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Interview with Robyn from Obbie Dobbie

Today on the blog we have Robyn from Obbie Dobbie.  One of my favourite things about the hand applique Robyn submitted to Issue 6 is its versatility.  You can handsew it as Robyn shows, or use your machine.  Make it the included size or blow it up bigger to make a real statement piece.  Later in the week we have Lauren from Molly & Mama on the blog with a tutorial for making a Hoop Art with this applique!

Picture Robyn is a wife, Mother and Grandmother and has been sewing and crafting for around 45 years, taught by her Mother who is a beautiful seamstress. Robyn is employed by Queensland DETE as a School Business Services Manager and is making retirement plans to dedicate more time to the craft she loves. She is wanting to replace her Diploma in Government Management for an embroidery machine manual. Obbie Dobbie began in 2010 after requests from family and friends for copies of clothing sewn for her new granddaughter. Her business motto is …for uniqueness…. as Robyn’s creations are often OOAK or no more than 3 identical items so ensure her customers are purchasing a unique creation. Robyn finds hand applique a relaxing and enjoyable form of creativity as the design come to life when laying fabric to create a project.

Tell me how you got into sewing?
I have to give credit to my Mother who is a beautiful seamstress and I often feel bless that she instilled in me my love of sewing at a young age.  Mum did dressmaking from home and would always sew for my three sisters and I.  We were impeccably dressed, sometimes in the identical fabric, maybe a different style, but always with lots of frills and lace.  My Barbie (yes, I only had one) was beautifully dressed although at first her clothes were pinned to her body!  I still have her, the many pin holes still evident of the pain I inflicted on her. I excelled in sewing at school and when I first started working at 15½, I would sew most of my clothes. When we were newlyweds, my husband gave me my first sewing machine (yes, his Mother sewed as well).  I can remember it still – a compact Singer Genie very colourful in orange. I loved it and it taught me to love sewing. Before we had even planned our children, I had sewn several matinee jackets and rompers for my “baby hope chest.”  Our two sons regularly wore my handsewn rompers, often with applique boats, helicopters and cars. After the arrival of our granddaughter in 2009, her pretty outfits with oodles of pink, ribbons and lace were sought after by family and friends.   My love of creating and the many requests led to the creation of Obbie Dobbie.

What is your best sewing tip?
I have a few…. Practice makes perfect; Take your time; Quality far outweighs quantity and of course the old saying, Measure twice – cut once.

What is your favourite haby item? 
A small razor sharp pair of bird shaped scissors.  They’re light, the pointed tip gets into the tiniest of spaces for snipping that elusive cotton.  I take them everywhere. Also, they are not an item the males in our home would want to be seen using!

What is your favourite pattern and why?
My all time favourite would have to be the peasant dress.  We wore these as children, they were as popular back then as they are now.  (I have a photo of myself in a peasant romper at the age of around 8.) Not only are they comfy to wear, cool in our humid climate, they’re easy to sew, easy for littlies to dress themselves. As the elastic softens and stretches, the dress can be worn for several seasons to eventually be worn as a top, making it very economical as well as pretty.  It is also the first item sold from my Obbie Dobbie page.

What inspires you?
Pretty, dainty and feminine is what Obbie Dobbie is all about and best describes my style. I often visualise a garment soon after spotting a pretty piece of fabric. This colour, texture and pattern in the fabric often dictates to me how it should be sewn.  I am way too practical for my own good at times and constantly consider the safety and comfort of the child as well as designing items that parents can easily launder and care for. I’ve always loved creating, from crochet, knitting, quilting, anything to keep busy with the satisfaction of “I made that”. Of course, my granddaughters inspire me to create gorgeous garments for them so they can feel as loved and pretty as we believe theme to be.  The positive comments from my lovely customers, and the smiles on little ones’ faces when they wear an Obbie Dobbie garment, inspires me to continue to create.

What people don’t know about me?
Goodness, where do I start? What are my secrets? Do I tell you that I am a Royalist…or that I love to op shop, or how much I love vintage, that I love to quilt, that I love anything British or French, that I love to plan and host bridal and baby showers?  No. I will tell you that I have a blog. Yes, back in 2011, I created my blog (see, I am always creating something with my hands). I haven’t posted for ages as now I tend to stay with Facebook and my sewing surpasses my computer skills by miles. I would love to start a webpage to sell my garments, maybe in the near future this will become a reality (with some computer help I might add). Oh yes, I recently featured in the One Thimble magazine, which is a huge honour. To see a tutorial written by oneself is very rewarding.

What has been your biggest challenge and do you have any advice for people in similar situation?
As a Wife, Mother and employee, my biggest challenge has been (and still is) setting aside time to follow my sewing passion and dreams of creating beautiful and functional garments. With working full-time, studying and attending TAFE at night, caring for my family, keeping house, my sewing time was often the last item on the agenda.  I would often feel it was indulgent of me to follow my creative passion and “guilt” would prevent me from hiding away doing what I loved. My prevailing “rule” was to always have an immaculate house, the washing and ironing up to date, meals and school lunches prepared for my family before I could even contemplate sewing. Of course, if I could go back a few years, no doubt I would still do these things but the guilt wouldn’t be so heavy on my mind.  It is important to have an outlet to create or have something special you love, be it going to the gym, painting, walking. You shouldn’t feel guilty to have an interest.  Now that the boys have left the nest, I regularly stay up until the early hours of the morning and then sleep in way too long on a Sunday. We can still be great wives, Mothers and Grandmothers and fulfil that urge to have an outlet just for yourself. No matter what it is, have faith in yourself and your ability to at least try anything new or challenging.

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”
Coco Chanel, Believing in Ourselves: The Wisdom of Women

Picture You can purchase Robyn’s pattern for the Fairywood Cottage and Woodfairy Applique as a single pattern HERE 
or visit Robyn’s website to find out more about her other patterns HERE
or Purchase Issue 6 which contains this pattern
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