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Q&A with Lisa of Bobo Bun Craft Blog

Can you tell us a little bit about your blog?

My blog Bobo Bun has evolved since I started writing it in 2009. At first, I wrote about every aspect of my family life and how my creativity fitted within that. I started blogging before Instagram arrived and so this was the ideal place to connect with other creative people. Suddenly from all over the world I could have a conversation with people who enjoyed the same things as me, share stuff and have a good laugh into the bargain. I love writing and taking pictures so blogging brought these two together, plus it’s given me a wonderful place to hold so many memories. The only downside of blogging for me was and still is the difficulty to connect with a flowing conversation. My reply to a comment will only be seen if that person checks back. I used to blog a few times a week, but when my marriage ended a few years back I lost my creative mojo for a time, plus it was pretty difficult with our belongings in storage while we looked for a new home. Once my daughter’s and I were settled again I found my creativity came back in full force. Throughout this time I always used instagram, but was less frequent with my blog as I felt it needed a new direction. Now I blog about my dressmaking as I cover that and life stuff on instagram. On my blog I love being able to go into more detail about the process of making each garment, sharing which patterns and cloth I used and hopefully inspiring other people to try them out.

Can you show us a photo of your crafting space?

I used to dream of a room to myself to make in, but since my daughter’s and I have moved into a small terrace that’s not possible and to be honest I actually prefer sewing in the heart of the home. I cut out my cloth on the dining room table and I sew on a table underneath a long window so I have a lot of natural light. All of the bits and bobs I need are stored in cupboards and baskets. My treasured Sylko drawers are behind my sewing machine and this is where I keep my scissors, needles, seam ripper…everything I need immediately when I’m sewing basically. It all works perfectly for me, although a shelf for my books and a pinboard would just make it that much better.

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

I can’t remember a time when I wasn't doing something creative. My earliest memory is sitting on the floor when I was about five or six making an owl out of an old dress, stuffing it with my mum’s tights and glueing cake tins on for the eyes. I moved on to making clothes for my dolls who in my imaginary world went to boarding school after reading Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers and St Clare’s. Being creative is a strong urge in me just as it is in my daughter’s. I’ve always sewn and as the years have gone by I’ve just learnt more and more which I love, there’s always so much more to tackle and learn. I also knit, crochet, quilt, embroider, make bags and felt brooches (which I sell through my small business). I taught myself to crochet after quite a lot of initial swearing and my mum taught me to knit so I’d sit still while I was pregnant with my second daughter Millie. I enjoy lots of crafts in bursts, but my first love and my passion is dressmaking every single time. 

What do you love most about crafting?

The happiness it gives me. I truthfully can’t imagine a life where I wasn't coming up with ideas or making something new. My head is always buzzing with projects and ideas. I stopped looking in high street shops quite a while back as I rarely found just what I was looking for and as I am 6ft it never fitted properly anyway. Sewing means I can buy the cloth I want and either use a pattern, draft my own or pattern hack to get the exact outfit I want to be wearing. I love the individuality of it too as no one will be wearing exactly the same thing even if we have been initially inspired by the same pattern. It also means I can pretty much make anything we need, new curtains, clothes requested by my family and presents for everyone. 

Do your friends and family craft along with you?

I have a few creative friends and ones for who it is full-time job, but I much prefer chatting about it with them. When I’m sewing for me I like to sew alone and lose myself in the pleasure of it. I like talking too much so I’d get distracted. That said it’s absolutely the opposite when I’m teaching as I love being part of a groups sew then. My youngest daughter is studying GCSE Textiles and will be going on to do this as an A’level this year so I do help her with technical issues and look for ideas that might help her with her projects. In the summer I’ll be teaching her and a friend dressmaking to help them with their A’level as they both want a career in this or fashion. 

Who do you make things for?

It’s a mix. I take custom orders for frocks through my instagram page and I make a variety of vintage fabric bags and accessories to sell. I’ve built up such a lovely network of customers who I have known for many years through my blog that in reality I’m sending my products off to friends to enjoy which makes it even more special. I squeeze time in around family life and stay up ridiculously late to sew for myself. I did stay up until 3am to make sure I could surprise my man with a waistcoat for a family party later that day. I make clothes for all of my family as requests or surprises which they love to wear.

What made you decide to start blogging about your crafting?

I wrote my first blog post in January 2009. I followed the lovely Donna Flower who sells amazing vintage fabrics, she was so supportive and said do it, so I did. At that time, I was a stay at home mum, living in the Norfolk countryside after a career teaching in London. I was also selling my bags and accessories at markets under my small business name of Bobo Bun. I used my business name for my blog as I also do on Instagram so people could find me easily. The name comes from Bobo, the handknitted rabbit given to me by my nanny Daisy when I was one. She was my first crafty thing and is still loved to this day, she sums up all the joy and love of handmade things to me so was the inspiration for my name. I've also made my own versions of Bobo Bun bunnies wearing the outfits that Bobo wore before the moths attacked them. With blogging I wanted a way of connecting with other people interested in the same things as me. I had no idea at the time though what a marvellous world I was entering into. Several new opportunities came my way, I made new friends who are still in my life today and we natter away online, I am constantly inspired by the creativity out there which gives me confidence to pursue what I love. 

What 3 sewing or craft items/tools could you not live without?

My mannequin named Foxy Lady has become an essential sewing friend. Being able to pin patterns on her and check the overall fit of a dress to see how it hangs has helped my sewing enormously. She was one of my best buys. After that it’s the seam ripper. That’s saved the day plenty of times.

What are your favourite fabrics to sew with and why?

My first love is vintage fabric, especially barkcloth which I swoon over. I love the one off nature of it, the quality of the cloth and the individual prints. Often I can only get a small amount so the cloth decides what it will become which is fun. That said, there is some amazing great quality contemporary cloth out there. I’ve got tons of pictures saved of cloth that I want to use in the future. It’s always the colours and design that inspire me. Sewing with cloth that isn’t good quality totally lets down the time spent creating something to my mind. At the moment I’m obsessed with jerseys and am constantly looking for great designs, I’ve seen quite a few on the Minerva Crafts site that I’ll be buying. My other new interest is pleather. I’ve just bought a couple of pieces to experiment with.

What is your favourite pattern you have ever followed?

Oh my word, choosing a favourite anything always makes me panic a bit because how do I say just one thing. I have so many patterns I love for different reasons. Narrowing it down a bit, I’d say Indie pattern designers are my favourite over the Big 4. My favourite pattern at the moment though and my current obsession is The Rita Blouse by Gretchen Hirst’s Charm Patterns. I have all her books and have used several of her patterns for Butterick too. I love to wear contemporary 1950’s style clothes that are fitted and ooze sass and fun. I’ve made several Rita Blouse’s as they need only a small amount of cloth, don't require an FBA for my FF’s, are really easy to make up and great to wear with everything. Recently, I pattern hacked the blouse into a fitted dress with a wiggle skirt. Next up will be one with a full skirt.

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

I love the Atelier Brunette French Terry in black with gold spots. I’d make a Seamwork Astoria Jumper and maybe a looser fitting top to snuggle in when I find exactly the pattern I’m after.

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

Far too many. I have so many WIP’s that have been sitting in a bag for an age because I get excited about a new project. Currently, I’m making a dress for my youngest daughter, plus some birthday gifts, I’ve just started making my first pair of jeans, using Closet Case Patterns Ginger Jeans, then there is a dress I’m halfway through for myself and an absolute pile of cloth that I know exactly what it will become once I get round to cutting it. 

What’s your favourite thing you have ever made?

Pretty much I love everything I’ve made. There’s only a few things I make that afterwards I just think no, it just doesn't do it for me, but I’m glad of what I learnt while I made them. I'd say making the Wearing History Overalls was a favourite. It was a tricky pattern adapted from a vintage one. I made a toile in an old sheet first to get the fit right. I've worn them loads since, they're especially comfy to wear at our Lindy Hop dance class. Everyday summer frocks are another one of my absolute favourites with full skirts and a fitted bodice in a pretty floral fabric. Making shirts for my man is also on my list of favourite things. I absolutely love topstitching and the professional look it gives. Men’s shirts give you a lot of topstitching opportunities. 

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

Always. I’ve never been able to concentrate without background noise. It stops my head wandering off into other thoughts so I can stay focused. I sew either with the radio on or catch up on TV shows on my Macbook while I sew, not that I see much of what’s going on, I just tend to listen and look if something important happens. 

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

Inspiration comes to me from so many places. From watching films and period dramas where I see outfits that I’d like to copy, Instagram and blogs inspire me to find out about new to me patterns and being surrounded by fabric. Fabric always inspires me. 

Do you have a crafty tip you would like to share?

Don’t rush things or be tired when you’re making. I’ve made mistakes when I’ve forgotten to wash new cloth first and then it shrinks which makes it a bit tight to wear. If I’m tired I’ve cut pieces out the wrong way round or knitted and ripped the same row again and again because my tired brain read the instructions the wrong way round. My best tip though is to not be afraid to make a pattern your own and mix it up a bit. Change the skirt, bodice or sleeve if you don’t like that bit. You could add frills, piping lace to jazz it up too. Just let your creativity wander as the pattern is only a starting point really.

Do you follow other blogs? If so which blogs?

I follow quite a few blogs, but my favourite sewing blogs are The Crafty Pinup, Like Sew Amazing and Sew Dainty. I like the fun and passion they put into their sewing.

Do you have any advice for new bloggers?

I would say write from your heart. Use your own voice and talk about what makes you tick, what you’re passionate about. Basically keep it real and then you’ll enjoy it and so will your readers. Good photos are really important too if you’re showing your makes. 

What are your crafting ambitions?

For quite a while now I’ve been taking on sewing commissions for lovely customers. I was approached recently to teach dressmaking and crochet classes at The Makeplace in Norwich. I’ve dreamt for a long time to be able to help people learn to sew and inspire them with how fabulous sewing is, especially when you get to wear your own creations. As a qualified teacher, I’ve taught academically as well as creative workshops in the past so this will bring together everything that I absolutely love to do. I’ll also be teaching workshops for my Happy Shopper Bags as well as other creative classes so it’s all hugely exciting. There’s a lot of planning going on behind the scenes at the moment, class dates will be available very soon though. I also want to start my own Vlog to share my passion for fabric and dressmaking. I do think it’s pretty fair to say I’m addicted to sewing, but that’s a good thing isn't it. My other ambition is to go to one of the short courses run by London School of Fashion so I can learn pattern drafting and couture techniques. 

What would you say to anyone looking to start a new craft?

Enjoy the whole process definitely and don’t beat yourself up if things go wrong. I’ve learnt so much from the mistakes I’ve made far more so then when it goes right. I think we tend to think too much about the end product rather than just enjoying every bit of crafting from choosing the cloth or yarn to working on our current project. Once you find the craft that is for you it can become a real passion that gives you 100% happy time.
Thanks for reading,
Lisa @ Bobo Bun

Comment (1)

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Rita Brown said:

Hi I am new to watching the blogs, I have enjoye reading your as I agree with so many of your idea, your work is super I look forward to reading more, if I get the time to sew being caught up reading blogs at Minerva. You and others have inspired me to get started again,I lost my husband last year when I was a bit down he would say to me get your sewing out you are at your best when sewing, how right he was.thanks for your blog best wishes. · 26th Aug 2018 11:37am