Fotos on Fabric – Val Sjoblom

(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #46, October 2017. Written by Rita Farro.)

In 1982, as a divorced single mother, Val wanted a fresh start. She left her small town in Northern Minnesota and moved her four kids and five Arabian horses to the Twin Cities. She had no idea how tough things could get in the big city. She worked all sorts of jobs (usually two or three at a time) just to make ends meet. When she was 36 years old, she went to night school and earned a law enforcement degree. Although it seemed like a good idea at a time, being a rookie police officer would mean working the night shift in downtown Minneapolis. So, she became a correction officer instead. When the Mystic Lake Casino opened in Prior Lake, Minnesota, she got hired as a blackjack dealer.

By 2002, Val’s children, Kimberlee, Jeremy, Chad, and Janalee were launched, but her mother wasn’t doing well back home in International Falls. Although she didn’t plan on staying, Val decided to move back for a while. Then — life took one of those unexpected turns. She fell in love, married Larry Sjoblom, and International Falls, MN once again became her home.

A sampling of Val’s antique stoves.

Val was an avid collector of antique stoves, and she wanted to make a quilt featuring photos of her stove collection. She was excited about the project and took some great photos of her stoves. She bought a top-of-the-line home ink-jet printer, figured out the software, and enthusiastically pushed “print.” Her first attempts were using fabric photo sheets, but the fiber content of the sheets made the “fabric” stiff. Finding a way to get these photos transferred to fabric became Val’s obsession. Over the years, she tried everything — bubble jet solutions, butcher paper to carry quality cotton fabric through the printer, special inks — she even bought a heat press. No matter what method she tried, the photos faded after a single test laundering.

During this time, Val started to quilt and she decided to learn how to use a longarm quilt machine. She purchased her “Statler” and started a longarm quilting business, On A Wing And A Prayer Quilting (www.OnaWingQuilting.com). She named her machine “Elvis” because he shakes, rattles and rolls and “returns to sender” quickly.

Bronko Nagurski: The turning point in Val’s business.

Bronko Nagurski:
The turning point in Val’s business.

International Falls, Minnesota, is known as the “Icebox of the Nation,“ and they have one famous son — Chicago Bears football player “Bronko Nagurski.” His daughter, Jan, came to Val in 2010 and asked if she could put a large portrait of her Dad on fabric so she could use it to make a quilt top.

That moment was a turning point for Val. It was proof that other people wanted what she wanted — the ability to put a large photo on fabric to make a quilt. It became her mission, and she started to research digital fabric printing in earnest. She traveled to several different companies to see their equipment and study the process. She found a large digital printer that could deliver the quality she hoped for . . . but with a large sticker price — $20,000. Every single person in her life told her she was CRAZY, but she bought her first large format printer anyway.

She felt if she could print -— customers would come.

The Fotos On Fabric adventure began in 2010 with the purchase of that first large format digital printer. It could print large photos on 100% Kona cotton. Fotos On Fabric could also do photo editing, including changing photos to black and white, sepia tones, or beautiful color. They can print custom designs, including original art onto fabric. Fifty-eight (58) inches is the maximum width with no limit to length. They have the ability to print a very large photo in two pieces which can be sewn together to make a king-size project.

Fotos on Fabric finished projects.

Fotos on Fabric finished projects.

In 2012, Fotos On Fabric rented a booth at the International Quilt Market in Houston, Texas. Val displayed many photo quilts, which got everybody’s attention. Every quilt shop owner who came into the booth had a horror story about a customer who invested hundreds of dollars into a memory quilt — only to discover that the water-soluble ink photos washed away the first time they laundered the treasured memory quilt. After that show, the Fotos On Fabric business exploded.

Fotos on Fabric finished projects.

More Fotos on Fabric finished projects.

Fotos On Fabric has printed orders from all over the world. They have printed thousands of family photos for memory quilts, as well as prayer shawls for Israel, life-size pictures of people, pets, horses, and vacation photos. YOU NAME IT! A National Geographic photographer wanted her photos of elephants and reptiles from Zimbabwe, Africa printed on fabric. One of the more unusual orders was from the Brooklyn Museum in New York, a life-size photo of “Marie Antoinette.”

Val says, “our customers use their custom photo fabric just like any other yardage. They make quilts, or curtains, pillowcases, stuffed animals, tote bags, shower curtains. You name it and they sew it. People are so creative! And they are delighted that their finished projects will hold up through normal laundering. Fotos On Fabric has been a wild ride for seven years. We’ve purchased additional printers and are currently launching a new option — finished custom tea towels and placemats with your photos on them.”

Studio 53 Fabric and Gifts Quilt Shop, International Falls, MN.

Studio 53 Fabric and Gifts Quilt Shop
International Falls, MN.

Like all over-achievers, Val’s great ideas just keep coming. There was an empty veterinarian clinic on Highway 53, coming into International Falls — and every time Val drove by the building, had a vision. She wanted to open a store where people could come, visit with their neighbors, take some classes, exchange ideas, and make their creative dreams come true. Val and Larry opened Studio 53 Fabric and Gifts Quilt Shop in June of 2015. The first thing she did was to hire her mother to be the store “GREETER.” “Mom tells everybody it took her 94 years to find the job of her dreams. She has become an icon, and she is the heart of the store.”

The irony is that Val’s creative journey began because she was an avid lover and collector of antique stoves. After opening Studio 53, a man came into the store, fell in love with the stoves, and offered $50,000 for the entire collection. She sold her beloved stoves, paid bills, and ordered more fabric!!

After completion of the huge remodel of her new building, Val Sjoblom has three businesses under one roof: On a Wing and A Prayer longarm quilting, Fotos on Fabric, and Studio 53 Fabric and Gifts Quilt Shop.

She says, most days “we’re so busy, we don’t know if we found a rope or lost our horse . . . .”

www.onawingquilting.com
www.FotosOnFabric.com
http://studio53fabricandgifts.com

Cheryl Sleboda – Part 2

(Originally published January 2016, SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #25. Written by Rita Farro.)

 

weekly_quilts

Cheryl’s Small Quilts 

Cheryl Sleboda had been doing traditional quilting for several years, but she’d created a sketch book, The Art of Fabric Manipulation, full of designs and ideas. She realized she was never going to be able to make that many large quilts. Besides — where would she put them? At that time (2005-6), ladies were working through an email list called Quilt Art. Once a month, they were doing 8.5” x 11” pieces. Although that project was coming to a close, it sparked the idea that she could work in a smaller format. She decided once a month was not enough time in her studio. Her goal was to be in her studio every day. So, she gave herself three simple rules:

  1. A finished quilt each week. The binding must be finished by Sunday night.
  2. Size was 6 x 6.
  3. Any design.

Cheryl created one small quilt every week for five years, changing the rules every year. During Year Two, she introduced a monthly theme:  Pomegranates, Monsters, Robots . . . that year, she started to develop a cartoony style.

Year 3:  She changed the size — instead of 6×6, she worked in 8×5 . . . and she started doing more technique work. Inspired by a 1996’s copy of Collette Wolf’s Fabric Manipulation book . . . each quilt had two different squares on it. Cheryl said, “Collette assumed her readers knew how to sew, so she left out the preparation or lead-up. I developed many short cuts that year.”


Print

Cheryl’s Advice to an Emerging Quilt Artist

If you want to build a business, your art must be seen. One way is to enter your work in a Quilt Show or a contest. All the major quilt shows have a “Call for Entry” heading on their websites.

Mancuso Quilt Shows
(https://www.quiltfest.com/):  Enter Competitions

Quilts, Inc.
(http://www.quilts.com/home/contests/index.php):   Entries

American Quilter’s Society (AQS)
(http://www.americanquilter.com/):  Contest Details

There are other websites that list “Fiber Art Calls For Entry.” When you find an event that feels like the right fit, the website will list the deadlines, the size requirements, themes, etc. Carefully read the prospectus and the contest rules. Most events or competitions want to see a good photograph of both sides of your quilt, along with a small detail shot. There is usually an entry fee.

Excellent advice about photographing your quilts can be found on the Quilts, Inc. website:

www.quilts.com/CallForEntries

 

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Cheryl Sleboda – Part 1

(Originally published January 2016, SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #25. Written by Rita Farro.)

 

Cheryl Sleboda, SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW

Cheryl Sleboda

Cheryl Sleboda’s bio says:  I work in the comic book industry by day and am a fiber artist by night. I am fascinated by the intersection of technology and textiles. Juxtaposing heirloom techniques in modern quilts is part of my design aesthetic.

 

How did Cheryl become the quilting industry authority where technology meets quilting? Why make a six inch square quilt? How is she lighting up the world of art quilting?  

 

I grew up on the south side of Chicago. In 8th grade we moved to the suburbs. I learned to sew from Home EC classes! My grandmother gave me a sewing machine for Christmas my senior year of high school, but no one in my family sews but me.  I went to a local community college and majored in Theatre.  There I developed a love for costuming and for sewing.

In 1996 I met my soon-to-be-husband in the early days of the internet and moved to Baltimore. Soon after moving to Baltimore I started my full time job in the comic book industry. I work for a comic book distributor, and my job is to develop tools for customers to grow their businesses.  I work with small niche, passionate store owners every day.  I travel quite a bit for the job, attending major comic book conventions to meet with our clients and grow our industry.

Because I was so far away from family and friends I turned to sewing and picked up a JoAnn’s block of the month kit as my first introduction to quilting.  From there I started designing my own traditional style quilts and joined a quilt guild. I soon realized that I was going to run out of room for my quilts and worthy people to gift them to. Besides, making a bed-size quilt is a huge commitment in time, money and energy.

Cherl Sleboda Artists Trading Cards 2010

Artists Trading Cards 2010

In 2005-7 I started transitioning to art quilting. I started out making Artist Trading Card sized quilts (baseball card sized at 2.5 x 3.5 inches) and trading them with others on the internet. I was fascinated by journal quilting and wanted to start getting the art quilt ideas out of my sketchbook and made into work. So I launched my weekly art quilts in January 2007 and made one small (6×6 inch) art quilt every week for 5 years!

Road to Home Blue Ribbon Winner, 2009 Mancuso Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza

Road to Home
Blue Ribbon Winner
2009 Mancuso Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza

We moved from Baltimore to Chicago in the middle of 2007, so my quilts that year are very autobiographical.  

By doing that work for five years, I ended up teaching myself lots of design and art principles that serve me now with my current work. I developed a “style” of cartoony faces that are completely recognizable by others as my own. I think that if I didn’t do those quilts I would not nearly have honed my artistic voice as much as I have. It’s a great “journal” to be able to go back to see where it all started.  I also did one whole year of “Technique of the Week” which I documented on my YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/muppindotcom).

I had to make up some techniques just to get to 52 different ones. I like learning new things and trying new tools, so I plan to continue my video series in 2016 with a new season of Technique of the Week!

Two of Cheryl Sleboda's weekly quilts from Year 3.

Two of Cheryl’s weekly quilts from Year 3.

Every year, I would change my own rules. In Year 3 (2009) of my weekly series, I did a group of quilts based on heirloom sewing and fabric manipulation. This has become one of the things I most enjoy. I made a quilt with 44 different fabric manipulation techniques in it. That quilt was the inspiration for my DVD “Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter.” I do these techniques by both hand and machine, and I now have a plastic template for people who want to do the heirloom Canadian smocking techniques.

Another thing I am known for is for lighting up my quilts. In 2010,  the very first “Technique of the Week” weekly quilt went viral . . . I used conductive thread in a quilt. Conductive thread  conducts electricity like wire. I made a bunch of quilts that are inspired by underwater life, as lots of creatures under the sea have a natural bioluminescence. No one was lighting up quilts at the time, and even now, it’s not for everyone, but I feel like I have been there from the early days of the technology. Now there are computer chips to program your lights that can be programmed from your cell phone. I started selling Light Up kits on my website and I’m now the quilting world’s eTextile expert, I guess!

 

“Geschwindigkeit (Speed)” Judge’s Choice - Mancuso Quiltfest Destination Savannah 2014

“Geschwindigkeit (Speed)”
Judge’s Choice – Mancuso Quiltfest Destination Savannah 2014

A couple of years ago I drew a skull and crossed thread-and-needle design while on a phone call at work. I loved it so much, I turned the design into a t-shirt. Next thing you know, my friends all wanted one. My husband had been out of work for over a year and I realized that there was money to be made, so a new side business was born. With the last $300 in our savings, we started selling shirts, and reinvested our profits back into the business. We developed other designs for shirts, patches, mugs, stickers, sweatshirts and much more. These are now available to quilt shops through distributors, launching with Checker in early 2015. Since I work for a distributor in comics, it’s a bit full-circle. This income and my quilting teaching income supplemented my full time income until my husband returned to work in 2014. All of my products are available through my online store at  http://shop.muppin.com.

As an extension of what I do for the comic book industry, I started giving people advice on their art businesses. Early in 2015 my friend Lynn and I did a recorded webinar about how to launch an art business. I have since written, taught, and lectured about business topics for quilt businesses on branding, time management, social media, and much more!
 
So I work full time, and I feel like I work full time on my art business too.  Since the move back to the Chicago area, I get to work out of my house, so I know I am incredibly lucky. I try to sew at least an hour a day in some fashion, with much more on the weekends. My goal is to make at least two large quilts for entry into quilt competitions each year. I also work on lots of small projects throughout the year. I have my business social media and other marketing plans worked out to be done in a very tight schedule, so I don’t get burned out. I teach and lecture to quilt guilds, and I love doing that. I have a huge bucket list of things I haven’t done yet, like write a book or design fabric, but I have lots of time ahead of me to get those accomplished. When I put my mind to it, anything is possible. I love what I do!

www.muppin.com
 

 
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Brenda Miller

(Originally published October 2015, SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #22. Written by Rita Farro.)

 

AMong Brenda's Quilts & Bags Logo

Brenda Miller and Harry the cat.

Brenda Miller and Harry.

Quilting is a creative outlet,  a hobby that can be relaxing and artistic. It is always interesting to learn about the journey of others:  Who or what their inspiration was; that moment in time when they took that fork in the road and turned their hobby into a business.  Brenda Miller’s story goes way beyond that.  For her, quilting became her ticket to see the world.  Quilting was her ride to China.

Brenda Miller of Ontario, Canada is the owner of Among Brenda’s Quilts.  She is a full-time pattern designer, specializing in bags and quilts.   In October 2015, Brenda will be making her second trip to visit China as an advisor to the Zhejiang Quilt Association.  How did that happen?

Brenda always loved being creative, and she studied graphic design in college. After she got married, she had the usual assortment of pay-the-bills jobs. She was a real estate sales agent for 12 years, but she knew in her heart that she was not destined to be a Realtor.

One of Brenda’s first quilts was inspired by the book Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel.  In the afternoon when her newborn son was napping, Brenda made blocks. She excitedly showed each completed block of that sampler quilt to her husband when he came home from work.  It was a rush to be creating something so perfect, so beautiful and so useful. She still gets that same feeling with every quilt and bag pattern she designs.

In 2004, working as a Realtor, she sold a gorgeous circa 1869 Quaker General store to friends and fellow members of her local art group. Those friends started a quilt shop in the old store, The Marsh Store in Coldstream, Ontario, while living upstairs.

Brenda knew she wanted to break into this line of work.  It became an obsession. She started by teaching beginners how to quilt.  Those classes really took off and soon she was writing patterns for the classes.

Collage of Brenda Miller's bag patterns

A sampling of bags designed by Brenda.

She loved starting with an idea — sitting down with a blank slate and making that first sketch. She enjoys the process of experimenting, trial, and error, making things work. Those early designs became the foundation of her pattern business.  As sales took off, Brenda’s bag patterns became very popular.

“I love designing bags because they are functional, beautiful, fashionable, and can be made entirely by the home sewist.  A big part of my attraction to bag making comes from a childhood encounter with my great, great, great Aunt Tante Martha.  She was a dressmaker par excellence from Berlin.  One summer she spent a month with us.  It wasn’t long before she had both my Mom and me over to the local sewing shop picking out fabrics for new outfits.  I can still remember the gorgeous blue dress with covered buttons she made me.  The color and cut were absolutely perfect.  Along with the dress, she also made me a terry cover-up.  Using the leftover fabric from this project Tante Martha showed me how to make a tote bag with a zipper.  It was a great beginning for a little girl interested in making things from scratch.  I consider Tante Martha one of my pennies from heaven.”

Brenda Miller in China.

Brenda in China.

The inspiration for Brenda’s bag making often comes from fashion.  Lately, the style that interests her the most is Japanese Street Fashion.  What young Japanese and Chinese women are wearing is very young, fresh, and bold.  Last year, while in China Brenda did some serious people/fashion watching.  Again, China . . . .

In the summer of 2014, Brenda received an obscure email that looked like spam. After some investigation, she realized it was a legitimate invitation to attend the China International Quilt Festival sponsored by the Chinese Government in October 2014. The purpose was to introduce quilting and the quilting industry to China. In North America, we think quilting is universal but it is a new consumer concept in China.  It is interesting to note that back in 1999 when China first became open to imports from the Western world, the first things that sold were bicycles and sewing machines.

The people who invited Brenda were tasked with the job of bringing quilt experts from other parts of the world because there is no quilting industry in China. The quilting display was a very small part of the show and included Brenda and about 10 other booths with quilting related products, exhibitors from other countries, and antique quilts from an American collection.

Brenda in her booth, China International Quilt Festival.

Brenda in her booth, China International Quilt Festival.

Brenda displayed her bags and quilts so the show attendees could see the possibilities and finished projects.  The vendors at the show were mainly manufacturers of various types of fabrics.  Anything from faux leather to lace was available to be purchased in bulk.  However, there were no quilting cottons available for sale. Even though China is a manufacturer of greige goods and finished quilting cotton, that product is for export to the west.

The buyers at the show were mainly manufacturers of finished goods like clothing, household goods, and drapery, although the show was open to the general public with many college students attending.

Some manufacturers expressed an interest in purchasing finished pieces like the quilts and bags Brenda had on display.  This led to an ongoing discussion about marketing finished goods using Brenda’s patterns in China.

Brenda Miller in the Chinese classroom with three sewing machines.

Brenda in the classroom with three sewing machines.

As a guest of China, Brenda was required to do a presentation on how we use quilting to build sales and community.  She talked about quilt guilds, our network of fabric shops, consumer quilt shows, and classes.

Holding a class in China, via interpreters, was a unique experience.  When a lecture or class is offered in China there is no registration and no fee.  People just show up for free as they showed up to the festival itself.  Brenda’s Chinese hosts estimated the class might draw 20 people.  When 50 arrived it was a real scramble.  Brenda decided to have the students work in pairs to make the project. The majority of the class was college students enrolled in the newly formed quilting class at the local textile and fashion college.  Others were the wives of the various dignitaries attending the show.  Brenda’s class was filmed and broadcast to the sales floor.

Brenda Miller and her Chinese students.

Brenda and her Chinese students.

Although she knew the students would not be bringing sewing machines to class, she was surprised they didn’t bring any basic supplies.  No scissors, thread, pins, or needles. Fortunately, she had brought extra, but imagine 50 students sharing three spools of thread, hand sewing needles, and a couple of pairs of scissors. Brenda passed out six pins per person. There were three sewing machines and two irons in the room, and even though there were no ironing boards she was grateful!  The studious young people picked up concepts very quickly.  Many bags were entirely made by hand.

Brenda has been invited back to China this October in the capacity of an advisor to the Zhejiang Quilt Association. Teaching three classes, addressing the International Quilt Academics, judging and showing a number of her quilts and bags are on her agenda for the four-day show taking place in Shaoxing City near Shanghai.

Pennies from Heaven Quilt

Pennies from Heaven

Brenda has turned what was once a dream into a true business that consumes her from 9 to 5 five days a week. She has three employees to help with the day to day jobs giving her more time for teaching and pattern design.  She says, “I can’t imagine a life doing anything else.  My latest project (yet to be released) is my Urban Computer Satchel.  I’ll be packing one this October and taking it with me as my adventures in China continue!”

When asked what quilting has contributed to her life, Brenda talked about one of her favorite quilts, Pennies From Heaven.

“I used to walk my dog Hershey in the evening along the fence rows and meadows near our home in Strathroy, Ontario.  The sun would sparkle off the leaves of the trees creating what my eyes perceived as sunspots — pennies from heaven. In the fall the Monarch Butterflies would congregate in the majestic old maples before migrating. Over time the meaning of the quilt has changed for me.  I had a former student, Heather Campbell, very talented in beadwork who offered to embellish the quilt.  Heather has since passed away from cancer.  She was a penny from heaven, a sweet girl who died too young.  Time with my family, my friends, my pets, being outdoors, are all pennies from heaven.  The point of the quilt is that we should cherish the little things in life, those sweet and fleeting moments.  The people I’ve met through quilting and the opportunities given have become very dear to me.”

Brendas_NeedleTips

Angela Clayton – 18 Year Old Seamstress & Costume Maker

(Originally Published September 2015, SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #21, Written by Rita Farro.)

 

Angela Clayton in her home studio

Angela Clayton in her home studio.

Who are you?

My name is Angela Clayton and I’m 18 years old. I’m a self-taught seamstress and costume maker – which is pretty much what my life revolves around these days! I was born in Arizona but I’ve spent the last eight years of my life on Long Island in New York, where I live with my parents and our two miniature dachshunds.

Angela Clayton modeling her Tudor Costume

Tudor Costume

Who inspires you to sew?

I’m more influenced by the things that inspire me, like paintings and nature, rather than specific people. But I’ve been lucky enough to have really supportive parents, who encourage my interests. Without that I’m not sure if I would have pursued my passion towards sewing and have the motivation to keep doing it.

What kind of sewing do you do?

I mostly make historical costumes, which are based off of paintings and artwork from hundreds of years ago.  I do some fashion stuff, which is more modern.

How did you get interested in making costumes?

I was a really creative kid and my mom thought I would enjoy sewing, so I started playing around with a machine and fabric at a very young age. I didn’t have a lot of patience at that point, and considered pins and patterns my nemesis because they took so long to use. So my projects back then consisted of sloppily sewn tubes and garments I “drafted” by laying on the floor and tracing around myself.

Just before I turned fifteen, I became really interested in cosplay, which is when you dress up as characters from movies and books. I couldn’t find costumes I liked online, so I decided to make my own. I started teaching myself the things I wanted to know through a lot of trial and error.

I don’t do the whole dressing up as characters thing very much anymore, but it really helped me discover my love of making costumes. I enjoyed that part so much that I eventually transitioned into sewing original designs and historical costumes, which is what I’m focusing on right now.

Angela Clayton modeling her Fairy Costume

Fairy Costume

Do you live in the country, or the city?

I live in a heavily wooded area, I wouldn’t quite consider it the country but it’s definitely closer to that than a city. I love where I live. I love watching the trees change colors and the seasons change. I find nature in general really inspiring.

How does sewing impact your life?

I’m not sure how, but if definitely impacts me a lot. It pretty much is my life at this point. I spend hours every day in my sewing room working on my costumes.  I make sewing videos, and have a blog about my progress, so it eats up most of my time. I’m not sure what I would be doing if sewing wasn’t in my life. That’s hard for me to imagine.

What is the best thing you ever made?

I don’t know about best, but I really like the Fall Flower Fairy dress I made last year. I’m also pretty pleased with a recent costume I did, which is a Tudor ensemble based on dresses from the 1500s. It has thirteen pieces to it, and the fact that they all work together to create a finished “look” pleases me to no end. I tend to like costumes that are complete looks, from the head to hem. So projects with a lot of pieces (especially headpieces) tend to be some of my favorites.

Angela Clayton's sewing room.

Angela’s Sewing Room

Where do you sew?

I have a sewing room! It used to be the family guest room, but a couple years ago it got turned into a brightly colored slightly cluttered studio. It’s a very functional space but it’s also a fun room to be in. I have a lot of little knick knacks and stuff on display, which keeps me happy and inspired when I’m working. I think that is really important when you are trying to do something creative for long periods of time.

Angela Clayton modeling her Orchid Inspired Dress.

Orchard Inspired Dress

What does your day-to-day look like?

I don’t think my day-to-day is very exciting – some days I’m planning future projects, so gathering reference pictures, sketching, and making fabric estimates. Most of the time I’m just working on whatever I have in progress, which can vary from draping and fitting a pattern, to making a bodice, to hemming a skirt or embellishing trim. I tend to get started around ten or eleven, and work on costumes for four or five hours. Then I do a bit of writing and editing in the afternoon, and I might do some hand sewing in front of the TV later on. It depends on what I have in progress and how enthusiastic I am that day.

Your photographs are stunning.  Do you take them yourself?

I take the majority of my own pictures, and do the setup and editing for all of them. For self-portraits I precariously balance a tripod on my ironing board. A lot of my costumes don’t allow for a huge range of movement, so it’s not the easiest process but I manage! For outdoor pictures I do the set up and editing but get one of my parents to help out and actually take the photos.

Do you sew and design for yourself or competitions? Is this a business?

Right now I just do it for myself. I’m trying to improve my skills and build a portfolio of original work, so I can hopefully get a job in the theater or film industry. My You Tube channel shows a lot of my work, and has been very popular.  In the future I would love to sell things, or to take on commissions. I think that would be a lot of fun. But at the moment I have the opportunity to focus on personal projects, so I’m trying to take advantage of that by only making things I want to make, instead of making things for other people.

Do you have any sewing machine needle advice for our readers?

Change them often!  Regardless of what type you are using, a sharp needle will give you better results, smoother seams, and cleaner topstitching. It’s something I need to be better about, because I’ll think my needle is fine but when I change it out I notice an obvious improvement. Definitely replace needles between projects, at the very least.
All photos provided by Angela Clayton. See more of Angela’s work at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChyWv5fy8utAWVhRPVV85XQ
www.doxiequeen1.wordpress.com