Was the eclipse amazing or what?! Our short drive to totality became a long drive home, but, boy, was it worth it! Jem has told EVERYONE all week that he saw "moon cover sun." It's totally darling.
You know who else is darling? Rachel. I'll confess that I first noticed her because she is a fellow twenty-something who sews, and we can be hard to find (we're going to change that, right, Rachel? We're going to convert an entire generation back to sewing! -play world conquering music here). Anyway, I continued to follow Rachel because she is incredibly skilled, thoughtful, and lovely, and today, I'm thrilled to introduce y'all to her as well!
1) Tell us a little about yourself, your family, your hobbies, your creative background, etc. Hey! My name is Rachel and I'm a sewing blogger and podcaster from Waterloo, Ontario. I primarily sew women's apparel, but I just got a new Cricut Maker machine (which accurately will cut out fabric for you) so I've been contemplating giving quilting another try. I got into sewing about 6 years ago, in the middle of high school, because I was having a hard time finding affordable clothes that fit. High school can be a trying time for anyone's self esteem, and not being able to find clothes that fit really didn't help. It started with just sewing some skirts that were long enough for my extra-long legs so I didn't have to wear flood pants anymore, and my apparel sewing obsession grew from there. Now I'm slowly working towards sewing an entirely handmade wardrobe - everything from bras to pants to dresses made by me!
Outside of sewing, I'm working towards my bachelor in public relations while working in marketing. I have no kids, but my boyfriend and I have two pretty incredible kitties named Stella and Atlas that like to join in on the sewing fun sometimes.
2) I think you're redefining what wearing handmade looks like for young people. Have you had any experiences where people have been pleasantly surprised to realize that you'd made your clothes? Thanks! People are always so shocked when I tell them I make my own clothes, but now most of my friends and people that know me just expect that everything is handmade. I haven't converted any of my friends into sewists yet, but they're interested. It's a work in progress ;)
3) Have you thought about designing your own sewing patterns? If you did, what would you design first? For a period of time I really wanted to launch my own sewing patterns since I love hacking my own designs and making my own patterns using my sloper. At the moment I don't think I have the technical skills to produce a professional pattern for the public, so I'm going to keep learning, making things for me, and then see where that takes me.
If I'm being completely honest, I think I would enjoy working on the social media/marketing side of pattern drafting much more than the being in charge of the technical side of pattern creation, so I'll probably just stick with blogging for now. If I did decide to publish a pattern, my first one would definitely be a graded version of my spy-style turtleneck that I drafted for myself last year. It's a great layering turtleneck that I wear pretty much constantly in the winter.
4) How is creative community important to your work? Being in the creative community inspires me to keep pushing through hard projects and try new things. I'm not an experienced seamstress by any means, and it's been really nice to be able to learn new skills alongside other sewists who are trying to figure it all out too. I've learnt so much about sewing from other helpful people in the sewing community, I don't know where my practice would be without their help. Plus, it's really nice to have friends that are interested in the same things as you. It makes the hobby a million times more fun when you can gush about new pattern releases or cool fabrics with your friends.
5) What advice or encouragement do you have for other creatives along their journey? I think as sewists we can get really hung up on getting things perfect - and while it's important to strive to be better and keep learning, getting angry at yourself for not achieving perfect results every time is stupid. You're creating something amazing all by yourself - that in and of itself is enough. We need to stop being critical about every seam that doesn't match up, minor fit issue, or hem that's a little wavy. Have you seen RTW clothes lately? Everything we make for ourselves is already miles ahead of that in terms of quality (even if it's full of a million little issues that only sewists can spot).
So my advice to any creative, across all types of crafts, is to let go of the idea of being perfect. What you're doing is already really amazing, don't forget that.
Thank you, Rachel! I love your makes and your podcast (oh, and you're pretty fabulous, too!). Y'all can find Rachel (and more gorgeous pics like these) on Instagram @maker.style, and be sure to check out her lovely website and podcast as well.
If you haven't already, please find me on Instagram @stringandstory so we can connect and encourage each other in our creative pursuits! I also have a newsletter that comes out once each week and includes blog overviews, extra inspiration, and sometimes coupons and surprises! It will be going out tomorrow morning, so be sure to sign up! (Plus, when you sign up, you get a FREE download: 3 Easy Steps to Improve Your Free Motion Quilting)