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We love learning about the sewers we collaborate with. Here we introduce you to Lesley Blocha, whose creative touch has transformed numerous Camelot fabrics into an array of different accessories.
What did you study in school?
I studied Child and Youth Care Counselling at Mount Royal University- that is what brought me to Calgary to begin with back in 2013. I graduated in 2015 and worked full time with the same organization I had my practicum with.
What did you do before you focused on sewing?
I have been sewing for about 12 years now- although my mom sewed when I was younger, and I was a pin-passer extraordinaire as a child ;). I have been focusing on @theellebeetree and sewing at the capacity I do now for a few years, prior to that working within the Child and Youth Care Field and serving at a local restaurant.
When did you start sewing and what prompted you to start?
Sewing has always kind of been around for me. My mom made most of my clothes when I was in elementary school, and she was always trying new patterns and exploring different things to make. Later in my young adult years, in 2012 I had the impulse to make a couple of clutches after seeing an online tutorial and it has just kind of snow-balled from there, as these things often do. Between my mom and some YouTube videos I caught onto the basics quickly.
Do you sew any other items?
After sewing up the original clutch, I wanted to try new patterns and started making up my own designs. I started to fall in love with the options for fabrics and loved the challenge of making fabric suitable to make into bags. For a very long time I stuck to smaller toiletry and project bags and small clutches, as well as some home decor pieces, however, during the pandemic (in between making masks, obviously), I felt like it was the perfect time to challenge myself to work on new bag styles and learn, essentially, a new set of sewing skills.
What drew you to and what do you love about Camelot fabrics?
I think Camelot is a household name for the licensed fabrics featuring characters we love, and I particularly love the unique designs and variety they come in. I also love the Camelot works with a diverse lineup of designers making the collections interesting and different from one another. You can never guess the next new thing and I love that.
Talk to us about your love of floral prints.
Uh-oh- is my love of florals that obvious? ;)
I absolutely love the feminine whimsy that florals evoke. Regardless of the style they’re drawn in or the colors that are used, I always find floral prints to be kind of enchanting.
They also look really *really* great as handbags.
What inspires you?
Inspiration kind of ebbs and flows from different things- events, ideas, etc. However, at them moment, I am finding myself heavily inspired and influenced by my customers. Since launching the ‘build-a-bag’ option on my website for custom pieces, it is incredible the pieces I put together straight from the minds of my customers. They are able to think of combinations I would have never dreamed, and it almost always trickles its way into my ready made pieces eventually.
What is your creative process?
It always starts with fabric. I have been trying to limit myself to fabric that I absolutely love and have an immediate vision for. If a piece doesn’t scream to me to be a certain bag style or to be paired with a certain webbing or zipper, then it doesn’t come home with me.
How many bags have you sewn?
I missed the memo to keep count- haha. Easily thousands.
What is your workspace/your sewing studio like?
It is… not much. I will preface by saying more than anything I am grateful to have a space large enough to work in from home. Next, I will tell you it is an unfinished basement, with a concrete floor, no windows and insulation for walls. We installed some amazing strip lights though and in summer it’s nice and cool and I’m beside the furnace in the winter. I also have a ton of fabric to brighten up the space ;).
What is your favourite project or item you’ve created with Camelot fabrics?
Oh dear, this is a tough one. The first thing that came to mind was a Mandalorian themed collection of bags including a Ferris Fanny Pack and small wallet. I think it was just so darn cute and each piece went to people who will enjoy them on a very fun, fandom level.
What is your dream sewing project that you haven’t made yet?
I have a mountain of patterns I have been wanting to try- all of them are bags of course- but the Guardian Backpack from Linds Handmade is on the top of the pile.
Also, I don’t know if this would be considered a dream sewing project, and I never thought I would say this, but I have been tempted lately to dip my toes in the world of quilting.