Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I grew up in a village in the North East of Scotland called Newburgh, but have called Edinburgh my home for 11 years now. It is a beautiful historic city – small enough to cycle around, lots of green space and an extinct volcano right in the middle of the city. I work in a little art house cinema called the Cameo to pay my rent and am currently setting up a studio. I plan to start a business this year selling vintage inspired and reproduction clothing.
How did you start sewing?
I started sewing in my early twenties. It was a long chequered journey to get here, via a degree in Indigenous Religions, a vague toying with journalism, the Scottish potato fields and working for a homeless charity. One particularly miserable office stint cured me of this inclination to have a ‘proper’ job and I ended up managing charity shops (thrift stores). Suddenly I was interacting with real humans again, working with textiles all day and was able to take a couple of part time college courses in sewing. On the back of this I got accepted on an excellent full time fashion course at Cardonald College in Glasgow and I am now setting up business. The one thing all of this taught me is that there is no point in doing a job you hate just for the money. It is a waste of a life.
My favourite piece in my Burdastyle studio is my 1950’s barkcloth coat. It was one of the garments I made for my final collection at college. That and the pink dress in the photo were submitted for a UK award by my college and ended up being on display at Trades Hall in Glasgow.
Describe your personal style in 5 words or less!
Fur coat and no knickers
Where do you go to get inspired?
My biggest sources of inspiration are style blogs. The immediacy of the information and diversity of the content is far more relevant to me than celebrity culture. Some of my favourites are Spanish Moss, A Beautiful Mess, Bleubird Vintage, Stylebubble, Lookbook, Oh Joy, The Selby… the list goes on and on. I am inspired by people who are unique, have their own style and don’t care what anyone thinks. At the end of the day though it is more about how people carry themselves rather than what they are wearing.
What time of year do you find yourself most creative?
Spring makes me feel the most inspired after the long dark Scottish winters. Autumn also makes me inspired. Basically I like the transitional seasons. I like looking ahead to change.
What’s your sewing experience like?
When I am not working crazy night shifts I am definitely an early morning sewer. Up until now this has been helped by the fact that my bedroom is also my studio. I can roll out of bed, grab a cup of tea and be sitting at the sewing machine in about 5 minutes. This can be isolating however so I am looking forward to having my new studio set up. This will be much more conducive to work and much less conducive to power-naps and wine. When I sew I tend to listen to loud dance music and swear a lot. The best soundtrack for this is Galaxy radio, which plays the sort of music that you hear blasting out of the cars of teenage boys as they try and run you over.
Ladyshape’s sewing space
What is your dream sewing project?
Well I am essentially selfish, so it would have to be an unlimited supply of amazing fabric to make an entire new wardrobe for myself. I would like metallic leathers, hand made lace, silk crepe de chine, mustard toned 1950’s prints aaaaand some African Dutch wax cotton. Please.
How long have you been a member of BurdaStyle?
I became a member in December 2010 in order to enter the Bernina 3 series competition and instantly became addicted. I love the way you can post a new design up and instantly get feedback from other sewers. It makes the whole process of sitting and crafting much less isolating. I also like the way you can link your designs to an Etsy shop or website. The content is always inspiring and relevant and obviously written by people who are passionate about what they do. In general it is just a hugely progressive site. I visit about twice a day.
What is the most frustrating thing about sewing for you? What is the most rewarding?
The most frustrating thing about sewing for me is actually sewing. I am not a Zen sewer. I shout, I swear, I occasionally throw things. I have a fabulous idea in my head and I want it now. I am impatient and also a total perfectionist. God, why am I doing this again? Oh yes, I love designing and pattern cutting, and I love waltzing around smugly in beautiful clothes that I have made. It is always a good feeling when someone compliments you on your designs.
Look through her top ten favorite member projects!