Browsing Tag

june 2015

KCW interviews

kcw interview: Toya from Made by Toya

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.


Florence shirt

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!)


1.Swimming Costume 2.Jumpsuit 3.Dungarees 4.Tunic 5.Gold stars

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.


1. Merida Dress 2. Fruity one piece to two piece 3.Christmas gift 4.Cat and rabbit bonnets

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.


Baby Carrier

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.


1.Liberty print blouse and bubble shorts 2.Sashiko bodice dresses

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!


KCW interviews

kcw intervieuw: Nele from Spiegelstiksels

Hey you all, it’s Katrien from KaatjeNaaisels again. I interviewed Nele from Spiegelstiksels for you! You know her from her beautiful sewing in Project Run and Play, wich she won last year. I admire her sense of perfection and the perfect finish she gives to all of the clothes she sews. She also has some really clear tutorials on her blog (in Dutch). I learned so much from here! So I hope you love reading her answers as much as I did!

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

I’m starting to sew when I was studying . A friend asked me if I would accompany her to the sewing lessons and I thought it would be fun to try. The unit ‘ sewing machine ‘ I knew as a child as something we could never arrive. My grandfather was a tailor , and when we played we were always in the studio to hear the story of that time Martha ( a seamstress who worked for him) had choked on her finger . I was 20 or 21 when I went to the sewing lessons , so I felt that I was now old enough to learn to use the machine ;-). I had my first child when I was 26, now 12 years ago. So I was already sewing at that time. It was therefore logical to make clothes for the children . In early motherhood Isewed also often have other things than kids clothes , but gradually I became more and more sewing for them. In my collection pattern books is the oldest one I think is a Knippie Baby of 2003 . That was the only source of patterns for children’s clothes that I knew back then. I remember well the first time I had a Ottobre in my hands (at the end of the summer of 2005). What a revelation I felt then! This discovery also made me look differently at the clothes I bought for my children and realize that there were more things to do than what was in the books . The start of Etsy and other online shops have given sewing even more of a boost, because the supply of materials suddenly became much greater. Also share photos of my fabrics , first through Flickr , and later through my blog worked motivating. Now I’m sewing almost exclusively children’s clothes ( and occasionally a shirt for Mr. ).

I sew in the first place because I like to do. For some fabrics in my closet I have a clear picture of what they will be, but a lot of fabrics have no destination. I like to pick out fabrics and making combinations. That’s why I organize my closet oblivious to color. Usually, the problem is lack of time not to perform effectively my ideas, but I think the process itself is very relaxing and inspiring. The technical aspect of sewing is one of the reasons why I do this. I like to look for the right technique to finish something perfect and get a lot of satisfaction from stitching a perfectly straight line, the perfect collar or a nice welt. I like to create pieces that are more complex, but can just as easily enjoy making a quick and easy look. The nice thing about children’s clothes, I think, is that you can go crazy. There are virtually no limits. Often I make clothes for my children that I would never dare wear. I consider myself a fairly serious person, especially in my professional life. With the colorful clothes of the children and the unusual combinations I can show another piece of myself. I am also happy that their clothes are unique, but that is not the main motivation to sew, rather a nice plus. By sewing, I will be giving more importance to the quality of the clothes I buy and the conditions in which they were created. This makes me feel connected to the sewing (st) ers that make clothes and I think it is important that they are respected and appreciated for the work they do.

2. When was your first KCW and how did it go ?

The first time I took part in KCW (C) was in November 2011. I immediately went ‘ all the way’ . I do not remember whereI ‘ve found the time but I made a lot of clothes that week. I looked to the KCW in that period as the time to make the clothes that are needed for the children, rather than make the clothes I ‘ want ‘, for instance. Because the son then equally wears trousers that are above his ankles, or the daughter outgrown her skirts and pajamas has grown. Now themes are proposed for the KCW I find it fun to brainstorm or looking in my closet to search for fabrics that match the theme, but I notice that my production somewhat lower.

3. What do you like the best about joining in with KCW ?

When everyone is asleep and you’re on your own at the sewing machine in your quiet house , you know that other women around the world are just doing the same thing . I always look forward to the daily updates on the KCW- blog. Then often appear great pieces , which I wish I had invented myself. I love to see how everyone gives his own interpretation of the theme.

4. How do you balance your work / family / sewing time ?

That’s a tough one. I find the job I ‘m doing the heaviest I ‘ve had and which often requires me until late into the night , even though I work only 70 %. Then sewing is a purely nocturnal affair. Fortunately, there are also times when it is less busy, and I sometimes can make time to sewduring the day . The children are very independent and do not really need to be entertained. It is enough that I am in the neighborhood . Often they sit tinkering just next to me, reading or playing in the sewing room . There is also an additional sewing machine that they can use. Sometimes it is weeks left untouched , and sometimes it is used more frequently. I am also very lucky with my husband, who takes a lot of household tasks.


5. How do your children influence your sewing?

There are many ways in which children have an influence, both in the selection of fabrics and your choice of clothes. They also give a lot of feedback. The best way to find out if a garment falls in the taste is to see that it is being worn. The children choose for themselves what they mostly wear, so I see what they like. When I a garment is not chosen, I ask them why. The comments I write down(it stings, too hot, too wide / narrow at the legs, collar not nice …) and I take notice to the next piece. I show the children also the materials I bought and watch their reactions. Often they are also asked at the computer when I’m webshopping so they can give their opinion. Also in the choice of the models they are often involved. I often sketching ideas or refer to other clothes they have to explain what I have in my head. When we pass, I would show them on things that I like and I let them look at the details to see their reaction. Even though the influence of the kids is great, yet I feel that I always make the clothes that I really want to make. Their confidence in my understanding and sewing is apparently large enough that I experience a lot of freedom to make things as I want it.

The oldest two children are now 11 and 12 years old and I am aware that clothes can be an issue in the coming years. The daughter of 11 is going trough a style – evolution. In the beginning I had some fear for this (no skirts and dresses more ) , but I notice that it is just so inspiring to search new patterns that match what she wants to wear . Those dresses and skirtswill be back again at some point.

6. What is your favorite thing you’ve ever sewn for one of your kids?

My daughter asked me that question a few days ago also. And again, I think answering it is difficult. I have many favorite pieces and a lot of reasons why it’s my favorite part. A piece may be my favorite because it has become quite the way I intended it in my head, because I’ve learned something or because it is something different from what I usually do, because the finish is perfect or because it fits so well with that child, or because it was designed with a valuable fabric…


7. Have you found yourself in the middle of a creative rut? If yes, what do you do to break it?

Sometimes I don’t find enough inspiration and I make yet again the same skirt or dress, but that is ultimately the best way to find new inspiration. By sewing, I can get my head clear and eventually get the ideas for your next project come itself. I thought it was fine to get involved with Project Run and Play last year. This took me out of my comfort zone and sometime is even necessary to get ahead.

8. What other creative pursuits do you enjoy apart from sewing ?

Last year I made ​​several attempts to weave . I started with a small rigid heddles loom . I would like to further deepen and learn. In my head , I see it all for me how I get to work with a large loom with multiple shafts which I make complex patterns , but for the moment I feel that I have no time for another hobby . Now there is no place in my head , because when I want to learn something , then I ‘m really too deeply into . For now it remains so for some experimenting . I’ll see how it evolves over several years.


Nele, thank you very very much for joining!





KCW interviews

kcw interview: holli from hello holli

Hello again, it’s Jenny from Mend & Make New, and today I’m very excited to be interviewing Holli from ‘Hello Holli’!

One of the things I love best about Kid’s Clothes Week is discovering new sewers and bloggers to follow and be inspired by. This KCW I discovered Holli. Holli by no means is new to this whole KCW scene (she’s been joining in since October 2013 – see more on that below), but it was the first time that her creations caught my eye and then it seemed, everywhere I looked Holli was there. I browsed Instagram, she was there; I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, she was there  and I looked in the KCW project pool and she was there too. And I like what I saw. A lot! I’ve also recently discovered the pattern she has just designed, the Blue Ridge Dress, and I am in love!

Hello Holli intro1. Black & White & Cute All Over / 2. Wool Nituna Coat / 3. Mini Blinging Prefontaines / 4. Stitched Geranium & Fancy Pants Leggings

Anyway, that’s enough from me, let’s hear what Holli has to say!
1. When did you start sewing your children’s clothes and why?
I sewed the first clothing item for my oldest before she was born- an embellished onesie and a simple skirt. I didn’t sew much for her when she was a baby, a pair of baby shoes and probably a few skirts, but when she was about 2 I discovered this magical world online where everyone was sewing amazing clothes for their kids. Once I started seeing all the indie patterns available I couldn’t help myself. I started with a Geranium dress upcycled from a large women’s tunic and a Maggie Mae dress made from a silky 80’s yellow top and a bed sheet. And then I was HOOKED. I’ve always loved kid fashion so being able to create my own kid fashion is immensely satisfying for me, and I also love being able to make clothes in the colors and styles I love. My girls closet is full of red and blue and yellow and black- you can barely find a smidgen of pink! That wouldn’t be the case if most of their clothes came from Target!
2. When was your first KCW and how did it go?
I followed Kid’s Clothes week for a while, and I finally joined in in October 2013. I had a pretty ambitious list of things to sew , and while I didn’t finish it all I did an amazing amount of work for 1 week! Sewing at that pace and having that community feel was amazing to me so I’ve tried to sew along each season since. Sometimes moves or vacations get in the way but since there are 4 each year now I never have to wait too long if I miss one!
3. What do you like the best about joining in with KCW?
I love sharing and seeing what everyone else is making. I don’t join in many sewing community events or sewalongs, but KCW is my fave because I’m sewing what I want to sew and I totally get inspired from everyone else, too!
Hello Holli more projects
4. How do you balance your work/family/sewing time?
I used to get really stressed about not having time for everything, but at some point I realized that I’d never have time for everything- it just isn’t possible! So I prioritize, which for me means I lowered my cleanliness standard for my house and I try to plan really simple meals so the prep time and clean up is less. I sew during naps and after my kids go to bed, and balance my evenings with some TV time with my husband 🙂 Every time I try to sew while my kids are awake I’m reminded why it’s a bad idea for me- I start to feel and act like my children are a burden or distraction from my real work of sewing, which isn’t the mom I want to be. I try (and often fail) to be present during my time with my children and not distracted by my sewing ideas, which for me is really hard. My mind is constantly working and if I could sew half the things I dream up it would be amazing! I also balance by letting my husband know when I could use a catch up day- he’ll take the kids out for a few hours on a Saturday so I can spend some solid time on pattern making or sewing. If I know I’ll have some uninterrupted work time it is easier to lay projects aside and enjoy time with my family.
5. How do your children influence your sewing?
They definitely influence my fabric choices. I love neutrals on kids. One of my favorite KCW makes is a black and white Bimaa dress (see photo below) and my daughter refused to wear it for most of last year because she said she only kind of liked black and it wasn’t twirly enough. I still love that dress, but it taught me that I definitely need to consider the color (or lack thereof) for my kids wardrobes. Charly loves red and twirly things so that is dominating my sewing lately. Caroline doesn’t have too much of an opinion yet so I get a little more creative license with her, haha! I’ve also tried to customize to their interests. Charly loves princesses, so many of her dresses are very loosely princess inspired. A green dress becomes a Tiana dress, dark blue is Merida, etc. She loves mushrooms and nature too, so adding pockets for collecting rocks and mushroom print fabric makes her super excited to wear the things I make.
6. What is your favorite thing you’ve ever sewn for one of your kids?
Hmmm. This is a tough one. I really love this upcycled shirt I made in February but my all time Favorite is probably this Nituna Coat . It was one of the first indie patterns I fell in love with. I love that it is upcycled- the challenge of fitting all the pattern pieces on with the correct grain is super fun to me. I love that lovely grey herringbone wool and the red pops of color in the buttons and the lining. Outerwear is really satisfying because it gets worn so much, too. I’m excited my younger daughter Caroline will get to wear that one this year!
7. Have you found yourself in the middle of a creative rut? If yes, what do you do to break it?
Oh yes, I’ve definitely had my fair share of ruts! Sometimes seeing something made by others will inspire me, but sometimes I just need a bit of a break. I sew nearly every day now, so if I get in a rut I take a few evenings off and watch TV with my husband. Usually some time apart from my sewing machine leaves me with a brain full of ideas trying to claw their way out! I also pick a quick sew sometimes to just finish something I know I can do quickly and easily with success. The feeling of finishing something will usually leave me craving more of that feeling, so I jump in to another project. Does it sound like I’m an addict? I think I might be. Hi, I’m Holli, and I’m addicted to making.
8. Do you enjoy any other creative pursuits apart from sewing?
Yes, but I rarely make time for them! I’ve dabbled in a lot of things- knitting, block carving, and photography to name a few. I’ve been learning pattern making this year which I love, but sewing is still my first love.
9. Do you have any tips on achieving photographs that show off your sewing skills?
Don’t forget the details! Sewing is all in the details, so I try to take a good amount of close ups to showcase sweet pattern matching or topstitching or gorgeously finished seams. Seeing that handiwork close up gives you a sort of connection with the hands that made it.
Photography tips

10. Congratulations on your recently released pattern the ‘Blue Ridge Dress‘ – what was your inspiration behind it and have you got any more designs on the horizon?

Thank you! I began to design the pattern while I was working on a spread for STYLO. I was given the fabric- Handcrafted by Alison Glass- to make an item for the spread and I just couldn’t find a pattern that jived with that fabric for me. Eventually I saw an old dress from Crew Cuts that had a similar front bodice shape- sleeveless, higher neck, curved yoke- and I LOVED it. I couldn’t find a picture of the back so I created what I’d want the back of that dress to be. The pattern was created with that fabric in mind from the beginning and it is still my favorite version. I love the color pops at the bodice seams with the neutral of the background color in that fabric. The curves on both the back and front bodice remind me of the Blue Ridge Mountains where I went to college and lived for several years after, so that’s where the name came from.
I’m in the early stages of creating my next pattern, so you can definitely expect more to come this year!
Blue Ridge dress 2
Charly’s Alison Glass Blue Ridge Dress , (dress pattern available here.) 

Thank you Jenny!

No, thank you Holli! I really loved reading everything you had to say. (Now please excuse me as I run away to scour the thrift shops for things to upcycle and then sew all the Blue Ridge Dresses!)

Jenny x