Featured blogger: Insolita by Manuela

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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 features new bloggers on a regular basis. This time we'll be getting to know Manuela and find out about her blog, Insolita by Manuela. Find out what sewing means to her and what her role is in this community.


What was your reason for starting this blog? And why did you begin sewing and/or knitting? 

In 2013, I got swept up by sewing fever and spontaneously decided to start my blog. I want to share my creative work outside of just my family and friends and exchange ideas with sewing enthusiasts.

My love for sewing was triggered by my first self-purchased sewing machine: a Pfaff Creative 3.0. In the past I’d been sewing with a super cheap sewing machine, but using it wasn’t all that fun, just frustrating. 

I’m not a big fan of knitting. I really admire people who can knit a nice sweater; however, a scarf is the only thing I can compete with. I prefer to embroider by hand, which gives my hand-sewn works a very personal signature.


How did you learn how to sew and/or knit? 

The first time I tried sewing was at school. However, I only learnt the very basics there. To tell the truth, my sewing skills are more or less self-taught. I learned a lot from sewing books, sewing magazines and sewing videos. And through practise, practise, practise!


Which do you prefer, sewing or knitting?

Definitely sewing. You can hear my sewing machines rattling away nearly every day. Sewing is my yoga, so to speak. It enables me to be creative and disconnect from everyday life.


Have you always been creative? Have you been creative since childhood?

I come from a gifted family. As a result, we’ve always made a lot of things ourselves and that idea was ingrained in me from an early age. 


How did you come up with your blog name? And why did you choose it?

The search for a blog name took some time. We speak both German and Italian at home and I really wanted to have an Italian name for my label or blog. Finally, thanks to my favourite Italian band, I came across 'insolita'. 

'Insolita' means extraordinary, unusual and eccentric in Italian. 

I've been a huge fan of the Italian rock band, Le Vibrazioni, for years now. Such a big fan that in 2010 my husband and I drove from Germany to Italy to watch a concert. It was a fantastic experience – we were even right next to the stage front: simply unforgettable! Insolita was one of my favourite pieces back then; it's from the soundtrack of an Italian film. Since this experience was unique and it was unusual or uncommon to sew in my environment, I opted for insolita by Manuela. 


Which of your creations is the most beautiful from your point of view? What are you most proud of?

My absolute favourite Fibre Mood creation is currently the Taylor dress. The Tencel gives it an especially nice drape and it feels great. However, my parka, which I sewed at the beginning of the year, is what I’m most proud of. The high-quality fabric (dry oilskin and a quilted denim-look lining) and finished off with hand embroidery alone makes it my current masterpiece. 

So, are there any special challenges you face in the world of handicrafts? 

My biggest sewing challenge is time. Unfortunately, with my job, two children, household and garden, only the late evening hours are left.


How would you convince people without any experience to start sewing/knitting?

Making your own clothes is something very special, and not just in terms of sustainability. I can no longer imagine life without sewing. It's my passion and more than just a hobby. Holding your finished self-sewn garment in your hands is such a special moment, you just glow with pride. And when somebody asks where you bought the garment, that's the biggest compliment of all. It’s a feeling I want to share on my blog and Instagram account and at my sewing workshops. Sewing is actually much easier than you think and is very enjoyable.


What is your biggest fear/frustration when sewing and/or knitting?

Very rarely, I sew using a cheap fabric first to do a trial run, but otherwise I tend to start with a good, expensive fabric straight away. Every now and then I feel a flash of panic  about whether everything will work out the way I’d imagined. Knock on wood, so far my fears have never materialised!

Where do you find the ideas for your blog? And are there any other blogs that you enjoy or find inspiring?

As I walk through the streets, I always look around me. I constantly come across new inspirations and ideas on my frequent business and personal trips. Pinterest and Instagram are also huge sources of inspiration for me. I could spend hours on them every day. Thanks to its international community, I also find Fibre Mood really inspiring. When it comes to the German sewing community, I find Instagram accounts by Kira from thecouture, Sabrina from Brinarina and Anja from labavarese really inspirational.


What does your sewing room look like? And where is it?

My sewing room is located directly under the roof. In the summer it’s hot, but otherwise it’s my little feel-good oasis. I love order and structure, so everything is neatly tidied and organised in boxes, drawers and cupboards. 

Do you feel motivated by reactions to your blog? Do you have a lot of contact with your followers/regular visitors?

Our sewing community in Germany is fantastic. I’m incredibly grateful for the loads of nice reactions and great exchanges I have with followers and blogger friends. Not only do I have several contacts online, but we even meet up in person every now and then at trade fairs, nearby events and blogger meetings. This has led to some really lovely friendships. 


What would you like to do in future?

I really enjoy inspiring other people with my creativity and teaching them to sew and embroider, so I’d love to give more sewing and embroidery workshops in future. 


What tips & tricks would you give to sewing and knitting beginners?

Don't be discouraged if it doesn’t work out right away. Practice a lot and stay on the ball. In the meantime, there are so many sewing courses available, you can check them out here. Sewing together is incredibly fun and motivating.

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