From My Mother to Me # 4. Compagnie M.

Saturday, 26 April 2014


The Sunday Series continues after a little Easter break! It seems I'm not the only one who had some 'time out' last week for a spring break. I made a real effort not to switch on the laptop and spend some proper time with my children. Lovely...And I'm making it a policy to be very gentle on us working, sewing, blogging mums...  so we all took a break last Sunday (hopefully to eat chocolate). 
But we're back on the journey to Mother's Day on May 11, with Marte from Compagnie M sharing her sewing heritage! 

I'm sure I hardly need to introduce Marte, her Louisa dress pattern remains the best-worn dress in my daughter's wardrobe, and  her new Lotta dress pattern launches tomorrow! And perhaps because I'm a twin too, I adore her  two little girls! Over to you Marte..



My name is Marte and I blog at Compagnie-m.com. First of all I would like to thank Victoria for inviting me to this wonderful series! I could talk about my mother for hours, but when it comes to explaining how I’ve developed my own Compagnie M. project, I can’t ignore my father’s influence. So I kind of made my own interpretation for this series. Hope that’s ok!?

My mother is the sweetest person ever. When I was little, she did everything to give my sister and I the opportunity to develop our ‘creative skills’.
I went dancing, to music school, followed drawing courses and so on and so on! She had a really tight schedule to drive us from one place to the other… How sweet is that? So my initial creative skills are thanks to my mother. That’s for sure!



My mother herself was more advanced in knitting then sewing (as far as I can remember). She knocked off Oilily sweaters and sewed us the perfect carnival outfits!
 
I don’t know whether it’s a good idea to show you these pictures, but, what the heck…



Meanwhile, my father was a bit absent from time to time; working very hard to develop his independent business as an architect!

Without realizing at that time, it was my father that was the first to ‘shape’ me to the person I am today. I earned most of his genes. You can tell by the shape of our nose (we have typical big ‘Lambin’ noses that every one laughs with…). Apart from his nose, I also inherited his way of thinking, his skills in so many ways!

When I graduated from high school and I had to choose what to study, my father took me to The Academia, a famous school in Antwerp. He had studied architecture there, but he wanted to show me another subject: industrial product development. It’s basically the same as architecture, simply replacing the ‘architect’s buildings’ by ‘industrial products’. It was a perfect mix between analytic courses and creativity! Perfect for me!

So that’s where I fully developed my creative skills which I now use every day when I try to develop new patterns from Compagnie M. After 5 years of studying, I was ready to start working at Ecover, an ecological company that produces ecological washing and cleaning products.

This was another important phase in my life. I started to get more conscious about the environment and the influence we all have on this one and only planet we own!

So when I got pregnant a couple of years later, I wanted to start making my own kids clothes. Next to sewing, I also decided to only buy second-hand clothes for Lisa and Nore. After three years, that’s what I still do. The only thing that has changed is that I’m designing my own patterns now. Out of frustration! I just ‘hate’ to finish a garment that doesn’t fit well. It’s such a waste of time and materials…

When I lost my job as a brand marketer last year and became unemployed, I saw it as an opportunity. I used my time to start experimenting with drawing my own patterns. To show my work I started blogging at Compagnie M. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
At the moment, I finally do what I love the most: I try to find the perfect mix between my creative work, building my own brand and finding the best way to communicate with my readers.

And that’s when I come back to my father’s influence. I would have never dared to start Compagnie M. when he didn’t give me the opportunity to start working for him part time. He’s not only my financial back up, but also my biggest fan.
He has never sewn before but when I still had this ‘page-view-counter’ on my previous blog, he knew better then me how many visits I had every day.

It’s strange to say, but now that I’m starting my own business I finally understand why my father was a little bit absent from time to time when I was younger. It’s just so difficult to combine family life with your own business.

I have the feeling that I’ve kind of ended up in the same situation. I could have never done this without my own partner, Bjorn, who has been very, very, very supportive from the beginning! Lately he’s taking more care of our children then I am. It might sound strange, but he does everything for Lisa and Nore! It seems like history’s repeating…. only the other way around!

And that’s when I come to the end of my story! The circle closes when I take my time to talk about my mother-in-law: she’s probably the only person in my environment that has sewn as much as I do these days!
She has always sewn all clothes for Bjorn and his brother. And guess what? She kept all pattern magazines she ever bought from the 70’s until now. More magazines then I shall probably ever own!
 

Pinterest used to be my most important place to find inspiration, until  I discovered these hidden treasures a couple of months ago; waiting for me in her closet!
 

I guess I will never run out of ideas or inspiration anymore. Although most patterns are outdated, I just start with using lines and details to created my own patterns… So thanks to all of you: mama, papa, Bjorn and Chris!

You’ve all been such a great support and inspiration to me!



Hopefully I will be able to pass my skills to Lisa and Nore. They are only three year old, but lately I bought a mini sewing machine at a flea market for them.

When I asked Lisa the first day of our Easter holiday what she wanted to do she was shouting out loud: SEWING!!! 




Thank you so much Marte! It's lovely to have fathers and mother-in-laws as well as mothers in this series! I love hearing about your creative journey. And those Burda magazines! What a treasure trove. Those crazy 80s pockets!
Next week, Jenya from While she was sleeping will be here....Exciting!

7 comments :

  1. Thanks Victoria for inviting me to you lovely series!

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  2. Wat een mooi verhaal, Marte! Ik heb de indruk dat je de juiste keuze gemaakt hebt! You can do It, You do it, and you will keep it! Ik ben zelf ook nog steeds op zoek naar de juiste creatieve balans tussen werk en gezin...

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  3. Thank you for sharing Marte. Indeed, having supportive people around us makes such a wonderful difference! Loved reading your story :)

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  4. It was great to read a bit more about you Marte. I hope I pass my skills to my daughter too, and I will surely have a huge collection of Burda's for her too... I have just too many.

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  6. I love to read your story Marte! And those vintage magazines bought so many memories to me (I sure wish my mother had kept hers ...)

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  7. Marte, thank you so much for sharing this touching story of your past with us. I enjoyed it all immensely! It's a beautiful reminder that we are never toiling in isolation... behind every great achievement, there's a huge support system that make it happen. Mothers, fathers, husbands, daughters... we are all there for one another, helping each other grow and succeed. Thank you for this peek into your life my friend!

    Natalie
    XX

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I love hearing from you, and try to reply as often as I can, either here or by email. All views, tips, gratefully received...
Victoria

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