Josie Dibnah, Héloïse Floc'h

Let's stitch!

From sewing to species: An interview with Inge Naaimachines

During Dutch Design Week we will be collaborating with various artists, makers and scientists. Inge Naaimachines is a creative business based in Eindhoven who will be providing the sewing machines to bring the Costume Lab at Inhuman Carnaval to life! We had a chat with Inge to find out more about her passions and practice.


Inge Naaimachines - Inge with her sewing machine


If you were a different species, what would you be and why?

Now I am thinking about a cat, I love them because they need to hug, I love that, I love the closeness of it. Also a cat can be everywhere, you don’t have to feed them on time, they are doing their own thing all day. They can climb up, they are pretty to see, nice to cuddle and they are free which is the most important aspect! They are very independent. I love freedom and to hug. 


How would you describe the business of Inge Naaimachines and what is your role? 

We’re selling sewing machines and it’s a bit like an experience center, because I made the store like an apple store with big islands. Every island has its own brand, and I have all their machines. Every machine is standing ready for people to sit behind and try them. 


And what’s your favourite aspect of your creative business? 

I like all of it! I began when I was seventeen years old, in my father's store, he also has a sewing shop. I started with repairing and selling and teaching people. I did that for 35 years, then I thought that I could do it on my own because my brother has a store and I could do it too. There are a lot of things I want to do and by having my own store I can do it the way that I want. I am crazy about the students and the people who like to learn. I like to help them to enjoy and improve their sewing.

I started here in Eindhoven, I’ve been here now for two years. I have a team and they are all unique, the repair guy doesn’t sew but the other people that work here have a passion and fascination for this business and for sewing machines. I have a couturier here, he is very inspiring for many people and my sister is like me, she also lives and breathes sewing machines, she works all her life for it, and she loves it. 


You are also doing workshops right? 

 Yes, I also do workshops, the islands are there in order to sell the machines, people can try and find out which machines they would like to have. We can also demonstrate them. For the workshops we have two places dedicated for it, workshops and lessons. For example if they already bought a machine, they get free lessons to get to know the machines - it’s very nice. And the workshops are for everybody, also for people that haven’t bought a machine here or even for someone that doesn’t have a machine. They get to do the workshop and borrow a machine from us, in order to experience how to make a skirt or bag or whatever, there are different workshops. 


Is that so people can learn more skills with you?

Exactly, also so people that would like to sew but don’t know if they can do it, can join a workshop and then can see if they like it. It’s for everybody, for high fashion but also for new people in this world. So we sell the machines, offer lessons on the already bought machines and workshops, and also we repair the machines. 


I can understand that transmission plays an important role, from your experience, getting the knowledge from your father and then now transmitting your knowledge to others. Having this fascination from your young age to now having your own business. 

The people that work here, we teach them almost every morning from 9 to 10 am. I want them to know everything, so we do some training, one, two or three times a week. My aim is for them to be highly educated in this business. 


So you basically cover all the needs, from selling to teaching?

Yeah! Our services are about sharing with people, to make them crazy about sewing. We repair old things to the most modern, and we do it in the store so you can see the people that are repairing it, it’s a very open store! 


It’s really nice, it makes me think of restaurants that have their kitchen open from the street with windows. It makes it more intriguing for the people, makes them want to come inside! During the DDW, we are exploring how to celebrate different species with Mediamatic, what are you looking forward to the most for this DDW? 

To let people know that I am here, that I have a great store and that it can mean a lot for the people who want to sew! 


Do you celebrate carnaval? 

Yeah! I actually met my husband during carnaval! With carnaval, we meet a lot of people and there are no barriers, it’s a celebratory time and it is easy to get to know people. So the energy is different than in everyday life. 


Do you make your own costumes? 

Yeah of course!! I have a sister, she is like me but she has dark hair and I am blond, so we look totally different. But during carnaval we always make the same clothes, we wear wigs and then it’s funny cause people think that we are the same! We have the same face features, however normally in our own life we are totally different. So we are becoming twins! We are never alone! 


For all the carnavals that you’ve celebrated, what was your favourite costume that you made? 

We were looking for fabric and we saw one that was very 'bling bling', very nice and we made an outfit totally of that. We were also wearing a mask and a hat and a wig. Everything was very sparkly, it just brought a lot of joy on our face and on the face of others. It gives a real ‘Wow’ effect which is one of the most beautiful things.

Two years ago, we thought that we could become ABBA, with our two guys and us. When we see fabric in front of us, we immediately know what we’re going for. Once we were four girls and we had a water theme, with a fishing fabric and we were all wearing blue! 


It was really nice to have you on the phone and to get to know you more, we are really looking forward seeing you and collaborating with you during the DDW. Have a lovely day! 


Interview conducted by Héloise Floc'h edited by Josie Dibnah.