Meet the Maker - Nikki January 26 2016

We're kicking off 2016 with a new series - meeting some of the sewing people who have made Muse patterns, and finding out more about them!

Today we're meeting Nikki - a lovely stitcher, librarian, and Brit-turned-Kiwi.

Hi Nikki! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live in Wellington, New Zealand. I'm originally from the UK, but have been here for four years – almost exactly! I trained years ago as a maths teacher, but moved across to libraries pretty soon after qualifying. I worked in libraries for about 20 years and now work in library sales, selling books and other services to public libraries throughout NZ. I get to travel the length and breadth of NZ – which is fun, but tiring!

Mum taught me to sew. I can't remember when, I just remember wanting to know what she was doing and sitting there watching and listening to her Singer hand crank machine and playing with the reels of thread in her sewing box. I would say I've probably been sewing for easily 30 years. I don't consider myself advanced, I'm too slapdash for that and it's only in the last few years I've really thought about fit.

Other than sewing, I've dabbled in knitting, cross-stitch, patchwork and some embroidery. I blog over at Nikkis Stitches I also have recently created a Tumblr with an outfit of the day.

Tell us a little bit about your style. What do you like to make and wear?

My style has changed a bit in the last year, I started my current job and instead of going to work in an office everyday, I'm either working at home, or I'm going out to see customers, wearing smarter clothes than I did. During the winter, when I'm at home I like to wear comfy warm knits (my Gillian dress springs to mind), but when I go out to a customer, I'll be in smart skirt and a jacket. In the summer, I'm still pretty much wearing dresses, but I do find myself wearing slightly more restrained elegant (non-pretty) when I'm out visiting customers.

I love wearing 50s style dresses, fitted bodices and full skirts, but I've been branching out recently and have tried a number of different styles and shapes. I'll try most things once and if I like it, I'll try it again! I'm not much of a trousers/pants person. I wear them so rarely that most people stand in shock or faint if they see me in them!

Which Muse patterns have you tried so far?

I've tried lots! I've been lucky enough to be a tester for a couple too. I was tester for the Jenna cardigan, I made the hip length with long sleeves. It was a great cardi, until I discovered that the fabric just didn't recover, even after being washed. Ever since then the cardigan has languished in my sewing room in the naughty corner. I think I'll be better to take the buttons off and chuck it. :-(

Next I made up the Gillian wrap dress. I love this dress, it's warm and cosy and bright and cheerful. To wear this on a gloomy winter day is great. It doesn't gape and it's a great fit.

The Natalie dress was a bit of an eye opener for me. I wasn't sure the shape was really me, but I tried on one of the tester versions – a maxi version. I was in love, the shape was so different from the norm, but I love it.

Then I got to test the Tahi pattern, I made up both the skirt and shrug. The skirt gets a lot of wear. I made the skirt from a beige coloured fabric and it's always being warn casual and it's great for winter and summer. The shrug, I really must make another. My shrug is made from a fluffy knit and so I don't tend to use it for everyday wear. It's fantastic for evenings and going out though.

Finally I made up the Melissa pattern. I made up the blouse version in a blue and white elephant print. I love elephants! The pattern has really made me think about my size and shape. The double princess seam really makes you think about how your body is shaped, etc. I also love the design elements which Kat has included – the contrasts on the front pockets and on the back.

I have plans for more – three are currently in the planning stages, or is that four? You'll need to check out my blog to see what comes next...

Which is your favourite Muse pattern, and why?

Do I really have to choose one? I've got a couple which I think are my favourites.

I really like the Melissa pattern. I can certainly see a dress version and possibly another blouse in my wardrobe. With the contrast elements it makes it stand out from other shirt dresses and the double princess seam is great for ensuring the fit is perfect.

I also really like the new extension pack for the Jenna cardigan. Stupidly, I've only just realised how versatile that pattern actually is (how long has that taken me?) It can easily changed into a jumper, there's now a cute collar which can be added, there are so many sleeve options too.  I need to get making more and completely forget that one which has gone in the naughty corner due to the fabric. I suggest you check it out.

Which of your Muse creations do you like the most? Tell us about it!

My favourite make so far however, is my Natalie dress. I feel great in it. The fabric choice was perfect and I just love it. I get loads of great compliments when I wear it and best of all it's made from a fabric from an NZ company, so with an NZ pattern made up in fabric from Levana in Levin, NZ. I have even worn it a couple of times for customer visits, it looks smart enough for that.

What's one of your goals this year? 

I always have loads of things I'd like to accomplish in the year, I don't always achieve them all, and have this feeling I've failed, I think I need to shorten my list slightly!

The main thing I really want to accomplish is actually for work and my professional needs. The registration for my professional association is due for renewal. I can decide not to bother, but I'm not going to let it. I'm proud of being a professionally registered librarian, and even if I work in library sales now, I still need to keep in touch with the profession as a whole. It's also important, I feel, to show that I am still committed to the profession and if I don't stay for ever in sales I can go back to libraries.

Thank you so much for talking to us Nikki!

If you'd like to see what else Nikki makes, be sure to go and check out her blog at Nikki's Stitches!