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Meet Louise, Our Star Of The Month!

Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to our Star of the Month, Louise! Louise is an absolute superstar and we adore her. She’s kind, sweet, thoughtful and she sews like a queen. She’s so pretty and her style is incredible!

Isn’t that the coolest outfit you’ve ever seen?

Louise is the reason why we created our Star of the Month feature. We wanted a way to celebrate her and thank her for being so wonderful. She’s been cheerleading us from the very beginning and we are so grateful to her, and also to her sewing partner Jenny, for all of their support! If you haven’t come across this wonderful duo, then check out their new joint Instagram account @cutonepair. Their account is full of amazing sewing inspiration.


Interview with Louise

How long have you been sewing for? How did you learn to sew?

I have been sewing on and off for about five years now. My husband, bought me my first machine in 2011, but it took me almost two years to build up the courage to actually use it – I don’t know what I was so afraid of! My Mum has always sewn, so she gave me my first lesson and helped me stitch up my first dress.

Then Tilly released her first book, Love at First Stitch, and I worked through it, cover-to-cover, gaining more confidence with each make!

What was the first thing you made?

I chose a really complicated pattern for my first make, the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2250 dress. I went to my Mums over several weekends to make it together (my first lesson, that dressmaking takes time), and I was completely hooked. The dress had a lined bodice that was full of pleats and tucks, and had an invisible zip – I had no clue how hard it would be to make. To demonstrate just how clueless I was – it was made out of Liberty cotton lawn!


Who inspires you?

This is a hard one because I am inspired by absolutely everything! Firstly, my Mum is a major inspiration. She has always been making things, so growing up my sisters and I were always creating. She’s had a very difficult few years, because of illness, but it has never stopped her wanting to do the things she loves, and that has rubbed off on me for sure. I am also so inspired by style (as opposed to fashion) – people are so wonderfully creative in what they put together and it is such a tool to express who you are to the world. Earlier this year, I went to Tokyo, and checking out peoples styles was one of the most amazing things. I loved the way people played with silhouettes and proportions in an unconventional way – very much my bag.
Finally the sewing community is a HUGE source of inspo to me. I love getting ideas, and plain old ‘I’m gonna copy what she did’ from so many cool makers – all ages and all styles. I save all my faves down for later : )
Can you tell us a bit about your amazing job at Tilly and the Buttons?
My sewing journey started with Tilly and the Buttons, so I am completely amazed that I can now say it’s my place of work! I’m the Sales and Communications manager there, so I look after our lovely stockists, the website, newsletters and more. I work with a team of sewists who spend many lunch breaks sewing, talking about sewing, ordering fabrics… needless to say my stash pretty sizeable as a result. One of my favourite parts of the job, is seeing the patterns develop from an idea, to what we release. So much love and attention-to-detail goes into every one, and it is such a team effort. Mondays have become my favourite day as it’s back to work and the rest of the Buttons : )

Stash of Dreams!

Can we have a sneak peak at your sewing space? Are there any special tools, or things you can’t live without?

I have taken over our snug room for my sewing space, because who needs two bedrooms for two people?! I love this room because it looks out onto the garden (gardening another major passion of mine), and in the summer I can sew with the doors open. Our style is quite colourful and cluttered, so my sewing space is as tidy as it can be, but I don’t feel pressure to hide everything as it adds to the feel of the room.

I love sewing tools and have a few favourites I couldn’t live without. My tracing wheels really come in handy – especially this double adjustable wheel, which I find really useful for pattern hacking. Another must-have for me, is my pattern master. Again, if you are hacking or altering a pattern, this tool have curves, measurements (if you want to add or remove a bit on a pattern from a line this is handy), and it will keep things at a right angle.

I have a few precious tools that have been handed down to me. I have my Great-Grandmothers pin cushion that was given to her on her 50th Wedding Anniversary, and I have one of her thimbles that fits perfectly on my finger. I also have my Grandad’s tailors thimble (he was a tailor when he was younger), and my Mums labels she would stitch into her me mades, before they were called that!

Why do you sew?
I sew for myself, for my style, and the interactions with other sewists it gives me. I sew because I can’t not. It’s a way to collect all the inspirations I find along the way, and put them into my wardrobe. I sew because it’s healing. I sew because it’s a journey that you don’t have to travel alone – there are so many sewing friends out there will love what you are doing and want to tell you how great you are doing!
What’s your proudest sewing achievement?
It’s hard to choose just one thing, because I find each think I work on makes me pretty proud. I was pretty proud to push my sewing skills this year, I learnt to sew a bra and a swimsuit at the New Craft House, which is something I would  have thought would be way to tricky a year ago!
What’s your next big sewing goal?
Making a coat is definitely top of my list! I got some gorgeous wool in Tokyo for a Sappro coat which I am very excited to make up. I have treated myself to a sewing machine upgrade too (Pfaff Quilt Ambition 2.0), so I’m looking forward to sewing more challenging fabrics and projects on my new machine! Oh and I also want to sew jeans and a bag…
What’s the best piece of sewing advice you can share?
Just give things a go, without being too worried about the result. You learn with every project you do, and the chances are, that you will be the only person who will notice any mistakes. I also find for me, repeating the same pattern a number of times, mean I get more confident with certain skills and am comfortable trying out hacks because I know how to stitch that garment already.
If you like to follow Louise on Instagram you can find her @louise_carmichael
Sister Mintaka