Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Blog Hopping


Thanks so much to Sewing Elle who invited me to contribute to the world wide blog hop  – so a hop, skip and jump from Down Under to up here.

I am soooo behind in blogging that those who I’ve invited to take up the torch have actually posted their hops before me! So I’d better get a move on……

Why do I write what I do?

To be perfectly honest, a few years ago my conscience pricked me. At the time I was sewing solo and felt I was bleeding dry the good work and expertise of others – I’d hit a tricky bit of sewing and immediately went to sewing blogs: I devoured the information and never left a comment but bookmarked the pages. Then I began to secretly and regularly read a few blogs and then a few more and one day took the leap of “following” a few. And then I began to feel guilty – I was taking all this knowledge and not giving back. That’s when I took the dive.


Longish hair

I ‘came out’ and started commenting, photographing, styling, writing and sewing.


then shorter…

And I’ve been doing it for 3 years now, in fact November is the anniversary. I started with the notion that if no-one read my posts then I’d just pack up and disappear. I set an indefinite trial period and if it didn’t work, no big deal and maybe I’m still in my probation time……


And shorter…

I asked DH the other day if he ever read my blog and he said ‘No, I don’t need to I have the real thing.’ And that’s a little bit about why I write too … there are apparently so few of us who sew, especially in Belfast, that the Internet is a fabulous way of connecting with like-minded people and the very fact that they are half-way round the world is so unimportant and yet at the same time so appealing. I really never thought that I’d make such good friends without ever having met any of you!



Sometimes I crave approval, sometimes I want to share a new idea, style, fabric or pattern and sometimes I just want to show off – LOL! I appreciate comments – good and bad – at least it tells me that someone is reading!

Last and not least – it’s like a diary isn’t it? When I scrolled though all my posts so far I had a hard time believing how long ago I made some of my clothes. Many are still in circulation. I even use my own tips and tutorials when I can’t figure something out. And just look at the hair styles – like old photo albums!


What am I working on now?

Oh…. I have so many plans and patterns and fabric! In reality, I still have an Alabama Chanin tank dress to hand sew and I set myself the deadline of October 30th.

In the meantime, I’ve started a tailored jacket – Jean Hardy 875 already cut and partly started. I’ve made this twice before but as it’s tailoring and a lot of hand sewing involved, every jacket is like a brand new pattern.


There is nothing that make my heart sing so much as seeing the inside of a tailored garment – such beauty in the invisible.


How does my work differ from others in the genre?

I don’t know that it actually does (and I know everyone says that ) but it’s absolutely true. I love tailoring because I adore perfectly made jackets and skirts – they make you stand taller and make you feel really good  – so still striving for that, but I don’t do spectacular ball gowns or  drop dead gorgeous dresses. I just make clothes for me. I do try new things because it’s fun and challenging – I do like a challenge, and I’m a wee bit tenacious, so I won’t let things beat me.

I diversifier this year into Alabama Chanin cotton jersey sewing, but after a bit of consideration – this is really just haute couture using a cheaper fabric!

I sew all types – 1 hour T-shirts, Vogue is my favourite simply because their fit is best for my body, draping was a new diversion this year thanks to Sew2Pro, but I’m not convinced this is my singular route  I’d rather someone else does all the hard work and I just use their pattern!

I’d love to have a defining ‘style’: something you could look at and immediately think of ME. Just like Laura-Mae or Gertie. However, I like many different styles – sometimes casual, sometimes sloppy, sometimes dressy – everything really and that is hopefully reflected in what I sew and what I write about.


How does my writing process work?

Firstly, I’d like to start with with what I’m not – and thereby actually complimenting those bloggers to whom I aspire:

I’d love to have the rapid repartee and wit of Pretty Grievances, but I don’t.

I want to write (and sew) as prolifically as Rhonda, but I can’t.

I desire to to be as meticulous and accurate as Mrs Mole, but I don’t have the skills.

So what you read is what you get. A little libation sometimes helps. I know I am good with words – I teach so I hope I am! I tell stories to small children and they are often mesmerised but maybe this is the power of their imagination. I often feel like the speccy-spotty girl in big school, as opposed to being the cheerleader or the captain of the 1st II when I look at the stats on my blog. But, then again, I didn’t start this to compete on the popularity stakes (in fact it didn’t even occur to me at the time) I started this because I felt I was sucking so much out out of others that I was obliged to return to favour and give something back.

I’ll be sewing or driving or watching the potatoes boil and an idea will come to me: I like to link blog titles with garments or patterns – a little segue never hurts does it?  Thereby, perhaps, offering a small glimpse into my very normal life with a little bit of light entertainment and maybe a sewing scattered tip here and there.

The gaps between my posts is getting more and more stretched. There was a time when I posted twice a week, then that dropped to every five days and recently it’s down to once a week or less. Do blogs have a natural lifespan? Some of my favourites have stopped and I might just be heading in that direction too.  I look at my photos now and see a middle aged woman who has put on weight and is resembling her mother more and more – maybe it’s time for the next generation to take up the baton and carry it on with all their enthusiasm and freshness.

One genuine reason for not blogging might actually be SEWING! I really do prefer to sew than blog……..



Thank you so much for reading and for your support. I’ll leave with the very first photo I ever posted and I’m wondering now how I ever thought anyone would want to make a top like that! It’s Vogue 8616 if you’re interested.


I’m passing this blog hop honour to Coco who sews such perfectly fitted clothes in her loft and hasn’t put a single pound on since she was 17! She is so popular that she has been asked by 3 or 4 bloggers.

And to Marianna who sews everything from pencil cases to shark dresses and pushes me to try new things.Keep pushing Marianna…..


18 thoughts on “Blog Hopping

  1. How wonderful seeing you again! So many great outfits! So many great plans! Success!

  2. Just another example of your generous spirit: I was googling the net for a vintage Miyake Vogue pattern and came across a 2012 post of yours, in which you were packing off bundles of patterns you decided to send off for other people to sew. Giving them away for people who might enjoy using them. Lovely.

    You are an energetic, highly skilled and prolific sewist. You know your colors, you’re not afraid to experiment, and you stand regally tall even without tailored pieces. It’s always a kick to read what you’ve been up to. Please continue blogging, even if it’s less often. Thanks!

  3. I’ve been reading your blog for 2 and a half years (ever since I started mine, for reasons similar to yours). While I think it’s natural that the output should vary in frequency, it’s impossible to imagine no more core couture. Your projects are too good not to share!

    I love the breadth of the projects, your tone which seems to come naturally and in case you haven’t realized, your photos are great!

    Thanks for supporting my own efforts: you’ve been a ray of sunshine in what often feels like a lonely and futile effort of tossing a message in bottle into the ocean!

    Here’s to the next 3 years (the PHD)

  4. Don’t you dare escape into the blogsphere…every time I get a reminder that you have posted a new entry my creative juices get flowing just thinking about what delight you will be serving up this time. Just knowing you have access to elegant fabrics and think out the garment from beginning to end is sheer wonder! Some gals think every post has to be a quasi-tutorial but just seeing well fitted clothes is co-coordinating colors and your wacky hairstyle is perfect! Thank you for mentioning me and my blog but rest assured that there are days I wish I did not have to sew bridal gowns for money and could swap my time for yours and sew for myself…a reality a ways off just yet but still a dream of wearing my own clothes like you do and getting compliments as you must do and feeling just about as satisfied as can be. Even if you were the only sewer in all of Ireland…what better reason to keep doing what you are doing?

    • I absolutely love your blog. You have been a source of much inspiration to me -thank you. I also love your shortest hair !!! You have such a beautiful face and the short hair makes you sparkle!

  5. Ruth I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post – I am sure we all can resonate with many of your comments, including seeing oneself change over the years, or sporting a garment, which in hindsight we think to ourselves “what-on-earth”.

    Life has taken a different direction for me, with a move of house a year ago, and I keep promising to get back into blogging and sewing, but seeing your posts always pushes me to get going again – so don’t give up – blogging once in a while is great , and certainly better than none at all because you do inspire me.

  6. Don’t you dare stop blogging! The world needs more blogs with images of middle aged women!

  7. I love reading your blog! My attempts at sewing are much more ad hoc, but you provide the inspiration for me to get back to it when I start to wander. Your style is striking and unique and I’m impressed to think that I too, one day, might have an entire wardrobe that I’ve made myself. Please keep up the work!

  8. I love reading your blog Ruth, and I would miss it a lot if you stopped. I agree with SewingElle, the world needs more blogs with images of middle aged women…people I can relate to. You are a constant source of inspiration for many, I’m sure.

  9. I too am an avid reader of your blog… I never let one pass by unopened and really admire the spirit that pervades each and every one… I hope you don’t stop anytime soon, even if your frequency decreases. Have loved looking over your shoulder at your diversifications too, even though at heart my favourites are the Vogues. Thanks for such an open response to these questions, generous to a fault as always.

  10. I love reading your blog, seeing what you make, and your sense of fun! I hope you don’t mind being an inspiration and a role model for the rest of us who are getting a little older, too.

  11. Hi Ruth, I am reading your blog for at least 2 years now. Whenever I discover a new blog post, there is a bit of suspense and anticipation: What amazing garment will she let us see and talk about this time? It would be really a pity if you would stop blogging! Apart from that, I would also miss seeing your radiant smile. Cheers Anke

  12. Hi Ruth,

    I agree with many of the comments made. If I don’t comment that regularly, it’s only because the internet here in rural Lincolnshire is beyond dismal at times. I can’t even watch my craftsy classes most of the time…………………

    So, just wanted to pitch in to say, I love seeing you in my inbox and your blog spurns me on. Thank you for sharing with us.
    I wish that I could connect more than I am able to these days and long for the time when I am in an area that has the superfast broadband I enjoyed whilst living in Turkey!!

    So tempted to buy the tailored jacket pattern, but as someone knew to padstitching etc, I wonder if there is enough guidance for me to complete the project as well as you do. Thank you for the continuing inspiration.

  13. Love your blog Ruth!I hope our paths cross one day in real life, not just online. Best always!!

  14. Don’t you dare stop blogging! I had no idea that your blog is nearly as young as mine. When I found your blog, I thought, oh, so expertly written, look at those clothes… I love your hair short, you look so sassy one moment and so sharp and edgy the next. Great style for you. DH is cool. Being a Vogue and couture fan, I also love your posts on complex garments. I would sew more of these, but alas, no where to wear them these days. So I do fancy finishes on cotton shifts instead!

    Thank you, Ruth, for the very kind words. Much appreciated and a spirit lifter today. Love getting the baton from you…Coco

  15. Aren’t you all the very best of ‘friends’?
    So humbling to read these very kind words and now I can’t see the computer screen, my eyes have gone all misty…..oh wait! That was the onion I was chopping for dinner – LOL
    Do you ever say that when you’re watching a weepy movie and the DH looks over incredulously as you sniff and wipe your cheeks?

  16. I would also be very sorry to see you give up your blog. Much better to have infrequent posts to none at all.

  17. Pingback: Bloghopping | Sew 2 Pro

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