May 31st 2019
Over the next few weeks, we promised, we’ll be getting you inspired all over again with the winners of our Highly Commended award which was part of The Great British Sewing Bee Sew Along.
Next up on the blog is the amazing Catherine (@catherinemakesstuff) who wowed us every week with her makes but she really wowed both us and the lovely Kate and Rachel from The Fold Line with her quilted Tilly and the Buttons Stevie top. Catherine is the lucky winner of 3 day Jeans Sewing Weekender taught by Sewing Bee Winner, Charlotte here at Sewisfaction HQ.
Tell us a bit about your sewing journey?
I’ve always loved making things, with varying degrees of success – but it’s good for the soul having an output for creative energy wherever the medium, and enthusiasm is more important than competence!
My Mum taught me to knit and sew as a child, she always made everything by hand which, I confess I never had the patience for and then my Aunt taught me how to use a sewing machine as a teenager, I made a couple of bits but wasn’t that interested. Although my career as a fashion design got off to a flying start – then abrupt end – with a spectacularly ill-fitting, gold glittery, reversible denim, bucket hat with insane topstiching and a ginger kitten applique!
15 years went by and I didn’t really think anything more about it. Then in March 2018 I rediscovered my sewing machine in the attic, bought my first pattern on a whim and dived right in!
I’ve become more than a bit obsessed, and have been quite prolific ever since, steadily building a me-made wardrobe, and sewing presents for everyone I know – whether they want them or not. I can’t throw anything away, and hated seeing all these beautiful scraps of fabric going to waste, so a love of quilting developed in tandem.
Tell us about your winning make and what inspired you?
I’m not a very precise person but there’s something so pleasing about the precision required for quilting. The joy in cutting tiny squares or triangles and assembling them into something larger. I hate waste, and I love the opportunity to use up scraps – so the sustainability week sew-a-long challenge was the perfect marriage of the two.
My previous attempt at making something out of scraps was made from crowd sourced cast offs for a novelty sound of music hen do scrapbook dress! This time I wanted to make something a bit more sophisticated. The fabric was all scraps from other projects, with a bit of a bed sheet thrown in their for good measure. I didn’t have any elastic for the button loop either so cut up a hair bobble – did the trick nicely.
Because there were so many pieces I was worried it would be quite bulky when finished, to combat this I went for a cropped Stevie top as it’s got a great boxy fit. Once I’d pieced together the front panel I cut an additional front bodice out of some leftover lining fabric to encase all those seems and stitched the rest as normal. Top stitching the neckline was a bit of a pain. There were so many seems with the chevron pieces it was a bit of a fight to get it to lay flat.
What was your highlight from The Great British Sewing Bee?
That red dress Juliet made in the final… just wow! Oh and that black and white monochrome tutu Leah made in children’s week – impeccable. And just Ricardo generally. Also the speed in which those guys can sew, it’s phenomenal.
What’s next in your sewing pile?
Currently dragging my heels on a Sew Over It 1940s wrap dress for a friend using vintage lace from a charity shop – the lace is very fiddly and annoying so I’ve been procrastinating! Have also been having a blast making a sea side quilt for a friend’s son – complete with a pieced crab and lighthouse.
For more about the amazing Charlotte, follow her on Instagram – @catherinemakesstuff
Did you enjoy reading this? Keep an eye out on the blog for our other two amazing sewists and their stories over the next few weeks.