The moment that I discovered Saskia's blog some time last year, I was hooked. Her blog is simply fantastic. Whenever I see that she has written a new post, I go there right away! Her t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts etc. are always unique. Stamping, sun-printing, color-blocking, freezer paper stenciling, bleaching, dip dyeing – just name a fun technique: Saskia will have done it. And not just done it, she will have made something amazing with it! Since I and she hosted Secret Squirrel we have been in loose contact, connected through our love for everything Astrid Lindgren and Scandinavia. She is such a warm and friendly person with an amazing style. Here are my favorites.
|Amazing triangle sweater, secret squirrel outfit, surfer shorts|
First things first: Please introduce yourself (who are you, tell us a little bit about your family, which country and maybe city do you live in, are you originally from this country, do you work or are you a stay at home mom, etc.)!
I’m Saskia from the Netherlands. I live together with my partner and our three children (6, 4 and 1) in a city in the middle of the country. I work four days a week as a scientist (inventor) at the research lab of a big tech company. So during the day, I’m surrounded by technology-loving nerds (mostly men) and at night I’m part of the low-tech (and entirely female) sewing blogosphere. Quite a contrast! The main ingredient of both activities, however, is the same: creativity. When I’m not working or sewing, I love to spend time outdoors with my family; walking, cycling, playing and enjoying nature.
Let’s talk about sewing:
When did you start and who taught you to sew?
I started to sew when my oldest – a girl- was born. It must have been hormone-driven, because I’ve never cared much about clothes for myself (still don’t really), but somehow I loved to sew for her. Another reason was that when shopping I rarely found clothes that I liked, especially for girls. It’s just too ruffly, pink and sweet. Boy clothes are a little bit better, but too often they involve stupid texts, cars, trucks or monsters. And cool unisex clothing is difficult to find and expensive! So I just started off with some simple skirts (just two panels with some elastic), and before I knew it, I was hooked. I never followed classes, but learned from doing, making many mistakes, and of course from reading blogs and tutorials.
Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or professional sewer?
I would consider myself an intermediate sewer. Nevertheless, I still keep things really simple. I avoid button holes, zippers and other tricky stuff as much as I can, and I’m sure I’m doing many things completely wrong.
Which three tips would you give a beginner sewer?
Tip 1. Try,
Tip 2. Try,
Tip 3. Keep trying. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Because:
a. you will learn from your mistakes (your mom/dad/teacher may have told you so a thousand times, but I’ll just repeat it here), and
b. your mistakes may seem huge when you’re making them, but they’ll tend to become invisible when your creation is finished and being worn.
For whom do you sew?
I sew only for my kids (and other people’s kids). I haven’t got the guts to start sewing for myself (yet).
How often do you sew?
It varies. My creativity waxes and wanes. Usually, when starting a project, I just want to finish it immediately, so I’ll work a few nights in a row to complete it. Then it can take a few days, but also weeks until a new idea pops up.
What fabric type(s) do you like most to sew with?
I sew practically only with knits. My kids love to wear comfortable, practical clothes, and I love how the stretch of the fabric tends to forgive most of my errors due to hasty cutting and imprecise sewing.
How do you get inspired?
O, that’s an interesting question. Inspiration can come from everywhere. Sometimes it’s a word (Ole Guacamole), sometimes it’s a pin on Pinterest (the sailor sweater), sometimes it’s a blog post featuring a cool technique such as discharge printing.
Do you have any real life sewing friends?
Nope. Not really. But I recently signed up for the volunteer job of ‘head costume seamstress’ at my kids’ school, so things may change soon....
You blog at Vera Luna. I’m curious to hear a little bit about your blog:
When and why did you start to blog?
I started blogging a year and a half ago. I had been sewing and following blogs for a while already, but finally felt confident enough to share my creations in the blogging world.
Is there anything that you would make differently if you started your blog now?
No. I don’t think so.
How often do you blog? How much time do you spend each day/week blogging?Just as my sewing, the frequency of my blogging waxes and wanes. It really depends on the flow of my creativity, productivity and other life commitments. I try to blog at least once a week, but during busy periods, it easily drops to once a month.
Do you plan your sewing, picture taking and blog posts in advance or do you just let things happen?
I’ve noticed that my creativity flows best when it is not constrained by plans, pressure or deadline, so I just go with the flow.
What are three sewn (and blogged) items that you are most proud about or that you yourself like most? Show us some pictures (with links)!
O, that’s a difficult one. Usually, my latest creation is my favourite. However, my all-time favourite must be the triangle or zigzag sweater, stencilled with discharge paste. This was one of these magic moments of creation where I didn’t plan anything, but just started off and let it evolve. I loved the sweater so much that I copied it into a tee.
Another favourite is the set of colour-block tees that I sewed during the latest edition of Project Run and Play. Even though I used a similar pattern for all tees, each of them is distinctively different and has its own character.
sailor sweater. I went out of my comfort zone by incorporating neon pink and I loved it!
Do you make money with your blog or do you have any sewing related business (e.g. Etsy or dawanda shop; pattern shop)? Do you have tips for someone wanting to start a blog business?
Nope. I just do it for fun.
Taking Pictures and editing these is an important part of blogging. Good pictures are often what makes us want to visit a blog again and again. Unfortunately, I only have a compact camera (and two kids that rather want to play with their friends than take pics). I’m excited to read what camera you are using and if you have to bribe your kids, too...
What Camera and Objective do you use? I use a DSLR (Canon) with a fixed 50 mm lens and a zoom lens.
What is your skill level in photography? Did you learn everything yourself or did you take a course or similar?
My mum was an avid amateur photographer, who conveyed her love of photography and taught me the basics of photography: composition, exposure, aperture, etc. Later, I followed several courses. However, as with sewing, I’ve learned most by just doing and experimenting. Having a digital camera has really helped in this; the possibility to shoot an endless number of pictures and the immediate feedback has made my learning curve a lot steeper.
How do you get your kids to cooperate when you want to take pictures?
Ooh, that’s a difficult one. I haven’t figured out the right strategy yet. Although I’m officially against bribery, and tried to avoid it as long as possible, I’ve recently caved in and discovered that it significantly improves my kids’ cooperation. If possible, I try to go to a fun and photogenic location (the park, the woods) and do a little photoshoot while my kids play. Otherwise, I try to keep it as short as possible.
What programme do you use for picture editing and which steps do you normally take to edit your pictures?
I used to do my processing in iPhoto, but I recently discovered PicMonkey and I love it! The first and most important step I always take is changing the ‘levels’, which makes the photo brighter and fresher. Instant improvement! Depending on whether I’ve shot inside or outside, I need to tweak some more about the colour temperature etc.
What are your three favourite sewing blogs to read? Why?
- Alida makes. I just love her style, her photos and her writing
- CailaMade. Beautiful photography and such cool clothes
- Probably Actually. Her style is very different from mine, but I love the sweet, soft-coloured clothes that she creates
Do you follow any blogs that are written in another language? What are your three favourite ones?
I follow a number of Dutch and Flemish blogs. Amongst my favorites are:
- Mamasha, mother of two sons and pattern designer of Zonen 09. She creates cool boy clothes and patterns with a vintage touch.
- Oon. Perfect photos and impeccable clothes.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions!
And now let's get sewing! I'm curious to see your signature tee!
So, the tee! Would you believe that this assignment gave me a serious case of sewing block? It sounded simple enough: just sew a tee. Tees are my staple, so this shouldn’t be a problem, right? Well, it was. It must have been the qualification ‘signature’ that got my wheels spinning. Because, sewing just another tee is of an entirely different league than sewing YOUR SIGNATURE TEE. I’m sure that Annika didn’t intend it this way, but I did get stuck on this question: what is my signature style? I tried to get inspiration from my previous creations, but even though I could see a clear trend there (more about that in a later post), I couldn’t think of anything new that would reflect my signature. So in the end, I decided to forego the idea of creating MY SIGNATURE TEE, and sew just another tee. And you know what? As soon as the pressure was released, creativity started to flow again.
Secret Squirrel outfit and some mustard yellow knit (which I’ve used in various combinations before). Together, these four colours matched perfectly. They had this retro feel to them, but I couldn’t immediately pinpoint it to a specific era. Fortunately, Pinterest gave the answer....
I found that this particular colour combination was often used in mid century graphic design. Seeing all those retro posters from the ‘space race’ era sparked my creativity. And thus the Space Race Tee was born!
So there you have it. A SIGNATURE TEE nevertheless. Thanks Annika, for hosting this wonderful series!
Thanks so much Saskia for answering my questions. It seems that besides Astrid Lindgren, we have much more in common: A job in the man's world, not too much interest into clothing until our daughters were born, a love for more "cool" looks rather than ruffles and monsters. And that signature tee: I'm sorry that calling it "signature" made it so hard for you, but I must say: This shirt really shouts "Vera Luna" to me. You nailed it. And its amazing as always!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know today's guest, Saksia. Come back next week to get to know my real life sewing friend, mirid. And if you haven't done so yet, read the other interviews here.