I'm featured in an article about sewing!

Hello everyone,

Life has been hectic since my last post - I've been interviewed two weeks ago for an article about sewing featured in a major newspaper (namely Quebec city's Le Soleil), but it's only now that I have a little time to share it with you. We suffered a major water damage here at my house (lost the kitchen sink for 10 days, lost our bed and the bedroom has extensive damage, and lost the heating for a couple of days in February - brrrrr.....).

The article, titled 'Making your own wardrobe', focuses on why we make our own clothes (I'm one of the three Quebec's girls who blog about sewing featured in the article), and also how the internet sewing community has contributed to change this otherwise solitary hobby.

I'm quite proud that we almost have a full 2 pages spread in a major newspaper! Besides me, you might recognize the lovely Maude in red (mpbymaude.blogspot.ca) - Maude is also a member on Pattern Review. On my right you can see Clémence who is modeling a lovely chambray Cami dress (oiseaubotte.com).

At the top of the right page, journalist Annie Lafrance mentions Pattern Review as a major site for learning and sharing about sewing, and lists some well frequented blogs from all around the world; I suggested her a long list of blogs worth of interest, but she only had the space to name 3 or 4: Tany from Portugal, Erica from United States, Carolyn from Australia, and our beloved Peter as a specimen of a male sewing blogger!

One thing I found interesting is the fact that Maude, Clémence and me all share an ethical concern as a reason for sewing. I'm quite horrified by the work conditions of the textile workers in some countries (Bengla Desh for example), and sewing is my way of participating less in that. By choosing not to buy cheap clothes that are made affordable to us by degrading the work conditions of the textile workers, I feel I contribute less to that.

Now here is my own rough translation of the article, for those of you who don't read french (note that couturière - a woman who sews, who makes clothes, amateur or professionnal - is a word that does not translate well in english):

«Making you own wardrobe» - by Annie Lafrance

The DIY movement is more and more popular. Following the enthusiasm generated by knitting, the sewing machine appeals to a new generation of amateur sewists (mostly women) who make their own clothes and enjoy both the fun and the challenge of the process, but also share an ethical concern. Portrait of self taught sewists who embrace the DIY movement.

Students, professionals or retired, amateurs sewists are many to share their creations on the web, their blog or on the forums. Many of them learned sewing techniques on those platforms. 

That's the case of Clémence Hourlay, Maude Parent and Virginie Hamel (note here that they mispelled my name as Valerie), all three of them are from Quebec. Self taught, these amateur sewists exchange patterns online, buy new ones and show multiple photos of their creations. 'When you buy a pattern in a store, there are not many explanations', notes Clémence, a 24 year old woman born in Belgium. 'On the forums, you can read a lot of comments and get some advice from people before you buy'.

Virginie Hamel is also a fan of sewing 2.0. 'I spend a lot of time in my sewing room, but even more on the forums' she says, amused. 'It's so inspiring and motivating to share your creations, and that's a change 'cause sewing has been a solitary hobby for me for a long time'.

An active member on the forums for the past 8 years, Virginie sews all her stage outfits as well as her everyday wardrobe. 'I don't shop a lot, I've become too picky. Most of the mass produced clothes are of poor quality and are cut for a specific silhouette'. An observation shared by her colleagues.

Their reflexion on clothes extends beyond that. Making you own clothes is an answer to mass consumption. 'It's a way of saying no to clothes made by textile workers often exploited and no to passing fads' says Clémence.

In fact, all three attest that although they're not professionals, their creations stand the test of the washing machine. 'Seams are more solid than those of big brands clothes' adds Maude Parent. 'And my hems look better'.

Each one of them has their own influences. 21 years old Maude makes her own clothes not just for durability, but mostly to have clothes with a unique style. 'My inspirations do not come from fashion trends, but rather from my favorite movie or serie characters'.

'I enjoy fashion magazines' will say Virginie. 'I like to replicate a designer garment for a lot less. As many other sewists, I adapt patterns and alter them for my silhouette and personal taste'. Note: Here the journalist transformed a bit what I told her; I said I liked to buy designer fabrics, but I think she understood that I like to copy designer garments.

Is sewing an affordable alternative to buying clothes? 'Not really' unanimously answer the three bloggers, who favor high quality natural fibers which are more costly. One thing to consider is also the initial purchase of a sewing machine.

The article ends with a word about Pattern Review and its 375 000 members, and mentions some blogs of interest around the world, plus the blogs of the Québec's girls of course!

It's just great that we had this article about sewing!


Bonjour tout le monde,

Ma vie a été plutôt mouvementée depuis mon dernier post - j'ai été interviewée il y a 2 semaines pour un article sur la couture paru dans un journal d'importance (en l'occurrence Le Soleil de Québec), mais c'est seulement maintenant que j'ai un peu de temps pour vous en parler. Nous avons subi un dégât d'eau assez majeur ici à la maison (perdu l'évier de cuisine pendant 10 jours, perdu notre lit et notre chambre à coucher, et perdu le chauffage pendant quelques jours en février, brrrrr.....).

L'article intitulé «Faire sa garde-robe») met l'emphase sur les raisons qui nous motivent à fabriquer nos propres vêtements (je dis nous car je fais partie des trois filles de Québec qui bloguent à propos de la couture et qui sont interviewées pour l'article), et aussi comment la communauté de couture sur internet a contribué à changer ce passe-temps autrefois bien solitaire.

Je suis assez fière que nous ayons eu un reportage de près de 2 pages dans un journal majeur! À côté de moi vous reconnaîtrez peut-être la jolie Maude en rouge (mpbymaude.blogspot.ca) - Maude est aussi membre de Pattern Review. À ma droite vous pouvez voir Clémence qui porte la jolie robe Cami dress réalisée dans un tissu chambray (oiseaubotte.com). 

Dans le haut de la page de droite, la journaliste Annie Lafrance mentionne Pattern Review comme le site de prédilection pour apprendre sur la couture et partager ses réalisations, et liste certains blogues du monde entier; je lui en avais suggéré tout un tas, mais en raison de l'espace elle en nomme 3 ou 4: Tany du Portugal, Erica des États-Unis, Carolyn d'Australie, et notre cher Peter, un des seuls représentants masculins de blogs sur la couture.

Une chose que j'ai trouvée intéressante est le fait que Maude, Clémence et moi partagions toutes trois une préoccupation éthique comme raison pour faire de la couture. Je suis souvent horrifiée par les conditions de travail des ouvriers du textile dans certains pays (le Bengla Desh par exemple), et faire de la couture est ma façon à moi de moins participer à cela. En choisissant de ne pas acheter des vêtements cheap et de mauvaise qualité, rendus abordables pour nous par la dégradation des conditions de travail des ouvriers du textile, je contribue moins à cela.

Lectrices francophones, je vous laisse à votre lecture de l'article! Vraiment super qu'on ait eu cet article sur la couture!


  1. My heart feels for you, suffering through that water damage! What a lovely article. Thanks for translating it for us. I'm sure it will inspire others to get out their sewing machines.

    1. Thanks for your kind comments, Katherine!

  2. Félicitations pour cette interview !

  3. Congratulations on the article! You make such beautiful things, all top notch, so the recognition is certainly well deserved! My heart goes out to you regarding the water damage. I was a victim of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast US 2 years ago and suffered extensive water damage so I understand what you have been going through. Hang in there…it will be behind you soon enough!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments and moral support, very much appreciated! :-)

  4. Bravo! What a nice article, and I'm so happy that the concern for the ethical treatment of garment workers made it into the article.It's one of the things fueling my return to sewing for myself. So sorry about the water damage - such a hassle, but just delighted with the article. Yay!

  5. Thanks for looking! I think it's a great thing that more and more people are aware of the conditions in the garment industry abroad, and that we can choose to not participate in that by making our own clothes!

  6. bravo, oups un article ! ( pss : vous voulez faire vos patrons sr mesure ou les retoucher, passez par C'surMesure le blog couture/patronnage...) , bonne continuation !


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