Since then, we’ve been following her Insta feed closely, and checked out her blog too, and then we had the bright idea to send her a couple of packs of our DIY Squares to see what she does with them. We like!
In a DIY Square Pack, you get 50 colour-sorted pre-cut squares to stitch together into a patchwork… or just about anything else. Jing used them to not only make coasters, kids headbands and zip pouches, but also to add pockets to her cute little lunchbags above. And then she created tutorials about them on her blog too. She’s totally inspired me to get my sewing machine out…and to get my hands on one of those pom pom makers!
We wanted to find out more about this crafty, productive lady who lives just up the road from me, so as part of our “Friends & Neighbours” blog series, we had a chat to Jing about her work and her life.
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Hello Jing! How long have you been sewing, and how did you get started?
Hello! I started sewing in April 2014, so almost two years now.
There were a few things happening back then and I believed it was a calling from the universe for me to get started, even though I’m the least spiritual person alive. My daughter was 4 years’ old at the time and she just started pre-school and all of a sudden I had all mornings to myself. And I was just not posh enough to spend them in a nail salon. I had been dying to restart a career that could lead to something and still suit my new identity and schedule. At the same time, my daughter received a present – a tee shirt, with a massive scale of Tinkerbell covering the whole front bodice. I had a lightbulb moment, not because that print was so inspiring. I thought I could go learn to sew then eventually go into pattern making, and hopefully one day I will make something better than a Tinkerbell tee.
I had the privilege to be in a clothing environment for years, however, I had never wanted to sew or having any idea how to thread a sewing machine. So I booked myself at a workshop called Elves at Work and learnt to sew straight lines and made my first pillow case. It was like opening a new chapter of my life.
What is your favourite thing about sewing?
It has to be to get away from mass production and to create something totally unique and my style, and secretly influencing the beauty of the handmade onto my little girl. Oh, and I thoroughly enjoy costume making. For the past two Halloweens, I’ve made a witch outfit, an owl outfit, and a Mavy Wavy one (from the movie Hotel Transylvania) on request. Being a sewing mama, I guess it’s not something you can avoid.
Tell us what gets you inspired?
Can I say my almost empty closet, and its plain white paint?
Since I started sewing, I went cold turkey and took a silent vow that I’m not going to buy any clothes for me and my daughter, except underwear and socks. After our recent house move in December, I packed away all the old store-bought clothes and have been living a minimalist’s life. If you see me wearing the same clothes every second day, you need to know that those clothes are on heavy rotation and I do wash them.
I also have a collection of Japanese sewing books. I like the simplicity of the garments yet you still find plenty details. Do I have to emphasize it suits my Asian body shape….?
If sewing is not my addiction, Instagram definitely counts as one.
Living here at the Southern tip of Africa, we are blessed to have the seas and mountains. But somehow we are forgotten by the fabric distributors/exporters? Whether it’s fabric or notions, it’s hard to source. There is a much much bigger community online. It’s amazing to see what other people come up with. It makes me feel… less alone.
Also, sadly, my post-child brain doesn’t function as well as before. I keep a blog so years later when I click on March 2016, I can say “Oh wow, that did happen”, or laugh at my very immature self.
Which are your favourite blogs and instagram accounts (with a short explanation about why you like them).
- Crafting and sewing wise, I admire @ute_i and worship @sasha_secondopiano. Ute sews and knits and takes beautiful pictures. If I had Sasha’s body, I’d totally ditch my loose and comfy style. Every single picture she puts on Instagram is so beautifully styled.
- I also follow @agoldenafternoon and @littlekinjournal, just because their pictures are so pretty.
- Last but not least, @lisacongdon. Brain food for my not so artistic mind.
Any projects you have on the boil that you’d like to share?
I just finished a pair of pants, with upholstery fabric (again?!). And a few other small projects on the go, using fabrics from my growing scrap stash, and maybe adding a final touch with some Skinny laMinx DIY squares 😀
Thanks so much for talking to us, Jing! We’re keeping an eye out for whatever grows from your clever hands next.