Organising my BurdaStyle Traced Patterns Digitally

A couple of months ago I got into a very strong organisation mode. I organised everything I possibly could. Eventually I got to my sewing cave and it went through a massive reorganisation of fabric, patterns, books, etc. One of the things that I have to deal with is my traced out BurdaStyle magazine patterns.

I have accumulated quite a collection of my baking parchment traced patterns. The physical organisation was the easiest bit but I needed a way to know what I have and I needed a system that was accessible to me whenever I wanted.

Enter Pinterest. I realised that I could actually leverage Pinterest to work for me rather than spend the countless hours scrolling through impossibly perfect looking rooms and cakes and food. ( I had banned myself from Pinterest as it sets such an impossible level of perfection that meant I feared trying anything on there.)

Anyway I digress, I could rant on bout Pinterest but its is an easy to access site. Plus, it is free to use.

So I went through every single traced pattern I had and added it to a board. I have a board that has ALL the BurdaStyle patterns that I have ever traced. I made sure to pin up the line drawings as that my primary way of deciding whether I like a pattern or not.

I also decided that I needed to have each year group as well. Then I needed each category of Tops, Kids, Dresses, Skirts, Activewear, Jackets/coats and Trousers.

Here is what I pictured happening…

Scenario 1

Hila woke with an overwhelming urge to sew up a skirt from her BurdaStyle magazine. Though she was feeling revitalised and energetic, she most definitely did not have the desire to trace out a new patterns. What can she do? Go check the BurdaStyle board to see what is already traced out of course! Scroll through and voila she is bound to find something.

Scenario 2.

Hila has set herself a challenge to sew one item each month from the 2015 magazines collections just to spice things up and avoid doing same old same old while also appreciating the older magazines in her collection. First thing is to check what patterns are already traced out that she may like on her Pinterest boards of course! Go to the 2015 section of the BurdaStyle Magazine Traced patterns board and voila!

Scenario 3.

Hila is on a camping trip. Its raining and humid. While stuck in a tent feeling bored she decides to fantasise about what she is going to do in her sewing cave when she gets home. How to help the fantasy? Log onto Pinterest of course! And browse the patterns that have been traced out to figure out which will be the first one to get made as soon as she gets home!

…..Ad nauseam

That was my rationale for my categories of boards.

Once I had input all my BurdaStyle patterns into Pinterest, I now have a routine for adding any new traced pattern immediately to their relevant boards. Its a quick addition to the routine that saves me oodles of mental space that would otherwise be allocated to trying to remember if I traced this or that out.

So far I am pretty pleased with this system – its working and fit for purpose.

There is one more step I need to take before I can say that I have completed my organisation – I need to photocopy each page of the “All the styles at a glance” line drawings and keep in a folder. For bedtime reading :-).

I will write up a separate post to share share how I organise and store the physical traced patterns.

How do you organise your sewing magazine traced patterns? I’d love to know down in the comments below. In the meantime if you’d like to have a gander in my Pinterest boards and see which patterns I have you can do  here:




Thank or stopping by,

Until next time Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,




Frocktails Sewcial 2018 and Sewing Challenges I am Excited About

I thought I’d write a post about several sewing events that I am super excited about.

Frocktails Sewcial 2018

Laura Casey is an indie pattern designer who runs Sew Different patterns. She is based in the North of England and is hosting a SEWCIAL this Autumn.  Come along and join in for an evening of sewing related entertainment at Frocktails. Hand-in-hand with the evening sewcial there will be workshops that Laura will run through the day on the Saturday 3rd of November.

For those who want to showcase their skills there is a competition with fantastic prizes, no need to enter beforehand – just turn up in your best handmade creation. I am on the judging panel along with  Lauren Guthrie from the GBSB and Tree from Stitchless TV . There will also be a catwalk show, a talk from Laura Casey herself and a free fabric swap.

Here is the link that will take you the the Frocktails page for details. Hope to see you there!


Indie Pattern Month IPM2018

The Monthly Stitch is hosting its amazing IPM2018 which is always a fun annual event to meet new sewing bloggers and also get caught up on the wonderful world of indie sewing patterns. Its a true celebration of the smaller brands out there.

There are so many prizes and sponsors this year. More than in any previous year.

The categories are Week 1 Dresses (currently finished now though) ; Week 2 – Anything but clothes ; Week 3 Around the World; and Week 4 One Pattern 2 Ways.

I am definitely playing in the Around the World and the One Pattern 2 ways week.

This link will take you to the main IPM2018 page for details on The Monthly Stitch.

#sewmanpants 2018

Seamsters: @_stitchesandseams_ / @liftingpinsandneedles / @naturaldane / @elizabethmadethis  got together to host a challenge for sewing pants for the men in our lives – be they young or old! I have been working on building up my husband’s wardrobe by sewing clothes for him. I have done shirts, tees, jeans but one thing I have been scared of is work trousers.

So when NaturalDane approached me asking if I’d like to be an ambassador I jumped at the opportunity.  I will be making my husband trousers that he can wear to work. Eeep!. There are prizes to had as well.

  • Fabric Magpie is offering a 10% discount code to those who want to purchase fabric for the challenge. Use Code SEWMANPANTS starting October 1 thru October 31st 2018.

This link will take you to a post with all the details about #sewmanpants.


Hosted by Heather Lou of Closet Case Patterns and Kelli of True Bias  – It was borne out of a frustration with feeling like you only have to sew whats practical but that can be boring. They are keeping participation easy and simple and there are prizes to be had as well.

I feel like this ties in so much with what Stasia Savasuk says. If you haven’t watch her TED talk “Change Your Pants Change Your Life” please do and check out her blog – I have been hanging out there and love her work. Link here.

This is a challenge that I feel so happy to be seeing more people embracing the frosting sewing. I have been a frosting sewer for a long time now, wearing one shoulder maxi dresses for the school run! I have never bothered with whats appropriate and just wore what made me happy – frosting 🙂 I am looking forward to seeing how other people interpret this. Its a fun one. My own challenge is to go beyond my already out there makes and see where else I can go! Fashion eccentric here I come!

Here is the link that will take you to Heather Lou’s post with details of the #sewfrosting challenge.

Little Red Dress Project 2018

Renata – The Twilight Stitcher– caps off the sewing year nicely with a sewing challenge to make a little red dress in time for the holidays. I participated in 2016 and thoroughly enjoyed the process. I ended up with a great dress to wear on Christmas Day. This year there are plenty of prizes as well.

You can find out details about the Little Red Dress Project 2018 here.


I am still going with this and have been managing a minimum of one garment per month. Though I haven’t been able to keep up with doing monthly roundup posts you can check them out at the site where Meg has been posting them.

Here is the link that will take you to the BurdaChallenge2018 September Round Up Post.


There are so many sewing challenges out there you can get on board with but these are just a handful of what I am planning on participating in.

Are you joining in any one of these? Let me know if there is a challenge that might be of interest to me as well.

Thanks for stopping by,

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,




Mens Hooded T-Shirt For Him, Drafted by Me

Honey, can I wear this sharks top?” He called out from the top of the stairs.

Sure you can babe. You don’t need to ask my permission, its in your closet” came my mildly annoyed reply as I hurried to get the laundry going seeing as 3 of the kids had wet their beds.

OK its just that it hasn’t been photographed yet for the blog has it?” with genuine confusion and concern in his voice and on his face as he comes round the door while pulling the top over his head.

I stop loading the machine to look at him and suddenly realise that he was right. I used to be manic in my determination to catalog every single thing I made. When I started the blog that was the purpose – to have an evidence journal of my creative outputs as part of managing depression. An easy to access record.

I relaxed my posture, “its all good now, I don’t have to do a photoshoot”. It is at this juncture that it occurs to me that I have matured in my hobby/craft/passion. Although strictly speaking there are 2 separate things here: sewing and blogging. I am aware that there are many (many) more people who sew and don’t blog about it.

I love blogging and I love sewing.

Maturity is when your identity solidifies a little bit and your energy levels reach a steady level point – nicely located halfway between having no sewjo and being panicked there is no time to possibly sew everything I want to sew.

Maturity means I now curate my fabric collection rather than add to my stash.

It means I mindfully add to my sewing pattern collection not just for me but for possible future generations.

Maturity means my husband is now allowed to wear a new off the sewing machine garment without waiting for photoshoots to be done first! That’s growth people!

But just for the fun of it – here is the hooded T-shirt I made him. Pictures taken on my phone :-). The pattern is self-drafted. This was the first go and it has a few adjustments to be made. He loves the upper half but would like it to be a narrower at the hem – something about it letting in too much of a draft. The next iteration will have cuff bands and a hem band.

The fabric was from Laura whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in person several times. She is just so lovely and please do go check out her small online business she started where she curates the fabric she sells (also reasonably priced). Her online shop is called The Fabric Magpie .

If you have been blogging for a while now do you find that your reason for blogging has changed? Or is it still the same? 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time,

Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,




Kids Sewing – An Obvious piece of advice…also The Louisa Coat by Compagnie M Pattern Review

One thing I have noticed about sewing for my kids is that unlike sewing my own projects – there is no time to “marinate” the project once it has been traced out. Because kids, much like bean sprouts, grow at astonishing rates. Even when I think I’ve got the measure of the rate of growth a spurt happens and trousers are looking decidedly Michael Jackson circa 80s.

I know it was a style thing but every time I see this I think he needs the next size up.

This was a rookie error on my part. Eighteen months ago I bought the fabric from The Shuttle in Shipley. It was on sale at a great bargain price. The pattern is the Louise Coat by Compagnie M. This pattern is a mammoth of a pattern. First of all, it has a gazillion pages that I taped up (I believe it was at this point that I reconsidered my relationship with PDFs – and it was closer to 55 pages but still…) And then because it’s a kids pattern I couldn’t cut out the pattern – I had to trace it off since I might need to make them the coat again. It has a lot of pattern pieces to trace too since it fully lined.

The size range is very impressive for the price from age 1year to 12 years. It boasts a lot of features too:

  • 2 back options : basic & special split back (beautiful in combination with the hood option)
  • 2 closure options : zipper or buttons
  • 2 collar and hood options : Standard Elton collar, Tulip Elton collar, Hood (with or without piping)
  • Extra options : cuffs and a flower detail

By the time I got to cutting out the lining I was tired of the project and began to seethe at the idea that I would go through all this effort (It was going to have piping too) for them to only wear the coats for 1 or 2 winters at most? (Its not their fault I know but still….) Anyway, things happened and I didn’t sew for a while. It sat in the UFO box which I am working through slowly. So when I got to this bag I realised that they probably had grown out of it since I had traced the size 4y before they turned 4 but now they will be 5 this December.

The lining was those thick padded quilty looking fabrics but alas when I basted the coat it was very clear that lining it would mean they could not wear them. So I made lemonade out of the lemons. I decided to fish the coats without the lining and call the lining a sunk cost.

The quilty looking padded fabric that was meant to line the coats.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I wanted to just chuck the entire project bag in the bin and put it down as experience to NEVER wait on sewing a kids project BUT…..BUT…… 2 things happened that trapped me into finishing them –

  1. The door to my cave is not kept locked and it has come to my attention that sometimes the kids wander in there and have a gander. The twins did just that when I had the pattern pieces out to which they put 2 and 2 together seeing the sizes and came downstairs with ebullient smiles proclaiming what a wonderful mother I was to make them sparkly pink dresses. What are you going to do? I tried to give myself an out by saying that they might not fit because I cut them out a long time ago. Now, this is where I learnt that my kids pay attention when I am doing things. ” Thats ok, you can get us to try it for size mummy. You’re the BEST mummy in the whole world to make us sparkly dresses” and my fate was sealed.
  2. The other thing is that I just adore them so much and of course I had to find a way to make it work!

I used the barest of seam allowance to get as much room as possible and even then its tight of they wear a jumper underneath. I finished one hem with bias binding and the other was just a normal hem. I used their favourite buttons which were the largest buttonholes I have ever sewn. I bought these wooden buttons back when I started sewing in 2013 ish so its good to use them up after they have spent years being toys.

Ok so my obvious advice to myself to remember is that much like a fire drill when I decide to sew for the kids there is no choice it has to be done quick! No marinating the project- get it done! The reasoning for a fast completion here is compelling – they will grow out of the size you are marinating!

Nearly forgot to mention that despite this self-inflicted issue – it really is a lovely pattern that has well thought out and presented instructions. Excellent value given all the different views you get and the large age range of the pattern. I’d like to give this another go but maybe in another year :-). Once I got going with and decided that it had to be done it actually didn’t take that long to make – 2 sittings of about 2 hours each.

What’s your advice for sewing for kids? Have you made rookies errors like this too? Let me know I am not alone please 🙂

Thanks for stopping by,

Peace and love,


PS They were delighted with their coats that it was worth it and in the end, I felt silly for resenting the time it would take to sew them up. Even if they only wear them a few times – the joy on their faces is more than enough to make it worthwhile.

Louisa Coat Pattern by Compagnie M

Pocket lining
Faux piping. I just pressed it so a bit of the lining showed. Much easier to do than actual piping.


MCBN September: Adventure Sewing–Loungewear Edition

I have been feeling like I am in a rut of late. Though I love sewing, it’s been feeling a bit episodic. I felt a longing to shake things up and realised that I was seeking adventure in my sewing life. Enter adventure sewing.  Here is an excerpt from  my September post

I came across the term “sensation seeking” the other day. Sensation seeking is a trait we all have and includes the search for complex and new experiences; this month’s project is a perfect example of my sensation seeking trait. I have decided to call this “adventure sewing”. Let me start from the beginning….

Here is the link that will take you to the post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network. Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week!

Peace and love,



5 Simple Ideas to improve Sewing Room Ergonomics

I have been doing a lot of research into sewing room ergonomics. I have the privilege of having a dedicated room for my sewing and I have been rearranging it using the principles of feng shui and ergonomics. For this post, I am looking specifically at ergonomics and will do a post on Fengshui later.

As someone who practices yoga – posture and alignment are important to me. My posture and small back discomfort have improved significantly since I started practising yoga. A natural extension has been improving posture while sewing.

circa 2015 – the stool was not correct height, no back support and the table where my machine sat was too low.  Unsurprisingly I found that I had a lot of discomfort and pain in my lower back and my neck area. The machine was also located in a corner that got the least amount of light causing me to bend over and squint when sewing.
circa 2015 – doing Sashiko for PRSewing Bee. Even with hand sewing I was not paying attention to my posture. My neck angle is all wrong. Shoulders are hunched.

Sewing involves repeated movements of the arm and shoulder while the spine doesnt move. I was stooped over quite a lot and seeing pictures like this made me aware of the need for change.


There is a lot of ongoing research on ergonomics in the sewing industry. Fashion is a billion-dollar industry. It relies on sewing, therefore, sewing is quite important.

A useful diagram for sewing ergonomics is this:



Image source: Pinterest

I like this image because it shows the wrong way and the right way. I used to be like the top drawing and leaning over which was really bad.


The thing I found to have the most difference was the lighting. Adequate lighting to prevent slouching. I moved my working table with the machine directly under the skylight and it made such a huge difference indeed to my posture.

My Machine is now under the skylight. Its also directly in front of the light fitting for night time sewing. Better light on my work all round. You can see my chair  in situ as well.

Tilt Table –

I was lucky enough to find mine on Ebay for £30. It tilts the sewing machine angle which in turn reduces slouching over to see clearly. It improved the view of the needle and meant I could sit back in a comfortable position. I cant find them here in the UK but I did find this site in the US.

Sew Ergo Advantage T1 Sewing Machine Tiltable Table Angled Sloped Platform 18x11x3″ Relieves Neck and Upper Back Strain

Adjustable chair with back support and cushioning.

I was using a stool before which meant I couldn’t control the angle of my knees or elbows which caused more strain. It need not be expensive – I picked mine up for £4 from a local charity shop. Ebay and Gumtree are also good sources of preloved bargains.

Image of Boss Office Deluxe Posture Chair from

Positioning your iron correctly to avoid back pain.

This was a hard one for me because I didn’t think it would make a difference but really I do spend as much time ironing as I do sewing! I press every seam so that follows. Additionally, I iron our laundered clothes. I had never stopped to think about how to do this correctly and what a revelation! I was amazed at what a difference this made towards maintaining my posture and making ironing less tiring.

Basically, shoulders should be relaxed and back in upright position. Adjust ironing board to a comfortable level where you don’t have to stoop or bend over and stand with one knee bent as you iron. You can use a stool as well but adjusting so the elbow angle is at a right angle.

Hanging iron cord

A final point in my journey is that I found hanging my iron cord so it falls to the iron has made ironing that much more comfortable. I don’t have to pull the cord along. I implemented this based on the pictures and videos I saw of the sewing industry. It’s a simple fix – I installed a hook just over where my ironing board is. A simple alternative is this Iron flex cord :

Brabantia Iron Flex Guide – Black

These are simple and small things that in the long run have reduced the muscle ache and strain I would get from long periods of sewing. My next project with this is to work on setting up a standing sewing station. However, this requires more financial input than is available so it is on my wishlist for the future but I have read a lot of positive things about standing workstations.

EDIT- A comment mentioned this desk which I have added to my wish list Skarsta SIt/Stand adjustable desk.  It is adjustable and looks quite functional.

Another thing I did was to print out the sewing ergonomics picture and pin it across from my workstation to have that constant visual feedback and reminder.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you have enjoyed this post – do you have any tips to share about improving posture and reducing muscle strain while sewing? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Peace and love,


Further reading

A fascinating site about movement –