What do you listen to when you sew?


Along with the obligatory tea, cake and sewing projects, the atmosphere at Sew Over It is never complete without something good to listen to. Over the last three years we have accumulated about 50 different Spotify playlists – from Georgie’s everlasting Bon Iver obsession to Alex’s love of 90’s cheese, we’ve got all the genres covered depending on what our moods call for.

Always on the hunt for more recommendations, we thought we’d ask the rest of the Sew Over It team what they listen to when they’re sewing at home. So if you’re in need of some inspiration, whether it be music, podcasts or audiobooks, read on!

On in the shop
Steph and Alex are often left to their own devices in Clapham during the week, and to keep the energy high they are partial to a bit of 90’s nostalgia. From All Saints to the Beautiful South to Alanis Morissette, the more shameful the better.

In Islington we love a good soul playlist. Can’t go wrong with a bit of Martha Reeves! You just have to stop yourself from actually dancing whilst you’re sewing – it can make for some wonky stitching!

Autumn, our Quilting teacher
“Mine is seriously dorky; either feminist ballads from the 70s, artists like Stevie Nicks and Heart, or old time country and western, like Johnny Cash and bluegrass. Eek!”

Nancy, our Assistant Manager
“I love 1960’s soul and cheesy 90’s R’n’B! My favourites are Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin, with a bit of Destiny’s Child thrown in!”

Kangan, our Button Me Cushion teacher
“Really depends on mood and weather! Can range from 50’s Bollywood classics to 80’s disco with a little bit of Spotify recommended soul, funk and jazz on the side.”

Helen, our Wholesale Assistant
“I think that now that I’m doing my MA and most of my sewing is done in a last second midnight panic, I try to listen to music that will calm me down as much as possible. So bands like Bela Tar, Grawl!x, Winter Hours and Laura Marling. And when I get sleepy I might throw on some hardcore drone music to keep me on my toes!!”

Laurel, our beginner and intermediate dressmaking teacher
“For me sewing goes hand in hand with musicals! Probably because I usually sew on a Sunday to the sounds of Elaine Page’s show on Radio 2, or if not I tend to have an old classic like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers or a Rodgers & Hammerstein on in the background, and I’ll be singing along as I stitch! I’m just too cool.”

Natalie, our Knitting teacher
“Like others I listen to lots of things: I particularly like 60s and 70s music like Diana Ross, the Bee Gees, Spencer Davis Group, Fleetwood Mac, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons; more 80s jazzy stuff from the likes of George Benson and Grover Washington Jr. and also more contemporary people like Raphael Saadiq, Jamiroquai, John Legend and Alicia Keys. Also anything sung by Ella Fitzgerald. This stuff always makes me happy and bob along in the chair – must be a rhythm thing.”

Georgie, our Intro to Sewing teacher
“I am a big radio fan. As well as the odd BBC4 show (Desert Island Discs in particular) I love listening to French Radio London so I can practise my French!”

Julie, our advanced dressmaking teacher
“I have pondered this one for a while.  I always listen to music when I’m working but I had to think about what I especially listen to when I’m sewing.  Classic FM is the first thing I switch on, especially David Mellor and Alexander Armstrong’s programmes.  However sometimes I can’t stand the presenters interruptions between the music so I have to switch the radio off.  I listen to lots of different composers but my main love is piano music.  I always go back over and over again to the Mozart piano concerto’s,   Chopin and  I have loads of Bach keyboard recordings.  I’m going to stop now because I could go on adding more and more!”

Lisa Jane, our Creative Online Assistant
“My music taste is quite random, so at the moment I’m listening to a lot of old school funk and gypsy swing. I love lots of James Brown, and also Duke Ellington and David Bowie. The other day I had to explain to my boyfriend what a “moneymaker” is!”

Kate, our Quilting teacher
“Music is all good, but for me it’s all about the audiobooks, especially a good murder mystery. When I was at uni (doing textile design, so an excessive amount of sewing/knitting time) I got through SIXTY Agatha Christie audiobooks, all the Sherlock Holmes books, and several rounds of the very comforting (oh god I can’t believe I’m sharing this) …Harry Potter. Oh yeah, all the Bill Bryson books are very good (especially A Short History of Nearly Everything, very informative), and you simply can’t beat the light hearted Jeeves and Wooster books (but they simply must be read by Jonathan Cecil). If it’s not an audiobook then some Oscar Peterson jazz piano or Stan Getz fills the silence and puts me into a relaxed sewing stupor… aaaaaaah.”

Alex, our Online Coordinator
“I discovered podcasts about five years ago and since then have been listening religiously to This American Life, Radiolab and Freakonomics. (Ira Glass will you marry me?) And then when Serial was released of course the whole lot of us were obsessed. I love BBC6 and always tune in for Sunday mornings, whether I’m sewing or not. I love listening to the Cerys Matthews and Guy Garvey shows – you never know what you’re going to get but it’s always amazing. I have also recently started listening to lots of audiobooks. They are great to sew to if you’re doing something fairly easy. Like Kate I admit to getting through the whole Harry Potter series over the course of a month or so. But to redeem myself I have recently finished The Children Act by Ian McEwan which I thoroughly recommend.”

Lisa, our owner
“Also a big podcast fan, I love hearing about other people’s lives. Desert Island Discs is a favourite of mine. I loved listening both to Cath Kidston and Jo Malone, so inspirational. I have just started listening to Start Up, by Alex Blumberg, which is all about setting up a business from scratch. Although I have already set up Sew Over It, it’s so interesting to hear how other people tackle it!”

What do you listen to when you sew? Share your recommendations in the comments below, we’d love to know!

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