Categories : 9 questions
Can you tell us a bit about you?
Hello! My name is Nicole Merritts and I blog over at Merrittsmakes.com (@nf_merritts on IG). I live near Salt Lake City, Utah in the US. When I’m not blogging and sewing my own wardrobe, you can find me parenting my five year old son, listening to true crime podcasts, eating tacos, or thinking about what I’ll sew next.
What made you start sewing?
I’ve sewn most of my life but fell in love with sewing clothing after my son was born. Nothing ready-to-wear fit quite right and I wanted to wear bold prints that weren’t available in my price range. I started trying to complete one project a week so that I would have something fun to wear when I worked at a fabric store on the weekends. A lot of these beginning projects didn’t fit properly and weren’t always constructed well but I improved over time and haven’t stopped sewing since.
How does your sewing corner looks like?
Last summer my husband and I purchased our first home. One of our must have items was a room to use as a dedicated sewing room. The room organization is still a work in progress. Currently I have a few built-in shelves for fabric storage and a large desk for my sewing machine and serger. It’s not fancy, but it’s bright and has a window that looks directly into the backyard so I can work and watch my son play.
What’s your favourite garment you’ve made and why?
I sewed an Alina Design Co Hampton Jean Jacket in October of 2017 and it’s become one of my most worn garments. I used high quality denim and took time to sew flat-fell seams and do my best work on the topstitching. The back panel has straight lines of hand embroidery adding a subtle detail that makes it feel extra special. Usually I style it with a casual top and jeans but, it looks equally nice paired with a dress for a night out. My favorite projects are often the ones where I slow down and take the time to carefully complete each step.
And what’s your least favourite piece you’ve made?
When I was first learning about sewing with knits, I made a pair of sweatpants using a Simplicity pattern. The knit was 100% cotton and, as such, had terrible recovery. I hadn’t learned the importance of recovery and the sweats were constantly falling down and had to be washed after each wear so they would shrink back to the original size. I also didn’t know the importance of using proper stretch needles and holes eventually developed all along the seams.
What is your best sewing tip?
Most of my sewing is done in the evenings after my son is asleep so I’m often sewing when I’m a bit tired. Over the years I’ve learned that if I start making mistakes, it’s time to go to sleep. It’s ok to pause and come back to the issue later. A clear head often makes for better solutions. I recently made an Archer Button Up and incorrectly attached the sleeve plackets. I was frustrated and thought I’d have to completely remove the sleeves in order to fix my mistake. After a full night’s sleep, I realized that I only had to remove about five stitches and turn the placket to the other side. Had I tried to fix the issue the night before I would’ve spent hours on a solution instead of the 15 minutes it took the next morning.
What skills in sewing or pattern making do you want to gain and for what purpose?
I’d like to dip my toes into tailoring and gain skills there. My younger sister is graduating from college in a few weeks and I’d love to make her a nice blazer to celebrate her first teaching job.
Which Opian patterns have you made?
The Pilatus Swimsuit is the first and only Opian pattern I’ve sewn. I loved it so much that I almost immediately sewed a second as a gift to my sister. Recently we spent a couple of days at a waterpark. The suits held up well and I even got several compliments.
What is the share of handmade compared to ready-to-wear in your closet?
My closet is about 90% handmade. Once I discovered that handmade clothes generally fit better than ready-to-wear I stopped buying ready-to-wear for myself. I buy one or two ready-to-wear pieces a year, but sew a few pieces each month.
What is your next sewing project?
I’m currently working on a couple of jumpsuits. They’re my go-to wardrobe staple for easy dressing in the summer and I’m hoping to add a few more to my wardrobe before the weather heats up here in Utah.