Featuring You: Daniela from Ela Sews And Doesn’t Sleep

featuring you ela sews and doesnt sleep by thisblogisnotforyou.comHi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed Sabrina’s feature! I’m very excited about the feature today, as I’ve met this little lady in real life! 🙂 I met her at a London blogger meet up and was delighted to have found a fellow German seamstress living in London! Pretty cool, eh? You will be surprised when you learn that she just recently started blogging – you absolutely can’t tell! Her blog, her pictures and her makes are amazing and if you’re a big fan of sewing, quilting, knitting or guinea pigs – you must check out this blog!

Meringue Skirt and Sorbetto Top.

Hello I am Daniela from “Ela Sews And Doesn’t Sleep”. I am so excited that Charlie has invited me to be featured on her blog. Thanks a lot for this opportunity Charlie.

Just let me give you a quick heads up about me. I am 29 years young and in my final month of my practical work for my PhD in biology. I will start writing up in October and will spend loads of time at home then in front of my computer. So that will be a complete change of my life 😉 I live together with my boyfriend and two guinea pigs in London in a little house with a garden. I am lucky enough to have my dedicated sewing space, where I have my sewing machine, fabrics, cutting mats and haberdashery set up. I started sewing seriously about 8 months ago, after having given up on sewing 3 years earlier. I love to sew dresses and skirts and whenever I get frustrated with the fitting process I will take out a quilt and do some free motion quilting. So my blog is not only about my adventures in dressmaking but also about quilting and soon to be come about knitting as well.

Cushion covers

Q: For how long have you been blogging and why did you decide to start a blog?

I started to blog only 4 months ago – so I am still a blogger newbie 🙂 I started to blog because I wanted to share my sewing progress and get some input from other makers. When I started to sew (and it still is like this), I couldn’t stop talking about sewing. How much fun it is, what I want to make – you get the idea. The problem was I had nobody to talk to, to exchange ideas with. Not that it stopped me from telling all about it to my boyfriend, friends and colleagues. But after a while I noticed that they became pretty bored – not my boyfriend though 🙂 So, I started to think about blogging.
Two month further I started my blog Ela Sews And Doesn’t Sleep. And up so far I haven’t regretted it. I am getting input and motivation from other bloggers and I even made friends when attending a bloggers meet-up.


Q: What was your first ever blog post about? How do you feel about it now?

A bit embarrassed? I could have just started with writing about one my makes or a little tutorial, but I thought I need some kind of an introductory post. And then I was sitting there and had not really an idea how to start. It was not that easy to come up with something when the only thing you want to announce is:  Hello I am here 🙂 .


Q: What was the first blog you regularly read?

That was Tilly and the Buttons. I stumbled upon it (and on the world of sewing blogs) when I was looking for info about the Great British Sewing Bee.  I have actually read all of Tillys’ posts because I wanted to know how she became such an amazing seamstress after such a short time.


Q: How and when did you learn how to sew?

The first time I touched a sewing machine was 4 years ago. It was during the term summer break that I decided to sew little cuddle houses for my guinea pigs (see my blog post here). So I bought fabric, batting and thread, printed a tutorial and convinced my grandma to show me how to sew. My grandma had an old Veritas sewing machine, which was actually produced close to where I live. She showed me how to wind a bobbin, to thread a needle and most importantly how to sew 🙂 I then dug up my mum’s old sewing machine, which had been neglected for 15 years and brought it to a service shop. Then I tried to sew at home, but somehow the thread tangled and I thought the sewing machine was still broken. So, I called in the service center to complain and was told the machine is working alright. I then went there with my sewing machine and a very old tailor showed me how to use such an old sewing machine properly.

 Colette Pastille_10

Q: What are you doing when you’re not sewing or writing blog posts?

Mostly working (see below). I have also started to knit and I just love to cuddle up with my knitting next to my boyfriend on the couch. I also love to watch detective movies on Saturday nights. My favorite ones are Agatha Christies Poirot (I have the whole DVD collection), Morse and Lewis (I just love Oxford).


Q: What does a normal day in your life look like?

Very busy and far too short! I get up 6:30 in the morning, have some breakfast and feed my piggies and leave the house at 7:30. Then I have a lengthy tube ride, in which I try to catch up on the newest blog posts, before I arrive at work at 8:15. I try to not leave work later than 5:30 to have some time for myself in the evening. Having had dinner, it is usually already 19:30, which leaves me with 1.5 hours of sewing, knitting or cuddle time. I try to stop doing anything sewing related at around 9:00 because otherwise I can’t fall asleep when going to bed at 22:00. Even reading about sewing or being on pinterest keeps my imagination going and I can forget about sleep.

 simplicity 2346

Q: Do all of your friends/family know that you are a blogger?

Most of them know, but I don’t think anybody is reading it 🙂 My family does not speak/read English, so for them I usually put pictures on my Flickr page. And I guess for my friends, they are just not into sewing.


Q: What are you working on at the moment?

There are so many different projects I am working on. The most important one is a Birthday Quilt for my mum. I started to work on it in March and have to finish mid October so that it is ready when I am going home. I just started to quilt it and it takes up a lot of my time. Because it is a Birthday present, I can’t post anything about it on my blog. You never know, my mum could stumble on it by coincidence.

I am also participating in the Fall for Cotton challenge, where I am going to sew a vintage dress made from cotton only. And as if that was not enough, I have also started to knit a lace scarf.

 very first quilt

rose quilt

Q: What is your go to pattern brand?/ Or if you’re not using patterns, what is your favourite tool/technique to work with?

That’s an easy question! Colette Patterns! I do have the Colette Sewing Book and 4 other patterns. I just love the playful style and great descriptions. But I am trying to venture out a bit and also have the Kelly Skirt Pattern from Megan Nielson and a jersey dress pattern from Maria Denmark. Simplicity and McCalls are also in my stash.


Q: If you had 500 dollar/euros/pound to spend on your blog/hobby, what would you buy?

A mannequin, overlocker, more Colette patterns and fabrics!!!! I would run out of the money quite fast I suppose!

 Colette Truffle

Q: What can we look forward to seeing on your blog in the future?

More me makes 🙂 And hopefully some knits. And as Christmas is approaching, I am planning to do some tutorials to give you ideas for Christmas presents. As soon as I am done with my mum’s quilt, I will get started on that.

 table runner


Featuring You: Sabrina from Wolves in London

featuring you sabrina wolves in london by thisblogisnotforyouHi my lovely readers! It’s Featuring You time again – this time I’m happy to introduce a very skilled lady, who loves sewing, knitting, gardening, etc., makes use of beautiful vintage prints and has the most swoon-worthy garden mood boards on earth. If you love flowers, fabric, a great sense of humour and beautiful photographs – this blog is definitely for you!

Hello hello readers of This blog is not for you! I’m Sabrina and I’ve got a blog called Wolves in London. I’ve been writing it for nearly a year now; the blog started out as a way of documenting my attempt to start up a fabric business, but since I am inherently a super lazy person, the fabric business is still just a little twinkle in my eye, but I’ve been blogging about lots of crafts, sewing, knitting and just the teeniest little bit of fabric design along the way too… Sabrina Q: For how long have you been blogging and why did you decide to start a blog?

I’ve been writing my own blog for nearly a year now. It first went live in December 2012, though I cheated at the time and back-posted three months worth of posts so it wouldn’t look too sparklingly new if someone landed on it in the first few weeks. What I had totally failed to think about was that nobody would land on my blogs for weeks, months even. Days went past where I had not a single visitor, and I would hopefully email links to my Mum to ask her to look at things I’d written and then check the stats to see – no – still no visitors, not even my Mum dropped by. I’m digressing wildly here, but the reason I was slightly naïve about how long it takes to build up a readership on a new blog is that I had previously launched and written a corporate blog for an online travel company I used to work for. The first day that blog launched, it was listed in Google news and had thousands of daily visitors right from day one. So, though Wolves in London is my first personal blog, I did have a bit of blogging experience beforehand. Though, I’ve got to say, very very very little of it has been even remotely useful and I’ve re-learnt most things as I’ve gone…

The reason for starting my own blog was to write about my fabric business that I was allegedly also starting, but soon, of course, the interest in writing the blog itself rather took over and I write it now for its own sake. The fabric design business is still being planned, I hasten to add, but perhaps downsized a little to a simple Etsy shop selling a few things I’ve made with my own Spoonflower designs. World domination might have to wait until 2014 after all.

soap Q: What was your first ever blog post about? How do you feel about it now?

My first blog post was really a much more succinct outlining of everything I just said above! I think it’s still pretty representative of me and my writing. Check it out here if you like: Building a fabric empire.

Q: What was the first blog you regularly read?

There used to be a blog called Little Birds, which I read about seven or eight years ago. It was by Stephanie Congdon Barnes (now to be found at 3191 miles apart) and documented her sewing, things she made and stuff she did with her kids. Her photography was beautiful and she seemed to me, at the time, to display a superhuman skill at sewing. (Not that I am knocking her sewing skills now, of course, it’s just that I now understand it is possible to use your own hands to make something.)

I read it avidly at the time I worked for the aforementioned online company and I would sit in my office in London, reading about this crafter in America and all the fun (photogenic!) things she was doing all the time, which seemed infinitely more appealing than my life.

It introduced me to all these ideas I’d never heard of before. I remember pondering for a long time over statements that she had sold things in her “little Etsy shop” – what was an Etsy shop I wondered? Was this some weird American term that described a small village shop? Did it mean something like “ditsy”? Why was the shop so infrequently stocked? And how did everything in it sell out so quickly? Did she have really amazing passing footfall where she lived?  Perhaps she had a little hatch to her front room, which she opened up onto the street when she had things to sell and a huge stampede of eager buyers would rush down the road, money in hand, to purchase little hand sewn animals for their children.

It was a strange world to me then, but now of course, I see how much she was living the dream!

carrot babygrow Q: How and when did you learn how to sew?

Ha ha! I don’t know that I have really learnt to sew. I first used a sewing machine when I was about 13, doing textiles as part of my CDT GCSE (Craft, Design and Technology, if memory serves correctly). My innate desire to massively overstretch myself was in force back then as well. For my exam coursework project, I decided to create a costume design for Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet fame). I remember it being rather Pre-Raphaelite inspired, in a deep purple, with pointed ends on the sleeves that were held in place over the middle finger. Of course, it was nowhere near finished the night before my coursework was due in, so I distinctly remember my Mum sewing up the hem for me by hand, while my Dad was making the LEDs work on my technology project (a child’s board game that involved cars and traffic lights) and I frantically wrote it all up. I’ve got to say, this is still so close to the way I approach everything now it’s unbelievable. These days, though, it’s my poor partner who is left with the hand sewing to finish something off (which I ALWAYS find boring) while I start writing it up for my blog…

After that, I didn’t really sew for at least a decade, but picked it back up again a few years ago when I made my first version of this doggy draught excluder.

liberty dog draught excluderHaving been a knitter for a few years before that, I was hooked at the possibility of finishing something in an afternoon, rather than a few weeks…

Of the things I’ve sewn since then, my favourites have been this teapot cosy and these little baby trousers:

baby trousers But I don’t spend all my time sewing. I’ve normally got a knitted project on the go too, and can’t resist trying out weird and wonderful new crafts as soon as I find out about them, like shrink plastic jewellery.

shrinky dink lobster necklace Q: What are you doing when you’re not crafting or writing blog posts?

I’ve got a 13 month old toddler, so my blogging and crafting all fits into his nap times or the evenings. Right now, I’m busy getting ready for my wedding which is coming up at the start of September, so I’ve been trying out flower arranging, making favours, and all the other various wedmin bits and pieces. But usually I’m just doing all the main stay at home Mum things: parks, walks, stories and so on and so on. Rock’n’roll, eh?

Q: What does a normal day in your life look like?

6am: Wake up to the sound of my son protesting from next door that it’s time to get up. Sleepily whack partner on the side and ask if he will go and get him up. Roll over and go back to sleep til 7.15. (In my defence, the morning time is generally the only time they can spend together, since the sproglet is in bed asleep by the time my partner returns from work…)

8.30am, partner heads off, we wave him goodbye from the window and I put the sproglet down for his morning nap.

8.30 to 10am, frantically rush around the house trying to simultaneously photograph anything I’ve made recently to go onto the blog, finish making something, write a blog post or two, tidy the house, do the washing up. Decide the house doesn’t really need tidying yet and that I should leave the washing up until there’s a proper big pile of it and all of the plates are dirty. Wonder when we will ever manage to renovate the house and add a dishwasher.

10am, sproglet wakes up. Either head off to meet friends somewhere, amble round Peckham Rye Park, walk up to the Horniman Museum, window shop along Lordship Lane or just mooch around the sitting room seeing how high I can build a tower of blocks before they get knocked over. (Not very high…)

Repeat this general type of activity until…

5.15pm Watch Pointless.  Genuinely. Every single day. I am super addicted to this programme. 6pm supper, bath and bedtime for sproglet.

7.15pm, sit down on sofa. Feel exhausted. Have a glass of wine. Await return of partner. Remember fondly and through rose tinted spectacles the times when we used to do outrageous things like, shock, go to the pub in the evening, or the theatre, or the cinema. Feel secretly pleased that I don’t really have to leave the house this evening and turn on the TV, with some knitting in my hand…

baby bib tutorial Q: Do all of your friends/family know that you are a blogger?

A few friends, and most of my family, though everyone in my family displays a wonderful lack of interest. I occasionally try and bribe my Mum into reading my posts by sending her links saying things like: “There are some pictures of my wedding flowers in this post, Mum” – but normally after a week or so she says, “Oh yes, I saw your email but I was too busy to click on the link…”

Actually, though, I really quite like the fact that the majority of my readers are “strangers” to me (or at least “online friends”). After my first job out of Uni in a big broadsheet newspaper, listening to all the old hands slag off the writing of everybody else first thing in the morning, I have never quite got over a fear of being ridiculed for bad writing. I never link up my blog posts on my personal Facebook page for that very reason. What if a friend reads it and thinks it’s rubbish?! I should get over this, I realise…

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

Oh a million, million things! On the go currently are some bug bags I’m planning on selling in my Etsy shop when I finally open it, plans for a giant car mat for the sproglet, some tea cosies made with my own teapot fabric, a quilt that I’ve been working on for my sister and her husband since, ahem, last November and a present for a friend’s sons which literally just needs a bit of hemming and which I have failed to hem for about six months now.

teapot fabric close up Q: If you had 500 dollar/euros/pound to spend on your blog/hobby, what would you buy?

Well, I’d love to set myself up so I could do screen printing on fabric at home, so I think I’d definitely spend it on supplies for that…

I tried out screen printing a few months back and adored it, but was shocked (shocked to the core!) by the cost of either doing it in someone else’s studio or buying all your own kit to do it at home. Surely there’s a cheaper solution?

Oh, or I would use it as a little starter fund to set up a UK Spoonflower, something we’re desperately lacking here, I think.

Q: What can we look forward to seeing on your blog in the future?

I’ve constantly got ideas for new features and various things for the blog that I somehow never quite get round to actually writing up. At the moment, the big plan is to write a series of how to guides for different types of fabric designing and printing: hand stamping, using Spoonflower, screen printing etc etc. Now just give me a gentle nudge in six months and remind me that I promised that, will you?!

And there will always be lots and lots and lots of waffle. As you can see from my answers here, I find it seriously hard to keep to short writing…

summer bouquet

Btw, isn’t Sabrina’s banner and logo absolutely awesome? It’s designed by  Paola Zakimi for those interested!  

Featuring You: Freya May from the Dressmaking Diaries!

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.comHello my lovely readers! Today I will be featuring Freya May, a great seamstress and all-round talent. Besides sewing, she loves all things creative: knitting, writing, drawing, baking etc. and in the meantime is working on her MA dissertation! Sounds familiar? Her blog is about everything I love doing myself. (I wish you’d live closer to London, Freya May! Hehe.) – Well, luckily, I just finished my dissertation!  I’ve been following her blog for quite a while now and hope you will, too! 

Hey guys! I’m Freya May and I blog over at The Dressmaking Diaries. My blog is my way of documenting my attempt at teaching myself to make clothes, with the odd style, DIY or food post thrown in for good measure.  I was so excited when Charlie asked me to be a part of this ‘Featuring You!’ series- I’ve been reading her blog since the start of the 27 Dresses Challenge and love her work.

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Q: For how long have you been blogging and why did you decide to start a blog?

I’ve been blogging on my current blog for almost a year now, but I started blogging three and a half years ago.  My old blog was more of a random/lifestyle blog and when I started really getting into dressmaking I decided that I wanted to be more focused with my blogging and started a fresh.

Q: What was your first ever blog post about? How do you feel about it now?

My first post was about the first dress I ever made with my mum when I was 14.  It was a super simple style, I’ve seen people on Pinterest refer to it as a ‘pillowcase dress’.  I never wear it anymore, but it was nice to go back and remember the start of my sewing journey and share with my readers where I came from.

Q: What was the first blog you regularly read?

It was called ‘Playing Grown Up’, and it was this super cute lifestyle blog by a young married woman in the USA.  She documented her life and as a newlywed at the time it was nice to see other people in that stage of life.  This blog inspired me to start my first blog and I totally ripped off the name! (Bad Blogger)

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Q: How and when did you learn how to sew?

My mum taught me the basics back in my teens but when I got my own sewing machine for Christmas three years ago was when I really started learning.  I’m self taught, but would love to do an evening class or something soon to help me improve.

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Q: What are you doing when you’re not sewing or writing blog posts?

I’m writing up my MA dissertation (which I’m sooo bored of) and hanging out at home with Dave (my hubby).  I like writing fiction, sketching (although I’m awful and you’ll never see anything I draw on my blog), shopping and running.  I’m doing a 5K training program and really getting into it.  I’m also learning to knit and loving it! Just finished my first jumper and have many plans for more.

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Q: What does a normal day in your life look like?

I wake up about 8 or 9, depending on how late I went to bed, and eat breakfast while reading blogs, facebook etc.  Then I’ll either sit at my laptop and (attempt) to get on with some dissertation work or head in to the uni library when my bike doesn’t have a flat tire (as it does now 🙁 ).  We eat dinner about 6, usually in front of the telly- we’re working through my Buffy box sets at the moment.  After tea I’ll blog/sew/bake and watch more TV before bed.  I’ve just joined the gym so need to find space to fit that in now too!

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Q: Do all of your friends/family know that you are a blogger?

Yeh, I probably shove it in their faces- ‘have you read my blog? I’ve a new post up! I just made this dress, check it out on my blog! Etc’

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve a few projects on the go- naturally 🙂 .  I’m making two yellow summer dresses, one white sundress, my first full sized quilt, pillow cases for our sofa and a bow tie for a friend.

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Q: What is your go to pattern brand?/ Or if you’re not using patterns, what is your favorite tool/technique to work with?

I don’t have a particular favorite pattern brand, I use Simplicity, New Look and McCalls mostly.  I do enjoy using vintage patterns too.  I’m still working my way though different patterns, companies, designs and styles but I would say my favorite pattern so far is McCalls M5094.

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Q: If you had 500 dollars/euros/pound to spend on your blog/hobby, what would you buy?

Fabric and patterns, every last pound would be gone! I would like to start buying independent patterns, so I’d totally use the money on them.  Particularly I’m eyeing up the Belladona dress by deer and doe, the Mathilde blouse by Tilly and the Buttons and Colette Patterns Violet Blouse.

summery fabric stash the dressmaking diaries

Q: What can we look forward to seeing on your blog in the future?

I’m planning on planning my A/W sewing soon, post dissertation hand in date.  I’ve chosen 7 patterns I want to make in the next 6 months, including trousers and a jacket to really challenge myself.  Also I’m doing a house tour.  We’ve just moved in and have almost got our stuff together.  I love poking around other people’s homes, so I thought it’d be fun!  And, hopefully, I’ll share my current projects as they get done.

Featuring you Freya May by thisblogisnotforyou.com

Thanks for answering all my nosy questions, Freya May!
P.S.: I want to steal the shoes you’re wearing in the picture above. Awww.