The March sisters and the Bennet sisters are seen (in various film and television adaptations) sewing, knitting, or embroidering together. Once upon a time handcrafts were a necessary chore that also provided a productive social activity. Now, for those of us who do still sew or knit or create by hand, it is normal to devote a whole room (or two) to our crafts. With my heavy sewing machine and complex projects I have a hard time being social during my sewing. Thankfully, the internet has enabled us to stay in touch, meet new friends, and follow each other’s progress, stitch-by-stitch, post-by-post. The women participating in these Craft Table Chats are part of my creative and geeky networks. Before I dive into the meat of our thoughts on the creative process, blogging, and 2015, I’ll let them introduce themselves and share their Origin Stories.
Amy of Sew Well – I’m a bio-organic chemist, a runner, a cat lover, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend. Originally from the east coast of the United States, my education brought me to the west coast, and I haven’t looked back since. I’m a do-it-yourself woman who married a make-it-from-scratch man, and together we’re crafting a home in the splendor of Seattle. In 2008 I lost my grandmother’s vintage Singer sewing machine. Even though I’d never used it, the experience was rather heartbreaking. To replace it, my parents gifted me with a new machine for Christmas in 2009. I slowly eased my way into sewing through classes and crafting for my husband’s and my wedding in 2010, and then in 2011 my hobby truly blossomed, aided in part by the wonderful online sewing community. (We met over breakfast last year with a mutual sewing blogger friend.) Formerly a blogger at BurdaStyle, Amy is very active in the online sewing community (see her webpage for the many ways to follow or interact with her.) Amy has also created a wonderful list of Seattle-are sewing bloggers.
Brooke of Custom Style – I am a professional seamstress and costumer in the film & television industry. I have been sewing since the age of seven. I guess I finally convinced [my mom] I was skilled enough not to sew my fingers and she relented & allowed me to try using a motorized needle. (I probably ended up putting more mileage on her old sewing machine than she had or will.) I am a “costumer” according to my resume, but not a “designer”. I seem to be explaining this to someone at least once a week right now. As Custom Style, I specialize in the creation & construction of vintage style wedding gowns, custom clothing, and period costumes. Instagram and Twitter are where I share more personal and random day-to-day stuff (not always sewing). (You should follow @SewBrooke on Twitter and Instagram – I’ve learned many great sewing tricks from her.)
Tasukigirl Cosplay – I like to make stuff. I mostly sew, make props and bake a lot and I am particularly keen on making cute things that I can eat. I have always been into creative hobbies such as drawing, jewelry making, baking, etc, but I didn’t cosplay until my last year of college. I knew nothing about sewing at the time and was only able to finish the costume thanks to a lot of help from my more experienced friends. I […] didn’t take up cosplay seriously again until some years later. When I am not making stuff, I work as a contract and grant specialist for a large, public university. I would tell you about it, but then I would bore everyone. (I met Tasukigirl during an Assassin’s Creed cosplay photoshoot just over a year ago. I was intimidated by her skill, but discovered she is very friendly and willing to chat on Twitter (@Lorie_O). Follow her Facebook Page for cosplay updates and photos shoots.)
Marian, Dragon Slipper Tailoring – Costuming as a semi-frequent activity began when my small town finally started offering midnight releases for films that we’re just Star Wars (so in high school, though I’d been crafting/sewing since childhood) … it gave me an excuse to express myself in a way I couldn’t get away with in the day-to-day. Marian describes herself as loud, opinionated,
extremely empathic, and generally outgoing. Her creative endeavors include noveling, painting, and general crafting. During the day she works as a webcontent writer. (She is another skilled and passionate cosplayer I’ve admired from afar on the Seattle convention circuit. Her Dragon Age and Mass Effect cosplays are spectacular. Check out the CosplayBoom video I linked to a couple months ago to see! I am glad that we have finally started to interact digitally and I look forward to making time to chat about armor in person.) You can follow her on Tumblr.
Sarah, Zeita Studios – I design costumes for the stage and custom designs for my individual clients. My favorite part about designing garments for the human body is telling a story with my choices. It’s important to me that my work reveals something about that character or person in a meaningful and beautiful way. I [also] teach in the Theatre and Apparel Design divisions of SPU. I received my first sewing machine for Christmas when I was three. Of course it was many more years before I got serious about it, but I always had fun sewing and spent a lot of my childhood years building miniature furniture and scenery out of index cards, scissors and tape. (Sarah was my manager for a short time. We met at the staff Halloween party and I think our first conversation was about corset making. We’ve stayed in touch regarding fashion history, costuming, and general sewing. Sarah helped me fit my wedding dress.)
Tyraenna of Quests of Quirkiness – UX Swashbuckler by day, passionate crafter & hobbyist by night. Full time gamer and geek. Tyraenna cosplays, reviews board games, and sews everyday clothes, usually with a geeky twist. I started sewing in August 2011 with a friend. She and I decided we wanted to learn to sew together. I had gotten my first tastes of cosplay in 2009 and 2010 at DragonCon, and sewing was a logical step in progressing my skills for cosplay. I did a lot of drawing and sketching growing up, and always just in general enjoyed artsy / creative projects. My mom certainly influenced my sewing habits as she sewed my sister and I Halloween costumes pretty much every year growing up. She also made me at least one of my formal dresses for a high school dance. (We found each other when we both cosplayed Elizabeth from Bioshock:Infinite last year. You might remember her from her guest post on my blog last October. One day we will cross the great convention divide and meet in person.) Follow her on Facebook & Twitter @tyraenna.
Tally of Tally’s Treasury – Tally’s list of self-descriptive adjectives include: “creative, craftsy, drowning in inspiration, almost wishing for time to be bored on occasion, going out of my mind, thinking about how this used-up cardboard tape roll could be turned into a craft project, and going out of my mind.” Aside from sewing, I do paper crafts, jewelry making, needle felting, toy-making, painting, and any and every other craft I can find time to try EXCEPT knitting and crocheting because I have to draw a line somewhere for time and sanity’s sake. My mom is a seamstress and an artist (even went to actual art school), and …my brother and I grew up wearing a lot of clothes my mom had made for us, the house was full of homemade textiles – couch cushions, curtains, silkscreened décor – and my mom’s drawings. After university is when I started my crafting blog and my current rabid crafter status really began. Tweets as @TallysTreasury. (Tally is the best example of a digital correspondence becoming a strong friendship. A mutual friend tagged us both in a Twitter post about super-hero couture dresses and the rest is history. Tally has hosted three Craft Panels at PAX East & Prime to huge crowds.)
Tara, The Geeky Hostess – I’m a bit of a “Jill of all trades,” but my specialization is in marketing and web content creation. I try to take my creative passions and turn them into my career. I started focusing on entertaining/baking when I started The Geeky Hostess in 2010. I wanted to learn a bit more about how to entertain “like an adult,” changing from casual college parties to dinner parties. At that point I had never made a cupcake and knew nothing about home decor. I guessed there were a lot of other people like me, and thought blogging about my adventures would give me an excuse to learn more! Throwing parties, blogging, and creating videos have turned into my full-time jobs, so I get to be creative on a daily basis! I’ve also recently ventured into product creation/merchandising with the Geeky Sprinkles Kickstarter. (Do you like geekdom? Do you like delicious treats? You will not find a better resource for planning geeky themed parties, baking cupcakes, or filling your lifestyle with geek-accents.) Being the social media maven she is, you can follow the Geeky Hostess on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & YouTube. You should also check out the webseries Job Hunters, while you are at it.