Ana Valls_Cocowawa Crafts

Please tell us a little about yourself… where and how did you learn your craft?

Hi! My name is Ana and I am the owner at CocoWawa Crafts, an independent sewing pattern brand based in London. Regarding my background, I studied Journalism at University, in Spain, where I come from (I’ve been living in London 7 years and yes, I complain about the weather a bit, hehe) and that’s what my job was for 12 years! First in Spain as a staff writer and then in London as freelance journalist and reporter.

But everything changed when I learned to sew around 6 years ago. I was looking for something that made me happy outside of work, a hobby, as I was suffering a lot from anxiety and tried attending a sewing class. And yes, it was love at first sight! After this I opened a small fabric shop on Etsy and started combining this with my journalism career. I also studied pattern cutting for womenswear and professional sewing skills at the London College of Fashion, attended lots! of workshops, read tones of sewing and pattern cutting books and at the end of 2016 I decided, after A LOT of testing, a gazillion of samples and hours and hours of hard work to launch my first ever sewing pattern, the Marshmallow Dress and CocoWawa Crafts as it exists today was born. At that point I also decided to pursue my career within the sewing field full-time due to the fact that the publishing company where I was working part-time had to close. I took this as a signal and took the plunge. Now I combine this with teaching sewing to kids and privately in my studio as well as hosting the #sewinghourchat on Instagram, filming videos for YouTube and another 100 things I usually say yes to, hehe.

How do you feel craft has impacted your life?

Sewing has completely changed my life. It started as a hobby, something I needed to distract myself from work, something that could made me happy and since I learned I have not been able to stop. Now it is my work and life but I also find it incredibly rewarding going back to the sewing machine and sew for myself for just 10 minutes. It calms me, grounds me and makes me feel that the dark clouds that sometimes come with anxiety (something I have suffered from during all my adulthood, although now in a much more manageable level) will eventually pass and that the blue sky will appear again.

Do you do anything to pass the crafting bug on to others?

Yes! I teach sewing individually at my studio, on one-to-one sessions and also to girls age 10 to 13 at The Craft House in London, with some sporadic beginners’ classes for adults. I enjoy so much seeing the happy faces and big smiles people have when they leave the class with something they have made, it is incredibly rewarding! And then I also tell anybody who would listen how sewing (or any crafting or hobby they might have) is brilliant! It is like therapy for the soul and also the sewing community that has been growing thanks to social media is just incredible. So many amazing women that make you feel like they are family.

Is there anyone you find particularly inspirational in the crafting world?

I wouldn’t want to say just one so I will mention all the amazing women who run independent businesses and who fight and work really hard every single day. Those who love sewing, drawing, blogging, taking pics, knitting… whatever it is and who fight tirelessly to get others excited about what they do and invite them to learn and do it themselves with an infectious enthusiasm.

What is next on the agenda for you?

Releasing more patterns! And also my aim is to get as many people as possible excited about sewing and to share with those that might suffer from anxiety or depression how finding something you love or that make you smile can make a huge difference in your recovery. I want to keep teaching and I would love to have my own studio big enough to have a few sewing machines so that more people can come and learn!

To find out more about Ana and Cocowawa Crafts, please visit her website:

www.cocowawacrafts.com

Or say hello…

We particularly love Ana’s video about sewing and her mental health journey. Check it out here!