Lookalikes, snake milkers, mattress testers and Netflix subtitles.

In this section we interview people with a non-standard answer to the standard question:

What do you actually do?

This time Anne de Graaf (30), sewing teacher.

  • Who:

    Anne de Graaf

  • What:

    sewing teacher

  • Perfect item to make for the beginner:

    A simple model of trousers or T-shirt made of stretch fabric

The colorful studio of Tante Ann, aka Anne de Graaf, is located in an old office building in Kralingen, in Rotterdam.

De Graaf is a sewing teacher and creative seamstress.

In her studio she has been teaching people who want to make their own clothes since 2019.

According to De Graaf, it is becoming increasingly popular.

"During the pandemic, people have been looking for new hobbies that you can easily practice at home."

"In addition, sustainability plays a major role in the increasing popularity of sewing. The environment, climate and therefore sustainability are current themes. And making your own clothes is of course a lot more environmentally friendly than buying a Primark T-shirt!"

Clothes that fit really well

Sewing started as a hobby for De Graaf, making carnival costumes.

"I liked it so much that I decided to buy my own sewing machine and get on with it," she recalls.

Not only does De Graaf enjoy designing exactly what she wants to wear, with her size 46/48 it is also very difficult to find nice clothes in the stores, she says.

She likes to pass on the satisfaction she gets from making beautiful clothes that fit well.

A good example of popular fashion items that you can make yourself is the flared stretch pants.

"Many fuller women think it's not for them. Because the pants from the stores are always too short, or too tight. But when you learn to make these pants exactly to your body, you discover that it is actually very very good condition."

According to De Graaf, the positive reactions from customers when they finally have pants that really fit are the best feedback there is.

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Breathing new life into old clothes

According to De Graaf, many different participants come to her courses, not just women with a larger size.

"Although it is mainly women," she says.

"But it ranges from young girls, who have never made anything themselves, to older women who want to pick up the art again after many decades."

Most of her students want to make simple pieces of clothing for herself, such as a dress or pants with elastic.

But De Graaf also notices that there is an increasing appetite for repairing or renovating old clothes.

“You don't stop learning quickly in this profession.

That's what makes it so exciting and fun!"

"I think that the popularity of sustainable living also plays a role here. I have now even set up a special course, which is completely focused on breathing new life into old clothes. In these lessons, pants are shortened, T-shirts are taken, but also made completely new items from old garments."

If you are starting to sew, you should first try a simple model made of stretch fabric.

"This is quickly learned," says the seamstress.

From there you can expand endlessly: with zippers, pockets, buttons, or by trying out more difficult models.

"You don't stop learning quickly in this profession," says De Graaf.

"That's what makes it so exciting and fun!"

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