Interview with Sandra from Nähspirit
In our series of interviews, we will inform you about exciting, interesting and, above all, creative personalities. It doesn't matter whether you are a musician, designer or founder. We are about inspiration, fun and creativity. All of the personalities we interview have links to our work.
I was allowed to chat with Sandra from Nähspirit, which was great fun. With the Nähspirit label, Sandra creates unique pieces from old clothes! It's worth taking a look at their website: www.naehspirit.de
How did you come up with the idea for your label Nähspirit?
It actually happened that way and didn't come about as forced, because I've always kept a lot and made something new out of it, tried out patterns, etc. It was always too bad for me to throw away old clothes or put them in the old clothes collection. Instead, I used them for my sewing projects. Over time, of course, I produced a lot, the things were there and so the business was just a logical consequence.
And you learned to sew very early, right?
Yes, I learned how to sew from my mother, who used to sew according to Burda patterns. For me, sewing has always been present in everyday life. Especially since the own children are here, the passion has increased again.
Does that mean you also sew a lot for yourself privately?
Yes, I sewed a lot of children's things, but also for myself. I like bags. My youngest son, who is now 3 years old, has a completely hand-sewn wardrobe.
Oh wow, that means how many hours do you spend at the sewing machine like that?
Yes... (laughs) far too little. But every free minute. Which isn't always easy, with 3 children, house and garden... there's always something going on. But I have a great sewing studio where I can just sit down and get started - even if it's only 5 minutes.
Where do you look for new sewing ideas?
That is very different. All old clothes inspire me, of course. When I hold something in my hand, I immediately have a lot of ideas about what new things can be made of it. But sometimes I have a pattern first that I want to realize. But I also use the exchange on social channels such as Instagram.
Does that mean you let yourself be inspired by what is there and don't have to look for ideas so much?
Yes, exactly. I always need a certain framework for inspiration. That was already the case as an architect. If I were to plan a construction project on an empty meadow, the ideas were initially lacking. But when it came to closing a vacant lot between two existing houses, for example, I always had an idea. And it's the same with sewing. It's easy for me to make something out of what's already there, to create something new. What is already there is my inspiration and I then process it further. But it can also simply be a new pattern.
What has been the biggest challenge on your way to self-employment so far?
Allowing myself to take this step and conceding that the whole thing can grow without pressure. A friend said to me: "You've been there for a long time anyway, there's really no turning back". And she was right. In my head, I actually had everything ready, I just lacked the courage to take the last step with all the consequences. But I realized that if I don't do it now, then probably never. A human design reading and the encounter with spirituality helped me a lot.
Your website says there's also something spiritual about your sewing projects, in that you give old clothes a new spirit. I'm interested in this aspect. Can you describe that further?
Yes, it is something special for me to breathe new life into old things. Especially if it's a cherished memorabilia - eg the leather jacket of the grandmother who passed away. Sewing a great shoulder bag or something similar out of it and creating something that you need appeals to me. Or, for example, I have a request to sew a christening gown from a wedding dress. What a great challenge! But it doesn't always have to be "the big" moment that you sew up. It's also just great when 3 old hoodies that are lying around in the closet unworn are turned into a great new sweater that you then like to wear.
What is your favorite thing about sewing?
I like to be creative and like to pet fabrics! And the moment when you turn the sewing project, for example a bag, it's always like giving birth and has a certain magic for me that I love about this job. And I'm always happy when I've succeeded in making precise seams.
How big is your fabric store?
Of course much too small. I always have a space problem when something new is added. But I don't hear that much. There are about 3 billy shelves full.
Where do you buy your fabric and haberdashery?
I don't buy much new. Great creations often result from improvisation.
I get almost everything I use for my sewing projects second hand. For example, I got a lot of old leather jackets from my father-in-law, or I got a whole bunch of old zippers from a needlework sewing group.
Except for the children's clothes. I buy jersey, for example, which is then usually very motif-related. I also love going to the fabric market, experiencing the flair there and being among like-minded people. I like to stroke the fabrics there, but I only take very special motifs with me, because I am rather critical of this mass production of fabrics. It is also important to me to support the local trade, which is why I buy fleece or accessories for very special orders from the local fabric shop.
Does that mean your claim to sustainability is very important to you in your sewing projects?
Yes, I make sure to use 100% of everything if possible. I always cut off every detail, whether it's zippers, buckles, buttons... it's really very rare that something new is ordered. For example, I get the seat belts from the cars from the scrap dealer, which you can use as belt straps for backpacks, for example
How do you spend your free time when you're not sewing?
I follow my personal development intensively. I read a lot, listen to podcasts, take online courses or just go to Zumba.
Is there anything you would like to share with other seamstresses and perhaps also those new to sewing?
Yes, don't show so much perfectionism, just sew boldly. If you have an old piece of clothing, dare to make something new out of it. So many say to me, "I can't do this, you're so talented." But I think that anyone can create something beautiful if they just dare to start. And it often takes perseverance. To this day, I too often have to be patient when a project takes too long. Don't let that get you down and keep at it.