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February Review & March Goals!


February Review & March Goals!
Thanks so much to everyone who checked out my February Goals post. It's time to see what I've got planned for March as well as seeing if I completed any of last month's sewing and blog goals!


February Review: 

I was gutted about this pattern. I made it, a great pattern to follow, but it doesn't fit me! I should've made some adjustments beforehand as the skirt hugs me in all the wrong places and the waistband sits too low down on me. The whole thing ended up being really unflattering. Safe to say, other than my Cleos, pinafores are a no-go for me.
My first 'Sewing Real Talk' post went up and had such a wonderful response. Thank you so much to everyone who shared their experiences in the comments. I'll definitely being blogging on this topic more.
But, personally, the highlight of February was launching The Crafty Pinup YouTube channel! Please check it out and don't forget to 'like' and subscribe.

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March Goals:

  • March's Minerva Craft Blogger Network post - Vogue V9123 coat
  • Visiting The Knitting and Stitching Show!
  • Part Two of my London adventures
  • A sewing space tour
  • Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6380 dress
  • An extra special party dress
What's on your sewing table for March? Will you be attending the Knitting and Stitching Show?

Thanks for reading, pinups!
xo
The Crafty Pinup
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Welcome to The Crafty Pinup YouTube Channel!


Welcome to The Crafty Pinup YouTube Channel!


>> Subscribe to The Crafty Pinup YouTube Channel! <<

Hi everyone, something a little different and exciting today! If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you'll see I've been talking a bit about YouTube and whether or not to start a channel. But the other week I bought a new camera for my London Trip and I thought what the hell and set up my channel The Crafty Pinup. I had such a lovely response from social media, so hopefully you'll enjoy tuning in! 

Here's my first, short video for a little introduction about myself and what you can expect to see on my new channel. Please 'like' the video and subscribe and hopefully you'll be seeing lots more soon.

If there's anything in particular you'd like to see in my videos, please comment below, I'm open to suggestions. I think next week I'll show you what's in my fabric stash!

Thanks for watching, pinups!
xo
The Crafty Pinup
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Weekend Wishlist #2



It's Weekend Wishlist time! This week I've been learning all about YouTube & trying to sort out my filming set up (subscribe to my new channel HERE). So in this week's wishlist, I've included the dreamy camera I'm using, along with a super affordable tripod. And of course some fabric and patterns that have caught my eye this week...


I got this camera a couple of weeks again, along with a lens and I'm in love. I'm pretty useless with tech stuff, but even I can use this.


Um, who doesn't need another sewing themed pin in their collection?


This would make such a lovely Spring blouse, I'm thinking the Simple Sew Pussy Bow Blouse for this one.


I love the shape of this jacket. Like a softer biker jacket, this would be great for when the weather starts warming up.


I'm having dreams about this pattern and it will be mine.

6. Tripod

To help me on my way with YouTube, I picked up this tripod. It makes filming so easy and it's a bargain!


I love a polka dot, and I love the random spots designs more. I already have some in my stash, but there's always room for more...

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Thanks for reading, pinups!
xo


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
The Crafty Pinup
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PART ONE | London Adventures ft. All Star Lanes


Last week I had a whirlwind trip to London with my boyfriend, and along with my new camera and a visit to All Star Lanes in Bayswater, I thought I'd share some snaps from my visit (although had to learn how to use my camera very quickly, so hopefully the photos will get better!).

I don't often go to London and I haven't been for a non uni/college/family related reasons in a few years. I live in Shrewsbury, about 2.5 hours away on the train. So when the lovely team at All Star Lanes Bayswater contacted me to visit their venue for drinks, food & bowling, I couldn't turn down such a wonderful opportunity! Whilst this trip wasn't sewing related, I'd love for it to be the start of a few trips down as I'd love to visit London's extensive fabric shops and attend one of the big sewing shows this year. 

We started our trip by heading straight to All Star Lanes in Bayswater, close to Kensington and Notting Hill. The Bayswater venue has an amazing glamorous vintage vibe with plush furnishings, moody lighting, an incredibly stocked cocktail bar with lots of retro artwork on the walls.

Below are some snaps I took throughout my visit:


The surroundings are amazing and I love the vintage artwork on the walls. The bowling was so much fun, I lost miserably but the delicious food and cocktails calmed my competitive fury! Thanks so much to Veronica and the team for having us, we had such a fun time and were so well looked after. What a way to spend a Wednesday afternoon! 
The beautiful pastel coloured streets in Notting Hill.
After our bowling adventures, we walked through all the fancy parts in the surrounding area over to Portobello Road, before heading to Hummingbird Bakery for cupcakes (which didn't survive long enough for a photo!) and heading to our home for the night.

I hope you enjoyed a peek at my London adventures, stay tuned to see Part Two (next Tuesday) featuring amazing Mexican food, Spitalfields Market, my London proof me-made outfit & more!

Loving my new Vogue 9123 tweed jacket!
Thanks for reading, pinups!
xo

P.S. I'm on YouTube! I launched my channel The Crafty Pinup over the weekend, and hope to have my intro video up this week. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

The Crafty Pinup
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Minerva Craft Blogger Network: DIY Glamorous Faux Fur Stole Tutorial


Minerva Craft Blogger Network: DIY Glamorous Faux Fur Stole Tutorial 


For February's Minerva Craft Blogger Network make I created a glamorous faux fur stole tutorial. I've been eyeing up Minerva Craft's selection of faux fur for a while and with an upcoming make being a coat (if you follow me on Instagram @craftypinup you've probably already seen it as I couldn't wait to make it!), the fabric I chose for it was dying for a colour pop! It was the perfect excuse to pick up some of the faux fur I'd be lusting after in this lovely baby pink. I was originally going to make a little fur collar, but it would of meant so much fabric wastage that I opted for a stole, which worked out perfectly as I've been living in it.

For my full DIY Tutorial, CLICK HERE!


If you want to see my previous Minerva projects, check out my blog tag HERE. Let me know if you try this tutorial, I'd love to see.
Thanks for reading, pinups!
xo

P.S. If you want to see what I'm making for March and April, check out THIS post!
The Crafty Pinup
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Weekend Wishlist #1


I know I'm a little late for a weekend post, but here's the first post in a new blog series 'Weekend Wishlist' featuring my top sewing pattern, fabric & haberdashery picks for the week. Which, from now on, will be published every Friday! I'm so ready for some Spring sewing and here are some beauties I found, including some indie patterns, to stock your stash up with this week...


The perfect eat-all-the-food dress whilst still looking cute. I love the look of this 1960s babydoll dress style pattern and will have to get my paws on it soon.


I see many vintage floral dresses in my future and I love the mid-century vibe of this print. It's nice to see some new floral designs on the market.


A new designer to me, I need this Miz Mozelle dress in my life. What a lovely little number for Spring. I think the peter pan collar neckline detail will be really flattering on fuller busts too. 


How sweet is this? The perfect vintage floral, this fabric will be in my stash ASAP.


Every sewist's must have! A classic pair of embroidery scissors so cute you'll always have them on display.


Wow has this pattern got a lot of attention this month! I'm still on the fence and am waiting to see more sewist's versions appear. Although I said that about the Rosa pattern, which became a personal fave. 


Hello 1960s ultra retro jersey! I need this in my life. Perhaps I can be tempted by Zadie after all!

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Thanks for reading, pinups!
xo

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
The Crafty Pinup
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Simplicity 1459 - Vintage 1950s Shirt Dress


Simplicity 1459 - Vintage 1950s Shirt Dress


This dress is the perfect vintage Valentine's Day dress, which I'll certainly be rocking well into the Summer. I've been keeping an eye on this vintage 1950s Simplicity 1459 pattern for a while as I'm a sucker for a shirt dress, especially a vintage one! So in collaboration with online haberdashery Weaver Dee it felt like the perfect time to try it, paired with a classic floral cotton for a true retro vibe.

Here's a peek at the pattern:
Lots of gorgeous variations!
It has some really great sleeve variations and as it's Winter in the UK at the moment I thought I'd try the 3/4 length sleeve option. Although before I'd put the sleeves on, I loved the look of the dress without the sleeves and I can certainly see myself sewing this one again in the Summer.

Straight out of Mad Men!
The dress features an exaggerated shirt collar with a wide centre back bib. I love the oversized look of the collar and with a nipped in waist and full skirt, the proportions work really well. It makes me feel just like Betty Draper! The dress has a couple of centre front buttons, I opted for 3 for a bit more bust modesty, and a side zip. In hindsight I would of loved to have added pockets to the amazing full skirt, so I'll remember to do that next time!


Now it wouldn't be me without a mistake in there (flawless garment where are you?), and whilst on sewing auto pilot I forgot to sew the points into the collar as instructed. Which resulted in an unusual looking collar shape. I asked my mum what she thought and the look on her face said it all so I ended up fixing it. Which I'm glad I did as I know it would of annoyed me to not get this obvious design feature right.

I just want to talk about sizing for a second, hopefully it might help someone out there. I always struggle with sizing. I have an hourglass figure and fit in size 10 or 12 (UK) depending on the garment/style. I always struggle with sewing pattern sizing, resulting in baggy or too tight makes. In this pattern I cut the size 14 with no modifications. Usually a size 14 is a 28" waist with a 36" bust and 38" hips. My bust & hip measurements are larger than this, but on this particular style with free hips and a generous button up bust, the 14 was perfect for me. However if the style wasn't button up or had fitted hips I would of cut a 16 with room to tailor the waist.


Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Simplicity 1459 - Weaver Dee

Fabric: Poly Cotton Fabric - Navy / Pink Rose Garden - £3.00 per m - Weaver Dee

Notions: Medium Weight Iron on  Interfacing & 22" & Concealed Nylon Zip [817 Cerise Pink] - Weaver Dee

Sewing time: I spent two afternoons on this.

Modifications: Added 3 buttons instead of 2, and I used a concealed zip instead of a lapped zipper

Fit: Perfect! I know, I'm surprised too.

Difficulty: Straightforward. I was pleasantly surprised at how simply this came together (ignoring my stupid mistake!). I'd also recommend this for adventurous beginners.

Watch out for: Don't forget to sew the collar points properly like me!

Make again?: Yes!

Styled with my new favourite bag. Very Valentine's appropriate!
Overall, I am in love with this dress. It's been a while since I've sewn a vintage number and this one was worth the wait for me. The instructions were easy to follow and the dress was relatively simple and I'll certainly be making it again. For me, I think this dress could be a true vintage number, the fabric is the perfect Winter floral, but the print complements the vintage vibe. The sleeves make it great to wear right now and it will take me all the way through Spring, then I'll be ready to make a sleeveless number. I've styled it with THIS gorgeous heart shaped bag from Joanie Clothing.

Will you be trying this Simplicity 1459 pattern?

Thanks for reading, pinups!
xo

Disclaimer:
The pattern, fabric and notions were my choices supplied to me free of charge by Weaver Dee. 
All thoughts & opinions are my own.

The Crafty Pinup
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Sewing Real Talk: Can Sewing Improve Your Mental Health?


A snap from my bedroom
Hi pinups! I recently posted on Instagram (THIS post) putting feelers out there to see if anyone would be interested in some blog posts around the subject of self care and mental health, with a sewing slant. I had such an amazing response I decided to go ahead with it and create a new blog series called 'Sewing Real Talk'. From the conversations I've had with other sewists and the comments I received, it seems there are a lot of us out there who use our sewing projects as a way of improving and maintaining positive mental health and practising self care.

I don't particularly want to talk about my personal mental health story - it's long and complicated. However, sewing has a huge place in my quest for positive mental health and I want to tell you how it's impacted my life since I started selfish sewing & blogging in April 2016.

You may already know, I'm self employed and with that comes it's own struggles. I started planning my business fresh out of university in 2013, launching properly around Summer 2014 whilst working full time and eventually deciding to become self employed at the end of 2015, with business really taking off in the past year.

But rewind a little and every day of the week I was isolated, sewing non stop, not creating or developing, just working like a robot. Along with other personal struggles, this kind of lifestyle is not sustainable and come early 2016 I was burnt out, unmotivated and feeling like I was going nowhere and honestly, pretty much hating sewing.

I started The Crafty Pinup last April, something that I'd be thinking about for a long time but finally started. I've always had a bit of an entrepreneurial mindset and even though it was a hobbyist's blog I wanted to take it seriously and run it with love and care, creating my own sewing space on the internet to share my sewing story with like minded people. The online sewing community was a breath of fresh air and became an endless source of inspiration and encouragement.

I started planning my makes and designing outfits, creating social media profiles to make sewing buddies and designed my blog, with my boyfriend creating me a beautiful header. At first I felt guilty for spending time on something which wasn't making me money and it felt frivolous as a 25 year old woman with a new business setting up a sewing blog. But the days I was spending sewing my own clothes or creating things that weren't lingerie related, those became the days I enjoyed the most. I noticed I was happier, spending my weekends with my boyfriend dressing up for sewing photo shoots and spending my time constantly creating something new and learning & developing my skills as a seamstress.

Whilst I love dress making, my business My Retro Closet are where my priorities lie. With the improvement in my mood and productivity due to a day away from the business, I was able to come back to it with a fresh look. I didn't feel drained day after day sewing babydolls trying to make a living. Instead I felt inspired, designed a new collection, saved for my first professional photoshoot, built a new website and gave it the kick up the butt it needed.

Eventually I scheduled two days a week for The Crafty Pinup, which is pretty much where I'm at now. But I know my moods and my limits and can predict my productivity (something I'll be blogging about another time). On weeks where I work on My Retro Closet 7am - 8pm for 4 days straight, I'll then sew for myself for 2 and have a half a day off. This for me is balance and keeps me sane. Knowing what selfish projects I have lined up always spurs me on.

Within the (almost) year I've had this blog, I now have a beautiful dedicated sewing room for myself and my business, a separate office space for computer work and a varied & creative schedule.

Whilst I received a lot of questions in my Instgram post, I wanted to answer the ones directly relating to mental health in this post. Here they are:


  • I'd love to know how you find the motivation/energy to sew when life just isn't great...

Sometimes I don't. When I've reached my limits, I'll accept that I just need a day to do nothing and recharge. But on the other hand people have paid me for a service and I have to deliver whether I want to or not. Again, it's all about balance. If I don't want to sew, I'll cut out garments or reorganise my workspace ready for a fresh day. Having everything tidy and laid out always has me feeling ready to sew again.


  • Is being self employed is the right choice for you? 

For me yes. But it's not for everyone. People have expectations of self employment of sleeping in, working in pjs and doing whatever you want, when you want. My life isn't like that (well, except for the pjs). I work harder and longer than I ever did in a 9 - 5 job or at university. But it suits me mentally and works with my family. I feel lucky every day I remain self employed and I hope it continues.


  • Does sewing becomes more of a burden than a pleasure when you do it for a living and might be under pressure to deliver? 

Yes. Which is what lead me to create The Crafty Pinup. This bit of the internet is for me and any expectations I put on it are my own. My business is my dream and makes me a living. I have standards I need to meet, but I'm sewing my own designs, my own way for my amazing customers. Plus being surrounded by ruffles at my desk always puts a smile on my face. Like any job, there's pressure, but how you deal with it is what matters.

  • How do you make sure that sewing becomes an act of self care instead of stressing yourself out because you want to learn everything at once/make everything perfect?

This sewing blog is my self care and none of my makes on here are perfect. Since I broke a sewing machine so badly at school it was written off and my mum had to finish my project, it's been an ongoing joke between us that I am the laziest dressmaker ever. Setting out knowing that all my personal makes are a learning curve, keeps me from becoming too frustrated if things don't work out perfectly. I find hammering poppers and jeans buttons particularly therapeutic!


Thank you to everyone who asked questions. I'll be answering more in my upcoming posts.

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Here are some of my tips for sewing for mental health...

  • A goal - having a sewing project on the go means you have something ongoing. Even a little bit every day is an accomplishment. If you're new to sewing - start small! You can never have enough cushions or pillow cases in my opinion!
  • Learning new techniques - sewing and crafts is a endless learning curve, however big or small there are projects to suit everyone. From cross stitch & embroidery to dress making & quilting.
  • Accomplishment - no matter what you're making, at least you are making. You're creating something with your own hands and nothing beats that feeling of pride in yourself! (The first dress I made practically fell apart in a week but I wore it all Summer!)
  • Create a sewing space - Creating my own sewing space had a huge impact on my productivity. Whether you're lucky enough to have a whole room or just a cosy corner in the living room, that space is yours, and yours alone.
  • You time - I still feel guilty for not working on customer orders when I'm sewing for myself. But I know it's necessary for me to maintain balance. Taking time for yourself to do something you find joy in is important.
  • Mindfulness - I wasn't sure whether to include this one as personally I find it a bit patronising, but taking the time to focus solely on one thing undoubtedly makes you appreciate the moment (unless you're unpicking!).
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Personally, sewing has improved my mental health and my whole lifestyle with knock on effects in the rest of my life. I couldn't imagine living my routine the way it was a year ago.

I hope you've found my first 'Sewing Real Talk' post interesting and I hope that it even might help someone out there who is struggling. Being creative shouldn't be underestimated in the role it plays in positive mental health. From the stories people shared with me on social media, I know I'm not alone in knowing the improvements it's made to my own life.

If you have a story you would like to share about sewing and mental health, please feel free to share in the comments below. You won't be alone in your story.

Thanks for reading, pinups.
xo

For more information and help concerning mental health, please visit www.mind.org.uk
The Crafty Pinup
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February Goals


February Goals
Something a little different to start the new month! I thought a February Goals post would be a great way to share what's in store for the month ahead and what sewing makes and blog posts you can expect to see. I like to plan my makes out and a couple of my February makes are underway already.

My sewing plans for this month are pretty varied, from a 1950s floral shirt dress perfect for Valentine's Day to a glamorous faux fur stole sewing tutorial for Minerva Crafts and a burgundy needle-cord pinafore dress from the latest Simply Sewing magazine.

Along with sewing plans, there's a few other things lined up for February. Mainly, I'm heading to London on the 15th for a super exciting visit to an amazing retro venue (but more on that later...), so I wanted to have some new handmade outfits for lots of London snaps! Which is why I've started my March Minerva Make, my Vogue tweed jacket as I'm determined to have it finished for my trip!

With my regular sewing pattern reviews, I'll also be branching out into new topics. I recently put some feelers out on Twitter and Instagram to see whether anyone would be interested in some blog posts focused around mental health and self employment still with an emphasis on sewing. I had an overwhelming response & questions so I will certainly be pursuing this subject and hope February will see the first post in my 'Sewing Talk' series.

As well as a new 'Sewing Talk' series, I will also be branching out into easy DIY projects. I've recently been overhauling my office space and sewing space (with the help of my handy boyfriend). So I thought it'd be fun to show you what I've been up to as I work up to a full sewing space tour in March!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing what's in store for the month.
Thanks for reading, pinups!
xo

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