Multidisciplinary creative Katie Weychardt of Katie Makes a Dress, recently sewed up some Pyjamas using our Organic Classic Cotton and took a few pics. During this process we were thrilled to learn more about Katie and how she came to be such a versatile creative. Katie exudes style and honesty, her clothing brand is produced in limited numbers of carefully considered pieces, made by the lady herself. Katie’s social media presence is relevant, connecting to us via the story of her brand, from textile designs, to garment patterns and the everyday journey that is life.
You’re what I like to call a “Natural Creative.” You’re a photographer, textile designer, sewer and create beautiful well crafted digital content. How did you come to wear so many hats?
I’m not sure to be honest! I’ve always been creative, but it ebbs and flows. When I find the sewing machine getting a bit monotonous, I switch to drawing and vice versa. I spent almost 10 years as a wedding photographer, so that’s how I know my way around a camera. I carved out my little creative niches after having babies, which I think is quite common. It meant that I could work from home most of the time and have my boys with me. I have quite a short attention span, so that’s probably the main reason I wear so many hats! I like trying new things.
As a mother of two boys, how do you find time to balance work and family, do you like structure or do you go with the flow day to day?
I would love to be that cool parent who says they go with the flow, but I absolutely don’t. Haha. I love structure, I love knowing what’s happening and where I am up to with everything. My youngest son has always been a bit anxious when he doesn’t know what we have planned for the day and I know he gets that from me. Like most families, we’re busy with school, sport, work, appointments and all the other regular life things, so I do plan my weeks out pretty thoroughly. The boys are getting older now and will happily amuse themselves, so I fit sewing in where I can. If I’m not at my day job, I sew and I squash sewing in on weekends as well, often in dribs and drabs between the boring stuff like grocery shopping and washing and the fun stuff like beach trips and cricket games. I see it as self care. I sit behind the sewing machine, concentrate on using my hands and it quietens my internal chatter for a while.
Your textile design work is bold and graphic, you have themes of celestial, magical and mythical, what draws you to this?
As a kid, I was an avid reader and as a result, read books that had themes that were probably a bit full on for my young brain. I remember being quite young and reading ‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl and loving it. I was scared, but quite fascinated with the idea of witches being everywhere, hidden in plain sight. After that came ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and I adored that one too. Not so witchy, but I loved the moth idea and I’ve been a bit taken with them ever since. I will add that while I love scary books, I will flat out refuse to watch a scary movie. I can’t stand them. As I grew up, I had an equal love for science, art and mildly spooky things and I went on to get a degree in animal studies. I think that’s where science and art merged – I loved those beautiful scientific illustrations of animals (the insides and outsides) and because we used some human anatomy based textbooks for some subjects, I also loved flicking through and checking out all the amazing parts of us – bones, eyes, teeth, hearts and hands. Basically my mind is a funny little jumble and you’ll find my design work features a lot of creatures, some body parts and nice whack of Australiana. Textile design is pretty new to me, but I started because sometimes I just needed a dress covered in decapitated hands and couldn’t buy that fabric anywhere (of course).
Your online presence as a blogger and instagrammer is so natural, you get a sense of personality and fun from your images and writing. Does it take you time to structure or just flow organically?
In contrast to the rest of my life, my social media stuff does just go with the flow. I start typing and the words fall out – particularly with blogging. It’s all very me. My favourite people to follow are those who give a little bit of themselves when they post. It doesn’t have to be all shiny, happy people but I like a bit of soul. It’s probably not very professional, but then again, I am my business. It’s my baby, I grew it and it makes sense that I post in my own voice.
As a talented seamstress what are your top three tips to sewers and makers?
1. If a pattern tells you to clip and under-stitch, then clip and under-stitch. Don’t skip that step. In fact, even if a pattern doesn’t tell you to, do it anyway; particularly around facings that curve.
2. Mistakes are how we learn. Don’t be scared of them. Give knits a go, try that zip for the first time, get that overlocker out of the box.
3. Use decent thread and change your needles. It will prevent a lot of yelling at your sewing machine.