|Upcycled Sweater Dress|
I've been selling handmade clothing and accessories on my website, SmarmyClothes.com since 2005. I actually started selling stuff on Ebay in about 2003, but I didn't launch my site until the beginning of '05.
I started out mostly doing upcycled clothing. Reconstructing thrifted t-shirts and fabric. I do a lot of "from scratch" work now, but I don't think I'll ever be able to give up my thrift habits.
I also run WhatTheCraft.com, where I share sewing and craft tutorials and tips for other handmade sellers.
And I'm in a band called the Extreme Unicorns. We rock pretty hard. Check us out. ExtremeUnicorns.com
-How did you get started?
I learned to sew in middle school, but I didn't really get into it until later. I got totally addicted to thrift shopping and garage saling in high school. I used to just make a sad face and pass by the stuff that wouldn't fit me. And then one day I realized, "DUH! I know how to sew. I can MAKE it fit me!"
I messed around with sewing a little for myself, but it wasn't until I saw that there was a pretty substantial handmade phenomenon happening on Ebay that I thought, "I wanna do THAT."
I took it a little more seriously from there, but I was in nursing school, so it was still just a hobby. When I graduated in 2005, I decided I'd rather sew than do nursing, so that's what I did.
-Where did your inspiration come from?
I can find inspiration almost everywhere. I'm kind of all over the place. I love Japanese Street Fashion, I love vintage fashion, I love 80s neon craziness. A little bit of all of that winds up in my stuff.
-What advice would you give to someone starting out?
I have three favorite pieces of advice.
|One of her favorite designs|
The second is almost as important. And that is: practice, practice, practice. I get the impression that some people think you can just hop on a sewing machine and be a whiz at it, but it's a skill just like anything else. It requires time and patience to get good at it.
And lastly, don't bite off more than you can chew. Big goals are okay, but make sure there are small, logical steps in between. I get questions from people wanting to know how to draft patterns and through conversation it's revealed that they've not only never touched a sewing machine, they've never seen a commercial sewing pattern. It would be extremely difficult to draft a pattern from scratch in that situation, because you don't know what anything is supposed to look like! It would be much easier to practice sewing with some basic patterns, take apart some clothes and see how they're put together, and then start experimenting from there.
-Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Right now SmarmyClothes is really a one person show. My boyfriend helps with a ton of the email/social networking/computer stuff, but he's basically working for free.
In 5 years, I'd love to be at a point where both of us are making a comfortable living off of it. All I need to be happy is fabric and food, so I don't need to be rich. But it would be cool to not stress about all the money stuff.
-If someone were to interview you for a news article, what would your headline be?
Woman Sets World Record For Eating The Most Chicken Noodle Soup
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Here are some of my favorite designs from Smarmy Clothes, what are yours?