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Are you, like me, fascinated by people who have been able to express themselves in a variety of disciplines? My guest, Heidi Parkes, is an improvisational quilt artist, mending expert, garment sewist, and so many more things, living in Wisconsin, USA. Heidi explains how developing a habit of curiosity has allowed her to explore her interests whilst moving through different, but connected, creative worlds. This episode contains the first half of our conversation, make sure to listen to the second half next week.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Show notes: Check out my chat with Yvette from Stash Hub app on YouTube. Photo by by Tiffany Talbott @frontstreetimages You can explore Heidi Parkes’ work via her website. Heidi also posts on Instagram @heidi.parkes, and has a YouTube channel.   I thoroughly recommend that you listen to Heidi’s latest appearance on Zak Foster’s podcast Seamside. Photo by by Tiffany Talbott @frontstreetimages Check out the wonderful Soft Bulk lecture series of videos on YouTube. Listen to my conversation with Heidi’s friend and fellow quilter, Eliu Hernandez: Ep #26: Harvesting Materials with Eliu Hernandez Heidi references Brené Brown’s book ‘Atlas of the Heart’, which explores eighty seven emotions as outlined by Brown.  Photo by by Tiffany Talbott @frontstreetimages Heidi is inspired by (among many others, no doubt!): Luke Haynes Pauline Boyd (@counterpane)  Maura Grace Ambrose / Folk Fibres The small quilts (as well as the large quilts!) are available through the shop on Heidi’s website  See the Vignettes Quilt no. 2.
Have you ever bought a second-hand sewing machine and it turned out to be a dud? It didn’t work properly or perhaps it didn’t do the things you needed it to. If so, it may have discouraged you from getting a second hand machine again. And if you haven’t bought a second hand machine before, maybe you have some fears that’s put you off? In this solo episode, I’m going to share some key tips that will help you find a second-hand sewing machine that you’ll love. I’ll also share some tips for getting a machine for free!  Support the podcast over on Patreon! My scrap-busting undies! Tencel/elastane jersey for the backs, pieced together cotton/elastane jerseys for the front. The pattern used is my FREE SoZo Undies pattern: Image credit: Alicia Cristin Gerald via Unsplash The London-based Library of Things has lots location across London, and has now spread to Brighton & Hove. You can borrow a sewing machine for £5 per day or £20 per week.  If you are in the UK, you can probably find your local sewing machine servicing and repairs person via the Yellow Pages.  Closet Core Patterns have a great free pattern and tutorial to make a sewing machine or overlocker/serger cover. 
What do you do when you’re swimming in a sea of fabric and yarn scraps? Previous guest Meg Grandstaff has recently been concerning herself with just this question! This week’s episode is a highly unstructured conversation between myself and Meg, who is currently hosting the #ScrapBustingSeptember challenge. We talk about scraps, of course, but also storms, stashes, shirt dresses and much more.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! I am THRILLED to be able to share with you that I was a guest on Clotheshorse podcast! You can hear Part 1 of our conversation here and Part 2 here, or find them in your podcast app-of-choice. You can follow Meg’s sewing and knitting endeavours via IG @the_grand_stash. Listen to Meg’s previous appearances on CYT: Ep #22: Mending Workshops with Carla & Meg / Community Glue Ep #37: Pledges and Participants #1 with Rebecca & Meg Meg is currently hosting the #ScrapBustingSeptember challenge, which encourages us all to make projects using our scraps and leftovers of fabric and yarn.   I mentioned how I use both the Trello app and the Stash Hub App (both on my phone) to organise my sewing plans and projects.  Learn more about the amazing enterprise, Community Glue, where Meg regularly volunteers.  Meg is a repeat participant of Me-Made-May. She enjoyed using the Me-Made-May Workbook this year to get more from her participation.  Meg discovered the ‘Stitched Sewing Organizers’ by Annela Hoey (link goes to a British vendor’s website): This is the project Meg wants to make form the book: Sewing patterns Meg recommends for using scraps and leftovers of knit fabric: Stevie Knickers pattern by Paper Theory Watson Bra pattern by Cloth Habit Blomma Tank pattern by Paradise Patterns (see one of Meg’s versions) Image source: Meg Grandstaff - undies made using the Stevie Knickers pattern by Paper Theory. Meg has been hoovering up yarn leftovers by making socks and knitted scrunchies: Meg and I are both massively inspired by clothing creator Zero Waste Daniel,  also @zerowastedaniel on IG.  Meg’s scrap studio tunic from denim: Image source: Meg Grandstaff - tunic made using the Studio Tunic pattern by Sew Liberated.  Find all my Free Pattern Friday blog posts which review free sewing patterns and tutorials. 
What is the right choice when buying produce, the loose items, or the organic versions that are wrapped in plastic? Should we be worried about soil degradation and our ability to feed a growing global population? What are the trade-offs we need to make to increase crop yields whilst also protecting biodiversity? We all wear clothes and we all eat food, so if you’re interested in the sustainability of one, it’s likely you have questions relating to the other. In this episode, agricultural scientist and sewist Helen Metcalfe patiently answers all of mine!  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Check out the fun new challenge/hashtag #scrapbustingseptember created by previous-guest Meg Grandstaff (@the_grand_stash). Find and follow Helen Metcalfe on Instagram @helenlivesslow Helen works at Rothamsted Research.  My IG post that kicked off the whole debate over the validity and purpose of the ‘dirty dozen’.  The Royal Horticultural Society website is a great source of information for those wanted to grow some of their own fruit and vegetables.   The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN has heaps of information if you wish to learn more about food security across the globe. 
Jenny Drew wants you to make sewing a priority, and she’s not going to take no for an answer! This is the pep talk that you might not have known you needed. From feminist and mental health perspectives, Jenny explains why we need sewing in our lives. She then tells us how to make sure we actually do it, even when you think you’re too busy.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Jenny Drew is the owner of Sew Confident, a sewing school and shop in Glasgow, with franchises in Chorley and Dundee. You can follow the @sewconfident goings on via Instagram, and keep and eye on Jenny @sewconfidentjenny.  Jenny is passionate about supporting and encouraging women and creatives in business. She’s turned everything she’s learnt into a book: ‘Stop Playing Small: Turn obstacles into advantages and enjoy unapologetic success whilst building a creative business to be proud of!’ Sign up to their waiting list for more info on the next round of their Confident Capsule Collection class series. 
To celebrate the milestone of 100 episodes, I wrote a list of 100 lessons that I’ve learnt (or relearnt) through making this podcast! From that, I selected ten that had the biggest impact on me, and in this episode I divulge what they are. Plus, we’ll hear from some wonderful listeners from across the globe who share the things they’ve taken away also… Support the podcast over on Patreon! If you’d like to read all 100 lessons, you can access the documents by clicking the links below. I’ve split these lessons up into four categories: Mindset and Motivation Materials Stitching, Fitting, Adjusting and Mending And stuff I’ve learnt about making a podcast Thanks so much for listening!
Friends-of-the-podcast, Julia and Naomi, are back! The three of us make some sewing-related confessions….  Support the podcast over on Patreon! This episode features Julia Hincks. Her website is House of Miss Sew and you can find her at @juliahincks on Instagram.  She previously featured on: Episode #10: Overlockers & Coverstitch Machines with Julia Hincks Episode #27: Zoe & Julia go Rag Rugging Episode #67: Zoe and Julia Sew with Reclaimed Denim This episode also features Naomi Bancroft and you can find her at @whatnaomimade on Instagram.  They both appeared in Episode #53: First Birthday / Ask me Anything with Zoe, Julia and Naomi.  Yet again, I talk about the Four Tendencies framework, developed by writer and podcaster, Gretch Rubin. Find out which of the Four Tendencies you adhere to with Gretchen Rubin’s free quiz.  Image source: Gretchen Rubin. 
Want to hear about an exciting new development in zero waste sewing? ZW designer Birgitta Helmersson has written an incredible new book that presents a fresh approach to making your own clothes with minimal waste. Birgitta is back on the podcast to tell us all about it, plus she shares tips on using second hand linens for ZW garment projects.   Support the podcast over on Patreon! Image credit: Emli Bendixon Discover designer Birgitta Helmersson’s clothing and sewing patterns on her website, and over on Instagram @birgittahelmersson. Listen to Birgitta’s previous appearances on CYT: Episode 54: A Journey to Zero Waste with Birgitta Helmersson Episode 55: The Challenges of Zero Waste Design with Birgitta Helmersson Find out more about Birgitta’s ‘Zero Waste Patterns’ book, including links for where to buy it in different parts of the world.  ZW pattern designer Liz Haywood wrote a fantastic review of Birgitta’s book. Liz’s version of the vintage shirt is incredible! The Zero Waste Design Collective is an amazing resource to explore what’s happening in the world of ZW more broadly.
A garment project that fails because it’s made from unsuitable fabric is both heartbreaking and costly. But navigating the selection available in fabric shops and online can feel overwhelming, particularly if you’re new to garment sewing, or have recently returned after some years. So in this solo episode, we’re going back to the basics of fabric. We’ll be laying the foundations on which to build our knowledge of fabric types, and what garment styles each fabric is suitable for.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! The custom croquis app is MyBodyModel. If you enjoyed Episode #50: The Future of Fabrics that I made last year, then I thoroughly recommend you listen to Episode #188: Future Fabrics: Sustainable Textiles Masterclass with Amanda Johnston of the Wardrobe Crisis podcast. 
This week’s episode is the second with pattern cutting and fit expert, Kate Roberts from Project Patterns. We talk about how we can build up our own bank of fitting knowledge, and we get into some trouser fitting nitty gritty. Kate also explores how to adapt seemingly gendered sewing patterns for different bodies.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! You can find my road test/review of the free laminated wash bag tutorial by Polkadot Chair on my blog. Find Kate’s business, Project Patterns, via her website, on Instagram @projectpatterns and also on YouTube. Listen to Kate’s previous episode on CYT, Episode #95: Refining Fit with Kate Roberts. We spoke about the Palmer and Pletsch ‘Pants for Real People’ and  the Palmer, Alto and Weiland ‘Fit for Real People’ tissue fitting books.  Kate offers a range of online pattern drafting and fitting courses, with both live and recorded options available. Clayton referenced sewist @_donnyq on Instagram.  Donny Q on IG. Have your mind blown (I just did!) on DRESSX - a digital garment shop. The pattern drafting books by Winifred Aldrich are a fantastic starting point for anyone wanting to create their own blocks and patterns. 
How much time do you set aside during your sewing project for fitting and making pattern adjustments? An hour? Half a day? None at all? Pattern cutter and fitting expert Kate Roberts tells us why we can’t expect sewing patterns to fit right out of the pack. Kate also shares her TNT method for assessing the fit of a garment, and gives awesome tips for successful solo fit sessions.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! I will be teaching how to make Birgitta’s Helmersson’s ZW Cropped Shirt pattern in a class at Fabric Godmother on 16th September. Check out the listing if you’re interested.  Find Kate’s business, Project Patterns, via her website, on Instagram @projectpatterns and also on YouTube. Kate offers a range of online pattern drafting and fitting courses, with both live and recorded options available. Enjoy the ‘Pattern Diaries’ made with Charlotta Ayers from Charlotta’s Patterncutting School.   Kate uses the spot and cross pattern paper from William Gee (UK based).  
This week I’m mixing things up and sharing an episode of the Garmology podcast by Nick Johannessen, AKA Well Dressed Dad. This episode features a genuinely engrossing conversation between Nick and his guest Rosanna Watson about outdoor gear and professional repair. If you’re interested in mending or product design, this is a must-listen. Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find everything Garmology podcast related, along with the Well Dressed Dad blog, on Nick’s website.  Garmology is a podcast about "clothes, and stuff", menswear, fashion, ethical and sustainably made, old and new, from a perspective of making, buying, wearing, collecting, evaluating and appreciating. With regular co-hosts and interesting guests, the aim is to provide a view of what we might wear and what we should wear, if we knew more about it. Expect plenty of opinions! Image source: Nick Johannessen. Follow Nick on Instagram @welldresseddad. Rosanna Watson’s business is Snowdonia Gear Repair. This episode’s original episode page can be found on the Well Dressed Dad website.  
Most of us who listen to (and make!) this podcast are used to thinking about sewing as a pastime and option for clothing ourselves. A hobby with many wonderful benefits. But for others, sewing skills are a powerful tool that can change lives: preventing isolation, providing connection, offering employment opportunities and raising self-esteem. Poornima Kirloskar-Saini started a social enterprise called Kundakala, in memory of her extraordinary mother, which is achieving all these things. In this episode, Poornima tells me all about this incredible and inspiring organisation, and the women whose lives it is changing. Support the podcast over on Patreon! Discover more about the Kundakala social enterprise via their website. Follow them on Instagram @kundakala_org and via Twitter: @KundakalaOrg.  Read about Kunda, Poornima’s extraordinary mother, the inspiration behind the whole endeavour.  The scarves featuring Kunda’s paintings, stitched by the women taking the Make and Mend workshops, are available to purchase with all proceeds going to support more workshops.  Poornima’s day job is for the Cook for Good enterprise.  Once attendees have graduated from the Make and Mend programme, they can go on to participate in the Saree Upcycle Project. 
How can we get a handle on our recurring sewing struggles? And what are the steps we need to take to coach ourselves through them? Building on from last episode’s discussion on gathering self knowledge, transformational coach and crafter, Kim Witten, gives us some practical, actionable steps we can take for greater sewing success and enjoyment. We also explore how to fall in love (or at least like) with garments that are associated with a fraught making experience, plus choosing when is a good time to take on sewing challenges. Support the podcast over on Patreon! Please complete the short Me-Made-May Workbook survey! Sign up to the Check Your Thread newsletter! You won’t regret it…. (but if you do, you can unsubscribe at any time). Find more about Kim’s work on her website, plus her excellent blog with a library of fantastic resources.  Sign up to her weekly ‘Hold That Thought’ newsletter to help you turn your overthinking into expert thinking.  Listen to Kim’s previous appearances on CYT:  Episode #71: Making Personal Manifestos with Kim Witten Episode #71: Self Knowledge for Sewing Success with Kim Witten
How much do you really know yourself, and how does self knowledge relate to your enjoyment of sewing? Yep, today we’re tackling some big questions with transformational coach and crafter, Kim Witten. What kind of learner are you? How closely do you follow the ‘rules’? What patterns of behaviour do you display when presented with challenges? We get into all this and learn how we can use self awareness to make positive changes that lead to more sewing satisfaction. We also hear about Kim’s unique and multi-layered pledge for this year’s Me-Made-May challenge, and the many takeaways she acquired from her first challenge.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Learn more about @SewOver50’s excellent new endeavour #SewWhatYouNeedJune that comes on the back of a hectic Me-Made-May! Find more about Kim’s work on her website, plus her excellent blog with a library of fantastic resources.  Sign up to her weekly ‘Hold That Thought’ newsletter to help you turn your overthinking into expert thinking.  Listen to Kim’s previous appearance of CYT in Episode #71: Making Personal Manifestos with Kim Witten. If you need some help prioritising self care, download Kim’s free Self Care Menu Worksheet. Find the Stash Hub app on their website, on IG @stash_hub, or in your smart phone’s app store.  Kim’s Me-Made-May article on Medium is a fascinating read, and such an interesting and multi-layered take on the challenge.  Kim started and progressed on her sewing journey with the help of sewing classes at Ministry of Craft in Manchester, UK. Find out which of the Four Tendencies you adhere to with Gretchen Rubin’s free quiz.  Image source: Gretchen Rubin.  If procrastination (including procrasti-learning!) is something you regularly experience, the DUST model can help you understand it and to get yourself unstuck. 
Have you ever tried pattern hacking (making changes to a sewing pattern to create a different look)? This episode is a wide ranging introduction to the topic. Whether you are new to this practice, or are a more seasoned ‘hacker’, by the end of this you should feel emboldened by the infinite possibilities!   Support the podcast over on Patreon! The patchwork denim quilted jacket is finally finished! Read all about it on my blog.  One way of thinking about pattern hacking is by breaking it down into these three approaches: Pattern-first - that is Choosing a pattern you own and considering how you can alter it to come up with a different look Style-first - that is finding inspiration for a garment from elsewhere, then looking through your patterns to find a good candidate to hack to get close to that inspiration. Frankensteining - taking two existing sewing patterns, or the parts of existing sewing patterns, and splicing them together to create a different looking garment.  My Fibre Mood Ermine/Norma Franken-garment is an example of taking the sleeve piece from one pattern and the bodice from another to create a new look. Suggested equipment for pattern hacking: Large format paper / pattern cutting or drafting paper / the dot and cross type or plain. Also consider large sheets of paper from an art shop or printing shop, the back of wide rolls of wrapping paper or rolls of paper from a business that regularly prints out plans and so on Some kind of ruler or set square (a metre or yard ruler is also super helpful) Pattern weights or pins Sharp pencils  Paper scissors Some kind of tape such as scotch, masking or washi tape Tape measure
This week we’re diving into the world of quilting more sustainably! Quilter and textile artist, Bridget O’Flaherty, makes Threads of Sustainability: a podcast with remarkably similar motivations to CYT. We discuss the many parallels between our perspective disciplines in relation to sustainability, and some of the areas where they diverge. Support the podcast over on Patreon! Tips on how to build and maintain beneficial bee hotels by the Entomologist Lounge.  How to encourage bees and other pollinators: Fill gardens with pollinator friendly plants. Allow lawn 'weeds' to flower by cutting less often. Provide water for pollinators. Avoid using pesticides wherever possible and never spray open flowers. Provide nest sites for wild bees. Find out about the many facets of Bridget’s work, including her podcast, ‘Threads of Sustainability’, via her website. She can also be found on Instagram @thesustainablequilter.  Image source: Bridget O’Flaherty Bridget frequently uses a technique called thread painting in her work: Image source: Bridget O’Flaherty You can hear the conversation we recorded for Bridget’s podcast via her website, wherever you listen to podcasts. It’s Episode #26! The conversation that Bridget had with Eliu Hernandez that first alerted me to the Threads of Sustainability podcast is Episode #18.  Listen to my conversation with Eliu for this podcast:  Episode #26: Harvesting Materials with Eliu Hernandez.  The Festival of Quilts that takes place in Birmingham, UK, recently introduced a Sustainability category.  Bridget wrote a series of articles for the Canadian Quilters’ Association. Read part one, part two and part three.  Bridget appeared on Episode #64 of the ‘Quilter on Fire’ podcast which kick started her desire to create her own podcast. Bridget cites these quilters and textile artists as inspiration: Zak Foster  Eliu Hernandez Janine Heschl
Do you have questions about natural dyeing? Like, what is the most accessible way to have a go? Return-guest and natural dye expert, Amy Taylor, breaks it all down and answers all the questions submitted by CYT listeners.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find Ms Amy Taylor at her website and on Instagram @msamytaylor.  Listen to Amy’s first appearance on Check Your Thread: Episode #13: Natural Dyeing with Amy Taylor.  The naturally dye skeins I found at Seedy Sunday in Brighton in February 2023: Listen to Episode #52: Grow, Cook, Dye, Wear with Bella Gonshorovitz. Amy is a big fan of Bella’s book, Bella’s book, ‘Grow, Cook, Dye, Wear – From seed to style the sustainable way’. Read the article Amy wrote with her dad, ‘Art at the edge of chaos: Shibori and Indigo’.  Amy has taken a class with dye stuff growing expert Kristin Field @fieldandgardner on Instagram.  Amy and I both LOVE following Alexis Nikole AKA @blackforager on Instagram.  Recommended reading: ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ by Robin Wall Kimmerer:
Were you unable to attend the Sew Sustainable Fair in London last month? Would you have liked to have been there? Well, through the power of audio, in this episode you can come along with me to the event! Hear some of the awesome conversations I had with the organisers, helpers and businesses in attendance, plus my ramblings as I travel to and from the venue.  Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find some info about this year’s event, plus keep an eye on the details for next year’s as they are revealed, at the Sew Sustainable Fair website.  The event is organised by Sarah Richards, owner of Olive Road London, a source for original vintage fabrics.  Sarah told me about ‘Secrets of the Singer Girls’ and ‘Secrets of the Sewing Bee’, both books written by her friend Kate Thompson. The Sew Sustainable Fair took place at the wonderful Craft Central building.  Other sellers at the event included: Bornella Fabrics Missy Mop Fabrics Maven Sewing Patterns Find Rebecca Evans-Merritt on IG @revansmerritt Listen to my previous conversations with her: Episode 24: Conscious Making in Real Life with Rebecca Evans-Merritt and Episode 37: Pledge and Participants #1 with Rebecca and Meg When I met Rebecca in real life, she was wearing her Birgitta Helmersson ZW Gather Dress in Merchant and Mills Lunar Jacquard.  We also discussed her railroad stripe two-piece and her Refashioners project lounge wear set.  Find the Stash Hub app on their website, on IG @stash_hub, or in your smart phone’s app store.  You can contact Yvette’s friend Mel who works with the charity Guildford Refugee Aid via their Facebook page.  Find Louise’s business, Ethel & Joan, on her website, Etsy shop and IG @ethelandjoan.  Louise used to make videos for the Youtube channel, Pattern Pals. We talked about her popular flower buckles.  My favourites are the turquoise Deco buttons.
Do you have garments in your wardrobe, self-made or otherwise, that you really like but you never wear because they don’t fit you well? Could you use some advice on how to approach the alteration process, evaluate those garments and work out what’s possible? Alterations expert, Naomi Fata, talks with me about all this and more. We cover when it’s worth attempting an alteration, when it’s better to live with the issue, and when it’s time to find the garment a new owner. Plus, Naomi shares her hot takes on the best ways to make garments smaller and larger, and we even get stuck into the thorny issue of trouser fitting… Support the podcast over on Patreon! Find the Me-Made-May Workbook in the new CYT shop!  Find Naomi Fata on her website and on Instagram @naomifata.  Naomi was on The Strike a Balance for Working Homeschool Moms podcast talking about how she runs her sewing business whilst homeschooling her three children.  Find out about the in-person and virtual sewing and alteration classes Naomi teaches.  This Fit Tip Tuesday video by J Stern Designs on YouTube shows how to add a gusset to lengthen a rise on an existing garment.
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