Where does your love of sewing come from, or what motivated you to turn it into your profession?
Ever since I was little do things by myself has made me really happy. I tried out a number of different things but ended up sticking with sewing. I love the creative process. It starts out as little more than an idea. Next, the right cut is made in the fabric, and step by step, the garment starts to take shape. I adore that moment when you get to try on the garment for the very first time! The biggest compliment anyone can pay me is to think that my clothes are store bought.
The quest for gorgeous, modern fabrics was difficult... I couldn't find what was really looking for in a single shop – online or offline. The idea to open my own shop with modern fabrics occurred to me and from that time on I couldn’t get it out of my head! During my parental leave I set up my first shop on Dawanda, the online marketplace. At a certain moment, it was time to go back to my job, combining it with the online shop. However, at a certain moment it became clear – it was all or nothing. I set up my own online shop and opened a tiny, but nice shop where I live, in Stutensee. In the beginning everything was running at the same time, and I kept working part-time as a hospital nurse. That led to enormous job-related stress and I hardly ever had time for my family. So, I needed to make another decision... And as of September, I've been self-employed on a full-time basis and can finally devote everything to my fabrics shop.
How long have you had your business?
I've had my online shop since the start of 2017 but opened the fabric shop in March 2019.
Why should a sewista buy his or her fabrics offline instead of online?
For the online shop I always try to describe how the fabric feels. Naturally though there are certain limitations. Although lots of details, for instance mentioning the fabric's weight, can help you make a decision online.
I'm also always pleased to have personal contact with my customers! Since I'm personally an active blogger and sewer, I love exchanging ideas about new patterns or current trends. And I've even formed friendships that way!
There’s a huge mirror hanging in the shop. I often recommend that my customers hold up a fabric in front of themselves to try and see how it looks or feels. For me personally, sewing has a lot to do with feeling. I only have the upper hand vis-a-vis clothing in the shops, when I feel comfortable in my home-sewn garment. I can find a pair of trousers that is actually too tight, but that I somehow or another manage to fit into, in the clothing shops too. A pair of trousers tailored to my body and my needs is something I can sew myself! And that feeling of whether I have the right fabric isn’t something I can get across online.
So, what can sewistas expect from your shop?
My shop isn’t big, but it has been organised with lots of love. I mainly have clothing fabric on display, but there also fabrics for bags, patterns and haberdashery items. I put a lot of stock in sustainable fabrics (GOTS certified), along with gorgeous and especially high-quality fabrics that are a long way away from the mainstream too (that come from manufacturers that can’t be found in every shop in the neighbourhood).
I always try to keep fabrics that match when it comes to colour, so that the items in a home-sew wardrobe can easily be mixed and matched. I left polyester behind years ago, even when it comes to store-bought clothing. That's why there are hardly any fabrics in my range that contain polyester. My favourites to wear are viscose, Tencel or cotton. Sustainability is absolutely an essential topic, and that includes for sewing! That's why I'd like to focus even more on this subject in future.
Where do you get your inspiration for buying new fabrics and patterns?
I visit trade fairs several times a year. That’s where I find out about the coming trends in the sewing and fashion worlds. Online I love to while away the time on Instagram, Pinterest and several different sewing blogs. However, I find the most inspiration offline, for example people I see on the street, sporting a style I like.
Has the revival of the homemade fashion trend been obvious to you?
Absolutely! So much has changed in the sewing world in the past 15 years. Today there’s an abundance of patterns and the techniques have also adapted to the times. Many things are simpler to explain and there are loads of videos online that can provide help. It isn’t just sewing, but homemade things in general have also currently become hip and are no longer (seen as) old fashioned. A hugely important movement is the movement of people who are consciously choosing to stay away from fast fashion and trying to sew sustainably (!).
I see a lot of young mothers in my shop who sew things for their children. However, I also notice that children and teenagers are also really into sewing. My customers also include experienced sewers who are excited about discovering innovations in the world of sewing.
Which Sewista do you look up to (e.g., mum, grandma, blogger, etc.)?
I look up to the life's work of Aenne Bruda. Her way of thinking was revolutionary for that time. She questioned everything and didn’t just accept things face value.
Which Fibre Mood patterns are your favourites?
My favourite Fibre Mood patterns are the Taylor dress (Issue No. 4) and the Rosalie dress (Issue No. 5).
What pattern would you recommend to a Sewista who's just getting started?
The first garment that I would recommend to a new Sewista is a top like the Sara (Issue No. 5), or a simple blouse. If you'd like to sew using jersey, you can also find the perfect first pattern in Issue No. 5, the Vita shirt.
What pattern is perfect for Sewistas who are looking for a challenge?
Patterns for which the fit has to be specifically tailored to the individual are a challenge. Consider jeans, for example. Lined blazers or coats involve more extensive finishing and can also be challenging.
Last but not least: do you have any golden tips to share with our Fibre Mood Sewistas?
In my opinion, mistakes are the best way to learn. The material absolutely doesn’t have to be all that big/perfect in the beginning. However, my tip is: please don’t ever buy in a discount shop! Take the easy route and get your advice from the corner shop. It often isn’t that much more expensive there and you'll be able to enjoy your material for a lot longer.