed through before yours? Who was involved in its production, and what their story is? Occasionally that story is a very special one. Today, it's my pleasure to interview Debi Fry from Weaving Destination a social enterprise that produces fabric in a very interesting context. You may already know Debi from her sewing blog, which was one of the first blogs I ever read and, in fact, Debi was the first blogger I ever met up with IRL (yes, she is LOVELY). And now she's embarked on a very worthwhile project. Let's find out more about it...

Hi Debi! Please introduce yourself...

"Thank you Tilly for inviting me to talk about the exciting enterprise called Weaving Destination. For those that don’t know me, my name is Debi and I blog over at My Happy Sewing Place. I’m a researcher by day and a vintage sewing enthusiast in my free time. My research focuses in the area of child protection and preventing violence against women. I’m also the co-founder of Weaving Destination UK (alongside another amazing woman named Javita Narang — and our lovely partners David and Digambar) — which is an initiative that builds on my two passions: preventing and addressing violence against women, and sewing!"

Debi and Javita, founders of Weaving Destination
What does Weaving Destination do and what is the objective?

"Weaving Destination is a social enterprise that promotes financial independence and empowerment of indigenous women in Northeast India through the sale of their hand-woven organic cotton and eri silk products. The social enterprise started as a women’s weaving collective with capital funding from the UN to develop a weaving centre (using women’s own home-based looms). Handweaving is a traditional craft in the area (very similar to Scotland, where I am based) and it gives women the opportunity to build livelihoods and generate income based on skills they already have.

All of the women weavers come from the indigenous Bodo communities in Assam, India. Due to the region’s location in the Northeast of India (bordering Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and China), Assam suffers very high rates of human trafficking especially among indigenous communities. All of the women employed through Weaving Destination are either survivors of human trafficking, living with HIV/AIDS or are female migrant returnees who are highly vulnerable to re-trafficking, social exclusion and poverty. Weaving Destination provides employment and also housing and support for the women and their children.

We are passionate about creating financial independence for women and also in connecting women globally. Because I love sewing and work in the fields of gender-based violence prevention and child protection, this is the perfect project: it is a way of blending the things I feel most passionate about.

I love that these women are able to gain access to what they need through the employment of traditional skills – that’s a powerful thing. Bodo women learn to weave at a very early age, and they take a lot of pride in their expertise. It’s amazing to be able to expose the world to their handiwork and for them to benefit from it directly."

A social enterprise is a very interesting business model. Can you explain what it is and how it works for anyone who hasn't come across the term?

"Basically, a social enterprise is a business that helps people or communities instead of private shareholders. Social Enterprises can include Community Interest Companies, Limited Companies, Charitable Organisations, Co-operatives, or Industrial Societies. The common thread is that all of these involve significant re-investment of profits into the community or co-operative.

Social enterprises are different from charities or not-for-profit organisations as they are profit-making entities. Usually, though not always, social enterprises sit alongside charities. This is the case with Weaving Destination, which currently consists of two social enterprises (one in India and the partner social enterprise in Scotland) and one charity in India called the Nedan Foundation.

The Weaving Destination is a social enterprise primarily for creating livelihood opportunities for ethnic, indigenous local women. Nedan Foundation - the charity organization, on the other hand, with a few international grants and revenue generated from the Weaving Destination works towards other significant issues in the area such as child protection, education, health, peace building and overall community development aspects in the villages the women come from and where the weaving centers have been established.

The other exciting news is that we are about to start a not-for-profit part of Weaving Destination in Scotland as well, and will develop and register a charity that will seek to build links between women weavers in Scotland and India. The charity will also help support key initiatives related to healthcare, anti-trafficking and child protection. I am super excited about this!"

The weavers produce ethical silk - could you tell us a bit more about ethical considerations we should consider when buying fabric?

"Ethical fashion is a hot topic; there are many problems in the way the fashion industry currently operates, and it’s important as sewists, designers, and consumers that we exercise our ability to influence the market through our purchasing habits. The fashion industry has tried to address concerns such as exploitative labour, animal cruelty, waste, and environmental impact but there is so much more to be done.

As sewists, we often look for fabrics with particular properties, such as drape or “give,” as well as colour and patterns, but often we don’t know where that fabric comes from or how it was produced. In this economy, price is often the chief concern (or at least, a high priority) in choosing fabrics or fashion pieces. Unfortunately, in order to produce inexpensive fabrics, human rights, animal rights, sustainability, and environmental concerns tend to get pushed aside. Nobody wants to wear a garment made out of fabric that has been produced through conditions that cause pain, suffering, or destruction but oftentimes that is the case. Many factories worldwide operate based on child labour or women who have been trafficked. Raw materials are often produced through the heavy use of pesticides or other chemicals that are harmful to both the environment and the workers who come into contact with them. It’s important that we pay more attention to where our fabric comes from and how it’s made.

Weaving Destination is dedicated to employing sustainable growing practices, organically- and ethically-sourced materials, and a safe and humane working environment and one specifically that values and empowers women. Our ethical eri silk is produced without harming the silkworms; they are raised and cared for by individual women in the village, and the cocoons are collected once they are discarded, then separated into fibres and spun. Eri silk fabric is often worn by Buddhist monks throughout India, Nepal, and the surrounding area, and is suitable for vegans, as it is cruelty-free.

This project was originally begun by a member of the indigenous Bodo community in order to address the vulnerabilities of Bodo women due to poverty, regional strife, and sectarian violence. Weaving Destination is a grassroots organisation that has created a safe space for Bodo women to live and work within, providing them the opportunity to become self-sufficient through their own skills and abilities."

What can we do to support Weaving Destination?

"We’ve got some amazing organic cotton fabrics, silk and cotton scarves and bags for sale through our Etsy shop. We have small samples of Eri silk fabric, which only comes in only natural beige/white colours. We are exploring the possibility of weaving different weights of Eri Silk for use in wedding dresses and formal gowns. At the moment, there is no chemical-free way to dye the ethical silk. We are planning some fundraising activities later in the year to support the building of a vegetable-dyeing centre so that we can dye the silk lots of different colours! The great thing about this is that it would allow us to work with more women and build on some of the amazing vegetable and natural dyes (e.g. Indigo) in the area.

We also welcome suggestions and requests for colours and patterns. Our weavers are extremely talented and enjoy developing new designs, so feedback is another way to support our social enterprise. You can contact us through our Etsy shop or through my blog.

Finally, spreading the word is a great way to help us grow. We are dependent on sales of our hand-woven cloth, scarves, and bags to accomplish our goals of providing a sustainable path to self-sufficiency for these women."

Thanks Debi for sharing more about Weaving Destination. Readers, if you'd like to support Weaving Destination, check out their Etsy shop here and help spread the word.

10 January 2014

Sewing in a Shared Space

For the last four years, I’ve been a nomadic stitcher – moving my sewing gear around from kitchen to sitting room, packing away again when it’s time for work, dinner or when my flatmate came home.

Later this month, due to a change in living circumstances, I’ll finally put down roots in my own dedicated sewing space. I appreciate this is a luxury that not everyone has, so before I settle in I wanted to share some tips I’ve learnt about sewing from a shared space.

If you live in a small urban flat, if you’re sharing with housemates, or if you have a family to work around, chances are you’ll be sewing from the kitchen table or a corner of the sitting room whenever you can snatch the chance. How can you make this work, both for you and for the people you live with?

1) Keep it portable

The most challenging aspect of sewing from a shared space is probably the fact that you need to be able to move quickly – you wanna whip out your kit when the coast is clear and put it away again at dinner time.

I keep my sewing essentials in a portable glass – tape measure, scissors, marking tools, seam ripper... It’s quite rare I need a tool that isn’t in that glass.

Stash your current project in a bag or shoe box – fabric, pattern, thread and notions – so you can get it out quickly without having to rummage around.

Having a lightweight machine also helps – my old Janome J3-18 is super portable, so easy to stow away on a shelf and get it down when needed. If your machine is heavier – like my beloved Janome 6600P – store it at a level that makes it easy to pick up without putting excessive strain on your back (ouch).

2) Keep it pretty

If you’re stashing your sewing stuff in the sitting room, make it aesthetically pleasing to impress your guests… and so your flatmate or partner can’t complain about the mess!

Make a feature out of your fabric by organising it by colour – everyone loves a good rainbow. A thread rack is a really pretty (and practical) way of organising your spools. If you have a dress form, adorning it in one of your lovely makes is sure to raise a smile.

3) Keep it clean

Sewing creates mess, y’all. After a particularly indulgent day of making, if you’re not careful it can look like you’ve been burgled. So, to avoid freaking out your flatmates, try to tidy as you go along.

Keep a bin under whichever table you’re sewing on, directly below the sewing machine, so you can sweep scraps and snippings into it instantly. I try to save my cutting out for when the kitchen is free, as the lino floor is soooo much easier to clean than the sitting room carpet. Sigh… thread on the carpet. The way I clear this up is to crawl around the carpet with the head off the hoover, picking up the threads and inserting them into the suction hose. If you know an easier way, please do share!

4) Keep it organised

Store your sewing stuff away tidily so you’re not tripping over everything and so you know where everything is when you need it. I keep my patterns in large plastic storage boxes which are housed on my bookshelf. (Ideally I should keep my vintage sewing patterns in a cardboard archive box, I know – it’s on my shopping list.)

I also have a shelf of large plastic folders for my self-drafted sewing patterns, labelled with the pattern name so I can find them easily. A layered sewing box is great for keeping random bits and bobs such as poppers and thread wax.

My fabric scraps are organised by colour palette and kept in large shopper bags. Interfacing and toile fabric gets its own shelf.

And the cutting mat? Why, it resides under the sofa, of course ;)

5) Keep it regular

Sewing in a shared space means snatching up moments to make whenever you can. You may not have the luxury of being able to sew all weekend long, but don’t let the lack of a dedicated space stop you from getting your creativity fix.

If you’ve only got half an hour before your flatmate gets home, by all means use that time. Sew for 15 minutes before work if you have to. Making things can have such a positive effect on your well-being, so keep it up, y'all!

I hope these ideas were helpful. If you sew from a small or shared space, do you have any tips to share?

7 January 2014

What Would You Like to See on the Blog This Year?

Today feels like the first day back at school for me. I’m back home and thawed out from a trip visiting my brother in a very snowy Chicago, and am just about getting over a killer combination of jet lag plus illness. I’ve tidied away the Christmas mess and done my first yoga stretches in a couple of weeks. Pencils sharpened, coffee in hand, and “to do” list for the week prepped, I was mulling over some ideas I’ve been having about new strands for this blog in 2014. I have a loooooong list of ideas for blog posts that I’m excited to start planning and sharing with you. Often these ideas are generated by comments or emails from blog readers, whether remarking on something casually or explicitly seeking advice - I'm grateful to have such engaged readers contributing to Tilly and the Buttons. Today, before I dive in and start prepping new strands, I thought I’d ask you directly if you’d like to give any input – what would you like to see on the blog this year?

Any dressmaking dilemmas playing on your mind that you’d like to see covered in Hints & Tips?
Any techniques you’d love to see added to Learn to Sew?
Do you want me to do more pattern hacks and tutorials on embellishing your DIY clothing?
Are you interested in me-made styling tips?
Anything you’d like to know about what goes on behind the scenes or how I do what I do?
Anyone you’d love to see interviewed for A Day in the Life?
Would you like to see more videos, more online chats, or some other format of engagement?
Or maybe you have an idea for something totally new that you think would be a great fit for Tilly and the Buttons?

Let me know in the comments! Thanks in advance for your input – can’t wait to hear your ideas.

PS. The eagle-eyed amongst you might note that's a really old image of my blog at at the top of this post - yip, sorry, it's far too dark today to take a current photo!

3 January 2014

Sewing Space Makeover Inspiration

Happy new year, my friends! I hope you've had some time to chillax over the break and are raring to go in 2014. I love the transitional time between the end of one year and the beginning of the next, and the opportunity it brings for positive change, even if the timing is kinda arbitrary. Whatevs, I'm starting the year with a nice project by planning a sewing space makeover. 

In a couple of weeks' time... [deep breath]... I'M GETTING A DEDICATED SEWING ROOM OMIGAWD AT LAST!!!! Up until now, I've been using the sitting room that I share with my flatmate as sewing room and office too, which got even crazier when I started working from home full time. It was driving me slightly nuts to have to keep clearing stuff up and moving things around, particularly when I was writing my book. Plus not having any separation between the space I was working in all day and the space where I could chillax in the evening meant that I never really felt like work was over. First world problem, I know, but not ideal. Well, due to a change in living circumstances, I'm now getting my very own room from which to work and write and make stuff. Hooray!

So now I'm going crazy on Pinterest seeking inspiration for my new space. The room is painted slate grey, so I want to brighten it up with some accent colours - I'm thinking accessories in yellow, turquoise and possibly a bit of pink. If I can get black and white spots and/or stripes in there too, then that would be marvellous. I got some pretty star shaped fairy lights as Christmas decorations which I'm thinking I might put up permanently in the office to keep me motivated when working after nightfall. Plants are also a must. An inspiration wall would be nice, somewhere I can put up encouraging words and gorgeous images. Room makeovers can get pretty costly, so I'm trying to work with what I already have as much as I can, and only get a few additional things. As nice as that £100 black and white striped rug is (see top picture), I'll go with the the £20 polka dot one for now, which isn't such a hardship!

Do you have a dedicated sewing space and, if so, how have you decorated it? Do you have any ideas for what I should do with my new studio?

[Soundtrack: 'Sweet Salvation' by The Stepkids]