At last a couple of new interviews in our fun blog series, We are sewists! Today you'll get to read about two inspiring sewists I've had the pleasure of knowing for a few years and collaborate with from time to time: Charlotte and Anja.
(And here's part 1 and part 2 and part 4 of the blog series, in case you missed them.)
Charlotte / @trio_med_bus
NAME: Charlotte Johansson
LIVE IN: Sweden
AGE: 44 years
WORK AS: I work with finance in my husbands business, and also work as a photographer.
STARTED SEWING: About 4 years ago, when my son was a couple of months old. (Before then I'd only sewn like curtains, and the only seams I knew where straight stitches and zig zag. What the other symbols on my little machine were I had no idea).
I thought the children's clothes in the stores were pretty boring, and suddenly found a page on Facebook with amazing home sewn clothes, and I thought "How hard can this be?"... So I purchased fabric, a couple of patterns to train with and got going. My first home sewn garment were a couple of pants for my boy and I was so proud of them. Then my daughters requested circle skirt dresses, and after that it just continued. I was sold! It was just so incredibly fun!
WHY I SEW: For me sewing is primarily relaxation. But also a way to be creative. I'm not really the type of person to just loaf around, I need stuff to do. So whenever I'm not sewing, I plan new projects. My list of things I want to sew is way too long, and also my children add new things to it.
Isn't it a wonderful feeling to be able to create and wear clothes you've sewn yourself? Or see the children so happy about their mama-sewn clothes? And when you feel you don't have anything fun in your wardrobe you can "just" head over to your sewing machine and make something. That's quite luxurious!
Sewn by Charlotte: A Sofia skirt (left pic), and two Lilly & Liam sweaters (right).
FAVOURITE PATTERN: It's so hard to choose just one favourite pattern. I have many, and Threads by Caroline's patterns are at the top. For my children I'd say the Lo leggings. My daughter loves leggings so I've sewn lots of them. They're a really fast make, but you can also work more with details like knee patches or side seam stripes. A very useful pattern in other words.
Apart from that, the new pants pattern Tyra & Todd is quickly becoming a favourite in our home. They're really cosy and both me and the kids like them so I've planned to sew more. Also, I love the Emma dress, the Sofia skirt, and the Linnéa top for myself. I really long for spring and warm temperatures now so I can start using some of what I've sewn before. And sew more of course (like I said, the list is long).
A SEWING TIP FROM ME: Spontaneously I'd say the aqua glue marker! I always keep it close. It's so useful to glue together seam allowances and other things you don't want to slide when sewing. It's a little life saver!
Alos, don't stress when you're sewing. It only increases the risk for blunders, and who wants to seam rip just because you didn't think it through before sewing... Sewing should be relaxing and fun.
Finally I need to promote using a projector. Personally I'm sold. You know the time consuming work of taping and tracing pdf patterns, the preparations before you can start sewing - that will suddenly be so much faster! Sure, you need to spend some time the first time you're using the projector, to install and calibrate it, but it's so worth it. Then you just project the pattern directly onto the fabric and cut. I think it's awesome!
Anja / @a_siwsiw_thing
NAME: Anja Nelis
LIVE IN: Belgium
WORK AS: Administrative clerk for the municipality
STARTED SEWING WHEN: about 5,5 years ago
WHY I SEW: Originally I'm a graphic designer/photographer. After I started working for the municipality, I looked for a creative outlet to compensate the lack of creativity that's been missing in my job. Something I could easily do at home while the kids would be asleep. One day I bumped on to a second hand ikea sewing machine at the local thrift shop and decided to take it home to give it a try.
I've always known my grandmother, mother and sister to sew, so I guess one could say it runs in the family... Though my mother often admitted already that her finishes aren't nearly as good as mine... And that's exactly the reason why I didn't want to learn how to sew in the first place. I didn't want people to know I made it myself because of poorly finishes. I didn't want to dress my kids in clothes with wonky zippers and horrible hems (yes, that's a small trauma you're sensing :) ).
After sewing for 5,5 years now, I'm still learning new techniques and ways to improve my garments, and I love every minute of it! I love to sew, I love to learn and I love to improve and I love the fact I don't have to leave the house for it (unless it would be for my 2nd hobby: hoarding fabrics).
FAVOURITE PATTERN: The more you sew, the bigger your hunger gets for well drafted patterns. I used to start off with all the free patterns I could find (there are some absolutely great ones too btw, don't get me wrong here!), but the longer I sew, the more excited I get from gorgeous patterns with a twist.
The Billy & Betty bomber
for example really is one of my favorites! You can choose to keep it simple, or as complicated as your heart desires. I love the color blocking options, enabling me to use up my scraps! I try to sew as environmentally friendly as possible, so that's an extra bonus to me!
A SEWING TIP FROM ME:
the biggest tip I can give is quite a simple one: Just do it! Really? Yes, really! Don't let your fear of failing hold you back! We all had to start somewhere and we all had things ending up in the bin. But we're still here aren't we? And if you can't figure out how to sew something today, maybe you will tomorrow, or the day after. Still haven't figured it out? Don't hesitate to reach out for help! The sewing community is such a beautiful community with people from all over the world ready to help and encourage you! Hold on to those helping hands and let them guide you trough! (Here I, Caroline, will pop in to say that one such amazing Facebook group is our own, it's just like Anja says :) Welcome!)
Another tip? Take your time and use patterns, like the ones from Threads by Caroline, with gorgeously illustrated tutorials, they're such a great asset! It's like they hold your hands while you sew, they do all the thinking for you, and before you know it you'll be confident enough to fly your wings yourself!
The biggest tip I can give though, is one you probably already saw coming: put your time and effort in the right type of finishes! It really is all about those details! Look at RTW clothes, study them and look at how they get finished. Store those little details in the back of your head (or maybe even make a little book with pictures etc of cool details that you want to remember) and be your worst critic. Less is more, but not enough might look awful too 😅
Thank you Anja and Charlotte for letting us get to know you better, and sharing your tips and thoughts on sewing!