Strive for Progress, Not Perfection

A look back at where my sewing journey began and the progress I’ve made from 2017 to 2021.

On 2nd March 2017, my sewing journey began. I initially started this blog to document my thoughts as a new sewist and to see progress in the quality of my makes. Very recently, I took the time to re-read my previous posts and marvelled at just how much love and passion I had for all things sewing, at such an early stage in my sewing adventure. I was unwavering in my quest to improve my skills and share my makes. Not only was I extremely ambitious with my sewing goals, but surprisingly pragmatic when faced with sewing challenges. When I look back at my posts and my very first sewing projects, I’m filled with so many emotions (predominantly joy), and I have some great memories. I’m so glad that I was meticulously detailed in those early posts. I really get a sense of the direction in which I wanted to take my sewing.

As is always the case, life intervened and thus began a 3 year hiatus from regular sewing and blogging. On reflection, the time away has simply strengthened my passion for sewing and added another dimension to my sewing journey. Now, I want to introduce as many people to this wonderful craft in order to encourage creativity, promote self-care, and highlight the benefits of sewing on maintaining positive mental health and well-being. I want everyone to feel the therapeutic effects of sewing that I, and many others in the sewing community, enjoy every time we participate in a sewing-related activity.

It is no understatement when I write that I am nothing short of amazed to see the progress that I have made in my sewing journey. I used to write regularly about my wish to open an Etsy shop to sell handmade items. In part, that came to fruition when in March 2020, I launched my website Quilted Beau, opening a sewing-related business. I’ll write more about my business in a future post, but it’s amazing for me to have achieved one of my goals that I set all those years ago. Despite the many changes and challenges I’ve encountered along the way.

My sewing business

The quality of my makes has certainly improved. The amount of time it takes me to complete a project has decreased, which is just as well because I have two children under the age of 3 years to contend with. My fabric stash has grown since my last post in 2017 showing my fabric purchases. I now have a designated sewing room, as opposed to being assigned to the dining room table. This progress has all been gradual but steady. It’s not until I read my posts from 2017 that I could take stock of just how far I’ve come in my sewing journey….and in life.

My sewing room

To those of you reading this post who have recently embarked upon your own sewing journeys, I encourage you to keep persevering through the first weeks and months. There will be many learning curves (steep and at times unforgiving) but I promise you that it will be worth it in the end. Don’t believe me? Go and have a read of my previous posts from the early days of my sewing. They are no holds barred in terms of how I feel, and my makes leave a lot to be desired. Then, have a look at my current work. Things will get better and you will improve with time and practise. I’m certainly not perfect, I still make mistakes and I still have a lot to learn, but the progress is undeniable and I will joyfully celebrate it.

A handbag I recently made
I surprised myself with the quality

It’s now time for me to embark on another stage of my sewing journey. Spreading the word about how amazing sewing is, the fun that can be had creating your very own projects, and how beneficial it is for maintaining positive mental health and well-being. If you’re reading this and you’ve never sewn a day in your life, hopefully I’m about to change that!

Sewing 4 Self Care

Mental health is wealth. Get sewing and watch yours improve!

There’s a global pandemic. Our lives have been turned upside down. There’s turmoil, uncertainty and we are unable to see our friends and family. It feels almost pointless to make future plans because we don’t know if, or when, they will change. Our mental health is suffering. Don’t get mad…get even! Flip the situation around and start something new.

Why not take up sewing? Make something that will cheer you up. Or, make a gift for someone else to make them smile. Get lost in the process of choosing what you want to make. Will you start with a small project, like a cushion? Are you feeling brave and want a challenge, so you go straight for something you can wear…a coat, perhaps? Or new home decor… curtains anyone??

Whatever you choose, getting started is the key. You’ll never know how much fun you’ll have choosing fabric, until you start looking for just the right one for your project. Warning: IT’S ADDICTIVE!! Creating a fabric stash is a hobby in itself. It comes along with the sewing territory. You won’t even notice how much your fabric collection has grown until you need a new room to house it all!

Winter is fast approaching. Lockdowns are looming and there’s nowhere to go. Whether you’ve got lots of free time on your hands, or you need to escape the family for a few hours, get sewing! It’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done for YOU!

Guess Who’s Back Again…

A very brief return to sewing and blogging in 2017.

It’s been over 4 months since my last post and I’m thrilled to write that I’m finally back. I’m also delighted to see that my blog has reached a few more people since I last posted. I must admit that such an extended break was unexpected however, since my last post, the following has happened (here are a few photos to set the scene):

1) I went back to full time work and started a new job as a junior sister. I’m now working as a clinical education facilitator (a fancy job title for looking after all of the students in the hospital). Part of my role also includes working clinically, which means I get to keep my nursing skills up-to-date.

The day I received my uniform

2) I began commuting once more. We now wake up very early and get home very late, 5 days a week, travelling across 3 different counties (Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire). We are a one car household and, just to be awkward, we both work in different counties. This means that we spend approximately 4 hours a day in the car.

3) I had emergency kidney surgery after becoming acutely unwell whilst at work. The bonus is that work happens to be a hospital, so the problem was identified and rectified quickly. The downside is that I then had to make the long journey home, post-surgery, to start recovering….1 week before my wedding!!


Corrine and Jaime_111
Wearing the ‘Mildred’ Pronovias dress.
My love and I
Our first dance

5) We went on a 2 week HONEYMOON to MAURITIUS!!!

No filter!
Our private suite

6) We are selling our current property and searching for a house to buy. This is particularly exciting because it will be our first home purchase together and it means that we can a) end the hideous commute to and from work and b) start a family.

All in all, it has been a very busy 4 months. Needless to say, I have done absolutely NO sewing! Although I’ve still managed to increase my fabric stash! What little time I have left in the evenings has been taken up with cooking, eating and preparing for the next working day.

I’ve missed my Lil Juki and being a part of the sewing community. On a therapeutic note, I have really missed the deep joy that comes with starting and completing a project. Sewing works wonders at relieving my stress, which is much needed with settling into the new job, commuting and the impending house move. I also have aspirations of turning my passion for sewing into a profitable venture. For these reasons, I’ve made the decision to make the time for my sewing (and this blog) once again.

Over the coming months, I plan to complete some projects in the limited time that I have available and share my experiences with you along the way. One thing’s for certain….it’s good to be back!

My First Nomination – Sunshine Blogger Award

A surprise nomination for a blogging award.

It’s been a wonderful surprise and a proud moment for me to receive my first ever nomination for an award. I’d never have imagined 6 weeks ago that I’d be writing a blog that people would enjoy reading, so this first nomination means an awful lot. A GIGANTIC THANK YOU to the fabulous Mrs.S.LDN for nominating me.


I highly recommend that you take a cheeky look at this lovely lady’s blog at She blogs about living in London, being married, her travels and her thoughts and feelings on life. It is a joy to read and she’s one of the bloggers where I eagerly await the next post. The only reason I don’t click like on every single post is for fear of being considered a stalker!

What is this award?

“What is this award, anyway??” I hear you ask. Well, I’ll tell you: The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are inspiring and bring sunshine into the lives of their readers and fellow bloggers. I gratefully accept this award and will share the sunshine by nominating some of the bloggers who I feel shine the brightest in my life. There are far more than 11 but that’s the amount I have to choose, so I will save the others for another award when the time comes.

How it works – The Rules:

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award (making sure each one knows they are nominated) and write them 11 new questions to answer.

Thank you for this interesting set of questions, Mrs.S.LDN. Here are my answers. I hope they don’t disappoint:

1) If you could be any other nationality, other than your own, which would you be?

Spanish. I adore the culture. The Spanish way of life is so relaxed, very family-orientated and they have a great work/life balance. I easily get stressed out, so I admire their relaxed disposition and zest for life.

2) If you could buy the holiday home of your dreams, where would it be?

Mauritius, which also happens to be our honeymoon destination. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to visit. Having the opportunity to own a holiday home there would be an absolute dream come true!! (Please take note all potential, generous benefactors).

3) Would you ever jump out of a plane? Parachute included 🙂

ABSOLUTELY! I’ve always wanted to skydive. The longer I leave it, the more pressure I feel to be a responsible adult and keep my feet placed firmly on the ground…I best get jumping out of a plane soon then!

4) If you could domesticate any wild animal to have as a pet, what animal would you pick?

Giant Panda – so that it could be as cute and cuddly as it looks.

5) What household chore would you like to never have to do again?

Laundry! It’s a job that never gets done because there will ALWAYS be something dirty to wash. No matter how much you try and keep on top of it, the laundry pile always wins!!

6) What’s your favourite cocktail?

Choosing a favourite is tricky, because I simply ADORE cocktails. I would have to say that my absolute failsafe is a Piña Colada – an oldie but a goodie.

7) Can you parallel park?

Yes. How well depends on the day, my mood, the car I’m driving, the weather…

8) What kind of food do you like to snack on?

Anything and everything!!! This is my problem!! I love food too much and I’m scared that my wedding dress will hate me for it.

9) Can you go a whole day without your phone or access to wifi?

I could go a whole lifetime without a phone or access to wifi. I think not being able to access so much information would make me less stressed and anxious in life.

10) Would you rather read the book or watch the movie?

Read the book. The characters in my head always look much better than the choice of actors/actresses in the films.

11) What is your signature dish?

A Sunday roast with all the trimmings.


My Nominees

Now for the difficult part. I’ve managed to choose my 11 nominees and they are as follows:

  • Saturday Night Stitch – Hila has so much energy and a great thirst for life. It’s evident in every post. Plus, she looks AMAZING in her sewing creations. My goal is to sew AND look as fabulous as her in the future. #lifegoals
  • Olive and Clo – I’m absolutely blown away by Linda’s dedication, commitment, attention to detail and impeccable taste. Overall, her sweet and fun nature comes across so well on her site. A beautiful individual inside and out.
  • Carmen Sews – I feel as though Carmen is my older, American sister. Those few steps ahead, achieving all of the things that you have in mind to, but you’ve only just started your journey. Whenever I see that Carmen has achieved something fantastic in her sewing, it gives me the encouragement to carry on and succeed.
  • Thimberlina – The simple fact that Ali is from Yorkshire is enough for me! I had some of my best experiences studying and living in Yorkshire and the people are lovely. As if that wasn’t enough, she sews and plays golf! I love her passion for sewing and her involvement in the sewing community. That’s definitely something that I aspire to.
  • The Crafty Mummy – Kasia is just a bundle of joy. She was the very first person to reach out to me, via my Facebook page, when I first started on my sewing journey. These first few months of blogging and starting something new are the hardest, but I found her blog and her story so encouraging. Also, she has a successful business creating lovely products and her blog is filled to the brim with beautiful photographs. #businessgoals
  • Life as I Interpret It – An inspirational individual whose blog I find motivational. Also, such a lovely person who offers encouragement and support to others.
  • Paper Puff – SO creative!! I love seeing the next creation and admiring the patience and talent required to make cards with such a great level of care and dedication.
  • Sew Norfolk – Danie is a fellow Norfolk resident, so I immediately feel an affinity with her blog. She has started an Etsy shop, which is my next goal and I enjoy watching her progress with her projects.
  • Smile and Make – Lucy is simply inspirational! She is raising funds for brain tumour research in memory of her husband, through The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund. Read more here: Lucy’s handmade garments are spectacularly bright and unique and her passion for life and for fundraising is extremely admirable.
  • Crafty Crusader – When I read this blog, I feel as though I have found my London counterpart. This lady can turn her hand to baking, sewing, knitting, gardening and produce something great.
  • Self Assembly Required – Emily’s blog was one of the first I followed. It was through reading her posts that I found out about ‘The Bettine’ pattern and completed my first, me-made, dress. I love her enthusiasm and passion for sewing, plus the way she challenges herself with her projects. Whether that be with her choice of fabric or the different twists that she incorporates into the design. In my eyes, she’s definitely part of a group of sewists who set the trends in the sewing community and I avidly follow!
3d human with a red question mark

Here are my questions for my nominees:

  1. Did you have any other names in mind for your blog (if so, what were they)?
  2. If you could choose a language to be fluent in, which would it be?
  3. What is the best joke that you know?
  4. When it comes to food, do you prefer sweet or savoury?
  5. Which blog post are you most excited to upload?
  6. What is your favourite project that you have completed so far?
  7. What was your last search on Google?
  8. What song can you not get out of your head at the moment?
  9. What is the best gift that you have received?
  10. If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower?
  11. What is your favourite day of the week?

To my nominees, you are free to accept or reject this award (no offence taken). Either way, you will continue to be a source of inspiration for me. To those of you who do take part, I’m looking forward to seeing your answers!

Happy Anniver-SEW-ry!!!

Celebrating my first month of sewing.

Today is my one month anniver-SEW-ry!!! 4 weeks ago to the day, I went to my first ever sewing class and fell in love with sewing. I have barely stopped sewing ever since and I am loving every minute of it! I posted a quick message on Instagram to mark the occasion. Here’s to many more weeks, months and years of sewing to come. The sewing journey is well and truly underway and long may it continue.

You Are Not Alone: Advice From One Newbie to Another

Thoughts from a new sewist.

I’m very new to the sewing community and to say that I’m a very keen sewist is an understatement. The most frustrating thing for me at present is this: my skills do not match my creativity. Sound familiar? This can make me feel downhearted, particularly as there are so many wonderful projects I would love to attempt. Even the simplest projects get me flustered and take much longer than I anticipate. I am happy to report that I am making progress and in each project I am challenging myself in a variety of ways, whether it’s learning a new skill, or using a more challenging type of fabric. As I come to the end of my third week of sewing, I want to share some of the most significant things that I have learnt on my sewing journey thus far.

1) There’s a lot of getting it wrong before you get it right:

Make friends with your seam ripper. Seriously!! Be prepared to feel frustrated, mildly annoyed, and even to shed tears and want to give up. Not wanting to finish a project for a few days (or even longer) because you’re struggling with hemming/interfacing and you can’t face unpicking ANOTHER seam is completely normal. Having lots of these moments when you first start out is a given. The quicker that you embrace the fact that making mistakes are inevitable, the better that you will get at rectifying them and independently finding solutions to your problems. This helps to improve your sewing skills.

2) A sewing room is the dream. The dining room table is the reality:

My fiance and I live in a 2 bedroom, mezzanine flat. The small living room where our dining table lives is now bursting at the seams with sewing-related items, as well as everything else we’ve managed to fit into it (musical instruments, coffee table, bookcases, sofas etc). The dining table, which often turns into an office desk, or a place to collect regularly used items that never get put away, has most recently turned into a sewing table. It’s where my sewing machine, overlocker, material and various sewing tools live. Navigating the living room is a challenge at the best of times, but its a space that helps with my creativity. When you first start out sewing there’s not always an ideal space. What matters is that you find any space you can in order to get going with your sewing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to work for you.

NB: Try to keep your sewing space as tidy as possible, especially if it’s not very spacious. After every sewing session, I tidy up all of my off-cuttings, scraps, etc and leave the space presentable for the next time. There’s nothing more depressing/off-putting than returning to a project and there’s mess everywhere.

3) You are NOT alone:

It seems as though everyone else in the sewing community is an experienced dressmaker/sewist and you are the only one struggling to improve. This just isn’t true and even the most experienced dressmaker/sewist will have times when they feel as though they just can’t seem to get it right. There is no project that is perfect the first time around – there are always things that you wish you could have executed much better, additions/alterations you want to make in the future, lessons to be learned, unpicking to be done!

I must admit that I have struggled to find established blogs of sewists that have just started out, but there are a few out there and when I read about their experiences I immediately feel a sense of relief and camaraderie. I then start to have much more positive thoughts about my sewing journey, such as: “That happens to them too!” “So it’s normal to feel this way.” “I’m not the only one who thinks a project will take 2 days and it lasts 2 weeks.”

Starting from scratch is never easy, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone with those feelings. That’s exactly why I started blogging. If one person in a similar position reads just one of my posts and feels encouraged to continue their own sewing journey, despite the trials and pitfalls encountered at first, then all of my efforts have been worth it.

4) Things do get better:

After 3 weeks of sewing I am amazed at how much of the terminology I now understand. I know the basics of a sewing machine, having never owned or used a sewing machine previously. I can make 5 different items reasonably well. I know the basics of using an overlocker. I even created a pattern for a tie because I wanted to make one but did not have a pattern to use. Most importantly, I have the desire to continue pushing myself and  improving my skills – next up, making garments. Definitely not what I expected myself to be thinking of sewing after only 3 weeks. All of these mini victories are proof that things do get better and much easier with time. Just keep at it.

5) There’s an entire community out there:

There is an established sewing community that is welcoming, supportive and extremely helpful. Find ‘sewcial’ events that you can get involved in, or join the online community. There is help and advice available from a variety of sources. Make sure that you use them. I am just starting to get more involved in the sewing community. It’s a bit daunting and I really need to give myself a push but I’m willing to step outside of my comfort zone, in order to improve my skills and make some new friends along the way.

I really hope that this post gives encouragement to another newbie. I intend to read it back to myself whenever I feel discouraged or disheartened by my sewing abilities. I hope that one day I can look back at this post and appreciate how far I have progressed. For now, it’s back to re-starting my latest project – zipper pouches. Now THAT experience is a story and a half. I’ll save that for my next post. Until then, happy sewing!

…and Sew it Begins…

Where it all started. The beginning of my love for sewing.

I’ve suddenly found myself with more time on my hands than I imagined. Ordinarily, I work full time but that’s all changed indefinitely. Long story short, my job has caused me to burn out and as a result, I’ve been signed off work for 3 weeks. This, incidentally, is the exact amount of weeks I have left to work my notice. I am home at the start of the working week wondering ‘What next?!’ The thoughts going around in my head like a merry-go-round are: ‘Do I even want the same job? Should I change career? You get married in 4 months, you NEED a job NOW, forget a career change! SO…WHAT job? Do I even want the same job??!!’ I think you get the gist. Suffice to say, I need an activity to calm the frenzied, panicked voice in my head that’s stuck on repeat and simply will not shut up. Something that will relax me and enable me to recover from the symptoms of stress that I’ve unwittingly accumulated, like spare change in my purse: insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, tearfulness…

It’s been on my mind for the past 2 months to take up sewing as a hobby, but with very little spare time, this has been impossible. I have the spare time now, and I certainly would benefit from a pastime that could help to improve my mental health and well-being. A quick Google search looking for beginner sewing classes has led me to a learning venue called Makeplace . They offer a variety of beginner and intermediate classes and at the end of the class, you leave having completed a project. This is exactly what I’m looking for; a two and a half hour session that will give me a taste of sewing. If I don’t like it, I never have to attend another class, I won’t have invested any money into equipment and I at least go home with a new piece of soft furnishing to add to my burgeoning collection. I’ve taken the decision to book into a class for the Saturday. Now to wait….I’m very excited!