Our first storyteller is Annika N. from Oulu. Oulu is where OTTOBRE design originated and is located on the seaside of Northern Finland. Annika is a mother of four; she mainly sews for her kids, but occasionally for herself as well.
Pattern from OTTOBRE design 3/2007. Appliqués by Annika
"I also sew some interior decorations, but my hobby originated from my love of beautiful and unique children’s clothing. When my last born was a baby I decided to buy an overlocking machine and after that I realised how simple it was to create beautiful kids' fashion."
Annika explains that she started sewing in her childhood. The first garment she sewed was a shirt for her Barbie doll.
"My grandmother taught me two things: how to drink coffee with milk and how to sew by hand. Apart from crafts lessons in elementary school I haven't studied sewing; I have learnt everything by trial and error. Even today I try to avoid reading detailed instructions. Thinking a project over and finally understanding it adds a lovely spice to sewing! It's wonderful to suddenly realise how something was supposed to be done and how laboriously I had done it before."
Annika also describes her favourite and least favourite parts of sewing.
"Stitching appliqués is definitely my favourite part of sewing. It is so miraculous to create something new stitch by stitch. It's also wonderful when a garment is ready and you see from your child's face that right now this piece of clothing is the most lovable and fine thing in their world. On the other hand, drawing patterns is a bit boring.
My least favourite part is when I am at a crucial moment of a project and just then I realise that time is out. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day. I wish I could be beautifully creative all the time!"
Free hat pattern from www.ottobredesign.com. Pattern modification and prints by Annika.
Favourites and inspirations
We asked Annika who her favourite designers and brands are at the moment.
"My favourite designers are all the everyday sewers who make different creations from their passion for sewing and love of handiwork. They are a real source of inspiration."
A big part of Annika's sewing hobby is updating her blog. In her blog she shares ideas, photos and hints. She also wants to advise other sewers as much as she can.
"Almost every day someone asks about sewing zippers or hoods, or for advice on how to finish edges with rib knits. I think it would be useful if the OTTOBRE blog would cover these sorts of simple instructions even more. It would be wonderful if the blog could also give hints about how to use sewing machines or overlockers efficiently."
Annika would also like to see more links to nice fabric shops.
"I buy lots of fabrics on the Internet. I also visit local shops regularly. Most of my creations are made of velour or tricot and I wish that there were better and more versatile supplies of those fabrics. Because of a lack of nice fabrics, I started to make my own prints when I was on maternity leave. Unfortunately, now that I'm back at work, I don’t have enough time to print."
Apart from sewing and her children, Annika enjoys the simple things in life itself.
"Today the sun is shining and my aunt from Sweden sent me a parcel of fabrics which I was able to pick up from the post office after work. These two things make me feel very lucky."
Annika's blog (in Finnish):
Annika's favourite fabric shops:
This series is written by our long-term editorial assistant, Anni Kokko. If you feel like you or someone you know could inspire fellow readers, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and include links to your recent work. Our storytellers are rewarded!