What Makes A Great Sewing Muse?


“Draw me like one of your French girls…”

I tell you what, SewManju is going to get a shock when this pops up into her feed! Do you have a sewing muse? I have! Can you guess who it is… Manju’s blog header reads ‘Make Your Own Style’.

No, Manju, I shan’t. I want to make yours!

I only recently realised this about myself, when one of her latest makes popped up in MY feed and my brain popped and fizzed. I loved this top so much – it’s the V8825 – and my hands were soon trembling over the keyboard, ordering … stuff. Isn’t it beautiful?

Once I’d, ahem, calmed down, I realised that a) I like a lot of what SewManju sews and b) that unconsciously I’d raised her onto a pedestal and she’d become my sewing muse!

So, what makes for a great sewing muse? Here’s my non-too-serious run down. Chime in if you have other thoughts!

An Aesthetic You Share. Goes without saying, really. SewManju’s life is very different to mine: she’s a wife and mother AND SCIENTIST who lives far from neighbours; I’m single, my child is a dog (!), I play with words for fun and I am surrounded by neighbours in urban London. That being said, I suspect our lifestyles do have a few things in common. We’re a similair age, we both juggle professional lives and sewing … and that brings me on to my next point.

Body Shape. I relate to a lot of what SewManju sews because I believe we have similair-ish body shapes. We both have curves, we both want to celebrate and flatter those curves. If something works on SewManju’s body, I figure it will work on me.

Geography Is Irrelevant. This is what I love about the online community. I’ve had sewing muses in the UK, America, Australia, France, Germany… Sewing brings us together, no matter how far flung we are.

Fair Critical Assessment. You trust their reviews of sewing patterns. They are fair-handed but honest.

Share Adjustments. If they have experienced a challenge with a pattern, they’ll share the adjustments they needed to make.

Is Accessible. A good sewing muse understands how to relate to their readers. That, in turn, allows you to relate to the writer. Sounds obvious, I know, but this is – I believe – a rare skill. I don’t want to worship distant demi-gods. I want to admire a person like me!

the little book of sewing head of zeus

All of this mulling brings me on to my next point. READERS, I HAVE BEEN IN A SLUMP. I’ve been doing something I never do – skittering from unfinished project to unfinished project. Who even am I? Busy, that’s what!

But in just over a month, The Little Book of Sewing is launching. Advance copies are in and they look GORGEOUS. I’d like to sew a dress to celebrate publication.

Can you guess from the above what that dress might be?

And do you promise to hold me accountable? I need you!

Okay. Do you have a sewing muse, and who might it be? I know, I know… She has a big beard and an even bigger personality!

ella in ruff


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to What Makes A Great Sewing Muse?

  1. My style muses are Cleomc and Julia Bobbin! Both prefer a fitted style of clothes, though Cleo’s style leans sweet, everyday vintage and Julia’s is adventurous, dramatic and fun.

    They both love colours too, though very different to each other…and even me! Cleo’s favourite colour is green, she knits (and crochets!) up a storm in the States. Julia lives in Australia and sews leather jackets and silk chiffon. I live in the UK and have a (fairly) new baby! Maybe my dedication to both hints at different moods I lean towards…? Maybe Julia’s shape is closer to mine, because I think I found her trying to sort out a pattern for my bum 💁

    I love them both, their explorations of patterns, fabrics and yarns and would happily raid their wardrobes were they my size. So they’re safe for now. Well, the size discrepancy and the geographical distance….

  2. Sewing muse? Hmmm… I guess the closest I get is Carolyn Smith of @handmadebycarolyn / http://www.handmadebycarolyn.co.au. While she doesn’t have the same health issues I have, as far as I know (I have MS), and her body actually works and is more fit, I really relate because she mirrors the inner me. And she does a lot of different stuff, like I do. She just doesn’t have the issues I do, so she gets a lot more done. And of course I really relate to her aesthetic. That said, there are other blogs I follow and love, like yours. Yours has the big advantage of being on WordPress so I have you in my reader. 😉 And Ella is utterly adorable.

  3. Manju says:

    Erm what? Karen I am flabbergasted, touched and very honoured to be your sewing muse! Wow! I definitely do think we have lots in common, though separated by distance. Really this has totally made my day, which today consists of gym, taking child to dentists and out for pizza and wine tonight for a colleagues birthday; this is simply the icing on the cake. P.s I think you will be a knock out in the dress version of this pattern! X

  4. Lynne Savage says:

    I think you are probably mine! You and what you’ve made appear in most of my ‘ideas’ lists If I see something you’ve made I get a better idea of what it will really look like on me – as pattern covers can be really decieving. So keep on sewing!!

  5. J K Williams says:

    From rural Texas to London, you are my muse. Skill wit style my goodness what’s not to like?!? And a sweet cherished pup to boot!!
    Look what you have contributed to our dear online community!
    BTW Manju Karen is right!

  6. Ann says:

    I have never really thought about having a muse, I love your style but I really just wanted to say how much I love your gorgeous dog, so adorable x

  7. I too subscribe to SewManju – her sewing is so precise and picking garments that suit her have more than once inspired to seriously consider the make even when before it was completely off my radar. I follow several! Yours of course b/c you have a fabulous sense of humour, great writing style and the fact that your posts are not just about only sewing 🙂 Thanks for another great post!

  8. JenL says:

    Yes, SewManju is a great sewing muse! I had a similar experience way back when I first ran across her blog. I immediately bought the same pattern she had used. Never done that before! I think she is really good at spotting interesting styles that work for a lot of people in different environments. I hope she is enjoying all this too!

  9. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Slump? Dear One, recharge those creative batteries. Wander about a bit. Go to a gallery. Check out the make-up counter anywhere that will do a free makeover. Think Karen 2.0: New hair, new dress, new make-up, new shoes! You have a special occasion coming up, don’t you? 🎈🎉 🎈

    Now I realise you wrote about letting your fingers do some ordering… and that might be The Dress. Has anything arrived yet? Have you got that pattern fitted?? We’d like an update, pleeeasee!!!

    You ARE having a launch party, aren’t you? (Can you feel my glare over there??!) Sweet ickle ducky, get your clogs on and start shakin’!

    (Might not hurt to go see TMOS. Just in case there’s more than one party. Just sayin’. 😉)

    With all best wishes from a fan quite familiar with editor-burnout.

  10. I love the classic styles of Sarah Gunn from Goodbye Valentino and Lori from Girls in the Garden. No matter what they make for themselves, I can see myself wearing it.

    Is that a post-surgical collar for Ella? If it is not, it should be. I would totally spend $$ on a pretty collar like that for my girls if they needed one. Time for you to open an Etsy shop and make a gazillion dollars on beautiful dog ruffle collars! Much better than the cone-of-shame don’t you think?

  11. PoundCake says:

    Body shape is absolutely important to me. I often see bodies unlike mine wearing clothes I lust for but I have to give myself a little pat and remember They will not look like that on you (not bad!! Just some silhouettes aren’t MY silhouette! Not a value judgement on any shapes, but obviously shapes are not identical to all other shapes). Fiber choice is a big one! If we like sewing the same kind of fabrics, I know I can get similar results (translation – copy them literally ^^).

  12. Holy s***!! I clicked on Manju blog, first pic to cross my eyes: I WANT THAT DRESS!
    She is so gifted and so classy! That’s the beginning of something i guess… Thank you for sharing her talent!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.