All of us at Fat Quarterly are excited to be a part of Tina Givens’ blog tour for her latest book “Sew Tina” for Lark Crafts. See here for the rest of the blog tour stops.

Most of you probably know Tina Givens from her fabric designs for Freespirit such as Fairy Tip Toes, Treetop Fancy and Opal Owl. Many of these prints just scream kids’ clothing or projects. So it is very fitting that Tina has released the book “Sew Tina” in which she offers us 30 kids’ clothing and home decor projects.

Rest assured anyone who thinks sewing clothes is too complicated. Tina includes a detailed introduction covering all the techniques used in her book and explains everything in a clear, down to earth way.

Tina is also very much a lady after my own heart! She clearly states that for her sewing is not about being a perfectionist. It is about making something for the people you love and imperfections make it that much more unique and loved. She recognises that we are all busy people and don’t have time to take on a huge sewing commitment, so all her projects should only take from a couple of hours to a couple of days to complete.

To celebrate the launch of her book Tina is offering one of you a fabulous prize package! You could win a copy of Sew Tina, 4 yards of fabric!, 2 boxes of stationery and 2 sewing patterns! Wow!

Don’t worry if you don’t win – Lark Crafts are also offering 3 free patterns by Tina on their website!

I caught up with Tina to find out a little more about her and her book. I hope you enjoy the interview and don’t forget to leave a comment to enter the amazing giveaway! (Competition ends Friday 29th October)

You grew up in Zimbabwe. How did that influence your designs?

A lot. I think where ever you grow up where ever you live now influences everything about your life. I definitely have this sort of ethnic thing going on but I also come from a British background with some mediterranean blood thrown in on my fathers side… so there’s a European twist on the African influence… I am also very inspired by where I live now and my children bring me loads of inspiration….

What is your favourite project in the book? Why?

It changes depending on who I am thinking about and who I’d like to sew for. I love the canopy because it can be made for any child any age… even a teen. I also love the booties because they are so darling and fun to make…. I must say though this book is meant to stay in the family for a long while from baby infant sewing through 7 or 8 years old… and then it circulates, someone else has a baby you sew for, or you have a 4 year old friend’s birthday coming up…

Are these projects based on items you have made for your own children?

Oh yes. All the garments, absolutely, and the little dude stuff for my little boy. I made a canopy version but made it to fit a tall steel shelf unit for my oldest child and made sides so it was a large curtained armoire for his television and books and such… we could just close the front curtains for hiding all the stuff! He grew out of it and I remade it for my daughter in girly fabrics… Always the hats, and I sew all the time so this is just a few items…

Did you grow up wearing handmade clothes?

Absolutely! My mom created a dress for herself and then guess what made one for me in the same fabric. Then my sister came along and oh we were always seen in identical dresses. My dear cousin too was included in the mix and the three of us little girls were always googled at because we were just that cute! By 8 or 9 we were done with that bit! I made my own clothes and started expressing myself through my wardrobe in crazy stuff… lots of crazy stuff… we’re talking late 70s early 80s. Through college I sewed and one coat I remember well was a VERY WARM coat made of tapestry fabric…. I wore it with jeans to classes… Toronto has cold winters and I was glad of it – and loved it because it was unique! I still make many of my clothes.

What was your favourite outfit as a little girl?

I don’t have a favorite…. but I do remember I made myself these baggy pants out of pink plaid and I thought I was the bees knees. I even made a pair of ‘ked’ like tennis shoes to match by dying and painting them… quite the trend setter!

What sort of prints do you think make the best clothes for children?

Anything you absolutely love. From vintage florals, to crazy rose chintz. I love cotton because it’s easy to sew and dresses and shirts are cute in cotton. Brilliant color and don’t forget to mix prints. Use a tiny print with a larger one and tie it together in color… And sometimes a solid is perfect for that basic piece matched with a busy pattern! I don’t care for baby prints for babies… I never did. It’s too predictable!

Many people are nervous about making clothes. What would you say to put their minds at rest?

Oh don’t be. Start with something small, making mistakes is all about the journey. Just set up that machine and cut away… use inexpensive fabric to start… even by muslin if you’re that nervous it’s cheap and you can throw it away. If you get frustrated, stop, take a break, have a cup of tea and a treat… anything but get away for a while, then return to it. If you make a mistake use it…. unless it’s glaringly bad!

Which project in your book, would you tackle first if you were a complete beginner?

The tote, dude shorts, Crib quilt, the canopy, brookies… see there’s loads of easy breezies… also read my intro and basics section because it offers insight into how I sew and I think a new sewer would appreciate it. Don’t take sewing too seriously…. get creative with it and enjoy the process!

Thank you so much for having me Tacha… I am thrilled you hosted the blog tour! And good luck to all your readers….
Tina Givens