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Episode 86

Alexis Bailey's Hand Sewing Kits

What if you could bring your projects with you wherever you go? When Alexis Bailey asked this question, she had an idea. Now she's the owner of Fibr & Cloth, selling supplies and kits for hand sewing and a growing collection of zero-waste patterns.

What if sewing were more portable? What if you could bring your projects with you wherever you go?

When Alexis Bailey asked herself this question, she had an idea. She was on a trip to Europe and was a little homesick for her sewing project—wouldn’t it have been nice to sew during the downtime on her vacation? “I remember being in a room, and I’m just like, I just really want to be creative right now and have no access to it. I had not brought anything with me.”

About six months later, she launched a project to bring hand sewing into the lives of more makers worldwide. And in September of this year, Alexis will celebrate Fibr and Cloth’s second year in business. Her shop not only stocks all the supplies and kits you’ll need to hand sew but a growing collection of zero-waste patterns.

In this episode, Sarai and Haley chat with Alexis about ways to practice sustainability on a budget.



Podcast Transcript

Sarai
Welcome back to Seamwork Radio. Today we’re going to be talking to Alexis Bailey. This is a designer and owner behind Fiber and Cloth, an online shop providing hand sewing and embroidery kits and tools for the mindful maker. You can find her work and shop at Fiber and Cloth.com that’s fiber without an e and her own site@helloalexisbailey.com. Hi, Alexis. Thank you so much for joining us today. We’re so happy to have you.

Alexis
Hi. Thanks for having me.

Sarai
So we always start off with an ice breaker. And today our icebreaker came from somebody in our community who username is Twist. And she asked, would you please share with us the kindest thing someone has done for you inside your sewing practice? Perhaps the way that a teacher explained something or the way someone responded to an item you made for them or a tool or a piece of fabric that someone shared with you. Wow, that’s such an interesting question. Do you want to start?

Sarai
Haley? Do you have something in mind?

Haley
Yeah, I think I do, actually. I think that the kindestf thing that someone did for me, I think it was the way that my career path really took this 180 change when I discovered the home sewing industry and left ready to wear. And it was the shop owner that I worked for for several years, Sherry Mead, she owned solely, which has since closed. But she really just, like, took me underneath her wing and introduced me to this really amazing community, introduced me to Sarai. Really, my whole life changed when I realized that there was this amazing world. And she taught me how to teach sewing. And I think that is like my biggest sewing kindness that I have received ever.

Sarai
Oh, that’s awesome, Sherry. What about you, Alexis?

Alexis
So I had a customer who was really sweet. We always connected on Instagram before I was even a business. But when I started the business, she was like a frequent, constant customer. But when the book the 100 Acts of Sewing Book came out, I forgot what the actual book is called. But Sonya’s book came out. She had an extra one. The customer did. She told me that she had accidentally bought two. And then she mailed it to me. The nicest thing. And it was really nice. Not just because a customer sent me a book, but just because that book is very tailored towards a sustainable making practice and just simple silhouettes and just to be thought of and just to be sent something so personal and to be thought of like, oh, I have an extra book. Well, just return it. But she sent it to me. It was like one of the nicest things that I’ve ever gotten from someone that is so kind.

Sarai
I’ve had that happen, too, where people have sent me, like, boxes of patterns vintage patterns they had that they thought I would like or fabric at one time. I don’t know who did this, but at our old studio, I opened the door and somebody had left just a bunch of vintage sewing tools, like right outside the door. I don’t even know who it was, I never learned. So I’ve had stuff like that, too. I think for me, the kindest thing anyone ever did in my sewing practice was my grandmother actually teaching me how to sew because it takes a lot of time and patience to teach somebody how to sew. And obviously it had a huge impact on my life. And learning how to use the sewing machine, learning how to cut fabric. Spending that time to pass that on to a future generation, I think is just so special and so thoughtful, both for the relationship and also for the impact and how much that had on my life. So I really appreciate that and have a lot of gratitude for that. If anybody listening would like to share theirs, you can share in our community.

We’ll leave a link down below, but if you have a question for us an ice breaker you’d like us to ask in a future episode, you can also share that in our community. We’ll leave a link in the show notes to show you where to do that. We have a thread there where you can post them and that’s where we pull our ice breakers from. So thank you so much to Twist for sharing this one.

So Alexis, I wanted to start by asking you a bit about your business and how you got started. Can you tell us the story there?

Alexis
I went to Europe with my husband in 2019, right before the Pandemic. It was in October. So literally, like right before the Pandemic, we went to Europe and we had a great time. Like nothing was boring or anything like that. It’s just when you have those free moments, then you want something to do with your hands. It would be relaxing in one of our Airbnb and I just feel like I just really want to make something because I was so inspired by the areas we were in, specifically when we were in Portugal. I remember being in a room and I’m just like, I just really want to be creative right now and have no access to it. I had not brought anything with me. I thought about bringing like, knitting needles, but we backpacked, so I didn’t want to have any checked baggage or anything like that because of them being long and weapons like so because I couldn’t do anything, like, creatively than I did what any source would do. And I went and bought a whole bunch of stuff to be on my doorstep when I arrived back home. So I went through a whole frenzy of buying fabric and buying patterns and everything.

But then I stumbled upon a Wool and the Gang knitting kit that I really thought was cool. And I was like, oh, this would be cool for a future trip. It had circular needles, so it would be better, but it was just like I was somehow thinking that I could take this trip with me on the trip I was already on. I don’t know. I bought the kit. And then when we got back home to the United States, then I remember seeing the bag that the kit came in, and I just tore it open like crazy. And I thought the concept was so cool. It came with yarn, and it came with needles, and it came with the pattern in it, and then you just start knitting right out of the bag. And I just thought it was the coolest concept ever. And so from there, I was like, why can’t we do this with sewing? And then it led me down a rabbit hole of a whole bunch of YouTube videos from Bernadette Banner of hand sewing historical clothing and everything. And I was like, why can’t we do this with modern garment making?

And there was nothing really like that. I think I found, like, one sewing account, and the person had made, like, a top and some pants, but I didn’t really find anything where modern wise, anybody was hand sewing garments. And so from there, I just went on a mission to make that possible. And the pandemic had just happened. So I really saw people leaning more towards doing crafts at home, doing different kit based, creative things at the house. And so I went and bought supplies and learned more how to handle. I knew couture methods, like Hemming, slip, stitching, things like that. But I dedicated myself to learning hand sewing in six months for how to make a garment from start to finish. And I tested some patterns. One specifically was the strata top, which is a super easy pattern to hand sew. And I also did a pair of Free Range Slacks just to see if I could do it. And then I did it like, I made a whole two outfits, hands sewn. And I was like, okay, it’s possible. So now let me bring this to other people. And I started an Etsy shop that September of 2020, and things sold out like crazy.

Like, I sold out twice, and in total sold, I think, about 150 kits in total to people. And it was great. After that, I did a really cool workshop with Top Stitch Atl. I did a hand-sewn coaster class. They made some linen coasters. After that, it was just kind of a boom, boom, boom. And I went from Etsy to my own website, and that’s where we are now.

Sarai
Wow, that’s amazing. What is it that you think really appeals to people about hand sewing in particular.

Alexis
Especially during that time at the beginning of the pandemic, I think everyone was looking to be grounded into something I in particular knew I did because at the time, we’re not going out. So the purpose of sewing on a machine is to pretty much get it done quickly and to wear it well. We’re not going anywhere. And I had a lot more time during that time because we weren’t going anywhere. So it’s like, I don’t know why I’m putting all my energy into making a whole new wardrobe for myself, and I have nowhere to wear it to. And I think other people kind of felt the same. I think everybody I saw a lot of people leaning towards new crafts. A lot of people were gardening, a lot of people were knitting. And I think everybody was trying to look for something that was slower and more grounding, that was more mindful in the sense of the word, of just putting your conscious effort and intention into it. That’s personally what I feel. But I also had a lot of people buy, like, three kids at a time. So I could also be wrong because there’s no way you were handling that so quickly.

So there’s always that customer who buys all of them buys one of each pattern that I have. They’ll buy, like, three of them. And I’m like, there’s no way you’re making this that quickly. But business is business. But that’s what I think personally.

Sarai
That’s really interesting because I definitely feel that, too, that I have a different relationship with my handmade clothing since the pandemic started, being that there are fewer places to wear it. And just like life circumstances have changed so much. And now that I’m thinking about what I want to sew this summer, I have been thinking a lot more about hand sewing and heirloom sewing techniques and how I can incorporate these really slow and interesting details into my wardrobe and make fewer things, but make them really special. So it’s interesting that you found that to be reflected in the sewing community as a whole, which is really cool.

Alexis
Yeah, definitely.

Sarai
I know that sustainability means a lot to you, so can you tell us a little bit about what sustainability means to you?

Alexis
Beginning my journey when it came to mainly my making practice for sustainability, it started with my health. I was wearing a lot of I mean, when I first started, I had just gotten married. Like, I’ve sold since I was about eight or nine. But when I came back, you go off and on. When you start selling that young, like, you’re not always sewing, sometimes depending on the person. But for me, I didn’t really get back into sewing until I was probably about 22 or 23. And it was upon discovering that closing stores didn’t fit me right. But you’re still on a budget because you’re coming from fast fashion. So you’re coming from fast fashion, and you’re wanting to sell your own clothing, then you’re like, oh, this is pretty quiet. Oh, and it’s cheap. It’s $2 a yard. And we have a fashion district here with a whole bunch of fabric stores you can’t identify. It usually polyester. So I was wearing a lot of polyester. And then after that, I think I didn’t care because I was younger, because I was like six years ago. So it’s just, oh, it’s cute. Who cares if I’m sweating?

Who cares if I feel lethargic in the clothing that I’m wearing for me personally? But two or three years later, I realized that it was the polyester clothing that I was wearing was making me feel that way. I was always hot. I was always sweating in a lot of different places, just uncomfortable, and it didn’t feel natural. And so I got to getting rid of all that stuff in my closet, a lot of the polyester material. And that’s when I realized that I need to switch to more natural items. And then I was starting to see people talk about synthetic materials more, how it wasn’t good for the environment, how it takes forever to decompose and biodegrade, and how it just isn’t a natural thing. Now, unfortunately, money wise, it’s probably more sustainable because it’s cheaper, but economically wise and health wise, it’s really not the best material. And so that kind of led me on a journey of I went from there to when you go from natural fibers and you’re usually on the path of dead stock and just different things that my eyes were open to when it came to the sustainable side of sewing.

So I guess that’s kind of what it means to me. It kind of means my whole entire way of living. When we started on the outside with the clothes I was wearing, then it was kind of on the inside. I started eating different. I eat a lot more plant based now because just being sensitive to how things were affecting me on the outside, maybe a lot more sensitive to how things were affecting me on the inside. To me, sustainability is just how we take care of the planet, number one, but also how we take care of ourselves as individuals health wise and the impacts that we’re having on other people, including ourselves. Yeah.

Sarai
It’s really interesting how those personal choices kind of cascade sometimes that can start with one need that you recognize, and then you find all of these other needs that are kind of linked to it in these different ways. So that’s really a powerful story. I think. So you mentioned the expense of living more sustainably and buying more sustainably. So that’s kind of a little bit of what we want to talk about today. This blog post that you have about tips for being more sustainable on a budget, because I think that there is a perception that in order to be more sustainable, you need to spend a lot more money. So I wanted to talk about that. Your first tip on there was about shopping your closet first. So I’m curious if you have any tips about how sewists can do more with what they already have. Any tips you have for repairing and mending also what you already have?

Alexis
Yeah, I definitely think there’s a lot of hidden gems in our closet. I mean, even me. During this time of the pandemic, I’ve pulled out things that I didn’t even know were there. My closet is not that big. We only live in an 800 sq. Ft. Apartment, so it’s not that big. And I’m still finding stuff like, oh, I forgot I had this. And most of my stuff is handmade, so you find different treasures. I had a bag of stuff I was giving to Goodwill at one time, and I went through it to make sure, and there were like, five or six articles of clothing. I was like, why am I giving this to Goodwill? I would never like, this is mine. So that’s definitely one way. I think times change, so sometimes we may want to get rid of something just because we’re just getting rid of it or just because we haven’t worn it. But what’s her name? Christine Platt. She’s Afro minimalist. She talks about, you need to love it, use it, wear it. And those are the determining factors that could be butchering that. But those are the determining factors of if you keep something.

And so if you look at it and you love it and you actually wear it, then you should keep it, and it changes your perception of how instead of buying something new, the thing that you already have could be perfectly good and fine. And that goes with fabric, too. Sometimes. I’ve seen people. I’ve done it, too. You buy something similar to what’s already in your fabric stash. Like, I’ve done that. You have a whole spectrum that you kind of stick to color wise, palette wise. But then you look and you have, like, five different shades of maroon and navy, and they’re all pretty much the same. So even just looking at your stash before you make a purchase is important, and then mending wise. I mean, I even started my hand sewing journey by reading books by Katrina Rotabaugh. She makes it so simple just to patch something up and also make it look pretty and add that hands on personalized aesthetic to it. You never know if you just think outside the box, think about something that you could just embroider something on and just give new life to. I think that’s so important just to view our clothing differently, like the clothing that we already have differently in a different perspective.

Sarai
I think that’s really true. And what you’re saying about kind of going through your closet and thinking about what to keep, what to give away, I think just that act of doing that really can transform how you see the things that you own and what you want to bring into your life, too. I think just like, even if you’re not getting rid of things, even just going through and making that assessment can be a big part of that, don’t you think?

Alexis
Definitely. Yeah, I think so. Sometimes we think our style is a certain way or Instagram has a way of like, oh, this is cute, but it’s not really something we’d wear. So it kind of takes us off the path of our own style. And then we look at our closet, and sometimes we may just need to hone in on what we already have to kind of get an idea of what we actually wear and what we actually like, and it changes the thought pattern and everything. I completely agree with that.

Sarai
Yeah. Which kind of is related to your second point about combating commercialism and some of the ways that maybe people can curb impulse buying. So I wonder if you have any thoughts about that.

Alexis
It’s difficult for me sometimes to talk about this because a lot of my actual friends own really popular fabric stores and patterns. I always do that. But I don’t know at times a lot during this pandemic, I mean, even now I’m on a complete hiatus of buying anything just because it’s just so pressuring the Instagram social media thing. I know they’re not as popular now, but when you see people do these fabric calls and what they got and it’s just all the pretty fabric, and I completely get it. I’m a sucker for texture now, especially since moving towards the natural fibers kind of situation. I’m all about texture. I don’t care how pretty it is, I want it to feel good on me. So if I see a textured fabric, it just gets to me, like, visually, it’s just difficult because we’re in the pandemic still in a lot of ways. And during the pandemic, a lot of people went through depression, and some people go through depression anyway. But when it comes to impulse buying, a lot of it is led by our emotions and how we’re feeling and things like that. And Instagram and most social media just kind of plays on that to see what bites.

And I think the thing that got me on that was watching I forgot it’s like a documentary, but it was talking about how social media really affects and watches kind of the patterns that we make. And so when I wrote this blog post and talked about the commercialism area, which is why it’s so long, it was like me fighting against that because I saw how it worked and I saw what they do because they’re watching the things you click and they’re watching what you buy that. And I just was over it because when you really think and look at stuff, you don’t need it, you’re just buying it because it’s pretty, because it’s visually appealing to you, but you really don’t need it. And then when I shut off and muted a lot of the fabric shops and the fabric stores that I was buying from previously, it really made me look at what I had more than what I could consume. So focusing on the things that you already have versus the consumption aspect and then not being surprised later on. How did I get this way? Well, it’s because you weren’t really paying attention because you were buying so much impulsively that that’s what occurred.

So that’s like a big thing for me that I’m currently still fighting but have kind of gotten more of a rain on is how I let social media affect what I buy.

Sarai
Yeah, it’s such a huge influence on our lives in so many ways. It’s crazy how much life has changed due to social media in the last ten years. It really is.

Alexis
Definitely.

Sarai
I wanted to talk about your third point, which is sort of related, which is about buying less. And you talk there about quantity versus quality. And I wonder if you have any tips for other people about buying sustainable and high-quality fabrics when you do shop and if you have any criteria yourself before you make a purchase.

Alexis
I think this to me was the main thing when it comes to the budget situation, when it comes to minimalism, when it comes to being sustainable. I think it’s the thought that everything is expensive. But I think if we view the quantity that we’re buying versus the quality, then we’ll see that it’s really not because that was kind of a thing with me when I was buying cheap fabrics. I mean, it’s replaced quicker because it’s cheap. So because you’re constantly replacing it, you’re spending more money on something that isn’t going to last you a long time. And currently I’m all about longevity because I am making stuff now with a more intentional purpose. And so I want it to last longer. And that goes down to the very fibers of the item. And so stuff just especially fabrics. And if you go to any retail store, they don’t make stuff like they used to anymore. I know it’s an investment sometimes, but I just feel that if you pay just an extra $15 for the good fabric, take your time, work on it, make a good quality garment, put your energies and efforts into it.

You’ll end up with something that’s a lot more long lasting versus I just bought like 17 yards of whatever, and I made a whole bunch of stuff and you have no plans of actually keeping it. I think it’s a perspective of how we’re viewing what we’re actually making. Some people just make just to make. But I know for me, I’m making to build a quality wardrobe that’s going to last me like a long time. It’s not about how much stuff that’s in it. It’s about treasuring, the stuff that I do have in my closet so that I can hand it down like, I’ve been doing that lately because before the quality of stuff I was making wasn’t really that great. And I didn’t feel comfortable giving it to people. But now there’s some stuff that I haven’t really been wearing. And so I’ve been reaching out to people makers in the community that I’m close to. And I’m like, hey, do you want this? It’s really good quality. And they’re like, yeah. And it makes me feel good because I know they appreciate it. So it’s going to keep being handed down. It’s not going to the landfill.

It’s not going to Goodwill, where we don’t know where it’s going to end up. You’re handing it down to keep going down. And it’s lessening the carbon footprint, and it’s keeping the longevity of the item just by caring about the materials you’re using.

Sarai
Yeah, that’s so true. I think you make a really good point about longevity and kind of the hidden costs in cheap fashion. I think that’s something that a lot of people overlook when they look at the cost of fast fashion versus something that’s more expensive, whether that be selling or even just buying from a sustainable or ethical brand.

Alexis
Yes, definitely.

Haley
Your fourth tip that you mentioned is to shop thrifted or vintage. And this is like a favorite of mine because I love thrifting and I love shopping. Vintage has been like a long-time passion for me. I think that shopping secondhand intimidates a lot of people. Do you have any tips for shopping secondhand?

Alexis
I’m going to read what’s on the blog post. I’m just going to summarize but I mentioned having mind specific items you’re looking for, bringing a measuring tape and looking for name brands. So I think those three are very important, especially the having in mind a specific item. Like, it’s so easy to be caught up. I mean, everywhere is commercialism, the thrift store included. There’s tons of stuff at the thrift store. And I personally have experienced, oh, this is cute. This is classic. And it’s $2. And I bring it home and I never wear it. And it ends up going back to the thrift store because I didn’t wear it. So I think having in mind, you need a black shirt in this size, you need a purple dress that you want to wear somewhere. Having in mind a specific thing that you’re looking for helps. And if you’re looking for fabric, then knowing what kind I know upcycling and using sheets and everything is like a big thing right now, too, but make sure you’re going to actually use it and that it fits the intentions and purpose of what you’re maybe trying to make.

It’s all about planning. And I know I’m asking a lot to say that we should plan because I feel like our sewing practice is kind of so impulsive at times, and it’s just based off of our feelings. But the seconds of planning really change the outcome of the quality and the things that we get when we go to the store. And I definitely think bringing a measuring tape is important because making sure stuff fits you when you go there knowing your measurements beforehand, because there’s nothing worse, especially since we’re in Panda can’t just try stuff on. So there’s nothing worse than getting something and it doesn’t fit you, right. I, for one, do not like altering clothes that I get from the thrift store. That’s just me. I know some people like doing that. I don’t like altering close period, but I definitely don’t like altering them from the thrift store. So if it is important to you definitely taking a measuring tape and then brand names. I mean, there’s this whole era right now where people are buying vintage clothes from the thrift store for $5 and then reselling it for, like, $55. So how about we skip all that and just look for the brand name yourself and it’s going to be a great and amazing quality item.

Sometimes those are gems that can’t be found at every thrift store. But if you find it and you’re on the lookout for it, then it’s definitely a beneficial thing for your closet.

Haley
Yeah, I think that my thrifting game really changed. I think when I was younger, my teenage years are in College, I used to just buy, like, any shiny thing that caught my eye. Very Magpie type tendencies. And now I definitely always go with the list in mind. Right now, when I go, I know I need some good basics for the summer that are really high quality natural fibers, so that’s what I look for. Even having, like, I find, like, a little broader list can sometimes be really helpful. I think impulsivity is so much easier when it’s cheap. It’s so much easier to just say, oh, yeah, fine, $2 done. But really, there’s all of these kind of hidden costs like we’ve been getting at.

Alexis
Yeah.

Haley
Your fifth tip is to build a capsule wardrobe. How have capsule wardrobes helped you to buy less?

Alexis
I think having a specific structure is something that I always like having, and it’s kind of to the point where you just said having a broader list helps. I think that kind of goes hand in hand. Like you said, finding basics, all of those are, like, building blocks, right? So when it comes to basics, you don’t really need to pay a lot of money for those. Like you just said, you can kind of find basics at a thrift store. You can find a white tea. Those are building blocks of a capsule wardrobe. Knowing what you often wear and put together really helps to not buy the one off things, like extra. Oh, this sequin dress that doesn’t go with anything in your closet at all, like the shoes or anything. It’s easy to buy that one off item, but then you get home and then you’re like, oh, this doesn’t go with anything. So then what do you have to do? You have to buy pants that go with it. You have to buy shoes that go with it. Well, if you create a building block for your wardrobe and make things that are interchangeable, especially one of my favorite things is layering.

Like, I love kind of print mixing stuff, putting different colors together and different color palettes so that I may put a sweater over the dress or I may put a top over the dress so that we have different layers. I’m not getting tired because I’m wearing one thing. I’m able to interchange stuff differently to create multiple wardrobes. Out of the maybe 20 items, 30 items that I have instead of needing to buy extra to make the look that I’m going for. So it’s just kind of building a structure for your closet instead of just going out and buying stuff. And it doesn’t go with everything.

Sarai
I think that really helps with focusing on how things are going to be practical in your life, too, because you mentioned, like, the sequin dress, for example, and I live out in the middle of nowhere now, and I have all this stuff in my closet from when I lived in the city that I just have nowhere to wear it anymore. And there’s no real purpose for it anymore. It’s just sitting in my closet and creating capsule wardrobes and really focusing on what I will actually wear and what actually fits my life. And just taking that time to plan and think about it really helps me to not add more of that stuff to my closet. That might be fun, like a sequin dress, but it’s just going to sit there.

Alexis
Yeah. I have a couple dresses that are really pretty for special occasion, but sometimes we get so caught up in the flashy and the pretty and it just doesn’t go with everything. Sometimes you have to choose practicality over what you really want.

Haley
I think something that capsule wardrobes has inspired me to think of more are, like, what are my tried and true formulas for an outfit and kind of identifying what those, like, three or four formulas that I repeat time and time again. And that tells me that those ingredients are the things that I should be focusing my energy on, focusing on building a wardrobe that’s filled with high quality versions of those things instead of the wild cards, which are fun. And we like and we want to have a little frosting once in a while. But focusing on the core building blocks is so important.

Alexis
Yeah.

Haley
And then the last tip that you shared on your blog was Practice minimalism. And this is a topic Sarah and I like talking about a lot here because I feel like people associate minimalism with an aesthetic instead of a lifestyle, necessarily. What does minimalism mean to you?

Alexis
So it’s funny. I just finished the book I was talking about by Christine Platt is called The Afro Minimalism Guide to Living With Less. And she talks about that exact thing. And I had never thought about this until I read it because I had the same perception that minimalism is all white and it’s all cream, and there’s nothing in your house except the wooden base with some Pampas grass in it, and it’s completely Pinterest worthy and all of that. But I found it so cool because if you follow her on Instagram, all of her stuff is Afrocentric, and there’s stuff in her house. It’s just very neatly organized and everything. And she mentions that minimalism is kind of whatever it means to you personally, as far as aesthetics go, it doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of all of your stuff. It just means that you re evaluate what you have and why you have it, I think, is the focus. And so that for me, is the same concept. I went through certain things like that. Like, we just talked about having stuff in my closet that just didn’t fit with anything, having fabric that I wasn’t wearing.

Alexis
Why do I have this polyester crepe? I don’t wear polyester like I bought it because it was pretty. Just things like that, learning where the need is and where the actual practicality is versus everything else. So I think when it comes to minimalism, you kind of have to evaluate what you want from the purpose that you’re intending and then add your own flair to that. For me, my closet right now, again, I don’t have a big closet, but I’m learning to fill it with more capsule, wardrobe based items. A lot of my stuff is oversized. A lot of my stuff. I try to make ties so I can cinch it so that if I get larger anything, it still fits me. Things like that. I wear dresses with pants. I wear sweaters with T shirts. That’s my aesthetic. It doesn’t mean that I had to get rid of it because I started having less. I made them interchangeable, and I made them work with each other. So I just think that we get so caught up in the way things look, and we want to make it look like somebody else’s, but we have to learn to put our own flair into the concept, not try to take somebody else’s aesthetic kind of situation.

So that’s what it means for me, even pattern wise. There could be a pattern, and it’s super popular, but it doesn’t fit my aesthetic. Oh, this popular pattern. It’s so pretty. And I used to just buy the pattern. Now it’s like, I know I’m not going to wear it, and it doesn’t fit my aesthetic, so I’m not going to get it. But when I see a good one, then I add it to my collection. I make sure it works with everything else I’m doing, so it’s just all interchangeable.

Sarai
You raised a really powerful point about this desire. People have to mimic somebody else’s aesthetic because it can be a lot of work to uncover your own aesthetic and really understand what resonates with you and why. And sometimes it’s just easier to copy somebody else. I think that’s such a big part of sewing and such an important thing for people to remember is that you have the power to do that.

Alexis
Yeah. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being inspired, but trying to make that person style your own is like just stick to what you like and make it work for you. It doesn’t have to look like it just get the point of it.

Haley
Yeah. I love that.

Sarai
Well, thank you so much, Alexis. This is such an awesome conversation. Thanks so much for joining us today and being on the show. We loved having you.

Alexis
Thanks for having me. I love talking sustainability, like, all day, anytime.

Sarai
Where can people find you if they want to follow you?

Alexis
My main account where I definitely pushed sustainability and sustainable making is at Hello, Alexis Bailey. Hello. My first and last name. That’s where I really tend to focus the narrative on sustainable making and buying and such, if you want to get into hand sewing. My other account is Fibr and Cloth Studio. That’s fiber with no e and cloth studio, just singular. So that’s where we talk about hand sewing and all kinds of different good stuff with fabrics and things like that.

Sarai
Awesome. And we’ll link both of those in the show notes so people can find you and they can find your websites, too.

Sarai
And we’ll also link the blog post that we talked about today that you wrote in the Show notes as well, so people can find that and give it a read if they want to. And if you like this episode, go ahead and leave us a review. We would love to hear from you.

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