My name is Kate but you maybe know me as Sewing with Kate, and my DIY weapons of choice are: my sewing machine, my overlocker and my lime green Ernest Wright & Son sewing scissors (they are the king of scissors and made in my home town of Sheffield).
When I am looking for inspiration I scroll through Instagram. Not only have I found the most amazing network of sewers here in Australia and overseas but I have discovered some really interesting and thought provoking artist and makers out there. I just scroll and it’s not long before something catches my eye. I am also a Pinterest junkie and I love an Australian magazine called Frankie, very cool and probably for those much younger people than me!
My favorite thing about making is that it makes me unashamedly happy!
After a long day of making things I like to watch or read period dramas! I am a hopeless romantic. I am addicted to anything with Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters or Elizabeth Gaskell. If it involves a big skirt and a handsome, tormented young man then that’s the one for me. I am currently enjoying BBC’s adaptation of War & Peace; the costumes are amazing.
I got started making when I was a teenager. I found my mom’s stash of sewing patterns from the 1960’s. They were Misses or Junior patterns so we started to make a few. This is where my love affair of the A-line mini dress started. My favorite was a simple halter neck dress pattern that we made with a blue and white floral fabric. I wore it with my 9 hole Dr. Martin boots and my ‘John Lennon’ sunglasses. I still have this pattern, it is stamped “JW Muntus, Rotherham”, which was our local department store where my aunt worked as an elevator operator.
The one thing that drives my creativity is fabric. I am obsessed with second hand or pre-loved fabric. I spend hours searching charity shops in order to find the right pieces. I would love to be one of those sewers who plans their wardrobe according to each season, but that’s just not how it works for me. First I find a fabric, then I search the perfect pattern. This means my wardrobe is a real mixture of colour, styles and often mismatched items.
When I think about starting a new project I can’t think about anything else until I have set the wheels in motion. I am frightened by this passion sometimes.
The best part about blogging is inspiring others to sew. That’s the aim of my blog. If I can teach myself to sew then anyone can do it. It’s also good to know that my friends read my blog back home in the UK, I like the connection it brings when I am so far away in Australia.
My advice to anyone thinking of start a blog is just START! I was so nervous that my tone of voice would be wrong or that my posts would lack interest or content. The more you post, the more confident you feel about blogging. Your tone of voice arrives very quickly. You just have to write the first post. Don’t overthink it!
If I wasn’t a sewing teacher I would love to be a professional home sewer who only sews for herself. Is that a job?
My favorite word is ‘lovely’, it’s the word all Australians try to mimic when I say it and I say it a lot. My vowels are rather round being a Yorkshire lass!
I get out of a creative rut by talking to my friend and artist Jessica Watts. She is the most creatively charged person I know and every time I am stuck or have a doubt I ring her and the problem is solved. I think it’s really important to have creative friends, especially ones that you think are more brilliant than you could ever be. Even though we aren’t really in the same field, I think her objectivity helps to drive my creativity and boosts my confidence.
I most relate to Emily from In the Folds. I was so excited when Emily got in touch and we found out that we lived very close to each other. We spend a lot of time chatting, drinking tea and getting excited about making. Our aim is to create a large community of sewers in our local area, mainly by teaching others to sew.
The first thing I made was a revolting lilac patchwork cushion that I was forced to make at my high school in the early 1990’s, I am amazed it didn’t put me off sewing for life!
Three words that describe my work are upcycled, boxy & colorful
Best creative advice I ever received was “don’t take that office job!”
The biggest DIY mistake I ever made was finishing a neoprene jacket and then burning the shoulder with an iron. What a stupid and thoughtless mistake. Tears were shed.
My next project is Tessuti’s Esther shorts and Merchant & Mills Bantam vest. It’s baking hot here in Australia…
Say "Hi!" to Kate on Instagram! Check out also this list of makers Kate likes:
- Mr Finch - amazing textile artist
- Yoshiko Tsukiori - Japanese pattern maker, has produced some of my favourite pattern books like Clothing for Everyday Wear & Stylish Party Dresses
- Portia Laurie of Makery.UK - the founder of The Refashioners, so inspiring for those who love upcycling
- Wendy Ward, pattern designer & sewing teacher - I love her aesthetic, she is originally from my home town and names all her patterns after suburbs I know, I love that connection!
- Erin of Brooklyn Pattern Company - I especially love her Henry Dress pattern and she is such a lovely person.
- Australian bloggers - Sew Unravelled, Top Notch, Blogless Anna and Bombazine