TF Impressions: Mumbai’s Quilter Saira

In a fast-paced world like ours which has so much to offer, it may not be a piece of cake to find your passions. However, it also does mean that there is no age limit to learning something new, making a change, or finding your passion/calling in life. “It is never too late to start something new.” One such brilliant example of this quote is Saira.

Saira is a quilter whose products on her online store ‘Lihaaf’ (which means quilt) include colorful, beautifully designed, adorable baby quilts, bed quilts, quilted pouches, tote bags, table runners, wall hangings, and cushions was featured on a Quilt Magazine – ‘Quilt Stories’ in 2021. She lives in Mumbai and found quilting as her calling at the age of 45. Let’s take a look at how she got where she is today!

“It was at that lovely time in my life when two of my three children were no longer teenagers and I had plenty of time on my hands,” Saira said, talking to us about the beginning of this beautiful and colorful journey The quilter did not have a sewing background but she did dabble in a few creative pursuits – from crochet and embroidery to stained glass and calligraphy.

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Speaking of how she got into quilting, she said: “I stumbled upon some quilts on Facebook and enjoyed seeing what was being made around the world. Soon, I transitioned from spending hours merely looking at quilts online to actually borrowing a sewing machine and attempting my own first quilt! There was no looking back. I was hooked!”

Most afternoons Saira would be found sewing at her machine working with colorful fabrics and prints. Her friends and family loved the handmade gifts they started receiving. Soon they encouraged the quilter to take orders and start selling her handiwork.

Saira then brought their words to life, as she said, “I began by posting my work on Instagram to keep track of my sewing projects. It quickly became so much more once I started getting inquiries about my products.” “I knew Instagram was a good platform to connect with friends and family but it turned out you can connect with just about anyone across the world through it,” she added.

TFword spoke to Saira about her design inspirations, challenges/difficulties she faced while working on her online store, her experience of being featured on ‘The Quilt Magazine’, and more!

Saira

Where do you get your design inspirations?

Saira: Inspiration is everywhere. From the floor tile to a design on a bottle of lotion. The internet is a great resource. I also bought quilting books and learnt many quilt techniques.

 

Do you create your own patterns and designs?

Saira: I do a mix of both, I buy paid patterns and also make my own variations of traditional patterns. I have now ventured into modern quilting as well.

Two people can make the same pattern but your choice of colors, fabric, and prints determines what the final outcome will look like. Often I start with a plan in mind and I change it as I go. I love the variations in design that the spontaneity creates. I find joy in all the processes that are part of creating a quilt.

 

Could you share your experience of being featured on ‘Quilt Stories’ – the first Indian online Quilt magazine in 2021?

Saira: I was delighted when I was approached by Diptee. Being featured alongside some very experienced and talented quilters whom I have looked up to was exciting.  She had just launched India’s first quilt magazine, which is a great resource for quilters as well as non-quilters.

 

What are some challenges/difficulties you faced/faced while working on your online store?

Saira: Sewing and creating is my forte but I must admit that it’s a bit of a challenge to take aesthetic pictures and upload products regularly to the page. I haven’t attempted Reels yet, and to be honest, I think I may soon need a Social Media Manager.

Instagram is perfect for me as it reaches a wide audience and you can connect with customers directly via DM.

 

What is a product that you’re most proud of?

Saira: I make a wide array of products so it’s hard to pick any one item but I would say making laptop sleeves and king-size quilts are two of my favorites. Sometimes I myself struggle to believe that I’ve created these things from scratch!

 

Talk to us about your artistic journey so far!

Saira: I have actually never learnt any art formally. Mom had studied Home Science and every summer we learned something creative with her. Crochet, embroidery, culinary delights, etc.

I’m blessed to have a good sense of color and design, or so I’m told. 🙂 I am largely self-taught with a few classes taken along the way. I look forward to teaching quilting in the near future.

 

Quick questions related to your store!

 

What kind of products are available for sale at your store?

Saira: Baby quilts are most popularly ordered. Bed quilts of all sizes, quilted pouches, tote bags, table runners, wall hangings, and cushions have been sold at Lihaaf, along with specialized orders as per some customers’ requirements.

 

What are these products made of?

Saira: All my products are made from high quality cotton. I source fabric mainly from the local market but also enjoy shopping for fabric when I travel. Quilts are made of 2 layers of fabric with cotton batting in between. They are washable and easy to maintain.

 

Do you custom-make products for your customers?

Saira: Yes, I do offer customization of color, pattern, and size. Baby quilts can have the baby’s name appliquéd. It’s very satisfying to be able to translate a client’s idea into a design that they like. I have made memory quilts for customers as well, from saved-up baby clothes, T-shirts, and other fabrics with nostalgic value for them.

 

Where can your customers place an order to buy your products?

Saira: Orders can be placed on Instagram as a comment under the post or as a direct message, as well as on Whatsapp – 9820568498.

 

Find ‘Lihaaf’ by Saira Instagram: HERE (You may place your orders on this Instagram account via Direct Message or as a comment!)
Orders can also be placed on WhatsApp on this contact number: +91  9820568498

 

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