For this month’s Sewist Spotlight we are turning our eye to Blanca B. We have been stalking @BlakandBlanca for a while on instagram. Her casual elegance, gorgeous bright home, and supportive enthusiasm (particularly during this #BlazerofGlory challenge) caught our eye. Once we connected with her and learned more, it all made sense. This lovely lady was a commercial interior designer and her sunny home in leafy Southern CT is the perfect backdrop to her glamorous me-mades. We just can’t get enough of her effortless style, always totally put together, but wicked cool. I can’t wait to see what she makes next!
How long have you been sewing?
On and off for years, but until last summer it was mostly off.
How often do you spend time do you spend on your sewing practice a week?
Well, I actually sew about 10-15 hrs, but if you count lurking on instagram to plan my next projects it’s really more like 30 hrs.
What is your home sewing set-up like?
My sewing space is a bright, sunny room with a nice view and a good feeling and a tv on near full volume. Guilty here of complete neatness to the point of running a lint roller over the sewing ham after every use. There is an extra chair for Mr B to join in for the noon news report and a cozy bed for the family beast to nap.
Did you have a gateway person or experience that brought you to sewing?
Yes, it was the movies that made me want to create a more menswear inspired wardrobe that was just not available in the shops for girls my age. I wanted to dress like James Bond and John Lennon.
What was the first thing you remember wanting to sew?
That would be a “Beatles” suit in turquoise silk dupioni with white ankle boots. I made it with mostly the help of a local seamstress and loved wearing and seeing it in my closet. It was in the mid 1960’s and as a pre-teen there was probably no place to wear it but to run errands with my mom.
How would you define your style?
Androgynous. Trousers, always a jacket and usually a proper shirt. However my passion for fabric takes over and defines the garments I make. Sleeves, pockets, a collar and strict editing are essential to my style.
What is your favourite Closet Case Pattern?
The Jasika Blazer and its brilliant tutorial. Watching it is like an apprenticeship on Savile Row. But last summer I made the Kalle shirtdress 3 times. Also the Sasha trousers and the Carolyn pajamas. Hard to choose, they are all winners for me.
How does sewing affect your relationship to shopping and RTW?
Sewing only what I love has left RTW shops calling to ask where I have been. Lingerie, and active wear are still RTW but the goal here is to get to almost all made by me.
How does sewing relate to your body image?
I feel great in well made hand sewn clothes, comfortable and natural.
What are your go-to fabric stores?
What are the tools you can’t live without?
Steam iron, lint roller and good lighting.
What was the best lesson or skill that took your sewing to the next level?
That would be the couture french cardigan. They are the most comfortable and luxe garments to wear even over a t-shirt and cargo trousers. The hand sewing and pressing brought the art of fabric manipulation right into my home sewing game and now I feel like I am the boss of any flat length of fabric.
What pattern release would you not be able to resist (aka what type of garment would automatically jump your queue)?
A tuxedo, James Bond style.
What are your sewing goals?
What would you like to learn how to do to push your practice forward? A complete hand made wardrobe is my goal, and lots of hand stitching.
What’s the next thing you want to make?
A few luxurious Italian cotton proper white shirts. Men’s style, a bit oversized with exaggerated cuffs.
How was sewing impacted or interacted with your identity?
It lets me identify as a creative person.
What makers or sewists in our community do you find inspiring?
Diversity in the making and sewing community is the most inspiring element to me. Not one individual, but all of the men and women of all ages who share their talents.
Where else do you turn when you need inspiration?
Art and movies! Life would be dull without images, costumes, and sets and music.
What experiences have come out of your interaction with the online sewing community?
All positive. The generous spirit of support and help and plenty of humor. The sew alongs and challenges bring out the best in us as sewing and knitting are mostly solitary activities.
Thank you for the inspiration, Blanca!