Featuring Designing Mom: Carrie Lundell from This Mama Makes Stuff

by Cat on January 23, 2012

The “adorabe” meter just hit the roof… Today’s Featured Designing Mom is uber talented Carrie Lundell from “This Mama Makes Stuff.” Sam at the studio had a chance to ask her about her creative life and blog. I think you’ll be as enchanted by her beautiful family and sewing prowess as I am…

How do you come up with your DIY projects like your ‘Fab Travel Chair’? So sweet, and so useful! 

Many of my DIY projects are inspired by projects, materials and styles of the past, as was the case for the Fab Travel Chair.  A friend of mine brought a similar homemade “travel chair” (made in the 70’s based on the fabrics used) on a joint family vacation.  I found it so useful, I had to make one of my own as soon as I got home.

How do you choose which materials to work with? Are you constantly at the craft store? Which supplies do you always have readily available?

You might think I am constantly at the craft or fabric store, but I find those stores void of inspiration.  You can find me at thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales picking up linens, women’s dresses, men’s suits and all sorts of other things I can use to refashion or use as raw materials.  My projects are very much based on the treasures I find.  It’s almost like these secondhand items tell me what they want to be (just call me the “Clothing Whisperer” I guess).  I can never quite keep up with the amount of projects that call out to me from the aisles of the thrift store, but I usually buy the dress/pants/sheet/tablecloth/pillowcase anyway.  As a result, I always have a huge stash of “secondhand supplies” ready and waiting to take on their second life.

A lot of your projects seem to be centered around women’s fashion. You also worked in the fashion industry for a bit. Is this something you have always followed? Studied in college? Or simply another outlet for creativity?

I do love women’s fashion.  My obsession started as a teenager when I started designing my own prom dresses.  Lucky for me, I had a talented sewist for a mother who would help make them for me.  After this small taste of what it might be like to be a fashion designer, I decided to get my BA in Fashion Design at Brigham Young University.  After college, I was lucky enough to work as an assistant designer for a small boutique children’s clothing company in LA. It was there that I realized my real passion is children’s clothing design.  From there, I took a design job at Old Navy in NYC designing their little girls clothing.  While some might think designing for a large brand might be extremely limiting, I found I had access to so many resources, the design possibilities were endless (whether that creativity in design was ultimately reflected in the stores was not my job, however).

How do you manage your time? Do you ever sleep? 

My type of creative personality doesn’t allow me to be too scheduled.  If inspiration hits, sometimes I will drop everything to complete a project right then and there.  On the other hand, I have 4 kids, 1 small business, a blog, church and school responsibilities and a love of running and biking that all fight for my finite amount of time.  This is why I have a leaning stack of projects almost as tall as the leaning Tower of Pisa and a strong desire to have a Sewing Marathon (26.2 straight hours of sewing).  It’s the only way I can think of to make a significant dent in that WIP pile and keep my creative brain from exploding from all the unfinished projects floating in my head.

Until I can make the Sewing Marathon happen, I try to carve out enough time to create something new at least once a week even if it means letting the dishes pile up in the sink or making the kids mac ‘n cheese for three nights in a row or staying up until 3 in the morning.  You gotta do what you gotta do.

Do you gorgeous children ever get involved with your crafting? 

I have tried to create an environment in our home that promotes creativity in all areas: writing, thinking, making, and playing.  Like most children, they like to mimic what I do, so I make sure they always have access to fabric scraps, yarn, scissors, sequins, glue, and even their own sewing machine.  I love seeing them create and learn to enjoy the creative process even more than the product.

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