I am a Seamster: Katryna


Tell us your story and what inspired you to start sewing?

I’ve always been considered the ‘creative one’ in my family and was always dabbling in some craft project or another throughout my childhood. Both my grandmothers were avid seamstresses and I loved looking through their fabrics and stashes. During the summer, my brother and I would often spend a few weeks at our grandparents places and during this time they started to teach me the basics of sewing. The summer before I started junior high my grandma let me choose a dress pattern from her stash of mostly vintage patterns and we made my first garment together. I was convinced Iwould look like the chic 70s illustration on the cover and wanted to wear it on the first day of school. It ended up looking like a Little House on the Prairie costume reject and I did NOT wear it to school, but I was hooked on the idea that sewing offered so much possibility to create anything you wanted. I kept stitching on and off through school and home ec. classes but it didn’t take off until after I completed university. I took the Human Ecology program with a major in Clothing and Textiles and took a few classes on pattern drafting and design, I realized that I didn’t like making my own patterns from scratch, but I loved that I could take an existing pattern and make it perfectly my own. It also helped that in the last 5 years the internet has fuelled a whole industry of independent pattern designers that are making very chic, unique and modern clothing that I really want to make, so I’ve been sewing steadily ever since.

What do you love most about sewing? Why is it such an important skill for you to have?

My absolute favourite part of the sewing process comes from playing with fabrics, trims and notions and figuring out how they will be best represented; what pattern they will become. I have a Fashionary sketchbook that has the outlines of people already drawn in so I can just trace pattern designs and colour them in with prints and ideas until I come up with something I love. It’s so important to make this a part of the process. Nothing can make or break a garment faster than choosing the wrong fabric for a pattern. It can affect how comfortable it is, how it drapes, how it fits- it’s just so valuable to make a good match.

Most favourite item you have made to date?

This is such a hard question! Since it’s one of my most recent makes I have to say my grey melange knit tee that was inspired by one at Artizia. It’s so simple, chic and comfortable and I want to wear it all the time. In school, I had to make a tailored jacket and made mine in a bright sunshine yellow. Technically, it’s the most advanced thing I have made and am most proud of completing, but the fit and silhouette doesn’t really work for me, so I don’t wear it.

What textiles do you love working with?

I am really loving working with soft, high-quality knits right now. Everything I make I just want to snuggle into (maybe that’s also an affect of thisnever-ending snowfall). I also have a huge stash of cotton fabrics that I bought because I fell in love with the prints but am stumped on what to make with them, as I am moving towards sewing things that look more like clothes I could buy at the store instead of clothes that scream ‘ I MADE THIS’, y’know?

Oh we know! Where do you draw inspiration? Anyone you admire in particular?

The online sewing community is SUCH an amazing source of ideas and inspiration. There are so many talented, funny, informative women who blog or post on instagram that really help me envision how a pattern can be made in so many ways. Sometimes I will be stuck on ideas and see how someone has made something so unique and beautiful with just a few tweaks and it totally opens my mind right up again. I follow so many of these women but some of my favourites are Heather Lou (Closet Case Patterns), Sewing the Sixties, Peneloping, Lladybird and Allie J.

 What does fashion sustainability mean to you?

Fashion sustainability to me means consuming and creating goods that are meaningful, beautiful and made to last. It means consuming less, and doing more with what we have and being aware of the impact that our choices have on the environment, and producers. It means being more selective in what I want to buy or make, using secondhand goods where possible, and increasingly, becoming more aware of where my textiles are sourced.

What do you still want to learn?

There is SO much I still have to learn. Because sewing is my free-time hobby, I really enjoy projects that only take a few sittings to complete; it’s very satisfying to decide to make something on Friday and wearing it to work on Monday. That said, I do have some goals this year, and one of them is to venture into making my own jeans! I wear denim nearly everyday so I want to make a pair that is perfectly made to fit me using a high quality fabric that I can wear for ages to come. I just need to jump in and do it!

instagram @ katrynarae

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