Do you need some inspiration about a successful sewing business? You are in the right place.
In our Sewing Inspiration series, we chat with different sewists about their sewing businesses and how they’ve found a way to blend sewing into work that they love. Learn about their inspirations, insights and more.
Today, all eyes are on Maria Grain, the creative mind and maker behind Ephermerish, an online boutique where she sells small accessories like wristlets and sunglass cases.
How did you first get started sewing?
As soon I could dress my Barbie, I was designing outfits. I coveted fashion drawing kits, and would spend hours coming up with new looks. My mom offered to teach me how to sew, and I turned her down because I thought sewing was boring. I just wanted to create! My sister was smarter, and she took the lessons. I spent the next few years pestering her to sew up my designs, which she refused. (Probably another smart decision!)
Cut to five years ago, and my daughter was born. I desperately wanted to dress her in pretty prints and tulle creations made by my own hand. I bought a Singer Heavy Duty from the local hardware store, and armed with my mom’s old 4-H sewing club notes, I taught myself to sew. It was frustrating at first, and I made good use of my seam ripper, but it was also so rewarding! I discovered that sewing is creating, and that my sewing machine really could take me anywhere I could imagine.
What was the path to creating your sewing business?
One of the first things I learned to make was tutus. The fluffy tulle creations that were so visible all over Pinterest and Instagram. I was a SAHM at the time, and I made A LOT of tutus. Eventually I started selling them over Facebook and at local craft fairs, and I parlayed that into an online flower girl dress boutique.
Unfortunately, as the pandemic forced a halt to weddings and other celebrations, I was forced to shutter my business. I took a few months to regroup, and noticed just how many fat quarters I had accumulated, just because I loved the prints.
I started sewing wristlets and other small accessories, and my new business was born! I recently launched my new brand, Ephemerish – featuring small batch accessories. The brand (and my Insta) are still very much in their infancy, but after a long, tough year, it’s nice to feel excited about sewing again.
Where do you look for sewing inspiration?
I am fortunate to have a beautiful space for my sewing. A year ago my husband renovated a spare room in our house, and incorporated all my favorite colors. When I sit in my studio, all the anxiety and noise falls away, and ideas just flow into my head. I always seem to pick just the right fabrics from my projects. My collections are very reflective of my feeling at the moment I select my fabric. Be it a gorgeous, bold floral, or something fun and whimsical.
What is your advice to a beginner sewist?
The most important skill I learned was patience. Patience with the machine, patience with myself. Sometimes your skills don’t always match your vision, but with practice, they will.
Also, if you’re feeling frustrated, step away from the machine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stitched and ripped the same seam, because I refused to take a break. And finally, enjoy the learning process, and be delighted by your progress. Be proud of what you make, no matter how you think it turned out. It’s all part of the journey.
What is your favorite thing to sew/make?
I am fairly certain that my daughter is one of the most prolific 5 year old artists around. Our house is filled with pictures of animals and favorite characters. We have started collaborating on plushies; she draws a template and I sew it up! She has a delightful imagination, and I love bringing her ideas to life. They are definitely my favorite sewing project!
More from Maria
Hi! My name is Maria, and I’m a prairie girl, living in Western Canada with my husband and daughter. I have a somewhat mundane day job, so my hobbies trend to the creative. One of my guilty pleasures is walking through our local fabric shops, taking in all the colors and textures. Inevitably I find myself leaving with a few metres of prints that have kindled my imagination in some way. Ephermerish gives an outlet to share these sparked ideas with the world. You can find my very new website at ephemerish.com. (Read: Work in Progress!) I’m also developing a series of videos to help beginners navigate some of the challenges that pop up when you’re learning to sew. They will be linked to my page starting June 1st, 2021.
Thanks so much for stopping by and learning more about Maria and Ephemerish. For more, feel free to swing by Maria’s site.
For insights on more sewing businesses, check out the rest of our Sewing Inspiration series.