My sewing work barely gets past stitching up a hole or putting ribbons and elastics on my pointe shoes. However, I have one seamstress wizard of a friend named Isabelle who really is nifty with a needle and a thread, and this post is all about her and her stuff.
Philly born and raised, Belle is one of the most crafty gals I know. She's a tall, long-limbed, doe-eyed beauty, that could easily be a model from the 70s. Belle and I used to be roommates and I can barely remember a night where she wasn't doing something creative. Even in the way she speaks, you can tell that the inside of her mind is swirling with vision.
She's spent periods of her life training and working as a ballet dancer in New York City, Toronto and Montreal. But in between that, she's started her own little crafty project...
ShopBeve is her Etsy site where she sells her handmade products. I've asked her a few questions about her brand...
What is the idea behind your brand? What does it represent?
It’s kind of my personality that I’m putting into the brand. It represents a kind of effortless, down to earth vibe. A little bit weird. With some delicacy, while still having a bit of edge. And an artistic element.
I picture somebody with messy hair dancing around in their underwear to some good music. If it had a soundtrack it would be Light My Fire by The Doors.
It's definitely not uptight in terms of my designs. I can’t call them minimalist because even though the styles are really basic, there’s nothing simple about them.
What kind of products do you make?
Bralettes, undies, undergarment things. I like to make other things too but I don’t usually sell them. I’d like to add in swimwear soon. Oh, and tube tops.
What’s your favourite thing to make?
Definitely the bralettes - especially when they use a nice fabric. I try to make things that I would wear myself so it's usually something that I find really pretty. I also handpick the fabrics myself and only really work with what I like. Then I show it online and see who likes it too.
How long does it take to make the products?
It varies from half an hour to a couple of hours. All products are made to order - people give me their size and I custom make them.
What made you start this?
In Philly, I went to an outdoor thrift market selling swatches of leftover fabric from a furniture store. I bought so many fabrics and just decided to make bralettes out of them. They were really interesting materials and textures and they ended up selling really well. I always try to find the place again but I never can.
It’s kind of a lame story, I don’t even want to tell you. I originally wanted to call it “Belle” like my name, but replacing the letter “L” with slashes ( Be//e ), but I wasn’t able to do that, so I tried two slashes facing each other, which just made it look like a “V”. Beve just kind of stuck.
How do you take a sustainable approach?
When purchasing fabrics, I never buy more than what I need. I'm very conscious that nothing should go to waste.
Making your own underwear and bras can be so easy and more meaningful. So many people are okay getting valu-packs of underwear at Walmart for such a low cost without really considering where it came from and how it could be so cheap. When you make it yourself, you know that those stitches came from you. So I try to make a lot of things by myself.
It's my goal to start using more organic material. I'm very interested in experimenting with mushroom leather and using natural dyes with vegetables as well.
Back in the fall, I asked Isabelle if she could make me a lingerie set, as I knew I was going to see her for a few days in October. I sent her some pictures to give her an idea of what I wanted, told her my size, and asked her to surprise me with a colour that was lovely.
I was delighted to receive this wonderful eggplant purple set. The material is comfortably thick and hugs the body nicely. The underwear is high waisted and has the perfect leg cut. But the most incredible thing for me was the bra. As mentioned in last week's post, finding the perfect bra is like finding a four leaf clover, but somehow, this bra fit like no other I had ever tried before. It was exactly my size, incredibly comfortable, and still felt like it was barely there.
Man, my friends are talented.
I think Isabelle and Beve are going to great places. Creative people like her keep this world spinning. And we could always use another rad pair of underwear in this world.
** Thanks to Isabelle for all her pictures :)