Thursday, May 17, 2012

{Inspiring Women Series} Winnie & Clem

As a small child I remember very clearly the spare room with the wardrobe stacked with fabric, and when Mum use to pull it out to find something my sisters and I would sit on the big spare bed and look through the fabrics, wrapping them around ourselves as if they miraculously became dresses and skirts!

I was always surrounded by Mums sewing and crafts and I remember her first teaching me to handsew, then onto the machine making simple items like library bags, elastic wasted shorts and onto dresses and skirts. With only one sewing machine (that my mum used for her business) and two older sisters to compete with there was lots of learning away from the machine also, cutting, pressing, tacking, pinning etc. In hindsight having to share was a blessing to learn all these other parts to making a garment.

My mum had sewn all of her life, when we were little Mum would sew into the early hours of the morning. She did alterations and made to order clothing for local customers. She then went onto work for other businesses making children's clothing, children's toys, women's shirts, bedding and linen and of course her own business of couture wedding gowns. My Mum made my wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses, as she had done for herself and my two sisters. We discussed a style I liked and my Mum made it up in old sheets and then when she knew she had her pattern right went on to make my beautiful silk wedding dress (picture attached). Mum also tried her hand at dying wool, carding and combing wool, spinning and weaving. And most recently my Mum has taken up art, printmaking and drawing. Although my Mum taught me to sew I think she in fact taught me a greater lesson and that is to try, learn something new and have a go at something yourself. My Mum doesn't justt do something, she learns the correct and best way (see attached lino cut print) and this has been the most valuable lesson she has taught me.

In starting up my own business my Mum asked me one question, "are you ready for this?". At the time I thought yes of course I am, I can sew, I'm at home with the kids, this will be easy. But my Mum did know more and she has seen my journey unfold from being a steady "easy" business to needing to learn to sew production line style. There have been many conversations where she has offered resources and advice, and importantly the reassurance that you sometimes need as a small sole business owner.

I am so lucky to have such a clever Mum who has passed her talents onto me. I hope to do the same for my children."

Anita is a farmers wife and mum of two little cherubs. She is also the owner, designer and creator behind Winnie&Clem. Anita loves to design her own products and produce something unique. She also loves to challenge herself and learn all aspects of running a business from photography through to website development. Recently Anita has also taken to blogging to tell her story of starting a handmade business.

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