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Inspiring Handmaiden : Melanie Hall

Posted on 02 December 2016

Our first inspiring & talented handmaiden is Melanie Hall from Maid in the Shade.

Inspiring Handmaidens Pattern Emporium

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.  

 

Melanie Hall wearing the Summer Breeze Dress by Pattern Emporium
  

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.

 
Melanie Hall wearing the Ladies Tiered Maxi Skirt by Pattern Emporium

 

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.

 

Melanie Hall wearing the Ladies SunKissed Kaftan by Pattern Emporium
 

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!

 
 Melanie Hall Kids Kimono by Pattern Emporium
 

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.

 
Melanie Hall wearing the Batwing Kimono by Pattern Emporium 
 

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.

  

Melanie Hall wearing the Summer Breeze Dress by Pattern Emporium sewing patterns
  

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.

   
Melanie Hall wearing the Pattern Emporium SunKissed Kaftan in maxi length 
 

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? 

 
 Melanie Hall Tumble Bums shorts sewing pattern by Pattern Emporium
  

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.

  
 Melanie Hall Lovebug Skirt by Pattern Emporium
  

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!

  
 Melanie Hall wearing the Ladies Crush on Me Tee in Tunic Length by Pattern Emporium

 

 

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