Meet the Maker ~ 7 Questions with Sarah

Helen Cloke customer profile meet the maker swimwear

It's no surprise that for a month so heavy on swimwear sewing and recycled fabrics that January's Meet the Maker is New Zealand's own eco-sewing extraordinaire and beach ambassador, Sarah Sew Love!

1.Name and Location:

Sarah Sew Love - Raglan, NZ

2. What first sparked your interest in swimwear sewing?

The challenge to sew something for a different occasion, and replace a product off the rack (with high travel miles & potentially unethical manufacturing) with something a bit more special and unique.  I wanted a colourful power clashing surf suit, I don't like surfing in a wetsuit (or being dressed head to toe in black either).

3. How would you describe your swimwear sewing?

I'm definitely a beginner when it comes to swimwear fabrics, but I did a lot of testing of scrap fabrics to get my overlocker to the desired settings.  I don't have a flatstitch machine and my zig zag wasn't working but I made it work!  I make surf ponchos all the time out of repurposed towels, I've got the process down pat.  Sewing stretchy lined lycra was a whole lot different - a pleasant challenge to tackle.

4. How has it enriched your life?

I'm way more excited to wear my rashee, and wore it this entire summer (and hopefully it encourages other adults to not feel so dawky in them either) keeping more covered up at the beach is super important here in NZ.  AND although I use sea safe, 100% natural sunscreen, I only have to apply it to my face, bum and legs now, oh and backs of hands are important for surfers.

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

The first time I tried it on and it fit was the most wahoo moment. It was the middle of winter and it was soooo cold at home but I was determined through a lot of trying on and speed sewing in my knickers, to get it fitting just right. The next day (yes last minute sewing) I was on a plane to Hawaii... my first tropical holiday ever!

6. How do you deal with sewing setbacks?

I don't often unpick, but when I do I get frustrated and feel its a waste of time. BUT I ALWAYS DO IT, usually it requires stepping outside to do it in the sun or on the grass.

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

Head to op shops and check out other garments for a) construction, b) fun vintage fabric to upcycle!

Bonus Random question - Best kiwi beach tucker and chips or 'can't beat a trumpet' ?

Haha, this is actually my third summer of non plastic wrapped icecreams so CONES are the way to go for me! #coolasaconeicecream.  Just another little challenge to reduce our waste to landfill and I hope others try to take the pledge too.  It's quite fun hunting out cones in towns around the country.

Sarah definitely represents living your best beach life, taking pleasure from your environment while giving back to Mother Nature.

I love how she has taken an unpleasant task like unpicking and made it more bearable by doing it in an enjoyable location.  What a great idea!

Also, I ask the Bonus question as a bit of frivolous fun but Sarah's answer has really made me think!  I feel that I am generally quite conscious of not creating too much waste plastic but my choice in ice-cream has been led more by how much chocolate content there is and not by how much packaging it has.  Guilty!  I shall totally choose a cone from now on.

Interested to know more about Sarah?

Be sure to check out Sarah's colourful Instagram account @sewlovenz

Sarah travels around teaching sewing sustainability and earth love - more info can be found on her website.

Or, if you want to stay safe in the NZ sun check out these cool surf ponchos that Sarah mentioned above.  

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