Jennie is somewhat of a newcomer to sewing lingerie but this experienced sewist, dedicated creator and construction detail enthusiast has amassed a beautiful collection of hand-made bras, briefs and swimwear. Jennie's sewing journey began at age 8 when her grandmothers, Annie and Myra, taught her to sew. Read on to discover how her creative focus has evolved since then.
1.Name and a bit about where you live:
Jennie from AnnieandMyras, Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia (a small rural town in Central Victoria; originally a Goldfields town, but now quite popular for “treechangers” and tourism)
2. What first sparked your interest in
I have always had a passion for lingerie, and even in the late 80’s when I was sewing wedding dresses, I would use the left over silks to make lingerie for myself, and as gifts for the bride to give her attendants. Back then I would cut up old bras to “harvest” underwires and other supplies for my own.
In the late 80’s I was studying a Private Order dressmaking Certificate at TAFE, and have since found some designs for vintage inspired lingerie that I had designed back then.
It was only late last year however, that I discovered an amazing range of lingerie supplies available online. I was actually looking for mens tailoring supplies online, when I came across the vast range of lingerie supplies available overseas. It opened up a whole new world that really was what I had always dreamed of.
As I have always enjoyed choosing a fabric first, and designing around it, I had really only purchased fabrics which I could touch and feel in “bricks and mortar” shops. Following my career change in mid 2015, I moved back from millinery to general dressmaking, and particularly mens tailoring which I also enjoy. There was no longer the availability of mens tailoring supplies in Australia, hence my searching online.
3. How would you describe your lingerie/swimwear sewing?
I believe my general sewing skill level to be quite advanced, having
made my first dress at the age of 8, and always making something
with a needle and thread since.
However, my lingerie/swimwear sewing has been an exponential
growth curve over the past year…I am totally obsessed !!
Sewing with stretch is a totally new concept for me ( I think it goes
back to the 70’s when we started with the “knitwit’’ classes); I have
always preferred advanced construction techniques, and hadn’t seen the possibility of this in lingerie until I found all the available supplies.
I particularly love achieving a high level of finishing detail with
enclosed seams , and minimal use of my overlocker. I also like to put
together unusual colours, textures and exploring fabrics designs not
normally seen with lingerie.
4. How has it enriched your life?
Finally bringing my creativity to the forefront as a career was the
biggest “leap of faith” for me. Finding lingerie/swimwear sewing as the prime expression of this was like finding the final missing piece.
It is hard for me to explain, it feels like my creativity had been stifled
by the boundaries I had placed on myself…perhaps lacking confidence that I believed that my work not valuable….now that I am living true to my creative self ( expressed through lingerie/swimwear) I feel like I am my true self.
I am trying too to follow the values of ethical fashion, and environmental sustainability by using independent fabric designers,
and especially starting to use recycled nylon.
5. Please describe your best 'Ah-hah! Wahoo! Ye-haw! Tah-dah'
Ooooh…there are quite a few, as I have described previously…I think it was when I was looking at my old notes from TAFE, and found some lingerie designs I had done even back then ; or maybe when recently I managed to make my own partial band bra pattern…
But mainly, when I took my leap of faith to follow my creative path….realising that, in spite of my lack of confidence, that I wanted to follow this path…and since then I have met the most wonderful, supportive people (like Helen, from Nellie Joans!),and have never been calmer and happier…
6. How do you deal with sewing setbacks?
I think I deal with these better than in the past. When something is not going as well as we had hoped, or we are lacking in inspiration, I have learned to…“step away from the sewing machine!!”.
In particular, for me, as sewing is my form of creative expression, I find the best for me, is to change to another form of creativity. If I switch to hand quilting, knitting, embroidery or even gardening, I
find that when I come back to the problem it is much clearer, or my creative flow is more inspired. I think we all know that if we persist we make the problem worse, and after a break the problem is never as bad as we first thought.
7. What is your top tip to share with other lingerie/swimwear sewists?
I am not sure if this is “off topic”?, really more about general
creativity…but I think the book “Big Magic” by Elisabeth Gilbert was
the biggest help to me. I listen to audiobooks a lot when I am
sewing, and this is read by the author. It is about inspiration within
creativity, and her long journey before her creative success.
Another mantra, said to me by a fellow milliner…”make what you love, and the rest will follow”….
Specifically though, wherever there is a problem…changing the machine needle is the first thing to do!
Bonus Random question - Countryside or seaside? What refreshes you the most?
I live in a beautiful small country town and am constantly refreshed by it, particularly as there are many artists/creatives here. I haven’t been to the seaside in years which I guess says something!
Thank you Jennie! I love how your creativity can have different focuses and yet the skills and learnings from each craft can be applied to others.
Jennie creates lingerie that is 'elegant, stylish with just a dash of whimsy' and showcases them on her Instagram: @annieandmyras
Also, if you are wanting a bespoke outfit sewn for you or are interested in one-on-one tutoring on how to sew it yourself then check out Jennie's website for information on these services.