My Manifesto For Happiness – Monochrome Style

Striped Coco ii Collage

Photographing this today was ALL the fun, but you should visit my Instagram account to see the full details. I had quite the little helper…

Tate Modern Collage

This may be turning into Monochrome Month at Didyoumakethat Towers. Also, the month of fun. I loved working with this ponte from Fabric Godmother. Can’t recommend it enough. It’s stable, cosy and just the right side of structural to work well with the Coco pattern. Go buy some! Two metres will give you a dress.

I’ve been blogging for five years now. Can you believe it? I can’t! It’s amazing how evocative a blog becomes as an online diary. Marie touched on this recently, when she looked back at blog photos that – for her – spoke of aching misery. I’ve had similair experiences. I still wince to remember blog posts that saw me putting on a brave face, almost literally wiping away tears before I presented myself to the world. When my Apronalong went live, I’d just split up from my boyfriend. I was baking fairy cakes in an empty house.

Today I had the sense to recognise that my latest photos marked a small turning point in my life. Laughing, walking in the sunshine, muscles relaxing. I’m happy. Really happy. Again. Hello happiness, I remember you.

We must take our happiness where we find it. The rest of the time, we sew. And then? Then, we never take life for granted again. Blogging has taught me that. Phewee! Who ever said this shallow gig was just about the pretty dresses? Some fool who underestimated the extreme power of clothes.

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34 Responses to My Manifesto For Happiness – Monochrome Style

  1. karen says:

    Wow. We see snippets of your day and life and make assumptions. Sorry. Thank you for sharing. I have always loved how you share success and failures in sewing. Thank you K xXx

  2. knitlass says:

    I think that feeling of looking back, and documenting a journey, is the reason that I blog. Even if noone else reads it, I have something where I keep track of the things I make and some of the things that are happening in my life.

    Anyway – great blog and great makes! Love that stripey Coco dress – and your little helper too. Cute!

  3. Sue Bowdler says:

    Your blog is about more than just the mechanics of sewing which is why it is the only one I follow. I’ve been sewing since I was ten (I’m now – err – retirement age) and now have the time to sew ‘properly’ again. Looking back at old photos (I’m pre digital) I see the dresses and coats, the toys (Care Bears anyone?) and dressing up outfits I made for my three children, the suit for my sister’s wedding, my mum in an evening dress I made for her – yes, it’s about more than just making stuff. Now that my husband, a fit and active, clever, funny man has Parkinson’s we can’t travel much and our lives are more restricted and now I find that sewing is my sanity. I get lost in the moment and forget the day to day problems – and have something to show for it at the end, happiness indeed! And yes, after 50 years at the sewing machine I still get it wrong sometimes, but still learning, still developing. Thanks for your thoughtful blog, and thanks for the opportunity to post. Don’t stop!

  4. JaneyB says:

    These photos are just lovely! And you have answered my question on IG re the fabric. I bought the same from The Fabric Godmother and it is the perfect match for a Coco! So glad to hear you are happy today!

  5. lyndle says:

    I love your blog, the things you make and your little helper. Having small friends is awesome.
    I am glad you are happy again. It’s wonderful when you wake up after a time of one-foot-in-front-of-the-other greyness and realise the world has turned back to colour. Enjoy your cool dress. Those tights rock too.

  6. Oh yeah! gorgeous! It fits you just perfectly and it’s so becoming! You’re beaming in it! Beautiful post too, it is so nice to hear you feel happy. Sewing is a healer, but it is also a wonderful way of enjoying life, feeling alive creating… we are fortunate to have it, and share it… even more!

  7. Cherie says:

    Good stuff – thanks for sharing. It’s interesting how sewing can become the moderating factor in one’s life. It’s like the home we can return to, no matter the sunshine or the rain. Indeed, the power of clothes!

  8. Maddie says:

    Happiness is not something that is ready made. It comes from your own actions.

  9. ellegeemakes says:

    Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us for five years – -what a milestone. Congratulations! It’s good to be reminded that we aren’t just sharing our projects with each other, but at a bit of ourselves too. I love that dress and the Ponte looks fabulous. I don’t have that pattern, but just might have to invest.

  10. Eldra Avery says:

    I love your blog. Thank you so much for giving me so much of you in my life!

  11. Peggy Frankovich says:

    I love it. You can look so good in stripes and you did it right.

  12. Caroline says:

    As you say, there is so much more to sewing – I find it most therapeutic amidst the problems of life. Creating makes me happy. Karen, I am glad that you are feeling happy. Thanks for sharing.

  13. ooobop! says:

    I’ve just had a lovely trawl on the Fabric Godmother site. What treasures on there! You so suit a Coco dress and that ponte looks like fabulous quality too. Love the photo of the cheeky monkey against the wall in the background. Simply brilliant and love most of all that you are in a happy place. xxxxx

  14. Jo says:

    Great dress, great photography. Thanks so much for 5 years of great writing too. And hurrah for long awaited happiness too.

    I don’t have much time or space to sew but your recent made up initiative finally pushed me to organise a sewing day with friends. Date is in diary and pdf pattern is sent out…

    Thank you!

  15. Jane says:

    So happy you’re happy my friend! This post has made my day. xxxxx

  16. Geo P says:

    I hope you stay happy and blog for many more years. But if you don’t feel like it, just don’t do it. You don’t owe it to anyone, just do what feels good.

  17. Julia says:

    Whow, what a stunning dress! Phantastic material with just the perfect stripes married to the perfect Pattern. I love it, love the pockets and collar running vertically, love everything in that picture.
    Maybe it IS your happiness shining through and the fun you had taking those pictures.

  18. TamsinW-P says:

    Your blog is one of the first I started to follow when I got back into sewing whilst living in NZ and and as you can tell I am still here! Your dress looks fab and I love the tights – did you know your helpers or were they random children?? I am glad you are happy now. It shows!

  19. Gail says:

    Great little dress. I love striped ponte. I’m wearing a skirt made from the same fabric today and have several metres uncut in stash.

  20. To this I say, “Yes.”

  21. What a lovely post. (I’m feeling very philosophical this morning, so I could ramble on for pages – will refrain). I’ve been enjoying your blog for several months now, and learn something new each time. Love the striped dress and your little model. Checked out your apronalong – how much fun! I have quite the fascination with aprons myself. Happy day to you!

  22. Nita says:

    Every time I see that Coco dress I get excited. I just have to order the pattern! Maybe I will just go ahead and do it today!

    Also, just before I opened your post, I had been reading this one on a very similar topic. I think you’ll find it interesting and relevant to what you experienced:

  23. A lovely version of a Coco dress, glad life’s been treating you better of late 🙂

  24. It’s nice to know you’re at a happy point in your life and I hope it continues! Your coco looks so cute and I love the opposite stripes of the pockets xx

  25. Amy-June says:

    Look at that stripe matching on the coco sleeves!! Your blog is a treat – a chronicle of life that is both public and personal … Keep on doing what you do!

  26. sewingaddict says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I enjoy reading your blog – it is so inspiring. I am happy for your happiness!

  27. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for all your sewing goodness. Its helped me jump back into sewing in a very gentle fashion by joining a beginners sewing class and realising that I can still sew!

  28. fabrickated says:

    It is lovely to hear that you have found happiness, especially through sewing and blogging Karen. You look sweet and carefree in the pictures.

  29. I’m always amazed how you can turn thoughts into inspirational stories. I’m happy you are happy. I want to make something with stripes every time you present something stripey. You rock!

  30. Philippa says:

    A lovely post from a lovely person. I know exactly what you mean about the slow path back to happiness. I am recovering from divorce and sewing blogs have been such a comfort (including yours!) when I haven’t been able to sew, as I have had to reorganise my whole life and there has been no time. I like being able to read about my hobby any time of day or night, and sometimes having a chat with friends too. Thank you, and you look fabulous!!

  31. Linda says:

    I love the stripy ponte! The coco dress really suits you, and looks great with the blue tights! Congratulations on blogging for 5 years! That’s quite an achievement. I’ve come back to dressmaking after a gap, and yours was one of the first sewing blogs I found. I love reading your ‘take’ on life, and I love your little dog Ella too!

  32. Lovely stripes fabric. You look great in your dress. Five years is a long time to be blogging. That is a lot of posts. That you for sharing your life and your sewing. Xx

  33. stitchesoftime says:

    Happy blogaversay and glad that you are happy, also know that your blog makes other people happy so that is very good as well !

  34. Lisa says:

    Catching up on blog posts.. I love this! I’ve been following your posts for a good few years and although I don’t get as much time to sew as I like to, your words of wisdom are kept to refer back to! Keep being an inspiration, you do make a difference!!

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