When I was at university in Melbourne I started making lots of little things for my nieces – baby blankets, bibs, clothing, toys, canvas’s with their names. I had learnt to sew from my mum, and I found myself making the age old ‘I could make that’ statement when shopping for my nieces. I was also working at the very first Cotton On Kids store in Melbourne – it was an exciting time for children’s retail, and I wanted a piece of the pie. It was about 2005 and the handmade movement was just beginning here in Australia, but I didn’t know it. I started selling my little things at markets around Melbourne, not that there were nearly as many as there are now selling handmade. I matched up Cotton On Kids basics with my designs, I got myself a website, I approached retailers, I called myself ‘Little Miss Emma’.
Then in 2008 I moved to the country to be with Matt and I discovered a website…called Etsy. Oh boy. I had found my people! There were other people doing all these amazing, inspiring things! And I could buy all these amazing, inspiring things – and supplies! In the country. God bless the internet. I couldn’t open an Etsy account fast enough, and my very first blog was in fact ‘Little Miss Emma Designs’. I thought it would be a way for me to document what I was making or dreaming up next to create. Instead, I found a blogging community and some of my best friends, but that’s a whole other story. I also opened a Madeit store and a love grew for everything about the Australian handmade community – Bec Davies who started Madeit is an inspiration. I try hard to support handmade in Australia, the little guys here in our own backyard.
I continued making and sewing throughout our time in Yea, more-so when I was nannying from home and I did a lot of markets that year (2010). In 2011 we moved home to Gippsland and Little Miss Emma basically became non-existant – I was working a lot in the family business, long hours, planning a wedding, busy, busy. Busy being very, deeply unhappy. Again, a whole other story. In 2012 we traveled around Australia on our freedom-finding honeymoon, I packed away my sewing machine and fabrics forlornly but picked up a crochet hook instead.
Now, we’re in South Australia, I’m no longer working long hours and have had time to once again sit at my sewing machine, patiently cut out patterns, fold fabric, dream up new creations. I’ve opened my Madeit store again, ever so slowly dipping my toe back into the handmade marketplace. Now, I have little crochet creations to add to my repertoire, as well as my usual sewn children’s clothing in classic styles and pretty fabrics.
I’m planning on adding a lot more to Little Miss Emma, and I might share them here, but I might not. She Sows Seeds and Little Miss Emma are somewhat separate entities – but so is my photography business, yet there is always overlap. I had these grand plans to make a whole heap of clothing to release in one, grand re-opening of my store. Ta-da! But…it hasn’t happened like that, and that’s ok, because there’s something to be said about going slow, it’s handmade not made-in-china-production-line, after all.
So, if I’m not here blogging about our farmhouse and life here on the Limestone Coast, you’ll probably find me in my sewing room – elbow deep in fabric and lace and cotton reels and yarn. Just the way I like it.