Our first maker from the current issue is Ali of Very Berry Handmade. We chatted to Ali about sewing, inspiration and even her crafting disasters ….
Thanks so much for talking to us – and to begin with – when did you first start sewing?
I remember doing cross-stitch as a very young child, and I think I was the last generation to have to do needlework at school. I didn’t like it at the time (we had to make such awful stuff!), but goodness I am now really grateful for the grounding it gave me in the basics. I took to sewing again after my children were born and I wanted to make fleece wraps for their cloth nappies… Somehow it got a bit out of hand from then on!
What are your top tips for anyone learning to sew?
Oooh I have loads!! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn about the dull stuff like thread, needles, interfacing and zips because they are the things that make all the difference. Buy a much larger cupboard for your fabric collection!
Where do you look for creative inspiration?
All kinds of places. I love vintage craft books and magazines, but I also buy new magazines now and again, including interiors magazines, to get ideas about colours that work, styles that I like, etc. I am the least fashionable person in the world, but I do enjoy fashion history as a source of inspiration. And I do all the usual internet stuff of course! I’ve been on Instagram for a year or so now, and am increasingly enjoying that because I often encounter ideas/bloggers/designers that I hadn’t come across before in a very easy fun way.
Have you had any crafting disasters?
No hideous disasters (plenty of fails though!), although I did (turn away now if you are squeamish) sew through the tip of my finger once on an unfamiliar sewing machine…
What are your favourite creative blogs?
Very Kerry Berry (so many people mix us up!) – I love Kerry’s work
My Bear Paw – Jo is another favourite designer of mine
My main blogs for browsing though are food and gardening blogs, like Smitten Kitchen and the Greedy Gardener – I need a break from sewing now and again.
Describe your style in a few words:
Colourfully quirky simplicity with a hint of chintzy nostalgia. (i.e. eclectic!)
What’s the best creative advice you’ve been given?
When a project is not working in the way that you had envisaged and you are losing all patience with it, walk away! Have a break, even sleep on it, it’s always better to come back to it re-energised that slogging away and making a bad situation even worse.
All the images above are of free tutorials available on the Very Berry Blog. You can keep up to date with all the Very Berry news and much more besides in lots of ways ……
Very Berry on Etsy (Ali’s shop)
Thanks so much for being part of the September issue Ali.
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