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Etemi Otubu

A Q&A with Sewing Enthusiast and Peckham Levels Member Etemi Otubu

Etemi Otubu is a Budapest-born sewing enthusiast and also our studio neighbour at the buzzing Peckham Levels. Having settled in South East London, Etemi developed true passion for craft and sustainable fashion. You may have seen Etemi at 3rd Rail Print Space launch event, sewing freshly printed fabric into various textile products including cushion covers. We recently caught up with Etemi to learn a little bit more about her inspiration and all things DIY.

1. How and when did you start sewing?

Strangely ​I can’t remember why I started sewing, but when I first moved to London, I bought myself a cheap sewing machine and signed up for a two hour long course to learn how to make a cushion cover. My next project was a self-drafted, fully lined, backless dress that I made in about six hours, right before a birthday party… Of course it took a lot of practice to actually learn dressmaking, but ever since I managed to stitch two pieces of fabric together I knew anything was possible and I’ve had so much fun figuring out how it all works.

2. Who or what inspires you?

Travel​ling and discovering different lifestyles, different ways people use colours and fabrics is something that I always look to when it comes to selecting what I should sew next. When it comes to the actual design of the garment, I am inspired by anything from vintage pattern illustrations or street style photography to the creations of other sewists. The sewing community is a big and very welcoming one, so ​i​t’s always a good idea to check out what everyone is up to as well.

3. Do you have a favourite clothing brand?

I really admire how feminine those architectural shapes turn out at Delpozo, but if I had to wear one current brand for the rest of my life I would probably go with Dries Van Noten. The perfect mix of easy to wear, yet elegant designs and beautiful, interesting fabrics inspired by different cultures is what I am aspiring to create too.

4. What would your dream job be?

My Dream job would enable me to do what I love doing the most, every single day: sewing. It would also allow me to work with people who may not necessarily have the formal education to design and make beautiful clothes, but who definitely have the passion and enthusiasm. It would also be a job where the end product would be something well made, well loved, long lasting, sustainable and made in fair conditions. Being able to create this job for myself in a place like ​Peckham Levels is half of the dream itself.

5. If you could make any project without limits to cost or material, what would it be?

I think the Holy Grail of sewing is either a wedding dress or the Chanel style jacket. I have already made a little Christening gown which pretty much satisfied my need to sew a wedding dress (for now…), and I finished my “Little French Jacket” last year, so if I could just sew something beautiful for the sake of it, I think I would turn a Japanese silk kimono into a 1930’s backless, bias cut evening dress using an original 30’s pattern.
Follow Etemi’s sewing projects on her blog, The Secret Costumier.

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