This month, we caught up with Simple Sew blogger, Klarke Caplin. Below she tells us about her sewing journey and gives us a sneak peek at her incredible sewing space!
When did you start sewing and what sparked your interest?
Looking back I am amazed that I ever became passionate about sewing as I had such a bad introduction to it. I was taught to sew at school, but my teacher was such a perfectionist that I spent a whole year sewing – but mainly unpicking – an apron. By the time I had finished making it, I was completely put off sewing.
My mother was a very successful fashion designer and she tried to get me sewing in my teens, but I still wasn’t that interested. Mainly because why bother when I had a mum that could make all my clothes so much better than me! Plus, she was industry trained and designed and drafted all her own patterns and just didn’t understand commercial patterns.
My third attempt at sewing was the turning point. It was while I was pregnant, a combination of things happened to align the sewing stars. I had a high risk pregnancy so had to spend a lot of it in bed, my mother gave me her sewing machine and left it on the kitchen table and a friend helped me pin a dress together, when the instructions didn’t make any sense.
How would you describe your style?
I often like to experiment with fabrics and textures, I’ve sewn sequins sleeves into a cotton gingham top. I love colour, classic clothes with a quirky twist and 1960s and 1970s clothes.
What’s been your proudest sewing moment?
My proudest sewing moment by far would be the voluntary work that I have done as a seamstress for the Child Rescue Nepal charity. A long story short, I ended up sewing 36 garments for children that have been rescued from trafficking. I made each child a garment in their favourite colour to their size with their names embroidered inside so when it went to the laundry it would come back to them. It was a herculean task, and I nearly didn’t meet the shipping date, but I asked for volunteers to help me finish and pack via Instagram and 10 amazing strangers turned up to help me on Sunday morning sew in a pub!
What’s your favourite fabric to sew with and why?
My favourite fabric to sew is wool and cotton as they’re so stable and easy to sew. I also enjoy working with tricky fabrics such as silk, chiffon tuile and net, which are very impactful when they are made up into garments. These days I aim to have a zero waste. So if I don’t already have the fabric in my stash or in the house (no old sheets aren’t safe from me) I will source dead stock or other recyclable fabrics. I try to have zero impact on the environment from my sewing adventures.
What’s your favourite sewing technique? And the technique you dread having to do?
I don’t have a favourite sewing technique, but I love cutting fabric it’s my favourite part of making something. Other than putting on the garment for the first time! I have a great pair of Kai scissors that no one in the family is allowed near, with the exception on my 8 year old who uses them when she’s dressmaking (under my very close supervision.)
The same technique I particularly dread is inserting zips. I have slightly more success when I hand-stitch them in, but I don’t do it that often. I actively avoided dress patterns that have buttons in as I was so intimidated by my sewing machines buttonhole maker. However during lockdown I spent some time learning how to use it and now I quite enjoy putting in buttonholes. It’s always a bit stressful as it’s normally the last thing you do on a garment.
Could we have a peep at your sewing space?
I’m very lucky with my sewing space as I have a dining room, and there was enough room to build a customised pull out storage system in it. I also have a Horn sewing table. It really is my dream space. This photo shows the pull out stairs so I can access the higher levels, and it also doubles as storage compartments.
I’m lucky enough to have the world’s largest dining room table which seats 12 people! And is perfect for cutting out even the largest of projects such as a wedding dress.
Where do you get your fix of sewing inspiration?
I get my fix of sewing inspiration from sewing magazines, Instagram, what people are wearing in the street and from time to time I watch the fashion shows from London and New York fashion week, just so I see what’s current.
What’s the best part of being on the Simple Sew blogger team.
For me the best part of being on the Simple Sew blogger team is the depth and range of inspiration. Plus the knowledge that the other bloggers have. Each of us has our own unique style which is so inspiring and I love seeing what the other bloggers are making. It’s also great that some of us have actually met in real life.
What’s your go to Simple Sew pattern?
My favourite go to Simple Sew pattern is the Juliet tie-back blouse. It has such a great shape and I have even hacked it into a dress. But my favourite thing to sew and wear are dresses and I love all of the Simple Sew dress patterns.
Finally, If you could give a piece of advice to a Simple Sew pattern newbie what would it be?
The piece of advice I would give to a Simple sew pattern newbie is, give it a go. They’re not called Simple Sew for nothing! If only I had been able to use Simple sSew patterns when I was learning to sew. I think I would’ve had an easier time as the instructions and illustrations are clear and simple. Even if you are an advanced sewist the patterns are perfect to use for trickier fabrics too. With such simple instructions you can concentrate on the garment sewing and your creativity.
We hope you loved finding out a bit more about Klarke. Follow her sewing journey on Instagram @urbanseamstress
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