It’s difficult to know how to start my first ever blog. The first hurdle seems by far the tallest, and in fact I have endless notes and even a couple of finished blogs already written up for later in the game. But it’s that very first one that feels so scary. Where do I start? And how do I make it good enough that people will bother coming back and reading the next one? You can probably guess what I did before I finally got going… I Googled “how to write your first blog”, procrastinated for 3 hours, gave up for a few days, listened to “Pro-Blogger” podcasts for about 3 weeks, dropped it all together for at least a month, then eventually realised I just needed to do it. So, welcome to my Blog, Threading the Needle.
My name is Tilly. AKA Mathilde May. I’m from London, I always say Camden Town for the street credibility. Truth is I grew up on the Camden side of Islington. But Doc Martins, pink mohawks and singing rastafarians are far more interesting than a blue square on a Monopoly board.
I’ve got two gorgeous children, Rex – 4, and Maia – 2. A lovely husband, Alex, and we live in beautiful New Plymouth in New Zealand. By the mountain and the sea. I’m a dressmaker. I was taught by the very best, costume maker extraordinaire and my amazing mum, Chris Winter.
When Rex was born I started doing exactly what mum did when she had us. Enjoying motherhood at home and doing a bit of sewing to make some cash on the side when I could find the time. I started my business, Mathilde May (my first and middle name), and began by advertising as a seamstress/dressmaker. I took on anything from making bedspreads to tailored dresses to curtains to the odd jacket. What I really loved was taking a client’s favourite item, let’s say a dress which has started fraying and coming apart at the seams, that they just couldn’t bear to part with. I’d take the pattern, without having to take any scissors to the original, and remake it in a new and beautiful fabric. It was so satisfying.
However, when Maia was born I found it more difficult having customers arrive at my nappy littered house, with duplo on the sofa and damp washing sitting in the basket. I wanted to work only to my own deadlines, and not have to worry about what people thought of my hallway floors. By this point, being the op shop and textile fiend that I am, I’d built up quite the collection of vintage fabrics (the cupboard’s weren’t closing anymore, how does it suddenly happen!?) I also had two rather lovely little muses, so naturally I started making children’s clothing. It’s a wonderful thing to pull out beautiful old fabrics and let them conjure ideas for designs, and it’s very cool to see a tiny human waddling around wearing bloomers or overalls made of the vintage pillowcase I’d picked up years before.
I love making my little clothes, and it’s a great when other people love what I make. But as all creatives would know, it’s difficult not to get inspired by other forms of your craft too. I have recently got massively into embroidery, still take on the occasional dressmaking job for a fully grown human, and have even started a completely new sewing project. (Watch this space for the blog on my upcoming exhibition!) When my husband points out that he can’t keep up with all the balls I’m juggling I do question myself. “Bloody hell Tilly can’t you just do one thing and do it well!?” but I guess it just doesn’t feel natural. I hang out under my umbrella, of cottons and needles and thread, of new fabrics and old fabrics and ideas and inspiration. And I love it!
So what IS the reason for adding a blogging shaped ball to my juggling act? Well, I enjoy sharing. I’ll chat endlessly with girlfriends about the latest thing I’ve been working on, and finding out what they’ve been up to in the workroom too. I enjoy talking about the funnier parts of life, talking about being a mum, a wife, a friend, a homeowner who likes filling her space with lovely things…. And I also quite love writing.
So I hope I’m the kind of person you might like to listen to, share with, laugh at, cry for (hopefully not, gonna try and keep it positive yo). Join my community, click the follow button, and enjoy!