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Interview with Irene from Serger Pepper

Irene’s first contribution to One Thimble was the article on Maintaining your Overlocker in Issue 5.  It was a real hit and I was so pleased when she agreed to contribute a pattern to Issue 6.  I really enjoy getting to know sewists from all around the world and have learned so much about my overlocker from Irene’s blog!

Picture Irene is the Italian creative mind behind Serger Pepper.She has sewn for most of her life and her goal is to design versatile PDF patterns you can easily use to sew cute but practical clothes that fit every day of your life.

Irene describes herself as a refashion addicted, overlocker fanatic and she’s got some awesome treats for you during One Cardigan week!

Can you tell me a little about how you got into sewing / designing patterns?
Sewing is been part of my life from the very beginning: my mom decided to quit her day job when she knew she was expecting me. She has been a SAHM until I have been 5 years old.
She had previously learnt to sew from her cousin, who was a tailor, and she has sewn most of my wardrobe (my grandma knitted the rest of it!).

In my early days, the average evening at home was:
mom: tracing a pattern on the sewing table;
dad: unpicking a seam or a basting, sitting on the rolling chair;
me: waiting for scraps of fabric falling off the table, to create doll clothes.
I’ve been probably allowed to sew (under adult supervision) with my mom’s Singer at the age of 5, more or less.

Designing my own patterns has been the answer to the big companies ill fitting patterns! When I was 18, I designed a friend’s wedding dress… sadly I have no photographic evidence of it!

What is your best sewing tip ?
My best tip for sewing is to rethread your sewing machine (or serger) when it looks like it’s not properly sewing: most of the times, the problem is there!Check also My 15 Top Tips on Serger Pepper
15 Top Beginner's Sewing Tips from Serger Pepper

What inspires you?
… almost everything! I work at the front office, on a swimming pool, so I see a lot of people everyday. I often find myself looking at their clothes, trying to figure out how can I mimic design details, instead of listening to them!

Another font of inspiration for me are fashion magazines (You know: Marie Claire, Elle, Vogue…) and… Pinterest! I may say I’m addicted to it! (PS: you may want to follow me at )

What is your favourite pattern and why
I think my favourite pattern is the OneCardigan, at the moment, because of its versatility.
I’ve seen it sewn in so many versions and each one looks like it’s made using a different pattern! I think this is the way to go, for my next patterns: lots of options to mix and match, for added convenience!

What’s something people might not know about you (that you’d like to share)?
I am addicted to coffee, I am a soapmaker (I create my laundry soaps and hand soap/shampoo using olive oil, lye and essential oil), I eat Paleo and I hate surprises (I tend to plan everything in detail, and try to stick to my plans!): this is (more or less) me!

What is your biggest challenge and do you have any advice for someone else in a similar situation?
At the moment, I’m struggling with time management: as a working mom, I’m outside home for most of the day.

I would need to double the hours/day to be able to fit in my passions (sewing/blogging) and some family time in my “spare time”!

The worst part is that I feel like a bad mom when I try to cut out some “me time”, so I don’t think I have advices to give away! I know that too soon my daughter will grow up and I will regret I didn’t spend more time with her… but, in the other side, sometimes I only want to open my Illustrator and start drafting: am I that mean?

See you on Serger Pepper, if you like!

Picture You can purchase Irene’s pattern for the One Cardigan as a single pattern HERE 
or visit Irene’s website to find out more about her other patterns HERE
or Purchase Issue 6 which contains this pattern HERE
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Interview with Sarah from Ric-Rac and Retro

I first came across Sarah’s work when a friend sent me a link to a fox applique she had in a showcase and wow! I simply adored her quirky appliques and each time she brought out another one I was more and more impressed.  When Sarah agreed to contribute one of her unique appliques to One Thimble I was blown away.  I loved the opportunity to find out a little more about her and her creative process with this interview.


Sarah is the designer and creator behind Ric-Rac & Retro. She opened Ric-Rac & Retro in 2013 and quickly became known for her raw-edge appliqué designs. With a background in Education, Drama and English, Sarah loves making things with a bit of a literary touch about them. She loves how appliqué is all about the attention to detail and giving new life to fabric scraps. The Snow Queen appliqué template and tutorial in Issue 4 was her pattern-making debut.

What, where or who inspires you?
The little people in my life are the best source of inspiration. My two year old daughter and her love of animals and ballerinas and colour inspires me. She adores stories and has a rather extensive library of beautifully written and illustrated books which inspire me, particularly because I have to read them over and over and over again! Anything illustrated by Freya Blackwood is a winner for me. Since having my son I am inspired to create designs I think he will totally rock. Something a little different than what I could find in stores. Of course other children’s designers inspire me like Sarah Jane Studios, Belle and Boo, and Schmooks. Fashion and current trends inspire me, but I also love looking at vintage patterns and fashion illustrations, as well as checking out what Fifi Lapin is wearing today. And I can’t forget fabric and fabric scraps! I love finding a way to make a little piece of fabric into something beautiful.   

What is your favourite haby item?
Spools and spools of black cotton.

Do you have any tips for balancing family life and a new baby with business?
Since I have been on maternity leave I haven’t really had to balance everything just yet but I have had time to consider the path ahead. I have realised that it is really about working smarter, not harder. So make it fun, and make it part of your life. I sit down to draw designs side by side with my toddler. I give her scizzors and a piece of paper to cut while I cut out my appliqué pieces. I’m always trying to think creatively in order to achieve that balance.

Do you do other crafts? If not what would you like to have a go at?
I’ve had a few bashes at giving furniture a make-over, I loved the impact of the results but not the hours of sanding! I would love to learn macramé and create a hanging garden on my veranda. I will have to have a battle with my husband about that one though, he’s still dubious about it.

Picture You can purchase Sarah’s pattern for the Snow Queen Applique as a single pattern HERE 
or visit Sarah’s Facebook page to find out more about her work HERE
or Purchase Issue 4 which contains this pattern

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Around the World Blog Hop

Last week Debra from the label Very Debra who has a blog/website called Stitching Rules nominated me to take part in the Around the World Blog Hop.  I first met Debra a few months ago when she contributed a tutorial on lining a skirt to Issue 4 of One Thimble.  I love that through her blog she aims to help people with more advanced sewing techniques.  I’ve never taken part in a Blog Hop before so I’m excited to have a go.  I think its a great way to find out a little more about what drives people who blog.

So here’s my answers to the questions:

1. What am I working on?
I’m working on Issue 5 and Issue 6 of One Thimble and trying to get some RTW dresses together for my very neglected Ainslee Fox Handmade brand.  I love stretching myself with One Thimble and these issues are no exception.  I’ve just finished drafting my first jacket and my first knit pattern.

2. How does my blog differ from others of its genre?
It’s still a work in progress but I aim for the One Thimble blog to go behind the scenes of the One Thimble e-zine, include tips and hacks to help you get more from the included patterns and to focus on the various included designers and authors so you can find some new favourites.

3. Why do I write what I do?
One Thimble and the One Thimble blog are another expression of my “purpose”.  “Finding”sewing has been the most amazing experience of my life.  I want to help everyone who’s keen to give it a go get as much as possible out of their sewing.  I really think confidence is key and I’d like to help people whatever stage they’re at gain the confidence to challenge themselves from One Thimble.

4. How does my creating process work?

I have lots of sketch books, notepads and scraps of paper floating around the place.  Whenever I have an idea I jot it down.  When it comes time to design something or start working on a new e-zine I go through all the ideas and on a few pages summarize the ones that I think will work best for the project I’m planning.  I don’t throw the others away I file them in a crate and if things get really desperate I go check the old ideas crate.  Once I’m happy with the idea – I’ll get Mr Fox to draw it properly for me.  He’s much better at drawing than me and its far easier to draft from his sketches than mine.  Then its a matter or making, trying, re-making till I’m happy with what I have.

Next week I’d like you to visit two other bloggers who’ve contributed to One Thimble:

Samantha from The Handmade Business Mentor who’s contributed an article on Handmade Business to each Issue of One Thimble.  I love reading her blog for Samantha’s take on Handmade Business.

Kylie from Little Moo Designs who contributed the Busy Block pattern to Issue 4.

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Interview with Jess from Gracious Threads

I have so many aims with One Thimble and one of the biggest has got to be including people from all over the world.  I love meeting and learning from people from other nations and since sewing is a hobby/skill that transcends boundaries it makes sense to include people from everywhere.  I also think its pretty cool that even though we live 12,221km’s apart, Jess and I both have Edmonton in our address!

Picture Gracious Threads began as a place for
Jess to share all the sewing she did for
her friends and family.
It soon grew, as other sewists shared her love for simple, practical clothing for kids. Jess lives with her husband and 3 children on their Canadian dairy farm.
Jess contributed the
Traveller Tee to issue 4.

What, where or who inspires you? 
I am inspired by my mom. I am the oldest of eight children, and she sewed nearly all our clothes, for each one of us. Her clothing was always practical, but she tried hard to implements favourite colours, designs and trends. She passed away when I was a teen, but I know she would be thrilled that I’ve taken up sewing as well!

What is your favourite haby item? 
Definitely my rotary cutters and two giant mats. I use my small 18mm cutter to cut out patterns, and use my larger version to cut out the fabric. They have sped up my sewing time so much!

Do you have any tips for balancing family life and kids with business? 
I do my best to stay organized. I’m hopeless with digital calendars, so I splurge on pretty stationary. Every event and deadline gets recorded, and I often number them in order of priority. I work on my business between 7 and 9 pm and during nap times and try to focus on my kids during the day.

What is your favourite pattern you’ve made and why? 
My favourite pattern is my Lazy Days Lounge Pants. They were a pattern I drafted out of necessity for my girls, who wanted something comfortable yet still nice enough for school. It doesn’t hurt that they’ve become my best selling pattern!

Do you do other crafts? If not what would you like to have a go at? 
While it isn’t exactly a craft, I’ve recently spend quite a bit of time improving my photography. Not only does it help my business, it allows me to record those precious moments of my children’s lives! If I had more time, I’d love to learn how to work with leather and dream about making custom shoes for myself and my kids.

Picture You can purchase Jess’s pattern for the Traveller Tee as a single pattern HERE 
or visit Jess’s website to find out more about her other patterns HERE
or Purchase Issue 4 which contains this pattern

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Interview with Kylie from Little Moo Designs

One of my dreams with One Thimble is for it to become a place to showcase and mentor new designers.  I’ve been so excited to watch Kylie’s pattern brand grown over the past few months!

Picture Kylie’s love of sewing began when she was
young. Her Nan and Mum are both amazing
dressmakers. Little Moo Designs was
started in 2010 when she wanted to design
a unique hobby horse for her daughter. She
now designs and sews many designs with
a focus on high quality children’s fashion,
accessories and her beloved hobby horses.
Kylie has contributed the Busy Block pattern
to Issue 4.

What, where or who inspires you?
I am so lucky to live on a beautiful little farm in South East Queensland. I love the Aussie rural life, this for me is where a significant part of my inspiration comes from. I am inspired by country landscape, the beautiful small community we live in and my amazing family and friends.

What is your favourite haby item?

Clover button hole cutter – the best invention ever! Makes cutting button holes neat and easy. Do you have any tips for balancing family life and kids with business? I do use a Schedule, life here is hectic running a farm with my husband, working part time and running Little Moo Designs on top of being a wife and mum. I schedule work time and try and leave plenty of time to spend with my family also. Sometimes the two cross over but that is how it works when you work from home.

What is your favourite pattern you’ve made and why? 
My favourite pattern would be my childrens messenger bag as this is the first pattern I released and continues to be my top seller. I love that it comes with 4 applique designs and there are loads of way this little bag can be customised. They make the perfect gift and are such a quick sewing project.

Do you do other crafts? If not what would you like to have a go at?
I am undertaking “Project Life” this year….I am running a few months behind but am finding it a great quick and easy way to keep track of the year. My kids love looking through the album and its a perfect way to capture the small details each week that are so easy to forget.

Picture You can purchase Kylie’s pattern for the Busy Block as a single pattern HERE
or visit Kylie’s website to find out more about her other patterns HERE
or Purchase Issue 4 which contains this pattern
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