Hi everyone! It is Maria from My cozy Co, sharing with you today an interview with Toya, the master creator behind the blog Made by Toya. Toya is an artists/Illustrator. In her blog, she shares not only the amazing clothes she makes for her two daugthers and for herself, but also free tutorials and patterns. I first encounter Toya´s work when she made an outfit inspired by Mary Poppins and since then I have been a fan of her creations.
1 When did you start sewing your children’s clothes and why?
I had always made clothes for myself from time to time so it was a natural progression to make things for my children especially as in those days my partner worked evenings so I suddenly found myself at home on my own a lot. When my eldest was very young I didn’t make her many clothes as there were plenty of hand me downs available – I made her a quilt and a few crocheted jumpers in the first year. It wasn’t until she was old enough to enjoy dressing up that I really started making more things for her – I love making costumes! As she got older it became obvious that she was a very slim build so I started making nearly all her clothes in order to get a good fit. As I made more, my skills and confidence grew so that making clothes for my children is now about much more than practicality and it allows me (and them) much more choice. It also means I never have to go shopping, and I hate shopping. (apart from fabric shopping of course!)
2 When was your first KCW and how did it go?
My first season was in October 2014 – I’d only heard about it the season before and then signed up straight away. I made a couple of self drafted shirts/tunics and some bonnets for my youngest. The challenge of setting aside and hour (or more) a day was fine that week – I never really know in advance whether I’ll actually manage it due to the unpredictable nature of some of my freelance work. The most challenging thing for me was getting it photographed in time as well.
3 How do you balance your work/family/sewing time?
Well like many people I don’t always feel like it’s balanced! Sometimes when I’m having a busy period with work projects, sewing has to wait, but as soon as there is an evening available I get back to it. Sewing a garment from start to finish is such a joy after a equally joyful but sometimes frustrating day with young children when it often feels like nothing gets finished…… even sentences!
4 How do your children influence your sewing?
My eldest (now 8) is now very involved. If she needs an item of clothing (or costume for something) she often draws a picture of how she would like it to be. I might draw of couple of pictures to show different ways of making her ideas work (sometimes there is some animated discussion!) and I also often let her help choose the fabric too. Sometimes I get her involved it cutting out the fabric and other bits and pieces too. My youngest sometimes puts in a fun request – usually to do with pictures on clothes , once she asked for clothes with watermelons, pineapple and bananas, and her most recent request was for flamingoes.
5 What is your favorite thing you’ve ever sewn for one of your kids?
I’m most happy with something that looks nice but is really practical – so from that point of view I’d say the baby carriers/slings I made for them. They never even made it onto my blog but were so useful and are now being used by my friends to carry their babies. If not, I’d contradict myself and say any/all of the completely impractical but fun costumes I’ve made them over the years.
6 What other creative pursuits do you enjoy apart from sewing?
Well my job is fairly creative – I work as an illustrator so do a lot of painting and drawing, but I still like to fill any free time with other creative endeavours. I enjoy making – crochet, origami, crafts with my children, and loads more.
7 Have you found yourself in the middle of a creative rut? If yes, what do you do to break it?
When it comes to sewing, I don’t usually struggle to come up with ideas but find it more of a struggle to narrow lots of ideas down into one coherent plan or garment. If I run out of inspiration completely a quick list of things actually needed and a visit to those stored project ideas on Pinterest usually fixes the problem.
8 what do you like the best about joining in with KCW
The best thing is definitely browsing through the pool of projects that collects every season. There are so many incredibly talented makers out there and it is a joy to see the things they create.
Toya, Thank you so much for sharing with us a little bit more about yourself and your creative process. I´m looking forward to seeing what you will make next!
Because this is my last post for this KCW, I would like to thank Meg for having me as contributor, it was lots of fun! I enjoyed every single bit of the experience. KCW is a great community and all of you made fantastic clothes this season.
See you next season, when we will meet for sewing amazing clothes for our kids!