10 May #MMMay16 Maker Profile: Taylor McVay
We are celebrating Me Made May all month long! Each week Kate Herron, JPK&S sewing and embroidery teacher, will interview one of our sewing teachers about their Me Made May makes. This week we check in with Taylor McVay, founder of the indie pattern company, Blueprints for Sewing.
See HERE for more info about Me Made May and ways YOU can join in the fun.
How did you start making your own clothes?
As a tween, I was generally pretty uninterested in what was available at the mall. I often shopped at thrift stores and funky boutiques. When I got a sewing machine on my 13th birthday, that was the turning point. I have made many of my own clothes, in varying styles, since.
What is your personal challenge for Me Made May 2016?
I feel like this year I want to really explore the nuances of my style and create more of a ‘uniform’. I’ve been cataloging this pursuit on my blog, blueprintsforsewing.com as the ‘Shapes & Shades” project, because I’m focusing on colors and silhouettes I like and creating outfits with them.
Why is it important to you to make/alter/upcycle your wardrobe?
I love making clothes, but I also feel pretty strongly about the problems with the garment industry (and, honestly, manufacturing and labor rights in general).
It’s important to make clothes because everyone’s body is unique and many folks don’t know that clothing can fit them until they make something themselves. It can be very empowering, not only in terms of self confidence, but also as a creative outlet for the many folks out there who don’t get to do other creative things in their life. I also believe that making some of the things we usually purchase and use helps us be smarter and more thoughtful consumers.
It’s important to alter & repair things because the clothing industry’s standard sizes will never fit everyone (and, honestly, it’s impossible to fit nearly anybody perfectly) and for many people, knowing how to alter their clothing can provide them with things that finally fit. Your clothes should fit you, you should not feel pressured to fit into clothes. The system is inherently flawed but it often makes us feel like we’re the problem.
[Taylor in her Me Made wardrobe]
It’s important to upcycle clothing because there is honestly too much of it in the world. So much goes to waste. There have been traditions of up cycling clothing all around the world for many generations before the advent of fast-fashion. It was a way of life and a necessity. Arguably, there are merits to the increased affordability and accessibility of clothing and other goods (for example: being able to buy a blazer the day of a job interview at a price you can afford). Unfortunately, the system that makes this possible also creates a culture in which clothing is seen as disposible. And it’s actually not, which creates a problem.
How do you create time and space to make/alter/upcycle your wardrobe?
Time can be a very scarce resource and even as a person running my own business, I still have much more of it than other folks probably do. But in the way you make time for things you love, I try to make time for my own projects outside of what I create for Blueprints or in prep for teaching classes. The good news is, I don’t need that much clothing at this point, so I try to take my time with projects and not feel stressed about producing new outfits all the time.
Altering/mending/upcycling can be a great short term ‘sewing fix’. Quick projects that put items back into rotation always feel satisfying and don’t take too much time.
What indie patterns or fabrics inspire you the most and why? Do you have a favorite pattern you like to make over and over?
I am a big fan of Seamwork magazine: specifically its lovely, thoughtful articles and its accessibility.
I am also a big fan of Closet Case Files and her two jeans patterns! Jeans are like the holy grail of sewing your own clothes. I literally didn’t wear jeans for about 10 years because I couldn’t find any that fit me and didn’t feel up to the task of sewing them (or sourcing the right fabric, or even having the time to do so) but Heather makes it so easy.
I’m pretty keen on all of the indie patterns I encounter.
As far as fabrics go, I love everything Carolyn Friedlander creates and appreciate her style. She has a great sense of pattern and texture. Seeing her fabric makes me want to make things.
As far as a favorite pattern, my wardrobe is nearly entirely made up of my own patterns…primarily since I need to test & develop them, but also because I created them with my own wardrobe in mind and I can sew them without thinking.
My go to summer outfit is a linen A-Frame skirt and a Cabin or Saltbox top.
What is the next technique, pattern, or challenge you hope to learn?
I am constantly learning and striving to figure out a way to make better patterns every day. I don’t feel like I have too much ahead of me in the way of sewing challenges, but I feel like learning the nuances of patternmaking and fit will take me a lifetime. And I’m so happy to do it.
What sewing classes can we find you teaching at the shop?
I often teach the Learn To Sew Crash Course, so if you want to get into sewing, come join me! I promise it’s not scary!
I also teach some more advanced classes, like creating a custom fit dress pattern and sewing with knits. I’m currently teaching a jeans making class!