Please help me to welcome Adrianna to our team! Adrianna has recently joined us remotely to help me with pattern development and social media (read: to pick up my slack whenever I focus on parenting more than working!). She does an amazing job writing instructions and her illustrations blow mine right out of the water! I anticipate that our pattern release schedule will be greatly increased this year and I’m so excited about this!
I’m really excited to have Adrianna working with me as it is the first time I’ve had a colleague who has all the same skill sets that I do. I’ve already been enjoying the increased sense of camaraderie as we trouble shoot instruction wording, discuss the details of pattern labelling, and the merits of various fabric choices. I feel very fortunate that someone with just the skills I needed had the courage and initiative to get in touch and offer her services. Thank you for sending that first email, Adrianna!
Here are a few questions I asked Adrianna recently in hopes of getting to know her better:
Can you tell us a little bit about your professional sewing-related background?
I have a BFA from the Academy of Art University in Fashion Design specializing in Menswear. Since graduating I have worked for a variety of clothing companies, from corporate mass production brands to small made to order clothing brands, specialized tailoring boutiques, and most importantly indie sewing pattern companies. I love the community that is involved with home sewing, and it is my passion to teach and share my skills with others and provide encouragement for people to learn how to create their own clothing and accessories.
Where do you live and what do you like about your community?
I live in Portland, OR, USA. The sewing (and craft community in general) is huge here which is what I love the most about this city. The street that I live on has a small fabric store, knitting shop, AND craft supply store, amongst several coffee shops, all which I can walk to in about 10 minutes. Portland is also big on community support and activism which is important to me. Though the media has portrayed Portland as…. interesting to say the least, I will attest that in my experience all the activism I have experienced and participated in has been very positive (such things the news likes to leave out as it isn’t as dramatic). I have witnessed many friends and other sewing community members come together to share their skills and make supplies – such as masks, quilts, clothing, and mending kits – and meals to help one another, especially over the past year.
How did your interest in sewing first develop?
Most of my family is relatively artsy in some way, so there was always access to art and craft supplies at my home. My grandmother, Mom, and Aunts had all contributed in teaching me how to sew, knit, and crochet. Sewing took the lead in my teens after I started making my own clothes and fell in love with the empowerment that gave me. I was, and still am to this day, a bit shy so I find it easiest to express my creativity through making clothing and accessories. In high school I started taking classes at a small boutique in Milwaukee, WI, USA, where I am from, and it inspired me to keep on going with it so I decided that was what I was going to study for a career.
What aspects of designing and sewing menswear excite and interest you?
What I love most about sewing is how technical it can be. I have always been more of a technical person, so in regards to making clothes – fit, details, and construction techniques have always been what interests me the most. Traditional menswear tends to have more of a focus on these things which is why I gravitated towards it in college. From my menswear degree I have landed some very fun and rewarding jobs!
What project is on your sewing table right now?
I am currently in the middle of reworking some garments in my wardrobe! One of the things I have helped my community with over the past year is making something new out of what you have, whether that is mending an old garment that would have been thrown away, or taking apart a garment you have and making something new out of it. I recently made some Qualicum Bags out of repurposed denim jeans I had that didn’t fit any more and also turned one pair of jeans into a skirt. I am in the process of taking apart some dresses that I had bought because I liked the fabric, but the style didn’t really fit me, so I’m hoping to make some breezy tank tops or a pair of beach shorts out of them.
Can you tell us a little bit about your sewing space?
I have had some very cramped and odd sewing set ups in the past so I am extremely happy to say that the house I live in currently has a converted, insulated, and spacious outdoor shed that my partner and I share for our artistic endeavors. Half the studio is set up for my sewing and the other half is filled with rock n roll instruments. I wish I had more helpful tips for organization, but it is something I feel like I am working on everyday. Most of my smaller tools I keep in a variety of mason jars so I can easily see them, and my fabric I have stored in vacuum sealed bags in many rope bowls, on a built in shelf unit. I have all of my patterns in labeled binders, but they currently are not necessarily in the correct binders. Like I said, something I work on daily! I have a senior cat named Oliver that I rescued almost 3 years ago that keeps me company some of the time, mostly when I am doing computer work. I have had to keep him away from the studio when I’m sewing as he is a typical cat that likes to plop on whatever fabric or paper is out. As far as tools, I have become dependent on my wacom tablet for all computer work. I also have a large standing desk that I use for sewing and computer work which has been a godsend for my back and shoulders!
What sewing-related patterns, projects or supplies are piquing your interest right now?
Due to being home all the time, I have found my hobby sewing has been focused on interior projects. I have made some throw blankets and pillows, new curtains for the studio, I have been experimenting with braided rugs and am in the process of collecting enough scraps to make the Closet Core pouf. I have also been building up the courage to re-upholster a loveseat that my dear cat scratched up.
Thanks for the detailed answers, Adrianna! It’s been lovely to get to know you better. Welcome to our team!