Are you ready for the next instalment of our Sewing Community Project?! I’m so thrilled to introduce you to my dear friend Deepti who is honestly amazing and inspires me so much. She is incredibly passionate about sustainability in all parts of her life, from the sustainable straw bale home her and her husband designed and built together, to her adventures in zero waste sewing. She is fantastic at hacking patterns and bending them to her will!
For our community shoot, Deepti made a Sudley dress in this gorgeous print from our studio, and I love her addition of pockets in the side seams!
I can’t help but smile looking back at these photos of Deepti and her bestie Alice from our community shoot – these two are a perfect example of true friendship.
I really hope you enjoy reading all about Deepti and her sewing journey!
A big thanks to Meg, for asking me to take part in this – such a great initiative and I have truly enjoyed reading the series so far. I am terribly camera shy, but Meg and Alice are very persuasive.
These photos were taken back in March – and it was only a week later that the true impacts of Covid-19 were felt here in Perth. As I write this, months later, it strikes me how much life has changed in this time, and how much we need community in our lives, whether physical or virtual.
Were your choices your normal style, or did you try something different?
When we went to Meg’s studio to choose the fabric & pattern, I knew needed to choose a quick and easy project – I was supposed to leave soon afterwards on a 6-week trip to Europe & US visiting family. Hmmm! That feels like a year ago. ;-)
The fabric is exactly me. 90% of my wardrobe is black and grey and different shades of dark blue. I struggled with the pattern choices. I have made and remade and hacked so many of Meg’s patterns over the years! But there were a few of her patterns I hadn’t considered for myself. (I tend to wear sacks and secret pyjamas.) Meg’s patterns are so well-thought-out, beautifully fitting and pretty … but I felt they weren’t me.
So, after 2 hours of indecision – thank you Naomi (Design Assistant at Megan Nielsen Patterns) for your patience- I settled on the Sudley pattern to use this challenge to step outside my comfort-sack-zone.
Also, reversible? Hmm! Nothing reversible has ever fit me out of the box so I was prepared for major pattern adjustments………..
I was so wrong! ;)
There were z-e-r-o adjustments.
Were there any new skills you picked up using your pattern?
One and only skill. Discipline. Anyone who knows me knows I never follow a pattern exactly. Well, this time I shut down every single hacky voice in my head and made a straight size 10 following instructions exactly.
(Well I added side seam pockets but hey that had to be done…!).
What do you love about your new outfit?
This is the perfect dress. I have already worn it a record number of times, and it fills a void I did not know existed. But… my next one has to be a hack – button-up Sudley with a collar.
How did you learn to sew?
I started sewing bags as a teenager. My mum is a designer and dressmaker who ran her business from home, in Kerala, India. So, I was always surrounded by sewing machines, notions & fabrics growing up. But when I left home for uni, I left all that behind and didn’t sew anything until about 15 years later when I had my second baby (6 years ago). That year of re-learning how to sew changed my entire attitude toward making, about fashion, about fibres, about quality, and about waste.
I haven’t looked back ever since.
What are your favourite things to sew?
I try to sew everything – clothing, jackets, surfboard covers, bags, wallets, you name it. I once sewed a tepee for my kids complete with framed windows and rolled shutters. Last year I attended a shoe-making workshop by Shoe Camaraderie – easily something to get addicted to.
But…. there are some things I stay clear of – eg: thin silks, anything with delicate rolled hems etc.
Who do you mostly sew for?
I sew for everyone close to me – especially my sister who is the recipient of most of my experiments. And I experiment a lot with patternmaking. I make a lot of things I consider fails, which my great sis happily wears!
What do you love about sewing?
In my work (as an Architect), it takes years for projects to be completed. And sometimes you might work on a building for months or years, only to get put on hold or abandoned.
My favourite thing about sewing is the joy of taking a piece of flat fabric and transforming it relatively quickly into an object fit for purpose and that can last years. If that fabric has a history, especially if it has been handwoven, there is an indescribable joy in creating with it.
What in sewing makes you fist pump and happy dance around your sewing space, patting yourself on the back?
Also, I always fist pump when I play pattern Tetris, create a pattern, or work on anything zero waste.
What in sewing makes you want to burn everything and crawl under your table to cry?
Unpicking!! I am extremely impatient but also pedantic. It is a terrible combination which means I have the absolute urge to make things perfect (stripe alignment on a curve seam, anyone!?) but rarely have the patience to unpick mistakes I’ve made. Unfortunately, that means I have a Box of Shame – full of unfinished work just needing half an hour of unpicking! It’s under my sewing table so when I crawl under the table it makes me cry! ;-)
If you could be someone’s fairy sewing mother, what gift of knowledge/skill would you bestow upon them?
Find your Alice aka sewlsister. In other words, find your community. Alice and I have known each other for years, and I credit her 100% for igniting my “sewjo” when I had just started up. She is incredible and always teaching me cool stuff and sending random links that make me drop everything I’m doing and test it out.
I first joined Instagram as @deeptisewsforsanity and it still holds true. I have an intense job and we have two young kids. Without my making and the connection, I could not stay sane! ;-)
What’s been the best piece of sewing advice you’ve been given? Who gave it to you?
What has been your crowning sewing moment/creation/achievement to date?
My biggest achievement is my over-engineered wool Closetcase Patterns Clare coat. It took me 2 months to finish it and now coming into its 5th winter but still going strong!
Do you have a favourite sewing story?
Favourite Sewing story — At least once or twice a year Alice, our friend Belinda and I leave our family homes to take a weekend away, load up the car with sewing machines, snacks, and fabric and head somewhere remote where we literally talk, snack and sew non-stop from waking in the morning to crashing after midnight. Once we rented a little house on a farm. It mustn’t have been occupied for months, because that first evening, it was SWARMING with black millipedes. You couldn’t walk without stamping on 5 at a time. The farmer told us it was quite normal…! We gave up trying to remove them and worked happily through the weekend amongst the millipedes, listening to Adele 25 on repeat because there was no range and it was the only music saved on Alice’s phone. To this day, every song from that album reminds me of the wonderful millipede weekend!
How are you involved in the sewing community?
To be honest I haven’t joined a sewing group, although I’ve met so many other Perth sewists through IG. I try to attend Frocktails every year – always fun to be around people who connect on a really nerdy level and have such a specific common love.
How did you start getting involved in the sewing community?
Alice introduced me to the sewing community through blogs and IG. :) My first Frocktails that I attended back in 2015 (where I first met Meg and so many other fantastic sewing people) was my slow entry into this beautiful community of makers.
How would you recommend new sewers get involved in the community?
Instagram and blogs. And your local sewing groups.
What is your favourite thing about having sewing friends?
We speak a secret language of code words. In fact, having a sewing buddy in a gathering of “normal” people is a hilarious comedy in the making, as Alice and I have found over the years!
I really hope you enjoyed meeting lovely Deepti! You can find her on Instagram @deeptisewsforsanity
I can’t wait for next week to introduce you to our very last Community Project Feature!!