Meet the Editors – Mel!

Since it’s The Monthly Stitch’s first birthday this month (yippee!) we thought it seemed like a good time for the editors to introduce themselves a bit better, so you know who’s doing all those posts about upcoming challenges, setting people up to contribute to the blog, and sending the occasional email to remind you if you’ve forgotten something in a post (want to make our lives easier so we don’t have to send you an email like that? Have a look at our summary of what makes a great Monthly Stitch blog post. 🙂

So we got together, ate some cake (of course! Vanilla cupcakes with strawberry icing, if you must know) 😉 and asked each other the hard questions.

First up in the interview seat – here’s Mel!

Hi, Mel! So first of all, tell us – how long have you been sewing?
About as long as I can remember 🙂 My mum encouraged me to sew when I was very young and I started hand stitching clothes for Barbie before she taught me how to use her Globe Cub sewing machine. That poor machine has seen some tough times but it still runs without skipping a stitch and to this day is her everyday machine. I am really grateful to Mum for teaching me so many solid sewing basics that I use everyday without even thinking about them. Everything from holding the thread ends when you start switching to NEVER turning the handwheel backwards and, of course, that the fabric scissors are ONLY for cutting fabric! 🙂

What is your favourite make so far this year?
My Bleuet, because I think the fabric/pattern combination could have gone either way but ended up being perfect. Even Nerdy Hubby likes this dress and I was fairly certain he’d hate it so WIN! It was also a lot of fun to make the same pattern with the other WSBN girls and go out for a fun day together.

What’s your favourite make ever?
I know I should probably say my wedding dress but since I’ve only ever worn it once I am going to say my Le Wise La Sylphide. I always get comments when I wear it and I feel so pretty and girly, plus who doesn’t like owls?!

Where do you sew?
I am lucky to have my own sewing room. It has a big window facing north so I get great light during the day, room for a big layout table and a double door wardrobe for hiding all my mess! It’s a bit crazy in there right not, the result of sudden sew-jo return – must sew ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME – but in the interests of honesty here are some photos:

Harriet takes her sewing supervision seriously and she has her own special spot in the sun on an off cut of wool from my Lady Grey.

My fabric and vintage machine stash.

Favourite sewing tool (other than your sewing machine)?
I love a good sewing tool! I think the weirdest tool I own is a hemostat, it’s a medical thingee but I bought mine off of a fishing website, they use them to make lures and it’s perfect for turning tricky tubes and stuffing small toys. I also have this wicked scary unpicker that’s specifically for overlocker stitch, it’s so nasty looking but super useful. Oh and my Clover chaco liners! They are the best chalk marker I have ever found so if you get the chance to use one do it!

What’s the top 3 patterns in your sewing queue at the moment?
But my list is sooo long! 🙂 Three of the patterns I want to make up soon though are Papercut’s Ohh La Leggings, Vogue 1161 and Gather Mortmain.

What was the last pattern you purchased?
My Sewaholic Lonsdale dress just arrived in the mail and I may have accidentally also bought one of her super cute pink tape measures and a pack of her new sew-in labels…oops 😉

Favourite challenge on The Monthly Sitch so far?
Even though I technically haven’t finished my Miss Bossy Patterns, that was my favourite challenge. It was really fun to vote for everyone’s makes and get bossed around in turn. I haven’t given up and I promise to finish it soon.

Share your favourite cake recipe?
I’m afraid I cannot share my pavlova recipe (that totally counts as a cake) because it’s a family secret. I’m going to share by basic chocolate cake recipe instead. It’s a really robust recipe, great for experimenting with like adding in other flavours and ingredients and it won’t flop.

175g butter
1t vanilla essence
1C sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa
2C standard plain flour
2t baking powder
1C milk

Cream butter, vanilla essence and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift cocoa, flour and baking powder together into a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture alternatively with milk. Pour mixture into a greased and lined 22cm round cake tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Ice your cake with your favourite icing (chocolate, duh!)

I also love to add nuts (walnuts taste great) or dried fruit (like apricots or sultanas) to my cake.

Describe your personal style?
I’ve never really felt that I had a personal style but that’s probably not true so maybe for me it’s just always in development. I love fun colourful clothing, especially dresses. Wellington is often picked on for wearing a uniform of mostly black and grey with no colour. It makes us sound dreary but I don’t think that’s entirely correct.I like to believe I am helping to break that stereotype.

What do you do when you’re not sewing?
Oh dear, I’m afraid that I am a bit of a collector of hobbies. Shall we start with reading? Right now I am thoroughly immersed in a fantasy novel series, fantasy is my favourite book genre. I love cooking and since buying our first house I have become an avid edible gardener. I am convinced food tastes better when you grow it yourself. I also love to mountain bike and I am trying to get back into running. Right now in New Zealand we are waving goodbye to winter and the light in my sewing room is terrible at night so I started doing cross stitch in front of the telly wrapped up warm in a blanket with my kitty. Future hobbies? I’ve never been able to get into knitting but one day I will conquer crochet, those little amigurumis are so darn cute!

15 thoughts on “Meet the Editors – Mel!

  1. Hi Mel! great interview! I love my garden, ooooh and fantasy books , what series ARE you reading by the way???
    Also I too have toilet paper in my sewing room (ran out of tissues) and didn’t even notice yours until the comments LOL!

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  2. What a lovely interview Mel! I know we’d be besties if we lived closer, I am obsessed with my edible garden, you have to pry the book out of my hands, sewing is a forerunner in my life and cat…..well, duh. Your collection of vintage sewing machines is AWESOME!!!! And, jealous of your own sewing room. Mine is glommed on to the dining room. PS, I love pavlova too :).

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    • Those ladies and their eagle eyes! I can’t have tissues in my sewing room because Harri thinks a box of tissues is the most amazing toy in the world. Toilet rolls are equally fun to destroy but at least I can put it up high!

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    • So embarrassing, but a good story! I can’t have tissues in my sewing room because Harri thinks a box of tissues is the most amazing toy in the world. Toilet rolls are equally fun to destroy but at least I can put it up high!

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  3. LOVED seeing your sewing room, and will no doubt incorporate some of your thoughts into my own teensy space here. And will convert your chocie recipe over to U.S. measurements, as I love a good bit of really dark moist cake. Pssss – you’re not the only one not to have completed her Miss Bossy! Pinky promise I’ll do mine too, when it’s cooler! xxx del

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  4. Love the orange sewing machine – it’s brilliant! I think it’s fantastic that people hang on to their machines; it makes such a nice change from a culture that is constantly tempting us to buy something new for the sake of it. I wonder if my dad still has the old green Elna I did my first sewing on…

    And now, to be consumed with jealousy of your sewing room.

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