Meet the maker behind the bag! Sylvie of Sam et Merveilles, winner of the Swoon Patterns Make of the Month for December 2020, generously took the time to chat about sewing and bagmaking with us! Read all about Sylvie below!
Hi Sylvie! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself? Aside from bagmaking, what do you do? And where are you from?
My name is Sylvie, I am 46 years old. I'm known as Sam et merveilles on social media. I live in Carcassonne, in the south of France, where I am a teacher (my students are 9 years old). I have two children: a 21 year-old boy and a 10 year-old girl. They are my two greatest successes. I am also fortunate enough as to have been married to the man of my life for 26 years now.
That's lovely to read! We're curious... when did you start sewing, and what inspired you to sew bags?
As far back as I can remember I have always sewed. My mother taught me the basics of sewing. I sewed a lot of clothes with her help. I discovered bag sewing very recently: about three years ago. I immediately joined! Now it has become a real passion!
Annette, made by Sylvie of Sam et Merveilles
Your passion definitely shows in your makes! Is there anything in particular that you love about sewing?
What I love about sewing (and especially sewing bags) is that it’s relaxing! I have an intellectual job, so when I use my hands it’s a real satisfaction. Moreover, it’s an activity that mobilizes all the senses: the touch and smell of materials, the rustling of fabrics, the harmony of colors... All that's missing is taste... but I always sew with a cup of tea, so...
That's an excellent solution! You're quite right that sewing is such a sensory activity. Is there anything in particular that inspires you when you're deciding what to sew?
I really enjoy watching the work of others! Some designers are real geniuses! They are amazing! They allow me to discover new patterns of bags in different ways. A pattern catches my attention when I’m able to project myself with the bag. In which season would I like to use it? With what outfit? What would I put there? Based on the answers to these questions, I establish a color palette. In general, this is the step that takes me the longest, but it's a step that I really like!
Carter, made by Sylvie of Sam et Merveilles
What's next on your sewing table?
My next sewing project will be a Harriet (my prize, I’m so happy!), or an Olive that will be for myself! When the Covid crisis is over, I plan to take my daughter for a weekend to the spa. Just the two of us! A mother-daughter activity! I have already sewn two Brooklyn traveler size bags. I'm missing two Olive vanity bags! They are just amazing!
Brooklyn, made by Sylvie of Sam et Merveilles
That sounds like a lovely treat for you both! We hope you don't have to wait too long. We're wondering... aside from your sewing machine, what's the sewing tool you can't live without?
It’s impossible for me to sew without my sewing clips.
Wonder clips? We love them too! If you could share one piece of advice with other bagineers, what would it be?
My top tip is « take your time ». My mother always says: "nobody will ever ask you how long it took" Curves are difficult to sew: sewing slowly is a guarantee of success.
Dollie, made by Sylvie of Sam et Merveilles
Now, that's an excellent piece of advice! Thank you! What would you like to learn about? If you could ask our bagineers for their advice, what would you like to ask?
Some bags are real works of art (I am thinking, for example, of Benaequee). I would like to ask Benaequee: "teach me how to make appliques please, please, please!"
We'll be sure to ask in our Facebook group if anyone has any advice on applique and reverse applique! In the meantime, do you have a business page or Instagram page where people can follow you?
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences and ideas with us! We'll be watching out for your Olive bags and your Harriet, and we hope you get to go for your mother-daughter spa day soon!
If you'd like to follow Sylvie's progress, too, please click through the Instagram and Facebook pages above! Some of Sylvie's beautiful handcrafted bags are also available to buy! Find out more at: https://www.ungrandmarche.fr/boutique/sam-et-merveilles?
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Would you like the chance to win a PDF sewing pattern of your choice from the Swoon Patterns catalogue? Enter our Make of the Month photo competition by posting a photograph of your Swoon sew in our Facebook group, or tag us in your Instagram post with the hashtag #SwoonPhotoComp. We'll be choosing our favourite February make at the beginning of March!