Indie Interview: Lydia from Made My Wardrobe

One of the brands featured in February as part of the Modista Patreon is the inimitable Made My Wardrobe! They are offering Patreons an exclusive 10% discount and Lydia will be guest judging the monthly challenge to win one of two prizes. Lydia founded the London based company after starting to blog about her handmade wardrobe journey in 2016. Her designs bring a beautifully artistic expression to clothes you can wear every single day and we all look forward to their workshops returning post-Covid. Despite everything 2020 threw at them, the business expanded and their latest product, a ‘zine for makers, undoubtedly will have popped up on your recent feed. I asked Lydia about MMW and what the future holds for her business….

Could you tell us about your business and how you started it?

Sure! Made My Wardrobe started as a personal project to make my entire wardrobe from scratch. Then it became a blog and further down the line a business as a started teaching workshops and selling my own patterns and fabrics.

I think the MMW pattern photography is some of the most beautiful in the field! What are you inspired by when curating these images?

Aw thank you so much. I work with some wonderful photographers such as Naomi Wood and Melissa Arras. We are inspired by the texture and movement in clothes, warm light, dancing bodies and colour!

What has been your most popular sewing pattern to date, and is there a moment it ‘took off’?

The Greta Dungarees, closely followed by the Josie Bra and Pants. I think the Greta took of when folks realised how comfy these overalls were thanks to our amazing community of sewists sharing reviews on Instagram. The Josie took off as soon as I started selling kits with all the fabric, lace and elastic you need to make our lovely underwear set.

How did your business have to change in 2020, and what does 2021 have in store?

In 2020 I lost all of my costume and teaching work which usually makes up around 60% of my income. I also lost my studio in London because of hotel developers. It felt pretty scary, but by focussing all my energy on the online shop selling patterns, fabric and kits we managed to survive and in some ways thrive. I managed to grow the MMW team during the pandemic which feels like a miracle. Releasing our first online sewing workshop and our first zine has been super exciting. In 2021 we will be releasing more online workshops and hopefully return to teaching in person too. If Brexit related issues stop delaying all our fabric imports we will also have lots more beautiful fabrics for you.

What has been your proudest moment running MMW?

Hiring my wonderful team was a huge step up. I also feel proud every single day when I see people glowing having made their own clothes using one of our patterns.

What does sewing mean to you?

It’s my therapy, my creative outlet and my livelihood.

Are there any pattern designers working right now that you really admire?

So many! I love Hetty at Henri London and everything Paper Theory releases is fab. Monisola at Pattern Cutting Deconstructed is also wonderful.

Monisola is hosting a sewing workshop in collaboration with the V&A in February!

Is there anything you haven’t designed for MMW yet that you’d love to include?

The list is endless. I have over 100 patterns I’ve designed that are waiting to be finalised and released. Coats, jeans, bags, pyjamas, jumpsuits etc.

Your latest release, Maker to Maker, is a maker’s journal aimed at all creatives. Could you share what sparked this idea and how creatives can use it?

The idea came when I started to notice all the things I need around me in order to feel creative and how those things support and inspire me. I wrote Maker to Maker as a ten week course designed to encourage folks to find more ways to support and develop their creative practice. Each week has a different task which focuses on a certain. aspect of creativity. These tasks are all things I do regularly to keep my creative juices flowing. Lockdown has meant it has been harder than ever to access our creative communities so I wanted this zine to act us a supportive structure for anyone feeling less inspired right now.

Finally, what’s on your sewing machine right now?

A jacket which I think will be our next pattern release! 

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