A sharing community

After blogging for 11 years, there are people I’ve kept in contact with and over the years though sharing our sewing experiences and this has given me a sharing group of friends I truly treasure.

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#sewover50 @sewover50

The #sewover50 @sewover50 team asked me to write this post to encourage you to blog if you’re not sure about blogging about your sewing life. If you haven’t seen the #sewover50 @sewover50 team, have a look at their hashtag on instagram. There are now over 24,000 posts for this international team of 3 ladies who started this hashtag and the group now has over 12,000 followers.

About blogging

Going back to the reason for this post about blogging.

Blogging for me is about documenting my sewing experience so I can go back to the post and make sure I do a better job on the next version of the same project. Readers have the benefit of looking at my blog posts and possibly gaining my insights to make their future project better that I’ve created. My most embarrassing posts were the first ones. ‘You gotta start somewhere.’

All the opinions for each of my blog posts are my own and I’ll always show you what I did to make the project work for me. A pattern or project idea are a starting point.

Sponsored posts

Yes I am sponsored by Minerva Crafts every month. Prym consumer have generously provide me with their sewing tools to use and test. From time to time other online fabric companies and indie designers will contact me to collaborate with them. I’ll do this when their projects fit in with what I’ll realistically use and when I have the time to fit them in. I love pretty things but I have to be able to wear them more than once.

Pattern testing

I’ve pattern tested for Fehr Trade, Pauline Alice patterns and sometimes for Tuesday Stitches and I check the English translations for Sacotin patterns. Overtime, Melissa, Pauline, Vero and Erin have become friends that I enjoy supporting.

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I approach every pattern as a new experience and read all the instructions as a sew. When I pattern test I don’t assume any prior knowledge because I’m being asked to pattern test as a newbie. To be honest, through testing patterns I can give my feedback so that the pattern is the best it can be for others who actually pay for the pattern. You don’t want to pay for a pattern that is poorly drafted or poorly written, so I use this opportunity to be constructive.

On Pattern Review I’ve reviewed over 480 patterns and have been a contest manager four times. I try to use the review template so that if you’re looking for a specific piece of information, you can quickly scan the review and find what you’re looking for. Sometimes I’ve added different subheadings because the pattern had something more that I want to tell readers about. Other times, I’ve removed the template subheadings because I’ve already covered that point.

This year I’ve started to co-host That Sewing Blab, and it’s been a good learning curve for me. I’ve never seen myself being a live interviewer but sewing is my hobby/focus so I’ve enjoyed working with Dawn on the show.

Why blog

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Blogging can be a bit overwhelming when you first start out. I was sewing with local sewing friends when I started blogging so I had people to soundboard with as I developed my blog. There are a bunch of questions you might struggle with when you start blogging:

Do I have anything to contribute?
Is my post worth reading?
Does this post read well?
Are my photos helpful?
Is this blog post just a piece of fluff and not worth reading?
Have I missed anything out?

If technology isn’t your friend and you want to start blogging, ask people you follow about starting a blog. I’ve gone from a decent blog on Blogger and then had to move my blog to WordPress because of the Google glitch I just couldn’t figure out.

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out how to make the most of WordPress without dipping into my pocket.

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There’s the issue of disclosing any affiliate links you include on any recommendations you suggest to people who follow you. The Fair Trade Commission have lots of good information that you need to be aware of and practice. These rules apply across any social media platform including Instagram, Pinterest, facebook, twitter…etc.

There are also rules about protecting people’s privacy.

Within Australia there are a few issues that are on the horizon, so keep an eye on how the ATO will start to treat ‘income’ earned through social media.

Influencers, sportspeople and celebrities to be slugged by ‘Instagram tax’

Taxation of income for an individual’s fame or image paper:

Remember that sharing on anything on a social media platform is a record so be mindful of what you’re saying/writing.

Blogging was huge up until twitter/Instagram started to grow a few years and I know the sewing community has become a bigger group with all aspects of sewing covered through these platforms.

What I love about blogging

Now for the fun stuff about the benefits of blogging, if you still want to create a blog.

Through blogging, I know that I have patterns that I can go back to again and again and they get adjusted as I put on weight or take off the weight. My blog is my library of sewing notes that you have access to.
Through blogging, I have friends globally and I can meet up with them when I’m away from home. When I’m home, I can still talk to a good handful of people globally and have a laugh.

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Through blogging, I send out reference material to people from time to time to people who ask about ‘xyz’ adjustment for their sewing projects. I’m happy to share the resources I’ve bought and continue to use.

My general rule of thumb about blogging technology is, if I’m stuck with a technology issue, there will be someone out there who has already resolved the issue I’m struggling with. You are not alone when it comes to technology issues. There are also online communities that have already documented the technology challenges you’re dealing with.

Being over 50

Since sewover50 started, I never thought much about being this age and the challenges many people face and are facing. As I’ve already mentioned, I watch my weight fluctuate and sewing allows me to ensure I have clothes that fit, no matter what weight I’m at. The sewover50 team have written a lot about the lack of visibility ‘after 50’ but being a short person, I’ve always been ‘invisible’ so I’m used to making myself seen and heard, when I want to.

The hot flashes are a daily challenge but I make it a fun 60 seconds of sweating. Yes I do make it fun because I never know when it will happen or how long it will last.

For instance, I have a pink cd cover on my desk that I used as a fan when my body temp skyrockets. When I’m on a plane, I fan myself with the airline magazine. If I’m at a restaurant, I fan myself with the menu.

While I’m going through this crazy period of life, I really love running in the cold even though I use a puffer to breath properly when the air is less than 8C. When I’m running in hot, humid conditions, I look like I’m workout harder than anyone else.

The other symptom I’m enjoying is waking up during the night. This becomes my time to plan new projects, cut out fabrics, hand sew or simply chat to you all who are awake when I really should be asleep.

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Want to try it?

If you simply want to document your sewing projects and allow others to share what you’ve learnt, have a look at blogging as a starting point. Some people love Vlogging more once they try it.

I recommend you try blogging or vlogging and see if you enjoy it.

Once it becomes a chore, rethink what makes you happiest and follow that.

Minerva – all things that sparkle

We’re back home and I can reveal my Minerva Gold Logies dress with Mr V as my accessory.

I’m so pleased were made the trip to Darwen, UK … the home of Minerva Crafts and met these gorgeous and creative people. The Minerva meet up was great fun and truly memorable. A gala event of sewing proportions.

We’re all wearing our gorgeous outfits for our Minerva night of nights.

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In Australia we have the Logies – a gold statuette for the annual glittering night for local stars. The red carpet is the main focus for the fabulous and infamous.

I’m so glad I did travel to the UK and made my ‘all things that sparkle’ dress courtesy of Minerva Crafts using Butterick 6582.

The dress fit was perfect as you can see from the pics above and below.
This was an easy fabric to work with on just a plain, old sewing machine. This dress uses the corded sequined lace, lining and a normal zipper. Simple.

This fabric was perfect for such a special event and using this gold sequin, corded fabric for the logical option. 

You read about my little mishap but learnt how I fixed it. This fabric is gorgeous and easy to wear/dance in. There was no pre-washing involved. This is dry-clean only fabric.

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How’s this for a neckline view. 

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And it worked well on the dance floor too.

Here we are having pre-dinner drinks with the lovely Louise, Jo and Lucie.


And here’s Stevie, Marie, Amy and Kathryn.
I’m really pleased to have been part of Minerva’s big meet up and got to make this fabulous party dress.
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I had to put up another group pic! Check out the Minerva pics for yourself here.

Minerva meetup or UK roadtrip

Being invited to be a Minerva Crafts blogger last year was a real highlight for this little Aussie sewer. Then when Vicki let me know about the plans for last Saturday’s meetup months ago, Mr V did the travel planning so we could be at Minerva. Mwah to Mr V. He loves all things travel.


So the journey to the meetup began a bit earlier.
‘What would the day be like?’ ‘What is this placed called Dawen?’
Mr V had us triapse through Dublin and Belfast (Westeros), before we flew to sunny and hot Manchester. 

We grabbed our car and made a quick visit to Manchester before meeting up with Sam and Winnie at Darwen for dinner. Karen Ball joined us and together we had a lovely and not so quiet dinner. You would have read Karen, Sam and Winnie’s reviews about this. It wasn’t the soccer on the tv that made it a rowdy meal;)

Thanks Winnie, Sam and Karen for meeting us on Friday night. 


Saturday at Minerva Crafts was an awesome day. Totally awesome. Here’s a link to the latest photos 


Minerva is a family owned and run business. Their love of crafts is infectious. The staff were on the ball all day and they have a wealth of craft knowledge.
There were a number of demos that I missed because there was so much to see and do.


Sam and I enabled each other assessing fabrics and ‘what could be’ our potential projects :)) 


Thanks Sam and Jordan. Jordan, a keen Minerva staff member, found a roll of fabric that we’d seen earlier but couldn’t find at the counter when we were ready to make our purchases. Thanks Jordan.

All the Minerva staff did a fantastic job on the day, that includes Jess.

Doesn’t Vicki’s dress look amazing?

The Minerva Craft group ran the refreshments and lucky draw. They meet at Minerva 3 times a week to craft and they’re a caring group. I petered out at noon so I was promptly given a seat to perch on with a cuppa in my hand and a sandwich. I really needed that!


There were workshops during the day which I didn’t do so the fabrics, crafts and chatting to everyone ‘knocked me for a sixer’. But it was all good.


Karen Ball gave her very first talk about her sewing journey and she was funny, engaging and everyone connected through their own sewing misshaps. Sometimes I don’t prewash fabrics and I’ve used my fabric scissors for paper. Doh.


The By Hand London girls spoke about how their business has developed and what their current challenges are. They have a strong creative vision that will soon become a strong brand in the near future. And they enjoy life too:)


Thank you to the ladies who said ‘hi’. I’m really pleased you did  and that you enjoy the sewing adventures I get up to:) 


The Minerva bloggers (aka Spoolettes) are so creative and true to their individual styles. Sharing their adventures and knowledge is very inspiring and also lots of fun to be a part of. They have lots of stamina and can really move on the dance floor. 
Everyone’s formal dresses made with Minerva fabrc, were great.


Vicki’s plans for the day went off splendidly. Bravo. Vicki made this an enjoyable day for everyone. The Minerva Craft group said how supportive Minerva Crafts is to encourage their crafting endeavours.


Vicki, I hope you can recover from such a great event and maybe we can look forward to next year’s meetup. I’m saving my pennies up now as I know that ‘all roads lead to Minerva Crafts’.