Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hi! My name is Caitlin! I am an ex-graphic designer, wedding coordinator, and retail manager, living in Los Angeles with my hubs, French Bulldog Wellington and farm cat rescue Gracie. I currently work as a trainer for an e-comm fashion company and looking to move into HR Development one day.
Why do you sew?
I sew because I had a really bad shopping problem and also love to be creative! HAHA!
Most of my childhood and young adult life was me creating something; I built houses out of cardboard, collaged, painted, used pencils…art and creation brought me life and purpose. As an adult, after college (where I studied design), I stopped doing that. Sure, it evolved into other outlets, like fashion, cooking, even interior design, but I missed making something from nothing.
Sewing has also curbed my shopping by funneling my time and resources into sewing garments for myself. I laugh as a type this because we allllll know how much fabric can cost. But the act of making something brings me so much more joy and purpose than mindlessly shopping.
What do you like to listen to when you’re working (and why)?
I tend to zone out when I sew. If I turn on a podcast – I rarely know what was said, but the background noise is comforting. Otherwise, I listen to music – pretty much anything, but this winter has been about Jazz and Blues. I can’t watch tv/movies! Once I watched a silly movie at my sewing desk and I ended up sitting for 45 min at my machine with my project in my lap-frozen. Haha! I’m sure we have all been there.
As a child, what was your first encounter and memory of beauty?
I have been thinking about this a lot, because I generally do not have a good memory or recall. I was lucky enough to take art classes every week in grade school. When I was in 5th (or so) grade, our art teacher, Ms. Attwell, introduced our class to Frida Kahlo – specifically her self-portraits with all the foliage and animals wrapping around her like a crown. I remember being so enthralled by the images that I knew “art” is what I wanted to do. It was a turning point for me to not just see beauty in a very traditional way, but to be overwhelmed by it. It was my “call to action,” so to speak, to become an artist.
Where is home and how does it affect what you do?
For me, home is Los Angeles, CA. After living in MA for 15 years, I moved back to California a handful of years ago and it has completely changed how I feel and interact on a daily basis with my style of dress, energy, and overall outlook. I’m still figuring out what that evolution is, but I am having fun nonetheless.
Name a book that you’ve recently read which inspired you and why?
I love to read, but currently my reading list is mostly fiction that is not too inspiring. Fictions of the…romance persuasion, lol! I was, however, listening to a podcast from Simon Sinek recently that made me think. For someone who is very busy and has a lot in their head all the time – the pause to think is pretty big.
Sinek asks ”What is Creativity and can you teach someone to be creative?” He goes on to say that he believes it is a mistake to say Creativity is a thing (a noun), but he believes it is more a behavior – one that can be taught and practiced, and moved in and out of. This really spoke to me as an adult who has always struggled with their self-imposed title of artist. It started to break down language that I leaned into: “I am a Creative,” “I am an Artist,” and “This is my identity and who I live into”. By looking at creativity as a behavior, something fluid, something you can be interested in or bored of-it is so much more freeing as it covers those moments of “non-creativity”.
What was the first thing you ever remember making on your own? Tell us about this memory.
The first thing I remember making fully on my own was a shoebox house for my Beanie Babies. It is so funny thinking about it now. But I took a bunch of shoe boxes, paper, markers, tape- and I started to make these modular rooms that I would stack and cut to form a home. Thinking about it now, it was very Mid-Mod.
Who are your muses and inspiration?
Is it cheesy to say that I am mostly inspired by people on Instagram? When it comes to sewing, fashion, and lifestyle-IG has pushed incredible people to my fingertips! I don’t want to embarrass them here-but I am constantly inspired with people, who like me, found an outlet to share their creativity practices and their passions. For a real-life examples that someone can follow-I am ALWAYS inspired by Paris, London, and NY Fashion Weeks. I love the colors, unique ways to layer clothing and use garments to make a statement. Couture Meets Street is my biggest muse.
Do you have a community of crafters/makers around you or do you find you are on your own?
I moved to Los Angeles during the pandemic, so I wasn’t able to cultivate an in-person community. But, I have met SO MANY makers online who are also in the greater LA area and West Coast. There are a handful of people that I go to for questions, advice, etc., and it is so helpful having that community! I am excited to start to meet people in person this year, and also see what sort of groups exist in LA-classes, meet-ups, etc.
How important is it to make something with your hands?
Incredibly important! I don’t “itch” the way some people do if they don’t use their hands. I don’t get physically fidgety or frustrated. But mentally, if I am not able to make something with my hands, I get fatigued and melancholy. As an adult who took a very long hiatus from creating, making things with my hands has energized me! Sewing has also been the perfect outlet for it.
What has been the most rewarding sewing project you’ve completed so far and why?
My most rewarding project was actually one of my first garments ever! I feel very accomplished in how far I have come, but the pride and joy that I felt when I made my first pair of hard pants – The Persephone Pant from Anna Allen – is unmatched. It was my first still material, topstitching, button holes, pockets, darts, and waistband! They were also wearable!! I put them on and woke my husband up at 12:30am the night I finished- and said “Holy crap, look what I made?!”. I think that was the “high” I wanted to chase forever.
What is more important to you – the process or the final product (ie your garment)?
If I’m honest, the process is my least favorite, but it’s so necessary that I am learning to love it. Very democratic of me, but it’s true. I absolutely LOVE putting on the final garment, it is my “exhale”.
What does success mean to you?
Great question! I like the idea of success as a mood or moment, rather than a thing that is reached. It gives more space for feeling successful in things that maybe are not even goal oriented, or maybe you don’t even miss the goal but the end result was still successful for reasons you never knew ahead of time. It gives opportunity for surprise!
This week, success means staying positive and executing good time management skills (ironic, because I think I was a day late with my photos for this interview, and you better believe my pride took a huge hit on that mistake). Next week, success may simply be that I learned to be confident in my work (professional and personal) no matter what other people think.
What have you chosen to make out of FS linen and why?
I decided to make the Mara Painter Jacket from Fabric Store! A long duster coat has been on my “to make” list for quite some time, but I have kept putting it off. Working with the heavy weight linen from Fabric Store was the jumpstart I needed to move this project up to the top of my list! I chose the Juniper color because if its saturation! I think this is the perfect material and color combo to add to my Spring wardrobe.