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 Kate (Time to Sew) , find out what sewing means to her and what her role is in this community.
How it all started
Why did you start sewing? How did you learn?
Out of necessity! In 2011 I moved to the UK so I didn’t have my mum to hem my trousers or alter my clothes. Hemming turned out not to be so difficult, so I figured that I could make more stuff. I immediately signed up to a one week intensive full time course to make trousers. That was a steep learning curve from day 1 as you drafted your own pattern. After that I became obsessed and for some years I spent what felt like every spare minute practising.
Have you always been so creative? Were you already a creative spirit as a child?
I’ve been around fibre arts all my life. My mother is a handweaver and spinner and she also sews and knits, plays piano. She used to spin wool whilst listening to me practise piano. Like music, I find sewing needs creativity but also precision, which appeals to me a lot.
Where does your blog inspiration come from?
My blog Time to Sew is about what I call “sustainable sewing” and there I comment on fabric production, consumer behaviour and interview people making positive changes in fashion and textiles. I started it on the back of a course in sustainable fashion at the University of the Arts London (before sustainability became mainstream), where the last activity was to decide what you were going to do with your newfound knowledge.
Do you encounter any specific challenges in relation to the handiwork setting?
Time! Time to make, and time to wear all the things made. What a shame you only normally wear one, maybe two outfits in a day. The other frustration was coming to terms with the fact that only busy prints don’t make a cohesive wardrobe. It took me awhile to learn to enjoy making things from solid colours as well.
How would you convince people who don’t sew to start sewing?
I tell them that learning to make and repair things takes away the frustration (and sometimes depression) from clothes shopping. You can also fix up the favourite garments you can’t bear to throw away! When I occasionally teach, I have found that people are afraid of complications and sewing being hard. But really, it’s like cooking -you can make things with 4-5 ingredients. In sewing you can have 4-5 pattern pieces and a machine, and make something to wear! Just need to invest some time to learn and practise a bit.
What is your biggest fear/frustration with sewing and/or knitting?
The projects not turning out the way I imagined and not liking to wear them after spending a lot of time on them. Sew many ideas, sew little time!
Do you have a special sewing spot in your house? Where is it? (if you want, you can add a picture of your ‘atelier’)
We recently moved to the Netherlands and bought a family house. Space wise this was a major upgrade. Now I have a sewing space in the loft and it’s all mine! (though it becomes an office sometimes as well). I literally jump with delight every time I go up there.
Which (types of) fabric do you like working with best?
Linen. If I could wear linen all year around I would. As well as being a more environmentally low impact fibre than for example cotton, I just love the look, feel, and drape of linen.
Where does the inspiration for your makes come from? And are there blogs that you enjoy or find inspiring?
Any collection of sewing patterns with nice styling that I can get in hard copy really appeals to me - but primarily Japanese sewing books, and of course Fibre Mood. I find flicking through books and magazines with a cup of tea a wonderfully tactile experience.
Then I head to Instagram to see who has made what. I made so many sewing friends in real life and online (#makeyourstash and #sewyourbooks are Instagram sewing challenges I’ve run) and it’s lovely to see what they get up to. Alex is one of my best friends and her day job is in sustainability so we always have a lot to talk about. Meghann Halfmoon writes a really nice email newsletter, has the most gorgeous photos from her home in Saba in the Dutch Caribbean, and she is heavily into sustainability.
Last bu not least: tell us your favourite funny sewing story!
Once upon a time I went to class to make trousers. My teacher told me to put a second line of stitching over the back crotch seam to add strength. I didn’t take the advice, you can guess what happened a few weeks later! She still tells the story to her students even now, so I guess I’m happy that I could demonstrate what not to do.