Meet a maker: Rebecca Grant
Hi Rebecca, tell us, where do you live?
Currently in London but I’m originally from Dublin, Ireland.
How did you first get into sewing?
I first properly got into it when I was in my early 20s. I studied fashion design and learned pattern drafting, pattern cutting, proper finishing… But then when I left and my career went in a different direction I didn’t sew for more than ten years. I’d also never used a commercial pattern before, I’d only made my own designs.
At the very start of the UK lockdown it was such a strange time, and I think lots of people were looking for ways to spend their time productively or just to keep themselves entertained. I started thinking about sewing again, and when I looked online there were so many beautiful fabrics available, and gorgeous patterns from independent pattern companies. It was a big change from when I had first learned to sew.
I got a sewing machine for my birthday in April and I’ve spent most of my spare time sewing since!
Which is your favourite TAL pattern and why?
I think it has to be the cap sleeve dress. It’s just exactly my style and I know I’m going to make many, many different versions of it in different fabrics. It was actually one of the patterns that convinced me I needed to get a sewing machine.
Which is your favourite sewing tool and why?
I really want to improve my finishing skills so currently it’s probably my iron - I press every seam as I go to keep things as neat as possible. But I miss having access to an overlocker and I aspire to own one myself in the future (space is currently the limiting factor unfortunately).
What are the best and worst bits of sewing?
I think the best bit is spending time using my hands, and using the part of my brain that doesn’t get a lot of stimulation in my day job.
I don’t really find any part worse than another but it’s been a learning curve getting to grips with patterns that I haven’t drafted myself, and refamiliaring myself with skills I haven’t used in so many years.
What’s your most memorable sewing mistake?
I think it has to be the first pattern I sewed - it was a boxy top and I chose double gauze to make it, not realising how springy and crinkly the fabric was going to be. I found it so hard to work with and I ended up cutting the pattern off the grain, and then forgot to cut any notches on the pattern pieces.
As you can imagine it was pretty poorly put together but I did end up wearing it a lot over the summer.
What’s your proudest sewing moment?
Strangely I think it was that double gauze top that basically one big mistake from top to bottom - I was so proud to have made something I could wear!
I was so proud to have made something I could wear!
Do you have a favourite fabric you often choose?
I’m still exploring different fabrics and their properties, but right now I am mainly sticking with wovens. A nice cotton poplin is so easy to handle isn’t it?
Which fabric shop/s do you usually buy from, online and/or Brick & Mortar?
I’ve only been buying fabric since lockdown started, so they’re all online for now. But I’ve gotten some lovely fabrics from metermeter.dk, kattun-stoffe.de, and trurofabrics.com. I’m keeping it international!
What do you like to listen to while sewing?
Always podcasts, and nothing too stressful. The BBC podcast In Our Time is just the right balance of fascinating and soothing, but when I get to a tricky bit I have to work in silence.
What would you want to say to someone who’s trying to get started in sewing?
YouTube is an amazing resource if you’re having trouble following instructions in a pattern. I watched one on the burrito method last week and I’m very excited to try it.
YouTube is an amazing resource if you’re having trouble following instructions in a pattern.
Also Facebook groups like the TAL community are brilliant as you can quickly ask a question or even upload a photo and get help from people who have made the pattern before you.
What’s your next project?
I’m just waiting for my fabric to arrive and then I’ll be making two sets of the TAL Pyjamas pattern as Christmas presents.
What do you do when you’re not sewing?
My day job is at a publishing company, but I also have a little crafting business making necklaces from recycled fabrics, called Luan Design. I love making things but I’ve realised that I have just as much fun trying out things like product photography, marketing and branding.
But to be honest I spend most of my free time sewing!