Creating unique pieces to share on your blog and inspire others: the sew & blog combo is all the rage. It's exactly because the number of bloggers keeps multiplying that Fibre Mood is featuring a new blogger every month. Get to know Isabel and her blog Bel’Etoile this month. Find out what sewing means to her and what her role is in this community.
What made you decide to start Bel’Etoile? And why did you start sewing and/or knitting?
‘Towards the end of 2013 I received some terrible news about my health. After months of tears and self-pity, I decided to do something about it. I asked my mum to teach me to sew a skirt for my daughter, who was three at the time. My sewing and fabric addiction followed instantly.
I launched the blog a year later in 2015. I thought it might be nice to have an overview of my sewing projects and pictures of my daughter.’
How did you learn to sew and/or knit?
‘I learned the basics from my mum. However, it wasn’t long before I made the switch to the internet to learn new techniques. Two years ago, I also began taking sewing lessons at an evening class. That only whet my appetite further: I wanted to learn even more! (wink)’
Have you always been so creative? Were you already a creative spirit as a child?
‘Not at all! I always felt like I had two left hands. I was not at all into expressing myself creatively during crafts or art classes at school.’
Where did you get the name for your blog? And why that one in particular?
‘Bel’Etoile is a contraction of my own name, Isabel, and my eldest daughter’s name, Sterre, which is Etoile in French. It felt appropriate, given that I'd be sharing projects I'd made for her on the blog.
What do you think is your finest creation? Which one makes you most proud?
‘The “sunset” jumper I sewed for my eldest daughter. Pretty as a picture!’
Do you encounter any specific challenges in relation to the handiwork setting?
‘Above all, I try to challenge myself to find new pattern combinations that will create perfect outfits to go with my style. Continuing to design my own pattern line is also something I definitely see as a challenge.’
What do you dread most about sewing and/or knitting?
‘My greatest dread is and remains buttonholes! (laughs)’
Where does the inspiration for your blog come from? And are there other blogs that you enjoy or find inspiring?
‘I find inspiration everywhere: fashion sites, fashion magazines and even just from everyday life. My biggest sources of inspiration in the world of blogging are: Emma & Mona, Minniemie, Kaatjenaaisels and Debora Sluijs’ Instagram account.’
What does your work space look like? And where is it?
‘Our attic was transformed into my sewing room. I adore spending time in there!’
Do you get a lot of satisfaction from the comments on your blog? Do you interact much with your followers/regular visitors?
‘Definitely! It's fantastic to read the responses. That’s especially true of Instagram, where hanging out and discussing within the sewing community there is simply lovely.’
Is there anything you’d like to try making in future?
‘When I married my husband in 2010, I had my dress made by an incredibly talented seamstress. We’re planning on organising something for friends and family in honour of our 10th wedding anniversary. Making my own dream dress for this occasion strikes me as a fantastic idea.’
What tips & tricks would you like to pass on to sewers and/or knitters who are just starting out?
‘Start with simple projects, such as jumpers and skirts/trousers, for example. That way you won’t get discouraged too quickly. (You don’t have to be able to sew dresses with blind zips right from the start.)
Don’t be afraid to combine fabrics and materials either. I used to be somewhat ambivalent about it myself, but the more you try, the more great creations you'll produce! Basically, ‘jump right in and give it a go’ is what I'd like to get across.’