Hey you all, it’s Katrien from KaatjeNaaisels again. I interviewed Nele from Spiegelstiksels for you! You know her from her beautiful sewing in Project Run and Play, wich she won last year. I admire her sense of perfection and the perfect finish she gives to all of the clothes she sews. She also has some really clear tutorials on her blog (in Dutch). I learned so much from here! So I hope you love reading her answers as much as I did!
1. When did you start sewing your children’s clothes and why?
I’m starting to sew when I was studying . A friend asked me if I would accompany her to the sewing lessons and I thought it would be fun to try. The unit ‘ sewing machine ‘ I knew as a child as something we could never arrive. My grandfather was a tailor , and when we played we were always in the studio to hear the story of that time Martha ( a seamstress who worked for him) had choked on her finger . I was 20 or 21 when I went to the sewing lessons , so I felt that I was now old enough to learn to use the machine ;-). I had my first child when I was 26, now 12 years ago. So I was already sewing at that time. It was therefore logical to make clothes for the children . In early motherhood Isewed also often have other things than kids clothes , but gradually I became more and more sewing for them. In my collection pattern books is the oldest one I think is a Knippie Baby of 2003 . That was the only source of patterns for children’s clothes that I knew back then. I remember well the first time I had a Ottobre in my hands (at the end of the summer of 2005). What a revelation I felt then! This discovery also made me look differently at the clothes I bought for my children and realize that there were more things to do than what was in the books . The start of Etsy and other online shops have given sewing even more of a boost, because the supply of materials suddenly became much greater. Also share photos of my fabrics , first through Flickr , and later through my blog worked motivating. Now I’m sewing almost exclusively children’s clothes ( and occasionally a shirt for Mr. ).
I sew in the first place because I like to do. For some fabrics in my closet I have a clear picture of what they will be, but a lot of fabrics have no destination. I like to pick out fabrics and making combinations. That’s why I organize my closet oblivious to color. Usually, the problem is lack of time not to perform effectively my ideas, but I think the process itself is very relaxing and inspiring. The technical aspect of sewing is one of the reasons why I do this. I like to look for the right technique to finish something perfect and get a lot of satisfaction from stitching a perfectly straight line, the perfect collar or a nice welt. I like to create pieces that are more complex, but can just as easily enjoy making a quick and easy look. The nice thing about children’s clothes, I think, is that you can go crazy. There are virtually no limits. Often I make clothes for my children that I would never dare wear. I consider myself a fairly serious person, especially in my professional life. With the colorful clothes of the children and the unusual combinations I can show another piece of myself. I am also happy that their clothes are unique, but that is not the main motivation to sew, rather a nice plus. By sewing, I will be giving more importance to the quality of the clothes I buy and the conditions in which they were created. This makes me feel connected to the sewing (st) ers that make clothes and I think it is important that they are respected and appreciated for the work they do.
2. When was your first KCW and how did it go ?
The first time I took part in KCW (C) was in November 2011. I immediately went ‘ all the way’ . I do not remember whereI ‘ve found the time but I made a lot of clothes that week. I looked to the KCW in that period as the time to make the clothes that are needed for the children, rather than make the clothes I ‘ want ‘, for instance. Because the son then equally wears trousers that are above his ankles, or the daughter outgrown her skirts and pajamas has grown. Now themes are proposed for the KCW I find it fun to brainstorm or looking in my closet to search for fabrics that match the theme, but I notice that my production somewhat lower.
3. What do you like the best about joining in with KCW ?
When everyone is asleep and you’re on your own at the sewing machine in your quiet house , you know that other women around the world are just doing the same thing . I always look forward to the daily updates on the KCW- blog. Then often appear great pieces , which I wish I had invented myself. I love to see how everyone gives his own interpretation of the theme.
4. How do you balance your work / family / sewing time ?
That’s a tough one. I find the job I ‘m doing the heaviest I ‘ve had and which often requires me until late into the night , even though I work only 70 %. Then sewing is a purely nocturnal affair. Fortunately, there are also times when it is less busy, and I sometimes can make time to sewduring the day . The children are very independent and do not really need to be entertained. It is enough that I am in the neighborhood . Often they sit tinkering just next to me, reading or playing in the sewing room . There is also an additional sewing machine that they can use. Sometimes it is weeks left untouched , and sometimes it is used more frequently. I am also very lucky with my husband, who takes a lot of household tasks.
5. How do your children influence your sewing?
There are many ways in which children have an influence, both in the selection of fabrics and your choice of clothes. They also give a lot of feedback. The best way to find out if a garment falls in the taste is to see that it is being worn. The children choose for themselves what they mostly wear, so I see what they like. When I a garment is not chosen, I ask them why. The comments I write down(it stings, too hot, too wide / narrow at the legs, collar not nice …) and I take notice to the next piece. I show the children also the materials I bought and watch their reactions. Often they are also asked at the computer when I’m webshopping so they can give their opinion. Also in the choice of the models they are often involved. I often sketching ideas or refer to other clothes they have to explain what I have in my head. When we pass, I would show them on things that I like and I let them look at the details to see their reaction. Even though the influence of the kids is great, yet I feel that I always make the clothes that I really want to make. Their confidence in my understanding and sewing is apparently large enough that I experience a lot of freedom to make things as I want it.
The oldest two children are now 11 and 12 years old and I am aware that clothes can be an issue in the coming years. The daughter of 11 is going trough a style – evolution. In the beginning I had some fear for this (no skirts and dresses more ) , but I notice that it is just so inspiring to search new patterns that match what she wants to wear . Those dresses and skirtswill be back again at some point.
6. What is your favorite thing you’ve ever sewn for one of your kids?
My daughter asked me that question a few days ago also. And again, I think answering it is difficult. I have many favorite pieces and a lot of reasons why it’s my favorite part. A piece may be my favorite because it has become quite the way I intended it in my head, because I’ve learned something or because it is something different from what I usually do, because the finish is perfect or because it fits so well with that child, or because it was designed with a valuable fabric…
7. Have you found yourself in the middle of a creative rut? If yes, what do you do to break it?
Sometimes I don’t find enough inspiration and I make yet again the same skirt or dress, but that is ultimately the best way to find new inspiration. By sewing, I can get my head clear and eventually get the ideas for your next project come itself. I thought it was fine to get involved with Project Run and Play last year. This took me out of my comfort zone and sometime is even necessary to get ahead.
8. What other creative pursuits do you enjoy apart from sewing ?
Last year I made several attempts to weave . I started with a small rigid heddles loom . I would like to further deepen and learn. In my head , I see it all for me how I get to work with a large loom with multiple shafts which I make complex patterns , but for the moment I feel that I have no time for another hobby . Now there is no place in my head , because when I want to learn something , then I ‘m really too deeply into . For now it remains so for some experimenting . I’ll see how it evolves over several years.
Nele, thank you very very much for joining!