Friday, June 22, 2012

Featured Team Member - Catherine Rogan!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have been sewing for as long as I can remember.  When I was 17 I started to volunteer at an Oxfam charity shop making clothes from donated fabric and reworking (the word “upcycling” hadn’t been invented) donated clothes.  I was working with two fashion students who recommended me a pattern drafting book.  I designed and made my own clothes for a while, but when I went to university it was to study Law, not fashion.
In 2010 my best friend got married and she had asked me to make her wedding dress.  People naturally assumed that if I was making a wedding dress I must sew professionally so I thought “Why not?”.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
As well as sewing I knit and crochet.  I draw and paint a little, and play the ukulele (which I think is a bit of an Etsy user clich√© – but my son got me into it!). 

What would be the title of your memoir?

“Go Get Some Tigers”.  My son (when he was about 4) misheard my partner telling me to “Go get ‘em, tiger” and said “Yes, mummy, go get some tigers”!  It’s what I think to myself when I want to reach for something but also want to make myself smile!

Where does your inspiration come from?

I am very interested in traditional techniques like smocking and embroidery.  I love historical fashion and corset making, but on the other hand I also love post-punk and industrial design!  I guess all these influences mix up in my head and something comes out that’s not a literal interpretation of any of the above.  Although now I think about it “post-punk regency” should definitely be a thing!

What does handmade mean to you?
It means not mass-produced.  While I design and make everything myself, I don’t have a problem with designer-maker teams, I do have a problem with cheap factory made dresses being sold as handmade!  Handmade means a limited run, every item will be to some extent unique and most of all the maker has time to put care into the item in a way that someone who has to sew the same seam 500 times a day just doesn’t.
I love my sewing machine and my serger, there’s no way I could make an affordable garment completely by hand, but hand sewing finishing touches really gives a quality look and feel

When did you know you were an artist/maker?
Always.  I remember being very young and making little outfits for my sister’s Sylvanian Families figures.  They were the best dressed mole family ever!

How would you describe your creative process?
The design process can begin pretty much anywhere.  I carry a notebook and a pencil with me at all times so if an idea comes to me I can sketch right away.  Then pattern drafting and sewing all happens on my dining table, I’m afraid I don’t have a dedicated sewing room!

I have a dress form that lives in the corner of our living/dining room.   A lot of the design process is staring at that figuring how to make the dress work exactly how I want it.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I have a granny square blanket that my Grandma made for when I was born.  My son came home from the hospital in it.  She died last year, she left me her crochet hooks, knitting needles and tatting shuttles.  She loved needlecraft and art.  Looking at old pictures of her from the War she was very stylish despite rationing.

How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I have to do something else for a while.  Nothing pushes you into more of a rut like sitting there trying to force inspiration

Where would you like to be in ten years?
I would love design and sewing to be my main source of income.  I would love a little bricks and mortar store, with a room at the back for craft classes.  The challenge is to grow the business while keeping what I love about it, the individualism and the attention to detail.


Etsy Store

 If you would like to be featured as well... send me an email at! 

We would love to feature all of our team members!

No comments:

Post a Comment