Mai's Makes

Sew Saturday

It’s been a while since I shared any of my craft projects with you all, so in honour of it being Sew Saturday, I thought I would give you a little update of what I have been working on so far this year.

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Let’s start with this little bundle of joy. I picked up the kit for this sweet, innocent looking dog at the Sewing Quarter’s stand at last year’s Knitting & Stitching Show. It was a simple case of cutting out the pre-printed fabric and stitching it all together – or so I thought. In reality, this is probably the hardest project I have taken on, and involved blood loss and rather a lot of swearing! Still, the video I was sent by the mum of the little boy it was for when he unwrapped it made everything worthwhile – even if I did almost heft my sewing machine through the window in the course of making it.

Moving back to projects that mainly involved sewing in a straight line, my sewing machine finally got it’s much needed cover in Spring. I love these gorgeous fabrics from Makower, and it was surprisingly easy to put together considering assembly involved manhandling six layers of fabric and two of wadding. It was a little bit of a challenge for my poor little sewing machine, but I was so please with how it turned out!

My love affair with my little reversible bags continues, and I have even been playing around with different sizes. I love making these for other people as it makes me work with fabrics I probably wouldn’t have chosen for myself, and I am always pleasantly surprised with how they come together. I admit that the red runes and the linen ducks might seem a strange combination, but fans of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Chronicles will understand the significance.

 

My new favourite things to make are these cute little zippy bags. I have gone a bit crazy with giving these as presents this year, but I have loved playing with different dimensions to produce bags in a variety of shapes and sizes. I am also very chuffed with myself that the majority of the time, my zips went in straight first time! I will admit that construction of the first one did not go according to plan, and it easily took me half an hour to work out what I actually needed to do to make it into a boxy shape rather than a flat pancake, but once my little brain got to grips with it, they are incredibly straightforward.

I will be spending today at my favourite fabric shop, Sew Creative, taking part in their Sew Saturday activities and helping them to celebrate their fifth birthday! No doubt I will also be picking out some more fabric to feed my stash ready for all my Christmas projects! How are you all spending the day?

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Mai's Makes

The Joy of Craft

I am taking a leaf out of my friend, the wonderful K.A. Kenzie’s, book today, and opening up another piece of myself to you all. Katie wrote a wonderful piece the other day, and whilst I don’t know that I am ready to be quite as brave as she has been just yet, I am taking a baby step in that direction. You can find Katie’s post here, and I would encourage you all to have a read of it.

Some of you will already know that two and a half years ago, a change in my health led to a career change for me and instead of heading out to an office everyday, I started working from home. Going from working in a room with forty other people to sitting on my own all day was a massive adjustment, and although I knew it was the right decision for me, I still had more than a few days when I felt quite low. But then I discovered the wonders of crafting! I had always dabbled with various crafts, but never really had the time to get properly stuck into anything and really learn all the intricacies involved. Becoming self-employed meant that I had more freedom to decide my own working hours and explore my hobbies further. Stumbling across an amazing fabric shop in a town close to where I live, and getting to know the wonderful staff and customers, was a major turning point for me and gave me such a boost to have a crack at projects I would have been too scared to even consider a short time ago – more on the shop in a future post.

Fast forward to October 2018 and my spare room has been converted to an office/craft room, and I can now usually be found sat at either my laptop or sewing machine. Honestly, something as simple as having somewhere to sew in peace has been life changing. Yes, the pain and fatigue and all the other nasties that come with chronic illness are still there, but when it is just me, my sewing machine, and some music, I can completely lose myself in my project and forget about the stresses of modern life for a few hours. My mum tells me that this is something called “craftfulness,” a sort of crafters version of mindfulness.

I have been in mindfulness courses, and read countless books, and while I do believe there is something in it, it is something that I have struggled with myself and I find my mind wanders off on all kinds of tangents if I am just sitting. However, when I am trying to muddle my way through a project, I have no choice but to be completely focused on what I am doing, otherwise the chances are I’m going to sew my fingers together!

Whatever you want to call it, the effects on my mental health have been so good. I get so much pleasure out of completing a project, especially if it is something I have made as a present for someone else. I made quite a few Christmas presents this year (as you can see in the photos, I have got the hang of the reversible bag now), and the reactions I have got for them have been such a confidence boost. I am starting to feel like I might actually be okay at this! I still have lots to learn, and am known for vastly under estimating how long projects will take (to the point that I was still making Christmas presents on 23rd December), but I am excited for the coming year, and I promise to share some of my projects with you all as I go, if you promise not to laugh at some of the dodgy stitches!

Coming soon…