welcome To The One Thimble Blog
One of the best bits about getting involved with the online sewing community has got to be meeting awesome people, people who you wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to get to know IRL.
Strangely Lana and I missed meeting each other in real life, before online, by just a few weeks. Lana started working in the same pharmacy where I used to work a few months after I left to move to Cairns – what’re the odds!
When we finally met up late last year, we got along just as well in person. It was so fantastic to chat without the restrictions of chatting online and even better, our girls and husbands got along too!
Lana from Oh Baby
makes beautiful bows.
With an eye for the details that
complete an outfit Lana’s range of bows
and her coming range of accessory
patterns are sure to be
Lana has been such a fabulous
support with One Thimble.
She submitting the Starflower
Accessory Pattern to Issue One
and wrote two articles for Issue Two!
How’d you get into bows?
I have always loved bows although my attachment to them became much stronger after being blessed with the most beautiful baby girl back in 2010. It took so long for her hair to grow, which at this stage I commenced designing and making her very own accessories. Oh Baby came about as a result of having a bald baby, and fabric bows evolved after I purchased a set of Riley Blake charm squares a couple of years ago from my gorgeous friend Alana from Yumminess Textiles. Best fabric purchase ever!
Do you do other crafts? If not what would you like to have a go at?
Of course! Designing and creating is such a big part of my life, and always has been from as young as I can remember. My grandmother taught me to cross stitch at an early age and my love of hand sewing evolved from there. Give me a sewing machine and I’m pretty ordinary, although give me a needle and thread and I will work my magic! I love to work with dry pastels although it has been quite some time since I have dabbled with them. I have photography in my heart which I most definitely class as a crafty medium, and working weekends alongside a photographer for many years has assisted with my creativity. This year I would love to attend my local quilting store for sewing lessons and to familiarise myself a little better with my sewing machine.
Do you arrange your scraps? How do you do it?
Admittedly I am rather a neat freak, everything has to have a place and I require great organisation in my life! I have the best bunch of handmaiden friends who often forward me their pretty scraps, which in turn become my treasures. It’s really quite simple – I iron and fold them and place them in a neat little pile. (It’s all about the ironing and folding) For those scraps that I already have yardage of I place them together with their matching yardage so that I know to use the scraps first.
How do you manage building a house, parenthood, work and Oh Baby? Any tips?
Those who know me well know that I like to keep busy, it is just not in my nature to slow down! I think that if you are passionate enough about something you will always manage to find the time for it.
I wake up each and every morning with a smile and a list of expectations in my mind for completion by the end of the day. My determination, drive and enthusiasm assists in the completion of my tasks. It doesn’t always go my way (especially with 2 little children) although I am very fortunate to have the most supportive family who is always more than willing to come to my aid and assist with the girls.
Building a house has been a dream of ours for such a long time and fortunately my husband and I have similar taste – that’s easy!
Parenthood is probably the most challenging role I have faced in my life. Pre-motherhood I may have been a little naive as to the time and tasks involved into being a parent. I strive to be a great Mummy and one whom my girls will look up to and admire. Their needs are always placed first, above and beyond anything else which is why if you knock on my door at midnight that’s when you’ll find me completing the majority of my sewing tasks – when the girls are asleep! I am however, very fortunate that 75% of my work at Oh Baby is hand sewing and I can at times juggle it alongside painting, play doh, building blocks and bath time! My kitchen bench has become a fixed haven for a rotary mat, ruler and cutter, needles and thread and fabric. My ironing board resides adjacent to this area and I cannot remember the last time I folded it up and stored it away!
I’m not afraid to admit that I am the most terrible cook that I know. Thank goodness my husband loves to cook and I love to clean, teamwork is crucial in the everyday positive flow of a household! Not having to prepare and cook meals most certainly allows me more time with the kids and Oh Baby.
Having spent countless hours studying and working in the same busy pharmacy environment for the past 13 years has assisted me to work hard, fast and accurate. I most definitely use these skills each and every day at Oh Baby. At present I only work in my day job one day a week – which has most recently become my ‘recreation time/social life’… I adore my job as much as I adore sewing!
My best advice is to never, ever lose your passion – if you become bored, try something different and always work super hard until you nail it! Don’t bin it, make it work! And just when you think you have gone that extra mile, go a little further and be your own ultimate challenge.
What/Who/Where inspires you?
My husband, our beautiful girls, the online handmade community, feedback and kindness inspire me each and every day.
My husband is the most clever man I know, he has this uninhibited passion to do what he loves – his motivation and desire to be the best he can be inspires me to also strive my hardest to achieve my goals. He often has his head in a book and believes that one should never take knowledge for granted and always open your mind to new things. He has motivated me to challenge myself and evolve my little online business, and never, ever give up!
My girls have shown me a love like no other. I laugh when they laugh, I smile when they smile, they remind me how truly beautiful life really is. I sew from my heart because the smile that is received when my package is delivered and opened will hopefully radiate to another, that is inspiring!
The handmade community and the friendships I have forged as a part of it mean the absolute world to me. These beautiful ladies encourage me to place my all into my designs and dream big. I love their honesty and am a great believer in constructive feedback, that also inspires me to work even harder!
I believe the true essence of humankind is kindness. A genuine, good heart is the greatest gift you can give another. Those who show kindness in what they do are very inspirational and always make a positive difference.
A little inspiration also comes from a good novel written by Richard Branson titled ‘Let’s Not Screw It, Let’s Just Do It’! Learning from another’s success is truly motivational!
I never thought I’d find myself talking about pharmacy in a sewing blog but here goes. First up I should clarify that I studied pharmacy and worked as a pharmacist for 17 years before I got into this sewing caper, so the drug reference isn’t completely random!
For a while, I felt like my pharmacy experience didn’t really help me out much with my sewing passion, they seemed like polar opposites but once I started my handmade business I found that a lot of what I learned about customer service and managing a business was relevant again!
“Everyone’s a customer”- was a customer service rule of a pharmacy chain I once worked for and I think it’s still relevant for my Handmade Business. Being nice to everyone from the delivery man to the doctor next door (treating everyone as you would a customer) not only makes your day smoother (as people will generally go out of their way to help those who help them) it will increase sales, as when those people need to be customers they’ll be more likely to be your customers.
On the weekend I went a little nuts and made lots of different dresses because none of them was “perfect”! The dress I was trying to design – took very little fabric, was very quick and easy to sew, was suitable and comfortable for a child to wear and was completely unique and beautiful – a real show stopper . . . . . . can you see my problem! I can’t think of any dress ever made that would fulfill all these criteria, but still I was disappointed that “it wasn’t working out”!
It was probably obsessing about details (flash backs to my prescription checking days) that made me think about pharmacy & have the light bulb moment that helped me get back on track. In drug design they talk about the ideal drug being one that is cheap, readily available, 100% effective and with no side effects : turns out I’ve been trying to design the dress equivalent of the ideal drug!
So this week (for sanity’s sake!) I’ve decided to get back to basics – to remember why I’m so so happy to be an enthusiastic sewist rather than a pharmacist. To dig through my fabric stash and sew because I love it, rather than beating myself up over whether I can design the perfect dress.
Have you learned sewing skills in unexpected places?
What features would your ideal dress have?
One of my favourite things is seeing the multitude of ways that people can take the same pattern and put their own spin on it! I feel so inspired by the creativity of those who sew, experiment and put a little bit of themselves into everything they make!
This is Brooke from Bug & Miss‘s take on the Stardust dress (pattern by Laura from Ellie Inspired in Issue 3). She has shortened the length, omitted the sash and used less fabric for the skirt.
I would never have thought of doing this to the Stardust dress but I think this makes it into a really quirky, fun tunic!
This is Cathy from Missy Bug Boutique’s Stardust dress. She did lace sleeves on her version, which gives this dress such a heirloom look!
Katy from My China Doll did a lace overlay on the skirt of her Stardust dress. Every time I look at this dress I think what a gorgeous Flower girl dress it would make.
Have you put your own spin on a One Thimble pattern? If so be sure to show me – it makes me feel so happy seeing these patterns used & adapted to be what you want them to be!
To see more of Laura’s patterns check out www.ellieinspired.com
When I first met Mr Fox he was working as an international tour guide for an American company. I really enjoyed meeting his travellers and found it fascinating discovering the ways we were similar as well as the ways we were different. I was excited and nervous in equal measures to have Laura on board for Issue 3 and expected it to be a similar learning experience. Turns out I was wrong. Working with Laura was a delight from beginning to end. Sewing really is an international language!
Laura Johnson is the owner/designer behind Ellie Inspired sewing patterns. She started Ellie Inspired in the beginning of 2010 with a vision to create classic clothing sewing patterns. They are designed for children who love to giggle with their friends, dress up for tea parties, and also climb trees and soak up the sun. The style is classic and timeless. The patterns will allow you to create fashionable clothing while celebrating the innocence and joy of childhood.
Laura resides in Illinois, USA with her husband and four children. She has created over 150 patterns and has a passion for teaching others to create a legacy for future generations. She has completed many self-courses in pattern drafting and design and is currently finishing her degree in Fashion Merchandising. Her patterns are available world-wide. More information available at www.ellieinspired.com
Who/what/where inspires you?
Classic clothing is what I love! I probably am most influenced by styles from the 1940’s and 1950’s. In America, this was when some of our biggest style icons emerged like Chanel, Christian Dior, and Anne Klein with their classic, elegant lines. I grew up watching movies from that era and just adore their style.
Do you have a favourite pattern? If so which and why?
My FAVORITE pattern of ones that I have created is Nantucket Girl.
img src=”https://www.onethimble.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/8120494_orig.png” alt=”Picture” />
The front can be smocked or shirred. I just love the collar on this one!!
Do you have a favourite sewing notion or gadget that you couldn’t live without?
My most loved sewing notion are my Wonderclips!! I never use pins anymore. My husband wishes I had discovered these amazing things many years ago. I tried to be careful when I was sewing but he usually stepped on the pin I missed shortly after getting home from work!
Do you have any tips for juggling motherhood, business and study?
Oh man – tips for juggling business, motherhood, and schooling. I’m still trying to figure that out I think! I don’t sleep much but you can quickly become burned out and sick when you push yourself too hard. In order to get everything done, I live by my lists and calendars! I took a typical week and added in all my kids’ activities. Then, I added in any community and church obligations. Then, since I’m finishing up my degree, I added in what nights I need to devote to which subjects so I wasn’t spending the weekend cramming. This was the first year that all four of my kids were in school all day so that helped a great deal too. I try to devote one day a week to sewing, two – three days to writing/drafting, one to marketing and paperwork, and one to photoshoots or research. But, since I LOVE everything I do, duties can easily spill into other days. It’s hard finding a balance. The thing I neglect…is me. Working out, eating right…those kinds of things and I’m trying to figure out how to schedule that in as well. My kids and husband also help out a lot around the house too which I’m so thankful for!
Tell me how you got into smocking.
I got into smocking shortly after Ellie was born. I had three boys and then was surprised to find out I was pregnant again. Most people thought I would be thrilled when I found out it was a girl – but I was actually panicked! I had NOTHING for a girl! So, I started sewing up a storm! A friend of mine introduced me to an online sewing forum and it was a fun place to share pictures of projects. From there, some woman saw something in me and asked me to be part of a private group with some of the most amazing seamstresses I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting. I met ladies who designed clothing for heirloom sewing magazines, owned heirloom shops, and sewed for royalty. I was amazed at the level of quality I didn’t even know was possible. They took me under their wing and taught me how to smock and construct clothing with such attention to detail and professional finishes. I am so thankful for those few years of studying their techniques and getting to know them. It set me on a quest of my own studying and learning.
You can purchase Laura’s pattern for the Stardust Dress as a single pattern for regular fit HERE
or for slim fit HERE
Purchase Issue 3 which contains this pattern
or visit Laura’s website to find out more about her other patterns.
The Rolled Hem Foot was the foot featured in the Footloose article in the first Issue of One Thimble Sewing e-zine.
I’m revisiting this foot as I’ve finally gotten around to doing a video tute of using this foot. Apologies for my croaky flu voice.
I’ve included the written tute excerpt from the e-zine below the video for those who find written tutes easier than video tutes to follow.
The rolled hem foot is definitely one of my favourite feet for my sewing machine. Rolled hems are a really nice way to finish the edges of frills. Alternatives to using a rolled hem foot on your sewing machine are doing a rolled hem by hand or using the rolled hem settings on your overlocker.
The main difficulties people have with using a rolled hem foot is getting the fabric onto the foot. Sometimes the thickness of the fabric can be an issue to. I have two different widths of rolled hem foot one for fine fabrics and one for thicker fabrics. I have used a rolled hem foot to do rolled hems on corduroy and denim but I find thicker fabrics have a tendency to come undone.