I’m delighted to interview Shantell, the very talented maker behind LAVIGNE’S.
If you’ve ever seen Shantell’s work, you know her artistry pours through all of it, from her fabric combinations to her photography. She has a style all her own. I’m grateful Shantell lends her talents to my testing team!
Shantell recently tested my newest pattern, the Vignette Crossbody Bag.
She’s hosting a giveaway on Instagram for a chance to win a copy of this pattern.
You won’t want to miss out!
Click HERE for to enter!
Now let’s meet Shantell!
What is something you enjoy about where you live?
We have only been residents of Sarnia, Ontario for about a year in a half and my favorite part about where I live is the waterfront. I am used to a loud busy city, so this quiet place has been a dream for all of us. We tend to head out to the beach in the summer quite often and it’s been a real treat.
Tell us about your family & any pets you have.
Let’s just say my family is a bit different. We love to be goofy and loud which many times has made us stand out, but love, laughter and famous movie quotes have always been the glue that has kept us together. Lol My Husband and I have five beautiful children, three girls and two boys ranging from ages 16, 13, 12, 10 and 3yrs old. We have four rescue cats called Mavis, Floofy Poops, Felix and Little Moo Moo.
Do you have a job apart from bag making and if so, what do you do?
One of the reasons we moved to Sarnia, ON was to be close to my husband’s family. They own a business called Ligate Signs and I started working there a year ago. I work in the apparel department making custom t-shirts and embroidery for local businesses. They say working for the family isn’t always the best, but my experience has been a blessing and what’s not to love when you’re surrounded by sewing machines and people that love you.
What two words would you use to describe yourself?
This is a good question because I’m not usually great at talking about myself, so I must include the family for this one. I will start with my first child Daytona (leader & inspiring), second child Jaycee (reasonable & hard working), third child Nova-Lee (independent & helpful), fourth child Hudson (caring & organized) fifth child Nash (I don’t know!) lol, my husband Alexander (feisty & determined) and I think for myself I would use (creative & loving).
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Ever since I was young, I have always been amazing at drawing. I went to Art School and Sheridan College to become an Illustrator. During school and college, I took a few textile classes because I have always loved working with fabrics but never, EVER thought I could do anything with it in my future. Now that I have settled down and have had a family, here I am creating a business as a seamstress and bag maker, working with the many talented pattern designers and fabric designers in the world.
What do you enjoy most about making bags?
I really love every single part of bag making. I enjoy working the traditional way by using my hands and no cutting machines. I love cutting each pattern piece out individually, assembling and then laminating them, so that they last forever. I make sure each pattern piece measures perfectly so that when I start cutting fabric, I know that the measurements are exact! Then comes my favorite part for bag making and that is picking the fabrics, hardware and style I want to incorporate into the design. Each pattern screams a certain style already but by choosing certain fabrics, textures and hardware you can make it any theme you want.
How did you learn to sew?
I think there were a few introductions when I was young through school and my mother but after starting a family and having three little girls first, I started making their Halloween costumes, clothes, dolls, pillows, and quilts. And then, it snowballed into bags. I would use free YouTube tutorials to help guide me through each step.
What is the story behind your business name?
My business name is LAVIGNE’S, which is actually my maiden name. My family only had two children and with one being a boy the last name could only be carried on by him. Unfortunately, it did not happen, so I found this a great opportunity to carry on the tradition in my own personal way.
How would you describe your style?
I definitely know that my style is unique and tends to be simple and feminine looking. I don’t like too much “bling” and I love to create each bag pattern as an art piece! I will sometimes choose the style/theme by the design of pattern, my physical mood, colors/textured fabrics or seasonal weather (meaning white for summer, browns for fall) etc. I just know I love being creative and I don’t like to make the same bag twice.
What keeps you inspired?
I honestly think what keeps me inspired is the designers of the world. With all the amazing new patterns being made and gorgeous fabrics being produced, you can never stop being inspired to create something new each day.
Do you have any must-have/favorite bag making tools?
I can name many, but a few favorites are wonder tape, white school glue, 505 spray adhesive and really sharp scissors. They all have been an excellent addition to bag making.
Are there any fabrics/textiles you love/hate working with and why?
Well, if you know me or follow my platforms, I am totally in love with AGF (Art Gallery Fabrics) and the natural fiber of cork from (MM Cork Supply). I find that both materials have great design and textural elements, and they are very easy to work with, too. The AGF colors are rich and true to what you see online and the cork is all natural, which I love the most. As for what fabrics I do not like, I must say anything fluffy like minky scares me to death!
What does your bag making process look like?
Well from start to finish, I pick a pattern, then choose a main fabric as a focal point. This fabric can be showcased on the front flap, upper/middle body or even a front/side pocket. I then find other fabrics that coordinate well with the main fabric. These fabrics may color match elements within the design of the main fabric or contrast. I also like to have a theme. So you have to think, do I want this bag to be simple, bright, feminine, rustic, playful? After picking the fabrics, I then like to add another textural material like cork, linen, or vinyl. I will place small scrap pieces on the layout of fabrics I already have chosen and see what works as a whole. Then it comes to the final decision for zippers and hardware. I tend to keep it simple by the theme of the bag. So, if most colors are cool, I choose nickel or gunmetal. If most colors are warm, I may choose gold, antique brass, or copper.
What is your advice to new bag makers?
My advice to new bag makers is take your time and enjoy the process. Choose beginner projects/patterns and go from there. Watch some free tutorials on YouTube and don’t be afraid to try anything/technique once. Join groups to learn and build your sewing community/friendships. Also, when starting a new pattern, make it the way it is written first then be creative on your second make.
Thank you, Shantell, for letting us get to know you & learn about your bag making! We love seeing your artistic visions come together in your bags!