This week we are celebrating everything Melly & Me related including the brand new book — Sew Fantasy Toys. We wanted to find out more about the designer behind the Melly & Me design brand and books such as Sewn Toy Tales, Sew Cute to Carry and Fun of the Fair, so we asked her a few questions about how she got started.
When did you start sewing?
“I started sewing about 9 years ago when I found myself a stay-at-home mum with my son. I was a little restless with nothing to achieve other than changing the next nappy or preparing the next meal, so after talking with my sister about feeling a little bored, she convinced me to give sewing a go! She set me up with her machine, one of her patterns and some of her stash and I sewed the night away. It was the very next day that I went out and bought my first sewing machine!”
Why did you launch Melly & Me?
“About 12 months after I began sewing I started to feel a lacking in the industry. I went to so many patchwork stores trying to track down patterns that suited my taste but found that there was little available that was catching my eye. Again my sister (thanks Rosie!) encouraged me to start designing. I thought she was insane as I was such a newbie sewer, but she continued to prompt me. A few months later she suggested we start a new label together called ‘Melly & Me’ so she could be my support and help me until I was confident. We did this as a hobby, as a lot of fun, and for me to financially support my insatiable fabric addiction!”
How do you go about designing a new project?
“Usually before I start designing I have had an idea pop into my mind at some stage. When I devote a day to designing, I usually start by sketching and playing with variations until I am super pleased with the overall vibe. Then, my favourite part — picking the fabrics! This part feels like picking lollies; I love mixing combinations until I get that excited buzz in my tummy. Then I start drafting templates, which is a skill that has grown with time, learning how fabric behaves and things come together. I then simply get stuck into making it! Often designs adapt as I work, as I feel they need to. Sometimes there are 1, 2, 3 or as many as 5 drafts before I am completely happy with the end result.”
Do you prefer making quilts, bags or toys?
“I really find it hard to say what I prefer making — I love making everything!!!! I love seeing toys come to life with their character and personality — they feel like real little critters to me. I love making bags as you can play around so much more with fun fabric and shape combinations and they give me so much satisfaction. And quilts just make me happy — I don’t make them often at all, but when it has been a while I almost feel the need to make one, like a craving!”
What are your top tips for making sewn projects for children?
“To have fun and explore colour and pattern so much more. I think children always adore different colours and eye-catching design. So don’t be scared to try out daring combinations. My fabric-combining rule is always that if the overall effect makes you happy then that was the right combination — there are no rules other than that!”
Visit the Melly & Me page to find out more, and don’t forget to come back to the blog for more Melly related news all week! You can preorder your copy of Sew Fantasy Toys here.