kcw interview: holli from hello holli

Hello again, it’s Jenny from Mend & Make New, and today I’m very excited to be interviewing Holli from ‘Hello Holli’!

One of the things I love best about Kid’s Clothes Week is discovering new sewers and bloggers to follow and be inspired by. This KCW I discovered Holli. Holli by no means is new to this whole KCW scene (she’s been joining in since October 2013 – see more on that below), but it was the first time that her creations caught my eye and then it seemed, everywhere I looked Holli was there. I browsed Instagram, she was there; I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, she was there  and I looked in the KCW project pool and she was there too. And I like what I saw. A lot! I’ve also recently discovered the pattern she has just designed, the Blue Ridge Dress, and I am in love!

Hello Holli intro1. Black & White & Cute All Over / 2. Wool Nituna Coat / 3. Mini Blinging Prefontaines / 4. Stitched Geranium & Fancy Pants Leggings

Anyway, that’s enough from me, let’s hear what Holli has to say!
1. When did you start sewing your children’s clothes and why?
I sewed the first clothing item for my oldest before she was born- an embellished onesie and a simple skirt. I didn’t sew much for her when she was a baby, a pair of baby shoes and probably a few skirts, but when she was about 2 I discovered this magical world online where everyone was sewing amazing clothes for their kids. Once I started seeing all the indie patterns available I couldn’t help myself. I started with a Geranium dress upcycled from a large women’s tunic and a Maggie Mae dress made from a silky 80’s yellow top and a bed sheet. And then I was HOOKED. I’ve always loved kid fashion so being able to create my own kid fashion is immensely satisfying for me, and I also love being able to make clothes in the colors and styles I love. My girls closet is full of red and blue and yellow and black- you can barely find a smidgen of pink! That wouldn’t be the case if most of their clothes came from Target!
2. When was your first KCW and how did it go?
I followed Kid’s Clothes week for a while, and I finally joined in in October 2013. I had a pretty ambitious list of things to sew , and while I didn’t finish it all I did an amazing amount of work for 1 week! Sewing at that pace and having that community feel was amazing to me so I’ve tried to sew along each season since. Sometimes moves or vacations get in the way but since there are 4 each year now I never have to wait too long if I miss one!
3. What do you like the best about joining in with KCW?
I love sharing and seeing what everyone else is making. I don’t join in many sewing community events or sewalongs, but KCW is my fave because I’m sewing what I want to sew and I totally get inspired from everyone else, too!
Hello Holli more projects
4. How do you balance your work/family/sewing time?
I used to get really stressed about not having time for everything, but at some point I realized that I’d never have time for everything- it just isn’t possible! So I prioritize, which for me means I lowered my cleanliness standard for my house and I try to plan really simple meals so the prep time and clean up is less. I sew during naps and after my kids go to bed, and balance my evenings with some TV time with my husband 🙂 Every time I try to sew while my kids are awake I’m reminded why it’s a bad idea for me- I start to feel and act like my children are a burden or distraction from my real work of sewing, which isn’t the mom I want to be. I try (and often fail) to be present during my time with my children and not distracted by my sewing ideas, which for me is really hard. My mind is constantly working and if I could sew half the things I dream up it would be amazing! I also balance by letting my husband know when I could use a catch up day- he’ll take the kids out for a few hours on a Saturday so I can spend some solid time on pattern making or sewing. If I know I’ll have some uninterrupted work time it is easier to lay projects aside and enjoy time with my family.
5. How do your children influence your sewing?
They definitely influence my fabric choices. I love neutrals on kids. One of my favorite KCW makes is a black and white Bimaa dress (see photo below) and my daughter refused to wear it for most of last year because she said she only kind of liked black and it wasn’t twirly enough. I still love that dress, but it taught me that I definitely need to consider the color (or lack thereof) for my kids wardrobes. Charly loves red and twirly things so that is dominating my sewing lately. Caroline doesn’t have too much of an opinion yet so I get a little more creative license with her, haha! I’ve also tried to customize to their interests. Charly loves princesses, so many of her dresses are very loosely princess inspired. A green dress becomes a Tiana dress, dark blue is Merida, etc. She loves mushrooms and nature too, so adding pockets for collecting rocks and mushroom print fabric makes her super excited to wear the things I make.
6. What is your favorite thing you’ve ever sewn for one of your kids?
Hmmm. This is a tough one. I really love this upcycled shirt I made in February but my all time Favorite is probably this Nituna Coat . It was one of the first indie patterns I fell in love with. I love that it is upcycled- the challenge of fitting all the pattern pieces on with the correct grain is super fun to me. I love that lovely grey herringbone wool and the red pops of color in the buttons and the lining. Outerwear is really satisfying because it gets worn so much, too. I’m excited my younger daughter Caroline will get to wear that one this year!
7. Have you found yourself in the middle of a creative rut? If yes, what do you do to break it?
Oh yes, I’ve definitely had my fair share of ruts! Sometimes seeing something made by others will inspire me, but sometimes I just need a bit of a break. I sew nearly every day now, so if I get in a rut I take a few evenings off and watch TV with my husband. Usually some time apart from my sewing machine leaves me with a brain full of ideas trying to claw their way out! I also pick a quick sew sometimes to just finish something I know I can do quickly and easily with success. The feeling of finishing something will usually leave me craving more of that feeling, so I jump in to another project. Does it sound like I’m an addict? I think I might be. Hi, I’m Holli, and I’m addicted to making.
8. Do you enjoy any other creative pursuits apart from sewing?
Yes, but I rarely make time for them! I’ve dabbled in a lot of things- knitting, block carving, and photography to name a few. I’ve been learning pattern making this year which I love, but sewing is still my first love.
9. Do you have any tips on achieving photographs that show off your sewing skills?
Don’t forget the details! Sewing is all in the details, so I try to take a good amount of close ups to showcase sweet pattern matching or topstitching or gorgeously finished seams. Seeing that handiwork close up gives you a sort of connection with the hands that made it.
Photography tips

10. Congratulations on your recently released pattern the ‘Blue Ridge Dress‘ – what was your inspiration behind it and have you got any more designs on the horizon?

Thank you! I began to design the pattern while I was working on a spread for STYLO. I was given the fabric- Handcrafted by Alison Glass- to make an item for the spread and I just couldn’t find a pattern that jived with that fabric for me. Eventually I saw an old dress from Crew Cuts that had a similar front bodice shape- sleeveless, higher neck, curved yoke- and I LOVED it. I couldn’t find a picture of the back so I created what I’d want the back of that dress to be. The pattern was created with that fabric in mind from the beginning and it is still my favorite version. I love the color pops at the bodice seams with the neutral of the background color in that fabric. The curves on both the back and front bodice remind me of the Blue Ridge Mountains where I went to college and lived for several years after, so that’s where the name came from.
I’m in the early stages of creating my next pattern, so you can definitely expect more to come this year!
Blue Ridge dress 2
Charly’s Alison Glass Blue Ridge Dress , (dress pattern available here.) 

Thank you Jenny!

No, thank you Holli! I really loved reading everything you had to say. (Now please excuse me as I run away to scour the thrift shops for things to upcycle and then sew all the Blue Ridge Dresses!)

Jenny x

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