Inspiring Handmaiden : Melanie Hall
Posted on 02 December 2016
Our first inspiring & talented handmaiden is Melanie Hall from Maid in the Shade.
You'll also recognise her as one of my testers, admin & advice giver extraordinaire in our awesome Facebook Group & writer of our ladies styling page 'Wardrobe Shenanigans'.
Let's dive right in to some questions & get to know what inspires Mel.
What gets you in the mood for sewing?
Fabric and fashion! I love reading fashion mags, perusing the shops, stroking pretty fabrics and of course shopping for pretty fabrics!
Looking at designs, patterns, prints, colours and textures feeds a part of my creative soul and is usually the catalyst for a sewing binge.
Movies or music to sew? Or quiet?
I usually sew while everyone is at work/school and I love the quiet when it’s just me home. That way I can listen to my machines purr. On the odd occasion that I crank out the tunes you’ll find me bopping along to Vanilla Ice, Salt-N-Pepa and other assorted 90’s treasures.
How did you get started sewing?
Kind of in dribs and drabs to be honest. My Mum was always sewing something when I was a kid and I loved playing with her scraps and buttons. I dabbled a bit in high school and my early 20’s but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I truly discovered a passion for it. I had been avidly crocheting before that but I figured out that woollen jumpers and beanies weren’t going to cut it all year round and I decided to buy myself a sewing machine. I haven’t been able to stop since!
Do you prefer sewing for yourself or you kids?
Oh that’s easy! For myself! This kids do get the occasional look in but after a few years of sewing for them exclusively I decided I was jealous of all their handmade clothes.
I’m now proud to say that most of what I wear, I have made myself.
What’s the most favourite thing you’ve sewn and why?
That’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! Each and every garment I’ve made has it’s own special place in my heart but if I had to choose, I would say my Summer Breeze Dress’s because they make me feel so fabulous when I wear them. It doesn’t matter what sort of mood I’m in, I get a little spring in my step every time I put one on.
What’s your biggest sewing faux pas? What did you do? How do you approach sewing misadventures?
Hmmmm, probably not one specific project but when I first started sewing for myself I made everything too big.
After a lifetime of horrid fitting store bought items I had this fear that my project would be too small and found myself adding unnecessary ease to all my measurements. But I don’t consider these projects fails, more like learning experiences. I persisted and learnt to be firmer with my measuring tape. I pay very close attention to where and how I measure myself and trust in the fit info in the pattern.
I have spent some time getting to know my body and it’s little nuances (because yes, we are all uniquely shaped) and I always do a fit test when making a pattern for the first time.
If you could make something for a celebrity, who and what would it be?
Well. I don’t really do menswear but how nice would it be to have to measure Gabriel Macht from Suits for a pair of very firm fitting pants. I think we’d need lots of fittings to make sure that they were perfect. Sigh, a girl can dream can’t she?
Have you lost your sewing mojo before? What did you do?
Totally. Especially when I spent a lot of time sewing for market stalls and custom orders. The key for me is to get back to basics and forget about what everyone else wants and focus on a project that is purely for me. One where I have complete creative control over the whole process.
What do you like to do when you’re not sewing?
My mind is usually in a state of creative flux so even when I’m not sitting at my machines I really enjoy planning future projects, which of course requires copious amounts of fabric shopping hehehe! Either that or you’ll find me drinking coffee, smacking a bag at the boxing gym or losing myself in a good book!