I wrote this post a while ago and then my computer broke. Its still not working so i am attempting to post this from my phone….
A few months ago, Hattie Sews & Athina Kakou ran a sewing challenge, along with Lisa Kitsch, that sought to highlight how Sewing Makes You Love Yourself (SMYLY). A fantastic and popular challenge, individuals (including myself) came out in scores to share their stories and journey with stories, contextualised within their mental health and/or body image issues. In a world where we are competing with ‘perfect’ instagram posts, or trying to keep up with the most prolific sewing bloggers, it was a refreshing outcome to realise we are all fighting the same battles.
You can read about my SMYLY challenge on my blog, just search back a few posts.
What I personally learned from this challenge is that no matter what you look like, everyone is fighting something. Whether that is me trying to control my weight and deal with being plus size, or the other end of the spectrum where someone conforms to societal ideals in terms of looks but battles with the pressure to keep that up, or anything in between.
When I heard that Hattie and Athina had continued their collaboration and developed an online magazine with the SMYLY theme, everything seemed to click into place. Such a big undertaking, no wonder they were quiet on the Youtube front! By trade Hattie is a communications expert and Athina is a self employed seamstress so it really does make sense. And their end product is nothing but highly professional.
The SMYLY Magazine
As soon as I knew about this magazine I immediately paid for it and downloaded it. There is a lot of opportunity to support individuals in the sewing community and I rarely contribute if I am honest because if I support one individual then I’ll find another to support and it could easily snowball when funds are pretty limited. However, there was no question in my mind; this was a fantastic venture aimed at improving the lives of seamstresses across the board and I wanted to support this in my own little way – also why I am writing this review, they are not sponsoring me.
The magazine itself is very well put together; the graphics are on a par with a printed magazine, with great illustrations and articles. There are prominent individuals from the sewing community featured (Ana from Coco wawa Crafts is on the front cover) as well as shining a light on those less well known. There are some interesting articles such as top tips, patterns of the season, articles from a cultural perspective, focus on specific fabric, an article about those that turned their hobby into a job, an age positivity piece about the benefits of sewing and much more…
The SMYLY Pattern
As with all good sewing magazines, no publication is complete without a dedicated pattern for the edition and SMYLY magazine is no different. This month is the Samantha Dress, a faux wrap dress, that goes from sizes 4-28. Where SMYLY do differ with their pattern is that they have a muse they seek their inspiration from, and with this in mind it really is inclusive of the sewing community.
This week I have been having a sewcation and have a list of projects to work on, however the Samantha pattern quickly became shortlisted to the number one spot. I printed off the pattern the next day and put it together with some soft pink crepe scuba fabric from my shop. I wasnt convinced this was the right fabric for me but it turned out really nicely. The weight of the fabric made the dress feel much more high end than I am used to wearing (light jersey dresses hello!) and it will be perfect for work. I felt amazing in it without even really bothering to see what I looked like in it. This is pretty rare. I normally find it really hard to make a pattern in my size because so much grading has to be done in order to fit me and I don’t have a great time facing up to my sizing. It was so refreshing to be able to make a pattern out of the packet – the first one I didn’t make any fit alterations at all (totally unheard of) and I was happy with the end result. I did do a lot more topstitching than was called for in the pattern because the fabric doesnt respond to the iron and it was the only way to get the fabric to behave in places like the collar and the binding. I posted pictures of myself wearing it on instagram with tripediation – I am not used to exposing myself like this but its turned out to be one of my most popular posts, so let that be a lesson to me!
Here are some pictures my husband has taken of me:
Immediately upon finishing my first one, which took about 4 hours in total, I started a second, this time in Art Gallery jersey in a more playful print. I made the following adjustments to this one:
Shortened the arms by 3 inches to sit at my elbows
Extended the body by one inch and reduced the darts by an inch (the darts could probably be reduced by another inch).
And then I made a third out of some lovely sparkly cat fabric. I had compliments from all age groups with the latter. It’s definitely SMYLY when someone you don’t know approaches you to say they like your dress.
Please check out smyly magazine at smyly.eu 🙂