What got you started on your sewing journey?
My mam and nan taught me the basics of sewing (we made some curtains and cushions for my dad’s camper van!), knitting and crochet when I was little so I’ve always been crafty, but it wasn’t until we launched our new Threaders sewing brand that I started to properly dabble in sewing. I was really inspired when I saw all the gorgeous projects our Design Team was creating, so I tried my hand at patchwork quilting, which has lead on to bag making and lots of other crafty projects. I’m still very much a beginner but it’s been a wonderful experience and learning curve, plus it’s been so much fun!
What was the inspiration behind the Sew Lovely range?
In honour of my new passion for sewing, I wanted to create a hybrid range that appealed to both papercrafters and sewers alike. It’s a mix of gorgeous fabrics and threads as well as some fabulous papercraft items, so it’s a huge collection that all works together, whether you’re creating a handmade card, multimedia project or home décor item. We’ve also included some fabulous purse and bag making dies in the range, which are perfect for beginners and those just starting out on their journey into sewing.
What are your favourite things to make?
Patchwork quilting is right up my street, so it really appealed to me when I saw the Gemini Build-a-Block launch and I just had to try it. I completely fell in love with making quilts and they’re absolutely my favourite thing to make. I’ve also loved making little wash bags with the PVC fabric in my Sew Lovely range, and I plan to make more to give as gifts over the next year. However, I’ve really been enjoying pushing myself and trying new things, so the more I learn, the more I’m moving onto new projects and I’m sure I’ll find some more favourite makes!
What fabric do you like to work with most?
As I’m still learning, pretty cotton fabrics that are easy to work with are a must for me! However, I’ve also been experimenting with faux leather for some bag making projects. At first I was daunted to be sewing with leather, but it’s so soft and sews like a dream on my machine, so I needn’t have worried!
What project are you most proud of?
Probably my first patchwork quilt, as it felt like such a massive achievement! Oliver helped me to plan and die-cut some of my blocks so it really was a team effort and I think he enjoyed it as much as I did! That finished quilt will be treasured for a long time to come, as it’s something I can pass down to Oliver. I love how special and unique a handmade quilt can be!
Which projects are you working on at the moment?
I saved all of Charlie and Oliver’s baby clothes and I’m making a quilt out of all the special items, such as the little keepsakes people bought me when they were born and the sentimental babygrows they wore on their first Mother’s Day. I’d also like to try my hand at making some home décor next – I have my eye on some lovely fabric that would make a fab cushion cover!
Which techniques would you like to try in the future?
Our Brand Ambassador, Lizzy, took me through a masterclass recently, and I’ve been learning all kinds of fab techniques, including sewing on zips, adding buttonholes, free-motion stitching and topstitching. I’ve also done a sewing class in our Newton Aycliffe store, which was a minefield of information. There are loads of techniques I have yet to try, though! I’m not a huge fan of hand stitching but it would be good to challenge myself and give appliqué and embroidery a go at some point in the future.
What is your favourite sewing tool?
That definitely has to be the Build-a-Block Patchwork System. I’m not patient or accurate enough to cut blocks the traditional way, so die-cutting them has really revolutionised patchwork quilting for me. My team at CCHQ, worked really hard developing this Patchwork System, and it’s fabulous because it saves so much time and makes patchwork quilting so much easier. All your dies are beautifully organised and there’s also a comprehensive instruction booklet included, as well as lots of help to be found online!