about

Nau mai haere mai! Welcome!

My name is Sophie, I’m 29 and I live with my husband and two girls under a giant tree in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I have been sewing for 10 years on my Nana Vera’s sewing machine. It’s an oldie but it just keeps on going! When my two girls came along the desire and inspiration to sew increased as I began to create little party dresses, coats and quilts for them. For me it was a joy to spend my time creating something that had a purpose and a finish to it – so much of mothering is continuous tasks that never seem to end. But, as I sewed, I could create and finish something and feel pride and purposeful in that. I soon realised I needed that outlet in my life and so spent more time at the sewing machine learning new skills.

I believe that sewing is a skill that can be learnt. No one starts out knowing how to grade sizes or fit a sleeve. All of these skills can be learnt and practiced to become better. One of the ways my skills developed over time was by using tried and tested patterns that took me step by step through different techniques. Following great patterns can transfer into your whole sewing life!

Over my 10 years sewing I saw the development of my skills, and appreciated the difference in starting out homemade, and as the quality of garments increased, they became handmade.

To me, handmade speaks of precision and details that only a human hand can achieve with time and care.

As with any skill, the more you explore it the more you want to learn. After 10 years sewing I started to create my own patterns and spent a year learning how to grade and digitise them. I’ve been dreaming about Below the Kōwhai for a long time until I couldn’t avoid it any longer!

And so, in April 2017 I launched my first sewing pattern, The BellBird Dress, and haven’t looked back! Along came The Tui Pinafore, and soon The Mānuka Skirt will be released!

My dream for Below the Kōwhai is that it is about making sewing accessible to a new generation of sewers.

It’s about creativity, developing new skills, supporting and spurring one another on. It’s about having the power to live the life you desire… To create ethical handmade clothing for your family and enjoy the process as you do!

I aim for my patterns, tutorials and the garments they produce to be “handmade”. To be well fitting and include techniques to create a beautiful, professional finish no matter your sewing experience levels whether you are a beginner or advanced.

I am still so new here in this industry, each garment created by your hands is a celebration. Every time you sew, each time you share, more people can learn about Below the Kōwhai and create their own garments! Plus you get to receive personal heart eye emoji’s from me, prompt replies and one on one support when needed.

So, this is new, it’s special, and has so much potential. I want to thank you for supporting this journey and this stay at home / start-up business mum! I have lots of ideas for patterns to come and as my children get older and spend more time at Kindergarten and School I am able to see these ideas and dreams become reality!

Happy sewing!

Love and Thanks,
Sophie xx

hello@belowthekowhai.nz
instagram.com/belowthekowhai

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