The Guilt of Selfish Sewing

July 31, 2015

My studio is in my home, and for the most part I love that I can go from life to work to life and back and forth as much as I need to. It can be challenging to set boundaries so I'm not working all day and night. And the reverse can happen too–it can be easy to be sucked into non-work things in the middle of the day since my trash and laundry and dishes are right there looking at me.

If I'm guilty of one direction or the other, it's that I end up working all day and all night, rather than the other way around. That's fine on occasion, but it's really a bad habit to get into all the time. What I find happening is that in the evenings, I don't sew for myself for pleasure. Don't get me wrong, I do sew for myself all the time, but rarely for pure pleasure.

My wardrobe is probably 90-95% handmade, but it's really not very diverse at all. I find that if I am going to sew in the evening after "work" hours, I feel tremendously guilty if it isn't work related sewing. I can't be the only sewing professional that feels this way, as I'm sure there's a bit of this in all of us, but this is a really bad habit that I'm trying actively to break.

Why do I have dozens of Shift Dresses from my book, or Emery Dresses, or whatever? Because it feels like it's somehow "okay" to sew these for myself because they are "work" related. And if I'm going to take the time to sew for myself that's not work related, I mostly focus on something quick and easy like the Laurel Dress or the Pearl Shift. Both patterns I love and live in all the time, but I really feel a sense of guilt when I spend time sewing things for myself when I "should" be sewing something for work.

The joy of vacation is breaking from your daily habits, and the hope is that when you return to your life you see the bad habits and actively try to change them, which is exactly what I'm doing right now. Since being home, I am clocking out of my work after dinner, and then returning to my studio to sew for me. Last week I made the Dottie Angel Frock from Simplicity (photos shot and coming to the blog next week!) and now I'm working on the Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files with some fabric I brought home from Paris (pictured above).

I'm hoping that this will result in a more diverse wardrobe and that I will actually use all these patterns I buy from my fellow designers! I buy them because I love them, but then I don't sew them up because somehow I get this guilty thing going on when I sew for pure pleasure. But no more I say!

Do you all feel this way too? I'm guessing many do, even if you don't sew for a living!

Announcing Upcoming Workshops at Fancy Tiger Crafts and Superbuzzy!

July 28, 2015

I am so excited to announce two upcoming in-person workshops!

Sylvie Dress

First up, I am so honored to return to the fabulous Fancy Tiger Crafts for another weekend workshop! Last time we made the Emery Dress, this time I'm coming to teach the new Sylvie Dress! Perfect for an advanced beginner or an intermediate sewer, this class will move quickly as we tackle the entire construction from start to finish in two days flat!

We'll cover darts, gathering, piping, bias finishing, invisible zipper, and so much more. Make either view, your choice!

Saturday and Sunday, September 12–13
10am–6pm with an hour lunch break
Limited to 10 students
Sign up directly at the Fancy Tiger Crafts site here 

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Shift Dress class from Craftcation Conference 2014

Next is an all-day Saturday class at the lovely Superbuzzy in Ventura, CA, where I will be teaching the Shift Dress project from my book Skirts & Dresses For First Time Sewers. Perfect for new sewers or those new to garment construction, with this project you will learn how to measure your body, selecting your size, sewing and finishing basic seams, as well as bias binding the neckline and finishing the sleeves with a gathered cuff.

All of this will wrap up in one day of 6-hour sewing, so you will arrive with raw materials, and leave with a finished dress!

Saturday, September 19
11am–6pm with an hour lunch break
Limited to 10 students
Sign up directly at the Superbuzzy site here

New Blog Coming!

July 23, 2015

After reading the 400+ surveys from you all (THANK YOU by the way!!!) I knew it was time to do a big change on the blog. This is something that I suspected for a while now, and reading all the comments from everyone just confirmed all my thoughts to be true.

Most of you want to read about pattern hacks, sewalongs, finished makes, and tutorials. Yep, me too. That's what I like reading on other's blogs too, so this was not a surprise to me.

I have always looked at my blog as a support site to my patterns, and have never considered myself a "blogger" per se. But I see that as I grow, I am actually not supporting all my patterns as well as I could.

So, I'm going to officially declare that I am going to Blog. Blog with a capital B. Blog for real. And with that comes all new everything! New site, new address, new new new!

I'm keeping the name of my blog the same, and will simply be moving from a blogspot address to its own domain. So City Stitching will now live at (can you believe that was still available?!) While you're thinking about it, go bookmark it, follow it on your favorite reader, etc. I promise more notice when the full changeover occurs, which hopefully will be very soon (and hopefully will go smoothly!!!).

Here's a preview of what you can expect to see on the new site:

  • Better workshop listings: My main site where I sell my patterns is so amazing at doing exactly that, but both on that site and on my blog it is clunky for me to code a proper workshop schedule as I'd like it to be. That part looks amazing on the new site- complete with maps to the locations, the ability to sync to your personal calendar, and just a clearer organization.
  • Clear tabs for finished makes: I love reading and seeing the finished makes on all the blogs I read, and it's really nice to have a clear spot to find that. Personally, I loathe it when the tab simply brings up a search of posts with that tag, giving you pages and pages to sort through. So on the new blog, there will be a pretty grid of images for you to click through to the post about that outfit. Easy peasy!
  • A sewalong tab: Much like the finished makes issue, the same change will happen with the sewalong posts I've written. There is a drop down menu for you to pick the garment, and that will lead you to an easy to navigate grid of images to click through to each post. Love it!
  • More professional and clean look: I think blogger is great and all, but I am excited to move to a clean site that is less busy. I have trouble with clutter, both in my real home and my virtual one too!
  • A tutorials tab: Just like with the sewalong and finished makes, tutorials will get their own tab too, so you can find what you're looking for in a pretty way. 
  • More everything: With this change, I will be beefing up everything. More posts, more tutorials, more finished makes, and more more more! For someone who wears about 95% handmade, that surely isn't reflected on my blog. So I will be posting a lot more of what I'm sewing too.
  • Easier and prettier: This doesn't effect you necessarily, but I can say that the new site lets me do things in a prettier and easier way. Blogger really fights you with image formatting and such, and I'm so happy with the new software and how easy it is for me to make everything look beautiful. 
  • All the data: And of course, on the new site I will share all the data received from the surveys and a lot of discussion that will come with that. There's so much to talk about, that I want to roll it out a bit at a time. 

Thanks again to everyone for all the support and input on the surveys and beyond. Without all of you, my business is nothing! Seriously, I want to make sure to always stay clear with my own vision, but it is important for me to know what you all want too.

Big hugs!

Survey Giveaway Winner!

July 14, 2015

Thank you so much to all of you that filled out the survey about my sewing patterns! The data is incredibly helpful and I will be sharing all of it over the next few weeks. There's a lot to sort, discuss, and graphs and charts to make! But of course, some of you also entered the giveaway!

So without further ado, the winner is entry #74, which belongs to tine.vp(at)xxx(dot)com who chose the Sylvie Dress PDF pattern as their prize! Yay!

This entry didn't fill in their full name, and I'm not comfortable publishing their full email on the web, but if this is your email above, you've been contacted via this email, so be sure to write me back ASAP to claim your prize!

Stay tuned for loads of discussion on all the survey data and where this will all lead me in the future! Thanks again!

Tell Me Your Thoughts and I'll Give You Anything From My Shop!

June 30, 2015


Each year when I take these long holidays like I'm on at the moment, I spend a lot of time quietly thinking about my business, patterns, and blog. I really try to honestly assess what has worked in the last year, what hasn't worked so much, and where things are going.

Up to this point, I've been a total one-woman business, and that's okay, except for one small detail–I will only grow so much as a company if I do it all myself. I know this is my limitation at the moment, and it just might be time to grow a bit more, so I can work slightly more tolerable hours, get slightly more sleep each night, and provide you all with better blog content and more patterns.

In considering growing, I really want to know what you think about how things are going too! As I sit here pondering the past and future, I can only think about it from my own personal perspective, but I really want to know what it's like from your point of view! So with that in mind, I have created a questionnaire where you give me your two cents! (Don't you love giving your opinions? I do! I love filling out forms!!! No, seriously, I really do.)

As incentive for spending your quality time telling me what you think, I will choose an entry at random, and that winning entry can take any item they want from my website–book or pattern–as a thank you from me!

All the questions in the form are optional, and unless you choose to give me your information at the end to enter the giveaway, the form will be submitted to me anonymously, so don't hold back! And after you are all done telling me what you think, I'll share all the data in as many fun charts & graphs as I can get my hands on!

The giveaway is open to anyone anywhere, and all the usual jazz applies–no purchase necessary to win, one entry per person only–and it's open until Monday, July 13, 2015. Okay, honestly, give me what you got and tell me what you think! And THANK YOU!!!

*One Edit: The question regarding the location of a sewing conference/event are only listed for the US, as that is where I live. I'm not planning a conference necessarily, but if I were, it would be in the US and not out of the country. Thanks!