One of the things that boggles me the most about running Kraken Kreations is exactly how creative my customers can be. You’d have thought that it would be me who has the most staggering 3am ideas for new items that make me leap out of bed and write such phrases as “swinging cat bag!” on the back of my hand in eyeliner. Instead the most whoa-like ideas come from my customers who, while wrestling with a shitty tote or phone case, have an eureka moment before commissioning me to make them something unique.
The upshot is that from one week to the next what I am about to work on is as surprising as the contents of Santa’s sack. This week alone I am making a dinosaur-covered school bag for a lovely lad with the use of just one arm, a slouch bag roomy enough to carry gym kits and towels, a roll-up case for knitting needles, a glasses case and a picture canvas decorated with funky bunting. And you know what? Every time I make one of these things I learn something new.
Ok, so the sewing rules and principles I have amassed apply to every project I take on, regardless of whether it is a bench cushion or a cross-body bag. A French seam is a French seam wherever it’s placed, as is a clipped curve or a bias binding finish. Yet how that particular item will look when it’s finished can be as much a surprise to me as it is to someone who wouldn’t recognise a thimble if they choked on it.
Take my slouch bags. From the moment the fabric is cut to the pattern it looks utterly bewildering. It’s inside out, back to front, the seams look as if they are all in the wrong places and after hours of work it still looks like a nest for a family of rats. But then, voila! By turning the fabric through in a particular way, a perfect bag magically appears almost from nowhere and, even though I have made dozens of these things, every time it happens it makes me splutter with wonder.
The same goes for fabric. A print that looks flat on a bolt of cloth can spring to life when it is cut and sewn into the right shape. This 3D fabric that I love came alive when I turned it into a book cover and the same can be said of the fabric I used to make this laptop cover. It makes me feel like a magician except without the dramatic music or a woman who has been hacked in half and is now scooping her guts off the stage.
You never know, the day might come when I look at a slouch bag or a buttony bird and think “Yeah, yeah, I’ll turn it through and…blah, blah” but right now I’m just happy watching these objects appear in my sewing shed at my very own fingertips. In fact it’s not just my customers who surprise me after all. Sometimes I even surprise myself.