A House Called Hue

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Episode Summary

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! All Rise for the Queen of Embroidery! Destiny Brewton is THEE Head Embroideress in Charge at A House Called Hue. What started in 2016 as an online marketplace for bespoke Afro-inspired apparel and accessories, A House Called Hue has now become a custom patch-making company. It’s run by Destiny Brewton who went from working on single-needle embroidery machines to several semi-commercial 10-needle machines. Today, Destiny shares how her sewing story began, how she made the leap from working on single needle to 10 needle machines, and how she knew it was time to move to multi-needle machines. She also explains what hoop sizes are as well as basic tips for a single needle embroidery machine, what her philosophy is when it comes to supporting and helping your peers, why the future of sewing machine repair is in the hands of Black women, and the wrong assumptions that men are better at tech and repair.

Episode Notes

A House Called Hue, Destiny Brewton

Destiny’s AMAZING webpage

You can find her on facebook

or on Instagram

Black Women Stitch NEW webpage, patreon

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork 0:09

Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax and get ready to get your stitch together.

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I am your host, Lisa Woolfork, and I am excited today because I am talking with the Queen Embroidress, Chief Embroidress, the Head Embroidress in charge. Destiny Brewton of A House Called Hue, which is a custom embroidery company. Destiny, welcome. Welcome to the podcast.

Destiny 1:05

Yes, thank you for having me. Thank you. Can you hear me well? I want to make sure.

Lisa Woolfork 1:10

You sound great. You look great. And if you are a Patreon subscriber, you get to see the embroidress herself sitting right here looking quite wonderful. And we are going to jump in and talk about, what does it mean to have an embroidery business? She's based in Atlanta. I'm gonna put a link in the show notes to her amazing website. It's just so beautiful. But you started as an apparel company, an Afro-apparel company in 2016. What was that like, and what precipitated a change?

Destiny 1:48

That was good, that was my first business, so that's how I actually got into making things for money. I usually make things but not for money, so I started with, actually, head wraps. So I started off sewing, so I was sewing head wraps and then making little jewelry, little beaded felt things, and then got into T-shirts with screen printing. And then I went into embroidery because I wanted to add something to the business that was not a lot of money. So you know, buy low, sell high, or have a good profit return. And I stumbled across embroidery because enamel pin wearers usually wear patches. When I got the enamel pins, I usually see enamel pin buyers have patches, so I was like "Oh!" So I'm listening for that, but ordering overseas was a lot. There was a lot of work, it was not the easiest process as well. So when I got my first sample, I thought, oh, I could do this.

Lisa Woolfork 2:51

I love it. I feel like Black women are the original DIY-ers, right? Do it ourselves. Right? What I appreciate about the story is that you started sewing on a single needle machine, you were making head wraps, and then making bespoke items just one at a time. What was your process in doing that? Did you enjoy that part? Did you like that part of the sewing life? Or did you feel like, well, I think I could probably get more bang for my buck, you know, because - so did you describe your earlier sewing and stuff you were doing for profit or just for family, or did you start small and then go bigger? How does your sewing story begin?

Destiny 3:34

So I guess I went in headfirst, because I didn't go straight for profit. I made a couple of things for myself, so when I started posting them, then I said, Oh, I can make this like actual legit business. And I really was not learned in sewing, I was just learning as I was going. Like a little practice sheet of scrap fabric, so I'd practice with the big stitch or my straight stitch wasn't the straightest but...

Lisa Woolfork 4:04

Just straight-ish. [laughs]

Destiny 4:06

Straight-ish. So that's where I just started making everything zigzag, because I can't mess this up as much as I can with a straight stitch. But I just learned, 'cause I actually got into more making things with my grandmother who passed, but she showed me how to crochet. And she was a knitter. So it was like, you know, progressive things of like, she knew how to make clothes. But I always say that the generational break, like our grandparents, my grandparents, my great-grandparents: they had to know how to make things because there was not readily available for them to just go buy. So that's something I'm seeing even just now, a lot of us are learning how to make things, because we don't want to wait for it in all those ways available to buy. Everything is crop tops and stuff.

Lisa Woolfork 4:59

Yeah. I'll make myself a whole shirt. Thank you.

Destiny 5:06

Yes, I'd rather just make me a shirt.

Lisa Woolfork 5:10

I really, really love that. And I think what excites me most is the fact that you were sitting down at a sewing machine, you were working on one garment at a time. And then you decided, You know what, I think I want to enhance this and go in a different direction. How do you go from one single needle embroidery machine to what you have now? What was your first embroidery machine like? What was your first - when you got the sample back from overseas, and you looked at this patch, and you're like, Oof, I could do this, I think. And then you like, you just say, Okay, let's go see what we can do. So do you just go buy, like, that Brother PE400 with a teeny-tiny hoop that everybody - not everybody, but many people start with the intro machine? How did you say, You know what, I want to invest in this, and it requires me investing in myself? What was the process there, with getting that very first machine and saying, Okay, I'm going to let this thing sew itself now.

Destiny 6:08

So I did, I got the PE625. And then I actually went through like three Brother machines, because every time I wanted to do something bigger, and you know, the 4"x4" can only do so much. So I had to go to the 5"x7", and I think the biggest one was like an 8"x10" - I think it's a 5"x7", I think that was the biggest one I ended up going to. And it was just learning the, I guess, more learning the technical side of the machine that was the biggest part of the journey. Because although people think it's a plug and play, it's really not. It's more of a like, I plug it in, I put this in, but if something goes wrong, how can I rectify this? Yeah, and most people struggle with the failure part, not the design.

Lisa Woolfork 6:59

Right. No, I think that's an excellent point. For those people, Destiny, who are not familiar with embroidery machines, they might be familiar with sewing machines; can you explain a bit about when you and I are talking about a 4"x4" or 5"x7", etc.? Explain to them about hoop sizes and how a single needle embroidery machine is set up.

Destiny 7:20

So a single needle embroidery machine is set up with a, what's the best way to say it, like a flat surface to embroider on. So in comparison to a multi needle, it's a forward facing, so you put the hoop in forward, like straight ahead of you. On a flat single needle it's placed downwards, so you have to clip it down. So that kind of limits your ability to do certain - we're not saying limit, it's harder to do certain things like T shirts and baby garments, because you have to hoop it flat rather than me just loading it and avoiding making the mistakes of stitching things together. So when you have a 4"x4", or like a 5"x7", it's the size of the design. So four inches by four inches or five inches by seven inches. I usually tell people think about that printer paper. That's an eight by eleven. So just give you a kind of a scale and how big something can go. Single needles are great to start off with, or even - I know people who are doing great with just doing single needles, because they've learned and perfected that. I quickly removed myself as far as I could because I hated changing the thread color. That's the worst part.

Lisa Woolfork 8:37

Oh my goodness. So y'all, I love this, Destiny. I love the comparison to paper, because a four by four is a great place to start. That's not where I started, I knew right away - I thought about it as, like, advice someone gave me when I bought a computer. When you buy a computer, buy more computer than you think you're going to need. Go ahead and get the half terabyte, you know, or whatever, because you're going to use it and soon you will outstrip the needs of it. And a four by four, y'all, allows you to do a design that's about the size of an index card. And not a three by five index card, a three by three, right? Because even though you have a hoop size that's four by four, there's a design size limit, you know, within that, so you can't stitch to the edge of your hoop. Because the way that the single needle embroidery is set up, it has an arm. And you slide your hoop into the arm, and the arm moves front, back, and left and right. Your needle doesn't move at all. And it really can be so frustrating, and every time I was trying to put something in, like a baby onesie or whatever, trying to get it in there, I was like - I felt like I had to keep my eye on it the whole time. So it didn't hit a snap or it didn't...you know, it's just so much. At least for me. That gave me so much worry and headache, I was just like, No no.

Destiny 10:09

I see a lot of clips from people that are clipping things in different parts, trying to keep it from sliding under so you don't stitch, or falling forward so it doesn't stitch, and that's when I knew it was time for me to move to a multi needle machine. So I could get away from - I applaud anyone who is working actively on a single needle embroidery machine and doing great design because I had zero patience for that

Lisa Woolfork 10:38

Do you remember a particular moment when you were like, You know what, forget it. This four by four is not where it's at. Was there a particular moment, or a particular design, or a particular disaster or whatever, that you were like, Okay, I deserve better than this?

Destiny 10:55

Well, I had a patch that I was making, and I was first starting patches, and the design had, like, seven colors. But they were all in different spots. So it was like, I only needed to change the thread for maybe 100 stitches, which is relatively not a lot. But then I had to go back to that color right after I change this color. So I'm constantly, like - a patch on the machine I have now, that took maybe 20 minutes from beginning to end, took me about an hour. Because I had to keep re-threading and keep re-threading and I was like, Oh my gosh. So that's when my research was like, what other machine can I get?

Lisa Woolfork 11:33

Oh my gosh. I could imagine it looking like a checkerboard. Y'all, imagine like a black and red checkerboard. But you can't stitch out all the black at once. Or all the red. Instead, do this red one. Now do this black one. Now do this red one. Now this black one. And then you're like, you know what? I don't like sewing anymore. So I'm not doing anything. Oh, that's so cool. Because I think that you're right. There is this assumption, I think, that as sewing machines and embroidery machines have gotten better, the technology has improved. They're able to do more things. People just think, Oh, I'm gonna buy this embroidery machine. And then, I mean, I know some folks, they do it with the Silhouette Cameo and the Cricut too. They will buy one, still have the receipt in their hands, and with their other hand, they're on Facebook saying: "I sell patches y'all! Come over here and get T shirts from me!" And I'm like, but your machine is still in the box, how are you...? "Well, I'm gonna go to YouTube University. And I'm going to watch all these videos, because it's clearly easy because the machine does all the work." And then, you sit down and you put some fabric in there and you're like, wait a minute, how come this needle keeps breaking? Or what's all this thread nesting underneath? And what's all this? So it's a lot more, I think, than people realize. Is that something that you found, as you have transitioned your business from, you know, what it started as in 2016, to what it has become now? What you have now is just so much bigger, and so much more beautiful and expansive. It's really quite lovely, Destiny, you've done a wonderful job; I hope that you take some time to pause and celebrate that. But what are some of the things that you have been really excited about as you're able to get away from the one small home machine to more, you know, to larger and more complex machines?

Destiny 13:31

I'm excited about the possibilities, so even the machines that I have now are feeling limited. It's funny you said about getting more machine than you need, because when I first started, I had the mindset of like, Oh, I'm just going to get what I know I can work with now. And I literally outgrew that machine six months after I bought it. I turned down designs, I turned down clients, because of what they wanted and I couldn't do on the machine. And then I turned around and bought it twice. Again. And I was like, okay. I needed to increase production, like it made more sense for me to increase the amount of machines running than to get one machine that was bigger at the moment. So now, I'm at the place where I can get two big machines. So now I have three smaller multi needles, and then two bigger multi needle machines. So five in total is the goal by the end of next year. So once having that will increase the ability for me to do more complex designs, because the machine I have now is 10 meters. The bigger machine is 15, and that means more colors, more options, and the hoop size goes up to like 20 inches.

Lisa Woolfork 14:51

I have - 20! I have never - what are you going to hoop, a car? Like...

Destiny 15:00

Maybe a car mat. It just gives me the ability to, like, say I'm doing a set of patches. So the hoop I have now, maybe the max I could fit on is two patches, then I could fit 20, you know, double the amount. So that same amount of time it would take me to do that 10 or 20, I could put on that one hoop, rather than reducing - faster production and just being able to do things a little bit faster. I appreciate the people that work with me, because I'm not slow, but I'm not the fastest. But they appreciate the work and the detail that I put in that they're willing to wait that extra, you know, week to get something from me, rather than going overseas or going somewhere else. So being able to keep up with the demand.

Lisa Woolfork 15:54

Yes, you're not trying to be like the Walmart of embroidery. Right? Like get as much as you can as fast as you can. Because you are not a machine. You are a human person with a life, and a family and, you know, other things, and so you aren't doing this every waking minute of your life.

Hey friends, hey. What are you doing on Thursday around 3pm or so? You got 30 minutes to hang out with Black Women Stitch? You got 60? If so, come through for 30 Minute Thursdays, Thursdays 3pm Eastern Standard Time. You can chill with Black Women Stitch on Instagram Live or talk with us through the two-way audio on Clubhouse at 3:30pm Eastern Standard Time. That's Thursdays for 30 minutes. Come hang out, chill and have fun with us. See you Thursday.

Destiny 16:49

I know, I had to learn that this year as well. Like, the pandemic has taught me to slow down. I lost my aunt to COVID, you know, I had a friend that was almost, you know, passed from COVID who's also an embroiderer. So that was very hard, you know, hard for us in our group to watch her go through that. I even shut down for the rest of the year. Yeah, I'm not taking orders to the top of the year. I'm sorry, guys, but I need to make sure I spend time with family. You know, took off for Thanksgiving, I'm taking off for Christmas and New Year's just to make sure, like, I take time because your rush is not my rush.

Lisa Woolfork 17:28

Yes, your rush is not my rush. I absolutely love it. Like look, you know what, I've been here the whole time. And you just came up with this idea. And so I cannot execute it for you. But maybe you can find somebody else who's willing to drop all their plans.

Destiny 17:50

I do get resources so if I can't do it, I'm not the person who's like Nah, and then, like, don't respond. I'm like, I'm sorry, I can't do it, but here are like five other people that I know that may be able to help you. So it doesn't feel like I'm just burning you and saying no, I can't help you.

Lisa Woolfork 18:05

No, you can't have it. Not from me and not from nobody. Ever. You know what I appreciate too, Destiny, is the kind of cooperation that you're talking about, right. That you have a group of embroiderers, you have a group of friends that all are in this business, are in the same industry, but you're able to support each other, right? So if you can't do something, for whatever reason, you could say, Hey, here's four or five other people, right? And I know that there's some folks who wouldn't do that. There's some folks who would not refer anybody. Can you talk a bit about your philosophy; is there a philosophy that guides you and the decisions you make about your work, and how you share information, or how you recommend, you know, your peers or whatever?

Destiny 18:52

Well, I have a couple of mantras I live by, but in that situation, I internalized "What's for me is for me." Because I mean, I can't change what's going to happen; whether it happens or not, that's what's supposed to happen. And then I don't hoard information. So that's not more like a mantra, but that's something that I make sure I do the total opposite of what it was like to get into this, because it was so hard to get help. I now understand that people can abuse your health, you know, they abuse you, but I still try to provide that resource. I'm like, if someone asked me, Oh, where'd you get that sweatshirt? I'm sending you three websites, because you come out better than us exchanging all this information because I don't even want to give you this website. Because that doesn't take away from what I do. Because I'm going to do what I'm going to do, you're going to do what you're going to do, so here's three vendors, here's this, here's that. And most of the time, you know, that's all they really needed. They just needing someone to lead them in the right direction. Even with my clients, I tell them like, if I can't do this, this is where you can go, or if you want to do this yourself, because they're on a tight budget, because I do work with a lot of small and upcoming businesses. I'm like, if this can't fit your budget, because unfortunately my price is not going to change, here's how you do it yourself. Here's the steps to make it yourself. Then you can make that decision on if you want to make that investment to you, or you want to help me help you. And then you can still see it like, hey, I can do this myself just like I did.

Lisa Woolfork 20:35

Exactly, I want to try this.

Destiny 20:38

Then here you go. Here's the machine companies you should look into; this is where you get supplies. And because it doesn't take away from what I'm going to do for the next person.

Lisa Woolfork 20:47

That's right. No, I think that's so wonderful. Because as you're saying about the plug and play nature of it, it's not plug and play. I think that some of the things that people seem to miss is that embroidery is very complicated. Yes, it's done by a machine. But the machine is not witchcraft. It's not like Harry Potter, you can just say, make a patch. And then like walk away and come back into patches sitting there, right? There's so many elements that go into it. Needles, needle size, shape, brand, thread.

Destiny 21:22

I wish I could show you this, I wish I could show you my tech right now. My machine looks like the Autobot or Decepticon, like a Transformer, because we took off everything just to find the problem, because it's stitching weird. But just learning that, I had to learn - I'm changing boards, I'm connecting wires, because like I said, like you said, if something goes wrong, you have to know how to fix it for the most part. Because even if the machine company has tech support, you're on the phone with them. And they're telling you plug this in, unplug that. So you have to have some type of technical knowledge, just off the strength of it. They're not here to do it by hand, and then you have a technician, but then you got to pay him so you don't have them. You got to pay him for his time and his expertise, so it's a lot.

Lisa Woolfork 22:12

You know, it's so funny you mention that, Destiny, because I wasn't even thinking at all about the machine itself as a tool that needed maintenance, and that it needed regular inspections. I was thinking just holding a patch in your hand that has good tension, that's very densely stitched, but also looks good and lies flat. There's so much that goes with just putting the stabilizer in the hoop, and then the cutaway, and then the scissors and the thread jumping, and not to mention the digitizing. Like, it's just incredibly complicated. And I was just thinking the other day, like, you know what I wish: I wish that there was a sewing machine maintenance training program for Black women.

Destiny 23:08

That'd be good. Because in the classes that I want to provide next year, I want to be able to do a little bit more of like, okay, yeah, you can come and learn this, but if something goes wrong, this is what you do. You know, because most machines, even if they're made by different companies, the support is relatively the same. So your thread keeps breaking, and it's most likely the needle or the tension. If it bird's nests, then it's something in the bobbin. Okay, so those are things that go hand in hand. But I do have a lot of people reach out to me saying they have the same machine as I do, so they want to come learn in person. Because like I said, everybody's, you know, everybody's suffering from COVID. So they don't have any tech support, so you still need to know how to do it yourself. Now if it becomes too crazy, then I'm like, Hey, I got this guy who's going to help you.

Lisa Woolfork 23:58

Yes, at least you have access to that, you have access to expert support. But I was just thinking, I said, you know, everyone I've ever taken my machine to to be fixed is a man. The sewing machine man, the sewing machine repairman. I've been sewing for almost 25 years. And I have never opened up the top part of my sewing machine. I've never taken like that - I mean, I open the bottom up, and clean it out, and take out the bobbin case, and dust and do all that. But I don't know how to engage - how to like, if I were to look and say, Oh, something's wrong here. I need to open this hood up and look and see. I have never done that.

Destiny 24:37

That's funny, because I'm thinking about they're all men. They're all older white men, at that.

Lisa Woolfork 24:44

Yes. And so how do we get in these kinds of courses, how do we - you know, because I know every company protects their tech. Right? It's not like, you know, I don't know how we would even be trained in learning how to do, you know, to adjust a ten needle Melco machine. Or, you know, how do you fix an industrial JUKI? Or, how do you - I have a computerized Baby Lock single needle. Like, I have no idea. And the machine was so expensive, I certainly don't want to mess it up, you know? And so, that's the thing I find myself - whenever I feel like I have a spot around a fear, right? I mean, like, Oh, I'm so afraid of buttonholes. And I'm like bitch, what is a buttonhole? Like, what? What are you, afraid of a buttonhole? I'm afraid of a buttonhole. I'm afraid to do zippers. Zippers.

Destiny 24:49

Add me to the zipper train.

Lisa Woolfork 25:46

There is nothing in sewing to be afraid of. Whenever anybody says something, I'm afraid of - what, how? It's not going to bite you. I mean, the worst thing is your zipper looks ugly and you break a needle. Like, it's not going to kill you, you're not going to end up in the hospital. There's nothing to fear except for myself. And me, and the thought of opening up that sewing machine just feels like...I might as well just throw it out the window then.

Destiny 26:14

We need to go bum-rush one of those places, like, Teach me! Because I think they do. I think that's the point of Dance like nobody's ever asked. I feel like if I go to the quilt store up the street, sewingmachine.com. Okay, you know that website. They have their Atlanta help here. So I feel like if I go up there and I'm like, Hey...I don't know the older white guy's name but I see him all the time. And I'm like, Hey, can I learn? Do you guys teach, like, tech support? I feel like they will, because they help us for everything else. But I'm afraid to ask.

Lisa Woolfork 26:46

I wonder, because one of the things you said struck me. You said, "I don't hoard information. I don't hoard knowledge." And sometimes I wonder if the reason that it's always the sewing machine repairman, is because there's something in the industry itself that is keeping that knowledge the province of men. Either a cultural assumption that men are better at this, which is you know, just crap, it's a stereotype...

Destiny 27:20

It's funny, because they don't sew clothes. So how did they become the gatekeepers?

Lisa Woolfork 27:25

Listen, why do we have so many male gynecologists? Why are men in gynecology? No, I'm serious. You know this is true, right?

Destiny 27:36

Yes. And they used to do it in plays.

Lisa Woolfork 27:40

Without anesthesia, by the way.

Destiny 27:42

Yeah, because they thought we had higher pain tolerance.

Lisa Woolfork 27:45

And also because they just don't give a shit. But do you see what I'm saying, like, these things, you know, people are like, Oh, keep politics out of sewing, keep whatever. All this stuff is already here. And just because people want to close their eyes and ears because they didn't want to deal with anything that makes them think too hard. What is going to happen if like, you know, if all of the sewing machine repair people are in their eighties, or in their nineties?

Destiny 28:14

They are though.

Lisa Woolfork 28:15

Who is going to fix your sewing machine when they aren't there to do it? Right?

Destiny 28:22

They are all that age. Like they're all, you know, getting like - who are y'all sharing this information with? You got to pass it down. Unless you're not passing. That's crazy. You got to pass it down. But who you pass it down to?

Lisa Woolfork 28:34

Right? Because as you know, there's some folks who - they want to keep it like, well, if I tell you then you won't need me. And therefore...you know what I'm saying? It's just, I don't know, it's just something to think about as you as we move into - we're recording this now, y'all, in 2021, toward the end of December 2021. The episode will be out in 2022. But it does make me wonder, like, what is the future of sewing machine repair? And how can we put it into the hands of - at least for me, it's Black women. Like, to be able to know how to do these things to support our own interests, and anything that helps us get us closer to independence and liberation and self-reliance. All of that is all stuff I'm like yay, yes, let's.

Destiny 29:20

I think that goes back to, like, what you were saying about not being afraid. So you not being afraid, like, I will bust down my embroidery machine. I don't know what I'm looking at, but I'll bust it down. And I don't know, call tech or, you know, text my friend Sun Moon and be like, Hey, what's this? Why is it doing this? You know, I have to pay him to come out. I'm still watching him. You know, I'm working. I watch what he's doing. So at least you know, learn something, just to make sure that I'm not naive, but you got to open it. So now that's your challenge, is to bust it open just to look inside and close it back up.

Lisa Woolfork 29:57

I'm going to tell you right now, not doing it. I am not.

Destiny 30:02

You don't even open up like you open up the hood of your car, you may not know what you're looking at, but you -

Lisa Woolfork 30:06

I know I can close the trunk hood back though. The hood of the car. I can open it, I can shut it up again. I don't know how to open this. I think there's a special screwdriver that is needed in order to get into my machine. I don't think I could even find a hex driver or whatever. That's okay, because I was going to admit that that is something that I have some hesitation around. And it is a spot that I need to interrogate and think through, you know.

Destiny 30:38

Send me the machine, I will find it and buy you this screwdriver. And I'll be in there to open the machine.

Lisa Woolfork 30:46

My spouse is going to come down and they're going to say, Why are you down here crying? "I met this lady off the internet and she told me to open my machine and now it's broke!"

Destiny 30:55

You just open it and close it, you ain't got to touch nothing! You just open it, you got to look at it.

Lisa Woolfork 31:01

When I look for my training course. That is when I will do it. That is the best way for me to get past my fear, is to take a course. I've just got to find out who's offering these courses, and how to get in on one, that's all. So, I wanted to think about some of the consulting that you offer. So, just as we've been having this great conversation, and I can see that you have so much skill and expertise, in addition to create a vision. What kind of things do you offer folks to kind of, you know, in terms of the things that you do for your one-on-one consulting, that can help people feel more confident in this? You know, maybe after listening to this conversation, people might be really excited to do this. And then on the other hand, wait a minute, ten needles? And what now? I just don't know if I can deal with ten needles moving at one time. How do you help people get over their hesitation?

Destiny 31:53

I just give them a place to start. So if you have any reservations about whatever machine you have, or you don't even have a machine, kind of giving you a place to start. Like you mentioned before, knowing what you're doing in getting the machine that overcompensates you currently. Like we have, we can say you're going to shortchange yourself. So if you're saying, "Well, I want to do baby items," I'm not going to even recommend you to get a single needle. I'm like, if that's in your budget, yes. I'm like, Prepare yourself to upgrade to either - it could be a Baby Lock. It can be even, you know, a Brother multi needle, but something where you can load and unload fast and stitch quicker and stitch better, bigger designs. So that's always what I'm thinking, is like: we shortchange ourselves and our ability, and I've done that a lot. Now I'm not. I'm trying things I haven't even done before. I'm very good to take on something that I'm like, "Oh, yeah, do that, no, no," and my mom, like "no I don't do that- but yeah, I do it, cuz I'm gonna learn!"

Lisa Woolfork 33:02

Yes, yes, the answer's yes. I've done this, therefore I can also do that.

Destiny 33:07

Yes, I've done that, so I know I don't have an issue learning how to do this. So I'm with the consultant, I just give them that starting spot. And because I of course provide vendors, supplies, and things of that nature, but that's also a big issue. Most people, like I said before, don't know where to start. They have this idea, but they don't know where to start. And with our COVID, with the, you know, what is it now, Omarion, Omicron?

Lisa Woolfork 33:38

Omicron. Let's call it Omarion, I like that better.

Destiny 33:41

Go back to Black Twitter, say something. So with that, we'll see. But I wanted to bring stuff in person, because I'm a hands-on person. So I would like that to help a lot of people get started making see it in action. And like you said, it's not a plug and play. When you see it, and open up the side and be like this, this wire is this, and this is this, and that helps a lot of people just knowing that. At the end of the day, you can always reach back to ask me a question. And of course, I can direct you to an answer.

Lisa Woolfork 34:17

I really appreciate that. I really appreciate your way of committing to the hands-on because you know that kind of helps you, but also that you're willing to take phone calls and if people wanted to ask, you can also do the online or discussion with you, which also I think is really generous. I wanted to talk just before we end this - hopefully we'll get to talk again as we move to 2022 - but I was thinking about the 10 needle machine and it just seems like, 10 needles! That is a lot!

Destiny 34:49

It's not a lot.

Lisa Woolfork 34:50

It just looks like a lot. Like I look at it, I've seen them, and I'm like, they say this is a sewing machine. It's a machine that does something...and it stitches things...it just also looks kind of like a piano. And also, like a, you know, one of those old-timey machines that you could put your eyes up to and look into the, you know, distance. The way you approach, it has this little arms, it's just -

Destiny 35:20

It can be intimidating.

Lisa Woolfork 35:22

It just looks like a lot of machine. What advice would you give someone who wants just to say, Okay, is there a middle distance between like a 10 needle and a four and a five? Or if you're like, you know, if you're going to do multi needle, don't bother with a four, just go ahead and get as much as you can get right now.

Destiny 35:47

I think that goes back to what are you looking to do. So I actually had a client I did a consultation with, and I was telling her, she wants to do baby items, that could be all she does, because that is a good business. People is always having babies.

Lisa Woolfork 36:05

That's true. And then the blankets and onesies and all sorts of things that people like to have personalized, that's great.

Destiny 36:11

Yeah. But in that space, you don't have a lot of colors. It's usually pink, blue, shades of pink and blue, green and orange, shades of green and orange. So you're not really changing - whereas I get a patch, it may have 30 colors. And I'll be like, I'm going to reduce that down to this. You know, people have different things with their logo, but baby stuff is usually very simplistic. So you don't have to get it to me, you can start off with a, I think they have what, a five or six needle machine? So you can do a six needle Baby Lock/Brother and the good thing about starting there is most of the time when we upgrade the technology, that's a change. It's just the needle increases. So when I was switching Brother machines, the technology wasn't changing, I was just getting bigger. And I wanted to get a Brother multi needle, but it just came out better finance-wise to go to different companies. But starting with Brother and going to this machine, I was like, Oh, I could see our similarities.

Lisa Woolfork 37:15

Yes. Okay. And so tell me also, like, I know that there's a big thing with software. That software is another like, big thing. Like, y'all, I mean, this is not like, you know, you take a sewing pattern, you read it three times, and then you sit down and you start sewing. This, you have to also like get in front of the computer, and look at your design, and make sure it's sized the right way, and make sure, like, all of the gaps are closed, and all of the all of the things that have to be... I think a patch is a combination of creativity and engineering. Right, it has to be well structured and balanced so that like, you know, at least from my experience working with my single needle, which is a combo embroidery and sewing machine, like if the design is too dense, it just feels like it's just stabbing a hole into the thing that I'm trying to make. You know? And so the software, there's so many moving parts that I think it's just really generous of you to add, as a consultant, in addition to someone who's willing to say, Hey, I can't do it. Why don't you ask this person instead? I think that's really great.

Destiny 38:29

Yeah, 'cause with the digitizer - so most of the digitizing I have, I don't do myself. I have a digitizer for that, because business-wise, it just takes - you can learn to make a business as digitizing. There's a couple of Black women who are trying to be proficient digitizing, I told them they need to hurry up so we could give our money back to you know, some of them. But because such a - it's one of those things, like, even if you don't do it, you still need to know. So I know how I want my stuff to look like. So when I reach out to my digitizer I'm like, okay, adjust position on this, can we take this out, make this applique, and then only do the border - you still have to know what you're looking for. But it's totally something you don't have to do on your own, because there's so many people and it is a trial and error thing. So it's okay to get something from one digitizer and not like it. You can go to another one and they will most likely do what you like.

Lisa Woolfork 39:36

Yes. Yes. My goodness. Destiny, this has been such a great conversation. I'm going to ask you one last question I've been asking folks lately. The slogan for the Stitch Please podcast is that we help you get your stitch together. Now if I asked you for advice, what advice would you give someone listening to the podcast who's interested in what you're doing, what would you say to them to help them get their stitch together?

Destiny 40:03

It's okay to make mistakes. And it's okay to like, to not have it all together the first time. I think, when I lead especially my embroidery group, a lot of people are upset because they've done it four or 500 times and it's not working. It's a lot of us now, Okay, take a step back, go from start to finish and you know, see where we can help you. Because it is okay to have… five hats must involve five hats. The best thing I learned is how to fix my mistakes and make content out of it. So I do post videos of like, Hey y'all, I messed up the shirt. Watch how I fix it. Because it also shows that person, that consumer, that okay, Destiny messed up but most likely, she won't fix it. And then I was showing them that everything is not going to be glamorous and perfect every time I post it. Most of the time I post something, at this point, I'm like a 95% good on the first try. And 5% will be in my stories because it disappears in 24 hours, so you ain't going to see it later. But I'll show it to you in the story.

Lisa Woolfork 41:14

Oh, that is so perfect. That is so perfect. Thank you so much, Destiny Brewton, for being with us today. We have been talking with A House Called Hue, and I'll be sure to put all her links in the socials. And we will keep an eye out for more great, great work coming out from A House Called Hue. Thank you so much, Destiny.

Destiny 41:35

Thank you so much for having me.

Lisa Woolfork 41:39

This was fantastic. Thank you so much.

You've been listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at Blackwomenstitch@gmail.com. If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, and you can find Black Women Stitch there in the Patreon directory. And for as little as $2 a month you can help support the project with things like editing transcripts, and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really, really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews, but for those who do, for those that have like a star rating or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us, the Stitch Please podcast, that is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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