From the shop floor to entrepreneur, how Janelle Duff of Rosery Apparel made sewing her full-time job

From the shop floor to entrepreneur, how Janelle Duff of Rosery Apparel made sewing her full-time job

Welcome to The Creative Files, where we speak to some of the biggest crafters, makers and designers, gaining insights into their creative processes, inspiration and their advice for newcomers. This week we caught up with Janelle Duff from Rosery Apparel who tells us how she turned her passion into a business whilst working at Spotlight and what inspires her to sew each day.


Who is Rosery Apparel and what is it that you create?

Rosery Apparel is a little corner of the internet where I share sewing tutorials, DIYs and teach people how to make their dream wardrobes. I do this via my YouTube channel, where I post a new video every week and a small collection of sewing patterns that I design and sell on the side.


Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue this line of work?

I've had my own business in some form since I started an Etsy shop as a teenager. I started when people were only beginning to make money doing creative things on the internet, so I honestly didn't think I would make sewing my full-time work. After I finished uni (I studied interior design), I decided to start Rosery Apparel as sewing was still my passion. I wanted to pursue it further and potentially make it my career. I'm pleased to say that after three years of hard work (while working part-time at my local Spotlight), I was finally able to make Rosery Apparel my full-time job!


How did you cultivate your distinct style?

I've always known what I love and what I don't. The things that I'm drawn to change over time, but they all have a 'Janelle-ish' quality, to the point where even my friends can point out when something is 'Janelle-ish'. Currently, I have a strong love of florals, gingham, and autumnal shades such as burnt orange and mustard, so those all tend to pop up in my work quite a lot.

Talk us through your creative process. Where do you start?

Usually, my projects start with the fabric. Once I find a fabric I love, I typically know what I want to make from it right away (this doesn't always happen, though, and I have a cupboard full of fabric to prove it)! Once I know what I want to make, I set about looking for the perfect pattern for the project, whether commercial, vintage or self-drafted. Then when I have everything I need to get started, I finally sit down at my sewing machine and get stitching (being sure to film the whole process, of course!)


What does a typical working day look like for you?

I'm one of those annoying people that naturally wake up early, so my workday often starts before 6am. I usually start my day with a couple of hours of video editing, and once the sun is up, I get filming. After lunch, I finish filming as I try to only film and sew for a few hours a day as it can be quite taxing on your neck and back to sew for long periods of time. Then I spend the remainder of my work day on the admin side of my business - replying to emails, packaging up orders, working on my social media, planning new videos and the boring bits like taxes. Once that's all done, I'll wrap up my workday at around 3pm and go for a nice long walk.


What has been your favourite project to work on so far?

It is so hard to pick a favourite, as every time I make something new I find myself saying 'this is my favourite thing I've ever made!'. I'm always super proud when I successfully make something using a vintage sewing pattern because they usually end up being so beautiful. I also have very fond memories of designing and putting together my Rosa pattern, which was the first sewing pattern I ever made. Seeing others make dream pieces using the patterns you spent so long creating is very fulfilling. It honestly never gets old!

Who are your biggest artistic inspirations, and why?

Anyone who has a strong personal style and wears something a little different to the ordinary inspires me! Often my biggest inspirations are the random people I walk past while in the supermarket or while I'm on a walk. I also get inspired when I find a new beautiful fabric or a vintage pattern with an unusual silhouette.


Do you have a single piece of advice you'd give to your younger self or individual looking to pursue a similar line of work?

If you love something, do it! Even if everyone else around you isn't into it, or if it's not 'on trend' - if it brings you joy, it is worth pursuing.

Also, practise your craft, whatever that may be! When I started sewing as a teenager, I had no idea that it would one day become my career. If I hadn't started sewing and worked hard to become skilled at it, I wouldn't have the decade-plus worth of practice or the opportunity I now have to be able to teach others how to sew.


If you're inspired to get creative, be sure to check out Make It March at Spotlight for a huge range of fun creative projects to try yourself and all the art and craft supplies you'll need.


Find Janelle here:


Instagram: @roseryapparel




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