Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Gemma Bowles takes five to chat to Sarah Norwood, the maker of beautiful undies!
Please, do tell us a bit about yourself and the work you do…
My name is Sarah and I am a lingerie designer! I run my business out of my home in Ontario Canada. I live here with my husband, my dear pug Oliver, and our cat, Lydia.
How did you get into sewing and especially making underwear?
I can't remember a time when I haven't sewed! Sewing is something that has always been a part of my life. I would help my mom sew our Halloween costumes as a kid, and sew doll clothes with my grandmother. It was a skill that was important in my family, and I picked it up at an early age.
I first started sewing lingerie after picking up a vintage pattern at a thrift shop! The pattern was for a 1980s style slip and teddy and was incredibly tacky. I took it as a challenge to make something pretty out of a dated, old pattern and was immediately hooked! I had studied Fashion Design in college but had never delved into lingerie until that point. So, I got some books, studied some pieces I owned, and picked up some vintage patterns from the 1960s-'70s, and started drafting and sewing!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I get a lot of inspiration from historical clothing. I love to watch movies with great costumes, or flip through art books. I also get a lot of inspiration from the landscape around me. I live in the prettiest little town, which is surrounded by forests and farmland on one side, and a lake on the other.
You also sell patterns for your designs, do you find that people are more keen to make their own garments these days?
Very much so! I think people are finding a love for sewing again. Sewing is one of the best hobbies. It is practical, fun and challenging. For a while, I think it was an art that was becoming lost, but so many people are picking it up again. I think the desire for good quality clothing and ethically made clothing is really driving a lot of people to pick up a thread and needle.
When you're not sewing beautiful lingerie, what do you spend your time doing?
My husband and I spend a lot of time doing little projects around the house - we recently bought a 1920's era house that needs a lot of love. When the weather is nice, we like to take spur of the moment camping trips, go for hikes in the woods with the dog, or walks along the waterfront. I love to shop, and I go out with my mom almost every Saturday and browse. I also love watching movies and documentaries. My husband and I are slowly watching all of the movies that have won the Oscar for Best Picture in chronological order!
If you were a lingerie designer what would you like to be?
This is a question I often ask myself! Before I was able to run Ohhh Lulu full time, I was an Office Manager for a small company. I think if I had my choice, I would go back to university to finish my History Degree, and do something in academia.
And finally, a question we ask everyone, tea and cake or pie and a pint?
Definitely tea and cake!