BabyDuet

Mama Duet Meets… Lawratu

 

Yes, Mama Duet is back after a much-needed break! I am delighted to talk to Lawratu, a sewing genius, wife, mum and woman who believes pockets are a feminist issue. Lawratu took part in this year’s Great British Sewing Bee and I am so excited that she has handmade something special for Baby Duet’s Zero Waste collection.

I am looking forward to sharing this with you! Go check out Lawratu on all her platforms.

Enjoy and thank me later

We all watched you this summer on The Great British Sewing Bee, can you give us the inside scoop? What was it like keeping it all a secret, and having to isolate while being away from your daughter?

Being on the sewing bee was an amazing experience. Being together with a bunch of fellow crafters on the show was amazing, and I gained 11 new friends. We spent a lot of time together and formed an amazing bond. Keeping my participation on the show a secret was easy due to lockdown! No one asks you what you have been up to as everyone was stuck in their homes, and no one noticed my time away from home. Isolating from my family was a little difficult, however, I have a supportive husband. I video chatted with them daily so my little one – who was three at the time – didn’t miss me too much.

Your day job is very different to sewing. What is the future plan for sewing? How are you navigating your post-Sewing Bee career?

Yes, my day job is very different! Sewing has always been my respite from the challenges of the day to day job as I find it a great mindfulness activity. I have previously been hesitant about making it more than just my hobby, however I am realising that I can do things on my own terms so I am slowly exploring other opportunities, so watch this space.

 

Your daughter is four and has just started school. How did you manage during lockdown with you and your partner both working from home? What’s life like now that she’s at school?

Having a small child during lockdown has been difficult with working. The first lockdown was the most challenging, luckily I have a very supportive employer, and I was able to adjust my work to balance the needs of my job and taking care of my child. As she was in nursery during the other lockdowns, they were more manageable, although there were a few cases of isolation. Now that she is at school and I am still WFH, it has been really nice that her father and I have been able to do drop off and pick up. Going forward I hope that hybrid working can continue to be a thing so that this can continue.

You’re part of the WI – this is something that I’m unfamiliar with – could you share some more information about it, how you got involved and what activities you get up to?

The WI is an organisation that supports the education of women and their campaigning on issues that matter to them. I am a member of Balham WI, which isn’t my nearest. However I was introduced by a friend to some members and got on so well, I decided to attend a meeting as a guest – the following month I joined and became a member! At Balham WI we have a varied program that includes crafting skills – we have had sessions on making jewellery and feminist origami, interesting talks – @antarcticaruban spoke to us about her training to be the first Aruban to walk to the south pole; as well as talking about things that are important to us, recently our president Jemma led a talk on allyship. I encourage people to investigate WIs near them, they can be a great source of friendship. They don’t have to join the nearest one, but attend some meetings and find out whether they are a great fit before committing

 

You mentioned that you started sewing six years ago because you didn’t like the fit of the clothes that you could buy in the shops. Have you seen a difference in the market since then?

There has definitely been a change in the market! I think size ranges and the type of clothing has vastly improved; however, there is still a lot of work to do. I must admit I still prefer to sew, as nothing will fit me as well as garments that I have adjusted to fit my specific measurements. The sewing community is generally inclusive although there is still room to grow there, however I find they have been more inclusive than high street fashion

 

Sustainability is now a bit of a buzzword within the fashion industry – even Sewing Bee has their reduce, reuse, recycle week. Has your approach or attitude to buying clothes changed since you started sewing?

 

Yes. When you read about the amount of water that goes into fabric production and the chemicals that are used, you realise that either way, we are contributing to the environment; it’s just that some ways have less impact than others. My attempts to reduce have a multi-step approach:

  • First, taking time to make garments that are going to last. Fast fashion has such an impact not just environmentally – in making all these products that are throwaway and contributing to landfill – but we have to also think of the human labour. If a dress costs £5 we need to think about the person making it. By making it last I can make things I will wear time and time again, and even if I get tired of them, I can donate or sell rather than throwing away.
  • Repair – making repairs on things is so important. I have a pair of jeans I made that suffer from the infamous chub rub. I refuse to throw them away and I continue to make repairs to the area extending their lifespan.
  • Alterations/refashioning – altering things that may be too big or long – I now sew trousers with a split waistband where possible, allowing me to make changes on weight gain. Refashioning garments that we are tired of into something else. A t-shirt that I was not keen on when I completed it will become a pair of knickers, and I am hoping to get my hands on some of my mum’s traditional wear to make into something more in line with my style. Watch this space!





Quickfire Questions

What is your go-to feel good colour?

Yellow…or pink..or red! Not so much do I have a favourite, but I love a pop of a bright colour to boost my mood.

What are some of your favourite small brands (for you and for your kids)?

I tend to use smaller brands for my sewing patterns rather than the big traditional ones, although I am not sure how many of them would now be considered small! For me, independent pattern companies are where I love to look first. Some of my favourites are @baby_duet_(!), @closetcorepatterns, @tillyandthe buttons @seamwork, and @byhandlondon. I also love putting labels in my clothes that give a sense of who I am (I love @kylieandthemachine) and have recently discovered @little.rosy.cheeks and plan to put that in som e of the things I plan to make for the little one.

Who inspires your style?

I don’t think I have a particular person who influences my style. I like to think of mine as classic with a modern twist – I like classic styles but with interesting features. I love bright colours. The great thing about sewing is taking inspiration from the catwalk and making it your own!

Victorine