When Sarai and Haley approached the 100th episode of the Seamwork Radio podcast, they asked a question on the Community.
“What questions would you like us to answer on the show? The questions could be personal, about the podcast, about Seamwork, about sewing, or anything else you’d like us to answer.”
As usual, you delivered some creative questions for them to answer. Listen to the full episode here, and keep reading below for some highlights from episode 100.
Q&A with Sarai and Haley
“How scripted is the podcast, and how much is ad-lib?”
Haley: “It’s not very scripted... Sarai and I meet, and we go over the topic that has already been decided upon, and we create kind of an outline of some tips and some ideas. We select what the icebreaker is going to be, that kind of stuff. But it's not scripted. I think that we speak mostly kind of off-the-cuff, wouldn't you say?
Sarai: Yeah, I would say so. It's bullet points, basically. Sometimes we get to talking while we're writing it, and then we talked through everything we were going to say on the podcast, and then we forget if we recorded it because we think, “Oh, we recorded that episode.” No, we didn't. We just talked a lot while we were writing the outline for it.
Haley: And this hasn't just happened once. This has happened, like, a handful of times.
Sarai: We're really bad at remembering which ones we recorded and which ones we haven't.
Haley: Because, sadly, our jobs are not just recording. And not sadly, the other parts of our jobs are fun, too. This one's just extra fun.
Sarai: Yeah. I personally like just sitting here and chatting with you, Haley. It's so much fun, and it just makes the podcast such a joy to record. Hopefully that comes through for everybody. I don't think I could do a scripted podcast unless it was more of a storytelling sort of podcast, like some of our earlier episodes.
“Have you ever been so surprised by your co-host that you’re speechless or rolling on the floor, laughing, and need a pause? What episode?”
Sarai: This is such a great question because I tend to laugh a lot. I feel like this happens really often, and there have definitely been times where we've been teary-eyed from laughing, but it's hard to remember exactly when because it seems to happen pretty often.
Haley: Yeah. Pretty frequently, I would say.
Sarai: Haley's got a lot of great stories.
Haley: Yeah. If you haven't noticed.
Sarai: You do have really funny stories, though. And I often find myself having to stop and take a break because I'm laughing.
Haley: It's because I do stupid things, because at one point in my life, I had very poor boundaries. I feel like it got me into a lot of pickles, but it made for some okay stories.
Sarai: Yeah, there's always a benefit to that kind of thing.
Sarai: Yeah, misadventure. Exactly. That's a great question, though. I wish I had a specific example. I think the story of you splitting your skirt when you were dancing in the bathroom.
Haley: I’m pretty animated. It's not, like, very far-fetched imagining me, like, doing the butterfly in a public restroom.
“What is something about you we wouldn't know by what we see here or hear on the podcast?”
So you start that one, Haley.
Haley: Two things come to mind. The first one applies to both of us, and that is that we both talk with our hands a lot.
Sarai: Oh, yeah.
Haley: Even as I'm speaking, my hand is wildly waving in front of the camera. So that's the first one. The second one is, I have kind of a bad potty mouth, and I really try to keep it chill on the podcast. Not bad. But I don't really make it a point to watch my language in particular in any other circumstance other than recording this podcast.
Sarai: I guess one thing that I think people are often surprised about is that I'm a fairly sporty person. I really enjoy exercise...I really enjoy are the outdoors. I'm becoming more and more outdoorsy. And then the other thing is that I really enjoy lifting weights, and I lift pretty heavy weights. I've been doing it for a few years, several years now, and I'm pretty strong. So that's something that I think a lot of people would not guess about me at all and are often really surprised when they learn how much I can deadlift. That's one thing that I think most people aren't aware of.
Another thing that people are often not aware of—I don't know if this is important or anything—but I'm a huge Bruce Springsteen fan. My phone wallpaper is a picture of me with Bruce Springsteen. I met him at Powell's, and he did a book tour. And I just love Bruce. And every time we rent a car and it has serious radio on it, I tune it to E Street Radio and listen to Bruce Springsteen. And it's my jam. I really love Bruce.
“If you had your druthers and could have a podcast about a non-sewing topic, what would it be?”
Sarai: So ever since I read this question from Jeanine a few weeks ago, I have been thinking about this... It was hard for me to think of what that would be. I think maybe something related to health—either mental health or physical health—would be a really interesting topic.
Haley: I'm very interested in storytelling. I love nothing more than listening to people's stories. I think that the lives that we lead are so fascinating, and there's so much to be learned from listening to other people's experiences. So I think it would be something to do with providing a platform for other people to share stories of their own, personal stories. Obviously that idea isn't really well developed, it's fairly broad, but I think it would be somewhere in that series. I can see you having a podcast about books. You're such like a bookworm.
Sarai: I am a bookworm.
Haley: Every time I talk to you, you're like, I'm reading this book. I'm like, dang it.
“Will there be another book? What topic or why not?”
Sarai: I’ve thought about this, and I think there definitely will be other books of some kind in my future because I love writing. It is like my favorite thing to do, whether it's writing out the outlines for these podcast episodes or something for YouTube, down to writing long-form, I love it. And so that really draws me towards the idea of writing another book. But I don't think at least right now, I'd be interested in doing a how-to book.
There's so many wonderful books out there already on sewing that that's not really something I'm interested in doing right now.
But I'm very interested in some of the other things around sewing that we often talk about on this podcast. Some of the more mindset issues and the process around sewing. What sewing does for you. How it can help you. Why you should pursue it. How to fall in love with it. I think those are all really interesting topics that I don't see written about as much. I think generally, crafts and the idea of crafting, creating things just for the sake of creating them, or because you enjoy the process and the effects that that has on your wellbeing and on your mental health is not something that I see a lot of resources on.
And so that's a topic I'm really interested in and might pursue at some point in the future when I have some time to do that—which is not right now. I don't have anything like that in the works at the moment, but I think it would be a really cool thing and something I would really enjoy.
“What is one sewing tool you wish existed?”
Haley: Well, this probably won't be a surprise to anyone who listens frequently, but I do not like cutting. So I would love some kind of, like, robot that just cut my sewing projects for me.
Sarai: That must exist, right? Aren't there robot cutters? I'm sure there are, right?
Haley: Yeah. I mean, there's a big fabric saw that cuts many layers. And I think there's some amount of automation that can be built into that. But on a personal one-off level, that would be really cool, like a laser cutter. If it just, like, shot out a laser beam and cut out my fabric, that would be really cool. That'd be my dream. I'd sew so much more.
Sarai: Really? Wow. You must really hate cutting.
Haley: It's time-consuming and it takes up a lot of space. It’s a barrier for me. It's a barrier for a lot of people. So that would be really cool if I could just set up for it once a month and my little robot could cut a few projects for me.
Sarai: Yeah, that's a cool idea. I think for me, the things that came to mind are, like, tools that I've used that they don't really make anymore. Like those bound buttonhole makers. It's basically like a little jig for creating bound buttonholes. I used to have one.
I think also a better marking tool for fabric. There are some okay ones. I really love the Clover pencils. Those are pretty good. But I just wish there was something that was even better that would stay on your fabric as long as you want it, but wash out really cleanly. Be easy to see, easy to use. I haven't found the perfect marketing tool yet, but the Clover pencils are pretty close. They're pretty good.
“If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be your discs?”
Sarai: So I think she means albums, like music albums. She linked to a show on the BBC about this. So from what I could gather, that was the question. What would be the albums you would bring? Gosh, that is a hard question. I would start with a Bruce Springsteen album, obviously. Maybe The River. The River and Nebraska are my two favorite Bruce Springsteen albums. But Nebraska is very dark, so I don't know if I'd want to listen to that too much if I'm stranded on a desert island, because it sounds pretty isolating to begin with...
Haley: Well, I'm a huge Joni Mitchell fan, so I'd have to choose something of hers. Probably Blue. I could recite the entire album from start to finish. That would be one for me. I love folk music, so I would be tempted to just bring, like, all folk music, but then I would be so sad.
Maybe something like PJ. Harvey or something. And then I'd mix it up in, like, a Lil Kim album, like Hardcore or something like that, which is great. It's a great album. And I listen to it when I make Thanksgiving dinner. That gives me a good snapshot of my musical preferences, I guess.
Sarai: Actually, you made me think of another one that I would have to bring, which I would have to bring a Kate Bush album.
Haley: Yeah. I was surprised that wasn't in there.
Sarai: I can't believe I forgot Kate Bush. She's also one of my all time favorites. I’d probably bring Hounds of Love.
Haley: Yeah, it's great. I love she's trending with the younger generation. Right now, all of these teenagers are discovering Kate Bush, and it's so rad.
Sarai: She is an incredible artist. Just incredible and just a shining example of doing your own thing and being who you are and having your own artistic voice. There's just nobody like Kate Bush. I like that you said PJ. Harvey, too. I love PJ.
Haley: Yeah. This is when I play her in the car, and Charley is like, this is angry mommy music.
Sarai: Very angry.
Haley: Very angry mommy music.
I feel like Seamwork patterns are always exactly on trend. Where do you get your inspiration from?”
Haley: Well, first of all, thank you. I'm glad that you think that they're on trend, and hopefully that means you enjoy them. So where do I get my inspiration from?
Basically, we don't pay for any trend forecasting services here. A lot of times when you work in ready to wear, if you work in the larger company, you pay for trend forecasting services. They tell you what's the colors, the different trending styles, things like that. So I basically kind of do my own trend forecast. And how I do that is I look at ready to wear clothing. I look at a lot of varying price points and kind of try to predict what I think the trend pipeline is. Usually trends start out as more like high concept and then filter their way down to a more palatable version for the general public for everyday wear, so I kind of just look at that pipeline and identify some of the commonalities that I'm seeing in clothing in general.
And usually that results in five different mood boards where I can kind of, like, draw inspiration from in addition to looking into trends, which is important, but I'm not super married to.
I also look at customer feedback. I look at what, historically, people have really liked that we've done. I look at our existing catalog and see what the holes are, what we need more of, what I don't need to design more of. And that's how all of those elements help me to come up with concepts.
I usually concept three to six months at a time, and usually, I end up with too many concepts. So, for example, for a six-month period, I need to have twelve concepts. Usually, I end up with, like, somewhere in the ballpark between 15 and 20, and I narrow it from there, and I kind of see what things play well together and then get team feedback, and I go from there. I have very rarely in my life come up with too few ideas.
“It seems that you followed your passion and made a job out of it. In what way has this changed your love for and perception of sewing, fabrics, patterns?”
Sarai: To be honest, I don't think that my career has dampened my love of sewing or fabrics or patterns at all. If anything, just the opposite, because I've been able to think more deeply about them than I probably otherwise would. So I can see why a lot of people do struggle with us when they make their hobby into a job. I think the difference for me is that I don't sew for a living. My job is not actually doing the sewing. So when I sew, I'm sewing for myself.
I feel like my job is much more about the creative aspects of running a company and less about actually making sewing into a job, if that makes sense to you. I don't feel like it's diminished my love for the craft one bit. What about you, Haley?
Haley: I have developed a pretty healthy relationship with my professional sewing versus my personal sewing that allows me to have a little bit, I don't know, just a little bit more balance there. I think it's something that you definitely have to watch out for.
I still love sewing. I love sewing more and more every year, to be honest. I love it for what it has, the gifts that it has given me, and what it has allowed me to do with my life. I'm just so incredibly thankful. 20 years ago, I thought I could have never imagined this as my career. It's like, beyond what I could have hoped for, truly. I feel just super, incredibly lucky.
Thank you for listening
Thank you so much to everyone who wrote in for sharing your questions. Also, a big thank you to everyone who listens every week. You are so amazing, and we're so happy to be able to continue doing this podcast. Cheers to hopefully another 100 episodes!