In September we traveled on our Sewing Tour to the north of Europe, to Denmark, and admired Trine of groovybabyandmama with her wonderful Jeannie Dress. Now almost at the end of October we fly to the other end of the world to visit Tamara in Malawi. Tamara has chosen sewing pattern Tina Jacket for her contribution to Sewing Around The World and already reported on Instagram on various “Test-Tinas”, which ALL already looked great!
We think Tamaras Tina Jacket came out very beautifully and somehow we are a little bit proud that pattern and fabric arrived on time and safely in Balaka, Malawi …
Writing about Tamaras sewing passion we highly recommend her blog and Instagram channel. Tamara has been living in Malawi since the end of the 1990s and is involved in various social and ecological projects. She designs patterns herself and is always looking for the best possible materials. Africa or better Malawi has become to her, a native American, a home and with its traditions and people a great source of inspiration, and decelarated her life in a wonderful way!
Tamara has sent us a short portrait about herself and her life (see end of article), but we would like take you to heart the whole story. You can read it here and maybe reading it will get you out of everyday hustles for a moment…
Thank you, dear Tamara, for your great contribution – Tamara describes in her blog in detail the different test versions and the modifications she made – and a big thank you also to stoffe.de for their generous support!
Hi there! I’m Tamara over in Balaka Malawi Africa. I came to Africa as an American Peace Corps Volunteer in 1999 and never left! I met my Italian husband in 2002 during an assignment here in Balaka and have called this beautiful place my home ever since.
I learned the basics of sewing as a teenager, and have been obsessed with fabric for as long as I can remember. But it wasn’t until 6 years ago that I took my sewing skills to the next level. For my project here in Malawi, I wanted to make clothing, and that meant self-learning pattern drafting. After that, I had to learn how to sew my patterns on industrial sewing machines. Everything happened together as a slow dance, over the course of several years, until I became confident in my design and sewing abilities and was able to pass on my skills to the local artisans working at the project.
My favorite clothes are those made with natural fibers, designed with a fitted shape, and constructed with beautiful details. My first job out of University was at German Vogue magazine where I assisted on fashion shoots. It was a dream to spend my days with clothing made of the world’s finest fabrics. I’ve been forever inspired by beautiful clothes created by talented artisans. It is the art of making clothes, not the glamour of fashion, that is my passion.
Living in rural Africa, far away from the usual fabric and notion stores of the Western world, I’ve learned to sew with innovation. I deconstruct old shirts to salvage buttons, cut up thrift store handbags for hardware, and have just started to learn natural dyeing with leaves and flowers. Although there are many difficult challenges with being a designer in an African village, I enjoy the process of finding creative solutions.
When I’m not designing or sewing, I’m busy planting trees in our nursery or out building fuel-efficient eco cooking stoves as part of Zoona Nova’s environmental education community outreach activities.