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 Laurence and her blog Blanche this month. Find out what sewing means to her and what her role is in this community.
What made you decide to start your blog? And why did you start sewing and/or knitting?
I've been creating since forever. Sewing has been the prevailing theme for a few years now, and there's been loads of sewing going on – especially after giving birth to my first daughter. Instagram was trending at the time, so I thought it would be nice to share my creations. And so that’s how my Instagram profile, Blanche, got started.
How did you learn to sew and/or knit?
I took a year of sewing classes (at the CVO) in 2009 with some friends, but it didn’t take me long to realise that I wanted to learn more and faster. At the time. my sewing was more of an on-again-off-again thing, mostly bits and bobs for myself. It was only after the birth of my first daughter in 2014 that I started sewing a lot and super intensely. In 5th grade I learned to knit and never looked back. Every winter I get in the mood to start knitting again, but whether I always finishing what I'm working on...that's a whole different kettle of fish!
What do you prefer, sewing or knitting?
Knitting is something I find incredibly relaxing, but I'd still have to say that sewing wins out. It just goes faster now and sometimes I just need to book progress.
Were you already a creative spirit as a child?
Yes, that’s who I've always been. I collected crafting books, had a subscription to De Banier, and was always obsessed by some creative project or another – making jewellery, clay creations, origami, etc.
Where did you get the name for your blog? And why that one in particular?
I think Blanche is a super lovely girl's name, but since my surname is De Witte, I thought it was a bit much to name one of my daughters that. So, my ‘blog baby’ got the name instead. (A hat tip to my surname...)
What do you think is your finest creation? Which one do your feel most proud of?
I'm always super proud when I make coats for the kids. They're also such rewarding pieces, since they're really the ones that get worn the most. A ‘Lars’ for my daughter and a ‘Lars parka’ for my son take the cake (first and second place) on the list of pieces that make me proud. If you ask me what my most beautiful creations are, then first and foremost I think of the pink summer dress I made for my daughter and a simple, but oh so playful check jacket I made for my son.
Do you encounter any specific challenges in relation to the handiwork setting?
Finishing knitting pieces! But when it comes to sewing, I'm generally pretty patient. For example, I'll almost always sew dress lining in place by hand, simply because it’s so much prettier and gives me a greater sense of satisfaction.
For people who don’t sew or knit, how would you convince them to give it a go?
I think it’s something you’ve got to have in you. If you don’t have any patience, I wouldn’t do it, because it can occasionally be really frustrating... But now I haven’t really convinced you all, have I? A few tips: either way, be sure to start out with simple projects and maybe participate in a workshop. You’ve got to try and avoid frustration, otherwise you'll give up in no time.
What’s your biggest frustration sewing?
My automatic buttonhole presser foot breaking down, despite all the times I've taken it in for repairs.
Where does the inspiration for your blog come from? And are there other blogs that you enjoy or find inspiring?
I mainly get my inspiration from kid's clothing brands. I can’t get enough of looking through the new collections when they come out. However, blogs by Nicky (Mixit-Makeit), Annick (Minniemie), Griet (Emma en Mona), Sylvia (Lily & Woody), Iris (Iris May patterns), Debora (Deborasluijs) and so many others can also be incredibly inspiring.
What does your workspace look like? And where is it?
I can describe it in one word: cluttered. But believe me when I say that I can find everything in my creatively organised clutter. I quickly tidied up for you for the picture.
I share my workspace with my husband. He takes care of his admin every evening and that’s how we still manage to spend time together.
Do you get a lot of satisfaction from the comments on your blog? Do you interact much with your followers/regular visitors?
My blog has been in bad shape for some time now and has been completely replaced by Instagram. You get a lot less feedback on blogs and what’s more I feel like the interactions there are really standoffish. You can start a conversation with someone a lot quicker on Instagram and you get to know your followers a lot better too. Every reaction genuinely gives me an incredibly great feeling.
Is there anything you’d like to try making in future?
More clothing for myself. However, first I'd like to get rid of the extra pregnancy weight!
What tips & tricks would you like to pass on to sewers and/or knitters who are just starting out?
Be patient and try not to rush your work. A well-finished garment is still so much nicer to wear, and it will make you that much prouder.