@purplesewingcloud | Sewing Influencer
Meet Samantha, aka @purplesewingcloud, from the United Kingdom. Her wedding was a festival of Liberty London and I just fell in love with her all over again. Her feed is full of delicate summery dresses and overalls with flair. A sewist with chronic illness and disabilities, Samantha’s goal is to make sewing and all crafts more accessible for everyone.
How did you learn your craft?
I learnt to sew as a little girl. I did dance competitions and would help make my costumes. I didn’t really take it up as a hobby until around eight years ago. I had a traumatic brain injury that left me unable to walk/talk and use my hands. I started sewing to help my physiotherapy in rehab. It’s great for small gripping skills. I fell completely in love and haven’t been able to stop since.
What is your favorite project you’ve made?
My favorite project is my wedding dress—it’s so special to me. I put my heart into making it and it felt perfect on the day. It’s a pink sheer silk organza blouse with a long double-circle skirt and enormous double-fold ruffle. I used 10 meters of silk organza in the ruffle alone; once it was cut and sewn it was 22 meters long before gathering. Underneath I wore a Liberty floral cotton slip dress and the little florals popped subtly through the organza. I’ve been able to wear the blouse and slip dress again since the wedding and I plan to remove the ruffle from the skirt to make a new dress and make the skirt more wearable for a date night. I also made all my bridesmaids’ dresses and some special Liberty bridal pajamas.
How do you handle mistakes or setbacks when working on a project?
When a project is going wrong or I’m having setbacks I throw it into a corner and walk away. Well, maybe not throw it but I put it away. I find most of the time when things are going wrong it’s because I’m either tired or hungry. So I have a snack and some sleep and go back to it the next day fully refreshed with a full tummy (and maybe some caffeine). I can then look at it clearly and find a resolution to fix it. Sewing is a beautiful and creative hobby but it’s never worth our tears. Although spilling a full can of energy drink over a half-finished bias-cut silk satin dress did recently make me cry!
What are you currently making?
I’m currently working on a long quilted jacket. The fabric is a quilted jacquard with a geometric print in purple, white, and blue. I’m adding some flare to it with a floral binding. The fabric is so soft and snuggly I can’t wait to wear it through the colder months. I might just wear it around the house like a dressing gown if I have nowhere to go, because it deserves to be worn lots.
If you could have anything in the world to support your craft, what would it be?
If I could have anything in the world to support my sewing and crafts it would be for ALL sewing manufacturers to create tools and equipment for people with disabilities. I have several disabilities that can make sewing frustrating, yet it’s my mental release and a happy place I can go to without the worries of my health. There are accessible sewing tools available but most aren’t created with disabilities in mind or even the involvement of disabled people. How often do we hear older people say they don’t sew anymore because the arthritis in their hands stops them? Or using scissors or rotary cutters causes so much pain people stop sewing altogether? A world where everyone can sew comfortably would support the whole sewing community, too.