Featured blogger: So Popo Sew

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Creating unique pieces to share on your blog, not just for yourself, but to inspire others too: 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. This month our spotlight is on Marie-Paule and her colorful blog, “So Popo Sew”, a blog that will instantly get you itching to put needle through thread for your own project.

Marie-Paule Gyselen

What made you start your blog/sewing?

“When I became pregnant with my daughter in 2012 I picked up my crochet hook and knitting needles again to crochet and knit all kinds of accessories and stuffed animals for the little one on the way. 

By getting my hands back into all things creative, I started to get the urge to pick up some new skills while I was at it. Before that point, I'd never tried my hand at using a sewing machine. Driven by the desire to dress my tiny baby in clothes made by hand, I got my first start with a sewing machine. Around a year later I started my blog, more than anything to keep a record of what I'd made, but also to provide others with some inspiration.”

How did you learn to sew and get busy crafting?

“Well, in my case, it was genuinely DIY. I got started sewing assisted by books, magazines and YouTube tutorials. Independent pattern designers who provided comprehensive manuals with their PDF patterns kept the threshold low enough for me to start experimenting pretty quickly. Over the years I've also followed a number of workshops to pick up new techniques, and I took a three-year course in pattern design at the CVO PIVA in Antwerp. All in all, my process learning to sew has involved lots of trial and error.”

 

“When people tell me that my creations have sparked their creativity, then it's mission accomplished.”

Where did you get the name for your blog?

“So Popo Sew...Popo comes from my name Marie-Paule. ‘Aunt Popo’ has been my name ever since my first niece (I was 13 at the time.) was born. So Popo is part of my label because what I make is ‘so totally Popo’. 

And Sew, which is also pronounced ‘so’, gives the name a fun twist, and obviously refers to sewing.”

Where does the inspiration for your blog come from?

“Everywhere! My head is bursting with inspiration. Everywhere I look I see neat things to try out: in stores, on the street, at school, in magazines and on Pinterest...I also keep an eye on major brands and can't wait to see what the new collections will bring, so that I have an idea of what the next fashion season's trends will be. I also frequently go ‘window shopping’ to get my creative juices flowing. That said, I always try to put my own spin on my projects, either through my choice of fabric or by adding special details. That way what I do doesn't become a literal copy.”

Do you get a lot of satisfaction from the comments on your blog?

“So I definitely get a kick out of those comments! And not just from the comments on my blog, but all the likes and really sweet comments I get on Instagram and in Facebook groups that I'm a member of: they're all so encouraging.

When people tell me that my creations have sparked their creativity, then it's mission accomplished.”

Marie-Paule dochter

What do you think is your finest creation?

“There's quite a few creations that I'm really proud of. Two years ago I made my sister's wedding dress, along with the matching dresses for her three bridesmaids.

Without a doubt that was a masterpiece. For the bustier I based myself on an existing pattern, but tailored it so that it would match her idea of the perfect dream dress.”

“I get the most satisfaction though from the patterns I've designed myself. One of these was a jacket I designed for my daughter in 2016. The pattern was drawn precisely to size, with a number of nice details that I'd accumulated piecemeal from other jackets.”

What is there that you'd still like to try making?

“My own lingerie: a bra and a classic pair of underwear that fit perfectly. I'd also like to make a bathing suit for my daughter, and a tailor-made suit for gentlemen. So I think I've got plenty of challenges ahead of me!”

What do you dread most about sewing?

“Really there isn't anything I dread when it comes to sewing. Back when I was slightly less experienced, I used to feel a little uncomfortable sewing zippers or buttonholes, but over time that's become something totally natural. I'm good at putting things into perspective. After all, it's just clothing, and any seam can be pulled out again. Being afraid of cutting into the fabric has also become a thing of the past. You can always put a new twist on your project, even when you've managed to cut something in the wrong place. A good dose of creativity can solve anything!”

Marie-Paule trouwjurk

Where do you do your sewing?

“There's a tiny room on the top floor of our house that should have been a second bathroom/shower according to the original building plans. It's just big enough for the desk my sewing machine and serger sit on,

along with a cupboard to store my patterns, magazines and some of my sewing notions in. I also have a large cabinet in my bedroom where I store my fabrics. Like every seamstress I've got way too much fabric and too many sewing supplies and not nearly enough room to store it all in.

That means my sewing room is kind of a disaster. The trouble is, whenever I start cleaning up I just get distracted by all the things I rediscover.”

“I also haven't got loads of time, so I'd really rather use that time sewing instead of cleaning up. Although to tell the truth, the situation has really gotten pretty dire...”

Which blog provides you with the most inspiration?

Noortjeprullemie remains by biggest source of inspiration. She might have been a little less active lately on her blog, but she also has a really great  Instagram account.It's especially her unique perspective on patterns and fabrics that I'm particularly inspired by. On a number of occasions in the past I've created things that were based on one of her garments.”

What tips would you definitely like to pass on to seamstresses just starting out? 

“Start out using a quality sewing machine that you buy from an actual sewing machine dealer. They also sell nice second-hand machines for reasonable prices. Proper equipment is your first step. There are beginner's workshops all over the country that will coach you along the first steps to using your sewing machine.

“After that it's practice, practice, and more practice. Buy magazines that include good manuals, PDF patterns and step-by-step instructions, and you'll discover how fast the learning process goes. If you get stuck, there's always someone in the sewing community that can lend you a hand. Sewing is something you often do on your own, but that doesn't mean it has to be a lonely hobby. So...get yourself out there!”

(Maïte Declerck) 

Marie-Paule naaikamer

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