When I first encountered Christina Alexander, what came to mind is a quote from Angela Duckworth’s book : Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success: “…there are no shortcuts to excellence. Developing real expertise, figuring out really hard problems, it all takes time -longer than most people imagine…Grit is about working on something you care about so much that you’re willing to stay loyal to it…it’s doing what you love, but not just falling in love- staying in love.” Essentially what she is talking about is talent v grit, having picked up the sewing machine last December, Christina has grown from one project to the next with a steady perseverance. Even if we don’t believe the 10,000-hour rule invented by Malcolm Gladwell who stated that, ‘Researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: 10,000 hours’, what Christina reminds us of is that you reap results with passion and daily performance, not comparing yourself to anyone especially when it comes to social media, instead surrounding yourself with an encouraging few who inspire you to grow, and rather than procrastinating over the purpose or how to make money with your passion, to practice your skill every day, share your joy, people react to this, the energy is right. Happy sewing ladies.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Christina Alexander, I am 32 years old and I work as a Creative Manager at a regional quick service restaurant chain. I am married to my amazing wife and partner in everything, Jaime, and we have a pup named Harlow. I also have a passion for slow fashion and share my (almost) daily ethical/secondhand/handmade outfits on Instagram.
Why do you sew?
My grandmother taught me to sew as a kid and I didn’t stick with it then. As an adult, my sewing journey started with my interest in ethical/slow fashion. Some people in the community had started sewing and sharing their projects and it inspired me to give it a try! I bought a secondhand machine last December and I haven’t stopped since. It makes me feel like I am doing a little something to combat the fast fashion industry and has become such an important creative outlet for me.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
I actually don’t really listen to music on my own but my wife recently got a record player so we have been listening to random vinyl’s – Fleetwood Mac has been on repeat!
Where is home and how does it affect what you do?
Home is San Antonio, Texas! I am originally from the Midwest and it took a while to adjust to temperatures here but 10 years later, I can not imagine dealing with snow ever again! Due to our weather, we spend most of the summer inside and the ‘winter’ months enjoying the outdoors! In the past few years, San Antonio has seen a lot of growth too so we have a lot of cool outdoor bars/restaurants and great bike trails along the river!
Name a book that you’ve recently read which inspired you and why?
It has been awhile but I read and loved The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I am such a World War II story fanatic and this one, inspired by a true story, really shows you the courage, strength and resilience of humankind, especially women.
What was the first thing you ever remember making on your own? Tell us about this memory.
The first thing I ever remember making is a new cover for my ‘baby pillow’ that my grandma had given me. It was originally my uncles pillow that my grandma had made; over the years she kept adding new feathers to it each time it needed a new case. I was maybe 5 years old and we made it together – I still have it hidden away as a keepsake.
Who are your muses and inspiration?
Both of my grandmas! They were/are the kindest most loving people. They never passed judgement and allowed me to be who I was growing up. They also fostered and encouraged creativity as they both sewed and knitted. I have several of their quilts tucked away for safe keeping!
I am also constantly inspired by all of the amazing slow fashion makers and sewists on Instagram; my Pinterest board is full of ideas for future makes!
Do you have a community of crafters/ makers around you or do you find you are on your own?
My community of makers is on Instagram! It is amazing how those little squares can inspire me so much and has allowed me to connect with so many great women.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t take life too seriously.
How important is it to make something with your hands?
It is so important to me! I’ve always been a creative person and had so many hobbies growing up such as photography, drawing and pottery. However, as I got older I lost touch with that part of me so finding sewing really ignited the creative energy in me again! I am a perfectionist so sewing has taught me that perfect doesn’t exist and to be okay with that – no one notices mistakes and really, I like to think of them as ‘design choices.’ It has also become a stress reliever and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Making and being able to wear my own clothes is incredibly empowering!
What does success mean to you?
Society defines success in terms of money or status but to me it means being happy and doing what you love and enjoy. It also means living in the moment and trying to be present as much as possible.
What have you chosen to make out of FS linen and why?
I have an extreme love for linen; its natural texture and rumpled look are just perfect! When I first started sewing late last year, I heard about FS linen on Instagram and I haven’t bought my linen elsewhere since! For this project, I chose to make the Anna Allen Demeter Dress with FS Yarn Dyed Mid Weight 100% Linen! I have been loving all the flowy oversized linen dresses this season and was inspired to make one in a ‘fall’ color with long sleeves. I think it will be perfect with booties and a cardigan when it finally cools off! I was actually given the opportunity to pattern test this dress for Anna – It is so well written and easily customizable! For this version (besides lengthening the sleeves), I raised the neckline, straightened the bodice and did a full back adjustment. I love that by sewing your own garments you can make them actually fit your body and adjust for personal preferences.