From Where I Sew: Flossie Teacakes

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We're starting a new series here on the Backstitch blog.  The series is called 'From Where I Sew' and interviews our favourite sewing peeps.  We take a look at their sewing space, their history and their motivations.  I'm really pleased that Florence from the super UK blog Flossie Teacakes has agreed to be our first subject... Let's see what Florence has to say!

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collage2FROM WHERE I SEW: FLOSSIE TEACAKES

Afternoons perfecting my backstitch are some of my favourite memories of school.  At primary school, while the boys played cricket, the girls were taught how to make a hoop-handled bag up in a small attic classroom.  That kind of gender division would never be allowed now, but I’m so grateful that it was at the time.

Sewing is both my job and my hobby.  The lines are so blurred when it’s something that I enjoy so much and is entirely self-propelled and unedited by others.  I earn money by selling PDF sewing patterns, having sponsors on my blog and occasionally writing for magazines, but I also work alongside my husband at home creating a series of educational apps for primary school children, as well as home-schooling our son once a week.

I’ve been offered some fantastic opportunities through my sewing.  However, I like that all my current work doesn’t have deadline pressures that could potentially lessen the time I get to spend with my children.  This could be perceived as a lack of ambition in me, but it’s more of a conscious decision to hold back for the moment.

This summer we finally converted our attic to create a sewing space and office for me.  After sewing in our bedroom for seven years, I had specific ideas about how my room would work well.  Primarily a huge cutting table and a desk big enough to have my sewing machine, overlocker and laptop set up.

During the day, it’s incredibly peaceful at the top of the house.  I enjoy the solitude, but also how in touch with the weather skylight windows make you feel.  My teenaged daughter’s bedroom is right next to my sewing room so when she’s home, the space has a more communal feel as we pop in and out of each other’s rooms. If I’m in there pottering in the evening, I don’t feel completely cut off from the rest of the family.

Time to sew on my own each week feels like my way of recharging.  Recently, we looked at the way we were spending our working week and agreed that I would have an official uninterrupted sewing day.  I’m incredibly protective over that day and it’s the one day of the week where I will be thoroughly antisocial. The night before I will often have butterflies in my stomach thinking of the day ahead.

I love how sewing opens up a time for absorbing information.  I tend to listen to Podcasts – Woman’s Hour, This American Life, Serial, RadioLab, TED talks.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a fantastic memory, so I can often only relay half of the interesting fact/idea/theory that I heard.  If I have a huge amount of hand-quilting to do, I’ll sometimes pick a box set on Netflix to work my way through.

I fit in hand-sewing whenever I have a spare moment: When discussing work-related things with my husband, waiting for my daughter while she’s at a lesson or watching a film with my family.  I feel disappointed if I don’t have anything set up and ready to sew at those times – it feels like I’m squandering precious sewing opportunities!

I never tend to have more than two projects on the go at once.  I quite like to have one long, ongoing one – at the moment that’s my Passacaglia quilt – as well as a shorter term project.

I shy away from making too many plans as I find them stifling, rather than motivating. I would rather take life as it unfolds and enjoy the spontaneity of plunging into a new project that reflects whatever I’m interested in at that moment in time. I therefore rarely have an on-paper list of creative projects that I’d like to tick off.

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Thank you so much to Florence for being our first guest!  Watch out on the Flossie Teacakes blog next week for a giveaway of Backstitch English paper piecing goodies.  If you enjoyed this post, you can follow the 'From Where I Sew' series here.

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