Creating unique pieces to share on your blog and inspire others – the sew & blog combo is all the rage. The number of fashion world bloggers just keeps on multiplying, which is why Fibre Mood features a new blogger every month. Meet Vlijtig Liesje knutselt's Liesbet 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?
I started my blog even before I could actually sew. So, in the past, I used to blog more about crafts, pimping cabinets, gardening, and charity shop finds. However, sewing gradually started to occupy a bigger space in my life and on the blog.
Compared to how it was before, the blog isn't read nearly as much these past few years. Instagram is increasingly where it's at. And that’s fine, of course. Instagram is also my go-to spot for inspiration and where I try to tell my own story in pictures. You can find me there @vlijtig.liesje.
You could ask yourself why I insist on keeping a real blog, but I still think it’s nice to have an overview of all the creations – a little archive – that I can sort based on ‘Fibre Mood’ creations or ‘sewing for boys’, ‘first communion’, etc.
How did you learn to sew and/or knit?
My mum also used to sew. When I was little, I used to use the scraps to sew rucksacks, clothes and sleeping bags for my barbies. My grandma taught me to knit, which meant there were mini jumpers too. Unfortunately, knitting never really went anywhere after that. I never got any further than a scarf or a hat.
Sewing though, that’s another story. Six years ago, my mum called me up out of the blue to ask: ‘would you like a sewing machine as a gift?’. And the rest is history.
I learned to sew by fiddling around and making mistakes with fabric from the charity shop, a book of sewing techniques at my side, and great instructions with lots of step-by-step pictures. On a sewing weekend, you even occasionally pick up stuff from your fellow Sewistas, who do happen to be taking classes.
Do you encounter any specific challenges in relation to the handiwork setting?
To begin with, I always make an effort to make clothes that will actually be worn. I'm really interested in combinations of fabrics and colours. The fabric choice and how you alter patterns to accentuate exactly what you're trying to highlight determine most of what sinks or sails.
More often than not, a pattern is the springboard I use to make something truly my own. That makes it more creative and unique on the one hand, but it also means I'm a terrible follower of instructions, on the other. That things have the audacity to go wrong sometimes is the price I'm willing to pay.
It makes me all the more chuffed when it actually ends up turning out like what I had in mind (or even better). It also means that the Fibre Mood ‘Make Victoria your own’ contest was absolutely my cup of tea.
Could you tell us what some of your favourite homemade creations are?
I really adore the process – how an idea grows, is refined, and ultimately becomes something entirely your own. I made clothes for 3 kids for their First Communion, and every one of those projects gave me a huge sense of satisfaction.
Although, it doesn’t always have to involve a huge pattern hack. For the Trish dress I barely changed a thing, and it’s absolutely wonderful to wear. It’s even right for those days when things just feel off.
When I'm not sewing for myself, the best way to put a smile on my face is to actually wear homemade clothes (or give me feedback on how I can do better next time).
Sewing for my husband is especially a challenge. Any way you look at it, the options are more limited. It shouldn’t be boring, has to fit perfectly, and should preferably be something you can’t just pick up in a shop. I only just recently discovered that Fibre Mood's men's patterns don’t call for many alterations, so this year definitely has some men’s clothing in store.
I can still get my son to wear anything, as long as it's not dress-up clothes.
And when it comes to sewing for my daughter, these days it's becoming more and more of a team effort. We try and find what she likes, pick fabrics, and decide on the details of what it will look like in the end – together.
A super simple Emma jumper is an example of how that teamwork can turn out nicely. This jumper almost never makes it into a drawer!
Where do you get your inspiration for your blog? And are there other blogs that you enjoy or find inspiring?
You can find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. There's Instagram, of course, or Pinterest, and good old-fashioned fashion magazines. My Instagram feed is full of Bellerose, Morley, Les Soeurs, Essentiel, Red Juliet, Atelier Assemblé designer accounts, etc. but is also chock-a-block with (sewing) bloggers and (especially Belgian and French) pattern designers. The screenshot folder on my mobile phone is always pleasantly full.
What does your workspace look like? And where is it?
My sewing spot – formerly ‘the office’, is never done. I'm 100% sure that it's not a sewing room for the popular magazines. For example, despite having lived here for quite some time, it's still never been painted. There’s a hotchpotch of stuff, but there’s often a story to go with. My fabric cupboard is a pimped-out charity shop find. There’s a rug from my grandma, the slide projector with slides from my early childhood (my dad was an amateur photographer), all the sewing books and magazines, my racing bike (that I bought after a running injury... something I would have been better off doing earlier...), etc.
It won’t earn me any interior design awards, but it is somewhere I feel good, surrounded by all those stories.