Andreea-Mirela Matei, Digital IT Project Manager on Sewing

What I love about sewing is the freedom I have in choosing my colours, my fabrics, and the happiness to wear and use things made by myself. For me, it is a relaxing activity, even though it requires a lot of attention and patience. I am a chatty person, but when I sew, it is my sewing machine that chats, and I am the one who listens most.

My name is Andreea-Mirela Matei. When I was born, my parents were uncertain about what name to give me. My father wanted me to be called Andreea, which in Greek means warrior, while my mother desired to call me Mirela, which means peace. In the end, they called me Andreea Mirela. And they were not wrong at all. I am very ambitious and hardly accept no as an answer, which makes me stubborn sometimes. However, this attitude helped me to graduate from a university where only 10% of the students were women. I like being the authority, and this has pushed me to propose myself for leadership positions from a young age.

By profession, I am an engineer with a degree in Telecommunications and Information Technology, and I have worked for the past eight years as a Digital IT Project Manager in Telecommunications and Automotive.

I am originally from Romania; after graduating, I worked in Bucharest for about two years. In 2014, I had the opportunity to move with the job to Milan, Italy. I met a lot of people, and I made a lot of new friends there, and this made me feel like Milan was my second hometown. In 2017, after enjoying life and work for almost four years in Italy, the time had come to prove myself again. So, I decided to move to Germany and learn a new language, make new friends, and find a new job.

It was not always easy, but I think it was well worth going through this adventure. Despite all the challenges, after two months of research, I entered again the Automotive field as consultant, Function Owner, for BMW. I consider myself a lucky person because, in each of my career experiences, I always had the chance to work for big names in the telecommunication and automotive industry. I have been part of important projects these companies have developed, projects with a significant impact on safety and customer experience. Two years later, in September 2019, I decided to take a sabbatical and start an EMBA.

Outside of my job, I love sewing. I am a crafty person and I find sewing opportunities in every boutique I walk in. Most of the time, I see things I like but they are pricey, and I say: “this I can do myself”. Since 2015, when I received my sewing machine, I looked for inspiration for cute and stylish creations all around me. What inspires me the most is the memory of my grandmother, who used to imagine clothes that she then had sewn by a dressmaker. What I discovered was that with basic sewing skills, you could make your own clothes, home decor, or handmade gifts. And the result is very fulfilling.

When it comes to sewing, I like to stitch up everything, from the curtains for my home to pillows, toys, and clothes. I remain particularly fond of the models of clothes that recall the fashion of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. These types of projects take longer, but I always learn something new and acquire greater confidence in handling various fabrics and using patterns. For these models, my inspirations are Burda Style magazine, Butterick, and Vogue patterns.

Other sources of inspiration for me are:

My favourite sewing project remains the first I made: a cape inspired by a pattern from Burda Style magazine. I said ‘inspired’ because the final product also had the result of my imagination in it.

I will also say that there is a good sewing and crafts community in Munich. In the beginning, when I moved here, the language was a barrier, so I couldn’t join the existing sewing clubs, which were mainly requiring good proficiency in German. Later on, I started making new friends here, so I am now hanging out with friends and colleagues with whom I share the passion for sewing.

In the future, I wish that I could combine my passion with my work. Therefore, the long-term goal is to make a business out of my passion.

I do see similarities between sewing and my current occupation. My jobs have been fun and gave me space for creativity, where I can use my imagination to solve problems. Sewing requires creativity, it is practical, and it is also fun. Same as my job, the sewing process involves a lot of mental skills. Cutting, sewing, modifying, and finishing a garment requires your brain to stay engaged (as in maths, science, art); it requires spatial aptitude, patience, and more. In the end, no matter the project I choose to work on, it holds my attention, keeps me learning, and the practical result satisfies me always.

Like many other hobbies outside the technological field, sewing is one of those passion which prevents yourself from burning out. I spend most of the time in front of the computer and I feel smashed after I solved not more than a small issue. Sewing helps me knock off work and dedicate myself to something different. Quite a few times, sewing has helped me clarify my ideas and solve a problem at work for which I was not able to find a solution for a long time.

Sewing is a step-by-step process that allows you to pause any time and to think about the next step carefully. I took this approach in my job, and I started looking at my tasks as being part of a sewing project. For critical levels, I took a step back, and I tried to find the best solution which would allow me to deliver my tasks on time and a quality project.

If someone is interested in sewing but doesn’t know where to begin, I would tell him/her: “there was never something as simple as sewing”. You don’t need high preparation to start sewing. All you need is a sewing machine, scissors, fabric stash, and a lot of practice. With a straight seam, a world of projects can be done. There are plenty of tutorials available you can get inspiration from and learn the basics of sewing. What I found very important for sewing is a good pair of scissors. A decent pair of scissors sometimes cost a bit more, but it is worth the expense.

There is always more than tech. Even though working in the technology field gives me satisfaction, hobbies are an essential part of my life. I see them as the playground for our creativity and a reason for self-satisfaction. I believe allowing our minds to dig and explore our inner sparks of creativity is enriching our souls and makes us more human. Helping the tech people to share their creative passions is an excellent way to give them confidence and motivate them to push forward their ideas. I think providing a channel for the people to show what they are capable of, beyond their primary field of expertise, makes them believe they can contribute more than just in the technological area.

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