Everyone needs a place to make. Whether it’s sewing on your sofa or potting in your shed, all our maker spaces are different, but some just take our breath away. We take a look inside Mim McCormack’s unique vintage home where she makes fabric dolls…
Mim McCormack of Made By Mim’s creates unique vintage dolls from her home in Stanford Le Hope, which is a treasure trove of vintage finds that she’s spent decades seeking out. Her entire house is stuffed with all her knick-knacks, sewing paraphernalia and crafting materials, but a creative house is not enough for this maker – Mim also has a caravan renovated specifically for her to craft in.
Join us as we take a peek around her caravan and vintage terrace house, plus discover where she picks up her vintage gems.
Hi Mim! Please tell us a bit about your creative space and where you like to craft.
For years my workspace was the dining room table with my craft materials kept in various cupboards. Now we’ve had an extension built, the original sitting room is now my space to make because it’s really bright and airy. If the weather is nice, I’ll sit in the garden to knit and if it’s cold you’ll find me by the wood burner. I like to have most of my haberdashery and crafting materials on display, as it helps me to not only find things easily, but plan out new designs.
What’s your favourite part of your home and why?
It all depends on the time of day. I love early mornings in my sewing room, as it catches the lovely morning sun. It feels very much like a garden room and has a lovely dappled light from our 100-year-old walnut tree.
How do you store all your crafting materials?
My obsession with vintage tins comes in very handy. I use them to store everything from buttons to lavender. I also have a collection of jam jars on a shelf filled with buttons, labels, brooch backs, ribbon, felt, pom poms – anything I use regularly. Vintage suitcases are also perfect for storing the more mundane of my crafting materials, and they look good stacked up on top of cupboards.
My vintage fabrics are kept in a glass-fronted cupboards while smaller fabric cut-offs and vintage trims are stored on a mobile trolley. My knitting and crochet projects are usually kept in vintage wicker shopping baskets or knitting bags.
Tell us about your vintage caravan.
From start to finish it took about 3 weeks to give Margo a makeover. She’s a 1982 Abbey and although she’s not very vintage she still needed some sprucing up. I had an idea of how I wanted her to look, as all of her interior is fully fitted we decided to leave it in place and work around it. I used Cath Kidston wallpaper for the main area and chalk paint for the kitchen cupboards. This summer we are hoping to give her exterior a transformation, too. I think she will look lovely painted white and mint green or pillar box red… I’ve not made my mind up yet.
Where does your love of vintage come from?
It started at an early age when I was a Brownie, I loved the jumble sales we regularly held in the church hall, I was always buying knick-knacks and interesting bits and pieces. At secondary school I wore a mixture of vintage and homemade clothes; my favourite was a 1940s crocheted skirt suit, which was handed down to me by a distant relative. My decorating style has also always favoured an eclectic mix of vintage with modern.
What’s been your favourite vintage crafty find?
One of my all time favourite finds is my vintage 1957 Singer Featherweight 222k sewing machine. She was an eBay bargain and came complete with all her original accessories. She sews like a dream and out of all my sewing machines she’s most definitely my favourite.
Where do you find most things?
These days I find most of my vintage treasures at boot sales or in charity shops, and I can’t resist a vintage bargain from some of the lovely sellers on Instagram. My feed is full of vintage fabrics and whatnots which really doesn’t help! At the moment I have a soft spot for vintage French fabrics, some of which I use for my dolls while others are just for me to look at and stroke and possibly use for future projects if I can bear to cut them up.
What do your family think of your vintage obsession?
I have recently done a big declutter, though this is referred to as ‘Mim-imalist’ by my family and friends: I think I’ve cleared out tons of stuff while everyone else thinks the house is still full! I have 5 grown up children, they’re used to living surrounded by vintage and unusual things, and appreciate it. They all say their friends thought our house was very different; they thought it highly unusual to have a hand-painted black and white pony-patterned piano (we now have a pink one).
What does making mean to you?
I love the feeling of being able to make something for someone and mending things that would otherwise be thrown away.