Today’s guest is Jo from Dotta and since she is one of the first bloggers that I had more personal contact, too, I think she is the perfect person to start this series. I’m more than happy that I can introduce her to you. I got to know Jo when Heidi (Elegance and Elephants) invited both of us to participate in her Roots series. I loved to get to know an Italian sewing blogger (for my love to Italy see this post) and to be able to „practise“ my Italian a little bit. During the last months I have got to know her better and can say that she is not only super talented with a great style but also a super nice woman. One day I’m sure we will meet in person and I can’t wait for it to happen. Until then I’m curious to read how she answered my questions.
All invited bloggers will also show their favorite makes and I myself will also show which of their makes I like best. So, here we go: Three wonderful creations by the amazing Jo.
|beautiful Mara dress with special pintucks, Lucy tunic, Venice inspired dress|
First things first: Please introduce yourself (who are you, tell us a little bit about your family, which country and maybe city do you live in, are you originally from this country, do you work or are you a stay at home mom, etc.)!
Hi, I am Jo, I am 33, and I blog at Dotta (my real name is actually Gioia, but not-Italians always misspell it – Gioa, Goia, Goai – so I keep it simple). I live in Italy, in Vicenza, near Venice. I spent a few years of my life in Germany, I have a PHD in German and Italian literature and I married a Bavarian, that’s why when I am in Germany I always feel at home. But I’m 100% Italian, since generations! I have a two years old daughter, Matilde, who is obviously the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. I wanted to be a literature scholar, but then life took me elsewhere. Now I am an event organizer, and at night, when everyone is asleep, I love to sew.
Let’s talk about sewing:
When did you start and who taught you to sew?
I started sewing recently, after the birth of my daughter. My grandmother was a milliner, and five of the six sisters of my mother were seamstresses…but not her! She opened a clothing store, where I spent most of my childhood, doing homework or playing in the back shop. I’ve always lived among fabrics and clothing, maybe that’s why I am passionate about sewing now. As a teenager I asked my mom to buy me a basic sewing machine, because I’ve always been attracted by the idea of sewing my own garments. I never really used it til my daughter arrived. I learned to sew following the patterns instructions, and studying the techniques on the internet. I never had time to take a course. I’d love to, but now I like to be self-taught. The learning opportunities that the internet provides are endless!.
Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or professional sewer?
I consider myself now an intermediate sewer. I can sew every pattern easily, and I’m happy with the results. I like to draft my own pattern and I’m learning how to digitize them. But a professional sewer is something else!
Which three tips would you give a beginner sewer?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. And always follow the pattern instructions! What may seem unnecessary may be essential! I used to add seam allowances without measuring them before, I never ironed the fabric before cutting it … they seemed to me useless operations. Now I am precise and I can see the difference!
For whom do you sew?
I sew for my daughter. And sometimes for me. I’d love to sew for my husband too, maybe I’ll do it one day.
How often do you sew?
When I have some free time, I sew. When my daughter sleeps, or on weekends. Even if I am away from home for ten hours a day, I always try to find some time to sew. Sometimes I sew until two o’clock at night, and I did not even notice the time passing. And I never regret it, even when I wake up the morning after, after five hours of sleep!
What fabric type(s) do you like most to sew with?
At first I was fascinated by the variety of colors and patterns of quilting cottons, but then I realized that that kind of fabric is not very suitable for clothing. Now I love soft and light cottons, like batiste or chambray. I recently bought a serger and now I love sewing with knits and wool fabrics.
How do you get inspired?
I love Pinterest. And I regularly read the blogs of others. But I take the most inspirations from the street. Before I started sewing I had never noticed it, but there’s a lot of people wearing clothes in all kind of shapes and colors out there! I often get inspired by the details of friend’s clothes or of people I see when I walk around the city.
Do you have any real life sewing friends?
No. I talk about this passion with my friends very rarely. But I have many online friends with my passion, so I don’t feel alone!
You blog at Dotta. I’m curious to hear a little bit about your blog:
When and why did you start to blog? I started blogging two years ago. I just wanted to share with others the things I create, and see their reactions. I chose the name Dotta because it’s how we call our daughter Matilde (I don’t remember how we came to this nickname anymore!). It’s a cute and short name, and I feel it could be right for he things that I sew. But I didn’t have a clear idea of how the sewing blogs world worked. After a while, some designers started to ask me to test patterns, or to participate in tours. From that moment I began to really enjoy myself! The community of sewing bloggers is great, I met a lot of interesting, like-minded and passionate people.
Is there anything that you would make differently if you started your blog now?
I would change a lot of things! I’ve learned so many things on blogging … many of the old post now seem so naive and would need some improvement, but I’ll leave them like that, because that’s how I was two years ago! In two years I will probably think the same thing of the posts I write now …
How often do you blog? How much time do you spend each day/week blogging?
I blog a lot less than I would like. Approximately twice a week. If I have time to sew, then I don’t have time to take pictures. If we add that I have a very uncooperative two-years-old daughter, it gets harder! Sometimes it takes me an hour to convince her to wear a dress that I just made. Then once convinced she usually doesn’t want to go out to take pictures … I have a bad model!
Do you plan your sewing, picture taking and blog posts in advance or do you just let things happen?
If I have deadlines as a test or a series, I try to plan everything first. If I decide to write a post freely, then things happen on their own. I blog for fun, without worrying too much about posting regularly. When I see other bloggers post wonderful contents every day I feel a bit guilty … but then I remember that I like my blog because it’s pressureless.
|the very first dress, Venice Dress, Spring Showers Jacket|
What are the three sewn (and blogged) items that you are most proud about or that you yourself like
most? Show us some pictures (with links)!
It’s hard to pick only three of them! Each creation is so full of expectations! But surely one of my favorite is the Venice Dress created for the series Roots by Elegance & Elephants. It ‚a simple dress with a scalloped bodice that reminds the colors of Venice. It’s one of my first self-drafted dresses.
Another of my favorite garments is the Spring Showers Jacket, a pattern by Elegance & Elephants, created for the blog tour. I had a hard time trying to tame the nylon but at the end it was a huge satisfaction. It looked like store-bought! No, better!
I recently dusted off the first two dresses I created for my daughter two years ago and wrote a post about them, I still remember with how much love I sewed them, I think I like them so much just because of their imperfections.
Do you make money with your blog or do you have any sewing related business (e.g. Etsy or dawanda shop; pattern shop)? Do you have tips for someone wanting to start a blog business?
No, my blog is pure fun, but I don’t exclude to take a step forward. I have so many ideas… I need good tips too!
Taking Pictures and editing these is an important part of blogging. Good pictures are often what makes us want to visit a blog again and again. Unfortunately, I only have a compact camera (and two kids that rather want to play with their friends than take pics). I’m excited to read what camera you are using and if you have to bribe your kids, too…
What Camera and Objective do you use?
I use a Nikon 3200 with its basic 18-55mm objective. It’s not expensive and easy to use. The first pictures of my blog were made with my IPhone, so it’s a big improvement!
What is your skill level in photography? Did you learn everything yourself or did you take a course or similar?
I’m a beginner! When I have time I go outside and take pictures of the same subject with different lights, angles, and camera settings. Again: no time for classes!
How do you get your kids to cooperate when you want to take pictures?
My daughter simply doesn’t cooperate. I usually run after her with my camera and take about 1,000 pictures of her playing, and hope that some of them are good enough for the blog!
What programme do you use for picture editing and which steps do you normally take to edit your pictures?
Again: I don’t have professional tools. I use PicMonkey to edit the pictures for the web, and I think it works pretty good!
What would blogging be without other blogs? I’m always on the hunt for new inspiring blogs. And I love to get in contact with people from different countries. Who knows maybe you have some blog favourites that I don’t know about?
What are your three favourite sewing blogs to read? Why?
Most of the blogs I read regularly are already well known. I love Sanae Ishida’s blog. I love to read what she has to say about life and not only about sewing. I love Tilly and the Buttons, her 50’s style and her bright and funny pictures. I love Elegance and Elephants, Heidi is an amazing pattern maker, when I grow up I want to be Heidi (ok, I’m 33, I won’t grow more than this!).
Do you follow any blogs that are written in another language? What are your three favourite ones?
I take this opportunity to talk about some blogs written in Italian. I really like the blog Paunnet, written by Anna. It’s probably the most famous Italian sewing blog at the moment and Anna deserves it! She writes mainly in English, but she started recently to write in Italian. I like her taste in fabrics. I read Silvia’s blog, the Sewing Princess, she has a realistic approach to sewing and gives honest advices and opinions. She also writes in Italian and English. Vendetta Uncinetta by Gaia Segattini is another funny blog to follow. Her blog is a treasure trove of offbeat crochet ideas.
Thanks a lot, Jo, for taking the time to answer my questions! I really loved to get to know you better! Grazie tanto!
And now let’s get sewing! I’m curious to see your signature tee!
I had two huge T-shirts of my husband waiting to be recycled, with enough fabric to make something suitable for my daughter. Starting from a dress that fitted her well, I have created two basic t-shirt patterns, which I used to cut the bodices, then I added two different sleeves.
The first t-shirt has cap sleeves and star applique. For the second shirt I removed the old rib knit band and reused it for the collar, then I added flutter sleeves. With two fat quarters each (Kaffe Fassett for Rowan) I sewed two basic skirts, following the explanations for the Lazy Days Skirt by Oliver and S. I can mix and match the two tees and the skirts! I’m planning to offer a free pattern of the tees in my blog, it will be available in the next few weeks.
I paired the shorts with a black-white striped tank that I sewed using the Blank Tank Pattern by Blank Slate Patterns, which you will by now know is one of my favorite ever pattern companies. Again the pattern was a breeze to sew – if only the thin jersey (from the fabric market in M) wouldn’t have been so hard to sew (don’t look to close at the neckline and the stripe matching at the side seams). Can you stand how charming he looks in his new tank and the H&M cowboy hat (which is in fact a bit too small, but who cares)? Those arms and that little belly – ah…
It’s day 6 of KID SHORTS Week (day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and today it’s time for some shorts for R again. And not just for shorts, but also for a beautiful new tunic. Let’s first talk about the tunic as in fact the shorts were sewn to go with that one. The tunic is a „Desert Rose“ which is the debuting pattern from Caila Made. I really love Caila’s style. Especially her boys sewing is just so cool. These surf shorts and the shirt are definitely within the 5 items from all over blogland that I love most! And she doesn’t just sew great stuff, but her pics are always super beautiful, too. No wonder that she was part of Stylo 2.
And in case you want to know: The polo shirt is a hand me down from J’s cousin and the hat is from H&M.
Achja, das Poloshirt ist schon von Js Cousin und der Hut ist von H&M.