Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Interview - Roslyn Russell from Sew Delicious

The handmade revolution is here and Roslyn Russell is one of the inspiring voices leading the way. She's a Melbourne sewist and blogger who is relatively new to the craft of sewing, having only bought her first machine less than two years ago. She's hit the ground running though, sewing beautifully made (and often self-designed!) items with the funkiest fabric. She writes fabulous tutorials for the beginner sewist on her blog, Sew Delicious, and sells her lovely wares in her Etsy shop of the same name. Welcome, Ros!

Roslyn Russell

Tell us a bit about yourself, your work and achievements

I'm Ros, a secondary school teacher who has been on leave for three years to be at home with my two girls Anna and Lucy who are three and one. I live in Melbourne's northern suburbs with my husband Trev, our girls and our long haired dachshund, Pharlap. I caught the sewing bug about 18 months ago and haven't looked back. It started from a desire to hand make gifts for new babies and for my own girls. It has grown quickly and I started a blog, Sew Delicious, which has been lots of fun and a real creative outlet for me. I think I've always been creative to some degree - I worked as a Maths, Science and Geography teacher but I've always enjoyed being creative with my cooking. I enjoy cake decorating and have done a couple of courses and won first prize for decorated cupcakes at the Royal Melbourne Show in 2010, and now sewing is how I like to spend my free time!

What motivated you to start Sew Delicious the blog and more recently, the Etsy shop?

I started my blog as a way to document the projects I was working on and I'm so pleased I did because it has forced me to take photographs of nearly everything I make. It's a great record to have. It has also done wonders for my photography and IT skills. When I first started sewing I read a lot of blogs to get inspiration and used many tutorials and free patterns that other sewing bloggers had created. Once my own skills got better I wanted to be a part of it - there are a lot of readers out there that want to sew but don't have time or money to take classes. I keep these people in mind and create simple and achievable projects or share ones that I've tried.

The Etsy shop started as a combination of a couple of things - friends and family were asking me to make things for them to give as baby gifts and I wanted to have a way to get my hobby paying for itself. It's going along nicely and I don't feel guilty dipping into the grocery budget to buy fabric anymore!

Ros' hugely popular Peggy Skirt tutorial

You’re a mum to two gorgeous girls. How do you manage your time between parenting, blogging, sewing and your online shop?

Truthfully the housework suffers. I treat my blogging and sewing a bit like a part-time job. Although it is fun, I take it seriously, and it has given me a new direction. There are a lot of great things about staying at home caring for your children but I was feeling unstimulated and I think blogging and sewing has filled a void and I am a much happier Mum for doing it. In the morning I catch up on admin - answering emails, reading blogs, catching up. Mid-morning is all about the girls and what we have to do that day, then after lunch my little one sleeps, my older one has quiet time and I might get a bit of sewing done or take photos of projects or Etsy items. The evenings are when I edit photos, put together blog posts or sew larger projects that require a bit of concentration. I am really careful at the moment not to overload myself. What I have now is enough and slow growth is good.

You write and publish original tutorials for the beginner sewist on your blog. How do you go about developing ideas for tutorials?

I generally have an idea that is fully formed in my mind from beginning to end. While I make it, I photograph each step. If I finish it and I am happy with the outcome, I'll post it on the blog. If not, it never sees the light of day! The popularity of the tutorial often depends on other factors, like the styling of the photograph, if it gets picked up by a bigger website or it becomes popular on social networking sites like Pinterest.

Ros' Big Books Library Bag tutorial

What do you do when you need an inspiration hit? Where do you go online or offline for motivation and ideas?

Online, I am a regular visitor of several other sewing blogs. Pinterest has been a great way to find ideas - I use it as a bookmarking tool and a search engine. Offline I like to visit fabric shops - despite the fact that I prefer to buy fabric online, browsing in person is a great way to see new fabric collections and discover new colour combinations. Sometimes I actually find the best inspiration comes from turning off the computer, having a break and just getting back to reality.

What are your favourite tools/materials for creating?

My sewing machine, of course, and for my birthday this year my husband surprised me with an overlocker, which has been awesome for making clothing for the girls.When I started, I used to cut my patterns using scissors, but now I have good quality rotary cutter and mat, which is so much better and I get better results because my pattern cutting is more accurate. I like to use designer quilting weight cotton, particularly the Amy Butler Lotus range and I am currently loving the Verona range by Riley Blake. Sewing gives me a chance to make clothes for the girls that are quite different to the stock standard pinks, purples and reds that dominate girl's clothing in the chain stores.

Cute owl pencil case available in the Sew Delicious Etsy shop

Thanks so much for joining us today, Ros! You are an inspiration to everyone who wants to introduce more 'handmade' into their lives.

Don't forget to check out more of Ros' work at the following places:

Ros' blog Sew Delicious
Sew Delicious Etsy shop
Ros on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest