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Sophie Crespy

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.

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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!

summer

KCW interview: Rachel from Stitched Together

Hi, I am Sophie Crespy and I am so happy today to be here to share with you an interview of the über talented Rachel who blogs at Stitched Together and is one of our KCW participants.

Rachel is a great source of inspiration for me not only as a sewer but also as a woman and mother. Her blog is probably my all time favorite. I enjoy seeing the beautiful garments she creates for her four children, but I also appreciate the quality of her photos and the content of her “daily life” posts. She is one of these bloggers who always answers your comments mindfully. As a sewer, she has a way of turning trendy patterns into something unique and beautiful.

Here are some of my favourite garments she created for KCW in the past (and I will be showing other personal favourites from her blog along the way!) :

KCW interview with Rachel of stitched together

1. chic kids inspired pinafore 2. a {modified} hanimi dress

Rachel’s new born baby is due anytime, but she was kind enough to answer my questions!

1. When did you start sewing your children’s clothes? Why?

I started sewing regularly around 6 years ago.  I was drawn to sewing after seeing boutique clothing that I loved but couldn’t afford.  I loved the idea of creating something unique for my kids while simultaneously having a creative outlet.  As time went on, I learned more about the ethical issues surrounding how clothes are made: unfair labor practices, sweatshops, etc.  One of the things I appreciate about making my kids’ clothes is that I know exactly how the clothes were made.  My kids have also learned that clothes don’t manifest themselves on magical clothing trees.  There is a person behind each piece of clothing.  Garment sewing takes time and care.   Even though I don’t make all of my kids’ clothes, I’m glad my kids are aware of the process behind the making of a garment.

KCW interview with Rachel of stitched together

Lotta Dress: what can I say: this Lotta Dress is perfection!!

2. When was your first KCW and how did it go?
I first participated in Kids Clothes Week in the spring of 2012.  It was amazing! I loved the creative energy that came from a whole group of people sewing together.  That energy inspired me and I was able to get so much accomplished.  I think I was more inclined to justify neglecting my laundry, dishes and other household responsibilities when KCW was held bi-annually.   I have participated in every KCW since, but that first one was my most productive.

KCW interview with Rachel of stitched together

Bohemian Babydoll dress  : this is one of the most recent dresses she blogged about! I am in awe!

3. How do you balance your work/ family/sewing time?
My husband says that perfect balance is like a unicorn – it sounds beautiful but is mythical.  We homeschool, my husband works a lot, we have four (soon to be five) kids.  I first and foremost want to be present at home, and yet I hope to demonstrate to my kids that they are not my entire identity.  Sewing is a form of self-care for me.  It’s been easier to sew recently, being our youngest is nearly three.  I can work on projects here and there while she’s awake- which is a recent turn of events.  But with a new baby due to arrive any day, I am expecting it will be harder again.  I try to remind myself that I have my whole life to sew whereas the season with a baby in arms passes so quickly.  I really want to soak that up as much as I can.  (But yes, I will definitely still make time to sew!).

KCW interview with Rachel of stitched together

Hide and seek dress: this is the kind of fabric she chooses that makes me love her style !

4. How do your children influence your sewing?
My kids are still young enough that I mostly sew what inspires me.  I know there are certain things they won’t go for – for awhile my older girls were opposed to shorts – but for the most part they are very flexible and gracious recipients of what I make for them.  I feel really lucky about that!

5. What inspired this piece you made for this summer’s KCW?

KCW interview with Rachel of stitched together

That was a pretty practical decision.  I love dressing my newborns in gowns – they’re so convenient for frequent diaper changes.  I don’t enjoy shopping much at all and my daughter and I struck out when we went thrifting.  Rather than do more shopping, it seemed just as easy, but so much more special, to make my own.  And it was!  It was such fun (and simple!) project!

6. Why do you sew?

I love the creative outlet that sewing is.  I love getting something done that stays done.  I love the rush I feel when planning or finishing a project.  And perhaps most of all, I love the beautiful community that has been formed around this hobby, that to so many of us is so much more than just a hobby.  In some ways, it feels more like a way of life.  I know I wouldn’t be where I am in my sewing without this amazing community.  For that I am incredibly grateful.

Thanks for having me, Sophie!

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Isn’t she amazing? So much talent and so much depth in one single woman! you have got to be impressed! Well that is all from me today! Stay tuned for more interviews and inspiration from us on the KCW blog!

KID ART: art-like fabrics
summer

KID ART: art-like fabric

Hi there ! Sophie here all the way from sunny France! I am so honored to be a contributor for this summer KCW and I hope to help you get ready for this season’s KCW. When I heard about this seasons’ s theme: KID ART, I immediatly thought of how it would apply to fabrics and prints. This theme was enough to fuel my creativity and it opens the door to a huge amount of  prints!

I went on a hunt for you on the internet to find the coolest prints for this season. I have selected a few themes : kids favorite characters, doodles, paint and watercolor. I also have a special Nani Iro section.

So let’s dive into my favorite prints for this season’s theme:

# PAINT & WATERCOLOR:

Kids love to paint, they love brushes and water and even painting with their fingers! Here are some fun paint patterns I found for you:

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#1 A fabulous Spandex nylon print! it is saying “sun and sea ” to me!! Love it!

#2 I could really see a girl’s swimming suit in this print ! don’t you? Spandex knit fabric sold by Girl Charlee

#3: Bloom: this print is perfect for summer and spring: paired with solid white , it would make a lovely girl’s dress.

#4: By Andover, this print comes also in a lovely purple and a bright yellow: How much fun is it? It would work perfect as a solid in combination with a busier and lighter print.

# DOODLES & SCRIBBLES :

Our kids love to doodle colorful arts and I think there is something very genuine and touching about these happy drawings. The following prints are spot on this season’s theme!

doodling #1  On track would be perfect for a boy’s shirt, like the  Mulberry tunic by Willow &Co .

#2: This P&B Textiles print really hits the theme!

#3 This fabulous print is a favorite of mine and I think I would like to use it for a girl’s dress bodice.

#4 Ed Emberley designs some of the best kids prints ever: this Scribbles is perfect for backgrounds and boys garments.

# KIDS FAVORITE CHARACTERS :

Princesses, horses, unicorns, animals of the jungle… all these are some of our kid’s favorite characters. Taken from there bedtime strories or straight from their imagination they make great prints for both boys and girls. character#1: The whole Far Far Away collection is a delight! Heather Ross did wonders and who could resist this princess and the pea print?? wouldn’t it be perfect on a bed spread or even on a dress?

#2 Those snails have my heart: designed by Made by Rae, this collection is perfect in terms of design and colors.  This print is great for boys garments: hats, shorts… I am inspired!

# 3 I have this print in a different colorway and am planning to sew a Caroline party dress for my own girl with it during KCW.

#4 Ed Emberley is the best illustrator for kids animal prints.

I made Parsley pants for my son out of this other Ed Emberley print:a favorite in our home:

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# NANI IRO:

Nani Iro ‘s fabrics are made in Japan: they are amazingly rich in textures and colors ; the prints are etheral and poetic. I had to highlight these amazing prints: brush strokes, uneven large dots, splatters of neon colors, these have got to inspire you. #1, #2 and #3 were found on Miss Matatabi, an Etsy shop selling absolutly amazing fabrics. I encourage you to go and visit this shop: you are bound to find a print matching this season’s theme.

nanicollage#1: How modern is this!

#2: This print is simply amazing: it looks like an actually piece of Kid Art!

#3: Small uneven dots, so lovely!

#4: This Nani Iro print was found in a french online shop : Cousette. It is the perfect combination of brown and neon pink and it is made out of a soft flannel. Just a hint: this fabric is on my cutting table right now!!

 

# THE END …

Of course, I could go on like this for ages!! Fabric is addictive and this season’s theme is so inspiring. I could not give you a complete list of my favorite prints … But let’s just have just two more of my current favorite:

#1  Jeni Baker Dreamin Vintage collection: so fresh, so happy, the prints all remind me of some naive kid’s drawing. Who could resist this floral print, really?

vintage#2 Wild collection by Wee Gallery for Dear Stella: I am in love!

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Now, are you inspired? Are you itching to start searching your stash or even add more to it? This list is in no way a closed list! Quite the opposite, it just a way to inspire you as you search for the perfect print!

If you are shopping online, use the “search” engine in your favorite shop and enter words such as ” painting, drawing, watercolor, children ..” and just enjoy!