I just HAD to interview Steph for the month of April!
This month's theme screaming - Go bold or go home! - put me in mind of Steph's Instagram feed. An avid sewist, Steph makes some colour inspiring garments and doesn't shy away from fabulous, outside the box, colour combo's and prints. Not afraid to give it a go, she even makes her own shoes! (That's scarier than starting to make lingerie, right?!) Steph has made a seriously, lust-worthy pair of boots in orange, fuchsia and burgundy with colourful cork heels, sandals and is currently making some hot pink shoes.
1. Name and a bit about where you live:
I'm Steph and currently living in Auckland, New Zealand (and I miss Wellington).
2. What first sparked your interest in lingerie/swimwear sewing?
I attempted my first swimwear after feeling very frustrated from several unsuccessful shopping trips. My cheap ready made swimsuit had fallen apart and I had an upcoming holiday in Sydney. I had seen the Soma Swimsuit pattern from Papercut patterns and beautiful swim fabrics for sale and decided to give it a go, even though I'd only been sewing for a few months at this stage (I'd just purchased a walking foot which was very helpful). Basically, my interest in sewing swimwear/lingerie was fuelled by my dislike for shopping.
3. How would you describe your lingerie/swimwear sewing?
My sewing style is impulsive. If I'm feeling inspired I try to act on it and I usually have several projects on the go at once. I switch between them depending on my mood. I'm often inspired by a fabric or a colour. As someone who is entirely self-taught, I love challenging myself and learning new techniques from online tutorials or sewing patterns. Most things are achievable if you break it down and focus on one step at a time.
4. How has it enriched your life?
I spend less time shopping! I love not having to buy expensive, uncomfortable or ill-fitting swimwear/lingerie. Sewing allows me to create something I've imagined in my head (even if it isn't in fashion at the moment). I love the creative freedom, the process of sewing and opting out of fast fashion.
5. Please describe your best 'Ah-hah! Wahoo! Ye-haw! Tah-dah' moment.
My best friend from high school recently got married and a week before the wedding she decided that I was to wear my bridesmaid dress with a strapless bra. I hadn't worn a strapless bra in years (horrible uncomfortable things with the bra always sitting too low) and I dreaded the thought of buying one under pressure so I decided to make the Esplanade bra from Orange Lingerie. It has a beautiful flattering shape, no straps and boning. I hadn't sewn such a complex bra before but by some miracle it worked and I wore it all day and night at the wedding. It was worth staying up sewing past midnight after work.
6. How do you deal with sewing setbacks?
Earlier this year I sewed a Romy bra from Ohhhlulu. I have seen some lovely versions on instagram but unfortunately for me it was a total fail. There wasn't anything wrong with the pattern or the sewing, it was just that I didn't like the shape or style on me at all. Since the bra was perfectly functional and unworn, I decided to donate it as buying new bras can be so expensive. If it hadn't been wearable I would have harvested the hardware and anything else I could salvage. I think the best way of dealing with setbacks is to quickly remove them from your creative space, so you aren't staring at them and feeling discouraged.
7. What is your top tip to share with other lingerie sewists?
Buy a walking foot. Yes, it really is worth it.
Bonus random question - Are you a sing in the shower or a boogie on down in the kitchen kind of person?
I have been known to do both but only when I'm in an exceptionally good mood.
Thank you Steph! If you don't already, head on over to follow Steph on Instagram and delight in the visual feast that is her IG feed.
I completely relate to Steph's comment about sewing being 'creative freedom' as I can remember frequenting clothing stores with the picture of the ideal garment in my head and the frustration at not being able to find anything like it. Isn't it fabulous that we have the skills to create anything we can imagine? Even if what we imagine doesn't end up being as desirable as what we thought, like Steph's Romy bra. Yup, been there done that! Have you?