OTTOBRE Sewing Stories is a series introducing our readers from around the world to each other. We aim to give you interesting ideas and insights about sewing, fashion and everyday life. Be inspired by others and inspire your fellow readers.
Our third storyteller is a truly inspiring artist. Alexandra Rasmussen is a stay at home mother from Germany, living in Japan. Apart from her own sewings, knittings, crochetings and quiltings, she still finds time to teach these skills in her 7 year old daughter's elementary school.
"I do all kind of crafts but usually I am making things we actually need. So, although seriously bitten by the knitting bug I am always returning to sewing, to make new dresses when my daughter has outgrown the old ones. Also I do patchwork and like to make little whimsy things for playing or decorating the house. Or it could useful things like coasters, luncheon mats or bags. I love to surround my family with handmade items to make every moment in life special."
And Alexandra's work seems to be special. Her blog Moonstitches has lots and lots of followers. Our readers also fell in love with a dress she made for a strawberry themed sew-along a couple of years ago.
Strawberry dress is a perfect example of creative way of choosing fabrics.
Pattern: OTTOBRE 1/2001
"I remembered that pattern from one of my OTTOBRE magazines and thought it was looking just like one giant strawberry if the fabrics were chosen in a certain way.The dress was never meant to be worn - and it has not, for about a year or so after I made it. It was only when a Halloween party was coming up and we were in need for a costume.The following year it got a second outing, but for the rest of its time it was only sitting in the closet, occasionally worn for dressing up when playing. It's so funny that this dress became so popular over on Flickr while almost never being worn.
Slow and simple
As Alexandra does so many different kinds of crafts, it is hard to name the favourite.
"There are times to knit, times to stitch and times to sew. I like to get my sewing machines out when there is the need for new dresses for my daughter. Then the sweaters get too small or worn and I must knit again. Whatever I am making at a time I do enjoy most because there is a purpose for what I am making."
Alexandra tells that also her favourite projects have been the ones most loved.
"My daughter plays with these owls all the time, arrangin and re-arrangin them constantly. You can spell the words with them."
The owls are made to play with all woolen scraps Alexandra had been collecting.
To find best parts of crafting might come in time. And sometimes less really is more.
"When I started crafting I did too many items of one kind, simply because it was so addictive and fun trying out new techniques and crafts. Now I slowed down and make only things we actually need. I do like the slow and simple life and love getting lost in slow crafting projects."
Nowadays there are loads of wonderful blogs, online photo albums and sites where to look for inspiration. Alexandra also has some ways to inspire herself.
"I think that inspiration is to be found everywhere. In nature, the different seasons, materials, patterns or textures I encounter. Movies I see, French ones or old ones. And Astrid Lindgren movies constantly make me want to sew or knit."
The cutest details are being born when you don't have enough material to sew or knit exactly according to a pattern. Pattern: OTTOBRE Autumn 2005
Living in Japan is inspiring for German-born Alexandra as well.
"Japan really is the country if you are a fabric lover. Japanese pattern books are to my liking too. The Japanese clothes never overwhelm the child wearing the clothes. I love when the children's rosy cheeks are still to be seen and not vanishing behind a festival of colours and patterns. Less is more and simple is the best. I think my perception has become quite Japanese over the years and I prefer simple design for children now more than ever."
Alexandra's favourite sites:
Bloesem Kids: http://bkids.typepad.com
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 will be rewarded!