It’s with great pleasure I bring this weeks sewist interview to you! You can’t help but LOVE Pam’s blog! So full of inspiration and with Pam’s ongoing link parties it is loaded with lots of wonderful links for you to explore! BUT before you rush off to take a peek, lets find out a bit more about Pam….
When did you start to sew?
When I went to school, it was compulsory for all girls to learn sewing, starting at about 7 years of age. I have no idea what we did first, but it was all hand sewing for the first three years. At 10 years of age we had to make a simple gathered skirt ALL by hand. I do remember we had to keep a sampler book and I suspect the majority of our sewing was learning new skills by making a sample, which we then glued into the sampler book. Oh, how I wish I had kept those sampler books. They contained examples of stitches, embroidery, seams and different sewing techniques. We also made needle cases, dolls’ clothes, lots of embroidered pieces and even drafted a pair of bloomers. After three years of hand sewing, we progressed to the treadle sewing machines and made muumuus. Sadly, I have no photos of the skirt or muumuu, but some of the embroidered pieces have survived.
Who taught you to sew or are you self-taught?
Four years of sewing at Primary School gave me a very good grounding in hand sewing. From there we moved to High School where we continued with compulsory sewing lessons for the first two years. After that, I chose it as an interest subject, for another two years. During that time we expanded our embroidery skills and also got to make clothes for ourselves using electric sewing machines and commercial sewing patterns. We made all sorts of clothes, with the last thing being a two piece woollen slack suit, complete with a fully lined jacket. My Mum still remembers helping me with that suit.
Have you always enjoyed sewing?
As a student at school, I thought sewing was OK. It wasn’t my favourite subject, but I didn’t dislike it, either. I was one of those kids who basically did as they were told and didn’t question too much, so I finished all of the sewing that was asked of me. During that time I also began to sew for myself at home. This was more enjoyable than sewing at school, because I could sew what I wanted.
After I left school, I continued to sew for myself, building upon the skills I already had and making almost all my clothes. I even made my own wedding dress and three bridesmaid dresses. I sewed because I enjoyed it, but also to save money.
When my kids were young, I made most of their clothes, sewing for them until they reached teenage years and wanted store bought clothes. By this time I was busy with other things and packed my sewing machine away, only bringing it out for alterations.
After a gap of many years, I have begun to sew again. I have left the work force, my children have left home and my time is mine to do with as I please. I am enjoying sewing now, more than ever.
What are the differences between sewing now and sewing in earlier years?
My early sewing was very much rule oriented. At school, there was only one way to sew things. It was either right or wrong and creativity didn’t enter into it. I’m sure others were able to be creative back then, but I wasn’t. I bought patterns, chose some fabric and made up the garments.
Sewing now-a-days is a whole, new ball game. I see people breaking the so called rules all the time. Perhaps they were breaking these rules back when I was younger, but now, thanks to the Internet, I can see what and how a LOT of people are sewing, unlike when I was younger. I am trying new things, experimenting and enjoying this new found creativity.
Another thing about sewing now, is easy access to information… if you don’t know it, Google it.
Do you like to use patterns or do you prefer to make it up as you go along?
I still prefer to use patterns, but I am becoming more confident in sewing some things without a pattern. It’s only in recent years that I have entered the world of refashioning. Because I’m working with pre-loved clothes, there’s really nothing to lose if it doesn’t work out and so I am becoming more creative. My most adventurous refashion, was transforming my daughter’s wedding dress into a day dress.
What sort of things do you like to sew?
I’ll have a go at almost anything, but I find I rarely sew for myself now, simply because I run out of time. I like variety, and so I chop and change all the time. On my sewing desk at the moment, are Super Hero capes almost finished. Prior to that I made a Monster softie for charity. Next on the list is a fabric basket and then a quilt.
Have you made something that is your all-time favourite creation? If so, why?
Hard to choose, but I think my all time favourite creation is the Petal Pocket Pillow I made last year. I was thrilled with how it turned out!
Any sewing secrets you would like to share?
I use a chopstick all the time for pushing out corners and secondly, if a pattern calls for basting or pressing, don’t skip those steps.
What type of machine/s do you have?
Bernina Aurora 440 and I LOVE it… well worth the money. And a Janome overlocker that’s 20+ years old.
Do you have a dedicated sewing space or room?
I am lucky enough to have my own sewing room. When my eldest son left home, I took over his room and filled it with IKEA furniture, so there’s lots of storage for my ever growing stash. I still use the dining room table to do my cutting out, though.
Do you have any other hobbies you like to indulge in?
When I’m not sewing, I can usually be found outside in my garden.
Thanks for a great interview Pam! You can find out more about Pam by visiting these links:
Next week we have an interview with a designer who has been designing quilting & sewing patterns for 30 years! She is a life long sewer who loves bright colors and has a messy sewing studio! (Like ME! LOL)