Living our lives in Self-isolation is a transformational and strange scenario for all of us. We have time to spend time operating in a state of limbo. As individuals, or families, we must rely on others to support us, to enthuse and inspire us, to lift us. Self isolation has also prompted me to think about what I am grateful for, what is unnecessary and what feels good. Vlogging this didn’t feel quite right, and sometimes we can communicate much better our thoughts by revisiting the blog, our digital journal.
These are the things that feel good to me: eating well, connecting virtually with my loved ones, sewing, natural light and movement – that’s it… all I need! When I wanted sewing supplies and some emergency food rations who was there to help – my local sewing friend and shop owner Lizzy. When I felt down, my sewing bestie Kelly was there to lift me up. When I wanted to socialise at the weekend @almondrocksews organises a wonderful (and challenging) Instagram live sewing quiz.
My chief sewing activities have involved pattern cutting, preparing fabric, sewing darts inserting button holes. I haven’t much patience for finishing challenging projects, as there’s a feeling of distraction and a little unease sitting just below the surface. One thing is for certain, we will all adjust to the new ‘normal’ – us sewists’ are nothing if not adaptable!
Contributing to the #bigcommunitysew by making face coverings for my family, friends and neighbours is providing a sense of making a real, positive contribution and I suppose, a partial sense of control over the situation. And I have discovered how enjoyable and beneficial virtual sewing with friends can be.
I hope we come out of this more practiced, but not just in our sewing ability. By knowing for certain what we really value, with a true appreciation between us of what it is to be a human whose soul is fed, in strange and difficult times, by their needle and thread.
In the meantime my colourful sewing space is an oasis of calm, that brings me so much joy!
Sending peace and Love, Emma xo
My first Sewing Space virtual tour is now available on the Shelovestomake YouTube channel here
This month’s post is a review of my visit to Paris for the #ParisSewcial #ParisCoud meet up organised by the amazing Charlotte Powell @englishgirlathome and Carmen Bouchard @carmencitablog. The weekend was nothing short of a sewist’s dream, picturesque iconic locations, a plethora of fabric boutiques and a huge group of interesting creatives from across the world. We also had the opportunity to visit the Musee YSL Paris @museeyslparis to see the historic collections and studio’s of one of the most significant designers in fashion history. Alongside great food and some lively entertainment, we had a fantastic time and I have met some dynamic and fun loving fellow makers, who I hope to keep in touch with for years to come. I am still buzzing from the experience!
We met at the landmark Sacre-Coeur for introductions and group photographs. Day one was primarily spent getting to know each other, showrooming each others makes and browsing a jaw-dropping range of fabrics available in the fabric stores in the surrounding area. Most of the stores we visited are located in the 18th arrondisement, including Sacre-Coupons and Tissu’s Reine. I noticed some of the fabrics for sale where used to sew the dresses and jumpsuits starring in the windows of the boutiques we passed.
‘Me Made May’ 2019 was the perfect time for our visit, we could all wear our favourite makes and get a sense of the gaps in our wardrobes to prepare for the extensive fabric purchasing; and of course, let loose a little and buy some fabrics which made our heart’s flutter! The fabric selection was overwhelming to begin with, and most shops in Paris sell their fabrics in 3 metre lengths only, which was both dangerous and offers many more pattern options. I wore my feather print Ogden Cami with my denim skirt, (upcycled from a pair of flared jeans) and we took some Paris Street Style photos to keep as a memento of the visit. I also enjoyed many fruit tarts, fresh pastries and some delicious Gelato.
We began our shopping day passing a gorgeous French button shop, sadly it wasn’t open that day but I took some pictures to share with you…
My first purchase was made at Tissu’s Reine, whose huge range of fabrics and superbly organised fabric tables really blew me away – Fabric + Marie Kondo levels of organisation and a traditional department store service (what’s not to love!?). You can check out their Instagram account (linked above) for images of the store. I also made two purchases – an Ogden Cami sized piece of emerald green rayon in a tropical print, and a cotton/viscose mix – at Sacre Coupons in a teal colour with a subtle stripe. I have plans to sew a dress with the latter, probably strappy (a Seamwork Catarina perhaps?!) but I’ve yet to decide on a pattern. My next stop was dp studio @dpstudios_fashion who coincidentally were holding an ex-designer fabrics table top sale in their tiny studio space. DP design haute-couture patterns, and some of the group bought sewing patterns to take away with them. I bought some pleated taupe silk fabric for 5 Euro per metre in a gorgeous taupe colour to make an elegant maxi skirt. I’ll insert an image of my haul and the stores below.
The next stop on my visit was the wonderfully named ‘Make My Lemonade‘ (inspired by Beyonce’s Lemonade perhaps?) I found the shop on a mini-tour with the very chic Jo @beglett, a UK sewist living and working in Paris (do take a look at her Instagram, I love her jumpsuits and fabric choices!). Make My Lemonade sell ready to wear clothing with a vintage feel, they are a lifestyle boutique and a sewing pattern house combined which is incredibly cool. There were a team personalising their leather goods and giving make up tutorials to customers. Make My Lemonade also sell a small collection of cotton print fabrics, and the printed designs are very much in keeping with their aesthetic. I bought the Chiara dress pattern, as I need cooler day dresses with a full skirt in my wardrobe for the summer.
At the end of Day One we celebrated with a meal at Ma Pomme en Colimacon, check out my Instagram feed for photos on route to the restaurant featuring my Fox Print Crepe Dress at Anvers Metro station, photos kindly taken by the incredible Bola @mizmichael
Day two was our opportunity to eat brunch together at Berts café close the Eiffel tower, and to visit the exciting Musee Yves Saint Laurent Paris. I took so many photos – below is an edit of my highlights from the exhibition. There was so much to see, from swatches to sketches, fashion photography to breath-taking lighting installations. The cherry on the cake for me was visiting the Yves Saint Laurent studio and having my picture taken there. I was so excited to see the boards and materials on display, and I have been inspired to take some of those ideas to enhance my own sewing space!
YSL designs realised
Luxury fabrics and materials
Me Made May outfit two: Deer and Doe Plantain tee and @tillybuttons Cleo dungaree dress
Showing off my sewing badge collection…
Our street photography journey continued toward the Eiffel tower with fresh crepes and later some Gelato! I also discovered a giant, colourful living wall with @mizmichael.
I was lucky enough to have another night in Paris at the end of day two, and spent a morning with Sarah @sarahtravelsto shopping for haberdashery and drinking tea in the cafes around the Sacre-Coeur. I found some gorgeous buttons and patches at Mercerie Saint-Pierre, as promised here’s a picture of my haul for the weekend – which includes a gift of some gold fabric and a copy of the Dutch pattern book Veritas from Sarah, with some beautiful designs – I hope to make at least one this year with the help of Google translate and virtual help from my new bi-lingual sewing friends!
Finally, if you haven’t already do check out the Instagram hashtag #ParisSewcial to find posts and content from the very talented: @carmencitablog, @englishgirlathome, @selfassemblyrequired, @kara22jay, @dibsandthemachine, @susanyoungsewing, @mizmichael, @joostdecock and @annekecaramin.
If you haven’t yet signed up for a sewing meet up and you are on the fence I would recommend going for it, this trip really was so much fun and I am glad I took the leap!