As a child – in addition to participation in a weekly youth group and competitive gymnastics – I was very interested in handicrafts. Even as a young adult I was always knitting and I enjoyed tackling difficult projects. With the birth of our children, I looked forward to making their clothes and followed sewing courses for 4 years. Using this knowledge, I made all the clothing for the three children (pants, sweaters, jackets, coats, dresses …). I also began sewing clothing for myself (dresses, jeans, blouses ...) and, after some trial and error, became quite proficient.
Some 20 years ago I came across a small group that made dolls for charity. My interest in sewing, my enthusiasm to explore new things and my love of challenges allowed me to quickly master the techniques. Since it was not easy to obtain the needed doll-making materials, I started my own shop and also threw myself into the adventure of teaching what I had learned.
The porch at the back of our house was transformed into a doll-making workshop and the weekly courses were usually full. The space soon proved too small and in 2013 we expanded. The increased space meant that I was now also able to share my knowledge of other techniques: sewing, knitting, felting, spinning …
Meanwhile, I have been teaching needlework at the Waldorf School in Wijgmaal (Leuven) for 7 years. I teach first graders to knit and second graders to crochet. Third graders knit a cap and in the fourth grade we make a tote bag using cross stitching. The fifth graders again knit: gloves or mittens using four needles. In the sixth grade, the entire year is dedicated to making a doll: from a heap of wool and pieces of jersey, each student makes a unique, beautiful doll.
I enjoy expanding my knowledge, and in the past years I have followed many handicraft classes and tried out many new techniques. So I'm sure of what I teach.
The classes I followed online (see below) have proved very useful. Copying a pair of jeans is my favourite: very precise work with lots of variety!
SVV Leuven: 4-year course in sewing techniques
Volunteer group: doll making
Klein Duimpje in Wilrijk: classes in making a ‘sand doll’ and ‘puppets’
Youtube: countless videos on crocheting, knitting, sewing, needle felting, wet felting
· The bodice sloper, sleeves, neck lines, creative darts and seem lines, collars and closures
· The skirt sloper
· The pants sloper
· Pant fitting techniques and sew the perfect fit
· Jean-ius: copy the perfect jeans
· Pattern drafting from ready-to-wear
· Create any size: pattern grading for sewers
· Sew retro: the bombshell dress
· Sew retro: the starlet suit jacket
· Weekend duffel bag
· The costume box
· 40 techniques every sewer should know
· The couture dress
· Underneath it all (interfacing, lining and facing)
· Sew better, sew faster
Throughout the years, I collected books and patterns. They helped me make dolls, gave me confidence to try new knitting and crochting techniques, gave me better insight in spinning, thought me how to felt well and improved my sewing skills. I made many transparancies, so that I can also share this wonderful technique with you.
Below you find a movie about doll making, made by Rits students: