Julie Hall bought her first sewing machine, a Janome, when she was 14 and has never looked back since. Today, the mother of two has expanded her sewing passion to creating machine embroidery designs. In-between time spent at the computer working with Digitizer software, test sewing and putting together designs, Julie is a regular exhibitor at craft shows where you can find her embroidery design creations for sale.
Today, we share an inspiring chat with Julie about how she got into embroidery design, her family support and current project.
How did you find your way into embroidery design?
My background is actually in Computers. Whilst I always sewed as a hobby, upon leaving school, I went to business college and trained as a secretary. Throughout my secretarial career, I developed a love of computers, and moved into Computer Training, teaching people how to use different software programmes.
When I stopped working to raise my family, I started my business selling machine embroidery designs, and we have grown the business from there.
How long have you been sewing for?
I honestly don’t remember a time that I wasn’t sewing. I can remember Mum letting my sister and I use her machine with some decorative stitches to make denim bags, and I would have been 9 or 10, but I brought my first sewing machine, a Janome in 1986 when I was 14, and have never looked back.
Your mum must have been a strong influence in your sewing journey…
Mum has probably been my biggest sewing influence. Mum always made our clothes when we were young, and taught us to sew on her knee. I can remember always having the nicest dresses at church on a Sunday. When the 80s/90s brought cheaper clothing into Australia, Mum discovered patchwork, and brought that love over to us as well. In the late 90’s, a friend of mine brought the Janome 9000, and I would watch her stitching out amazing designs.
Tell us about your sewing projects…
My passion with sewing is to create machine embroidery designs for home sewing machines. I began stitching things for my nieces and nephew, and then moved up to being able to create designs for my own children. I love making quilts using machine embroidery designs, but I also use my embroidery machine for creating amazing gifts for family and friends, and embellishing clothing.
Does your family support your hobby?
I have the most amazing family support. When I moved in with my husband, he immediately cleared a room out for me so that I could have a sewing room. We have an embroidered Christmas shirt tradition in our family, and over the years I have used my Digitizer software to create shirts in his favourite sci-fi characters.
My children are now in on the act as well, with my daughters loving creating their own designs and watching them stitch out, and loving being able to create gifts for their friends!
Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration comes in so many different forms. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest, Facebook and Google, looking at colour trends and fashion trends. I also love checking out what is happening in different magazines and articles from around the world. I go to a lot of craft shows and am always looking at what others are doing for trends and ideas.
Where do you create? We bet you have your own dedicated room…
I absolutely have a dedicated space. I have just finished house extensions which gave me a 20m2 space (still not enough!). Until then, I was in a 12m2 bedroom. I now have a row of tables with all of my machines, my computer set up, and my cutting table can actually fold all the way out now.
What does a typical day for you involve?
A typical day for me is getting hubby and kids off to work and school, and then getting into the sewing room. Depending on what I am working on, it may be a lot of time spent at the computer, working with my Digitizer software on new designs, or it might be all about the test sewing and putting together of designs.
I try and keep my day to finishing when the kids come home from school so that I can spend time with them, but honestly, when inspiration strikes, I have to move.
Share with us your current project…
Currently I am working on a set of sea animal designs. I am loving using all of the beautiful fill stitches included with the Digitizer software, and how it can make a design look like you have used fabric for applique, whilst only using thread.
Any sewing advice for us?
Be fearless and have a go. In the privacy of your own sewing room, it doesn’t matter if you stuff up the design, but it does matter if you don’t try.