Sunday, 26 February 2012

Featured Seller: DARNER

Laptop/Multipurpose Purse by Darner
I would like you all to meet Jenmouse from Darner, she established her Etsy store in November of last year and the most delightful bags!

See the interview after the jump~

I am not very good at introductions you do it.
I'm jenmouse from Darner on etsy, and I go by Jenny in the real world. I'm 26, I grew up in Ottawa but I live in Edmonton for now.

That was good now onto the questions!

Some of my blog readers may not know that I am Canadian! And as a fellow Canadian, what would you say the best part of living in Alberta is?
I would say, being close to the rocky mountains is my favourite part about living in Alberta. I love the outdoors and it's so nice to be able to explore the wilderness in some of our greatest national parks.

Green Darner on Wikipedia
Your shop is called Darner, just curious why that name? Are you a big fan of darning needles?
Haha, nope- not exactly. I chose Darner because of a dual meaning. It is also the common name of a dragonfly.
I'm an entomologist at heart-I worked for a few years at the Canadian national collection of insects, and now studying the interactions of insects and plants... I wanted to somehow merge my two loves sewing and insects! Dragonflies are amazing: beautiful, swift, and... they eat mosquitoes!

Can you take us through a quick tour of your process when making a bag?

-Ponder at my stack of fabrics...
-Pick something after much deliberation..
-Design a style (sometimes have an epiphany at 1am and madly execute before the idea fades) or just use or modify some of the awesome patterns available online and on Etsy..
-Cut out fabrics and sew together
-Get really excited about the final product and run to show anyone nearby (usually the boyfriend endures me draping purses on him when they are completed). Haha Poor guy!

I have to imagine that creating a bag has its own challenges.What would you say is the most challenging thing to do when making a bag?
Creating the pattern is pretty tricky, getting dimensions right and seam allowances and accounting for pleats and whatnot... But when actually making one... Making sure you don't cut yourself or sew the wrong sides to each other ;)

What are the tools of your trade, be as specific as you like!
A sewing machine! (mine is the greatest 1974 Singer, as you may know), cutting mat, a rotary knife (super sharp), a pincushion full of pins, tiny scissors, stitch remover (I make lots of mistakes!) and the internet! (full of help, instructions and ideas!)

Aside from the IKEA fabric prints, is there a local store where do you get the rest of your fabrics?
I have my favourites on Etsy! BelloBerryFabricShop || Fabricsandtrimmings || Jeansfabrics
Sometimes I venture into FabricLand too...

Oh also, I recently learned of this awesome site where you can make your own! And also browse the other really amazing designs for sale too... it's called Spoon Flower
I haven't ordered any yet though... but it is brilliant.  Yes!! I have tried it, good quality stuff but I did find it to be a little expensive. But if you want custom designs on fabric without screen printing them yourself it is just power for the course!

You opened your Etsy shop in November last year, what is your hope for this year?
Make some more bags! I think I can definitely get a nice collection going, but I have so much going on now in my 'other' life at university (will hopefully graduate at the end of April) , it's hard to build up a decent stock! I really love making them though, so I hope once the other work is done I can pick up some more speed, and get at least a couple of pages of items!

Jenmouse's Singer Sewing machine
A little birdie (your profile) told me you have an old 70’s Singer Sewing machine, care to share how you received it, the model and maybe a photo?
One of the reasons Darner started up in the first place was because of one of my field experiments! I needed to sew a bunch of mesh bags to contain my little larvae on their pine boughs as they munch on their needles, so I searched kijiji, and 30$ later, my beloved 20 lb sewing machine was being hauled home on the seat of my bicycle (driving to pick it up wasn't an option at the time, so it was a bit of an adventure) I sewed 100 bags out of a fine curtain mesh, and then grabbed a pair of old torn jeans and made my very first messenger bag! (It's a bit of a sorry sight now... I've come a long way since then) A very heavy adventure, I'm impressed you could get that on a bike!

And I have to ask, your does your sewing machine have any odd quirks?
Can you see that chopstick sticking out the top? That's my top-thread holder/spinner. It's make-shift, but it works like a charm! Clever!

What made you decide to open an Etsy store, instead of something like EBay?

I never thought of Ebay... I always sort of considered that to be somewhere to sell used things, or something else... I had already been a customer on Etsy a few times and really enjoyed the interaction with the vendors and the atmosphere (if you can say that about a site). Just seemed the right place to start!

Any advice for our fellow Etsy store owners that you'd like to share?
Beautiful forest green, chestnut and yellow ochre bag
Oh, I'm too much of a newbie to be giving advice! I'd love some myself! As a frequent browser though, I can tell that good quality and interesting photos are absolutely key! I wish I were better at making them!

Speaking of owning a shop, how much of a nightmare is income tax for you?
Blah! I don't even want to think about it!

Other than make gorgeous bags what else do you like to do?
I enjoy blogging too:) ... I love travelling and pondering and I am often found doing these things in Europe... So it's called Mouse's Meanderings and it is definitely work in progress... Not really about crafting at all, but mostly about the random diversions and travels I've gotten into the last years (The blog goes way back to early 2008)...

Everyone loves music so do tell what are your current music obsessions?
Oooh, I see you like Florence and the Machine these days... me too! Here's a couple songs/videos from other artists I've been playing over and over lately:  Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Home

This one is also an incredible video. Agreed!

Last question and problem the third most important, what is your all time favourite cheese?
OOOH That is a great question! Tough one too- I have lived in one of the cheese-richest places on earth (Switzerland) and this experience with different cheeses makes this question especially tough. Switzerland!! Very cool :) There is a famous cheese from the Jura region called "TĂȘte de Moine" (Monk's head) which I found especially delicious- and fun- it's sliced with a special cheese-shaver tool which makes the slices come out very thin and curled in a very unique way.... Oh, there are so many others though! What a big question! I might need a few more pages to answer, and it might get too long for this interview form... heehee!

If you have Pinterest you can follow Jenmouse here!

Thank you again Jenmouse for being our FIRST ever interview, wasn't too bad now was it?! Is there anything you would like to leave with our readers?
If you read this and need a new bag, use BAYLEAFBUTTONLOVE at the checkout.... :)
There also may be some items that I've discounted for various reasons too... Have a little browse around! Hope to add more as soon as I can!

Make sure you check out & favourite DARNER'S SHOP

Dragon Fly Zipper Purse $21.00
Navy & Bright Blue IPAD Sleeve $18.00


  1. What a fun interview! jenmouse, your designs are amazing. The pleating on that one pictured bag? WOW! Keep up the great work -- I fav'd you on Etsy so I can keep up-to-date on your latest stuff. :)


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