Featured Sewista: Sew it Curly

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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 is featuring a new blogger every month. Get to know Mijke (SewitCurly) , find out what sewing means to her and what her role is in this community.

What inspired you to start sewing?

Creativity runs in my blood. When I was little, my brothers and I would run around in homemade clothes, and my granddad adored woodworking. My dad taught me how to paint woodwork, and I learned how to embroider and solder at school. 

I learned early on that making your own stuff is super fun to do and was crazy about sewing and FIMO modelling clay. In addition to maths, handicrafts was my best subject at school!  

How did you learn how to sew? 

My mum taught me how to sew when I was just a little girl. She sewed tons for me and my brothers! I started with doll clothes around the age of 9, but it didn’t take long before I was making clothes for myself and the kids in my neighbourhood as well. I loved making baby romper suits as gifts for baby showers, and my mum helped me with tricky bits like button plackets and zips.

Unfortunately, when I got to secondary school, I was bullied a lot because of my ginger curls and homemade clothes. The memory of arriving at school super chuffed to wear my homemade purple denim jumpsuit is still fresh in my mind. My classmates had zero good things to say about it! In fact, I was so badly bullied for it that I never wore that jumpsuit to school again. After that, I focussed on making baby and children's clothes, and at some point, I just put my sewing machine away.

New things showed up on my way. I enrolled in uni, was discovered as a model, and travelled all over the world. It was only around Carnival that I would dust off my sewing machine and make costumes for friends. When my daughter Rose was born, I pulled my sewing machine out of the cupboard to sew clothes for her. It was quite some time though before I mustered up the courage to make clothes for myself again. It’s crazy, right? But the effects of bullying last longer than you'd like.

In the end, I finally made myself another dress – out of gorgeous designer fabric by Anna Sui, that I’d bought in New York. And even though it wasn’t perfect, I was really pleased with it! I was sold after that, and now I hardly ever buy clothes for myself anymore and make all my clothes myself. Last year, I even enrolled in fashion school to learn how to draw patterns and learn all the ins and outs of the trade. The goal is to make it my job by the time my youngest is in secondary school.

What do you prefer – sewing or knitting?

My mum also taught me to knit. She enjoyed knitting and crocheting, but for some reason or another, I just didn't have the patience for it. A few years ago, I took a crocheting class, but I kept making a mess of my projects. I haven’t the faintest idea why, but for some reason, I like sewing more... 😊

When it comes to handicrafts, are there any new challenges you'd like to take on?

Absolutely! I'd really love to learn how to embroider. It would be such a lovely addition to make my clothing even more personalised. For example, an embroidered flower on a pocket or side seam...

How would you convince someone who doesn’t sew to give it a go?

Tell them that it’s loads of fun to create your own style! Tell them that a million doors are bound to open when you make your own clothes! Tell them that it’s more sustainable, because when you make something for yourself that you like, you’re less likely to throw it away.

There are so many great patterns these days with handy instructions on how to make them, as well as beautiful fabrics for creating your own unique look.

What about sewing frustrates you the most?

That there aren’t enough hours in a day to make everything that I want to make!

What does your workspace look like? And where is it?

I've got a really lovely workspace. We've got a summer house at the back of the garden that we transformed into my sewing studio. Meanwhile, my daughter now has her own little corner since she’s super creative like me. She sews the sweetest Barbie dresses and T-shirts for herself. And that’s how we come full circle. My mum taught me to sew and now I'm teaching my daughter.

Where did you get the name for your blog? And why that one in particular?

I chose the name SewitCurly because of my hair. In the past I felt like they were ‘weird ginger curls’, but I've come to love them and now I'm proud of my wild mess of ginger curls. Hence the name!

Where do you get your inspiration for your blog?

My inspiration comes from the runway, and I always buy copies of Fibre Mood and the British magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, every month. Since I've worked a lot as a model, I know when the shows are and follow my favourite designers.

There’s also a great app, ‘Vogue Runway’, with all the latest fashion shows, and that's where I get a lot of my inspiration.

My favourite designers are:

Isabel Marant, Del Pozo, Alberta Ferretti, Zimmerman, Celine, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Dior, Viktor & Rolf, Victoria Beckham

And are there other blogs that you enjoy or that inspire you?

There are bunches of Instagram accounts that I follow and am super inspired by. Making a list is tricky though... But I'll try anyway.

@katiekortman for her colourful designs
@sewspoke for her style
@abby_sews for the romance
@blaireadiebee for her no-holds-barred style
@victorialucilleanne for her charm
@soapstealer for her impeccable sewing techniques
@by_mooglii for her Scandi Chic style
@thesewmelier for her honest feedback!

I could easily go on and on because there’s no end to the creative minds on Instagram. I feel like it's such a blessing that we have this way to stay in touch. I'm also incredibly inspired by how you've brought the sewing community closer together with Link parties. I'm always there!

Of all your creations, which one do you think is the very best? Which one are you proudest of?

Well, I guess it would have to be my ruffled top with several different Liberty fabrics. The front and back are quilted and so is one of the ruffles. It was an insane amount of work, but I'm insanely happy with it. Making jackets is also always a treat!

That's always quite an undertaking as well, but jackets are something you use all the time. That’s especially true of children’s jackets. It always makes my heart swell to see them show off in their homemade jackets. It just makes me so proud!

What future projects do you have in mind?

I’d love to have a shop and my own studio in future, where I can sell gorgeous fabric and teach sewing classes. I can see it now – a huge round table surrounded by fabric, haberdashery and fabulous pattern books destined to get others excited about sewing their own creations!

I hope these dreams actually come true one day...

What tips & tricks would you like to pass on to Sewistas who are just starting out?

Start with something simple like a top and pick a pattern with clear instructions. 
If you're scared of cutting into gorgeous fabric, do a test run first with cheap fabric before cutting into the ‘good’ fabric. In the end though, nicer fabrics work a lot better, because the garment will turn out so much prettier by using quality fabrics. And they stay in good shape a lot longer!

Don’t worry about things going wrong. You can always take something apart and start over! Just go for it! Or to put it like the English do, ‘Be bold!’

Creativity is grand!

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