Lara has a great appreciation for beautiful fabric and she makes some really lovely things. We’ve had such fun getting to know Lara a bit more as she helps us plan our upcoming Handmade Holidays for November; although we’re posting her introduction today, Lara’s been hard at work as a new SMS board member for awhile now! Enjoy Lara’s thornberry blog with an amazing chevron cardigan in progress, adventures at Sisters’ Market, happy children, fabric highlights and much, much more.

SMS: How long have you been sewing?
Lara: I have been sewing since late primary school age. When I was little my mother sewed my clothes, and was happy to teach me on her machine. By secondary school I progressed from dressing my dolls to making some of my own clothes, and I went on from there.

SMS: What do you enjoy about sewing? What are your favorite things to make?
Lara: I love the process of changing a flat piece of fabric into something that is useful as well as beautiful. Sewing offers a broad range of experiences – easy projects for a quick fix, through to complex challenging projects that take considerable time and effort to produce the desired result. In the past I mainly sewed clothes for myself, but now I sew more for my two daughters (aged 5 and 1). In the past few years I’ve also become addicted to sewing bags. My other crafty hobby is crochet.


Stella’s new satchel by Lara.

SMS: How do you find time to fit creativity (sewing and any other creative loves) into your life?
Lara: Fitting creativity into a busy life is a constant challenge! I find that I have to be organised and have a dedicated sewing space. Because I have everything set up in my sewing room whenever I have a “spare” fifteen minutes I can cut something out, sew a couple of seams, and gradually keep my projects moving along. I take crochet with me whenever I go out – you never know when there will be some waiting time that can be used productively! Generally I have a range of sewing or craft projects on the go at once and will work on whatever project fits best into any available time. I rarely just sit and watch TV.

SMS: Do you have a favorite sewing tip or skill that’s made things work better for you?
Lara: My favourite sewing tip? Read the instructions! I know that doesn’t work for everyone – it depends on your learning style – but I always sit and read through the instructions for any new project before I launch into it. I walk through the process in my mind, figuring out any quirks or potential problems.


Lara’s “Fabulous Fortieth” dress.

SMS: What’s a favorite thing you’ve made lately?
Lara: A favourite item I’ve made this year is the dress I wore to my cousin’s 40th birthday. The fabric was a cotton/silk mix, printed with all my colours, and I adjusted it to fit me perfectly. I feel fantastic in it. I love the bags I’ve been making recently – two of my favourites are a satchel made for my daughter Stella for childcare and a bag for my friend Sally’s 40th. Both have adjustable shoulder straps, hard bases, bag feet and other touches that make them a bit special. The fabrics are terrific too!

SMS: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Lara: A little more information about me? I’m 40, and live in Melbourne, Australia, but grew up in a country town. I’m married and have two daughters, aged 5 and 1. As well as doing the books for our two family businesses I work two days per week outside the home. I’ve tried most fabric crafts over the years, but generally sew and crochet. It’s my therapy!