How did you first get into sewing?
I first got into sewing about 10 years ago, at that point I was interested in making things like bags, and doing technical work. I was sewing on a 100 year old industrial walking foot, and working with Cordura. It was really a different world from what I’m doing now.
I began to sew clothing when I started transitioning. For me it felt like a safe outlet for my femininity since all I had to buy was cloth, and a garment would only be formed in the privacy of my own home. As I went along, and got better at making clothing, and I was able to harness sewing as a way to (at least try to) articulate my appearance exactly the way I wanted to.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think my personal style can be summed up by saying that I’m usually sewing in search of the perfect uniform, like Ray Eames’s pinafores, or David Bryne’s grey suits. I like Clean lines, and classic patterns that are sort of vintage feeling, but with contemporary color ways.
Which is your favourite sewing tool and why?
My favorite sewing tool is my Naomoto gravity feed steam iron. The more I got into sewing clothing, the more I realized the cutting, and pressing phases were almost more important than the actually sewing part. Having a good iron just takes the hassle out of pressing — it’s always hot, and ready to go.
What are your best sewing tips/tricks?
I can tend to get hyper-focused when I’m sewing, so my main trick is to split the construction of a garment up into clear stages that I can do comfortably so I don’t make (as many) mistakes.
What are the best (and worst) bits of sewing?
The best bit about sewing is the final press, and try on, also getting to wear the garment out for the first time. The worst part of the process is probably clearing enough workspace to cut the garment out.
What’s your most memorable sewing mistake?
My most memorable sewing mistake is probably working with corduroy or jersey for the first time, and not realizing that they have directionality and sidedness (respectively). It’s the memory of that kind of mistake that stays in my head every time I lay out fabric, and keeps me attentive to what I’m making.
What’s your proudest sewing moment?
I think one of my proudest sewing moments was making that aforementioned thanksgiving outfit. I used two patterns that were new to me, and was able to wear the ensemble to a dinner that to this day still feels like a magical experience.
Do you have a favourite fabric you often choose?
Texture, and materiality is really important to me in choosing fabrics. Probably my two favorite fabrics to work with are cotton corduroy, and linen. I also tend to consider weight a lot when I’m choosing fabrics, and prefer heavier weight materials when I can get them.
Where do you get your fabric from?
I do a lot of my shopping in New York’s garment district. I love having a new project, and walking around from store to store looking for what I need. My favorite fabric stores are A&K fabrics, Grey Lines Linen, and Broadway Silks. I also have to mention SIL Thread for thread, and zippers.
What would you want to say to someone who’s trying to get started in sewing?
To someone who’s just getting started in sewing, I would say to concentrate more on the layout, cutting, and pressing of their garment before putting so much weight into the importance of the machine. Also, they should invest in good cutting, and measuring tools.
What is you next project?
I’m not sure exactly what my next project is since I tend to be kind of spontaneous with my sewing, but I’d love to start making jackets so I can make my own suits.
What do you do when you’re not sewing?
When I’m not sewing I’m a sound mixer for documentary film, or I’m just walking around running errands.
Spence Anne Moore
New York City
FAVOURITE TAL PATTERN
My favorite TAL pattern is the three pleat skirt — I’ve made six of them so far! I really love how versatile the garment is. I’ve been able to dress it up for occasions, and dress it down for daily wear. The first one I ever made was out of plaid wool as part of an outfit for Thanksgiving, but I must say I really love the skirt in corduroy as part of my daily outfit. Although the tulip skirt may be taking its place soon as a wardrobe staple.
LISTEN TO WHILE SEWING
I usually listen to music when I’m sewing. I feel like it’s always something like Talking heads, Nanci Griffith, or the Magnetic Fields. Sometimes I put on a movie, or television show I’ve seen a million times, and let it play in the background.