Seamwork Radio: Sewing Stories

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Stories about designing, sewing, and wearing your own clothing. On Seamwork Radio, we hear the stories of all sorts of makers and what it means to them to sew clothing. We also explore the craft of sewing, how to stay creative, and the practice of creating your own wardrobe. Join us!

Episode Date
How Can You Tell if a Seamwork Pattern is Beginner-friendly?

Being a beginner is as fun as it is intimidating. Not all beginners have the same amount of knowledge or the same amount of confidence. In this episode, Sarai and Haley share three levels of beginners, how to identify where you currently fall, and how to pick patterns that help you grow your skillset.

Jun 29, 2022
What is the Best Way to Learn New Sewing Skills?

Sarai and Haley talk about why it’s hard to pick the best projects that challenge you without frustrating you, how to identify the skills you need, and our favorite method for learning new skills, project by project.

Jun 22, 2022
What Are Some of the Best Sewing Shortcuts to Save Time?

If you love to sew, you probably love a helpful shortcut. In this episode, Sarai and Haley share a long list of shortcuts to help save you time and headspace while you sew clothes.

Jun 15, 2022
The Best Sewing Books for Beginners

Wondering what kinds of sewing books are best for learning how to sew? In this episode, Sarai and Haley share a framework for building a sewing library, including three types of sewing books you should have.

Jun 08, 2022
How to Find the Type of Sewing That Fits Your Goals

You might have sewing goals in mind, but it’s easy to get distracted. If you are struggling to set and keep goals, Sarai and Haley share a bunch of ideas to help you uncover your most important sewing goal right now. They also talk about balancing having fun with your sewing while still working towards a larger goal. 

Jun 01, 2022
Creative Exercises for When You Only Have 10 Minutes

When you’re feeling crunched for time, it’s hard to make space for sewing. In this episode, Sarai and Haley share 14 different activities for when you're short on time but feel like doing something sewing-related.

May 25, 2022
How to Sew When You Feel Stressed Out

Feeling stressed out? In this episode, Sarai and Haley talk about why it’s hard to sew when you’re stressed and share super practical tips for using sewing as a way to remove stress and not add to it.

May 18, 2022
3 Steps to Help You Get Past a Mistake or Failure

Some of your future sewing projects will fail, so what can you do when you make a mistake? In this episode, Sarai and Haley share 3 simple steps to help you get past a mistake or failure.

May 11, 2022
Tips for more playful sewing

Sewing is such an involved hobby, and with all the possibilities for mistakes, sometimes you can take it a little too seriously. That can kind of suck some of the joy out of sewing. Here are creative ways to make sewing more playful.

May 04, 2022
How can I get more wear out of the things I sew?

This episode talks about the four main reasons you might not want to wear something you've made, how to plan to make things you'll get more use out of, and a quick exercise you can do at home to help you brainstorm ideas for future projects.

Apr 27, 2022
Alexis Bailey's Hand Sewing Kits

What if you could bring your projects with you wherever you go? When Alexis Bailey asked this question, she had an idea. Now she's the owner of Fibr & Cloth, selling supplies and kits for hand sewing and a growing collection of zero-waste patterns.

Apr 20, 2022
How can I use more of the fabrics I buy (or buy more fabrics I'll use?)

Are there fabrics that are gathering dust in your stash? If you can already picture a few unused cuts of fabric, and you’re cringing, this episode shares 12 tips to help you use more of the fabric that you buy and buy fabric that you will most definitely use.

Apr 13, 2022
How We Sew Through Body Changes

Sewing shines a bright spotlight on any changes your body might be going through. In this episode, Sarai and Haley share 9 tips for sewing through body changes, big and small.

Apr 06, 2022
How do I Quiet My Inner Sewing Critic?

Do you criticize your sewing projects more than you would someone else's? Our inner critics can be loud and diminish the joy that sewing brings us, so Sarai and Haley share some ideas to help quiet yours.

Mar 30, 2022
Is it Cheaper to Sew Your Own Clothes?

Before fast fashion lowered the cost of ready-to-wear clothing, sewing was an economical solution to expensive clothing. But in a time where cheap clothing is just a click away, that isn't necessarily the case. In this episode, Sarai and Haley talk about the types of sewists that really do save the most money, plus give a ton of tips that anyone can use to cut your sewing costs.

Mar 23, 2022
This Long Thread with Jen Hewett

Sarai and Haley talk with Jen about how she wove data and narrative together for her book This Long thread, to create a collection of stories, interviews, and essays that reflect the everyday crafts of BIPOC in a way that honors individuality.

Mar 16, 2022
Choose Your Adventure

What is "choose your adventure" for sewing? In simple terms, it's niche sewing. Sarai and Haley discuss how a beginner mindset can help you become more advanced, how to go about tackling a skill you've always wanted to learn, and how to combine different resources in order to become your own teacher.

Mar 09, 2022
Find Your Fit

In part five of the Sewing by Design series, Sarai and Haley talk about finding your fit. Creating clothing that fits is such a motivating factor for why so many people sew. But learning about fit and applying those lessons to your own sewing practice can be intimidating. Sarai and Haley cover why fitting is a challenge for most people, then provide a simple framework for approaching fit. They discuss how to diagnose your fit in a systematic way, the two types of adjustments you need to learn, and how tracking and finding your fit can make the whole process so much easier.

Mar 02, 2022
Design Your Wardrobe

Have you ever wanted to tap into your inner designer? In this episode of Seamwork Radio, Sarai and Haley continue their conversation about the Sewing by Design framework and chat about how building a wardrobe with intention and purpose can transform your sewing practice. Sarai shares tips based on our Design Your Wardrobe program to help you tap into your inner designer.

Feb 23, 2022
Build Your Practice

What's the secret to building (and keeping) your sewing momentum? Falling in love with sewing. In this episode, Sarai and Haley continue their conversation about the Sewing by Design framework and discuss how to build a sewing practice that you love. So that you can design an experience that's tailor-made for you.

Feb 16, 2022
Lay Your Foundation

In part two of the Sewing by Design series Sarai and Haley discuss the first phase of the Sewing by Design framework, Laying Your Foundation. Sewing is ultimately a collection of component skills and by identifying the most vital techniques you can ultimately simplify the learning process. This episode covers the 8 skills needed to get your sewing journey off on the right foot.

Feb 09, 2022
Sewing by Design

Learning how to sew can be hard! Especially when you lack a mentor to guide you on your journey. In this episode Sarai and Haley introduce the Sewing by Design framework and how it can be your roadmap for cultivating your sewing practice regardless of your skill level.

Feb 02, 2022
Re-run: A Radical Change in Confidence With Jenny Rushmore

In one of our favorite episodes from the podcast archives, learn how Jenny overcame childhood bullying and discovered her voice in the sewing community, founding Cashmerette patterns and changing the course of indie sewing history.

Jan 26, 2022
Re-run: Daddy Dressed Me With Michael and Ava

There are a lot of stereotypes surrounding father-daughter relationships. Once Michael knew he was having a daughter, he was determined to make sure she knew how and provided a way to help express herself, and one way he does that is through sewing.

Jan 19, 2022
Re-run: Open Up With Jennifer Wiese

One of our favorite episodes from the Seamwork Radio archives is an interview with Jennifer Wiese, founder of Workroom Social. In this episode, she tells the story of putting on a major sewing event and the unexpected benefits of being open to mistakes.

Jan 12, 2022
Re-run: Let's Talk Money with Heather Lewenza

One of our favorite episodes from the Seamwork Radio archives is from 2016 with Heather from Closet Core Patterns. In this episode, she talks about something that's hard to talk about: money.

Jan 05, 2022
Mimi G and Norris: A Sewing Love Story

Mimi G is loved in the sewing world. So when Mimi introduced the sewing world to her then beau, now husband, Norris Danta Ford in 2015 it was easy to be enchanted by the creative energy and connection they shared. Listen to their love story!

Dec 29, 2021
What Can You Learn from Niche Sewing?

What is niche sewing and how can it supercharge your skills and creativity? In this episode, Sarai and Haley talk about how niche sewing can help you to continuously grow and rediscover the joys of sewing.

Dec 22, 2021
Fave podcasts of 2021 with Love to Sew

We invited Caroline and Helen from the Love to Sew Podcast to join us for this episode. If you're looking for some new podcasts to listen to, whether sewing or craft related, narrative storytelling, or (how could we leave it out?) true crime, you'll find something new to try on today's show!

Dec 15, 2021
Lessons from other hobbies, with Alexia Abegg

Alexia Abegg is a multi-faceted creator. She works in ceramics, textiles, block printing, and designs fabric for Ruby Star Society. In this episode, you'll learn why you need to give yourself permission to have all the hobbies!

Dec 08, 2021
Do I HAVE to sew gifts?

Do you feel pressure to make gifts this time of year? In this episode, Sarai and Haley talk about how the holiday season creates a perfect storm for crafting-stress, plus some tips for removing pressure while still making gifts with love.

Dec 01, 2021
The Decade Project: 5 Lessons So Far

The decade project is Sarai's challenge to sew 5 garments to wear for the next 10 years. It's taught her 5 key things about designing clothing for longevity, and they're all things you can apply to your own sewing.

Nov 24, 2021
What's Your Learning Style?

These are 2 different approaches to learning—the ambitious learner and the cautious learner. On today's episode of the podcast, we talk about how to identify which type you are, what the benefits and pitfalls are, and how to learn from the other.

Nov 17, 2021
How to Build Your Sewing Skills Intentionally

In this episode, Sarai and Haley talk about how you can build up your sewing skills intentionally while making things you still love.

Nov 10, 2021
How Blackbird Fabrics Came To Be, With Caroline Somos

Caroline didn't set out to open one of the most successful online fabric shops in the sewing community, but she always knew sewing would be a part of her journey. In this episode, she shares how Blackbird Fabrics came to be.

Nov 03, 2021
Our Top 5 Fitting Resources

In this episode, we round up some of our favorite fitting resources with options for every experience level and approach. We’ll talk about books, where to find fit resources online, and our brand new fitting class and free downloadable fit journal.

Oct 27, 2021
How to Start Your Fitting Journey

When you sew clothes that fit, you feel empowered. In this week's podcast, we discuss some of the core principles of fitting, and how you can get started on your own fitting journey.

Oct 20, 2021
What Are Your Fit Expectations?

Have you ever found yourself working on the fit of a garment and not knowing when to stop? Or felt confused about what actually constitutes a fitting issue? Or maybe even found yourself obsessing over how something your making fits? In this episode, we talk about developing a healthier mindset around fitting while still working to develop the skills and outcomes you're looking for when you sew.

Oct 13, 2021
Cosplay is For Everyone

Why is cosplay so entrancing? Why do people want to spend a bunch of time and money to transform themselves into someone else? Hear from six cosplayers who show us how clothing connects us to each other, because we're all welcome in this craft.

Oct 06, 2021
Semi-minimalist Sewing

In practice, minimalism can feel restrictive and even joyless, especially for a creator. So is there a middle path with minimalism? Can you be a semi-minimalist?

Sep 29, 2021
How to Make More Time for Sewing and Creativity

This week on the podcast, Haley and I are sharing some of our own little tricks for making time for the things we enjoy, namely sewing and making. We talk about: Figuring out how much time you want to spend on creativity, Determining which activities bring you joy and which don't, How to make sewing feel more like playtime.

Sep 22, 2021
Escaping the Cult of Efficiency

An obsession with goals, productivity, and checking things off can be really unhealthy. In this week's episode of the podcast, we explore how the Cult of Efficiency came to dominate our cultures and share 5 tips to help.

Sep 15, 2021
I Healed My Brain Through Sewing, with Nia Kelley

In this episode, Sarai speaks to Nia Kelley. At just 36, Nia suffered a stroke that would damage about a third of her brain, making basic tasks like speech and reading difficult. The road to recovery was long. But on that journey, Nia discovered new sources of creativity and hard-won lessons about ambition and just what she is truly capable of.

Sep 08, 2021
Create Your Own Personal Sewing Challenge

After packing up and moving to a new house, Sarai decided to create a queue of 5 projects that she believes she’ll wear for at least 10 years. She’s calling it The Decade Project. In this episode, she and Haley talk about this project and how you can create your own personal sewing challenge.

Sep 01, 2021
Create a Personal Wardrobe Palette
Aug 25, 2021
Going Deep with Moodboards
Aug 18, 2021
Rediscover Your Style When Life Changes
Aug 11, 2021
Paperless Sewing Using a Projector (with Fuyo of Projectors for Sewing)

Have you ever wished that you could just SEW, without all the hassle of printing and assembling paper patterns? Today, Fuyo from Projectors for Sewing tells us how.

Aug 04, 2021
What We’ve Learned From a Year of Pandemic Making

The last year and a half have been transformative for many of us. In this episode, we explore how the pandemic shaped our thoughts about making, and the lessons we've learned about the importance of craft in our lives.

Jul 28, 2021
6 Tools We Wish We’d Bought Sooner

Are there sewing tools you wish you'd bought sooner than you did? In this episode, we discuss the six sewing tools and notions that we love so much, we wish we'd always had them in our lives.

Jul 21, 2021
How Much Clothing Do I Really Need?

Do you ever look at your closet and wonder, how much of this stuff do I really need? In today's episode, we share some approaches to this question, and ideas we've used (or want to use) to eliminate clutter and maintain a reasonable wardrobe.

Jul 14, 2021
Finding Your Sewing Why, Part 2

In the last episode, we explored the reasons that we sew in order to uncover our individual sewing "why." Today, we discuss how to use that "why" to make decisions with purpose and intention.

Jul 07, 2021
Finding Your Sewing Why, Part 1

What is the real reason you sew? By understanding the "why" behind your sewing practice, you can find new ways to stay motivated, understand your sewing, and make meaningful choices about how you spend your time.

Jun 30, 2021
Behind the Scenes: The Seamwork Philosophy

We're looking inward this week and sharing a bit about what it's like working at Seamwork. Sarai and Haley share our values and philosophy and why we're pursuing B Corp certification this year.

Jun 23, 2021
A Rising Ruby Star

If you love fabric, you might be familiar with both Cotton + Steel and Ruby Star society. In this episode, Haley sits down with all five founding designers to talk about their creative journey, their close friendship, and what designing fabric means to them.

Jun 16, 2021
Why Buy Organic? (Featuring Birch Fabrics)

What exactly is organic fabric? And why should you buy it? We're joined by Arleen, Director of Operations for Birch Fabric to talk about the how and why of organics, and why they focus their business on organic cotton.

Jun 09, 2021
Taking the First Steps to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business

Ever thought about turning the hobby you love into a business? Today, we're joined by Abby Glassenberg of Craft Industry Alliance, who shares her wisdom after working with over a thousand craft businesses of all sizes.

Jun 02, 2021
What are the signs of high quality clothing?

How do you know if a piece of clothing is high quality? And how do you build quality into the clothing that you make? In this episode, we discuss the three areas to look for quality in clothing, and what "high quality" really means for us.

May 26, 2021
Three DIY Replacements for Disposables in the Bathroom

This month, we had an amazing article about making your own non-disposable bathroom products. Today, we'll talk through those DIY ideas to help us all reduce waste in the home while using the scraps we already have.

May 26, 2021
Creative Mending Tips and Ideas

This month, we're talking about making clothes last. In this episode, learn 10 different ways you can mend, adapt, or wear your clothes when they've gotten a little past their prime.

May 12, 2021
Quick Tips to Make Paper Patterns Last

Today's episode was inspired by a video on our YouTube channel called "3 Tips to Make Paper Patterns Last". We'll share the 3 tips from that video, and also adding a few more ideas to keep your paper patterns around longer.

May 05, 2021
How to Use the Rule of Three Outfits

In last week's episode, we talked about prioritizing your projects. This week, we're quickly digging into one specific technique that will help you to plan and develop an idea, and make sure it fits your wardrobe.

Apr 21, 2021
How to Prioritize Your Projects

This week, we address a question in the Seamwork community about how to prioritize projects and prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed. We share Seamwork members' tips, and our own experiences to give you a few ideas to try.

Apr 14, 2021
What to do When Your Hobby Feels Like a Chore

Do you ever feel a bit "meh" about sewing? We'll explore how you can tackle the creative doldrums by asking yourself a few key questions, and figuring out the right approach for you to find your way back to a hobby you love.

Apr 07, 2021
Creativity Runs in the Family

The Burrells are a tight-knit family that sews together. Patricia, Sierra, and Sone-Seerè each know how to sew, but it wasn't something that they did together—until recently. These three women tell the story of how they share this creative spark.

Apr 01, 2021
Look for Hidden Sewing Fears

Creativity makes us feel vulnerable. Sometimes we have hidden fears around our own shortcomings, our self-image, or what other people might think. We'll talk about what some of the common fears around sewing are, and how we deal with them.

Mar 24, 2021
Learn to Celebrate Progress

Not many of us spend a lot of time patting ourselves on the back. Let's change that! In this episode, we'll share some concrete ideas that we've found helpful to celebrate progress and stay motivated.

Mar 17, 2021
Find Your Sewing Affirmations

What do you do when sewing frustrates you? How do you handle stress, failure, and the occasional hit to your self-esteem that comes with creating? In this episode, we'll share a tool that can help you be kinder to yourself and stay motivated to make.

Mar 10, 2021
Ann Lowe: Big Risks for Big Dreams

Ann Lowe moved to New York with big dreams. She wanted to become a great American designer, no small feat for a Black woman from Alabama in 1928. But she held fast to her dream, taking enormous risks and facing down catastrophe to realize her talent.


As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.

Mar 01, 2021
Where to Find Vintage and Deadstock Fabric

Have you heard the term “deadstock” applied to fabric? What does that mean? Inspired by a thread in our community, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of deadstock, vintage, and secondhand fabric. And we’ll share some favorite places to find it.

Feb 24, 2021
Update Your Sewing Room Without Buying More Stuff

We’ve all been spending a lot more time at home in 2020, and that’s led many of us to think more about our spaces. Whether you have a tiny corner or a luxurious craft room, we’ll share 8 tips to help you organize and update your space without buying things you don’t need.

Feb 17, 2021
How do I Get Rid of Clothes I've Made?

Decluttering handmade clothing is HARD. We all get attached to things we’ve made with our own two hands. In this episode. Haley helps us out with five questions you can ask yourself and three practical tips to help you move your handmade clothes to the donation pile when it’s time.

Feb 10, 2021
Creativity is Magic, with Christi Johnson

This is the story of a designer who really knows herself and her craft. She left a decade-long career in the fashion scenes of Los Angeles and NYC to open up a textiles studio in the Catskills of upstate New York, where she rebuilds textiles with magic, ritual, and a deep connection to nature.

As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.

Feb 01, 2021
Sewing Through the Generations

In this episode, we’ll hear stories from the Seamwork team about how past and future generations of sewists have impacted our sewing stories.

As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up

Nov 16, 2020
Sewing a Legacy, the Story of Folkwear

Folkwear has been creating patterns for nearly 50 years. Despite four changes in ownership and two recessions, this women-owned business is still making patterns today.


As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up

Nov 01, 2020
The Ways We Share

In this episode, we’ll hear stories about sharing, and how we share our craft with our loved ones. We asked you about a time that you sewed for someone else. Did it go as planned? Did they love it? How did they react?


As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.

Oct 15, 2020
Sewing for the Body I have Right Now, with Maggie

Maggie Crisler stands 6’1” tall, is plus-sized, and feels like her accent isn’t quite Southern enough for her small Alabama town, but it’s too Southern for the rest of the world. After a tumor on her pituitary gland caused her to rapidly gain over 90 pounds in one year, she thought she was locked out of clothing that fits. And she quit sewing. Why should she bother making clothing if her body might be totally different in a few months?

“I didn’t know what was gonna happen, and I still honestly don’t know what’s gonna happen with my health and my body. I don’t know if once we get all of the stuff sorted, if I’m going to drop 30 pounds or if I’m going to stay the same size or what. “

Maggie is a force. She plays a bright red vintage organ in a rock ‘n roll band, quilts, has long, wavy red hair, sews her clothes by hand, and has a cool job at Alabama Chanin. When you talk to her, she exudes confidence. She’s matter of fact. She has a kind tone in her voice, she’s a great storyteller, and you can’t help but want to just hang out and chat all day. But she’s spent much of her life feeling like she doesn’t fit in.

Born and raised in Alabama, and growing up in a creative household, sewing has always been a part of Maggie’s life. Her relationship with this craft has changed as much as her body. After a two-year hiatus from sewing, Maggie is back with some lifelong lessons she’s learned about making, sustainability, self-image, and the power of a well-fitting garment.

As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.

Oct 01, 2020
Finding Unexpected Connections Through Sewing

In this episode, we’ll hear stories about how sewing connects us. We asked you the question, when has sewing helped you form unexpected connections?

Adrienne finds a sense of connection through the online community but also with previous generations of sewers and makers in her own family.

Megan finds a sewing pattern in her grandmother’s sewing stash with a special note.

We also talk about building our own communities. Carmela Zabala, one of the founders of Sew Tampa Bay, shares some tips for cultivating your very own sewing meet-up.

Don’t forget to share your stories with us! Next month (October 2020), we’re looking for stories about sharing handmade gifts. You can share your story at


Check out the latest patterns the Milo cardigan and the Sawyer skirt.

Sep 15, 2020
Daddy Dressed Me with Michael and Ava

It’s unlikely that you’ve met a father and daughter with a bond like that of Michael and Ava.

Ava is 9 years old, and absolutely loves her dad, Michael. Not only does she feel comfortable discussing her life with him and letting him in on what’s bothering her as she grows up, but they collaborate together on custom-sewn outfits just for her.

Years ago, Michael made the decision to be there for his daughter. Sometimes that’s meant listening to her when she faces a problem at school, and other times it’s meant learning to do her hair or paint her nails. And it’s also meant using his creativity to learn to sew for her.

As a single Black father who works every day to empower his daughter to become the person she’s meant to be, he’s breaking stereotypes. As a male in a traditionally female-dominated hobby space, he’s used his creativity to empower others to be vulnerable, empathetic, and share what they create with pride.

"One of my biggest goals was for her to be able to express herself. That was a struggle for me when I was growing up. It wasn't even that it wasn't encouraged. I just wasn't given the opportunity. And I didn't want her to have that same experience. So, you know, just initially sitting down and having conversations with her, asking her how she's doing, giving her the opportunity to say how things are actually impacting her."

"So with my upbringing I have always felt close to women like. So it's just like a natural transition for me to be close with her, to be able to listen to her and, you know, I understand some of her emotions, some of it, you know, I have no clue what, you know, some of the feelings are. But, yeah, I think it's just being emotionally available to her."

"It was pretty much anything creative, so I would um, take like the alphabet, I used to make this for my mom. When I was younger, I would take the whole alphabet and assign a word to describe her. So she would post that on her walls. Or if it was when I was younger, I used to go to the Boys and Girls Club on Saturdays and take like an art class. So painting, drawing, writing. When I got older, I started doing like party planning, having, you know, gatherings for birthdays where I could create invitations and centerpieces."

Find Michael on Instagram at:
Read an article by Michael in the July issue of Seamwork at:

As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.


Sep 01, 2020
Overcoming Mistakes with Creative Grit

In this episode, we’ll hear stories about sewing projects gone awry, and how failures can become opportunities.

Marjorie thought she had ruined the dress she was sewing to wear to her son's wedding when she burned a hole in it. After literally throwing the dress in the trash, she decided to turn the flaw into a feature and added hand embellishment to cover the burn.

Tiffanie wanted to give up on a ruffled dress for a student showcase, but when she finally finished the dress, she felt proud of how she executed her vision. Tiffanie says the when you are frustrated, take a break from the project to get some perspective.

Munirah was frustrated when a bra project just didn’t fit the way she wanted it to. She was ready to just move on to the next project, but after an epiphany one night, she was able to salvage the project.

Maressa was ready to give up on a knitting project after repeatedly ripping out a sleeve she could get quite right. After deciding to pivot and make the sweater sleeveless, she created one of her most loved and worn knitting projects of all time.

Don’t forget to share your stories with us! Next month (September 2020), we’re looking for stories about unexpected connections made through sewing. You can share your story at

Related links from this episode:

How to Develop Creative Grit

Follow Tiffanie on Instagram @cheri_amor24

Follow Munirah on Instagram @making_moon

Follow Maressa on Instagram @maressamade

Failure is the Birthplace of Creative Opportunity

Find the Abolitionist Sewing Circle by visiting:



The Natural Colors Cookbook by Maggie Pate

Read the latest issue of Seamwork.

Check out the latest patterns: the Beckett overalls and Samson top.


Aug 14, 2020
A Bright Spot in the Dark with Ashley

Ashley grew up in British Columbia, Canada and had a freewheeling, happy childhood.
Her mother was confident, creative, and charismatic. Everyone seemed to adore her, especially Ashley. She was full of energy and seemed able to do anything.

But as Ashley got older, a different picture emerged. She learned that her mom had a secret, and over time it would destroy their relationship – and her mom’s life.

But somehow, for some reason, the experience of sewing with her mom remained one of the few bright spots.

“I just feel like, you know, that was sort of one of the one of the activities that we shared where she wasn't she wasn't so critical. She wasn't hard on me. She was competitive with me. You know, she coached me. She gave me some space. She gave me, like, access to her tools.”

“I'm pretty sure my mom made the shirt she's wearing, plus the sweater my toddler brother was wearing, and she definitely made the pink corduroy overalls I'm wearing, plus the booties. I used to ask her about those overalls all the time. For some reason I was delighted by the buttons, which were little kitties.”

“You can see the wall hanging in the background that my mom made. I feel like that could probably sell for a lot of money at some hipster craft fair these days!”

“You can just see the fur tops of my brother's mocassins - she definitely would have made those.”

“She was so tall, look how high I have to reach her hands! She liked to dress strikingly - bold colours and designs that accentuated her features. I remember she had to wear a stick-on bra with that dress because it was open in the back with verticle panels from collar to waistline, and we laughed about that; she was always showing me how to be classy - bra straps should never be visible for example.”

“She knit a special blanket for each of her babies during her pregnancies, and for mine she said she just knew intuitively that she was having a girl, so she chose the peach colour. I actually remember her finishing my baby brother's blanket in the hospital bed just hours after delivering him. She was a tough lady.”

If you are interested in helping address drug use in a compassionate way, Ashley has provided some wonderful links to help you get involved.


Aug 01, 2020
Seamwork Radio is Back!

Welcome to Season 3 of Seamwork Radio! After a long hiatus, we're back with a brand new season of stories.

We'll bring you a new full-length story on the first of the month this fall, along with a mini-episode on the 15th. You'll hear stories from the lives of people like you, and how sewing has impacted them.

We're so happy to be back! Enjoy the first episode with Ashley, and look for our mini-episode in mid-August 2020.

Aug 01, 2020
Creative Community with Kristine Vejar

In 1999, Kristine Vejar took her first trip to India. There, she met the Rabari, a small community that changed her perspective and direction for the future. In this story told by contributor Jessica Yen, Kristine shares what she learned, and how that informed the direction of her growing business, A Verb for Keeping Warm.

Related links from this episode:



Oct 01, 2016
Beating the Odds with Melissa Fehr

In 2008, sewing blogger Melissa Fehr revealed something on her blog: she’d been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. Soon, she’d need a complete bone marrow transplant. In this episode, Melissa shares how her relationship with her body changed before and after this life-changing experience – and how this relationship eventually led her to designing her own patterns.

Related links from this episode:


Sep 01, 2016
Loving a person, not their gender with Marie of A Stitching Odyssey

In September 2015, Marie wrote a post on her sewing blog called “Loving a Person, Not Their Gender.” In that post, she talked about the experience of having her partner come out as transgender. In today’s story, we talk to Marie and her girlfriend Charlotte about that experience, and what came after.

Editor’s note: At the end of this episode, the name of Marie’s blog is misidentified as Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, another lovely sewing blog. Marie’s blog is called A Stitching Odyssey. We apologize for the error.

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Aug 01, 2016
The Learning Process with Joost De Cock

Have you ever wished for a way to just punch in your measurements somewhere and get a pattern that’s drafted just for you? That’s the idea behind, a menswear-focused website created by Belgian sewist Joost De Cock. Joost went from only sewing a few curtains and pillows to making his own wardrobe to creating this incredible online service in the span of just a few years. In this episode, we talk about his learning process and resources he recommends to improve your own sewing.

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Jul 01, 2016
The “head stuff” with Felicia Semple

Felicia Semple is the creator of The Craft Sessions, an incredible sewing retreat she created to help teach women to find joy and meaning – not perfection – in the practice of craft. In this episode, I talk to Felicia about her path to creating the sewing retreat she dreamed of, and how the "head stuff" around sewing and creating has affected her life.

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Jun 01, 2016
Let’s talk money with Heather Lewenza

Talking publicly about money is a little bit taboo for most of us. And yet, it motivates and influences much of what we do with our lives, how we spend our time, and how we cope with feelings.

In today’s episode, designer Heather Lewenza of Closet Case Files opens up about how money and spending have shaped her life and career, and led her to the world of home sewing. From working in an auto factory to designing shopping centers to running her own business, see how Heather’s relationship with money has transformed her thinking over time.

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May 01, 2016
A Shift in Mindset with Jacqui Palhegyi

Jacqui Palhegyi is the blogger behind Birds of a Thread, a sewing and ethical fashion blog. She’s always been passionate about issues of social justice. But it was on a trip to Egypt with her husband that an encounter forever shifted the way she thought about how her clothing was made – and what she could do about it.

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Apr 01, 2016
Open Up with Jennifer Wiese

Jennifer Wiese had a dream. The founder of Brooklyn sewing studio Workroom Social wanted to create a weekend-long sewing event that brought a spirit of play and fun to sewing. In 2015, she hosted Camp Workroom Social, an overnight sewing camp for adults. She talks about why being present and open to imperfection is always better than fretting over mistakes – in sewing and in life.

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Mar 01, 2016
Design, Fame, and Villainy with Gretchen Jones

Gretchen Jones is the controversial winner of season 8 of Project Runway. Her singular style won the show, but her bold and ambitious personality led her to be cast as the season’s villain. In this interview with contributor Heather Lewenza, Gretchen talks about what led her to put herself out there on television, what life was like after sudden fame, and how she’s discovered her true career path through it all.

Just a note, this recording does have several words that you may not find appropriate for young listeners.

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Dec 17, 2015
The Opposite of Creative Block with Leah Price

Many of us are familiar with writer’s block, that creative emptiness that hits you when you have all the freedom in the world and a blank page. But what about the opposite: when you face tough times and a lack of freedom, but discover in that an unstoppable will to create?

Creating something from nothing is Leah Price’s passion. After spending ten years in what she describes as almost complete isolation, caring for her two children with special needs, Leah discovered a deep and abiding creative energy in repurposing what is unloved and wasted.

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Dec 03, 2015
A Dream of Self-Sufficiency with Morgan Meredith

Morgan Meredith is the designer and creator of Thread Theory, a menswear sewing pattern line. From the time she was little, Morgan knew she wanted a life that she could control. But when her husband decided to join the military, she thought those dreams might be shattered.

Listen to Morgan’s story of dramatic changes and rediscovering what really makes her happy.

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Nov 20, 2015
It’s Worth It with Sadie Roberts of Tradlands

Sadie Roberts and her partner started their label, Tradlands, without a lot of money or experience. They produce menswear-inspired shirting for women, and they believe strongly in what they make and how they serve their customers. But starting a US-made fashion label isn’t easy.

In this episode, Sadie shares how she got through some harrowing moments, why she didn’t quit, and what she’d recommend to other aspiring designers.

"I’m really comfortable saying, we had no idea what we were doing." – Sadie Roberts

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Sadie wanted to let you know that if you have any questions about starting a small fashion label, she would be happy to help. You can find her email address at the end of the episode

Nov 05, 2015
The Proud Sewist with Matthew Holloway

Growing up in Oklahoma, Matthew always had the sense that he wasn’t “normal.” As he grew up, he began to ask questions. What’s wrong with being interested in “feminine” things? And what does it say about how we view women?

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Matthew also recommends:


Oct 21, 2015
Making Your Own Mold with Charlie Wensley

Charlie Wensley learned the hard way that trying to fit a pre-existing mold can have devastating effects. Charlie is the blogger behind But before she rediscovered her love of making clothes, she struggled to meet her own expectations about the kind of person she thought she was supposed to be. This culminated in a battle with post-natal depression that left her questioning who she was.

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Oct 08, 2015
A Radical Change in Confidence with Jenny Rushmore

Jenny Rushmore is the blogger behind Cashmerette and a founder of The Curvy Sewing Collective. She’s a woman who exudes warmth and confidence in everything she does. But it wasn’t always this way. Learn how Jenny overcame childhood bullying and found her voice in the sewing community.

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Sep 18, 2015