Morgann McCoy Biz Column: Pursuing a Creative Life through Sewing
I fell in love with fashion, textiles, and sewing at a young age. Long before I realized it was a career option. I was not aware of the industry and its impact on people living around the world. As a kid, I knew sewing as one thing: a creative outlet.
My grandmother was a seamstress. I remember her pulling out patterns, pins, and fabrics from the window seat in her dining room. The same table that held last night’s family meal was slowly converted into a creative studio. Although I didn’t fully comprehend it at the time, her process taught me to be resourceful. She showed me that do-it-yourself sewing was not only accessible but simply a way of life. She worked with your hands in a joyful way, demonstrating how sewing could be a beautiful way to serve others. As I reflect on those times, she was my first example of how creativity could be woven into everyday life.
The second example was my mom. She picked up habits passed down from grandma, everything from the dining room table workspace to the window seat storage. She pieced together patterns and sewed her own clothing. As I packed up my things to go study fashion design in college, my mom gifted me my grandma’s old sewing machine. A Viking Husqvarna: the best gift ever. I still use it everyday to sew labels into my products. It’s a sweet reminder of my roots and the people who guided my path to pursuing this creative life.
Fast forward ten years and I’m a fashion designer, seamstress, and self-proclaimed adventurer. I’m the owner of A Well Worn Story, a lifestyle brand that is home to my handcrafted bags and aprons. Sewing did not always come easy for me, but after a degree in fashion design from Iowa State University and a leatherwork course at London College of Fashion, I fell in love with the process. There’s no doubt that the people in my life have been my greatest asset.
Starting this week, I’ll be writing my own column here on The Thread with the hope to pay it forward. Just as my grandma and mom have guided me, I hope to show others how sewing can be a powerful creative outlet. It can be part of everyday life. I want to come alongside of you, wherever you are on your sewing journey, as a mentor, resource, and friend.
I’ll share sewing tips, slow fashion favorites, and tricks for simplifying your wardrobe. You’ll get an insider look at the life of a creative entrepreneur, straight from my Wisconsin based studio. I’ll talk about living in a tiny apartment on a Wisconsin farm, and how I choose to keep life simple but significant.
For now, I would love to connect with you. I want to hear your story, so please introduce yourself in the comments below!
Looking forward to sewing alongside of you this year!
Wonderful article! I look forward to reading your future columns!
I also learned how to sew from my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money and sewing my own clothes was a way to save money. I used my skills in high school sewing for our summerstock theater. Curly never looked so good in Oklahoma!
Now I sew creatively, upcycling and making pretty things.
Looking forward to your next article.
Hi Bridget! I love that your family used sewing as a way to be resourceful. How beautiful that you still use those upcycling skills. I also sewed costumes for theater productions while I was in college. It was a great way to make money through school and I learned SO much about sewing. Thanks so much for sharing!
Your Viking sewing machine is the one that we all wanted back in the day! What a treasure! I’ve been sewing for over 50 years and have had an interesting succession of machines. I have a venerable Juki 555 for most of my work.
Thank you for sharing your creative life with us!
Oh wow, I did not realize this was such a popular machine! I have truly treasured it over the years, especially during my college days when I was learning to sew and staying up until midnight to finish projects. If only our sewing machines could talk, the stories they would tell. Thanks so much for reading and sharing!
I love your shop. Your link takes one to Instagram, but I got there eventually. Can you tell me what you use to set snaps? Do you have a favorite snap to use? I’m working on a leather split leg apron for my blacksmith son. I want to set snaps at the split, so that he can snap them if he’s not sitting down. My current set-up is fine for linen, but leather is a cat of another color.
Love the Wisconsin farm. Can’t wait to hear your articles. If possible, do one on tools. Which Consew you use, and other favorites, where to find leather. Thanks!
Hi Holly! So glad you found my shop. Thanks for digging around to find it. I use snaps and a snap setter from Tandy Leather. The specific type of snap will depend on the thickness of your leather, but I personally use Line 20 snaps from Tandy for 5-7 oz leather and the setter kit (hand tools) designed for that size snap. I’d be happy to do an article on the tools, hardware, and leather I use with direct links to each product. Thanks for sharing! Good luck with the apron and message me if you have questions about the snaps! @awellwornstory on instagram 🙂