The Spare Room – September 2015
This month we meet Davinia from Handmade by Davinia who is, amongst other things, a fellow headwear maker. Davina does actually have a spare room where she sews, though (like where I live) it also spills out into other parts of the house.
Q1 – Davinia, tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a mum of 3 who has given up my professional career to stay at home with my kids, which I love doing. My kids are my biggest fans and love everything I create. They are also my biggest barrier to getting jobs finished. We love being outdoors, and often fend off the desire to provide rescue accommodation to various pets and animals.
Q2 – How did you get started, and how long have you been creating?
My mum and both my grandmothers always sewed, knitted or crocheted, so between them I always had someone teaching or inspiring me with something. I was given my first sewing machine for my 16th birthday which I was still using until last year (which is a lot of years!). I have designed and made lots of things along the way, including a hand smocked christening gown, formal dresses, and so many other things I can’t even remember them all. I love making gifts and do that as much as I can, which is a love passed onto me from my grandmothers. I love teaching my kids to sew too, and my biggest boy has done a how-to video which is posted on my page.
Q3 – What do you make/what fabrics do you use?
My current love is to create with baby wearing wraps. The fabrics are so diverse and interesting. They’re not always easy to use but I love the challenge they offer.
My Handmade by Davinia page started when I adapted a bonnet pattern to meet our Aussie summer conditions. Babywearers often ask how to keep a hat on a baby when they’re on your back, and bonnets are the perfect solution. My bonnets don’t come off, and babies seem to really love the comfort they provide. A friend asked for one and it went from there. After asking for permission from the pattern designer, I started to promote the bonnets a bit more.
I also create other things, mostly from wrap scrap. Soft toys are a lot of work but I do love them. Blankets, ladies hats, bags, clothes, ladies sandals. I enjoy up-cycling too, especially denim. I’ve got a plan for a skirt I currently wear that needs a makeover.
Q4 – What’s on your wish list of things to create?
I have all sorts of crazy ideas in my head all the time! I have a crochet cotton rug on hold at the moment that I based on the Girasol rainbow serpent. I’d love to do more wrap scrap sandals, shoes and boots… soft toys, mama clothes, mama hats…the list goes on! Even just answering this question has my artistic juices flowing.
Q5 – Where do you sell your products?
I started sewing for others when in high school and friends asked me to modify some of their clothes – they were very cool and creative but I had the sewing know-how. Beyond making gifts, it is a relatively new experience for me to create for other people. I’ve been surprised by how stressful it is working with other people’s fabrics and within a reasonable time frame. It’s a pressure I’m getting used to though.
I sell my creations within my local community or on Facebook.