What Katie Sews

If you’ve come to any of our classes you’ll have had the pleasure of being taught by lovely Katie. Her enthusiasm for sewing is infectious! We asked her about her sewing journey and took a look at some recent makes…

Box Box in Irish Linen / Trapeze Top in a stable jersey now out of stock + Eve Trousers in Aki / Thelma in Black Sanded Twill

When did you learn to sew?

My mum taught me to sew, I was really young, about 8 years old

What qualifications do you have?

I have a BA HONS in textile design from Central Saint Martins, I specialised in woven textiles

What was the first thing you made?

The first thing I made on a machine was a small drawstring bag for my Dad to put his camera flash in – they were quite big back then! I made it out of an old while pillow case and I fed green cord through the top to pull it closed.

How did you come to work in sewing?

When I left London to come here, I quit my job so that I could make room for more creativity  in my life. An opportunity showed up working with a wonderful tailor, Brett. I spent two years, making and learning with him.

What makes a good teacher?

Someone who can hold both the agenda of the project and that of the student at the same time, has plenty of patience, is a good communicator and understands that people learn differently and is able to work with that. A good teacher will stretch/push the student enough but not over the edge!

Have you had good sewing teachers?

My mother was a great teacher. Brett was too – very patient and calm – I asked a lot of questions! Chrissy has been really generous with her knowledge since I joined M&M, she’s also really patient.

What is the best sewing tip you have learnt?

A favourite tip is sewing a stitch line where you need to turn up a hem – particularly on linens and other ‘lively’ fabrics – it helps you sew a super smart hem.

What is your favourite part of sewing?

I really love pairing fabrics to patterns and experimenting with that, I love seeing what the students pick out for their projects, its really inspiring!

What is your favourite cloth?

Probably brushed cotton, anything that shows signs of age.

What is the most difficult project you have ever attempted?

A commission for a very special dress made in silk habotai…. it took me a day and a half to cut out – I’d liken it to sewing liquid mercury. It was wonderful when it was finished but probably a one off for me.

What would you say to someone wanting to learn to sew?

Do it! One step at a time and be patient – most things take longer than you expect them too. Enjoy the process and experiment.

What kind of classes do you enjoy teaching the most?

I enjoy teaching the introduction to sewing class because most students are over joyed at what they’ve created, they’ve either never sewn or not sewn for a very long time. They leave wanting more. I equally enjoy classes when people come because they want to make something that they know they couldn’t do (well) at home on their own.

What is your favourite pattern?

It would have to be the Ellis dress – I love it, I have one I made in a Japanese brushed cotton, with a green and black puppy tooth, it’s really faded and old but I think its even more lovely because of that.

What makes a good seamstress?

A good seamstress will prioritise great workmanship and finish over speed. The garment will be put together perfectly without taking any shortcuts. It’ll look as good inside out as it does the right way round! Only he/she will know exactly what went into making it so well, but knowing is enough.

What’s next on the to sew list?!

An Ellis dress in Chiyo Black – just in time for work Christmas party!