Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Sarah of SeamsEternal. She creates absolutely exquisite handmade clothing, and cross stitched decor.
Tell me a little about yourself:
My name is Sarah and I live in Taupo New Zealand. It is a beautiful holiday destination so I feel very lucky to live here all year round but it does make it difficult to find work that is not in the hospitality industry. Although I work in a basement it is much better than it sounds, it has a huge window that looks out onto the large backyard, which is my favourite place to be. Some gardening is required every single day or else the day just doesn’t feel right. I love being outside with the birds plus my bunnies usually accompany me for a run around in the yard at the end of the day with a quick raid of the herb garden. My rabbits live in my workroom most of the time and they are great company.
How did you get started with your craft?
I really can’t even remember how I started sewing. I have been sketching dresses since I was eight and I taught myself to sew just by using commercial patterns. In my teens I was altering patterns to make clothes for my mothers friends and I just went from there. My mother didn’t sew a lot but luckily she did have a machine otherwise who knows what direction I would have gone in.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by fabrics, I can spend hours in a fabric store and often come out with dreams of dresses that I want to make. Because I had so many ideas that exceeded my skill level I decided I would get a Bachelor Degree in Fashion so that I could learn the skills needed to create something from scratch. It also helps to learn more and more about fabrics so that you know just by feeling it what is and isn’t possible.
I am also inspired by colour. This is how I like to show the mood of a collection. Lately my collections have just been dreams but little by little I hope to see these ideas grow into reality.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love working with wool, it is the most amazing fabric and allows for tailoring quality and finish. But I can’t resist Swarovski crystals and a good day is any day that I have bowls of various coloured crystals on my desk waiting to be added to something beautiful, it doesn’t matter to me whether it is a little bag or a ball dress.
Do you have a favorite buyer experience?
Selling my first collection to a store in the Old Bank Building on Lambton Quay in Wellington was my favourite buyer experience. This was a little dream of mine when I was at University so it was a big deal for me at the time. I also learnt a lot from this experience, getting into the store had been my goal and I did not have a plan beyond that point, a mistake I will not make again. As seems to be the way in life, this lead to another fortunate experience, which was that a local opera singer spotted my work and asked me to make her a custom outfit for her to wear to the Singer of the World competition in Wales.
What 3 items are your favorite?
First will be my woven garnet dress. I don’t mind if I never sell this because I just love the luxury of it, I loved making it and it is just one of those timeless pieces I think I will always be proud of.
Second would be my current work in progress and I can’t wait to get this finished and into my shop, but like all favourite pieces it is proving to be a challenge. I have had the idea for this simple shawl for months now but it has had to transform itself a few times as the fabrics I originally had in mind proved to be to difficult to work with. How a fabric drapes can affect how it is lined or finished and I like to get the details right so I will try alternative fabrics until I find just the right one. .I wanted the shawl to convey the strength of a Viking with the eroticism of a Geisha but also be reminiscent of the classic romantic fur shawls of the 1940s and 1950s but without the dead animals, I am strictly cruelty free so there is only fake fur in my garments. It’s a lot to ask of one simple garment so it does tend to take me a little while to get it just right. It is cut away from the neck to add femininity to the garment, which is essential, especially on your wedding day and it is dripping in crystals because, like I said, I simply can not resist working with Swarovski Crystals
Another favourite is the silk shaded aquamarine butterfly; there is something very natural to me about having a needle and thread in my hand. I am still discovering which direction my shop will inevitably take but as long as I have a needle and thread in hand and I get to combine and blend colours then I will continue forward.
Do you have any advice for other sellers?
I am still too early in my learning process to offer any advice. However, there is one thing, a question that I think pops up in everyone’s mind from time to time. “Why am I doing this? ….. Should I keep going?” My current theory is that if you enjoy doing it, if it is what you want to do, then just keep going.