Top 5 Tips: Sewing, Reading, Motivation

top 5 essentials for sewing

My Top Five Sewing Essential Stockpilers 

  • Overlocker thread in a variety of colours. Stock up when you see it.
  • Microtex needles, fine enough for your more delicate projects.
  • Pins regularly need replacing. As Ooobop‘s mother would tell you, throw out a blunt pin immediately! (I always think of Janene’s mum when I toss a pin. I’ve never actually met the woman.)
  • Quality interfacing. I really need to stock up on mine from here.
  • Chocolate. Enough said.

My Top Five Weekend Reads

Top 5 weekend reads

I’m trying to even out the balance between blog reading and physical books. Here’s what is in my reading pile:

  • I’m brushing up on my Shakespeare, because I have tickets booked to see Twelfth Night at The National starring Tamsin Greig.
  • I spotted this sage green old sewing book last summer and couldn’t resist buying it. The tone can be a bit dour, but that’s half the fun of reading it:

Some know instinctively what suits them, while others never trouble, but rashly choose some colour or style that attracts the eye, the result usually being disastrous.


Ahem, moving on…

  • Sewing magazines – my backlog is stacking up.

sewing magazines

My Top Five Motivational Tools


  • I learnt about the Chalkboard Method from Braid Creative and I LOVE it. My chalkboard is from Flying Tiger but I’m secretly hankering after these. Every Monday I write down one goal for the week, prop up my chalkboard somewhere I can see it every time I walk into the office … and you can bet your bottom dollar that task gets done. Incredibly simple, incredibly effective.
  • Have you heard of the Pomodoro technique? 25 minutes dedicated work, rewarded by 5 minutes play. If I need to plough through a project with no distractions, this is what I use to stop myself wasting yet another hour on Twitter. I don’t bother downloading an app, just use this uber simple online Pomodoro.


  • Stationery. Nothing more motivating than new stationery.
  • Deadlines. What’s that famous Douglas Adams quote? I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. Nah. I love a good deadline and I love meeting it.
  • My final piece of motivation? A sewing project that needs completing. On which note, I’m off to sew!

Happy weekends, everyone. Hope you found some inspiration there.


FINAL TOP TIP Girl Charlee UK is having a flash sale over the weekend. Go, check it out!

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14 Responses to Top 5 Tips: Sewing, Reading, Motivation

  1. craftysurf says:

    I’m TERRIBLE about keeping my full straight pins too long, and I end up damaging the material.
    Thanks for the inspo 👍

  2. PocketC says:

    I’m finding more motivation by cleaning out my “should”-filled to-do list and leaving only the projects (and fabrics) I really want in there.

  3. Deborah says:

    I like YA books. I just finished A Year Down Yonder. Now I’m reading a book by Maeve Binchy since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. Do you think five minutes of play is a little short? I work much too hard for such a short break. HA!

  4. Tammy says:

    A motivating post today! Chocolate should be stockpiled for creating. It’s also great to have a selection of reading material when it’s -30 degrees Celsius with the windchill.

  5. I like the chalkboard idea! i would also suggest reading “You Are A Badass” by Jenn Sincero- so motivational!

  6. sewlikemerle says:

    Great tips! I use one of those pumice/emery pouches to sharpen my pins – most of those tomato pin cushions come with them hanging off the top. A few jabs in there with your blunt pin and it’s good as new.

  7. Motivation is a hard one for me. I get easily distracted or procrastinate far to much! Love the chalk board effect. Also only just coming on social medial two months ago I find that distracting. I get so much sewing inspiration from it that I can’t ignore but end up being on it far too long and my actual projects get more and more delayed. How to fit it all in and get those projects done and general life and family stuff sorted too? I must be more organised maybe and more disciplined!

  8. No motivation here at all. I used to use a method like that blackboard one at work (“cept it was a whiteboard and bloody massive). It does work though and is great for giving yourself a kick and for clarity. Love the look of your little green sewing book. Those vintage tomes are excellent and usually have the best sewing advice. Don’t know about the disastrous colour choices though. You can’t beat a bit if eye candy to cheer yourself up. Xx

  9. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Lovely collection of suggestions & hints. Thank you! Didn’t think far enough to realise we could toss out dull pins. Duh!
    Have you had a read through Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”? Different slant in some ways, but along some of the same lines.

  10. /anne... says:

    I LOVE Twelfth Night! I was in it at Uni 🙂 Worth reading up a bit, to understand some of the jokes and wordplay, which don’t make immediate sense in the 21st century.


  11. Arletta says:

    It was on this blog I’ve read about “I capture the castle” for the first time in my life. Ordered myself the book (it’s always a bit of a story to get English books in Switzerland) however, this was about the loveliest book I’ve ever read in my life. So now the next one will be “seven days of you”, cannot wait to get it! I also love the 5 motivational tools a lot, not only for sewing purposes… Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Clémence says:

    The chalkboard idea is such a good one! Than you for the good suggestions! I just have one question, how do you toss out pins? I always think about how if I just put them in the garbage bag they might pierce through and hurt the garbage man… then the garbage man will be scared it was some medical device and go to the hospital… I think about taping them up but then I feel like I have to wait until I have a “reasonable” amount of pins that need to be tossed to warrant the use of so much tape…

  13. esewing says:

    Thank you for the motivation, I’m good at starting things , it’s the finishing I need a push with ..
    Like the idea of a board , might stop me going off and starting something new, more visible reminder than a pile of craft bags under the sewing table

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