My name is Shauni, but you may know me from my blog The Magnificent Thread, and my DIY weapons of choice are a chalk tracing wheel, a sharp pair of fabric scissors and a sewing machine.
I keep myself inspired by window shopping and browsing Pinterest, as well as keeping up to date with my favourite maker’s blogs.
After a long day of making things I like to try finished garments on with everything I own, before eventually relaxing with whatever box set I’m watching and eating a nice meal.
I first started making my clothes a few years ago when a change in job evened out my work/life balance. I’d always been crafty and interested in fashion, and at the time, I was feeling particularly frustrated with the quality, fit and cost of shop-bought garments, so it made sense to try making my own. I remembered a few things from studying textiles at school, but otherwise I’m entirely self taught.
My creativity is usually driven by the high street garments that aren’t quite good enough, and the desire to make my own versions that I can wear and love!
When I think about starting a new project I have to decide if it's the top priority from a whole list of potential makes. Then I tend to obsess over finding the exact fabric I have in mind, so some projects take longer than others to come to fruition.
If I wasn’t an schools outreach worker for a university, I’d love to coordinate community heritage projects. I used to work in a castle and museum, so I enjoy getting people excited about the coolest bits of history. People are always surprised that I wouldn’t want to sew for a living, but it’s the one thing I do to relax and enjoy - I wouldn’t want to add any pressure to that.
My favourite part of the day is any time I can think about sewing! I tend to use my lunch breaks to catch up on blogs and research my next makes, and then I’ll happily sew from early evening till late at night when I can!
I feel most creative when I’m actually too busy to dedicate the time I’d like to sewing! It’s quite frustrating that all the best ideas tend to come to me then, but it does mean that I always have a bunch of projects to pick from when I get the chance.
I buy most of my fabric and supplies locally, so you’ll probably find me in the fabric shops in and around Leeds in the north of England - Fabworks is my favourite!
I tend to gravitate towards sad music and films, but can always be cheered up by anything by Caribou or LCD Soundsystem thanks to some great festival memories.
After I finish a project I usually feel relieved and tired. I’ve probably been up late sewing to get it done, so sometimes I have to come back to a finished make the next day to fully appreciate it!
I most relate to my sewing and work friend Erin. We both have very similar interests in clothes and patterns, and you’re likely to catch us swooning over the latest Named Clothing collection.
My favourite designers are Vivienne Westwood and Comme des Garçons, Named Clothing are hands-down my favourite pattern company, and I love everything made by What Katie Sews.
My favourite thing about making is never having to worry about someone wearing the same thing as you!
To me, DIY means the freedom to make the things that I want to wear, in a way that will look good on me, and a time to completely invest in myself and my creative passions.
The first thing I made was a very ambitious dress with Dita von Teese in mind for my school textiles class. When I took up dress making seriously, it was a long, layered tartan skirt that I painstakingly pattern matched (I’ve definitely got lazier as the years have gone by).
The most influential person in my life is my Mum. She’s a skilled knitter herself, and taught me how to knit and sew at a young age.
My favourite thing to do on the weekend is go for breakfast with my boyfriend, and then either head out window shopping if I need the inspiration, or work on sewing projects at home. Meeting friends for dinner and drinks afterwards makes for a perfect weekend.
I can’t get enough wardrobe space! To say I spend so much time lovingly crafting my clothes, I definitely don’t give them a storage space to reflect it!
Three words that describe me: eyeliner, bob, shoes
Three words that describe my work: fun, sometimes adventurous!
Best creative advice I ever received has to be my Mum’s ‘you could make that!’ to anything I saw and liked in the shops. It made me try harder and be a bit braver with my sewing, and now I really feel like I can!
If I could live in any other city it would be Barcelona. I’ve visited it a lot for holidays, and love how relaxed it is and the amazing food!
The best spots in my city are Kirkgate Market and Samuel Taylors for all your sewing needs, the Brudenell Social Club for drinks and music, and La Bottega Milanese for the best coffee.
One fact about me that’s embarrassingly awesome is I once masking-taped my phone to our bathroom radiator to take selfies of me wearing a new top I’d made (I cringe at asking other people to take my picture, plus we have a really cool shower curtain)!
My DIY secret weapon is a milk bottle! I sharpen my fabric scissors by opening and closing them against the rim - it really works!
I’ve made many DIY mistakes, but I tend to salvage them or choose to forget them. No point dwelling on past mistakes!
My next project is the Vogue V9186 shirt dress in a beautiful grey crepe. It has diagonal gathering which looks a bit challenging but gives it a really cool silhouette.