Firstly, could you briefly introduce yourself?
I am Lyn Jordan. I have lived in the village of Ettrick for 17 years, along with numerous greyhounds – 19 of them at the moment! I promote my business as Nana Lyn’s Creations. As well as the kiddies’ clothes I am known for designing and making, I produce bags (from bum bags through craft and tote bags to shopping bags) and homewares like oven mitts and microwave bowl huggies. If you want something, ask me for it!
All my creations are made from quality natural-fibre fabrics and are lovingly made by hand to last.
Have you always been a maker?
From childhood. At 8 or 9 years I started sewing with Mum and by 11 I was making my own outfits with both sewing and knitting machines. I’m crafty in general.
What was the first thing you sewed?
I vividly remember an outfit I hurriedly made the night before my first out-of-uniform day at high school. I was twelve. It was a mini skirt and vest, and I even ‘wove’ the fabric on the knitting machine – blue diamonds on a red background.
What is the attraction of sewing for you?
I had to learn to sew because clothes off the rack just didn’t fit me properly. I could make them to fit, moreover in the right fabric and the right style. I worked out how to modify patterns to suit.
How would you describe your look and feel? How would you describe your product in three words?
My first three words are Quality, Durability and Value-for-money. Unlike some ‘fast fashion’ commercial retailers I guarantee my all-cotton products for significantly longer than 100 days! My children’s clothing will outlast three hand-me-downs.
In fact, I used to have pre-loved clothing for sale. My creations would boomerang back to me after my four granddaughters had outgrown them. People were astounded to learn these items were pre-loved because they were still in such great condition. Unfortunately, my granddaughters have grown up. I do still sew for them and family a lot.
Another three words are Wholesome, Old-school and Age-appropriate. I feel strongly that kids like comfortable, cheerful clothing appropriate to their age and activities. Little pretend jeans on a crawling baby simply aren’t practical.
How did you develop your style?
Often the fabric dictates the end product. I strive for a look that says dignity, decency and country values. My styles are not dictated by adult fashion trends. I aim for sweet and practical.
What inspires your work?
I love the sense of achievement from completion. It is thrilling to start with a 2D piece of fabric and end up with a 3D useful and pretty product. The anticipation of the finished product drives me on. This is true for anything I do. I am a completer!
How long does it take you to make a piece?
I can whip up a face mask in half an hour but some of my bags would take a full eight hours. It all has to be worked around caring for the 19 greyhounds. They are walked five times per day, every day.
Can you describe your work space?
Upon moving to Ettrick I set up a work room but that didn’t last long as my husband would get lonely with me holed away in there. So it all happens on the kitchen bench and along a dedicated wall in the lounge. That wall has sliding glass doors looking out to the garden and dogs.
Is there anything in it that you couldn’t live without?
The kitchen bench top. I had it renovated to the best width for cutting fabric.
What’s the best thing for you about being creative for a living?
I get satisfaction from others appreciating my work but I also like the challenges that people bring me. For example, my neighbour wanted a roomy bumbag to completely replace her handbag. This is now a popular item. Another client requested a handbag to accommodate her iPad. Another wanted a certain style of oven mitts.
I guess I feel valued.
How does it feel to be part of the RKB community?
I love the Kyogle Bazaar. It is a very productive, friendly and most importantly a cooperative community. I feel it is supportive and not competitive.
Do you have any comments about your work and sustainability?
Firstly, my products are made to be handed down, unlike the current trend of virtually disposable clothing.
Secondly, I use cotton, natural products.
Thirdly, almost every scrap of fabric is used. Leftover fabric from clothing finds its way into face masks, sanitary pads and incontinence pads.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
For those intimidated by selling I would say that if your product is a quality one, it will sell itself. Meeting the people who buy your product is actually uplifting.
What have been your biggest challenges and achievements?
Pricing is a challenge. People expect Big W, Kmart, Best & Less prices at first. That’s impossible for handmade clothing. But post-floods an equally tough challenge is being able to buy the right fabrics and supplies.
Like many I consider my biggest achievement to be my children and grandchildren.
Any last words about what crafting/making means to you?
As well as the satisfaction of completion I also love the opportunities that arise to teach others.