Meet the Maker: Renee from Me Made Mistakes
by Kollabora Follow

posted 4 years ago

My name is Renee, but you maybe know me from my blog, Me Made Makes, and my DIY weapons of choice are my sewing machine and seam ripper.

I keep myself inspired by regularly wearing my creations. Every time I do laundry, I get to reflect back on the things that I’ve made—and worn! To get new ideas, I like to browse Pinterest, and the websites of my favorite retail stores that I no longer really shop at: Banana Republic, JCrew, and (before they closed) The Limited.

After a long day of making things I like to get up and do something active like go for a run with my puppy.

I first started making things after college when I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine from the 70’s. I was tired of clothes not fitting properly, and wanted to take matters into my own hands. I’ve been hooked every since, sewing about one garment a week.

My creativity is driven by a desire to make. It is so intensely satisfying to know that you created something.

When I think about starting a new project I daydream about fabrics and ultimately where I would wear my new creation. After that, I start searching the internet for patterns that may work for my idea.

If I wasn’t working on my PhD in sociology, I would love to be a personal assistant/life coach focused on sustainable habits and strategies. By sustainable I mean both environmentally, but also personally. It’s all about balance (work-life, social-personal, salad-oreos, you get it…).

My favorite part of the day is in the evening when all of my work is done, but it’s not yet dark out, and I am free to do whatever I want, whether that is to go for a run or sit down at my sewing machine.

I feel most creative when I’ve been spending too many hours on research and need a release.

The last dream I remember was about going on a tropical vacation with my dad. We went out to dinner overlooking the water, and my dad started playing Bob Marley at an open mic night. I was mortified, but secretly loved it.

My favorite place to buy supplies is in-person, preferably at a locally owned shop. I also love buying from little shops online, but find it hard to commit to expensive fabrics without touching them. Honestly, most of my supplies come from big box stores, but I’m working on it.

The song that can cheer me out of any bad mood is Alors On Danse by Stromae.

After I finish a project I feel accomplished. I try to always take pictures for my blog before wearing my creations, so I get an extra boost of excitement after I’ve taken pictures and can finally wear my makes.

I get out of a creative rut by either going to the fabric store or looking at my inspiration boards on Pinterest.

I most relate to other 20- or 30-something sewists who are trying to figure out their style while also fighting to not contribute to the fast fashion industry.

My favorite fellow makers are Lauren from Lladybird and Andrea from Four Square Walls. My favorite pattern company would have to be Sewaholic. Tasia seemed to really get my style, and my body shape.

My favorite thing about making is having a physical product at the end. As a graduate student, so much of what I spend my time doing is intangible and results in long papers full of tables rather than anything concrete. Don’t get me wrong—I love tables—but there’s just something about holding something you created in your hands.

To me, DIY comes with a sense of pride and self-sufficiency.  

The first thing I made was a customized apron as a present for my boyfriend. He’s a huge fan of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team and New England Patriots football team. I combined fabrics and patches from the two teams to create a one-of-a-kind apron for him.

The most influential people in my life are my parents—in very different ways. My mom is the hands-on one, who has all kinds of practical skills like cooking, construction, and even sewing. I’ve learned from her to be self-sufficient and a do-it-yourselfer. I got my silly sense of humor from my dad, though, who also taught me to make a career something you can enjoy while also helping others, and to loosen up and just have fun.

My favorite thing to do on the weekend is sew! If I’m not sewing, you can probably find me out in the woods running or hiking with my puppy.

I can’t get enough fabric. I love buying remnants and then figuring out later what to make from them. I just finished making a pajama set out of a remnant of black and white silky polyester I bought about a year ago.

Three words that describe me: calm, persistent, quirky

Three words that describe my work: fun, classy, casual

Best creative advice I ever received is to not worry about making mistakes and enjoy the process. This is very hard for me to follow, being a left-brained person, but letting go makes things more enjoyable.

If I could live in any other country it would be France. I studied abroad in Paris during college and loved it. I’m still debating between Paris and a smaller city in the south.

The best spots in my city (Durham, NC) are Bull City Burger and Brewery (even for a vegetarian!) and the deck and hammock in my backyard.

My DIY secret weapon is Fraystop.

The biggest DIY mistake I ever made was trying to follow the sizing advice on Big 4 patterns. That was before I discovered the wisdom of sewing blogs…

My next project is a teal raincoat using the Kelly Anorak pattern by Closet Case Patterns. When we were little, my dad would always make me and my brothers bring raincoats to school if rain was in the forecast. I haven’t owned a proper raincoat with a hood for years now, and decided it was time to make one.

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