Museum educator by day, sassy sewist by night, Australian maker Amanda Adams has a pretty full schedule. The self-taught dressmaker has been sewing for 7 years, churning out amazing new wardrobe pieces for herself, and taking Instagram by storm with her #bpSewvember – a photo a day challenge.
We recently caught up with Amanda to learn more about her sewing life.
When did you start sewing?
My mum showed me the basics of using a sewing machine in my 90s-grunge teen years and I made up a few basic skirts while at uni. Work and life got in the way and I forgot about sewing until it was time to make my wedding dress.
After seeing a gorgeous dress that there was no way I could afford I spent three months working with a talented friend of mine to sew up my frock. It was such a joyful, creative and collaborative experience and I was hooked.
Armed with Google, YouTube and penchant for asking questions at fabrics stores, I have been slowly teaching myself the fun of taking pieces of cloth and creating something amazing.
What do you create?
I generally create pieces for my wardrobe. Sewing allows me to experiment with styles, designs and fabric I would not think to try in ready to wear. I’ve made corsets, jeans, swimsuits and lots more for the sheer joy of trying something new. But let me be clear – they are not always wins!
Tell us where you find ideas…
I find a lot of my inspiration online via Instagram, blogs and Pinterest. There are so many talented sewists out there! I also check out ready-to-wear and have been known to take a stealth photo when I’m out and about if I see someone is something cool.
Has your style changed much over the years?
I think my personal style has definitely evolved throughout my sewing journey. I used to favour a lot of vintage inspired fit and flare dresses in big prints. I’m now embracing the solid fabric, subtler prints and a focus on comfort and interesting design lines.
My sewing style has evolved as well. While I still love a quick sewing win (all hail the power of the knit fabric!) I also enjoy working on fit and finish. There is something satisfying about slowing down and investing time into a garment that you will be loving and wearing for years.
What’s a typical day like for you?
My days are pretty similar – dog walk, work, run, hang with my husband, check out what’s happening on Instagram and some sewing.
With moving house and starting a new job in the last couple of months, I’ve really embraced the power of sewing snippets. I put an alarm on my phone for 15 minutes and have a ninja sew before or after work. It’s amazing how much you can get done!
We heard you are getting a new sewing room…
We’re in the process of unpacking in our new house and I am slowly setting the space up. My new sewing room has amazing light and lots of room to move. I’m looking forward to working out where everything will go and to nail down some good storage solutions.
What’s next on your sewing list?
I’ve got far too many projects on the burner! A fitted blazer for work, a velvet wrap dress for a wedding and I recently splurged on a kit to make a Pendleton wool clutch bag. Also I’ve just completed a course on drafting a pants block so after I finish the final tweaks on that I am going on a pants making binge. Just you wait!
Your best sewing advice is…
Press those seams! And don’t forget sewing is meant to be fun. If it’s frustrating you it’s time to put the project down and have some gin.
Share something people don’t know about you…
I studied Mandarin Chinese for nine years!