Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Brooke Anderson and I live in Portland, OR with my pup, Leia, and partner, Emiliano. I work for a local underwear company called Thunderpants USA as the Operations and Marketing Coordinator – all the underwear is made here in the USA with certified organic cotton. I’m passionate about slow fashion, reusing, and creating. Thrifting is a big hobby of mine and I run a small vintage resale business on the side called Ciocco Design Co. I really enjoy sewing, cuddling with my dog, cooking, and salsa dancing. My close friend and I are currently in the process of starting the Portland Sewcial Club – a sewing and pattern company that hosts a monthly sewing club and releases our own patterns. I can’t wait to get this going so we can expand our sewing community here in Portland, share ideas, make friends, and create some original patterns!
Why do you sew?
I sew for many reason. I’ve always been a creative person, mainly through some kind of textile art. Creating has been an outlet for me my whole life. I love sewing because it acts as a therapy for me, taking me away from my everyday problems and turning my focus on something else. I enjoy making tactical and useful items like clothing that I wear and love a lot. I love sharing my work with the world and making things for other people as well. There are feelings of accomplishment and happiness mixed in with sewing for me.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
When I’m working I am 90% of the time listening to various podcasts, mainly true crime. The other 10% would be whatever album I am feeling at the moment, usually on repeat.
As a child, what was your first encounter and memory of beauty?
As a child, my first encounter of true beauty was the first visit to my Grandma’s house that I can remember. I stumbled upon her sewing station in the basement and remember seeing all these beautiful fabrics hanging, ready to be sewn. The colors and feel of the fabric was very beautiful to me. My Grandmother and my Mother were avid sewers. At the time I couldn’t understand why, but now I get it.
Where is home and how does it affect what you do?
Home is in a small old bungalow in the NE side of Portland, OR. I feel very lucky to live in such a vibrant city where people really appreciate handmade and local goods, actually, it’s even the norm here. The weather (especially during this time of year) really allows me to stay inside a lot and sew, which is nice for someone who would prefer to be creating inside than be outside.
Name a book that you’ve recently read which inspired you and why?
I recently read Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. His books and other books like them have really helped me figure out how to be mindful in my own life. For me, mindfulness is an important skill for navigating my everyday life.
What was the first thing you ever remember making on your own? Tell us about this memory.
I’m sure I made many things before this, but the first time I really remember making on my own was a knit hat. I was very into knitting in High School and I remember when I taught myself how to knit a beanie on round needles. Let’s just say I was super proud of myself. Then, I proceeded to knit beanie after beanie during class and sell them to my classmates.
Who are your muses and inspiration?
I am definitely inspired by all the amazingly talented sewers I follow and find on Instagram. I am constantly in awe of the things people come up with and execute! The sewing community on Instagram is really special. I also get a lot of inspiration from small clothing businesses that I admire. If I really love something they make, I try to see how I can create something similar on my own in fabrics I know I love.
Do you have a community of crafters/ makers around you or do you find you are on your own?
My community of makers is big and spans years. I am lucky enough to have lots of very close friends who are also creative and make many things, not all sewing, but with the same mindset as me. I went to design school for college, so all my friends and classmates were on the same creative wave length as me. Now, most of my closest friends are sewers too! Plus, the sewing community on Instagram is a whole other supportive and fun community to be involved with.
How important is it to make something with your hands?
Honestly, this might be one of the most important things for me in my life. There is nothing better than the feeling of creating something with your own two hands. It gives me feelings of accomplishment, worth, and happiness.
What does success mean to you?
To me success means doing things in your life that make you a happy and better person. Having love, enjoyment and happiness in your life.
What have you chosen to make out of FS linen and why?
I’m obsessed with the linen from FS and most the clothing in my closet is made from your fabric so it was a tough choice. I ultimately decided to do the Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studios, its a nice pattern for these chilly days ahead in the PNW. I did a quilted body with IL019 SANGUINE Softened middle linen, IL019 COMPLEXION Softened middle linen and cotton quilt batting. The feeling of the quilted linen is divine, I’ve never though to do a quilt with linen, now my next project is going to be a quilted bedspread. The binding is all self-made with the same fabric and hand sewn onto the garment. I extended the length, and decided to go with no closure, although I may add one in the future. I went with the two shades of pink because I wanted something fun as well as functional. So much of my wardrobe is black, white and cream – I needed a little color and took this opportunity to do that! This jacket turned out beautifully and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.