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Interview with Melissa from Bella Sunshine Designs

Melissa-Prendergast-Bellasunshine Designs Today I’m so excited to introduce you to Melissa from Bella Sunshine Designs.

She learned to sew at the age of 9 and by 13, she had decided she wanted to one day be a designer. What started off as a childhood dream, quickly evolved into a thriving business. Bella Sunshine Designs has been providing well-fitting, vintage inspired sewing patterns for women and children since 2015.

Melissa contributed the super sweet Josephine Dress to One Thimble Issue 15 and it was such a blast to work with her on this issue!

Tell me a little about your business and how you got into designing/sewing.

My parents owned their own business when I was a child, and when school let out for summer, they let me stay at my grandmother’s during the daytime for the summer. My grandmother is a super talented artist (fun fact: she was commissioned by the President of the US when she was a young woman). She always had some sort of fun project for us to do together. The summer I turned 9, she taught me to sew. My great aunt was a professional dressmaker and taught my grandmother. She, in turn, taught me. That summer on, I knew I wanted to work in fashion design. Here’s a photo of me in the very first me made outfit.

What/where/who inspires you?

So many things. If you are talking design, I love old time, vintage classics! If you are talking business, anyone that has the courage to go out on their own and make it happen. I try my best to surround myself with super positive, successful people. I think that’s one of the best ways to remain successful yourself.

What’s your best tip for people getting started with sewing?

Don’t let fear hold you back. Sew that thing that you are afraid may be beyond your skillset. The only way we ever grow and learn is to push ourselves forward. And in the day of the internet, the answer to your problem is only one YouTube video or Facebook group convo away!

What’s your favourite pattern/ thing you have sewn?

Right now, I am all about the Amelia. I made a matching set for my girls and I, and it is complete love! I have had this design in my head for two years now, and I’m so glad to have finally released it.


What you are working on now?

What am I NOT working on right now? I have a bit of designer ADHD combined with being a severe workaholic (7 days a week, 12 hour days). Right now, we are working on a pair of tulip shorts that our testers have been begging us for along with a matching top that has a beautiful flare to it! On top of that, we are in the process of expanding our past women’s patterns further into plus sizes as well as converting some of our super popular children’s patterns into a ladies version. Lastly, I am launching another business geared towards helping other creatives with their business. I’m super excited to launch that later this summer.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I have always been business minded. I started at 9 selling homemade items in my parents shop. Later as a teen, I had my own jewelry line. As a young adult, I owned a professional photography studio that specialized in weddings and portraits for about 6 years. As you can imagine, my skills with a camera have come in handy when photographing things for BSD. It doesn’t hurt that I manage to get cute photos of my kids, too!

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Business Spotlight – Brave Fabrics

Today I’m super excited to introduce you to Erin from Brave Fabrics.  Erin curates a wonderful range of designer fabrics in her online fabric store that are suitable for clothing for kids and adults, as well as quilts and homewares.

However, the real stand out fabrics in her range for me are her bold fabrics for self-care sewing.  If you struggle to find voiles and cotton/silk blends and other apparel fabrics with great drape then Brave Fabrics should definitely be on your must visit list!

Brave Fabrics HQ 2

Brave Fabrics HQ

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OT15 Sneak Peek

One Thimble Issue 15 is out!  This flipbook will show you what’s included …


You can pick up your copy -> HERE

New to One Thimble and wondering how it works?

One Thimble is a digital sewing magazine (e-zine).  It is delivered as a PDF file and you can flip through it like a magazine on your computer or tablet device.  Patterns can be printed out on a regular home computer and assembled as you would with a regular PDF pattern.

Purchasing an issue of One Thimble will get you two download links.

One is the link to the E-zine – it has the articles at the front and all the pattern tutorials at the back (but not the pattern pieces).

The second link is to a ZIP file with the stand alone patterns all separate.  You’ll find the pattern pieces here.

If you have any other questions just send me through an email to

One Thimble Digital Sewing Magazine Issue 15

Keen to get your copy?

One Thimble Issue 15 will be available to purchase HERE after 12th May.

If you’d like to get your copy the day before you can purchase a subscription from HERE.  Subscribers get their copy the day before everyone else!

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Business Spotlight – Handbag Hardware Australia

Handbag Hardware Australia Logo Today I’d like to introduce you to Kylie from Handbag Hardware Australia.  I’ve shopped with HHA many times and Kylie has always been super helpful even when I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for!  One of my favourite things about HHA is that Kylie stocks hardware “kits” for many handbag patterns (including those we’ve had in One Thimble).  This means you can get all the hardware and interfacings etc from the one spot!

Back in January I was lucky enough to meet up with Kylie on our family holiday and she’s just as sweet, generous and helpful IRL!

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Tips for saving time when sewing for business

So you’ve decided to turn your hobby/passion into a business.  Congratulations!!! It’s a big step and I’m sure you’re buzzing with excitement and dreams! Maybe you’re even busy imagining how life will be, when your business is the roaring success your friends are predicting.  I get it! Before my first market I’d already started planning what I was going to spend the money on when I sold out!  

At this point I’m going to give you an option.  If you want sunshine and rainbows and to keep dreaming about what you’ll spend your profits on, I suggest you go find another blog to read.  But if you’re up for a little dash of reality mixed with some practical tips read on!  

How to save time when sewing for your handmade business

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