welcome To The One Thimble Blog
Emma started out in 2012 as For My Little Monster designing and creating adorable toys for her customers. Over the last year, Emma has moved into designing sewing patterns, and
using her knowledge of teaching, strives to help you create the bag of your dreams! Because of this change in direction Emma has recently re-branded as Emkie Designs.
How did you get into making bag patterns?
I have always had a love of handbags, I used to buy new bags all the time when I had a disposable income – ie. before owning a house and having kids 😉 The last time we moved homes I had to sell or donate of most of my handbag collection, as there just wasn’t the space to keep them all…
Before reading about how I got into making bag patterns, you probably should know that before 2010 I didn’t sew. I had done a few textile classes at high school, but I didn’t really remember how to use a sewing machine. I don’t come from a family of sewists. My mum did own a sewing machine that she got when she was married around 38 years ago, but it has always lived in its case in the cupboard – I never have seen her use it and I didn’t grow up wearing “mummy made” outfits.
In 2011 when I was pregnant with T, Hubby and I were away for his birthday (one of the last trips we took where it was just the 2 of us), and we walked into this fabric store because I had seen a beautiful toy in the window. I walked past all the fabric grabbed the toy and asked how much it was – I was promptly told it wasn’t for sale, but I could purchase the pattern and make my own. I looked at all the patterns they had in store and ended up choosing a different one to the toy that had originally grabbed my attention, I paid for it and walked out of the shop – no supplies or fabric were purchased that day. Back at our hotel, I read the pattern and thought “I can do this” and when we had traveled back home again I borrowed my mothers unused sewing machine and had fun going to the fabric store and choosing fabrics. After a short time “Dilbert” was born and he waited patiently for the little baby in my tummy to arrive and love him. I made a few other things prior to T being born, and had discovered a new passion and hobby in sewing.
After T was born I found myself at the shops a lot. It was something to do while T slept in the pusher, except it was terrible for our household finances. So I stopped in at the fabric shop on one of these trips and purchased some felt and began hand sewing (I had returned the borrowed sewing machine)…this is when I designed my first 3 softies.
Then I decided to try my hand at sewing to sell. My monsters were a hit and spurred me on to create a few other original designs too. In between my custom orders I made sure to sew items for family and friends as well as make quite a few bags for me – to fill the void not buying them 😉
When I was pregnant with M, I needed to take a step back, it was a hard pregnancy and I was no longer enjoying making toys as much as I once had. I decided to focus on sewing for family, friends and myself. I also began designing what would be my 1st bag pattern. It was a long process as I had no idea what I was doing 😉 but with some help from Samantha (Mrs H) I found my confidence and released my Everyday Tote Bag Pattern on February 2nd 2015.
Who/what/where inspires you?
My main inspiration for my patterns comes from walking down the street, I eye off every one’s bags – they probably think I’m crazy or wondering how I’m going to go about robbing them or something – lol – but I just like looking at people’s bags and looking at the different features I like and thinking about how I would make them my own 🙂
Where do you design and sew your patterns?
Until last year I had a corner of our family room as my sewing space. But once I had purchased my JUKI TL-98P, I needed more space away from little fingers, so I took over half of our “+” room – you know the room I’m talking about…when real estate agents say “3+ bedrooms”? So, I have half of our “+” room which is where I sew and it is really small, 2 steps and I’m on the other side of the room to where I started 😉 But I love it because its mine! As for designing my patterns, that I usually do sitting on the couch in the family room. I sketch there, I write the pattern there, I draw the pattern pieces, edit the pattern photos, etc. Basically I do all the computer work involved in producing a pattern on my couch.
Do you have a favourite pattern – if so which and why?
This one is hard…I have so many favourites I don’t think I can choose!
Do you have a favourite sewing notion or gadget that you couldn’t live without?
For bag making I love my walking foot! Also for anything that involves bias binding (my archenemy), I LOVE my bias binding attachment that I got with my JUKI TL-98P – I no longer hate binding, unless I have to do it by hand, then we are still enemies 😉
Whats something that people might not know about you?
I am a self taught sewist, and have been sewing for around 5 1/2 years. I am also a qualified teacher, I am trained in Contemporary Arts and Psychology, and I taught in schools for 9 yrs (teaching teenagers) prior to starting our family in 2011.
Do you have any news that you would like to share with our readers?
Of course! As you are probably aware…I currently have a pattern that has been published in Issue 10 of One Thimble e-zine – The Adventure Case, it is a vintage style insulated lunch tote.
Also I will be teaching at a bag making sewing retreat (the Bag Fanatics Retreat) in September and I’m super excited about that! I hope to do some other teaching this year too – I’m a teacher by trade and have really missed it, so opportunities like the sewing retreat, or any others that come my way are too hard to pass up!
If you want to follow Emma or find out about her new patterns or where she might be teaching you can join her newsletter (http://eepurl.com/bs2zMr) or follow her blog www.emkiedesigns.com, Facebook Page www.facebook.com/emkiedesigns or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/emkiedesigns/ 🙂