One of the lovelier parts of the internet for me is all of the incredible people I’ve connected with here, each creating in such unique ways and from such diverse places in life. Isn’t it inspiring? Well, today, I’m quite pleased to introduce to you, Danielle Colby, a devoted mother to four children and also the designer and creator behind Blue Jane Clothing Co. When I first visited Blue Jane’s shop, I was immediately drawn to the simplicity of her designs and the playful mixture of style and pattern in each piece. This week, Danielle is giving away one free piece from her shop to a Cloistered Away reader, as well as 20% off any order made before November 30. The discount code and ways to enter the giveaway are below, along with an interview with Danielle–a woman just as playful and surprising as her designs. Happy Monday!
YOU TAUGHT YOURSELF TO SEW AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER. DID ANYTHING SPECIFICALLY INSPIRE THIS? HOW DID YOU BEGIN?
I’m a little embarrassed by this, but I was inspired to start sewing from Project Runway! I was breastfeeding my daughter constantly which often led me to watching TV while I nursed her. I became addicted to Project Runway and kept thinking, “I could do that!” but the only sewing I had ever done was in my 6th grade Home Ec class. Not long after, I saw a sewing machine for sale and hinted to my hubby that it would be a great gift. Once I received it, I just dived right in! I’ve always been like that in my creative pursuits. I’m very hands on and learn best by just doing. It leads to a lot of trial and error, so I have learned to be patient with myself!
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR WOMEN WANTING TO LEARN TO SEW?
My #1 tip to anyone trying to learn would be to use a quality sewing machine. I’m not saying you need to spend a lot of money on a machine, but if you try to learn on a machine that constantly jams or loses tension, it will just lead to frustration. Another tip is to start with an easy pattern that has good instructions. Many patterns will teach you techniques as you sew. Indie patterns are my favorite. Unlike when I started, the internet is such a great resource to help teach yourself to sew. There are so many great sewing bloggers with tutorials on their sites that can help get you started.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU DECIDE SEWING WAS MORE THAN A HOBBY? IS THIS WHEN YOU CREATED BLUE JANE CLOTHING CO.?
It was only recently that I felt confident enough to take my sewing to the next level. For years, people have told me I should sell my clothes, but I am terribly self-critical and didn’t feel comfortable with the idea. With a little push from my husband and friends, I decided that I needed to make the leap and just go for it. I’m so glad I did! I’ve met some wonderful people so far and I’m loving the process. I opened BlueJane Clothing Co. in August of this year. It’s a lot of work, but I feel good!
I WAS IMMEDIATELY DRAWN TO BLUE JANE CO.’S UNIQUE COMBINATION OF PATTERNS AND DESIGN. WHO OR WHAT HAS INSPIRED YOU?
I’ve always loved the style found in vintage children’s books. I like to linger over the illustrations, and the clothes represented in the pictures completely inspire me. A.A. Milne has always been a favorite of mine. I love classic style, clean lines, good tailoring, and quality details. I use modern fabrics and patterns to keep the clothes feeling fresh.
YOU HAVE FOUR CHILDREN; HOW DO YOU MANAGE RUNNING A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS AND BEING THE MOTHER YOU WANT TO BE?
I’m still working on that! I think we, as mothers, always hold ourselves to such high standards. Sometimes the goals we set for ourselves are just unrealistic. I try to remind myself to take a step back and look at the big picture: Did I accomplish something on my to-do list today? Did I spend some quality time with my littlest one? Did I practice reading with my son? Did I laugh with my family and share how our days went? If I go to bed feeling like I accomplished something that day, then I’m ahead of the game. If I don’t? Well, there is always tomorrow!
DO YOUR CHILDREN INFLUENCE YOUR DESIGNS?
Yes, absolutely! As much as I may love something, if my children cannot play freely in it or if the material isn’t comfortable, then it’s not going to pass. Children are so fun to style, but reality is they get messy, they roughhouse, they climb jungle gyms. I try to make clothes that my children can live in everyday.
Enjoy 20% off any BlueJane Clothing Co. order now through November 30. Enter CLOISTER20 at checkout. Giveaway open to US residents only.
This post is in partnership with Blue Jane Clothing Co. Olive is wearing Blue Jane’s Aztec skirt from the Wanderfull line. She adores its soft texture and twirling abilities, and I love the warm colors and unique pattern (and maybe the fact that it’s not pink or sequined–wink). All opinions are my own.