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Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and brought up in South Africa, but now live in the UK with my husband and two teenage daughters. I live in a small market town called Shipston-on-Stour in South Warwickshire near Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s a great little town with a fabulous old fashioned identity, but unfortunately no fabric shop. Currently I work for myself and my girls! I used to teach fashion part-time in adult education, but with the funding being as it is for adult education at the moment, I get to sew at home all day, everyday!

How did you start sewing?
I started sewing as a child in primary school. I used to use the off-cuts from things my mum was making and I made things for my Sindy dolls (like a Barbie but better proportioned!). That was when I decided I liked making patterns, the construction side of things was really interesting. I didn’t make clothes for myself until I left home and went to University to study. An impoverished Architecture student has only money for art supplies, not clothes, so I asked my mum to show me how. Boy was she pleased to se me finally interested!! I haven’t stopped sewing since, I love it!

When we moved to the UK I took sewing more seriously and joined a City & Guilds fashion course. I have done a fair few now, and decided to teach, to pass on the skill of sewing and pattern cutting! I have taught for 6 years, and I love the enthusiasm of the students, their creativity is really infectious.

Try to describe your personal style in 5 words or less!
I like structured, tailored, simple pieces. Jill Sander is my favourite.

Where do you go to get inspired?
My children inspire me. They have their own personal styles, what you make for the one just doesn’t work on the other. I love making them clothes, and the reaction they get from their friends is pretty cool too! For outside inspiration I cannot sing the praises of “Pinterest” enough. That site is so cool.


Images from Anne’s Pinterest

What time of year do you find yourself most creative?
I don’t have any time that is more creative than any other. I love sewing and making things. I just need to get a new magazine, or rifle through my massive stash of fabrics for something to shout, “MAKE ME!!” Then again, if the kids want something that usually works wonders!

What’s your sewing experience like?
I always have music on. My iPod works fulltime, and if I need a different mix on what I have, I listen to Kerrang Radio on the internet. I cannot work in silence. I sew in the spare room in the loft. My sewing table sits under the north facing dormer window, so I have lots of natural light, and plenty of ventilation in the summer! I love seeing the day passing through the window. All my necessary items surround me, I have boxes for ribbons and zips etc, not to mention boxes of Burda magazines going back to about 1993!! I also have a huge amount of fabric that I have collected, and continue to collect. The cupboards in the room are for me, one has the fabric, the other has the magazines!

I prefer to sew in the morning, so housework and other more mundane things tend to be rushed later in the day before everyone returns home! I don’t like starting something if I only have an hour or two at the sewing machine. However, as long as I don’t need to stop for anything, or anyone, I can happily sew all day. The only thing I don’t do is sewing dark colours at night, even with the daylight lamp. It just doesn’t work.

How long have you been a member of BurdaStyle?
I joined BurdaStyle in 2008, primarily to see if it would be a good resource for my students. I have directed a fair few here over the years, but I never really used it for myself until last year. The responses from the other members have been great.

What is the most frustrating thing about sewing for you? What is the most rewarding?
The most frustrating thing about sewing is having to stop. Interruptions for the school run, making lunch or dinner, doing housework…. My dream holiday is the family going off somewhere for a week or two and someone coming in to do all the run of the mill things for me!! Then I can just focus on sewing! Oh boy, I sound deranged!

The most rewarding thing is the reaction the girls get from their friends and other people to their clothes. And I love it when they come home from school and see new things in their wardrobes. They love clothes!

Check out Anne’s top ten favorite member projects!

22 Comments

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    Sep 29, 2011, 03.26 AMby rochelle49

    Congratulations, Anne! You have lovely clothes and marvelous models. It is wonderful to see your work!

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    Sep 28, 2011, 12.08 PMby connieturner96

    Dear Ann, Your models look so like you and they are so pretty. Good looking projects with perfect fit and choices of colors and fabrics. Connie

    1 Reply
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    Sep 27, 2011, 09.08 PMby apvarela

    I loved your story. I was also born in South Africa and it was there that I learned to sew, then I moved to the island of Madeira. I love sewing, but since I am a teacher I have little time for my fabrics but I try. I just love your work. So original and inspiring|

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      Sep 27, 2011, 10.14 PMby Anne Wagenhauser

      Thanks so much. Time is usually a problem, but being jobless helps.. ;)

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    Sep 27, 2011, 08.15 PMby neenkster

    I’m sure you’re one of the coolest mom to have as a girl! Love your projects and your girls’ unique style :) “The most frustrating thing about sewing is having to stop” – Haha, I’m already suffering from this syndrom, after barely 2 months of sewing!

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      Sep 27, 2011, 10.13 PMby Anne Wagenhauser

      haha, that’s so cool that you have been bitten by the sewing bug so badly! I have infected a friend too, and she feels the same way! Happy sewing…

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    Sep 27, 2011, 07.48 PMby nellyvdb

    Congrats on being featured. I sooooo get you when you say your favourite holiday is the family off somewhere and you alone to do the fun sewing stuff!

    1 Reply
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      Sep 27, 2011, 10.12 PMby Anne Wagenhauser

      Thank you! I just wish that kind of holiday would happen though! ;) Maybe it can be a birthday pressie…

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    Sep 27, 2011, 03.34 PMby designerroya

    Loved this and your sewing style! I also love Pinterest so I follow you now.

    1 Reply
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      Sep 27, 2011, 03.44 PMby Anne Wagenhauser

      Thanks! :D I love your avatar! I have seen that on Pinterest!

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    Sep 27, 2011, 02.45 PMby ShaggyBaggy

    great story. good luck!

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    Sep 27, 2011, 01.44 PMby allura1967

    I was born in the United States. I’m of Dutch/Irish ancestory. I live in Kentucky with my husband and 7 yr. old daughter. I actually started sewing in Home Ec. back in Junior High School. I like structred as well,simple basic pieces,various stylists are my favorites. There are too many to listfor my personal favorites. I get my inspiration from my 7 yr. old’s art work. I find myself always creating something in my mind’s eyes. I find myself multitasking from time to time unless my full contration is needed on a project. I like to sew early in the day so it doesn’t interfer with Family Time. I just joined here not too long ago. The most frustrating experience for me is when I come across misprints on patterns and can’t find out where to find the corrections. The most rewarding for me is actually seeing my finished projects.

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    Sep 27, 2011, 01.17 PMby carolyn-s

    Congratulations on being featured! It was nice to read more about your inspirations… your daughters are both beautiful and you have them some some simply lovely pieces. (and thank you so much for picking my ballgown as one of your favourites, I am honoured that you like it; thank you!)

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      Sep 27, 2011, 02.09 PMby Anne Wagenhauser

      Thanks! You have so many gorgeous things too! I do like what you do with jersey.

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    Sep 27, 2011, 11.52 AMby irmchen

    Hi Anne! It is very interesting to read more about you! Your work always inspires me! Ps: The ‘folded skirt’ which I am sewing currently even is one ot the elements of your collage.

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      Sep 27, 2011, 02.09 PMby Anne Wagenhauser

      Thanks Immi! I haven’t got around to doing that skirt yet, I have pinned way too many interesting and inspiring things to my Pinterest boards to ever catch up! :D

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    Sep 27, 2011, 10.39 AMby urbandon

    Congratulations on being featured. Always love your quality and your prolific nature. Nice to hear more about you. Best wishes!

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    Sep 26, 2011, 03.25 PMby fashionfreek

    Hi Anne. You have some amazing work. I love your pieces:-). It would be nice to able to sew in peace non stop. I dislike stopping and starting too..but my little ones are just little yet,lol. It is a interesting read about you and your work. All the best to you.:-)

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      Sep 27, 2011, 02.10 PMby Anne Wagenhauser

      Thanks FF, once they go to school it gets easier! :D

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