Thursday, 20 December 2012

2012 - Review part 2

This post follows on from my last post where I reviewed my sewing goals of 2012 and set new ones for 2013. I decided to discuss my business goals into a different post.

My big goal for 2012 business wise was streamlining the work I do to become more productive and focused in less hours.  In 2010 and 2011 I worked every single day weekdays and weekends.  I had my son in part time nursery so worked a few hours during the day, then looked after him and once he was in bed (around 7) I'd then work another 4-5 hours until 11-12 o'clock at night.  I also had Beth Edmondson and Juliet Bawden helping me as it became too much work for just one person. Unsurprisingly a couple years of working non-stop made me constantly run down and ill.

Despite an incredibly busy 2012 I have refined my processes, and even managed to take a whole week off end of October and take a family holiday!  I'm still working way too many hours but it is improving.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer my survey back in the summer, this helped me to figure out what you wanted more of and what you aren't too fussed about so I could make sure my time was being spent on the right things.

New workshops database

One of the keythings that came out of the survey was that you wanted a lot more information about sewing classes.  I do promote a class every day on our Facebook and Twitter pages but there is a limit to how much I can promote this way so I came up with the idea for a database of workshops that you can search by area, keyword, date or course provider to locate your local courses.

This datebase has proved very popular with over 1,500 people using it each month.  You also said you wanted to see more reviews of kits, patterns etc not just books so I have cut our book reviews back to one set per month and we are reviewing more products, patterns and kits instead.  Find those reviews here.  As you can imagine reviews are very time consuming so Beth Edmondson who used to help with the social media updates and book reviews is now focusing on product and pattern reviews instead although she will do the odd update over Christmas/New Year.

A big change we are bringing in for 2013 is the introduction of The Sewing Directory Meetups. After almost 3 years of chatting to you online we wanted the chance to meet you in person, and for you to meet us and some of our customers too.  So in 2013 we have arranged 3 meet ups, in London, Exeter and Liverpool.   I (Fiona) will be attending all 3 meet ups and Beth will be at the Liverpool meet up, she will be teaching us all how to make cute Russian doll brooches.

Depending on how these go we may look to do others in different locations in the future, but in the meantime please do try and come along to one of the ones mentioned above.  We have purposely kept costs as a low as possible, and timed the meet ups to allow people to travel from outside of those locations.  There will be sewing, chatting, cake & biscuits, prizes and of course lots of fun as well as a little class at each meet up. 

Goals for 2013

So after an incredibly busy but productive 2012, what next for The Sewing Directory?  Obviously we plan to keep on bringing you great content - more projects, interviews, techniques etc as well as fabulous giveaways, details of the lastest sewing products and fabrics, special offers/sales.

I've got a few ideas in mind to change the layout of the site a little to make it easier to find things so you may notice a few cosmestic changes in 2013.  We have so much content on the site I'm just trying to figure out the best way to fit it all in!

A recent social media feature I wrote for Craft Focus Magazine

With many of you seeking to make an extra income from your crafts at the moment our Craft Business Guides are proving incredibly popular so we will be building on those.  We have written a few for trade magazine Craft Focus, and are guest posting on the CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) website in 2013.  I've also got an idea for a craft business manual so will be working on that idea too to see if I can make it a reality.

Is there anything else you would like to see more of in 2013 on The Sewing Directory?  Please do let us know, either by commenting below or by using our contact form.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sewing machine giveaway!

Would you like to win a brand new Janome DKS30 sewing machine (RRP £499)?  This is Janome's latest model, ideal for beginners with 30 built in stitches all with their own illuminated key, an easy set bobbin system, an automatic needle threader and thread cutter and a stop start button so you don’t have to use the foot control if you don't want to.

To enter you just have to answer one simple question, and you can get a bonus entry by signing up to Janome's newsletter.

For full details please visit:

The Janome DKS30


Monday, 17 December 2012

2012 - a year in reflection. Part 1

I always think it's good at the end of a year to look back and see what you have achieved before setting your goals for the next year. 

I had a few goals last year, personal and business related.  Some of which I achieved and others I didn't.  This post is going to be about my personal goals, part 2 will be about my business goals.   first up my sewing goals, back in January I took part with Very Berry Handmade's Resolve to Sew Challenge and listed my sewing goals in this post. 

My main goal was to make more time for sewing rather than just working all the time. In particular I wanted to learn to quilt and to embroider.  Thankfully I have had a lot more sewing time this year, I've been making a lot of handmade gifts - make up bags, cushions, purses and bags.  I made myself and my son some pyjama trousers and I even convinced my hubbie to buy me a new machine for my birthday :-)  I've also been doing a great job of building my stash (hard job but someone has to do it!).

Some of the things I've made this year

I got the chance to learn to embroidery with an embroidery class with Moda designer Aneela Hoey at The Fat Quarterly retreat in June. I blogged about it here. I haven't managed it as often as I hoped since but have worked on a few little embroideries as gifts.

I really do want to make more time for embroidering next year.  I planned to do it whilst watching TV in the evenings but somehow always find myself working until almost midnight so never get the time to embroider. 

Quilting wise I made the top for my quilt, but have to admit I haven't gotten around to sandwiching it and quilting it.  I have the fabric and wadding cut out ready but haven't cleared the space in my son's playroom to lay it all out and baste it.  Maybe I'll get chance over the Christmas holidays.

I do really like it and it would be useful to have it for the winter so I must get a move on! 

Overall though I am pretty happy with how my sewing goals went.  I do have plans for more quilts once this one is finished, and several ideas for embroidery designs so just need the time now.

So what about 2013?  As well as doing more quilting and embroidery I'd like to also learn applique, and learn to sew with knits.  I have some lovely knit fabrics ready and some patterns to hand so I need to get sorted on that.  There's a nice colour block top pattern in the January issue of Sewing World from Julia from Sew Me Something so I've bookedmarked it to make next year.

My friend Ann Haughton (who used to run Suffolk Sewing School) came and taught me applique a few weeks ago so I need to practice that more.  I have plans to applique some t-shirts for my son, I've got them ready by my sewing table so they are on my to sew list!  I also bought lots of lovely flannel fabric from Quilt Me Happy to make more pyjamas for me and my family so they are on my to sew list too.
I would love to get one afternoon a week every single week to sew.  At the moment I manage one or 2 afternoons a month (if I'm lucky). 

Cushion made with 60 year old vintage fabrics for my mum's 60th birthday
Another personal goal I had for 2012 was to read more.  I absolutely love reading and pre-The Sewing Directory used to read several books a week.  The first couple years of the business I was so busy working I only managed a couple books a year!  I'm pleased to say that goal is going fairly well.  I tend to manage around 3 books a month now, generally all in a week and then don't read for a few weeks but it's all good.  For 2013 I want to be reading a book a week on average, I've been buying up second hand books for years so have plenty of choice! 

A lifelong goal of mine is to write a book.  I've been working towards that this year by writing lots of magazine articles, mainly for Sewing World magazine but I've had a few in other magazines too.  In the December issue of Sewing World I wrote 3 seperate articles!  I've now formulated a book idea and am ready to start on the book writing at last.  I will keep you updated :-)

Added 2nd Jan - I decided to add in one more personal resolution in this year, and that is to do all the things I keep putting off. All the jobs I don't really want to do so make excuses not to do like redecorating, DIY jobs, a deep clean throughout the house, sorting through things and throwing out stuff no longer used etc.  I started off pretty well sorting my son's room and getting rid of some of his stuff, I also redecorated his room and replaced his door handles.  Plus I cleaned all the filters in the tumble dryer, washing machine & hoover - something that is supposed to be done regularily and I barely do it annually!

What are your sewing goals for 2013?  If you've blogged about them do add a link in the comments so I can take a look.  Or feel free to put your goals in the comments and I'll re-post the link end of next year so we can see if we achieved our goals.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sewing Directory Meet ups + giveaways galore!

We've decided that after 3 years of running The Sewing Directory that it is time we get on the road and meet some of our site followers. We've decided to hold 3 meet ups in Spring/Summer 2013 in one in London, one in Liverpool and one in Exeter.

Each meet up will involve sewing, cake, fun and chat.  They run for 3-3.5 hours depending on the venue and we are providing sewing supplies, refreshments & prizes (for games and a raffle).  What's more thanks to some very nice sponsors helping us in many different ways the tickets only cost £15!

For full details of dates and what will happen at the meet ups please visit:

Cloud Craft Winner

The winner of the snowflake trim from our blog giveaway with Cloud Craft is...

Katy Morrell from Congratulations Katy please send us your address so we can get your prize sent out.


If you didn't win our blog giveaway don't panic, there are literally hundreds of blog giveaways going on this week as today is Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway day.  Find the links to all the blogs running giveaways here.
Also we are giving away a £50 voucher for Plush Addict, a fabulous online fabric store.  Find out how to enter here - but hurry it ends 6pm tomorrow (4th Dec).
Last and by no means least Tilly and the Buttons is having a huge xmas giveaway, tons of fabrics, patterns and sewing goodies all going towards one lucky winner!  Enter here.

Oh and on the 19th of December we will be putting live a sewing machine giveaway running over Christmas and the new year so don't forget to check back for that :-)

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