Meet the Maker ~ 7 Questions with Karina

Helen Cloke customer profile meet the maker

My march make from the limited edition kit 'The Leigh' relied heavily on my overlocker and coverstitch machines.  Not to say that you can't complete the Comox trunks without these machines but they are a nice addition to a sewists arsenal!

I'm self taught on these machines and I'm completely aware that I don't use them to their full potential, this is further highlighted whenever this months interviewee, Karina, posts one of her makes on IG and it is sewn up with some 'mad skillz' and rad stitching.

One day I'll hopefully head up north and attend one of Karina's sewing classes, not only will I be able to up-skill but I bet her style of teaching is super fun and all her sewsters have a blast.


1.Name and a bit about where you live: 
Karina Kayes, and I live north of Auckland, NZ , in a little community called Ahuroa. Think middle of nowhere and you’d be about right. We have nearly 5 acres, and our stock is 7 angora goats. Goats are just the most amazing stock to have, incredibly bright and seriously funny.

2. What first sparked your interest in lingerie sewing?

Never being able to buy a bra that fitted, gah! Seriously stressful trying to find a decent bra when you have big boobs and a broad back.

3. How would you describe your lingerie sewing?

I think I’m pretty good at it.  Plus I teach Bra Making at my fabulous business Studio of Sewing.  I don’t really plan to make a bra, I just see a gap or maybe some really nice lace and think it’s time for a new one.  I can usually get one made from cutting to finished in about 3 hours now.  My first one took almost a week - so there is definitely room for improvement if you’re just starting out.

4. How has it enriched your life?

I just love that I can have a bra that fits so well. No more third boob syndrome spilling over the top of my bra. I have one boob bigger than the other, so if I bought a RTW bra, it had to fit either my big boob or my small boob but couldn’t fit both.

5. Please describe your best 'Ah-hah! Wahoo! Ye-haw! Tah-dah' moment.

Having two different sized cups! Who knew that was even possible!

6. How do you deal with sewing setbacks?

Gee, there are so many really.  Some people don’t think I make mistakes or have sewing setbacks but of course I do.  My 25 year old self would toss a mistake in the too hard basket, but once I learned to embrace unpicking and that learning from mistakes is the best way forward, my sewing went up a whole new level.  My me-mades went from looking homemade to well-made.  There’s no magic wand when it comes to setbacks, just how you deal them.  And sometimes I just have to walk away from a project for awhile.  My 25 year old self would actually be rolling her eyes at me right now LOL.  The Sewsters who come through the Studio know I’ll make them unpick something that’s not right, I want their makes to look well made too.

7. What is your top tip to share with other lingerie sewists?

Just do it.  Making your own bras is not about making one cheaper than buying one.  There’s no way we can compete with companies/stores that sell bras for $5.  It’s about getting a bra to fit so it’s actually comfortable and a joy to wear.  I love nothing more than telling peeps I make my own bras.  Usually met with disbelief.  Then they think you need special equipment - nope, just a normal domestic sewing machine.  Then they think you need special stitches, nope again - just straight stitch, zig zag and three step zig zag.  Then they think you need to be a master Sewster.  Nope - a fearless beginner can easily make a bra. There are so many online or YouTube tutorials out there.  I totally understand that some Sewsters need to learn in person, so there’s me - of course!!  I’ll teach anyone how to sew a bra. So. Much. Fun!

Bonus Random question - (and it's a biggie) are you a shoe girl or a handbag girl?

Thank goodness I’m a shoe girl.  They are so much more reasonably priced than than the handbags I buy.  Well, that’s what I tell Hubs anyhoo 😜. When I was a golfer, I had 23 pairs of golf shoes.  This was before Social Media, and I did have a bit of a reputation because of my shoe collection.  When other golfers met me and they found out about my shoes, they would say ‘oh, that’s you!’ Yep, that’s me alright.  Not that this has any relevance to this blog post at all LOL, but I was a kick arse golfer, lowest handicap was 7.3, and I could hit my tee shot about 200 meters, if there are any golfers out there, you’ll understand.  And I once had a two on a par 5 - boom!!

Karina, having fun with hubby on a photoshoot!

Thanks Karina!  I think you've nailed the essence of sewing your own bras - why put up with something that is uncomfortable and ill-fitting when you can easily make your own? - perhaps with a bit of guidance.

If (when) I come and visit Studio of Sewing we may manage to get a little bit of sewing time in amongst chatting about sewing in the middle of nowhere, our love of shoes and what gorgeous little characters Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are.

For those of you who would love some guidance in making bras (or any other sewing related things) then check out Studio of Sewing!

IG and Facebook: @studioofsewing

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