Fabulous Fashion Fridays is back!
Today we have a special treat – an interview with Bola Cooper – Fashionable Mommy and Fellow Seamstress. I connected with Bola through our blogs and was inspired by how she is balancing her passion for sewing and a new clothing line all while being a wife and mother! I hope you enjoy our conversation…
Bola, how did you learn to sew?
I learned to sew on a machine when I was about 14. Before this time I used to try and sew things like cushion covers by hand! I wasn’t able to use my mums sewing machine so when we introduced to sewing machines at secondary school I really loved the rate at which things could be sewn up and also how neat the stitches were. It was at this point I asked (more liked begged) my mum to buy me my own sewing machine.
You have just launched your own clothing line which you design and produce yourself. What inspired you to start your clothing line?
When I started sewing as a teenager I had the dream that I would love to design and make my own clothes and have my own line. I didn’t ever think I would be able to do it as back then the internet was quite young; there weren’t sites like burdastyle, etsy or folksy, and there didn’t seem to be any way to follow such a path unless you formally studied for a Fashion degree. I had however chosen to follow the Graphic Design route perhaps for fear of not finding work in fashion or textiles. So dressmaking just became a hobby while I studied at college and university.
I really got back into sewing seriously after finding the burdastyle community a few years ago, it was so inspiring! I found myself frequently making clothes and my skills improving with every garment I made. When I decided not to return to work after having my daughter I knew I wanted to sew from home and I guess it was then my husband and I started to work on the ‘Bola’ brand!
It’s amazing to me all you have been up to! How do you make time to run a business while being a wife and mother?
The business is still in its early stages and I’m quite new to motherhood too! so I’m still learning how to get a good balance. I do structure my day and allocate every hour during the day to a certain activity. This helps me to ensure that I’ve completed all the necessary things I need to do around the house and with my daughter while still having time for sewing. I’m still working on improving the schedule though!
Sounds like a good plan. I like how you make your daughter and your housekeeping a priority. I’m continually trying to find a balance there, too.
Can I ask, what’s your favorite and least favorite parts of the creation process?
My least favorite would be the marking of the fabric and cutting out. I always just want to get on with the sewing part and see the garment take life! I also find all the attaching of the interfacing or reinforcing tape and ironing the seams one of my least favorite steps too but I’ve learned over the years that they make such a massive difference to the quality of the finished garment- they are well worth the effort.
Finally, I’ve seen the beautiful pieces you’ve created for yourself and in your shop, but I was wondering – have you sewed anything for your daughter?
I’ve sewed only a few things for Niah. Namely a skirt, mittens and some boots. I’m hoping to sew more for her now she has reached the stage where she won’t grow out of something in a short space of time, I’ve been waiting for her to reach that 12-18 month mark! I’m hoping to make up a few of those gorgeous children’s clothes found in various Japanese pattern books, I always find the patterns in these books are really nice.
Well, Bola has certainly been an inspiration to me – I think I’m ready to try out one of those Japanese sewing books after seeing her success! To visit with Bola further, you can hop over the pond to her blog, Beauty in the Mundane. Bola said she’s working on a post with instructions for the plaid tunic she made in the above photo. I can’t wait to see it! Bola’s clothing line website is under construction, but her beautiful pieces can also be seen at her Etsy Shop.