Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Nisan and I’m a 25 year old sewist from Ankara, Turkey. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, and I’m finishing up my Master’s degree in the same program. I’m currently working on my thesis which is centered around the slow fashion / sewing community on Instagram. In my spare time you’re bound to find me either sewing, knitting, or drafting patterns! I also love sharing my entire creative process on my Instagram account, @the.social.fabric
Why do you sew?
Ever since I was a kid, I loved making things with my hands. Looking back, I now realize that I also had a special attraction to everything related to clothing: from appreciating garments of the past decades to desperately trying to curate a wardrobe that truly reflected my identity, I spent a lot of time thinking about clothes. These two interests finally came together two years ago, when I made the sudden decision to start sewing. I dabbled in a number of creative endeavors all my life, but sewing feels incredibly natural and “easy” to me. It’s the only thing I can be endlessly curious and patient about, and I’m constantly hungry for it. I truly love everything about it, from the drafting and modifying of patterns, to the construction of the garment and the enjoyment of the finished pieces!
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
It really depends on my mood and the project in question. If my favourite podcasts (like This Podcast Will Kill You, The Unmade Podcast, or My Dad Wrote a Porno) have a new episode out, I immediately reach for them. I have a hard time doing one thing at a time, so having a conversation to listen to while I sew is really helpful for me! If I’m working on a project that requires my undivided attention, I usually reach for familiar sounds, like strange 80’s (or 80’s inspired songs), or music from my favourite bands – like Radiohead, Jakuzi, MGMT, Morphine or Timber Timbre. If all else fails – I just put on Rocky Picture Horror Show and that does the trick to get me working. I’ve also been known to hyper fixate on a sewing project and work on it in complete silence for 8 hours, but I try not to do that these days 😀
As a child, what was your first encounter and memory of beauty?
I have a difficult time recalling childhood memories, but my childhood dog was the most beautiful creature to walk this planet. His name was Waf, and he was a tricolour rough collie. I would sit by his side and watch him for hours, looking at his tiny eyelashes and admiring his soft fur.
Where is home and how does it affect what you do?
Home is where I feel safe and warm, and that sense of security and warmth comes from sharing a space with my partner and our two cats. With them present, anywhere can feel like home, and without them, even our apartment just feels like a movie set. The feelings I associate with the idea of home are absolutely crucial for my creative process. I am my most creative and productive self when I am surrounded by all my things and my companions, and spending quality time at home fuels my creative process in a big way.
Name a book that you’ve recently read which inspired you and why?
I used to be a total bookworm, but my reading habit has dramatically fallen apart since starting university. I went from reading over 200 books a year to reading maybe 1 in the last couple of years. Since my recommendation of a recent favourite wouldn’t be so recent, I’ll instead name my favourite book of all time – The Moon Palace by Paul Auster. I adore everything he writes, and the way he constructs space and characters in his writing has been incredibly influential to me growing up.
What was the first thing you ever remember making on your own? Tell us about this memory.
I grew up constantly making little things with my hands, but there were so many that I can’t single out the very first thing I made by myself. But I do remember making lots of miniatures of everyday objects like pencils, erasers, notebooks, beds, and even clothes!
Who are your muses and inspiration?
Vintage menswear is a huge inspiration for me. Anything from the iconic outfits featured in The Sopranos to advertisements for trousers from the 40’s / 50’s gets me going! I love tailored suits with pleated trousers, natural materials like linen and wool, neutral and earthy colours with a twist, and textured fabrics like rustic linens and wool tweeds. I also have a thing for 80s fashion: I love the juxtaposition between the big, extravagant shoulders and the tiny waists, and I often gravitate towards this silhouette when I’m getting dressed. I don’t really look up to specific people for style inspiration, I just gather bits and pieces I like and then combine them all into garments and outfits. I also have a soft spot for the beautiful, modern tailoring of Peter Do. I would love to create a piece inspired by his work one day.
Do you have a community of crafters/ makers around you or do you find you are on your own?
While I don’t really have a community of makers around me, the sewing community on Instagram is an enormous part of my life. Over the last couple of years, I have made incredible friends within the community, as well as being constantly inspired by the sheer talent and creativity of the community members. I started my account about 5 months after I started sewing, and I immediately felt at home in the community. I owe so much of my sewing knowledge to the generosity of different community members that I feel compelled to return the favour by sharing as much of my making process as possible.
How important is it to make something with your hands?
It’s everything to me. If I’m not sewing I’m knitting, and if I’m not knitting I am doing research about sewing and knitting. I feel like I just cannot properly function if I’m not creating something with my hands, and having the ability to create physical, independent artefacts from scratch feels like a huge privilege.
What does success mean to you?
For me the feeling of success is always accompanied by feeling comfortable and confident in my decisions and actions. If I don’t feel like myself when I’m doing something – even if I’m technically good at it – I don’t feel successful. So for me, success comes with authenticity and confidence.
What have you chosen to make out of FS linen and why?
I decided to make a two-piece suit: some pleated trousers and a waistcoat. The trousers feature a Hollywood waist, a super high rise and double pleats on the front. Ever since I drafted this pattern I have been dying to make it out of undyed linen but I’ve never been able to find the perfect fabric for it – until now! For the waistcoat, I used the Liliana Vest pattern from Viki Sews. Together they form the perfect summer suit, and I cannot wait to wear these pieces both together and separately!