Hello friends! I had to take a break from posting our community series last week as I caught a nasty cold (don’t worry, it’s not COVID I had a test ;) ) – but I’m back this week and so excited to introduce you to my lovely friend Eleanor! I met Eleanor a few years ago at the first Perth Frocktails hosted by Nat of Sew For Life and since then have loved getting to know her more. I would describe her as pure joy – you can probably tell from these photos but she is an incredibly funny, witty and entertaining person and I think it would be impossible to spend time in her company without walking away smiling. I love her attitude to sewing – prioritising enjoyment of the make over torturing yourself over details. For our community shoot Eleanor decided to make a pair of Dawn jeans in black ex Levi’s denim from our studio and Sudley cropped blouse in striped linen from our studio. I love a good monochrome outfit and this one is absolutely chic!
We asked Eleanor a million questions about her sewing journey and I really hope you enjoy reading all of her answers!
What did you choose to sew for this project?
I chose to sew some Dawn jeans, and a Sudley top. I had made some Dawns last winter and found them to be such a great fit and although I was tempted to make a dress (my go to sewing garment!) I knew I would get a tonne of wear from Dawns and a top. I chose some beautiful black denim and some lovely stripe linen. Both are going to wear beautifully I think and will get better with age (like me :))
Did you have any challenges while sewing/did anything go wrong?
As I am a lazy sewist I skipped rivets and contrast top stitching on my Dawns, that way they are a reasonably straight forward sew. Generally I’m not much of am instruction reader but jeans are one time I need to actually pay attention to them! The Sudley top was nice and easy and the neckline is finished beautifully, I’m looking forward to making a dress version.
What do you love about your new outfit?
I love both parts of my new outfit, in fact I already have another pair of Dawns cut out and some rayon for a Sudley dress!
When did you start sewing?
I started sewing when I was pregnant with my third child, who has just turned 12! My mum is a sewer so I had a very vague idea of how to use a machine and probably a little too much confidence! The internet was my main resource as well as my mum and mother in law, who also sews. Now it is one of the main topics of conversation when I see my mum, and a visit always ends with a show and tell of what we have been working on.
Who do you mostly sew for?
Me! Me! Me! I started out with basics , did a lot of patchwork, kids toys, kids clothes, accessories but now it is primarily apparel for moi! The thing I sew the most is without a doubt dresses, but I have also discovered a new love for coats/outerwear. It’s just a shame our coat season is only about 4 weeks long!!
What do love about sewing?
I love that sewing has changed how I see myself. This year I have worn a bikini (*mind blown*) and I seem to be developing more confidence as the years go by. Overalls? Yes please. Jumpsuits? Why not! Its quicker for me to make something to wear than it is to go shopping for it, and avoiding change rooms is a definite upside!
What in sewing makes you want to burn everything and crawl under your table to cry?
I’m a corner cutter, and I love to speed sew so fiddly things like bias bound armholes and things like that are not part of my happy place!
If you could be someone’s fairy sewing mother, what gift of knowledge/skill would you bestow upon them?
Keep going, you get better.. Don’t feel disheartened if things don’t fit right straight away. And PLEASE, press your seams!
What’s been the best piece of sewing advice you’ve been given? Who gave it to you?
I can’t think of any specific advice but I do remember lots of encouragement from my mum, even when Im sure she wanted to show me all the things id done wrong, she didn’t.
What’s been an important lesson you’ve learnt while sewing that’s stuck with you?
Read the instructions. No really, read them..properly
What has been your crowning sewing moment/creation/achievement to date?
I have so many things that I really enjoyed but a couple are a dress I made for my 40th birthday and a denim trench coat I made last year.
What has been your biggest sewing failure to date?
Fails? Too many to count!
How do you interact with your fellow sewers?
Instagram is my jam! I get such a huge amount of inspiration from all the accounts I follow, and its such a good way to connect with other sewists. I don’t attend sewing groups as my life is a little hectic but I do love to attend the once a year frocktails.
How did you start getting involved in the sewing community?
Instagram is where it all began for me, and the Perth Sewcials. I dont have time to attend a sewing group but maybe one day I will!
How would you recommend new sewers get involved in the community?
Instagram is a great way to find people in your area. For example, I am from Perth and there is a #perthsews hashtag . Getting in contact with your local sewing guild is good too, if you want to meet people IRL.
What’s your favourite thing about having sewing friends?
I count a lot of people on Instagram as sewing friends , especially all the people on the community shoot! Everyone is always ready and willing to share info, is that pattern good? Does it fit well or should I size down? Everyone is always so encouraging and if I’m ever stuck its always worth putting out a question. There is nearly always someone that can help.
I really hope you enjoyed meeting Eleanor! You can find her on Instagram @shesewsalot
See you next week for the next Community Project Feature!!