Meet the Maker: Tif Dickinson
by Kollabora Follow

posted 6 months ago

My name is Tif, but you maybe know me from my sewing blog Madame Tifaine, and my DIY weapons of choice are coffee, my iPad, a freshly sharpened pair of Japanese Kai Scissors and my Janome DKS30.

I keep myself inspired by reading inspiring sewing blogs, spending way too long on Instagram and Pinterest. I love to look at pictures of style icons likes Jane Birken and Katherine Hepburn, I find their effortless and ageless style awe inspiring!

After a long day of making things I like to do a sofa flop with a big mug of ginger tea, my favourite magazine, Flow, followed by my latest binge watch on Netflix. Usually this also punctuated by bedtime stories for my five year old!

I first started making things when I'd reached a tricky point in my life and needed something that would destress me and keep me sane at the same time.

My creativity is driven by my magpie like tendencies and obsessive research once a sewing idea has taken hold!

When I think about starting a new project an obsessive excitement takes hold. Which manifest itself in much researching and fabric touching.

If I wasn’t a digital librarian I would love to expand on what I'm doing at the moment, writing about sewing, researching fabric an organising Sewcial for my local sewing cafe, Make at 140.

My favorite part of the day is the post-school chill out with my 5 year old mademoiselle. She colours, draws and talks to me about her day while I have a big coffee and we make big plans for new adventures together.

I feel most creative when I set myself a challenge! I made all of my own clothes in 2016, as a lifelong shopper it was super hard for me to break the habits of a lifetime but now I don't miss clothes shopping at all. Mainly because now I have fabric shopping and I can make my own jeans.

The last dream I remember involved attending a school assembly with Julie Andrews before being whisked away to do some baking by Rory Gilmore wearing a Xmas jumper all the while thinking, I wonder where the bathroom is in this place. Clearly too much caffeine and Netflix going on here!

My favorite place to buy supplies is my local independent sewing shop, Make at 140 in Plymouth, or anywhere fly travels take me. I love to buy fabric on holiday as it holds a special resonance and happiness when you make something lovely with it, a permanent souvenir.

The song that can cheer me out of any bad mood is anything by a French musician Yann Tiersen, his music is sad, happy, energising and peaceful all at the same time!

My favorite word is super. It works in English and French and it makes me feel super happy when I overuse it everyday.

My least favorite word is selfish when applied to sewing. I'm not selfish when I want to sew for myself, I'm an creative independent person making my own style!

After I finish a project I feel a sense of bewilderment, happiness and accomplishment. I still can't believe that my brain, some fabric and a sewing machine can make an entire outfit that I can wear...out of the house!

I get out of a creative rut by spending some time with my fabric stash and sewing books. Making  plans on how to use what I've already got instead of buying more and more fabric is my goal for 2017. I only have a small house and it's in danger of being filled with fabric.

I most relate to France, I've spent a lot of my life feeling a little French in the UK and a little English in France. My second city is Paris, its where I feel at home and have had some of the most important moments of my life.

My favorite artists/designers/makers are Isabel Marant, Republique du Chiffon, and Jolies Bobines. A inspirational combination of hugely talented and awesome ladies whose talents push me to try new makes and aspire to new levels of cool.

My favorite thing about making is being in control of my own image and body shape. I'm making my own wardrobe, not one that the fast fashion industry dictated to me. I no longer think about what size I am, only what my measurements mean, and the inquest garment I can make to fit me perfectly.

To me, DIY means acquiring important skills to make something independently so that you can be super proud when someone marvels at your genius makes!

The first thing I made was a pair of pyjama bottoms that were paisley, voluminous and made me look like a 90s rapper.

The most influential person in my life is my ever-supportive husband. He takes all my blog pictures, gives me the space to sew, carries fabric finds home and is always honest about my makes. And he makes coffee, really good coffee.

My favorite thing to do on the weekend is find some good coffee and cake in between trawling local charity shops for finds and discovering some culture down in the south of England.

I can’t get enough coffee. An addiction that really took hold during sleepless baby days that still has me in its grip 5 years later. I take it strong, black with one brown sugar please.

Three words that describe me (according to my family): curious knowledge sponge

Three words that describe my work: eclectic, evolving, me

Best creative advice I've ever come across is a Chanel quote 'Don't be like the rest of them darling.' I couldn't agree more!

If I could live in any other city it would be Rotterdam in the Netherlands. I love the constantly changing landscape, vegan cafes, and safe cycling. We are addicted and visit every summer for our fix of Dutch life.

The best spots in my city are the sea. Plymouth is a natural harbour and has a view that we locals take for granted.

One fact about me that’s embarrassingly awesome is my prodigious memory and my capacity to soak up new facts. People will no longer play Trivial Pursuit with me.

My DIY secret weapon is old fashioned tailors chalk.

The biggest DIY mistake you can make is not being brave enough to try something new.

My next project changes all the time, I'm terribly fickle when it comes to choosing my next sewing make and I will drop everything I was already doing for the next pretty fabric or pattern that catches my eye and captures my imagination.

Discussion 1

  • kalimak commented 6 months ago

    It's so nice to get this concentrated dose of Tif over on Kollabora ;-) I've long known you were a creative (and very fast!) maker, but I had no clue you were this coffee-crazy!

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