Balancing work, life and play

It’s week one of the Welsh invasion of Surrey and I’m already falling into the dangerous coach-potato pattern I swore I’d avoid.

I’m currently experiencing the curious phenomenon of becoming near-comatose as soon as weary feet reach the front door after a day in the office. Oh sure, I was bright and perky when I left work and had plans aplenty for the productive activities I’d get up to at home. Blogging, sewing, cake-making… there would be no stopping me!

But, curiously, what’s meant to be a brief respite with a cuppa on the sofa turns into hours of watching awful television and BAM! It’s midnight and I find myself cursing the time-stealing gremlins because how else were the hours snatched away?

I know, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself because it’s only been one week, but this really cannot continue.

On Friday afternoon, I returned home with a bank holiday weekend ahead of me and all manner of things to sort out. But somehow, I managed to turn a nap into a full-on sleepathon lasting right up into Saturday morning! When did I become so lazy?

As with most things, I took to Twitter to find out if I was the only one struggling to juggle work with the rest of my life. Of course, I certainly wasn’t:

What about you? How do you find time for your hobbies with your full-time job?

Normal service will resume as soon as I find a remedy for the time-stealing gremlins…

A quick peek at the Colette Sewing Handbook

The Colette Sewing Handbook has been on my wish-list for some time now.

This independent pattern retailer is a clear favourite among the blogging community. Colette Patterns offers vintage-style patterns with clear and concise instructions – perfect for anyone just starting out with sewing.

On top of this, founder Sarai Mitnick has created a little community based around her patterns. The regularly updated blog, Coletterie, is full to the brim with all sorts of hints and tips for beginner and more advanced sewers alike.

Colette Patterns cover

This community has been abuzz since Sarai announced there would be a Colette Patterns book and its release was timed with a tour around the sewing blogosphere.

Finally, I have my own copy! I’ve been a fan of Sarai’s work for some time now, having owned the Macaron dress pattern for about a year (I’m still on the hunt for the perfect fabric).

Colette Patterns has always stood out among independent pattern retailers not just for their unique take on the vintage styles sweeping the sewing blogosphere by storm but also because of the individual way in which the patterns are packaged. For someone used to the more traditional packaging of sewing patterns (folded into an envelope and near impossible to get back in!) the little instruction booklets complete with intricate, illustrated instructions are just lovely.

inside colette patterns bookThe book itself is no different. Sarai has based it around what she calls the Five Fundamentals: A thoughtful plan, a precise pattern, a fantastic fit, a beautiful fabric and a fine finish.

What really sets the Colette Sewing Handbook apart from other sewing books are the patterns. Oh the patterns!

Five patterns – one accompanying each fundamental – are included in the book, so you’re really getting your money’s worth. The patterns themselves are also easily adapted, as Sarai has demonstrated in several tutorials on the Colette Patterns blog.

Reading the book, it’s a clear winner for anyone just starting out in sewing. What I’m hoping to do is to hone my sewing abilities in 2012 using the book – sometimes I can be a pretty lazy seamstress and forget about these fundamentals, leading to some horror garments!

This won’t be the last you’ll hear from the sewing handbook – I can’t wait to get cracking on the patterns!

Any other Colette Patterns fans in the house? Also, don’t forget – I’m still looking for 2011’s inspirational makes, as explained in this blog post here!

I hope you all had a great Christmas!

Sewing around the blogosphere

I’m currently working on some interview material which will be posted in due course, so I thought I’d pop up a quick post of my blog reading from the past few weeks! As you know, I love me some sewing blogs, and there’s been some lovely stuff going on around the blogosphere!

Coletterie, the blog for Colette Patterns blew my mind this week with some handy tips on gathering stitches. Small things eh… In all seriousness,  it’s a blog worth following for little tips like this.

Tilly and the Buttons has been busy, making a beautiful leaf patterned pencil skirt and also featuring the lovely Gertie of Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing, who has written a Day in the Life guest blog! Both these ladies are amazing, so do check both blogs out.

Ali over at The Wardrobe Reimagined successfully reverse-engineered a ready-to-wear garment, re-creating a blazer. You can read about her methods here, and about the finished garment here! Ali’s also touched upon the Occupy movement in her area in the second post, and how current events can link in with our wardrobe and the memories clothes bring to us. Worth a read and a comment, even if you don’t sew!

Last but not least is a lady you’ll be spotting on the blog pretty soon – Zoe made an amazing Nautical Diner Dress and posted about it this week. Lovely stuff, especially if you’re a fan of vintage patterns!