I wanted to take the opportunity during this very special week, also known as Fashion Revolution Week, to tell you more about what goes on behind the scenes at Eli & Barry. What's Fashion Revolution Week, you ask? Well, the movement known as Fashion Revolution (or Fash Rev) was born after the 2013 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh. Rana Plaza housed five buildings that were manufacturing clothing for major brands. An estimated 1,138 people were killed and many more were injured. The Fashion Revolution movement encourages consumers to ask brands the question, "who made my clothes?" While also sparking dialogue about the ethics of fashion. Eli & Barry would love to participate in this conversation.
So, with all that being said, I'd like to introduce you to Amanda, seamstress extraordinaire. She is the one responsible for sewing most of Eli & Barry's online orders these days. I asked Amanda few questions about her sewing journey. Read on below.
Eli & Barry: Where did you learn to sew?
Amanda: My mom taught me at our kitchen table. I was fascinated with the process. In general, I think I love knowing how things are made. I made my first dress from a pattern in 10th grade. I've done every craft since then including ceramics, beading, stained glass, quilting, and crochet, but sewing always felt right for me. And lately, it serves to keep me sane, provides a creative outlet and allows me to give back to myself.
E&B: I know that you make clothes a lot outside of our work together! What is your favorite thing about clothing making?
A: For me, sewing is the perfect blend of art and science, utility and magic. It requires both sides of the brain and challenges me to be in the moment, sometimes to just watch my hands do their work. I love that it's practical; to use something I've made is deeply fulfilling. Also, garment sewing is my favorite and only post-zombie apocalypse survival skill.
E&B: Is there a garment you’re striving to make one day? A sewing pipe dream?
A: My next set of goals involve outerwear (anorak, trench, jean jacket, wool coat). Maybe I'll tackle one of them this fall? I sewed my first pair of jeans recently and I'm still riding that high!
E&B: What do you do when you’re not working?
A: I have three young kiddos who keep me quite busy, but my favorite ways to relax include sewing (of course!), hiking, tending my garden, playing in creeks, weekend thrifting, dog snuggles and porch sitting.
E&B: Do you have specific inspiration you look to when creating clothing for yourself? Other clothing makers in the community or brands you love? How do you choose what to make?
A: I'm inspired very much by indie sewing pattern designers including True Bias, Grainline Studio, Hey June Handmade and Closet Case Patterns. I try to do a good bit of seasonal planning, as well, to keep things as cohesive and intentional as possible. Learning what I like and what I'll wear has been a long process.