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August 2014

why I sew // KCW
summer

why I sew: Sophie

Hello dear KCW readers!  Sophie here for my last post as a KCW contributor. It has been an honour to share this season with you all.
When I was preparing for this post , I thought of all the many reasons why I sew. There are lots! But I wanted to give you an idea of what makes my relationship with sewing special and that’s what I will share today.

But before I start, there are a few things you might need to know:

a. I am very new to sewing : I mean 2 years is new!

b. I am totally self-taught : thank you Internet!

c. My first love is paper!

So here is to some of the main reasons why I sew:

1. I sew because I scrapbook:
That sounds funny, I know, but it all started with my scrapbooking pages.

PicMonkey Collage12

I used to design scrapbook pages for american companies such as American Crafts and Crate Paper. I was the luckiest French scrapbooker in the whole wide world! I got to play with patterned papers and embellishments and it was so great to search for the coolest design for my next layout.  After I touched a sewing machine for the first time in a scrapbook workshop, I was hooked! When I got home I immediatly ordered a Singer.  I would sew on all of my layouts to add texture and a handmade finish. That was my first ever relationship with thread and needles.

While reading scrapbooking blogs, I discovered that some scrapbookers I admired also made quilts . I was in awe of the beautiful things they created. In the same way that they played with paper, they got to play with fabrics in order to create something beautiful they could use and gift! I had been hoarding all these scrapbooking papers and I was crazy about their colors and patterns.  I discovered then I could have the same glorious colors and patterns and get to use them, to wear them if I learnt how to sew with fabrics! And so I did, all on my own, thanks to Pinterest and google! I learnt to sew just for the love of colors and patterns and the soft touch of quilting cotton!
Naturally I turned to patchwork first, using a fellow scrapbooker’s beginner’s quilt tutorial,  because it was all about patterns and colors mixed together : I created a few quilts and even got some orders from friends and family:

PicMonkey Collage45

2. I sew because I am fussy

Quilting requires precision and patience: your seams have to be perfectly matched and pinning is almost an art! It gave me the perfect basic techniques to sew garments. I was ready for dresses and tees!

When it comes to clothes, I like simple patterns and simple lines, I like a great fit and cool fabrics (see above!). I mainly wear dresses and I prefer cotton, linen and wool: all things I don’t find easily in ready-to-wear shops.  Therefore, being able to create my own garments was an extremely freeing experience. Scary, but freeing! PicMonkey Collage Indeed it is great to have the freedom to pick a pattern I like and create garments I truly love, garments I have imagined and designed in my head and to bring them to life with my sewing machine. It is such an empowering feeling, really. I also find that the small alterations I have learnt to make through the process of sewing with patterns even increase this sense of freedom : I can create almost any garment I dream of.

So the fussy me rarelly goes shopping nowadays. I don’t even look in the shops windows anymore. Instead, I prefer searching online for the perfect fabric –  that would match that perfect pattern-  that would make that unique garment for myself or my kids, just as I like it.

3. I sew because sewing is “meditation in action”:
I am a woman with many duties. I work full time, raise my children and do all the chores while my husband works long hours outside the house. I worry and get tired, like many of us. I can’t leave the house to go to the gym or yoga classes but I found the best “meditation in action”: sewing! yes!  Sewing is like “meditation in action” : it empties my head of all sorts of worries and nourrishes me with beauty and achievements! Love that! So therapeutic! When my hands are busy, and my brain really tries to understand how to attach this sleeve to this armhole or how to quilt-as-you go,  really, there is no room for worrying or any kind of anxiety! Sewing helps me keep my sanity. Bags are my favorite “meditation in action” projects: they require precision but they also quickly give me the sense of achievement I am looking for.

PicMonkey Collage23

When kids are in bed, and I have marked all my students assignments, I go and lock myself in my studio, even if it is just for a half-hour of my own “meditation in action”. After that I feel restored, filled up and happy!
4. I sew because I care!
I started scrapbooking in order to save our memories and to pass these good times on to my children. I meant my albums as gifts. But it seemed quite far from them. It seemed they would only use them, read them and understand how much I put into them in a few years, when they grow up. Sewing was a way to show them my love ” right now”, with an item they could wear everyday, a reminder of my deep feelings for them on a daily basis.

I also like that it teaches them that garments are to be treasured: you don’t buy and throw. It takes time to make garments and each piece should have the respect it deserves. It is a way to fight consumerism and our “ephemeral” society .

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Sewing them costumes for school plays and carnival is also something I enjoy: they get to have something special, something unique and it has a “made with love” label on it!

PicMonkey Collage
In the same way , if I design and sew a quilt for a newborn baby, I welcome him to this world with the warmth of a handmade quilt and all the time I sew,  I think of this baby and I hope he will find comfort in this quilt.
In many ways, sewing is an act of love.

So here are the real reasons why I sew! But let me add that one of the reasons why I KEEP ON sewing , is all the inspiration I find on Internet everyday, on blogs and places such as this one! The sewing community is awesome and I never thought I would find such inspiring and encouraging sewers accross the world who would reach out to me, even through digital messages and provide the motivation to keep on creating, just for the love of colors and patterns!

KCW interview with Cherie from you&mie
summer

KCW interview: Cherie from you&mie

Hi, this is Kristi from SweetKM. Today’s KCW Interview is Cherie from You & Mie. You may know Cherie from her Japanese Sewing Book Series, and the recent Happy Homemade Sew-along. Before Kid’s Clothes Week I had been a casual reader of Cherie’s blog. When I saw her watercolor dress in the KCW pool, I went on a You & Mie binge and read every singe word of You & Mie! Not only does she have a ton of amazing finished garments, it is jam-packed with sewing tutorials and ideas for customizing fabric. Please welcome Cherie.

1. Please tell us about the kids you sew for.
I sew for my two daughters who are almost 4 years old and 10.5 months old.

Back Camera Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetleft: Itty Bitty Dress, right: Jump Rope Dress

2. When did you start making clothes for your kids? Why?
I started making clothes shortly after my first daughter was born. We were going to a wedding when she was 6 weeks old so I made her a dress using Made By Rae’s (free) Itty Bitty Dress pattern. It was a success! And I was hooked. I’m not really sure why the idea of making clothes appealed to me so much, besides the fact that it’s fun to dress up your kids however you want! But seriously, I love the challenge of coming up with an idea for a garment or outfit and then figuring out how to make it happen. It was also far less intimidating and less costly than sewing for myself.

3. 
When was your first Kid’s Clothes Week? How did it go?

My first Kids Clothes Week was Spring 2012. I was super crazy ambitious and tried to make a bazillion projects. Well, actually it was only 4, but I remember staying up super late every night and letting the house get all messy, but I LOVED it. The best part was the community – I was constantly checking the photo pool for the newest projects and I loved giving and getting comments and encouragement and knowing that I was in it with hundred of others. I was hooked. In terms of the actual sewing, I made an awful pair of shorts, a skirt that was way too big, a decent top, and my biggest accomplishment that week was an Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress.

2b Doubleleft: Double Ruffle Top, middle: Orange Skinnies,  right: Burn Out Raglan Tee

4. How do your children influence your sewing?
My soon-to-be 4 year old, Yuki, is extremely picky when it comes to clothes, so when I make things for her, I really have to think about what she will actually wear. That includes type of fabric, type of clothing, fit, color, print, etc. She’s really into comfort so I sew a lot more with knits now. She’s also really into dresses, so I’ve been making a lot of those, whereas a year ago, she wouldn’t touch a dress. As she’s gotten more opinionated, I’ll ask for her input more as well. I’ll let her choose from a stack of fabrics or weigh in on certain details. I also sew based on what my kids need. Both of my girls need some new leggings/knit pants and Yuki needs some new pajamas and a birthday dress, so those are all on the to do list.

5. How do you balance your work/ family/sewing time?
Oh, I’m so bad at that “balancing” thing. Basically, I work during my work hours. When I’m at home and my family is awake, it’s family time. When everyone is asleep, it’s sewing/blogging time. When do I sleep? I kinda don’t. It’s not a very healthy schedule, but it’s the only way I know how to do things. Luckily, I have a very supportive partner that helps out by taking the morning shift with the kids or even on weekends if I have a big project to work on. But honestly, time management is my weakness, so I have no helpful advice here. Anyone have any for me!?

2 doubleleft: Sora and the Cloud bag, right: Painted Flutter Sleeve Dress from Stylo v.2

6. You do a lot of painting on fabric, which is your favorite technique? Why?
Ooh, yes, I do love painting on fabric! I like using fabric paint for freezer paper stenciling and stamping, but my favorite right now is to use these specific paints, Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints, to get a watercolor look that is permanent on fabric. I’m drawn to the organic images that are produced with watercolors as well as the uniqueness that comes with freehand painting and knowing that it is one-of-a-kind. I also love that these paints dry soft if you mix them with water first, so you can do all over washes of color without making the fabric stiff. I recently shared a post with a whole bunch of tips on how to use these paints. Experimenting with these paints are definitely my favorite type of fabric painting right now. One thing that I’d like to try more of, is combining the watercolor fabric paints with other techniques like stamping or stenciling. I did a little of that for this bag and for this dress, but I would love to continue playing with mixed media on fabric.

3 doubleabove: Water Color Dress

7. 
What inspired the watercolor sundress you made for this KCW?
I was inspired by the KCW theme, Kid Art! Yuki loves painting, but I hadn’t ever thought to let her paint fabric, so the theme is really what encouraged me to try fabric painting with Yuki. And it just made so much sense – I love painting fabric, Yuki loves painting, she loves to be involved – why not!? I’m so glad that we had the push to do it! It was fun, though not perfect, but a good experience for both of us. We both love the finished result and can say it was a true collaboration. Yuki’s definitely proud to say that she painted her dress. I mean, how many kids can say that!?

4 doubleleft: Vintage All-Star Track Suit, right: Elsa Dress

8. What is your favorite thing you’ve ever sewn for one of your kids? And/or your favorite type of thing to sew for your kids?
Ooh, this is hard. While the Watercolor Sundress is up there, I think this Vintage All-star Track Suit I made a couple of years ago is something that I’m pretty proud of. I made it for one of the Project Run & Play sew-along challenges and was one of those things that I had envisioned and then worked really hard to bring it to life. I drafted my own patterns and didn’t really know what I was doing, but tried it anyways and I was pleasantly surprised with the finished outfit! It’s obviously not perfect, but I had so much fun making it and seeing it on my daughter and I think that’s the part that really matters in the end.

And now, what I really like to sew for my preschooler, is something that I know she’ll love. When she gets excited about something I’ve made and says, “Thank you, Mama! I love it!” and gives me a big hug, and then wants to wear it all the time . . . those are the things I love sewing for her. Most recently, it’s been this Elsa dress.

5 doubleleft: Fluttering Fields Sundress, right: Quilted Jacket

9. You have a ton of detailed sewing tutorials on your blog, which is your favorite?
I don’t really know, I tend to like whatever my latest tutorial is 🙂 Which right now, is the Fluttering Fields Dress. I made the first version with Rae Hoekstra’s Fluttering Fields fabric from her Lotus Pond line, which is where I got the name for the dress. The second version I made is the Watercolor Sundress I linked to above. My daughter loves both dresses, which is awesome and I feel like the design is original and fun. One of my most popular kids clothes tutorials is the Quilted Jacket.

Thanks Kristi for inviting me to be here today! As a huge fan of KCW, I’m so honored to be part of this interview series. And truly, one of the things that I’m inspired by most when it comes to sewing is all the people who sew for KCW and the people behind KCW, so thank you!!

*****

Thank you Cherie! I can’t wait to try out fabric stamping and those beautiful water color paints!

This is my last contribution to the KCW blog. I would like to thank Meg for inviting me, and YOU for reading along. As everyone has said before, the supportive community is the best part of Kid’s Clothes Week, and I really enjoyed being a part of it. Until next KCW you can find me at SweetKM.

call for KCW contributors
summer

call for contributors and testers

Have you been enjoying the KCW interviews our contributors are doing this season?  I think it’s a great addition to the KCW blog. There are so many awesome sewers in the KCW community and we want to know all of you better. Do you have some questions you would ask? Do you want to introduce us to new and fantastic sewers? Maybe you should be a contributor…

call for KCW contributors

We are looking for a few good people to be contributors on the KCW next season! Being a contributor lets you connect with fellow sewers, grow your blog, give back to KCW, and just show off the cool stuff you make! If you are interested in being a writer for next (or any!) season on KCW, please email me at kidsclothesweek@gmail.com (subject line: fall contributor) with a little paragraph about yourself and a few photos of what you’ve sewn.

call for KCW testers

Maybe you want to give back to the KCW community, but not in such a public way. We are looking for a group of people we can call on to be site testers. When we add a new feature or update and old one we need to know if everything is working correctly.  Mostly it means clicking around and finding any mistakes or general weirdness.  You can do that, right? If you’d like to please email us at kidsclothesweek@gmail.com (subject line: site tester).

Thanks!