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Friends of TFS — DIY Daisy

Friends of TFS — DIY Daisy

Our dear friend Daisy Braid, aka DIY Daisy, needs little introduction amongst the creative community. Former TFS team member and playful DIY aficionado, Daisy released her stellar book 'Sew It Yourself' in 2022, following several years of oh-sew inspiring blogging and making. This week we take a behind-the-scenes look into Daisy's dreamy studio space, and chat to her about her sewing journey thus far, and her projects past and present! Read on for more, with incredible photographs by the talented Ellamay Fitzgerald.

Hey Daisy, we're so excited to catch up! Let's start with a brief introduction of yourself to our readers...

Hello! I'm Daisy and I'm a maker, content creator and author living on the Gold Coast, Yugambeh Land. A couple of years ago, I gave myself the name DIY Daisy, and it stuck! Now I work in social media for an Australian design market called The Finders Keepers, and in my spare time, create content and share my sewing journey on my blog DIY Daisy.

Tell us what led you to sewing, and how long you have been sewing for?

I was very lucky to rediscover sewing after getting a job at The Fabric Store back in 2016! Having taught myself to sew on my grandma's old sewing machine as a kid, upcycling op shop finds as a teenager and stitching up mini collections in art class in high school, I've always had a DIY approach. When I got the job, I was so inspired by the designers and staff at TFS, and after discovering the sewing community (on my first day at TFS) I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I bought myself a sewing machine and decided I was going to relearn how to sew, and with the help of the sewing community, I did! I still have a very DIY approach, but I love having this creative outlet to express myself, and it makes me really happy to wear my own creations.

Describe the space you use for sewing in 5 words...
"Colourful, Messy, Sunny, Upcycled, DIY"

Tell us the story of your favourite wardrobe piece...

My favourite wardrobe item is the least worn, and that's because it's a special one. Right before my book launch party, I decided to make a dress to wear to celebrate the occasion. I picked the Kama Dress from my book Sew It Yourself and made it using the linen remnants from all of the projects featured in the book. With fabric from my favourite fabric stores patchworked together, I felt like magic! It has a big bottom ruffle and all of my favourite colours, with pops of gingham throughout. It hangs in my wardrobe for special occasions and days I need a big boost of creative energy. It holds proud memories!

P.s. The cute party pic above was taken by Brisbane photographer Cassidy Cloupet, at the Sew It Yourself book launch in 2022. In the photo are Mel @melt.stitches, Jac @jac_sewandtell, Daisy @_diydaisy and Meg @meghandmade.

What are you making at the moment?

Lately, I've been sewing Face Flags to sell at a design market made from my linen scraps and remnants. It's so nice to sew something to hang and admire rather than something wearable because I've reached a point where I feel like I have enough clothing, but I still have the creative energy to share, so I've been putting it into decor items.
Check out the collection of delightful Face Flags in Daisy's online shop here.

Share with us what you learnt from your biggest sewing success!

Nothing will ever top having the opportunity to write a book. It was a big journey, and I learned a lot! The most important thing, though, was balance. Balancing my time, energy and creative output with the most important things like family, friends and self-care. When I was writing Sew It Yourself, I was mostly alone. I felt a lot of pressure because I knew it would be out in the world, and was anxious about what people would think. Looking back now, I realise I didn't have a good self-care routine and I got overwhelmed by the pressure of such a big project. I wasn't taking care of my body and mind or spending enough time with my support system, my friends and my family, who ground me and balance me out. I'm incredibly proud of what I created with my publisher, but if I did it again, I would make a plan and go into it with a routine that means I can keep my balance and not get overwhelmed.

"I've found a great balance in my life, and it means less sewing and creating for DIY Daisy and more laughing with friends, breathing, stretching and cooking yummy things to eat"

Share with us what you learnt from your biggest sewing flop...

I don't sew with patterns very often, so I sometimes find myself cutting into my good fabric and then learning the hard way that I should have made a toile. I once tried to make a bias dress that had a few pieces, and I didn't quite cut all the pieces out on the bias perfectly. It didn't sit right, and I sent the project into the scrap pile. I sometimes pull out parts of it and am reminded of that failure, but at least the fabric is getting used up!

Do you have any secret sewing tips you’d like to share?

One of my favourite thrifty sewing hacks is to use a piece of card to make a hem or casing template. I share how to do this in my book and here on my blog. Another tip I like to share with new sewists who are afraid of the needle is to pretend your hands are Barbie or Disney princess hands and keep all your fingers together. Then keep your hands/fingers 3-5cm away from the needle as you stitch. You can relax your hand and finger placement once you get more comfortable with your machine.

What are your top 5 sewing must-have tools?

1. I was taught early in my sewing journey that an iron will make your finished garments look more professional!
2. A long ruler, I got mine from the quilting section - it's a must-have if you're self-drafting with shapes like trapezoids and rectangles.
3. A really good unpick that's comfy to hold in your hand.
4. A covered cupboard or shelf to store fabric. My sewing room is very sunny, and I realised soon after moving into it that the sun bleaches and discolours fabric over time. Now I keep my fabric in a closed locker so they don't get damaged while they wait to be used.
5. The most important thing though is good storage! It makes such a difference when you have good ways to store your tools! I love having a place for everything, and as you accumulate more tools, threads, bobbins and everything else, it makes it so much easier to start a project.

Are there any favourite books, podcasts or blogs that you love?

I love flipping through books by other creatives and designers like Beci Orpin and Alice Oehr or reading Peppermint Magazine!

Lately, I've been listening to Everyday Māori, it's really short lessons covering all the basics! I mostly listen to music when I'm making, though, I love Montgomery, Cub Sport and Allen Stone! I don't read blogs much anymore, but I do love this substack by Abby called Worn Out, it's all about how she used to be a shopaholic and how she's putting an end to her excessive consumption. It's been really cool to hear someone else's thoughts on fast fashion and overconsumption. I also love her TikTok!

What and/or who motivates and inspires you?

I'm always motivated and inspired by the sewing community! Since I'm not sewing clothes so much at the moment, I've been enjoying seeing new sewists discover their style and try new patterns that I've been thinking about making. I'm also inspired by the local creative community, as I try my hand at more DIY and home projects, I have discovered a whole new bunch of makers and designers doing cool things with their mediums. Some favs are Lawn Bowls, Claire Ritchie, Furry Little Peach and Kate Eliza!

Any future projects that you are excited about?

I'm planning to make a big puffy long Rosebud Raglan Dress to wear with sneakers using some lime green cotton lawn! I hope it turns out exactly as I picture it in my mind, because in my mind I look cool as!

A very warm thank you to Daisy for chatting with us this week, we can't wait to see that new Rosebud Raglan Dress come to life!

We hope you've enjoyed this makers interview, the first of many for Friends of TFS. Head over and follow Daisy via Instagram and TikTok, and don't forget to check out her website for colourful goods, gifts and DIY ideas.