What The Fabric Store Wore

In each and every issue of Peppermint we partner with our pals at The Fabric Store to bring you amazing free sewing patterns (brought to life by Emily at In the Folds) that bring inspiration to our beloved sewing community.

But how do the very people who are surrounded by amazing fabrics day-in, day-out choose what to make next? What homemade creations are they most proud of? And what advice do they wish they’d had when they were rookie sewers? We sat down with staff from The Fabric Store locations in Australia and New Zealand to find out what floats their sewing boat – warning, may induce urgent need to whip up many me-made outfits…

The Fabric Store me-made staff creations

KATIE // Brisbane // @katiepryersmith

How did you first get into sewing?
I grew up with sewing. My mother and auntie had their own bridal made-to-measure boutique on the Gold Coast, and I remember as a young child playing with my cousin in the shop whilst our mother’s created beautiful gowns and had client fittings. In my teens I would head to the shop after school and occasionally help sew beads onto gowns. My grandfather used to make dresses for my nan back in the day, and my mum taught herself how to sew from his old tailoring books. I went on to study fashion design, and after graduating I worked in bridal alterations and then in retail designer dress fabrics. I’ve been working in that field ever since, and have focussed my sewing into the pursuit of a full me-made wardrobe whilst doing the odd side project.

What do you love most about making your own clothes?
Sewing my own clothing has helped build my self-esteem. I was heavy in high school and didn’t have a personal style – I struggled to find clothes I liked that fit so was always self-conscious and shy. Creating my own clothing after high school helped me take back control and learn to appreciate and dress for my figure, rather than trying to follow the latest trends. Sewing soothes my soul and I can’t imagine a life without it.

What tips would you give a complete beginner?
Find a local beginner sewing class or sewing friend to help guide you through a project. YouTube has wonderful instructional videos and sewing vlogs from the community (pattern reviews and fabric hauls are fun too). LIsten to podcasts for motivation (like Love to sew) and search pattern hashtags on Instagram before choosing what to sew. The sewing community is your best resource!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made?
An unlined denim coat I made this year. Living in Brisbane we don’t need a big winter wardrobe so this was the second coat I ever made – I used a funky metal zipper, created bound buttonholes for the first time and covered all the seams with Liberty bias. The pattern’s Le809 from French indie company ‘DP Studio’.

What’s your next project?
I’m on the hunt for a cute pinafore pattern – I’m visualising my summer wardrobe filled with funky dress and t-shirt combos. So many things to sew and so little time!

Sewing my own clothing has helped build my self-esteem

ALICIA // Melbourne // @paper_moon_makes

How did you first get into sewing?
As a kid my nana used to sit me on her lap to use her old Singer – happy memories!

What do you love most about making your own clothes?
I love having a choice to bypass mass-market clothing supply chains. Making your own clothes can be a radical act. Also I just really love the process of bringing a concept I have in my mind to life – and I love to use nice fabrics!

What tips would you give a complete beginner?
Just go for it! Start with simple shapes to get your confidence up. Don’t worry too much about mistakes or perfection – everyone’s spent time with an un-picker. Also avoid velvet to begin with – the pile creeps too much!

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made?
Fully lined coats – something about pulling it all through at the end is magical.

What’s your next project?
Perfecting summer patterns – a wrap jumpsuit and my pants block.

The Fabric Store me-made creations

BRIANNA // Sydney // @bri.sandles

How did you first get into sewing?
I started sewing in high school, and I liked it so much I took textiles as an elective.

What do you love most about making your own clothes?
I’ve never really been one to follow current fashion trends, and I think being able to make your own clothes is a great way to express yourself – it gives you a freedom to be you and not feel the need to conform with what’s on trend. There is also a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that no one will ever have the exact same thing, and knowing it’s been made well and will last longer than a season.

What tips would you give a complete beginner?
YouTube! YouTube is your best friend for when you don’t know how to do something quite right. There are so many good vloggers/bloggers that are willing to share their handy tips and tricks of the trade, and they’re honestly sometimes the things you will keep practicing for the rest of your life.

What’s your favourite fabric to work with?
Linen/cotton for sure! It’s such a satisfying blend to work with – it handles nicely, feels great to wear and I find it creases less than a pure linen would.

What’s your next project?
Between sewing and ceramics it’s hard to find time to do everything I want to do, and I tend to lean towards one or the other at times. But I think I’m going to spend the time finally making the pinafores I’ve been wanting to make all winter (lucky for me they’re trans-seasonal).

Being able to make your own clothes is a great way to express yourself – it gives you a freedom to be you and not feel the need to conform with what’s on trend

The Fabric Store me-made creations

HANNA // Wellington // @hanxhan

How did you first get into sewing?
I leant to sew when I was 9 years old in a house bus! My best friend was learning to sew and I absolutely had to do it too,.

What do you love most about making your own clothes?
I really love colour and interesting fabrics. I could never find anything I wanted to buy in clothes shops when I was younger and this was a great motivator for me to learn more sewing techniques and cultivate the patience to finish things properly.

What’s your favourite fabric to work with?
My favourite fabric is linen these days, as it’s easy-care with young kids.

What’s your next project?
The Persephone Pants by Ann Allen, in a 10oz light denim from work!

The Fabric Store me-made creations

SONYA // Christchurch // @sonya_lois

How did you first get into sewing?
I grew up with my mum making most of my clothes, so I started playing with a sewing machine from a young age and developed a great love for it!

What do you love most about making your own clothes?
Being able to sketch a design and then bring it to life is a great feeling.

What tips would you give a complete beginner?
Play! Jump on a sewing machine and just play around – stick with basic shapes to begin with until you gain more confidence.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made?
During my final year studying fashion I made jackets that incorporated augmented reality, which then revealed your personals stats via an app.

What’s your next project?
A leopard print cotton wrap skirt using an amazing vintage pattern from the 70s.

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