This week we speak with the inspiring Chloe from @theslowlifesews, Chloe is constantly striving for a sustainable practices and has a keen eye for upcycling. As an expat living in Australia originally from France, Chloe has a wonderful journey to share. Her taste in styles and colour palette is nothing short of brilliant and her relaxed style balances the Australian climate with a hint of French chic. Needless to say, we are great admirers. Get to know Chloe a little better below.
Tell us your name & Instagram name?
My name is Chloe, and my instagram handle is @theslowlifesews for all things sewing and thrifting. I've also recently started a separate account @theslowparent to share about pregnancy and parenting, and how I'll be applying the sustainable and slow mindset I like to follow to this new chapter of my life.
Congratulations on your pregnancy! Have you found a change in your sewing style? Or made any hacks to patterns you already have to make some maternity clothing?
Merci 🙂 I've always be drawn to oversized and loose fitting clothes, which is great for maternity and has allowed me to wear a lot of my me-mades during this pregnancy. So I haven't changed style, but I've definitely been wearing more culotte pants, high waisted skirts and giant dresses. One of free pattern I have hacked recently is the Sage Tee by Elbe Textiles. This is originally a men's tee pattern, which was recommended to me by @irenexnicole, one of my favourite sewing accounts and best virtual sewing friend — we share a common love for linen, stripes, and are both French expats living in Australia. I hacked this pattern to make a tee shirt dress inspired by a Babaa dress I saw on @katelyn.baginski here https://www.instagram.com/p/CC_FEvLAQq-/.
Here is a link to the post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CFvovyXFlWj/ and you can also follow the hack process in my 'Maternity' story highlight.
I really love your approach to living a more sustainable life, was there a particular moment you realised the impact that fast fashion was having on the environment? Or has this always been one of the reasons you chose to sew your own garments/shop at thrift stores?
I think this was a slow evolution in my life that came along with other changes toward a more sustainable lifestyle. Sewing came along later for me, as I only started less than 18 months ago. But it definitely felt like the perfect slow and sustainable hobby that I needed in my life. Practising a craft has been such an amazing mindfulness tool for me and I cherish it very dearly.
When you are ready to start a new project, do you look for a pattern to suit a particular trend or look? Or do you prefer to browse with an open mind?
I haven't really got a specific way of going about a new project. Sometimes it's the fabric that will trigger an idea, sometimes it's the pattern. Sometimes it's none of those, and I just find inspiration while scrolling Instagram or Pinterest, like I did for the maternity tee shirt dress. If the garment doesn't look too complicated, I also really like trying my hand at self drafting and see what I can end up with. I enjoy using second hand fabrics for those projects so it doesn't feel too daunting if I miss the mark.
What has been your most satisfying make so far? And why?
I'd say my self drafted black linen culotte pants, because I have gotten so. much. wear. out of them. They are my go to pants! Check them out here. I've also been really happy with how my #m7969 in paprika linen turned out, although it's definitely less of a wearable item than the pants. This was a bit of a nerve wracking project because I didn't toile and just used the good and expensive fabric, forgetting that the Big 4 pattern instructions can sometimes *cough cough* be very confusing. There were a few stressful and frustrating moments, but I got there in the end!
What is your favourite fashion trend at the moment?
I'm definitely here for the #bigsleeves movement happening in the sewing community on Instagram. I don't really follow trends as such as I'm trying to build a timeless wardrobe, I feel like I know my style quite well now and I am comfortable with the things I like.
Do you have a favourite Swim Style pattern?
I really like the one shoulder and high waisted style of the Tidal bikini, although I'm yet to try my hand at sewing swimwear (maybe a post pregnancy project for next summer).
I also like the versatility of the Tallulah Tie Top in the Apparel range.
I noticed you have self drafted a few items, how was that process? Did you enjoy it or would you prefer to buy a pattern?
I really enjoy self drafting but feel like I lack a lot of the basic skills required to design complex pieces, so I have stuck to fairly simple projects so far. I would love to learn more in the future.
I also like following patterns but often find myself confused with the instructions, especially when they use technical vocabulary and don't necessarily explain all the terms, which is often the case with the Big 4. I wish all patterns came with a video tutorial, because I'm a visual learner and sometimes words and illustrations just can't convey a meaning very efficiently and I have to read and reread each step multiple times.
What do you love about the sewing community?
So many things. For me the sewing community is mostly on Instagram, as I don't have many IRL sewing friends. I enjoy the constant inspiration and encouragement I get from the community, as well as the help and support I have found in times of need. I love getting feedback from other users when I have been able to help and inspire them too, that is so energising.