25 May #MMMay16 Maker Profile: Alexis Agbay
How did you start making your own clothes?
There was this amazing elderly lady that lived next to me when I was growing up. Her daughter was friends with my mom growing up. She would come over for an hour a week and teach me how sew when I was in high school. All I can say is that the ability to sew is a dangerous thing to give a teenager.
What is your personal challenge for Me Made May 2016?
Work through my sewing queue, my very large and scary sewing queue. I haven’t done a good job at posting this month so maybe I am just going to have to dazzle everyone with one amazing post.
Why is it important to you to make/alter/upcycle your wardrobe?
For two reasons, one is emotional one is shamefully superficial. Both show what a selfish sewer I am.
I am sure lots of our wonderful creative customers can relate, but if I don’t sew for myself I become a very unhappy person. Something about it is so satisfying that it is required to remain a balanced human.
The second reason is because, no matter what anyone says, what you are wearing is how people are going to perceive you. You are telling a story about yourself with your garments. It’s going to be perceived differently by each person you meet, but it is still a thing. Why that is important is because it should be used as a way to express yourself. It is NOT about pleasing others. I love having complete control over what I am wearing; the style, fit, fabric, how comfortable it is, if it has pockets, how closely I resemble Imperator Furiousa, etc. I love being in control of the stories I am putting out there with what I sew…as cheesy as that sounds.
How do you create time and space to make/alter/upcycle your wardrobe?
Create time? I do that by either waking up freakishly early or staying up freakishly late. I also have one day a week that I try to put aside for just sewing. Maybe go grocery shopping, but mostly sewing.
What indie patterns or fabrics inspire you the most and why? Do you have a favorite pattern you like to make over and over?
Have you hear of Blueprints for Sewing? Because if you haven’t you should go online right now and look at her amazing stuff. You should also probably buy a pattern from her. Right now. Go.
No seriously, Taylor’s patterns are very similar to having a conversation with her, you always learn something new.
Also I daydream of running away and convincing either Thread Theory or By Hand London to give me a job because I love them and they get me.
What is the next technique, pattern, or challenge you hope to learn?
All of them? I want to learn all of them. I have been sewing for long enough, professionally and personally, that I want to know all the sewing stuff and get a little frustrated when I don’t. I definitely aspire to be the sewing equivalent of a Pokémon Master, I want to collect aallll the techniques.
Conversely, I am such a sewing cheater and improviser. If I can take a short cut and not compromise the outcome I want, I totally will.
I also really need to up my quilting game because it is seriously lacking.
What sewing classes can we find you teaching at the shop?
Every month I teach the Learn to Sew! Tote Bag and Zipper Pouch class, which is always a blast. Everyone leaves that class with a bag, pouch, and on their way to starting a new project. I also do a Sewing Drop In, which more people need to take advantage of because it is a deal. One Tuesday a month, $25 for two hours, ask me all your sewing questions. Like a genie. I should call it, “Ask the Sewing Genie Workshop”, maybe more people will take advantage of it then [yes, you should! -ed.]