Indie designer interviews \ Le sarte che mi piacciono – FIONA @ Diary of a Chain Stitcher

Vi avverto:  qui si parla di un Girl Crush…. TOTALE!

La mia “Vip del cucito” di questa settimana è una ragazza meravigliosa: londinese, benché lavori nel mondo del fashion, ha imparato a cucire su Internet.

Fiona Parker di Diary of a Chain Stitcher non si fa spaventare da progetti complicati: ama sperimentare nuove tecniche e darsi da fare su pattern che metterebbero in imbarazzo sarte con più esperienza… I suoi progetti sono sempre freschi e originali, per questo la adoro!

Eccovi la nostra intervista:


ELENA – I’m pretty sure that everyone loves sewing knows you and your blog but… However, would you be so kind to introduce yourself to my readers (where do you live, how old are you, what your job is… things like that)?


FIONA – Hi, I’m Fiona! I’m 27 and I live in South London. I work in the costume industry, mainly on theatre productions of all different kinds but I have got a soft spot for period costume! I’m freelance and the majority of my work is as a Costume Supervisor and Buyer. A Costume Supervisor is basically responsible for making the designs a reality; it’s more of an organisational role but is still very hands on a creative which I love. The job involves lots of different things but day to day I can be found sampling fabrics, shopping for clothes, footwear, accessories and haberdashery, fitting costumes, sourcing costumes from hire companies, meeting with costume makers, budgeting…the list goes on! Working alongside such talented dressmakers is one of things that inspired me to start sewing for myself and I have been sewing and blogging for about four years now, and still love it possibly more than when I started!


E –  I read that you started sewing because, working “behind the scenes” in theatres, you admired the works of costume designers. But, how do you learn sewing?
Have you attended some classes or have you learnt by yourself?
Your colleagues, at work, helped you blurting out the secrets of tailoring or they are jealous of their knowledge?

F – I am almost entirely self taught. I’m one of those people who is always really interested in learning new things and that’s one of the things that I love about sewing; there’s always more to learn! I’ve learnt to sew by just following along with pattern instructions, reading books (I have quite a passion for costume and sewing books!) and looking up tutorials and tips on the internet. I’ve slowly improved by trying out new skills and practising. Apart from a bit of textiles at school I’ve done a couple of courses, one on drafting a basic bodice block and another on tutu making which was so interesting! I haven’t yet asked any of my work colleagues to teach me any of their secrets but I am always asking lots of questions during fittings and looking at the insides of the costumes to see what techniques they’ve used! It’s fascinating to see the different ways they all work and so inspiring to be around such a variety of styles and fabrics all day long.

Robson Coat

Robson Coat

E –  Following your blog, we can see the evolution of your style and sewing skills. From plain blouse and skirts, to amazing dresses and your trench coat (I love the dotted one: I’m totally jealous!), you have sewn a lot of wonderful clothes! Which one is your favourite and why?

F- That is such a difficult thing to pick! So many things I’ve sewn hold a special place in my heart because I’ve so enjoyed the process of making them as well as the fun of wearing them when they are finished! I think if I had to choose just one it would be this printed silk chiffon dress I made last year. The fabric is Oscar de la Renta and is so stunning. I underlined it all with silk crepe de chine, the bodice is boned and I worked really hard on the fit. It was quite a complicated and absorbing project which I loved every second of and I am still so proud of what I achieved with it, especially as it involved lots of new and fairly tricky techniques. But I’m also really proud of this striped shirt I made for my step-dad! I’ve actually just finished another couple of projects including a denim shirtdress and simple silk tee which could well be contenders for favourite garment, I’ve had so much wear out of them already!

Charlotte Skirt

Charlotte Skirt

E –  On your blog, you are doing a very interesting technique checklist: http://chainstitcher.blogspot.co.uk/p/technique-checklist.html. You learn these techniques from the internet? Do you choose your “upcoming projects” thinking how to apply these techniques?
Generally speaking, can you describe us your “creating process”?

F- This checklist has been such a great motivator for me to improve my sewing and try a variety of projects. I got the idea from Sonja at Ginger Makes (NDR – LEGGI LA NOSTRA INTERVISTA QUI)  and am continually adding new techniques and skills to the list as I spot something I like the look of on another blog or in a book. When it comes to trying them out my first port of call is usually the internet for guidance yes. I pin a lot of tutorials to my Sewings Tips and Tutorials board on Pinterest so I can easily find a bit of help or I just do a search on Google when I’m stuck and usually someone will have written a post about it or even made a YouTube video!
I think I choose what to sew next for one of two reasons, either because it’s something I want to wear or because it’s something I want to try and sew. Like I said earlier, learning new things is one of the main appeals of sewing for me so giving myself a bit of a challenge is often the reason behind a project and the technique checklist is great to look back at to see what I haven’t tried yet. I’m don’t really sew to fill gaps in my wardrobe, I sew for the enjoyment of sewing. Quite a few of my garments don’t get a huge amount of wear because they’re not practical for every day but I don’t mind that at all as I’ve got so much out of the process of making them. Sometimes it’s the fabric that inspires me, sometimes it’s the pattern, sometimes it’s a garment on another blog, sometimes it’s a RTW garment in a shop and normally those things have caught my eye because they are something I haven’t sewn before. Ideas for my next sewing project pop into my head all the time and I have an ever increasing ‘to sew’ list!

Oscar de la Renta Dress

Oscar de la Renta Dress

E –  I often come to London but I still don’t know where to buy the best fabrics! On your blog, sometimes, you have talked about fabric shopping in London: where is your favourite place to empty your wallet?

F- Ooo I could go on about this for hours! I spend a lot of my time hunting for the ideal fabric for a costume at work and am constantly finding new and hidden fabric stores all over London. A fairly recent discovery is the Cloth Shop on Portobello Road that stocks gorgeous linens and cottons as well as some stunning trims for very reasonable prices. My first choice place to go on a fabric shopping trip is always Goldhawk Road though, you can’t beat it for price or variety. If money was no object I’d be heading to Berwick Street in Soho. There’s some great haberdasheries in that area too; I love Barnett Lawson and New Trimmings. I also need to look into sewing with leather so I’ve got a reason to make a purchase for myself at Walter Reginald in East London; it’s one of my favourite places to have to go for show shopping, they have some amazing stuff!

E-  I read that you a part of the “Spoolettes”, a group of people who loves sewing and meet each other to chat about that common passion. It’s a wonderful thing! In Italy, we still don’t have places in which we can talk about sewing… a part for tailoring schools! Would you like to tell us how this group is born, if you know something about it, and how do you get in touch with the Spoolettes?

F- The Spoolettes came about after a big London sewing meet up organised by Rachel from House of Pinheiro a few years ago. We were talking about how great it would be to meet up more regularly and keep in touch and so we’ve made it happen! Twitter and Instagram are so great for making this easy. If you know anyone who sews near you I so recommend reaching out and asking if they want to meet up. I’m yet to meet a sewist who wasn’t super easy to get along with and I have made some fantastic firm friends. Anyone who wants to be a Spoolette can be, it’s for anyone who likes to sew and socialise! It doesn’t matter where you live there’s been meet ups all over the world from Paris to Sydney. The name came about because one of the events we planned here in London was a night out bowling (for which we all sewed our own bowling shirts of course!) and that was our team name!

Negroni Shirt

Negroni Shirt

E –  Each month, on your blog, you write a “INDIE PATTEN UPDATE” which is an “Official gazette” of all the news of sewing world. How can you always be updated about everything? It’s a such huge job!!

F- Haha! I must miss so much out each month because there is such a lot going on in this fantastic community nowadays! I really enjoy writing these posts and do it purely for that. I basically just make a note of anything I spot throughout the month and pull it all together in one big blog post at the end. I follow A LOT of blogs, I read them on my phone when I’m travelling around for work and am kind of addicted to Instagram so that’s where I find most of the information. I’m always really excited to spot a new pattern release and love to be able to support the successes of independent companies who are as passionate as I am about my hobby!

Flora Dress

Flora Dress

Dopo questa intervista siete diventati, come me, fan di Fiona?

Seguitela sui social!

BLOG http://chainstitcher.blogspot.co.uk/

Instagram (fionaparker17) https://instagram.com/fionaparker17/
Twitter (@FionaParker17) https://twitter.com/FionaParker17
Facebook (Diary of a Chain Stitcher) https://www.pinterest.com/fionaparker17/
Pinterest (fionaparker17) https://www.pinterest.com/fionaparker17/
Kollabora https://www.kollabora.com/users/323874/fiona
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