I run, I craft, I write, and I make your favorite clothes.

I have written books about sewing for children and adults and I'm the indie designer’s patternmaking secret weapon. I've taught video and in-person classes to anyone who would listen since 2008. I believe that sewing clothes is a radical act of self-love that increases your sense of self-worth. I'm basically your sewing fairy godmother.

Story Collection – What’s your Story?

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Carrie Bloomston has designed another new line of fabric with Windham Fabrics.  It’s gorgeous, like she is, inside and out. Before she even asked, I started dreaming of what to make for her.  It’s such an honor and privilege to sew something special for someone I love so dearly.  You can go enter a giveaway on her blog and read a little about the inspiration for her new line.  If you don’t have her book yet, I suggest you get over there right now and enter, then come on back to see what I made.

Since reading about Carrie’s inspiration for this collection, I have been thinking about My Story.  What is my story?  It’s one of making, of mending, of wanting to make a difference, and of friendship. Fortunately for me, my best friend from high school recently moved back into the Detroit area.  We used to stay up all night sewing and listening to music and talking throughout 1990.  I probably spent the night at her house 4 nights a week back then. She’s always been encouraging and generous, and organized and kind.  Growing up, becoming a mom, and living all over the world has made her even more of all these, and creative and confident, too.  She’s a wonderful mentor to me, and I know we have a lot to give each other.

I have a dream to start a different kind of clothing company.  Inspired by Christina of Bamboletta, Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin, and naturally, by Carrie  and her generous, gentle spirit, I make clothes that are worth mending.  Handmade garments are our favorite things to wear.  I want people to feel the love that went into the clothes, and to feel most like themselves while wearing the things we make.  I call this Gentle Clothing.

The idea is to be gentle to the earth and the people who live here (organic and low-impact where possible, textiles made where people are paid a living wage, as little waste as possible, and durable over many years and seasons of wear and care, handmade by local people paid well – whether that’s me or other garment makers who share my standards and are willing to learn my way of working), gentle to the body (again, natural fabrics, kind and flattering fit, practical foundation pieces that inspire confidence and comfort), and gentle to me as a person (taking time for my family, not rushing development of products and people, giving of my best self).

This last bit, gentle to me, is only really possible now, with the help of my original sewing partner, Kelly Cattanach.  Can you imagine what it’s like to work with your best friend?  It’s magical, it’s alchemy.  We excel in complementary areas, and work together so well because we truly know each other.  We teach each other. We love each other’s children and families. We have wanted to keep everything we’ve made together for ourselves, which makes each garment more beautiful to send away. One of our first projects together has been this Story Collection party with Carrie.  I hope you love what we made for her.

Carrie has a strong and beautiful back. It’s a joy to make dresses that show off her favorite feature.  When I saw this fabric, I just knew it needed to be fun and easy to wear. I had a design in mind immediately.  Kelly and I worked on it together with Louise, my vintage dress form, long into the night. The design changed, the dress came together in a truly organic way. Listening to the The, the Cure, XTC, Roxy Music…..it was as if we were transported backward and forward in time simultaneously.  Carrie wears it beautifully, don’t you think?

Story-Collection-dress-1 story collection dress

In her typical teaching and generous fashion, Carrie sent loads of extra fabric for Ella to make things, too.  Her Story includes the beginnings of a quilt top, making the most of her innate color sense:


Ella loves to read and to make. Both of these she loves most when she’s independent. She made this “Portable Tree Stump” book bag and cushion all by herself from the book Sewing School 2

kid sewing project

The very first thing she did, though, was to immediately hoop a fat quarter and begin stitching….

Finally, We made up a Wander Skirt in my favorite print from this collection: Constellation. The “white” bits are newspaper clippings, and the blue is deep and delicious. So are the red and the mustard versions of this print, of course. I paired Constellation with hot pink dots (also newspaper cuttings). We cut the skirt with a large blue border, but really wanted to extend the constellation into the blue field with hand stitching. In another bit of synchronicity, the Weeks Dye Works Alison Glass Perle Cotton fireld day collection coordinated perfectly. Carrie and Alison in the same project make for a pretty dreamy combination:

skirt closeup constellation wander skirt

The Wander Skirt will be the first pattern released by Gentle Clothing, and Kelly and I will be making up a small batch of skirts that will be available for purchase as a finished garment – just in case you aren’t the maker-type yourself. Please follow us over on Instagram for sneak peeks, or sign up for our emails to be the first to know when we have them ready.

What’s your Story? I’d love to see what you make from Carrie’s new collection. Please have a look through all the makers who stitched up some love for Carrie, and enter on her blog for a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Story and a copy of her book

All the photos of Carrie are copyright Jill McNamara

April 13th Tia Curtis, Brooke Sellman, Jill McNamara
April 14th Shea Henderson, Giuseppe Ribaudo, Jenny Kelly, John Q. Adams
April 15th Verena Ehrhardt, Karen LePage, Rachel Gander, Sally Keller, Cristy Fincher
April 16th Jules Goldin, Amie Petronis Plumley, Bonnie Bobman,
April 17th Daniar Listyasari, Kerry Green, Ramona Burke, Kerry Goulder

Ask your local quilt shop to carry Story. It ships to stores in September. In fact, email them Carrie’s post so they can order it from their Windham rep today. Share the love! Tweet it, Pin it, Instagram it and Facebook it! Share pictures of Story! Tag Carrie (@suchdesigns on Instagram) and always use the hashtags #sewyourstory, #storycollection and #carriebloomston.

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