Since I started selling my wings patterns way back when (four years ago I think…???), I’ve had the wonderful privilege of seeing other people’s imaginations bring them to life in ways that I would NEVER have thought of. That’s the beauty of putting a pattern out into the world, and every now and then when I need a bit of a pick-me-up, I’ll dive into my Wife-made Instagram hashtags to see if anything new pops up. I’m rarely disappointed and it really is a fantastic motivator. So, to say thank you to those lovely people who have supported me by purchasing a pattern (or several!) I thought I’d start featuring makers on my blog and socials through a Wife-made Maker Spotlight.
For my first Wife-made Maker Spotlight, let me introduce you to Aimee Thannhauser from AJ Collective. When I first saw Aimee’s work, I was smitten. She has taken my humble attempts at blending vintage linens and modern fabric prints to a whole new level and her fabric combinations are inspiring! The wings she creates using my patterns are part of a collection of costumes for children, that includes animal masks, mermaid tails and king and queen crowns.
All about Aimee & AJ Collective
I’m Aimee, an almost 30 year old stay-at-home Mum to Poppy (6) and Oliver (2). Hubby and I have been married almost 8 years and we live in Mildura in a home we’re slowly trying to renovate amongst two dogs, a rabbit and little flock of 6 chooks. AJ Collective is my little handmade hobby business, where I make kids dress ups!
AJ collective started with my sister (both our initials are AJ). As stay-at-home Mums we were looking for something to do. Originally we focused on art and graphic design, but life got busy and I eventually decided to go down this path solo. I was constantly making dress ups for Poppy and my nieces and nephews so it seemed like a natural fit to take AJ Collective in this direction.
My background is in visual arts, and for as long as I can remember I’ve loved drawing. My earliest memory is tracing the images I could see through the paper from the placemats at kindergarten. I’ve carried a drawing journal around with me ever since!
After finishing my Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) degree and having kids I was continuously looking for something to fulfil the creative part of me, and after dabbling in many things I have finally found something I truly love doing every day! My mum taught me to sew on her old heavy sewing machine (that she still uses today!) – I love to learn and pick up lots of new sewing tips and tricks constantly.
I think everyone with young kids knows how crazy life can get sometimes, I have to try and squeeze in the creative part of my day wherever I can! It’s all just go go go. Generally the creative part of my day happens during Oliver’s nap time, but some days nap time is a battle I lose so it can also mean a few late nights (particularly if I have a market coming up where I need extra stock on hand). The best way to make myself feel like I’m achieving something though is to have check lists. I write down all my plans for the day, which also includes the boring stuff like washing the dishes, prepping tea or going to the gym.
I usually try to have patterns cut out in the morning or the night before ready to have a solid sewing session in the afternoon during Ollie’s down time before school pick up. When I’m sketching out new patterns or ideas it can be a great time to work in some activities with Oliver, like give him some paper and pencils too, or felt and fabric scraps he can play with.
I’ve definitely stumbled down my current path thanks to my kids. The dress ups all started with my daughters love for dressing up. When she was about 2 or 3 years old, I made Poppy my first ever masks, which she still has. They had hand-sewn details and were a bit rough but still sweet! And then I stumbled across the amazing Wife-made pattern and fell in love! I gifted Poppy my first pair of wings for Christmas and I haven’t stopped since. My nieces all received wings for Christmas the following year too!
Poppy’s current future career dream, bless her imagination, is to be a mermaid, so she gives me a lot of ideas. I love that a child’s dream can be so magical, I hope my dress ups can give children that little bit of whimsy they’re searching for. Oliver isn’t quite into the dress ups yet (although he does love to wear Poppy’s tutus occasionally) but I’m sure when he is older he will have a few requests of his own!
Creativity is something that’s always been a part of my life. I do have a bit of a fabric obsession, so when I have beautiful fabrics to use it’s easy to create as I can’t wait to see how they turn out! I also love experimenting which helps keep things interesting!
I have lots of ideas for AJ Collective, and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of making dress ups! There are a few products I’d like to add to my range, but right now it’s just finding the time to bring those ideas to life as it takes me a little while to develop a new product.
I’m constantly dabbling in other mediums, but nothing has ever really stuck like sewing and drawing! I’d love to combine the two, and I have done drawings on fabric in the past with small hand-stitched details. I loved them and I’d like to get back to those, or even release a range of prints relating to my products in some way.
If you would like to be featured in a Wife-made Maker Spotlight, send me an email!