Maker Spotlight - Sew Dainty
Updated: Apr 18
Meet Kathy, based in Leicestershire, England and the lady behind Sew Dainty
I'm bringing you another interview with an inspirational maker, and a lady that is just uber cute and super kind. This month we had a chat and I asked her about her sewing journey. Find out more below...
When did you get into sewing?
My first experience of sewing was when my Mother used to let me help her sew using her trusty old hand cranked Singer sewing machine! I took up sewing more seriously when I chose 'Needlework and Dressmaking' as a course for one of my 'O' level study options as a teenager, and have never looked back.
Tell me about your favourite makes...
It's a bit of a cliche, but my favourite makes are always what are on my sewing table at that time! However, at Christmas I made this relaxed smock style dress with tiered skirt (the Emporia Patterns Cassie Dress), in this glorious vibrant floral viscose which I LOVE because the pattern and the fabric were a match made in heaven. I'm a big fan of floral fabric.
How about Sew to Grow Patterns. Do you have a favourite?
This is an easy question. My favourite Sew To Grow pattern is the Flatter Me Frock. This was the dress pattern that I chose to make and wear in Australia when I visited my twin brother in QLD in 2017 for our 50th birthday. This was the trip of a lifetime - and a very happy and emotional one as I miss my dear brother so very much - and for that reason, this dress will always probably be my outright favourite dress. (see photo below)
Tell me your top tips to help other sewists...
I always avoid sewing when I'm tired, or late in the evening, as this is when I am likely to make mistakes and the seam ripper will be called into action! One of my favourite sewing tools is using a heat erasable fabric pen. Notches, darts, pocket placement markings etc can easily be seen when needed, and removed by the iron (although I would recommend testing on a scrap piece of your fabric first).
What projects do you have coming up?
My next project is going to be some joggers for hanging around the house in. At the time of writing this we are still in lockdown here in the UK, and loungewear is essential! I have recently learned to knit, tried weaving and made some macrame wall hangings - there is always a long list of new crafts that I would like to try. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest for crafty ideas.
What machine do you sew on?
Good question, I'm so glad you asked because I have a brand new machine. It's a Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630, and I am loving it BIG TIME! I also have a Janome 9200D Overlocker which I wouldn't be without.
What advice would you give to a beginner just starting out?
If you were just starting out, I think it's important to make garments that don't require too much fitting. Something like the Bondi Top would be a nice simple beginner sewing project. I also think that taking your time to read through and understand the pattern before sewing is important and will help you to enjoy the whole sewing process more. I find Instagram is a great source of inspiration when I am researching new patterns, and also follow lots of my favourite sewing bloggers to keep an eye on the sewing trends too.
What happens if you get stuck on a challenging project, or make a mistake?
My best advice if you can't figure something out is to walk away from it for a bit and often when you return, it will all fall into place. Many independent sewing pattern companies (including Sew to Grow) have videos available giving tips and tricks on various sewing techniques or patterns. I have also emailed pattern companies in the past if I need an explanation on something and have always received the most helpful replies. Mistakes will always be part of sewing, no matter how experienced you are. Most of the time they can be unpicked and re-sewn, but if not, why not call it a 'design feature' and rock it!
How about fabric. Tell me about your favourite places to purchase it from...
My favourite place to purchase fabric is in the nearby city of Birmingham. It has a massive selection of fabric shops, and also a huge fabric market. A day spent there with sewing friends is one of my favourite things to do.
Do you have anything else to add to encourage woman learning to sew garments to fit their bodies?
It's not always possible because fabric is expensive, but if possible I will often make a toile. Any fitting issues can then be corrected before you cut into your precious fabric. I also think the perfect fit is not always 'that' important - it's how the clothing makes you feel, and if you feel good in something that you have made, well fitted or otherwise, well, that's just fantastic. As your sewing progresses, you might feel that you would benefit from some fitting classes. These can be found as online courses or workshops that you can attend in person (including some by Lindsey from Sew to Grow).
Wow, thank you Kathy! Some wonderful advice for all us sewists.
If you don't already check out Kathys Instagram feed @sew_dainty it is packed full of inspiration. Kathy is also a sewing blogger and the maker of some amazing sewing related jewelry that can be found here. It would be the perfect gift for yourself or a sewing friend. Until then I'll post just a few more of her makes below...