I’ve been a little quiet because I’m cooking up a plan, slowly, slowly. (Also cooking A Nice Lasagna, because I know what’s good for me.) I’ve also been sewing a lot, mostly with bedsheets from Goodwill (cheaper than muslin, also more fun!), and listening to Carole King while I do it. Sewing is wonderful, and I’m learning new things every day, practicing as much as I can, seeing about what I like and don’t like. Namely, I’m working on my first self-drafted pattern, very simple, but so exciting. I’m sewing up prototypes, making changes, making choices, trying and re-trying, ripping seams and sewing them back up again. Such a feeling to put on the shirt I’ve made and look in the mirror. Something simple, not too hard, but beautiful and mine. It feels fantastic.
Though it’s all new to me, there are many, many who have come before, fantastically. People like lighthouses, other sewing machines and knitting needles in other homes or studios like little lights in the dark. I’m so thankful for the internet, the way it lets us say what we are doing and why, the way it lets us share if we want to. So many people being so generous on the internet. Tips, tutorials, honest advice, encouragement, resources. I’m grateful, so grateful. Some of the things I find feel like they were made just for me, which I suppose is how it is supposed to feel. That’s why I want to be a person who is also generous on the internet, because other people’s offerings have meant so much to me. I want to share what I have now and continue to do so.
The following list of people / companies are the people I am looking to as I learn, the beacons that catch my eye over and over, the people who are showing me just through their existence that what I want to do is possible and good. Beacons of hope, goodness, light, truth, these people are for me.
First learned of Taylor McVay and her work as I was listening to the Have Company Podcast (one of my favorite favorites for makers/artists). Taylor designs beautifully geometric, personal sewing patterns. What I like best about her and her work is that it feels accessible and true – the sort of excessive polish that you see all over the internet isn’t here. Her website, her designs, even the cover art for her patterns, is all clearly thoughtful and beautiful. Also, I appreciate that her blogging about her work is also about her life, because it all goes together doesn’t it?! Also, she just seems like a good person, which always draws me in to art made by someone.
Sonya Philip is basically already a patron saint in the handmade fashion world. Her catalog of hyper-simple patterns is designed to make sewing accessible to everyone. You look at one of her patterns, and your first thought is, “I can do that,” and I think that is wonderful. I am yet to try any of them, but I would love to make the Dress No. 1 someday. Her presence in the little handmade wardrobe community is one of warmth and inclusion. In her artist’s statement, Sonya talks of wanting to create more value for the clothes we wear, to make them mean more to us, become more personal, more imbibed with who we are. Her work is beautiful and good.
3. Close Knit
My goodness, Ani is wonderful. The sort of person you find on the internet and feel a little thread of connection tugging at your chest. I think we could be friends. First of all, go and follow her on Instagram because she dances often and she just feels to me like a good presence in the social media world. Ani is a knitter and a teacher living in Tazmania, and she also runs a lovely, lovely podcast that I like to listen to while I knit for all the happy wooly feelings. Her mission as I see it is to create community and connection within the fiber community, all the while knitting and doing things and wearing linen and feeling things and trying to be honest and true. An encouraging, knitting, feeling lots of the same things as me far across the world.
Karen Templer is amazing. Her blog is so extensive and thorough and wonderful. It’s like a one-stop mega resource for knitters everywhere. What I love about her most is her tenacity. I can see the work she puts into the things she does. Her knitting, her blogging, she is a hard-working lady, creating generous resources that people like me depend on, running things like Slow-Fashion October (something that was a personal breakthrough of sorts for me), and creating all kinds of community through knit-alongs, honesty about her own projects and hopes, and opportunities for interaction and conversation.
Grainline is perhaps one of my current most visited websites on my computer. Jen Beeman is literally a powerhouse. Her patterns are the best of modern indie pattern-making, beautifully designed clothes that we all actually want to wear. In addition, the tutorials on the website are incredibly helpful. Basically, Grainline patterns are teaching me to sew. In addition, I love to follow Jen on Instagram and keep up with her personal knitting projects and Chicago life, etc. Another person who makes the idea of sewing and knitting your own clothes feel good and real and worthwhile.
I firmly believe that these are the most beautiful clothes in the world, and though they are out of my price-range, I am saving up at least for a pair of these. If I were to name influencers, this label is at the top of my list. Ethically and thoughtfully made clothing from natural fibers, gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Simple shapes, all made in-house. Also, this blog post Q&A is actively giving me hope, telling me that I can be self-taught and still be successful, that I can do anything I want to do if I try.
Another amazing and encouraging small label. Obsessed with their use of color, simple shapes, natural fibers. Beautiful clothes made by a small, small business, two girls just really doing something.
Will never stop talking about Cortney and her work. Her approach to quilting and her aesthetic caught my eye at Renegade Craft Fair last summer, and I caught the quilt bug. Following her on Instagram really adds to the experience. She likes to use the hashtag #everyonecanquilt #everyoneshouldquilt, sentiments I completely agree with, sentiments that I find to be empowering and lovely. I highly recommend her quilt patterns to anyone looking to learn quilt construction. After making her Sun Star Quilt pattern, I felt I had all the techniques I needed in my toolbox to make my own designs and get quilting!!
All my natural dye dreams coming true here. I’m so drawn to Jessica Lewis Stevens’ aesthetic and approach to making and living. I first found her through this interview on one of my favorite blogs, which I think wonderfully encapulates her work and philosophy. I’m really interested in learning more about natural dyes, and I’m completely inspired by Jessica’s use of color in quilting and making. Beautiful, beautiful life and work. Following on Instagram highly recommended, especially if you’re into babies in sweaters (as I am.)