Today I’m featuring an awesome sewing blogger whom I met through lots of pattern testing: Melissa of Rebel & Malice. I have since cut back quite a lot on pattern testing but Melissa is still going strong: testing, blogging and co-designing sewing patterns, and she’s mom to 5!
Melissa impressed me quite a bit when she took part in my Canadian Pattern designer tour and sewed up these amazing Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Files. Go over and take a look at them, leave her a comment about how amazing she looks and then come back read more about her.
Go on, I’ll wait.
They’re fantastic, aren’t they?
Now on to the interview!
Tell us a little about yourself and where you live.
Hi, my name is Melissa from Rebel & Malice. I am a mom of 5 spawn. I love my little heathens of terror. Seriously, my kids are nuts in the best (and sometimes not so great) way possible. 2 sons, and 3 daughters ranging from ages 4-13. Yes,a mom of a teenager. I still don’t believe it! I live in sunny Southern California. However, it is not the Southern California everyone dreams about. I live around 100 miles north of the city, beaches, and where all the hoopla lies. I am definitely in a place from the movies, you know the ones where people die of thirst and see an oasis or where they usually dump bodies because no one will find them. Yup, that glamorous desert life!
Is there one place (landmark, shop, restaurant, etc) or activity in your town/city that you always recommend to new visitors?
I love the beauty of the desert. So if you ever visit here, I definitely advise to you find the places outdoors. Look up Deep Creek, the Mojave River or Sycamore Rocks area. While I hate the extreme heat more and more as time goes on, I love hiking and exploring in the rocks, mountains or along the riverbank (which runs underground and also flows upriver.) As with most areas in Southern California, most of these lands belonged to the native americans so we have lots of culture surrounding that in the desert area, Our particular area was populated by the Serrano tribe, and there are 2 reservations of this tribe about 45 minutes away from where I live.
Where do you find your inspiration? Who or what inspires you?
I find my inspiration in a lot of music. Music and art tend to be what moves me the most. I also tend to find inspiration from vintage fashions mixed in with some elements of rock and some modern mixed in. I don’t really have a set style, but these tend to be what inspires me the most. Nature is also a common factor in my inspiration, but I am not really a muted color palette type so I usually go more for shapes, animals or vibrancy in colors.
How long have you been sewing? Where did you first learn it?
I started learning how to sew as a child when i was about 5 or 6. I wanted new Barbie clothes so my mom told me to sew them by hand. That really forced me to do well at the tiny stitches because Barbie clothes are so little. I didn’t start using a sewing machine until around age 11, but was terribly impatient and foot heavy. I would occasionally pick one up to fix things during high school, but did all my DIYing by hand or with safety pins and staples haha. I got the urge to sew when I had my first daughter and starting reading blogs, then obsessing over Pinterest. I picked up right from where I left off, and was self-drafting patterns and designs within a few months. It has now been 7 years since I started sewing non-stop. I do it because I love being different and unique, and I like for my kids to have things that have an element of their personality.
Do you remember the first thing you ever created? Any pictures to share?
The first thing I created was a barbie dress which was really just a baby sock cut with a piece of ribbon attached. I was so proud too. With sewing revisited, I made a yellow polka dot top with a Simplicity pattern. It was like I never stopped sewing. I picked up right where I left off. You can see a post pertaining to my firsts HERE
Describe your workspace.
My workplace. Ha! Well it is everywhere because we have a house with 7 people. I use a bar counter in the kitchen for cutting, ironing, etc. I use the computer desk as my pattern reading/printing/blogging area. I always have fabric all over the place because I don’t get inspired when it is hiding (and I hate when I have to search through totes for fabric. Basically it is an OCD nightmare. I am one of those stereotypical artists, where the neater things are, the worse it is for me. I perform better in chaos. So my home and work space- are VERY chaotic.
Why did you decide to start a blog? For the sense of community? The fame? The free fabric?
I started my blog because I wanted to inspire people. I love the “sharing” mentality of the internet. Sharing patterns, printables, tutorials. It makes my world happier when we share the wealth with one another. I have intentions of putting out more tutorials and patterns, but I spend much more time sewing for all my amazing designer friends. I have a vision of creating a place people will come to for off-kilter ideas, or maybe just a little bit weirder, edgier, stranger than what you would find in more mainstream sewing. Of course, since blogging, I have met so many incredible people and made real friends. The community aspect, the uplifting nature you will find in most groups. That is why I have kept going. I am very fickle, so not very much keeps me interested long. My husband, sewing and blogging have been the few things I have managed to keep consistent in my life. Just try to follow along with how often I change my hair haha.
Want to see even more from Melissa? Follow her on her Facebook page or Instagram, “because who doesn’t love pictures”. (<< quoting Melissa there)
Melissa will be hosting a 12 days of Christmas projects tour over on her blog very soon. All the Christmas projects that will be featured will take one hour or less. Great for last minute present making! Should be fun and inspiring! AND she’ll be hosting a Katy Perry inspired blog tour at the end of the month. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!
P.S. Check out my ‘Featured Interviews‘ page to find even more interviews with some of my favourite creative people!