10 minutes with Ana Valls from CocoWawa Crafts
Tell us a bit about your background, and why you decided to come to the UK and start your own online fabric store?
So I’m originally from Spain, and have been living in London for the past six years. At first, I came to the UK and was working as a journalist but I attended my first-ever sewing class in London, and just totally fell in love with all things sewing.
I started CocoWawa in 2014, and since then my business has grown from selling just a few bolts of fabric, to offering yarn and my latest adventure is a small range of sewing patterns, I also vlog on our new YouTube Channel too.
What made you decide to stock organic fabrics?
It was for both business and environmental reasons. I wanted to provide something different to what other shops were offering, and at the same time contribute to preserving the environment, fighting against the fast fashion culture, and make a stand for workers’ rights.
How would you describe your style?
When I was in my early 20s and working in Spain as a fashion writer, I wanted to look sophisticated, and was influenced by what was trending. Now in my 30s, I want to wear what I really love, and not follow any kind of rules.
My style is colourful, comfy and playful. I love combining fabrics with funny patterns, stripes, dots, and tend to choose designs that make me feel comfortable with my body shape. I have a very straight figure, and in the past, I’ve struggled with this as I felt I didn’t fit with the sexy prototype of women, but now I just embrace the way I am!
We love your new range of sewing patterns. How did they come about?
Thanks! Well, for me, after studying pattern cutting at the London College of Fashion and using indie patterns to make my own handmade wardrobe – it felt a natural step.
Tell us about your sewing patterns available so far?
The Marshmallow is a lovely, super comfy trapeze dress with a fun ruffle and lots of options including lots of sleeve options and a sweet Peter Pan collar or bow. It’s a great pattern for mixing fabrics for the cuffs, collar and ruffle and to customise.
The newest pattern is the Lily blouse and dress – it’s a lovely make for spring and summer, and has a cocoon shape with raglan sleeves, long seam running at the back and its main feature is a one-of-a-kind sailor collar. Of course, both are available in English and Spanish!
Who do you admire the most in the sewing pattern industry and why?
There are so many others working really hard on one-person businesses like mine. It would be a long, long list from the sewing community, but if I had to say…. Tilly from Tilly and The Buttons for how successful her business is; The Fold Line ladies for creating such an amazing platform where so sewists can come together and talk all things sewing, and Lisa from Sew Over It, for running classes and shops and releasing great patterns.