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Q&A with Lara from Handmade by Lara Liz

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your blog?

I am so excited to be here today on the Minerva Crafts blog chatting a little bit about my love of sewing and about my blog! My name is Lara and I’m a blogger from Arlington, VA USA – just outside Washington, DC. I started my blog Handmade by Lara Liz as a way to document my makes and connect even further with the incredible network of sewists! I blog about my makes, sewing plans, favorite sewing notions and tools and patterns and fabric that I love.

When did you start crafting and what inspired you to start? What was your first project?

I am rather new to the crafting world. When I was in elementary school and middle school, I was the student that avoided art class at all cost! Much to my surprise, after I got married in 2015, I decided to take up knitting and fell in love with it immediately. After taking a learn to knit course where I knit a scarf that I never even finished, I started knitting shawls, hats, blankets and sweaters.

As a financial statement auditor during the day, I find myself spending the majority of my work day working on the computer and was so desperately searching for something different to do in the evenings and weekends when I’m not working! Knitting fit the bill 100%.

After knitting for 6 months, I decided to give sewing a whirl. While I never ever thought I would be sewing garments, I took a sewing lesson at a local sewing shop and have been sewing garments ever since!

What is your favourite craft?

It’s hard for me to choose between knitting and sewing as they really are so different in my mind. Knitting for me is the ultimate relaxing activity – a good thing for me to do to wind down at the end of the long day. Sewing on the other hand is a way for me to replace so many of my ready to wear clothes in my closet with clothes that I love and feel SO proud of! I do think sewing is my favorite by a smidge though as I don't tend to wear my hand knits, but I wear all of my handmade sewn clothes.

What do you love most about crafting?

As someone who wasn't a huge crafter until recently, I love the way it provides a nice distraction from the other busy parts of our lives. Prior to picking up knitting and subsequently sewing, I would come home at night from work, watch Netflix and spend time on my phone and computer. Once I started knitting and sewing, I feel so much more productive during the week and on the weekends when I'm not working and I have some really amazing clothes to show off when I head back to work on Monday!

Do your friends or family craft along with you?

While I don't have any family that crafts along with me, I've been so fortunate to meet (or connect with via blogs and instagram) so many amazing sewists. I sew often at my local sewing shop, where I've met some amazing women to share my craft with!

Who do you make things for?

I unfortunately (or fortunately for me!) am a selfish sewist. I've made some accessories for other people, but I mainly sew for me!

What 3 sewing tools could you not live without?

This is a tough one – I'm a notions kind of girl! But if I had to pick three essentials, I would say:

1. Seam Ripper – I mean, I can pretend that I don't make tons of mistakes but that would be a big lie! The seam ripper and I are best friends. I've tried a bunch of different types of seam rippers, but always go back to the tried and true like this one here!

2.       Wonder Clips – I use pins of the majority of my woven garments while sewing, but tend to use wonder clips when sewing up knits. They help keep the fabric stable as I run it through the overlocker.

3.       Rotary Cutter – I cut almost all my fabric using a rotary cutter. My favorite one is this Olfa Deluxe Safety Rotary Cutter. If I didn't have it, I wouldn't be able to cut into my fabric!

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with any why?

Rayon Fabrics and Knit Fabrics hands down! I love rayons as the drapiness on it makes it look so much like many of the ready to wear items in my closet. Knits are so quick and satisfying – plus, they are so comfortable.

What is your favourite product on the Minerva Crafts website and what would you make with it?

I tend to sew indie patterns so I picked some patterns + fabric combinations that are right up my alley from the Minerva Crafts website – who knows, you might see one of these combinations on me soon!

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Top and Dress + Diamond Quilted Stretch Jersey

Colette Laurel Top and Dress + Pastel Floral Pink Poplin or Vintage Style Pastel Floral  Poplin in Ivory

Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress + Bright Pink Ponte Roma

How many projects do you have on the go at one time?

I am a serial monogamous sewist – so usually just one at a time!

Whats your favourite thing you have ever made?

Hands down, my Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns (see pattern here). If you're interested in sewing up a pair of jeans, I highly recommend this as a great first jean pattern! I've made three pairs and there will be many more in my future – I'm dreaming up some colored and white jeans for this summer!

Some of my other favorite include by Chloe Coat from Sew Over It, my Bonn Shirt from Itch to Stitch and my Heather Dress from Sew Over It.

 

Do you watch TV or listen to music while you craft?

I don't tend to watch TV or listen to music but I listen to audio books. I use audible on my phone and a wireless speaker that I can hear over the sewing machine. Some of my favorites books I've listened to recently are What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

What/who do you go to for inspiration before you start crafting?

Instagram is an endless source of inspiration for me!

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

I follow lots of other blogs and bloggers on Instagram. Check out my Bloglovin' page to see all the blogs I follow!

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