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January 2016

Hello <<First Name>> 

Have you managed to squeeze in a bit of time for sewing in all the holiday maddness? 

My little family and I escaped the Wheatbelt heat and headed to Albany on the beautiful south coast for a couple weeks.  It was simply blissful.  Very relaxing to enjoy some time out together after the busy-ness of school year finishing and harvest time.  We've come back to cool days and about 40mL of solid rain which is easing me back into things just nicely.

Thank you for your patience while I stepped away from the computer for a while too.  I popped into the Helpdesk group a few times but that was pretty much it.  I've got some Ladybug kits to post out on my next trip to town if you're still waiting for one. 

Talking of time, this month I thought we'd talk about finding time to sew.  

I've read a few new books recently and it seems that  it's not a matter of jumping up and down onto the suitcase of life to stuff a few more thing in but more of prioritising the time you do have to make sure that you make time to do things that fill you up.  

I'm halfway through Pip Lincolne's new book Craft For The Soul.  In it she talks about aiming for nice - not amazing or fabulous but just nice.  I'm pretty lucky that I find sewing a nice thing to do so I thought I'd share how I do it and some suggestions for you to try.

Also in this issue, I've also got some 'ta dah' photos of our Torbay patchwork pillow sewing class to share and a sneaky peek of the pattern I've been writing One Thimble Issue 10 (due out mid February).

What have you been busy sewing?  I'd love to see.

Happy Sewing, ♥ Sarah x

How to Find Time to Sew

Let's just get it out there -- you'll never find time to sew, you have to make time to sew.  Simple right?  Maybe not quite...  

First of all I wanted to tell you more about why sewing is a priority for my time.

Sewing has taught me great patience, something I never used to have a lot of.  It takes time to choose, cut and then piece bits of fabric back together to form a usable object.  I know it's very easy to skip off to the shops and purchase that thing you've been meaning to make but inevitably the pocket is not in the right spot, the fabric is not the right colours or it's just poor workmanship and you know you could do much better.  

I love the problem solving element of my sewing projects.  Manipulating the 3D shapes in my mind and figuring out the best way for the construction to come together - it makes me feel clever when the rest of my world is nappies, nursery rhymes and split bowls of cereal.

Sewing also gives me a greater sense of myself.  So much of my life revolves around my family and the farm that it's nice to have something that's just for me and my inner world.  I enjoy tapping into my creativity - we all have some - and carving out some time in the day to do something I enjoy (rather than horrid old housework, blurgh!).  Those few minutes I spend thinking about fabric choices or how I'm going to sew that bag to be the right size and shape makes my heart sing and my lips smile.
So how do I fit sewing into my day?  Here's a few tips you might like to try...

Sew while they're sleeping

 I love getting up really early and sewing while the rest of my household are sleeping.  You'll often find me sewing in my pyjamas on Sunday mornings.  I love the still and quiet of air at that time and listening to the birds and feeling the warm of the sun flow in as dawn breaks.

I know sewing with little kids around is tricky but there are whole blog posts devoted to sewing projects you can finish in a nap time.  This one and this one as examples...

I also much prefer sewing in the mornings to late nights as my brain and eyes are fresher (I'm just ready to chill on the couch with my laptop after bed time) and even just a few minutes of sewing time will put me in a happy and productive frame of mind for the rest of the day.

Get organised with a plan

It's rare to find time to sew a whole project from start to finish in one day so I make the most of small pockets of time throughout the day.  I often sew in 10 minute stints.  

It helps to read through the whole pattern first and develop a plan of attack before you start.

You don't have to sew a pattern in order and you can jump ahead and prepare elements such as collars or pockets to sew onto
the main garment later.

It also helps to gather all your supplies into a box or ziplock bag so everything is together and is ready to go.  Pop the pattern and any notions you'll need in there too.  Being organised stops you spending most of your valuable sewing time looking for that thing you swear you had in your hand just yesterday.... :) 

Keep a note of any changes you make to the pattern and write down your next step so you can get you started again quickly.   


Sew for short bursts more often

Sewing for a small period of time every day means that it becomes part of your regular lifestyle.  Try it.  For a whole week, set a timer, sew for 15 minutes every day and see what happens.  

Having a timer and a set time scheduled will allow you to completely focus on the tasks at hand.  Schedule a sewing appointment with yourself and set an alarm so you don't get stuck in the Sewing Room Vortex and miss the school pick up or feeding time at the zoo.  I don't subscribe to the thinking that you only have X amount of time .  There's plenty you can do - either sewing or preparing to sew.

Sewing in bursts, even if it's just filling a bobbin, will leave you feeling like you've achieved some forward motion so you look forward to getting back to it again the next day.

High standards of housekeeping are for someone else

I help run our farm, I run Hunting for Ladybugs as a business and I only have sewing as a hobby.

My garden is neglected, my house looks like something exploded most of the time (I keep on top of the basics - laundry, dishes etc) and I would much prefer to stay home and sew than make yet another trip to town.

Our house clean but rarely tidy - it looks very lived in - but I refuse to let the level of my housekeeping, high or otherwise, define me as a wife, mother or person.

Besides, it's not all my crap :)


Set up a dedicated sewing space, if you can

You don't need the luxury of a separate sewing room to do this.  If you can set up your machine on a small table in your lounge or a corner of dining room, use that.  

Having your machine out means that you'll use it.  Same goes for an ironing board and cutting station (if you can manage it).

If you have to drag it out of a cupboard every time, you just won't sew.  

Sew Sweetness blogger Sara Lawson has recently re-organised sewing space and although small, it's mighty.  Check out the inspiration...


What's an Unfinished Object?  Giving yourself a deadline

I make a point to finish what I'm working on before starting the next thing.  I've learnt that I never get the time nor enthusiasm to come back to something once it's off my machine.  It just adds to the clutter and nags me quietly from the corner.  Argh!  Horrid.

I use a countdown, only three seams to go, to help me push through the hard bits, good music to boogie through the boring bits and just get it done.

Every project has something to teach me and the sooner it's done, the sooner I get to move onto something new - UFO-free!

Stacey's hot tip to making herself sew was to give it a deadline.  A new baby arriving or event to wear your garment to will do the trick ;) 

Portable sewing projects

A few years ago I taught myself how to embroider.  It was great to add to my set of skills but it was also something I could take with me elsewhere in the house or while out and about.  You might like to try the hand-sewing hexie craze that's happening at the moment.

Watching TV with the family, waiting rooms, the commute to work on public transport or watching the kids at sports training are all possible places to finish a little stitching.

You can find a video of my favourite handsewing knot here.... Watch Video


What are your tips for fitting sewing into your day?

Ta Dah!  The Torbay Throwpillow Class

One humid Friday in early January I met a fantastic group of ladies in a tiny little wooden hall nestled in the bush.  It was a brilliant venue for our sewing class.

We made patchwork throw pillows using a Quilt As You Go method.  This just means that we quilted each block individually rather than the top as a whole.  It makes it much easier to manipulate the thick layers of fabric and batting with your sewing machine..  And didn't they turn out well!

We had a mix of ages and sewing experience but everyone finished and made plans to make more.  I used this pattern as a base but made some modifications and came up with the cutting list.  I'll get some written instructions out soon :) 

I love teaching sewing and happy to travel a reasonable distance from home so let me know if you'd like a class to happen in your town.

Welcome to Hunting for Ladybugs

We've had a few new faces join our online community lately so a very warm welcome if this is your first email from me.  It's great to have you along.

A bit of an introduction... I'm Sarah Caporn and I sew from our farm in Quairading in WA's Wheatbelt region.  I've been sewing since high school and manage to sew something most days.

Like many others, I got back into sewing when I had a baby at home and a need for an outlet.  I opened HFL in late 2010 with a small Etsy shop.  I soon worked out that sewing the same thing over and over again would send me mad so I now focus on one-off custom orders and I love teaching others how to crack their own sewing nut.  

I have also developed a series of kits that help you learn how to sew remotely.  I love teaching beginners to sew and relish in the moment when you take those new skills and apply them to a new project.  I do I've got plans afoot to put together an online sewing course in 2016 so watch out for that soon.

Web links to check out - - this is where I post lots of useful tutorials.  Everything from threading your machine, replacing your needle to where I buy my sewing supplies online.

There's a few videos and I also list links to the newsletter archives.  Past topics we've covered include what to look for when buying a new machine; cutting tools; marking fabric and how to pre-wash new fabric you buy.  Read more... - Visit my shop for a full list of all the kits currently on offer.  That's the Ready, Set, Sew Tool Kit pictured above.

Each kit includes step by step photo instructions and all the supplies you need to sew the project - fabric, ribbons and thread.  Everything!  Hassle-free sewing :)

I've got a few idea for new kits but I'd love to hear your suggestions of projects you'd like to be stepped through how to sew.  Hit reply and let me know.

HFL Helpdesk Group (Facebook) - Our online hub of sewing nuts.  There's no such thing as a silly question so fire away with anything that's sewing related - troubleshooting your thread tangles, fabric sales you've seen or pattern recommendations.  Love to see you there.

I'm also only to happy to help via email.  If you've got a question, zap it through and I'll see if I can help.  I look forward to getting to know you all better in 2016 ~


As I mentioned, I've been at the coast for a couple of weeks.  Although I packed my sewing machine and had big plans to sew something while we were away, it just didn't happen.  Who wouldn't want to sit in the ocean that's this colour?

My mum and I did manage this major 1000 piece kinda-like- patchwork accomplishment :)  Yes, there's two bits missing and no, we have no idea where they went.  We even checked the vacuum cleaner bag...

I did manage to sew a sample pillow and panel for the Torbay class - 

... and write the pattern for the Clubhouse Cushion (it's a giant floor pillow) for One Thimble's Issue 10.  It's full to the brim of autumnly goodness to get stuck into sewing after the mid February release date.  I'll be sure to share more in the next newsletter.

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While they make take a little longer than 10 minutes, Amber of Crazy Little Projects has written a great list of quick and easy sewing projects to get you started in style.  Click the image to read the list. :)  Happy Sewing!
About Sarah

Hi!  I'm excited that you've subscribed to my newsletter and even more that you've made it all the way to the bottom.  

It's my goal to teach you how to sew, no matter where you live. To inspire others to drag out their sewing machines and make it come to life.  I want you to share that tingly feeling of pride in saying "thank you I made it myself". 

I live on a wheat and sheep farm in the Western Australian Wheatbelt region.  When I finally pull myself out from behind my sewing machine, you’ll find me tending a sadly neglected garden with a G&T in hand while the kids bounce on the trampoline. I may also be found occasionally in the sheep yards helping my farmer husband.
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