anja sew-and-so

This site is about crafting and other things for the soul.



Crafting is teaching me 

  • Patience

I am NOT a patient person. Anyone who knows me will tell you once I have an idea I need to realise it, like 10 minutes ago. But sewing requires detailed planning and thinking through. Although I hardly make notes my brain starts whizzing as soon as a conscious idea forms and I realise it can be done. I’m very grateful for being able to visualise an idea quite well before I’m doing it. However that also means that my brain is always 1 or 2 steps ahead. That gets exhausting, especially if you’re also trying to deal with the present simultaneously. So this is where sewing teaches me patience. It teaches my brain to calm the f down until I get to that step. I already know what I’m gonna be doing next so stop obsessing over it!

I reckon it also teaches my boyfriend patience. He’s learning to wait for me to be done with my madness… I feel a bit bad but it’s not really anything I can control atm. That’s something I’m still trying to learn. One step at a time, ey …?!

  • Less is more

I’m always one for embellishing, improving, just-one-more-thing-ing and crafting teaches me that less is more sometimes. Does that bias binding really have to be pink? Or lacey? Or do you really need a trim on that? That frill is kinda weird on that bag, nah? 

Crafting is a time to experiment and yes, some frill here and there never hurt anyone, but if you spent too much time a day on one particular thing – it might drive you a bit mad, and yes, that frill looks weird on that bag. Take it off, right now. Back to basics.

  • Appreciation of social interaction 

This might seem like a weird one but hear me out. Crafting can be lonesome and I don’t mean it badly. I love it to sink my teeth into an idea, get my head down and not reappear until the vision is realised. I forget to drink, eat and sometimes sleep when this happens (thanks for that btw, I miss my bed). Luckily I work in an office where I have to see people 5 days a week. And I really cherish that time now, more than before. I’m still a pretty grumpy b* sometimes, pardon my French, but I don’t really mean it. I probably think about my next project while trying to be ‘present’ (#pretencious) with the folk at work. This is quite a challenge. And I’m working on it. 

(I’m kind of a ‘good things come in threes’ kinda girl so I’ll think of another three things that crafting teaches me another time.)

What I’ve Learnt about Wrap Tops (so far)

I’ve now made a fair few of these wrap tops and I thought I’d share some insights into my learning curve with you.

  • Choosing fabric is not as easy as it sounds. The best kind to use is a cotton, it’s nice and lightweight for a summer crop top and easy to work with. It also means it won’t shrink in a normal wash (30/40 degrees) so you don’t have to wash the fabric before sewing (what a pain that would be be, I just wanna get sewing!).
  • For me it works best as a crop top. That might be because I’m a pear shape and love skirts but it is also easier to make. I’ll publish a couple of posts about how to make a longer wrap top in September, ready for the end of summer. (You see I’ve got plenty ideas for what to write about already, my blog schedule is rammed ^^)
  • It’s better to line them fully – this gives them more stability and makes them feel more substantial, like an actual garment rather than a cloth you’ve thrown around your neck. This also – if done right – makes every wrap top you make reversible. Such wow! It also doesn’t really take more time to line it fully, it’s actually a bit of a pain to just line the neckline because it’s more fiddly.
  • Bias binding is my new favourite thing – it means you don’t have to cut 100% perfect and can just hide your mishaps. It also means you don’t lose any width/length, and it provides a smooth and accentuated finish.
  • No fabric is printed level – if you want straight lines / the pattern to run perfectly vertically or horizontally – cut the fabric precisely, don’t rip it.
  • Even if it’s a simple design – it’s worth doing every step as best as you can. It will just annoy you if you’ve scrimped on cutting the fabric properly and torn it instead. Most fabrics tear straight but the pattern often isn’t straight or the way it’s torn doesn’t match your second (lining) piece. That’s just annoying, take time to draw the measurements on properly, or even draw on pattern paper first.
  • If you want to make ‘a quick one’ buy plain fabric or a fabric with a pattern that doesn’t have a set direction, geometric patterns are good for this. This way you can just cut 1 piece of each fabric and don’t have to join front and back so the back isn’t upside down.
  • The optimum length for the bow for me is 176 cm (my waist is 76 cm). That’s not too long and not too short to make a bow with. (It is also my height. Coincidence?) So maybe the perfect bow formula = [waist] + 100 cm?
  • You can have a wine or two when making them but not much more. There’s a lot of straight lines to sew…
  • But most importantly: Wrap tops are SO versatile. Let your imagination run wild, the possibilities are endless! Show me your creations!

A Balance in Life

Most of us have a crazy hectic lifestyle compared to 10 years ago. Constantly being ‘plugged into’ technology, chasing to catch up with the ever-lasting being bombarded by emails (personal or work-related), always feeling that we’re late for something, anything, everything, rushing to get there.

Get where?

When I was working on finding back to myself, getting more into crafting, I realised that ‘there’ was neither here nor ‘there’. We all know what ‘there’ is for each of us, maybe a place where we can afford that all-inclusive-holiday next year, maybe it’s somewhere we won’t smoke anymore or a place where you’ve become irreplaceable at work. But that place is a sort of construct of our mind, isn’t it? Because even if we reach our goal, there will always be something else that’ll make us “happier” or “more fulfilled”. Maybe next time it’s that newest smartphone, or the nice car or the full-body skirt or [insert your thing here] (bad consumerism, bad). We never arrive ‘there’, and therefore we will never be “happier” or “more fulfilled”, we’ll keep chasing after ‘it’. I’m really bad for doing that. And I’d rather not, really.

So crafting has become a way of trying to go back to basics for me. Learn new skills, zone into the old-fashioned way of doing things, unplugging from the constant noise a little bit. (I still have an office job, staring at a screen all day, so no thank you to TV. Let’s get the books out or craft with an audio book on – they are the best!)

Getting this office job was such a relief financially. From student to 18k+ felt like hitting the jackpot and I started ‘treating myself’, I still do this now and I’d like to stop! I’d like to save some money (for a house, for a holiday, for an unexpected bill?) but I keep thinking I’m not saving for anything tangible. What’s the point in saving if you can’t see what for? I enjoy spending the money I work for, you know, the money I drag myself out of bed for every morning (I’m not a morning person). I have a few friends who are just not into that kind of materialism, and I must admit I envy them for being able to not give in to that/ live without the urge to buy, buy, buy.

In a way crafting hasn’t helped with THAT at all, because of the supplies and pretty fabrics and gadgety tools you can buy to make your life ‘easier’…

OK, what am I trying to say? This went off course a little bit.

I’m trying to get over this materialistic habit because I KNOW that ‘stuff’ isn’t going to be the thing that makes me “happier” or “more fulfilled”. I’m striving to achieve a good balance in life, a good level of going with the (technological) flow while trying to unplug in the right situations, a healthy relationship with my (fleeting) money, slowly. It’s a process, ok??

Any tips here? I could use some help :S xx

Liberty Cushion (No Zip Needed)

Hello (again),

Cushion covers are so dead easy to make which is why this is more of a Monday inspiration post…

I found this gorgeous Liberty fabric on Etsy. I initially wanted to make another wrap top from it (of course) but when it arrived I realised it was more of an upholstery fabric. I was kind of disappointed, imagine the amazing top it would’ve made! Upon seeing the fabric a friend of mine only uttered these words: “Uh I feel some cushions coming on…”

And yes, why not! Brilliant idea! I never thought I’d be excited about making cushion covers but this fabric… ❤

So this is the result:


You will need:

  • 1m of fabric (for 2)
  • a cushion/pillow
  • (that’s it, no zip needed)

And this is HOW YOU * Craft It Yourself * 

  • Measure the cushion you want to cover. I have square cushions but you might have rectangle ones so please adapt the steps.
  • For a 45x45cm cushion, I made a 40x40cm cover to fill the cover properly, get a more snuggly result.
  • You’re basically going to cut 3 pieces – 1 for the front, 2 for the back (overlapping).
  • For a 40x40cm cover, I cut a 42x42cm front piece (1cm seam allowance all around), and 2 pieces of 27x42cm. That results in a 5cm overlap at the back.


  • Work out which one of the back pieces you want on top and which one on the bottom. Hem both pieces so that the overlapping sides are hemmed.


  • Lay the 3 pieces on top of each other – front piece right side up, and both back pieces to match the front, wrong sides up.
  • Pin and sew together with a 1cm seam allowance.


  • Turn inside out and stuff in the pillow – \\ THAT’S IT, WELL DONE! //

And this is how it looks on the back:

IMG_9255  IMG_9256

Hope you have a great week!

Cu soon x

Why do people find the term ‘crafternoon’ so funny?

It’s the perfect combination of craft and afternoon (movie reference intended). And the perfect definition of crafting in an afternoon. Which is anything a full-time employed crafter can hope for. 

Enjoy yours today if you had the genius idea to take Monday off… I reckon registered crafters should get extra days off work. I’m going to look into this. 

Who of you would sign the petition for me?

In the meantime – enjoy these crafty cats.

il_340x270.494012761_drz3(found here.)


(found here.)


(many others can be found here.)


(you can buy this here.)

Every Brilliant Thing

This year at the Brighton Festival I went to see the show Every Brilliant Thing. It was amazing! Brilliant even!

The story is about a guy who, trying to deal with his mother’s depression, starts a list of every brilliant thing in the world. He tried to leave them non-materialistic. It starts like this:

  1. Ice cream
  2. Water fights
  3. Things with stripes
  4. Christopher Walken’s voice
  5. Rollercoasters

(This is the entry I got to read out loud, nr 777,777:)


and it goes on and on and on, the list encompasses nearly 1 million brilliant things! I really recommend you go and see it if it comes to ‘a town near you’ 🙂 It’s wonderfully uplifting and makes you wanna start a list yourself!

And that’s exactly what I did…. I reckon I’ll work on it in the future 🙂

  1. a summer breeze in the stifling heat
  2. a good, heart-felt hug
  3. a soft, sweet white wine
  4. the world/ universe of Harry Potter
  5. starting a new book on a summer’s day in the park
  6. sweet popcorn
  7. fairy lights
  8. the beginning of a F.R.I.E.N.D.S. marathon (and the rest of course but that’s just too big of a concept to handle right now)
  9. artificial flowers (because I hate seeing real ones die)
  10. anything cat-related (really, anything)
  11. spontaneous afternoons off work
  12. sunshine
  13. the smell of freshly baked anything, especially bread
  14. the colour of green in spring and summer
  15. crafting (of course)
  16. 99 cone of ice cream
  17. new technology
  18. a good conversation that covers everything and anything
  19. having a few close friends, not a lot of acquaintances
  20. lamb (sorry to the veggies out there)
  21. sitting on the sofa watching food programs snuggled into a big duvet (in winter)
  22. good storytelling in movies (e.g. Good Will Hunting)
  23. the smell of parks
  24. the smell of autumn
  25. sitting in the sun with nothing around except a strolling cat
  26. BBQs 

I think I wanna keep this up… It really, really makes you feel great about life. What a beautiful idea and thing to share with people ❤

What would be on your list?

Life is But a Dream

One of my biggest girl crushes is the wonderful Beyoncé, the Queen B of pop, a fighter for all womenkind.

I don’t always like her music but I love what she stands for, her uncompromising determination and endless energy.

Her documentary Life is But a Dream never fails to make me wanna go out there and do s***. You know, change the world (one crafty project at a time…)! It’s so empowering and I recommend anyone who feels down or not sure about their calling to watch it (even if you’re not a woman). It’s just beautiful.

Brighton Etsy Craft Purrrty

So this happened on 04/06! What a genius idea, I couldn’t contain myself when I read it in the May issue of Mollie Makes. A party for crafters to craft with wine and cupcakes! Apparently this happens every year. I prepared by doing some paper weaving (it’s so fiddly but could do a post if you want?):


Then at the party I did some paper cutting with the lovely Fleur de Carotte. It didn’t go so well so I didn’t take a picture… Go and check out her blog though there might be a tutorial somewhere for this. If not you can ask her very nicely to make one 😉


But at another table with LadybirdIikes I was totally in my element and I made this foxy paper fox: 11312784_10206886057016895_5601370738702947778_o And then I got to meet my hero Toby from I Like Cats and got this awesome poster. I think I freaked him out a bit with my “Oh my god, that’s Toby from I Like Cats!”. Ah well. 11147181_10206885931693762_5674072287184529918_n All in all a pretty great evening! Looking forward to the next one…

[Featured image ‘Craft Party’ from here.]

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