I have met some amazing people since starting my crafting journey. The crafty and quilty community on Instagram is such a lovely bunch of like-minded people coming together from across the globe, sharing, supporting and encouraging each other in both their creative endeavours and life in general. It really is a privilege to get to know these talented makers and be part of such a thriving, positive environment.
The Teatime Chat series is about getting to know some of these wonderful ladies just a little bit better, and also share their beautiful work and stories with you. We might be miles apart but I’d like to think of this as a way to have a neighbourly cup of tea and chat, as if it was a simple walk down the block, a tray of freshly baked cookies and basket of craft in hand.
This week I am chatting with the lovely Angela from A Little Patchwork.
Hi Ange! Thank you for popping over! I have been following you on Instagram for a little while now and just love seeing your projects pop-up in my newsfeed. Your bio mentions that you are learning to patchwork; how did your creative journey first begin?
Oh thanks for the invite! It's lovely to get to chat to another pretty fabric fan!
Well, just after my first daughter was born, I enrolled in a sewing class to learn how to sew so I could make her some cute summer dresses. After a few years of sewing clothes for my girls, both no longer wanted to wear what I had made. This suddenly meant I was free to start sewing some of the cute things I was seeing on patchwork blogs.
Who was the patchwork and sewing style icon who inspired you?
Amy Sinibaldi’s blog, nanaCompany, completely opened my eyes to a whole new way to sew. I love how she takes small pieces of fabric and creates such sweet, unique pieces. When sewing clothes, I was having to buy a few yards of one print, typically chosen by my girls (and I'm talking My Little Pony and Frozen fabric.) But with patchwork I could buy lots of smaller cuts of fabric, numerous prints and it's all selected by me - if you really love what you are sewing with, it makes creating so much more enjoyable.
There is a definite leaning towards gorgeous tiny florals, adorable details and a bit of zakka style in your pieces… what are your favourite fabrics to work with?
That is very true, thankfully my husband doesn't mind too much being surrounded by tiny floral display-size-only cushions. I have always loved Tasha Noel’s collections and her fabric was some of the first I bought when I started making clothes. Tasha’s collections are perfect for fussy cutting, the hardest part is actually deciding what piece to cut. I also love Elea Lutz’s adorable illustrations, the pretty florals and animals of Atsuko Matsuyama, the 1930s collections put out by Lecien, and of course Heather Ross. They all design collections that you don’t need to buy a lot of, but with the right cutting you can have a pretty piece of patchwork that completely features adorable and sweet illustrations. And they all look fantastic when paired with my favourite patchworking accessories - linen, cotton labels, wooden buttons and cotton lace ribbon - oh I could go on and on.
How far were you into your creative journey when you started your Instagram profile - is there an interesting story behind the inspiration for your name A Little Patchwork?
I was googling my favourite blogger's Instagram profiles daily; that included Amy Sinibaldi but also Sedef from Down Grapevine Lane and Kristyne from Pretty by Hand. I then bought a signed copy of Amy’s book Sweetly Stitched Handmades and during our Etsy chat, she encouraged me to join Instagram. I was really nervous about any type of Social Media, however I signed up and it has been brilliant.
Before I joined Instagram, I spent my time reading these inspiring patchworking blogs, but now I'm creating my own patchwork pieces. Which is why I called myself A Little Patchwork - 1; because I didn’t want to use my real name in such a public forum, and 2; because if you come to visit my Instagram page, that's just what you will see - a little patchwork - oh and a lot of evidence of my need to buy all the cute fabric ever made.
What was the *first* patchwork project you ever made?
After feeling liberated from making dresses that weren't being worn, I splurged and bought a pack of pre-cut Liberty of London hexagons and made an English paper pieced cushion. It took me about 3 months to sew about 50 hexies together, thankfully I am now a lot faster making and sewing hexies.
Crafty disasters…we have all had them! Are there any particular catastrophes that come to mind?
Because I'm always sewing surrounded by my children, and racing to finish before I have to start dinner or go out, I am forever sewing fabric the wrong way - as in upside down, backwards etc.
Once I finished sewing a pair of shorts for my daughter, they were so cute and quite complex as they had pockets, bias trim edging and a really complex waistband.
I was so proud when I finished these shorts, got my daughter to try them on and unfortunately right where the middle front seam was, I had placed a narwal but the seam meant you could only see his horn. I had made shorts for my daughter with what looked like a tiny male appendage right front and centre.
You made some beautiful items for your children’s school fair last year and created some gorgeous swap parcels… are there any other crafty members in your household or are you the family creative?
Aww thank you! My girls are very creative and my six year old even has her own machine. But as far as sewing goes, without the Instagram community I would be patchworking all alone - I kind of see the Instagram community as my really big, really talented sewing circle.
Proudest creative achievement…what project sits pride of place in your mind?
Ironically it isn't patchwork, my youngest daughter had to be put into a Hip Spica cast for 3 months when she was 18 months. It's a cast that goes from their chest down to both ankles and keeps their legs kept wide apart like a frog. So no pants could fit her and the cast was rough like sandpaper. I designed some pants that could go over her head and had snaps that would do up so they were fitted. As well as now being able to dress her, it also stopped the stares she was getting when her cast was exposed. Of course I made sure they were in really great prints, including Heather Ross’ briar rose collection.
What would be your 'Dream Creative Space'?
At the moment we are living in a tiny house, I'm talking 46 square metres for a family of four. My sewing space is me standing at the kitchen bench and a trolley that I keep my fabric on. So a space, specifically a dedicated space, where I could have my fabric displayed and my sewing machine always ready to go would be amazing.
Sewing can be creative therapy after a long day, a great way to escape from the chaos that life can throw at us at times…do you have a particular item you like to make that unwinds and relaxes you after a particularly trying day?
Oh yes I do! Hexies are my craft therapy. When I have a project go wrong, I will turn to making fussy cut hexies. There is something so relaxing about sitting down with my little perspex hexagon shape rolling it over fabric looking for the perfect illustration to cut. In fact I enjoy making hexies so much I now thread baste all my hexies compared to when I first started and I used glue.
And finally, describe your ideal creative weekend escape. What would be your idea of the perfect crafty getaway?
We have just moved to the country so I really love just staying home. And although living in our tiny house can be challenging, I love the fact that I can sew with my family right beside me. And my daughters get as excited playing with my fabric as I do.
Unfortunately they have fantastic taste so they often want to make collages with my most precious pieces.
I hope you enjoyed reading! You can find Angela on Instagram under @alittlepatchwork
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