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madeit designer spotlight Hipwear

Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi there! I'm Cass and I live in Adelaide with my husband and two gorgeous sons. I began my working life as a registered nurse, but after the opportunity to try my luck as a full time visual artist, I never looked back. Then came the most important role of my life - motherhood. With a busy life as a stay at home mum, I struggled to get back into my artwork, but still desperately needing a creative outlet, I soon rediscovered my love of fabric and sewing.

madeit designer spotlight Hipwear

Can you explain your craft/art and the material you like to use?

The craft is sewing - predominately wraparound skirts, but I also enjoy creating ruffle skirts,shirts and dresses. I utilise any kind of fabric I can get my hands on, whether it be new, old or recycled, and love experimenting with different colours and textures.

Where do you get your inspiration and what is your creative process?

I'm inspired by colours, people, music, art and the weather, rain or shine. In other words, I get my inspiration from just about everything around me.

With my sewing, the creative process begins with the fabric itself. I am inspired by the colours and patterns found on fabric, and really enjoy searching through many different shops to discover unique pieces of old, new and recycled fabric. I love recycling and get great satisfaction as I put unwanted goods to good use.

Once I have a nice stack of inspirational fabric, I then move on to the process of cutting, sorting, combining and finally stitching. I like to go with the flow and never know the final colour combinations until I'm literally sewing them together. The fabric is usually in very limited supply so each piece is a one of a kind, which allows me to continue with new ideas.

How long have you been creating and how did you get into craft/art?

I have been creating wrap skirts for a few years now, but first took to sewing as a young girl. During some school holidays, I spent some time with a talented seamstress Aunty who helped me make a 'ra ra skirt' - obviously the 80's! She essentially taught me the basics of sewing which gave me the confidence to experiment on my own. This led to many sewing disasters, but with them came a few successful pieces which led to lessons learned.

I have always loved wrap skirts, but developed a passion for them during and after my first pregnancy. As my body expanded and it felt as though I had nothing to wear, I could always count on my wrap skirt to wrap around my changing figure with comfort and style. Following childbirth I found myself in a similar predicament - even though I felt 'normal' again, still
nothing fit quite right - except my wrap skirt which still wrapped perfectly around my then shrinking waist! With that in mind I realised that a wrap skirt could last a lifetime as a womans shape may or may not change over the years. This inspired me to take the wrap to the masses and try my luck with online selling.

How did you come up with your business name?

I am not as creative with words, so my wordsmith husband came up with it for me. There were no other names in contention, it just worked....I don't know how he does it!!

What resources 'have or do you' use to help your creative pursuits (i.e. groups, classes, shops, websites etc)?

Well I consider myself very lucky. I enjoy what I do so much that I need very little help to keep me inspired and creating. I do like to stay in touch and look on websites like madeit - it's inspiring to see how many creative people are out there, and just what they're creating. I also enjoy looking in any kind of magazine - an abundance of colours and ideas awaiting!!

What's your best advice for someone starting up?

Firstly I'd suggest not to rush it - take your time to make a quality product you are proud of. When you are satisfied with the product, then take the time to present it well with nice pictures and a detailed description. People generally want to know more, not less!! It's also a good idea to do your research to see what similar items are selling for, that way you won't price yourself out of the market.

Be patient - it may take some time for your first sale so hang in there! I would also suggest posting new items regularly to keep it fresh for the buyers, and for yourself!

Do you have any advertising/promotion tips for sellers to be successful?

I'm not sure if anything can beat a satisfied customer who raves over your wonderful product!!! With happy buyers, the word will spread and your business will build in time, however there are other ways of getting your name out there. I have a facebook page that is currently in the very early stages, and I must admit I don't spend too much time on it, but it keeps fans informed of what you're creating. Other people thrive amongst the blogging and twittering world, I'm not quite there yet.... Business cards are a must - have some on you at all times as there will always be people who are wondering what it is you do, or 'what's your shop called again?

Can you share any lessons that you have learned the hard way?

When I was first sewing, I rarely (if ever) used a pattern, and rushed into sewing ideas with little thought - 'bull in a china shop' I think the saying goes. I just knew what I wanted to do, but simply could not get it finished fast enough. Well as you can imagine, mistakes were inevitable, as was the unpicking....not one of my favourite pastimes. I think it took me quite a while to learn, but eventually I slowed down and took my time to do things right... I'll leave it with you my fellow 'bulls'.

What do you like to do besides creating?

I have two very energetic boys, so I love spending time with them, which usually involves some kind of physical activity. We enjoy family bike rides along the river track, tennis, backyard cricket, going to the beach, camping, and soccer. I love to socialise with family and friends, and when I get the chance, I enjoy going out see see a live band.

What is your favourite music, television show, film, book, website?

Music - I love music - any kind - it's soothing to the soul. Rock'n'roll, reggae, old ska, world, jazz, as long as it's good!
TV - I don't think there's much worth watching on television... however I still seem to find myself zoning out to it now and then. I'm a bit of a flickerer... constantly changing channels in search of something enlightening... if there's a movie on I'll give it a go!
Movies - I love films - anything from 'Pulp Fiction' to 'Flashdance'
Books - I don't read a lot, but at the moment I'm reading a great book of short stories called 'Delicate Edible Birds" by Lauren Groff.
Websites - I love websites like madeit.com.au and the endless search for handmade goodies, youtube.com in search for new music, and ultimate-guitar.com for finding a fewguitar chords to strum.

What would be your perfect day?

I don't believe in perfection... but to be surrounded by family and friends, with the smell of the barby cooking, the sound of childrens laughter over the groovy tunes playing on the stereo, as I enjoy the taste of delicious Australian wine...

Who is your favourite madeit seller, explain why in less than 10 words?

Spoon Savvy – simply unique and stunning.

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26 February 2012

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