Interview: Roslyn Russell, Sewist and Sewing Writer

In this new blog series, Roslyn Russell will be interviewing member of the CWC to find out more about their work and creative practice. It's just one of the benefits of being a Full Member Hi, I'm Roslyn, and each month I will be doing a feature interview with a CWC Full Member. I really look forward to getting to know the members of the CWC and showcasing their work, but today I am using my first interview as an introduction to me.

What do you create? I mainly sew clothing for children and other small items like bags and purses. I use a mix of my own and other people's patterns, and I am am working on building up my skills and techniques as I still consider myself very new to sewing. I also write about sewing and share various projects, techniques and tutorials at my blog Sew Delicious.

Have you done training in your creative field or has it come about informally? At university I studied an Arts/International Studies degree, then a couple of years later I did a Diploma in Secondary School teaching. It has only since I've been on maternity leave that I have pursued creative outlets, and apart from a few informal lessons with a friend from my mothers group who is a beautiful sewist and quilter, I am completely self taught. There are so many great resources online, and I have taken advantage of those to teach myself new skills. My mother and grandmother are talented seamstresses, although they haven't done much sewing since I was a child.

What are your main creative inspirations? Having two small children and being in a circle of friends who also have small children has probably been the main influence on my projects. I like to make items for new baby gifts and I like to choose fabrics and colours that are different from the stereotypical pinks and blues. Since I started my blog, I have found a lot of inspiration and project ideas from other sewing bloggers, and I have really enjoyed using Pinterest as a way of finding projects and bookmarking them. Inspiration is everywhere - one of my most popular projects, the Peggy skirt, was designed for my daughter after I saw a particular outfit worn by the character Peggy on the TV show Mad Men.

How do you balance your creative projects with the administration aspect of creative work? When I feel overwhelmed after an evening in front of the computer, I try to remember that if I don't design or sew something, I will have nothing to showcase, write about or sell. At the moment, my routine is to work on large projects on a Monday or a Friday when my eldest child is in daycare, but apart from that I just chip away at each thing when I get a spare few minutes. I also write a lot of to-do lists.

What do you do when you experience a creative block? I usually go back and start from scratch. I don't have a studio or allocated space for my sewing, so I pack everything away and ignore the machine for a week or so. A clean and organised work space (or in my case, dining room table) helps clear my mind and allow new ideas to form.

What future goals do you have for your creative pursuits? I have recently started to design simple patterns for children's clothing and I would like to develop my skills in this area, especially projects for sewing for boys. Creating projects for beginner sewists is something I will continue to do, because I know the power of that sense of "I can do this!" and then the feeling of achievement when you are starting out in a creative hobby. My eventual goal is that my sewing and writing, and combination of the two, can result in a small income.

Roslyn Russell is a sewist, blogger and teacher. She has developed her sewing skills while on maternity leave with her two children and it has grown to encompass her blog, Sew Delicious, where she showcases her latest projects and designs. She also writes and photographs detailed sewing tutorials for beginner and intermediate sewists. Roslyn also enjoys cake baking and decorating, exploring Melbourne cafes and restaurants, and hunting through op-shops for vintage sewing and kitchen treasures.