Baby steps back to blogging…and another flipped pea coat

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the HedgerowHave you ever had a friend move away – a very dear and close friend who you were sure you’d always keep in touch with?  And then, as time passed, maintaining that level of contact became more difficult.  And then, the longer you left it to send that email/make that phone call/post that letter, the harder it became.  Each passing day was filled with more news that needed to be relayed which meant the email/call/letter needed to be even longer and in-depth.

But she’s was good friend – a great one, in fact – and you didn’t want to let the friendship go so, at some point, you just had to take the plunge.  And even if it wasn’t as complete and thorough as you would have liked, at least it was contact and at least you knew you aren’t going to lose this friend forever.

It turns out that, for me, this ‘friend’ is my blog.  I never intended to step away from blogging and I most certainly didn’t intend to take a break from sewing.  But, for various reasons that is exactly what happened.  Almost daily I have tried to jump back into the blogging world, but then another day passes making the whole process of re-insertion fractionally more difficult.

This post has been a long time coming – the culmination of thoughts, ideas, motivations – sprinkled with some deeper soul-searching, complete with the realisation of my somewhat difficult and contradictory relationship with social media (which could easily be the subject of another post entirely).

My unplanned path down the road to a blogging break

When I posted about my flipped Pea Coat back in November, I didn’t know it would be my last post for 4 months!!  (My jaw still drops when I write that!).  It’s only now, with enough space for reflection that I can really understand why this happened.  This is sort of the path I went down…

  • As some of you already know, my family and I moved from Belgium to the UK last summer.  Since then my entire life-style changed – moving from city to country, getting a dog, more commitments with kids’ schooling, trying to make friends and integrate in a new country, etc.  These changes meant that my normal ‘routine’ of sewing, photographing and blogging was dramatically disturbed.  Not necessarily in a bad way mind you…
  • This reshuffle shook things up enough that some interests other than sewing started to resurface (yup, I have interests other than sewing – shocking, I know!).  I found myself filling my free time with long walks, enjoying our local forests, getting back into an exercise routine, reading books, and cooking up meals with all our local produce.  I even tried crocheting a hot water bottle cover (which I never finished).  It’s not that I consciously didn’t want to sew – it was just that other things were taking priority in a way that they hadn’t since I started this blog in February 2012.  And it felt good!!
  • Well, it felt good for a while.  Once I decided to try to get back on track I made the mistake of checking back in with the online sewing community.  I say ‘mistake’ because what I found there was more pace, passion, commitment, energy and general lightning speed creations that I felt that I could cope with.  This, in turn, lead to a bit of a crisis in confidence culminating in a state of not believing my own sewing hype.  And this is a dangerous place to be as a blogger!!
  • Once you lose a bit of the love for the work you create, it becomes almost impossible (for me at least) to shout from the rooftops social media outlets, telling everyone to come have a look.  And isn’t that what having a sewing blog is all about – sharing your sewing?!
  • So I spent a long time not knowing how to proceed – I was in a state of limbo – not contributing to my blog but not wanting to let it go either.

Regaining focus

So how does one exit this drifting state of blogger/non-blogger, sewist/non-sewist?  It turns out that the answer was simple!  To make me feel like I was back in the game, I realised that all I needed to do was to start sewing again!!  Sew something, sew anything, just sew!  For about two months I spent time in my sewing studio just milling around being a bit pathetic.  I would pick up a pattern here, some fabric there, contemplate making something, decide the pattern/fabric wasn’t right and then move on to something else.  Or I would convince myself that I just didn’t have enough time or energy (I used to think nothing of starting a sewing project at 10pm but now I was wanting to curl up in bed with my book).  I made a few gifts along the way but nothing that I would consider serious sewing.  I even made napkins; yup, napkins – and two sides were already hemmed!  Nothing says ‘sewing funk’ like some straight line stitching (although I do love the napkins!).

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

And then a couple of weeks ago I got entirely fed up with myself!  I sat down and made lots of lists and resolutions (sewing and otherwise) and generally gave myself the proverbial kick up the backside that I needed.  Since then I’ve made this coat, a skater dress, some new baby bunting, a spring skirt for me, a Liberty and linen dress for Margot, and a Named batwing shirt.  And, now, I think I can safely say that the doubtful sewing demons have been banished! *poof* And since I now, again, believe my own hype, blog posts on all these outstanding creations will be coming soon 😉 .

Moving in the right direction

It would be a shame to let all this time spent self-reflecting go to waste so I have used this period of uncertainty to figure out what it is I want from my sewing and blogging going forward.  I’m hoping these will make me a happier and better blogger.

  • My biggest motivations for blogging have always been to make connections with other like-minded sewists and to create further opportunities in this field.  I have always seen blogging as a journey as opposed to a destination and, in this respect, nothing has changed since day one.
  • I have learned that I’m not as single-minded about sewing and blogging as I thought I was!!  Shock!  Horror!  This is the realisation that surprised me the most.  It is not to say that I enjoy sewing any less than I did before, it’s just that I’m not willing to make it my entire life.  I feel happier and more well-rounded when I’m also pursuing my other interests.  Perhaps this will be a detriment to my long-term blogging goals but if a happy blogger = a good blogger then this is the way it has to be.
  • The lightning pace of blogging – particularly in the sewing/DIY genre – is something that’s always jarred with my approach to sewing.  I want to take my time over a project.  I want to hand-finish that hem even though it would delay the blog post; I want to take time to learn a new skill properly, not just a quick-fix to get the thing done; I want to share projects that inspire a true desire to sew, not just slap something together for the nearest holiday season.
  • Leading on from this, I want to make 2015 the year that I increase my core sewing skills.  I want to push myself to master new techniques which will open up new possibilities in my sewing.  It’s my hope I can share some of these with you.
  • Finally, I want my sewing and blogging to be a reflection of my dedication to sustainable fashion.  With Fashion Revolution Day quickly approaching, I think we could all spare a thought for those who make our ready-to-wear clothes in factories all over the world – many of which with far few worker’s rights than we would accept.

So, dear friends, I am sorry I have been out of touch but now at least I hope you see the reasons why.  I promise I won’t let it drift so long again.

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Now!  Enough introspection – let’s get on to the sewing!!

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

Today I’m sharing a new coat I made for the littlest member of our family.  Aptly enough, the starting point for this coat is the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat – the same pattern I flipped in my previous post waaaaaay back in November (yikes!)

This pattern is a perfect starting point for lots of personalisation.  Sewing outerwear is great as it makes such a big impact.  This one’s a double-win because it’s also easy to sew.  For this version I played it much closer to the printed pattern than I did the first time round.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

Here’s the nitty-gritty:

  • I made size 4 for my 5-year-old.  It came up a bit wider and shorter than I imagined but he wears it happily so this isn’t really a complaint.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I changed up the method of closing.  This came about because when he tried it on (minus the buttonholes) it naturally came together like this and I liked it!  Plus, it meant far fewer buttonholes to be sewn – which is always a good thing on thick fabric like this.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • The exterior fabric is wool (the green – left over from Christmas stockings a few years ago) and boiled wool (the sleeves and pockets – left over from this Oliver+s cape).
  • The interior fabric is a light-weight quilted cotton for the sleeves and faux sheep skin for the rest.
  • I added patch pockets – lined with the same striped orange ribbing as the cuffs.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • In a similar fashion to my previous version, I added wrist cuffs with thumb holes.
  • The buttons are actually pebbles that have been drilled to make them into buttons (courtesy of my jeweller mother, Molly Sharp!).

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the HedgerowThis is a really useful coat that didn’t take an eternity to make.  Of course Spring is nearly upon us and I suppose most of you are turning your sewing efforts to warmer weather makes but it’s worth book-marking this pattern to bring out when you’re looking for something warm and cozy for your little one.

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Whew – this post has been such a long time coming that it feels great to finally have it out there.  Thanks for sticking with me until the end – I promise there will be more sewing and less self-analysis in the future!!

As a sewist and/or a blogger, have you ever encountered any of these stumbling blocks on your journey?  I’d love to hear.

As ever, thanks for reading,

Laura x

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

33 thoughts on “Baby steps back to blogging…and another flipped pea coat

  1. Renee

    Hey Laura, so glad to read this post and glad to know I’m not alone in my blogging funk! I’m not sure of it all and feel like a prize idiot taking photos of myself all of a sudden… So glad you’re back though as I love reading your stuff 🙂 that is one cute coat!!

    Reply
  2. Kylie

    Phew, I was beginning to worry I’d been kicked off your subscription list! To sit alongside your renewed vision/motivation for blogging, perhaps you’d like to hear why I read your blog (over the many hundred other sewing blogs that seem to be out there)?
    1. You strike me as someone I’d talk to at the childcare/school gate and hope our kids would play together so we could chat about sewing (among other things) and you could help me with my invisible zips.
    2. You don’t seem to pump out 3 garments a week. I find that all a bit frightening and not at all helpful in terms of working out how to combine sewing and knitting with all the other parts of life. Not all kids are able to sleep through the sound of a sewing machine running around the clock! Plus a book and bed at 10pm sounds much more reasonable to me, too.
    3. You’ve thought about WHY you want to do more of your own sewing, without suggesting that your readers have failed because they don’t make their own/their kid’s own underwear.
    4. You admit mistakes and how difficult some tasks can be – because we are all learning out here!
    5. You have fun with fabrics and patterns but your kids still look like kids who are allowed to get dirty and have fun in their clothes.

    It’s good to see you back here 🙂

    Reply
  3. Monica

    Awww, hi friend! I missed your sewing, but I agree with all your words (words…I love the words!). Love the coat and love that little red-head of yours…so much cute.

    Reply
  4. rillafree

    Nice to see you’re back! I love reading your posts, but don’t write to anyone’s schedule other than your own. Blogs should be organic and flexible to suit what’s going on in your life, so if you write a post every 4 months then that’s fine, I shall still come and read it. If you write a post every week then I shall come and read that too, just be happy. Glad to hear that you’re settling into your new home! X

    Reply
  5. Pauline

    Don’t beat yourself up – moving is a very stressful process and you need to take time to get your family settled in your new place. Some of the blogs I follow call themselves “Slow bloggers”, because (I think) they want to take their time over projects and do them properly, which I think is great. I say, go the pace you feel is right for you and enjoy!
    I love your son’s coat! It is rugged and masculine as well as cosy and warm. I wish I had a little one to make it for (mine are all grown up).
    Love from Pauline (in Rutland)

    Reply
  6. Lorna

    Hello! So lovely to have you back, you’ve been very much missed! Who can blame you for taking a break? Life just gets in the way sometimes. I think a blog just adds extra pressure, too.

    I can really identify with the sewing issues. I love sewing, but I’m fairly new to it, and am just not good at it. I’ve got two half finished skirts on the go, both with fitting issues (with only 2″ difference between my waist and hips, everything has fitting issues!), and I can’t seem to find the will to fix them. Instead, I procrastinate, which is ridiculous, considering sewing is a hobby I love, and I desperately need new clothes! It’s just disheartening when things don’t work out, and fabric is so expensive. You have inspired me – I’m off to see what I can do to fix those skirts. After I’ve done the dishes, that is!

    Reply
  7. Nienke @ Pienkel

    So good that you’re back Laura! Cute coat and adorable kid in it 😉
    I can soooo relate to your feelings on blogging, sewing and life… On the one side my list of ideas, projects and skills to learn is endless, on the other side I’m sometimes afraid to overdo the sewing and blogging, thus spending too little time on the other important things in life and lastly but definitely not least, the blogging world is friendly and inspiring, but can also add pressure (at least for me) to keep up with the Joneses. However, my positive feelings towards sewing and blogging usually by far outnumber my concerns, but they are here nevertheless. Love your resolutions, especially the one on sustainability and fair clothing & looking forward to talking in person about all these thoughts!

    Reply
  8. Jennifer Hill

    Hello! Lovely to ‘hear’ from you again, as I thoroughly enjoy your blog. You do sound very apologetic though, and really there is no need to be! It’s YOUR blog and however you feel about it you are entitled to post as frequently or otherwise as you wish and that’s fine; we’ll still be here! I sense a certain blogging competitiveness (?), but surely life comes first and a blog is a reflection of that life, whichever aspect of it one wishes to write about. Hand finish that hem and sod the timescale! Sew what, when and how you want and if you write about it I for one would love to read about it; your style, your process, your makes. That’s what makes blogs individual and interesting. I’m a relative sewing newbie and plan to start my own blog, but will be very wary of jumping on the various bandwagons I see speeding round! Thanks for your lovely blog! Jen

    Reply
  9. lovelucie1

    What an absolutely fabulous jacket to come charging back onto the blogging scene with. Your little boy is absolutely adorable in it. Are you sure modelling is not his full time job?

    Reply
  10. Emily C.

    Hi! It’s good to hear (er… read?) from you.

    I don’t know anyone who sews. So I get all my sewing social life from bloggers/instagram/Flickr. I love to hear what others are sewing, what works and doesn’t. It doesn’t all have to be a show-stopper. Anyway, I am always inspired by your sewing. And I really appreciate sewers who take the time to photograph and blog about their projects. It helps me be a better sewist.

    Looking forward to reading about the rest of your projects!

    Reply
  11. Nini~

    I keep saying I’ve fallen out of love with quilting. I love sewing, but quilting not so much. I am at a crossroads not sure where I belong in the blogging/sewing world. I’ve decided I’m a maker. I will discuss what I’m making now. No apologies for it not being about quilting or sewing, it’s what I feel the need to make, if it’s not what you like, no worries, move along. I have to do what is speaking to my heart.

    Reply
  12. smseattle

    Great post, Laura! Congratulations on getting back into sewing and blogging! Not everyone who has a crisis of confidence manages to overcome it. Your description of your struggle is inspirational! And I just love the coat. Your son is an excellent model, too. All around, a big win!

    Reply
  13. dottiedoodle

    Welcome back! And I love the coat. I think you’ve got to enjoy blogging to do it – it’s a lot of work. I took a couple of months off last year and felt much more inspired when I returned. I also blog about things other than sewing now, so I can take my time and finish garments properly.

    Reply
  14. Laura

    I had exactly the same problem last year Laura. Completely fell out of love with blogging and sewing due to other life stuff and feeling generally rubbish. When I started blogging/ sewing I never thought I’d feel that way! It was my hobby after all and I enjoyed it so much. I also completely lost all interest in social media…hiding away in my misery hole I suppose. Now I’m back and have decided also to take my time with sewing, not rushing out project after project for the sake of blogging it. Also want to get those skills sharpened, especially fitting! Good luck and enjoy x

    Reply
  15. TamsinW-P

    I hope you are settling into your new life in the UK. Big changes do tend to have a knock-on effect and direct attention to other areas of life! Good to see you back in blogland though. I have been struggling with sewing and blogging recently. Your description of you trying to sew made me smile – that is exactly what I have been like recently. I had a massive tidy up, have just washed some new fabric and am beginning to feel the sewing itch again…. we’ll see about the blog!

    Reply
  16. katemcivor

    Welcome back! I’ve been having the same feelings, but I am on my way back to sewing and blogging as well. 🙂

    Reply
  17. Jessica

    Welcome back! My favourite blogs are by people who are basically keeping an online journal (albeit one that acknowledges a public readership) rather than ones that are run like a magazine, with programming and schedules. I’m loving sewing, and trying to improve my skills, and I so appreciate people who take the time to share their projects with all of us. (Myself: blogless and not even capable of posting on patternreview–yet!) I hope you post what you want, when you want, and thanks! (And that boy: THE most adorable!!)

    Reply
  18. Chris

    How very nice to have you back on your blog! And glad to hear that your time away was for such positive reasons (I’m just a worrier, whenever someone with small kids does something out of the norm for them I worry it might be because there is something wrong with the kids…)
    That coat look so comfy! I bet your son loves it!

    Reply
  19. hungie gungie

    First of all, that is one adorable child! Love the coat. I too, have all of these feelings- the pace is what gets me the most. The fact that people just whip out clothes for their kids all the time is a little jarring. And then they take gorgeous photos that I could never compete with! I went through some sewing blog soul-searching a year ago and sort of made a deal with myself to only make the things I want to make. To try and feel the inspiration from my gut more instead of feeling influenced by others. I’m a lot happier making whatever the hell I feel like making, when I want to make it. Phew. Long comment. 🙂

    Reply
  20. Emma

    Laura, it’s good to see you back again. I identify wholeheartedly with everything you say in this post as I struggle with the same issues as you. My life often feels like a circus act as I try to keep dozens of plates spinning, without letting any fall. I too try to find the time every week to sew, take walks, cook good meals, knit, jog, do yoga and spend time with my family. Sometimes I go gung-ho on one pastime, neglecting my other hobbies and interests, and then I feel guilty and try to redress the balance by focusing on another. And when I get the balance just right, for some reason I never manage to sustain it…

    I’ve been in a sewing rut over the past couple of months after making a couple of garments that didn’t quite fit, and have felt so overwhelmed by the amount I have to learn before I can be the sewist I want to be. Yet I also know that if I don’t practice, I won’t achieve anything. So I decided to make a peg bag. And that’s what is on my sewing table right now. I began sewing with the goal of creating an entirely handmade wardrobe. Now I’m focusing less on the outcome and more on gradually developing my skills and building my confidence in 2015. The fully handmade wardrobe can wait a bit…

    Reply
  21. Samgoose

    Hi Laura, I think I discovered your blog shortly before you stopped posting, but this post came up on my feed so I read it all the way to the end (!) which wasn’t hard at all by the way, it was a really engaging post. I totally empathise with what you’ve said. When you’re really into blogging and you see the speed at which other bloggers churn projects out, you just become self deprecating and feel like you’re not as good as other people. Or I find I often think, “I could do that too, I just don’t have the time”. You are a far more talented and experienced sewer than I am anyway, and I can’t believe how many projects you said you’d finished in the last couple of weeks. We definitely have to just be happy with when we ourselves are able to do at any given moment in our lives. I find it so hard at the moment to motivate myself to do anything creative at all in the evenings, and have felt like that for the last few months. My blog is definitely languishing. So I just keep up with the blogs I follow, knowing that the motivation will return eventually.
    Keep it up now you’ve got back into it 🙂
    X Sam

    Reply
  22. Elizabeth

    I’m so glad you’re back! I’ve missed your creations! And the coat (and your son’s expressions!) are perfect! I’m having trouble getting motivated to blog. Getting decent pictures is tough and writing up posts takes a lot of time. Butting I’m steadily plugging away at projects and hope to share some of them here and there as I feel inspired.

    Reply
  23. justine

    First off, I love the coat with the fleece!:and your little guy is adorable! And thank you for this post. I think a lot of bloggers, me included, want to live a more balanced life with a healthier approach to blogging.

    Reply
  24. Margery

    Whew! I’m glad to see you are back and that all is well. I thought I might have to call your mom and and make sure you were ok!

    Thanks for being so candid about your blogging hiatus. It sounds like you needed that change of pace. Truly, taking that first step into something, or back into something, can be the greatest challenge. I kinda lost my sewing mojo after Christmas; I sewed a lot in November, the holidays were busy, the studio was cold, everything was a mess, blah, blah, blah. To top it all off, my daughter jumped two sizes since the fall and all the patterns I had traced off were too small.

    I’m back at my machine now, fulfilling a promise to make some waxed canvas tool pouches for my husband (you can see them soon at Mudtools.com) As soon as these are finished I will jump back into garments for myself and Wren. And, I have plans to do some screen printing on fabric….. that mojo might be back!
    As for writing a blog, I really admire you and others who are able to do so. It takes a LOT OF TIME!

    (And is it just me, or does your little guy look a LOT like your mom?)

    Reply
  25. Sara C.

    Glad to see you back Laura! I’ve kept an eye out for your posts, hoping to know what you’ve been up to. Looking forward to seeing what you’ve been working on 🙂

    Reply
  26. elephantinthestudy

    Hi Laura, I am a long time follower of your lovely blog and in total admiration of everything you make (including this fantastic coat), and I hear you loud and clear. Sometimes, I too just fall of the radar–never sure why, but when I look back it is usually the same reason over and over again. The more I don’t write the harder it becomes to come back, and get in this mode of –“hey, see what I have made!” But the more one writes, the more one wants to write (isn’t that true of almost everything?) and feel connected to this wonderful community that both you and I share a passion with.
    Your thoughts meant a lot to me; you have put them out there in beautiful words, with a lot of truth and good humour in them. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  27. thewhistlingkettle

    What a great return post! Glad you’re back. I’ve just restarted my blog after an almost two year break, so you’ve done well! Really looking forward to what you have in store for us.
    Denyse

    Reply
  28. Ashley (@twynmawrmom)

    Boo! I demand more introspection. The further you go down that rabbit hole, the more company you will find 😉 I’m stuck so often it’s the only thing consistent about me.
    I WISH my kids would wear that adorable coat!!

    Reply
  29. Fiona

    I understand! We mada a huge international move, and it was so difficult to keep blogging during the transition. I also feel the pressure to just make something, anything, when I read some sewing blogs, and I appreciate your introspective thoughts about taking your time. That said, I love the coat you made for your little guy, and that sweet little face!

    Reply
  30. naehconnection

    I just realised that I haven’t actually commented on this post. I read it on the phone and I just hate to write comments on the phone…
    Anyways, I’m so glad that you’re back. Try to not put pressure on yourself! Just do what you want to do and creativity comes back on its own. I can’t wait to see what you’ll be up to in the future as your creations are always so special, unique and cool.
    Btw: I just love your son’s hair and glasses! Wonderful!

    Reply

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