Behind the Fabric – an interview with Maartje, one of our Wellington stall holders


The sewing world is such a welcoming and close-knit community, don’t you think? Most of us have probably struck up a conversation with a stanger in a fabric store at some point, united in our love of creating and all the fabric goodness that goes with that. It’s one of the things we love about Fabric-a-brac too – seeing a group of people who love fabric and textile arts coming together and filling a venue with happy fabric talk. 🙂

And as part of that, there are a bunch of people behind the scenes. (Or, since it’s Fabric-a-brac, behind the Fabric!) They’re also super passionate about crafting and craft community.

We thought it would be fun to get to know some of them a bit better. The Fabric-a-brac stall holders, volunteers, organisers, and regular attendees. Today is the next of our ‘Behind the Fabric’ interviews. We hope you like them!

Today on the Behind the Fabric series, we caught up with Maartje, one of our regular stallholders at the Wellington Fabric-a-brac events. Plus, we got some sneak peeks at some of the things she’ll have on her stall at the 7 May Wellington Fabric-a-brac event – exciting!

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Hi, Maartje! And welcome to the Fabric-a-brac blog! Lets start with the most important question first – what are your crafts of choice?
My crafts of choice is my passion: creating clothing for other people, mainly women, to make them shine. I am passionate about bringing out somebodys style.

Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. It is an expression of your personality.

My responsibilty as a stylist is to help you find your own style, by bringing out your inner strength in an authentic, genuine and original way.

How long have you been doing your craft for? And what inspired you to start?
I started to sew when I was 6, copying my mum who made most of my sisters and my clothes;

I am an autodidact. After I graduated from uni I first worked in a commercial job and slowly started to build up my own atelier.

It all started with the wedding of my cousin in 1987 – I offered to make her dress and she was courageous enough to accept it. After 6 years I was so busy with making wedding and evening dresses that I decided to quit my job and work full time from home (much easier with 2 little kids) and haven’t looked back. Since then I’ve made more than 500 wedding dresses and I don’t know how many evening dresses and mother of the bride/ groom outfits.

In 2004 our family emigrated to NZ and I thought it was time to do something totally different…..well….stupid – I knew where my passion was so why not start all over again! I had to build up a new network – didn’t know anybody in NZ and nobody knew me.

That took a couple of years and a lot of beautiful new clients to get the word of mouth going!

Wedding dresses are still my favorite garment to make, but I developed a passion for style advise and love to create or advise whole wardrobes.

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Have you had a stall at Fabric-a-brac before?
I am now in my 3rd year of FBB and even went to FBB in Palmerston North last Spring.

I love the buzz and passionate people, all in their own way.

What treasures can we expect to find on your table?
My fabrics will be colourful because I am a colour advocate. So heaps of my own treasures (simply because I lack the time to make clothes for myself) will be on my table or in the bargain boxes and also some fabrics from Europe.

This time I’ll bring a lot of vintage blankets. My new love: turning the blankets into winter coats. But I have too many and don’t have the space to store them all.

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What’s one tip you’d give to people for when they come to Fabric-a-brac?
Don’t hesitate when you see something nice……buy because otherwise you’ll regret it!

Thank you so much Maartje! We’re really looking forward to seeing you at Fabric-a-brac on 7 May!

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