Talking: Magda from Sewansome
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where did your passion for sewing come from?
I grew up in Slovakia, with mum, and I was always full of beans and quite a handful so mum decided to occupy my body and mind. She taught me lot of crafts since very young age. I had my first toy sewing machine at the age of 7 and was sewing clothes for dolls by hand and on this little machine (I didn’t really like dolls otherwise, preferred lego and puzzle). I made my first skirt when I was about 10 and I remember being told off for sewing white fabric with dark thread…but I wanted to surprise mum while she was out by quickly making it by myself and didn’t have a clue how to re-thread the machine. Well, she made me unpick it all and start again…I can tell you I hated sewing at that point.
When did you take the step to make your passion your business? What do you enjoy the most about running it?
I have set up ‘sewansome’ after I have lost a job when living in Cornwall. I decided to create my own work as I got fed up with looking for an employment and never find nothing challenging enough and stable. It was a quick decision when I put together what I was capable of doing and what I loved doing and creativity and business are some of those passions plus I had fashion design education.
Do you have a typical day at Sewansome?
When running your own business there is no such thing as a typical day. Only routine is the breakfast and finishing late. While working, I am seeing customers, reply to emails, answer to calls, do accounts, admin, marketing, deal with stock and other things a business must do. I often wish there is about 10 of me. Some days I teach sewing and I think those are my favourites. I can’t get distracted by million things I need to do and its more relaxing concentrate on what other people are doing.
Is there something that you have made for yourself (or someone else) that you are most proud of?
I don’t have anything in particular. I am more proud of constantly learning myself. I am doing 2 courses of some sort each year as I am obsessed by learning and new challenges. All related to sewing, creativity and teaching. It’s always very satisfactory when you create anything and your customer loves it or when you teach and you see enthusiasm and confidence in your students. Making others happy makes me happier than making something for myself.
You run a whole range on sewing classes at Sewansome, If someone asked for your advice in starting sewing from scratch, what would you suggest?
I would suggest, start at the start, don’t try to run before you can walk. Start with complete basics even if it might be boring. Get to grip with your sewing machine first, it’s like learning to drive, first you learn what the car does before getting on the road. Also, choose your materials well, don’t start with the tricky ones. If necessary, take some lessons, it’s worth being shown and told sometimes. It might cost but in the long run you invest in good basic you can then develop. Another thing to consider is the sewing machine. Its not worth buying the cheapest on the market, but by the same token, no point to invest to much before you know its going to be a tool you will be using a lot. I would suggest to spend between £200-£300 on a good enough sewing machine.
Can you recommend a good pattern for a complete novice?
There is whole range of patterns on the market marked as ‘easy’. I would say, start by small items for your home or kids, like cushion covers, PE bags, simple dress for your daughter or trousers with elasticated waist for your boy.
and one for stretching your skills a bit further?
Once you are confident in sewing you can do anything, including tailoring. We all have different speeds in learning and there is no set rules. Also, some people are really not interested in clothes and others really not interested in soft furnishings. Some people would love to use just jersey – whole new area. As you learn, you will work out what you enjoy most, but main advice is, keep the love for it and don’t give up, just find projects of the right level for yourself.
If there’s one sewing skill you think it’s essential to master what would it be?!
Cutting and measuring are absolutely first on your skill list. If you don’t measure and cut straight, you won’t sew right and things won’t match and it would end up frustrating you. To sew straight and manage your tension is the next thing. When I say sew straight, I mean sew where you are meant to. And don’t forget to maintain your machine!