We’re continuing our ‘Meet the maker’ series and this week we have a very exciting one for you.
Nina Lee is a name you’ll recognise as a sewist, not only from her amazing, fashion forward pattens but her fantastic personal style too. After celebrating her two year anniversary making fashionable patterns for sewers, we caught up with her to ask her a few questions.
At a glance – Creator of Indie Sewing Pattern brand ‘Nina Lee London’
Instagram – @Ninaleelondon
Hello Nina, Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m Nina; I’m half English and half Singaporean and obsessed with all things creative (and all things edible)! I’ve run Nina Lee Patterns for just over two years now and I do almost everything for the business myself, from the designing and drafting to the instructions and the illustrations on the envelopes. Before this, I worked in publishing for several years. I’ve lived in London nearly all my adult life and I love it here; it’s definitely my home. When I’m not working I’m currently planning my wedding for June this year; it’s got a hefty craft element and so of course I’m making my own wedding dress…
How did you get into sewing?
I started with basic embroidery and hand-sewing as a child – I made endless embroidered felt mice! Then I moved onto making clothes in my early teens; I was taught by my mum who’d been taught by hers in turn, so I grew up wearing plenty of homemade clothes and it seemed only natural to start making them myself. I also have scoliosis (curvature of the spine) meaning I’m quite asymmetrical – sewing was a way of making things fit my rather short and wonky body!
What’s your favourite part of working in the industry?
Seeing people wearing something I’ve designed still blows my mind every single day. Sometimes the comments people make – about how a garment made with one of my patterns has made them feel about themselves, or their body, or how they’ve worn it to a special occasion – make me tear up! I’m totally soppy.
Tell us your top makes or patterns? (Your choice)
Last year I made a maxi Mayfair Dress in Lady McElroy palm print jersey for a holiday to Singapore and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt simultaneously so glamorous and yet so comfortable before! It feels disloyal picking a favourite amongst my own patterns but I think the Kew Dress might just be my (secret) top choice because I’ve seen so many incredible versions of it on Instagram. I also adore the By Hand London Anna Dress – I definitely gravitate towards dressier designs.
Tell us a weird or fun fact about you?
I once won a royal bake-off and spent a day working as a chef in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace. I had to help prepare 36 identical cheesecakes! I’ve since been the professional recipe tester for two royal cookbooks, which is just as bonkers and brilliant as it sounds!
We’re always team Nina as she has amazing patterns that are perfect for everyday wear, with a stylish edge – plus she can bake so that makes us love her even more! Head over to our pattern section to check out the latest designs from Nina.