Ready to meet another of The Monthly Stitch’s editors? Of course you are! This time round, we’re chatting with Kat….
Hi Kat! So tell us – how long have you been sewing?
Oooh, gosh, I can’t really remember! I first learnt to sew when I was really young (maybe about 6?), taught by my mother so I could make clothes for my dolls and scrunchie hair ties (remember those?). Then I stopped for a couple of years, and learnt again at school when I was 11. Stopped again for a few years, then started ‘properly’ when I was about 20, when I got my first sewing machine and started teaching myself how to sew using the path-of-many-failures (i.e. no patterns, no books or resources – just tracing around things I owned onto fabric and hurriedly stitching it up to wear out that night. Yeah, I hate to think how bad my garments looked back then! Eek!). Then I did a pattern-making course, and launched into making all my own patterns. It took me a few years before I start sewing with commercial patterns, actually!
What is your favourite make so far this year?
I’m pretty proud of my Cherry Ripe dress. It’s from a vintage 1950’s pattern, and has features like covered buttons and reversible button-on cape sleeves. I wore it to a friends wedding at the start of the year. (Plus, you know, it has cherries on it!)
Close seconds would be my Mellow Yellow La Sylphide dress (been worn so many times!) and my Blue Wolf jeans (because they really pushed me out of my style comfort zone, which is always a bit terrifying but good for learning).
What’s your favourite make ever?
Oh gosh, I can only choose one?!? Eek!!
I’ve managed to narrow it down to three (or at least three of the ones I’ve blogged about) – is that ok?!? They’re all on there for different reasons, too.
The All Buttoned Up dress – I took quite a bit of time with this, doing covered buttons for the first time, lapped seams, that kind of thing. It was one of the first 1940’s patterns I made, and I’ve always loved wearing it. (Although I must admit I don’t like ironing it quite as much – so many fiddly bits with all the gathers and the like!) I always feel a bit proud of myself whenever I wear it as well – I learnt a few new things when I was making it, and that’s always a good feeling. 🙂
The Bookclub Bolero – another 1940’s pattern and again, it’s on here due to learning new things. In this case, trying my hand at embroidery on a garment for the first time. It took aaaaages, but I love the way even that (tiny little) bit of embroidery turned out. 🙂
The Corporate Hipster blazer – a large part of why this one is one of my most-loved makes actually comes down to the pattern – it was a dream to put together, and looks so extremely neat and tidy both inside and out. (The Bellatrix blazer pattern from Papercut, if you’re interested.) I got brave with my fabric choice too, and I love how the polka dots and deer turned out on it. Plus the flash of burgundy from the lining. Again, it makes me happy to wear and to look at. 🙂
Where do you sew?
My bedroom doubles as my sewing room – it’s quite a large room (luckily!) so I have a sewing area set up in one corner, with my overlocker and sewing machine. I have some storage crates full of fabric lined up along the foot of the bed, and vintage suitcases with more fabric in them stacked up in a couple of places.
We’ve just renovated a strangely-located little room in our house, and I’ve taken it over for pattern drafting and cutting out fabric, and installed a long, narrow table down there. I have plans for things like shelves and a pegboard for hanging scissors etc to go up in there as well, hopefully rather soon!
And since I have a nearly-two-year-old, the pressing happens in a completely different room – one of the upstairs bedrooms (currently a spare room aka fabric storage room – yes, I have a bit of a stash problem, oops!) which I can keep closed off so he doesn’t accidentally pull a hot iron onto himself.
So… my sewing areas are scattered through our house at the moment! One day I’d love to be able to get them all into one spot again, but the aforementioned two year old makes it a bit difficult to achieve that right now….
Favourite sewing tool (other than your sewing machine)?
I love my rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat. Love them! Wish I’d discovered the awesomeness of them years ago!
My long-nosed tweezers for threading my overlocker are the most essential tool though – they make that job so, so much easier and faster (I’m one of those people who changes overlocker thread for different projects, so they get used a lot.)
What are the top 3 patterns in your sewing queue?
I started the Meissa blouse from Papercut back in June for Indie Pattern Month and put it on hold – I’m really keen to get it finished for Amnesty Month! I’m making it in a gorgeous, lightweight silk/cotton blend in a pretty coral colour.
I also have plans for the Dakota dress from Named, for Frocktober. I haven’t figured out which fabric to use for it yet, but it’ll be a summer-suitable one, and I’m planning on making it with short sleeves.
Before I get to work on either of those though, I’m in the middle of sewing up samples for the next pattern I’m working on for Muse. Too early to show you all though – hopefully in about a month you’ll get to see it! 😉
What was the last pattern you purchased?
The Wenona shirt dress by Named. It’s on it’s way to me now, apparantly! Exciting!
Favourite challenge on The Monthly Stitch so far?
Indie Pattern Month was heaps of fun – heaps and heaps of work, but so much fun at the same time, seeing all the pretty pretty creations and learning about new patterns and companies! It felt really good being able to raise the profile of some indie designers as well – I really love indie pattern labels, they make so much more interesting and well-thought-out patterns than the Big 4 do, and are inspiring as people following their passion and starting their own business, so it feels great to be able to support them.
My favourite challenge to sew for was the Miss Bossy Patterns one – kinda nerve wracking to see what I’d be making based on other people’s choices!
Describe your personal style?
Haha, well, my style now when I’m 7 months pregnant, or my usual style?!
(Currently, pretty much anything that fits. Argh!)
Usually, I love wearing dresses in bright colours, fun prints, and usually 1940’s and 1950’s styles. Pair ‘em with some cute shoes and a cardigan, and you’ll have my usual wardrobe! (I miss my dresses at the moment…. And my high heels…. *sigh* Ah well, all for a good cause! 😉
What do you do when you’re not sewing?
I work full time as a customer research/insights specialist and strategist for a young, challenger-brand electricity retailer. I’m lucky enough to be one of those people who absolutely loves my job – it challenges me, indulges my curiousity about how people think and work, and there’s always new things to learn and do.
And to keep me occupied in the evenings and weekends, I’ve just launched my pattern label – Muse Patterns. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years, and I finally decided to prioritise it. I’m glad I did! It’s still early days, but even if it doesn’t really take off, it’s been a great learning experience, having to learn Illustrator, Photoshop, how to create an online store, set up Paypal, etc, etc, etc. I am firmly of the opinion that any time you learn things, it’s worthwhile. 😉
When I’m not at work or sewing, I’m hanging out with my little boy, or diving into a good escapist book (usually a fantasy novel – while I love more ‘worthy’ books, my brain just needs wind-down time at the end of the day! I’m working my way through the Psy-Changling series by Nalini Singh for the second time at the moment). I’ve also been learning to knit this year – something that I avoided for years as I was convinced it would take for-evah! and I’d get bored and stop part-way through a project. But no – I love it! It’s a good craft activity to do while hanging out with friends, or to take when I travel for work. (Sewing will always be my first love, though!)