Beaute J’adore a chat with Nikki Brooks

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:27:40 Beaute J’adore a chat with Nikki Brooks


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Nikki Brooks

Beaute’ J’adore is the love child of Nikki Brooks-Revis: who is a wife, a mom to an awesome toddler,  proud pet parent to Callie, Nelson, and Curious, sunglass lover, fashion admirer, foodie, DIY fanatic, closet Martha Stewart skincare enthusiast who also happens to be the style blogger for Mood Fabrics and a licensed pattern designer for McCall’s Patterns.

Lisa Woolfork

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of English specializing in African American literature and culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers on Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she actively resisted the white supremacist marches in her community, Charlottesville, Virginia. The city became a symbol of lethal resurging white supremacist violence. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the Community Engaged Scholars program. She believes in the power of creative liberation.

Insights from this episode:

  • Nikki’s sewing story
  • Her transition from the corporate world to sewing
  • The beauty of trusting in yourself
  • Her journey of altering patterns and pieces
  • How she can turn complex ideas into simple tasks
  • Insights into summer sewing
  • Creating for all body types

Quotes from the show:

  • On her sewing journey: “I was like I wanna make some clothes, and I ended up getting some more fabric, and I just started sewing, and I was like I’m kinda good at it and started making patterns” —Nikki Brooks in “Stitch Please”
  • “This is such a beautiful testimony to what it means to take a step of faith, to step and just see and trust yourself and the vision that you have to see yourself and your life differently” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “It’s not about the time it takes, it’s about the time you give” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “The reason we are sewing is because we wanna create something that will be unique to us” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “When I think what I can make, I think about not just myself, because you do have to be true to yourself with these patterns, but I also think about how will other bodies look and feel in these patterns” —Nikki Brooks in “Stitch Please”
  • “Take a chance, make the risk and go out there and actually do it. People plan so much that they plan themselves out of actually going in and jumping in and doing it. Stop all the planning and do it!” —Nikki Brooks in “Stitch Please”

Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork

Nikki Brooks

Website: Beaute’ J’adore – The Art Of DIY

LinkedIn: Nikki Brooks 

Instagram: Nikki Brooks

Facebook: Nikki Brooks

This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork  0:10  

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. Hey, friends, Hey, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I am your host, Lisa Woolfork. And as I say every week, this is a very special episode because this episode, I am talking with the person who designed the dress pattern that I am currently wearing. How often does that happen? That's right. You might not have talked to her in person before but I do this all the time. When I'm now going into Joann's I say "Oh, look, I saw Nikki and Joanna. Those are my friends". Yes, but with the Know Me patterns. Absolutely. Yes. And so I am speaking with Beaute J'adore. None other than Nikki Brooks. Welcome, Nikki, to the Stitch Please podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Nikki  1:17  

Thank you, Lisa. Thank you for having me.

Lisa Woolfork  1:19  

I am so glad that you are here because I love your style.

Nikki  1:25  

Thank you.

Lisa Woolfork  1:26  

I love the drama. I love how you make every day an occasion.--

Nikki  1:30  


Lisa Woolfork  1:32  

It's true. It's like you know, people say, you know, "Woo, why you getting so dressed up?" And it's like, why wouldn't I?

Nikki  1:37  

Right? I'm just going to check the mail. It's okay. Yeah, I know I'm fully dressed. 

Lisa Woolfork  1:40  

Exactly! "I'm going to Target where are you going?"

Nikki  1:43  

It is so funny. When I get on the elevator to go anywhere (I live on the 21st floor), So when I give on an elevator, everyone's always like, "Where are you going? Oh, you going out?" I'm  like "No, I'm gonna get coffee. We're just walking around the corner."

Lisa Woolfork  1:55  

"I'm just being black and fabulous. How are you? How are you doing today girl? I'm black and fabulous. How are you?" I mean, it does seem like the way that you create and design your garments seem an occasion for celebration. That the work themselves, they are so striking to the eye. And they really do a wonderful job, I think, of helping (those of us who make them), feel like we are affirming. It doesn't make us special. It is affirming that we are special. And so welcome Nikki Brooks, thank you so much for being here today. 

Nikki  2:29  

Thank you. 

Lisa Woolfork  2:30  

So I want to get started to hear more about your sewing story. What got you started?

Nikki  2:35  

You know, it's so funny, even when I tell this story because I didn't have like, these lofty dreams of being a designer or sewing, or making clothes ever, like growing up. In fact, I remember in like, maybe the fourth grade, I had like a Home Ec. So that just tells you how long ago that was. I had a Home Ec class, and I made a shirt. Well, I attempted to make a shirt but it was horrible. And I was just like, I like to sew like, this isn't my thing.

Lisa Woolfork  3:00  

Did you make a Gordon Gartrell?

Nikki  3:01  

It was a Gordon Gartrell. Yes.

Lisa Woolfork  3:03  

You made a Gordon Gartrell in the fourth grade. You know what, can we be honest? Most fourth graders will be making Gordon Gartrells, real talk. Like, that's very ambitious, to give a fourth grader say, "Let's make a shirt".

Nikki  3:15  

Yeah, but I don't know, though. You seen those fourth graders. But this day and age. They're different. I just saw a little girl last night. I was like, "What?" They're very different.-- 

Nikki  3:25  

Oh yes. 

Lisa Woolfork  3:25  

I would love to get her on the podcast. I think it's hard to get in touch with some of these celebrity designers in general, including yourself, it can be hard to get in touch with celebrity designers. 

Nikki  3:33  

Oh please. 

Lisa Woolfork  3:35  

And she is absolutely blowing up. And she loves it. She would have slayed in the Home Ec class, she would have been teaching the Home Ec class. 

Nikki  3:41  


Lisa Woolfork  3:42  

You and I were just regular jegler fourth graders, you know, I'm still figuring out fractions, not being able to sew very well yet. Most people take their Home Ec. losses. And they're like, "You know what, screw that. I'm not doing that anymore. I hate it, it was terrible". But you did not do well in fourth --

Nikki  3:58  


Lisa Woolfork  3:59  

--grade Home Ec. And yet, here come the early 2000s. And you're trying to get. How did that come about?

Nikki  4:06  

So, 2011, my mom passed away suddenly, like I worked. I was a general manager at an energy company. So I've always been employed. I've been in sales. And it's always been the corporate environment. My mom passed away, kind of suddenly. And I --

Lisa Woolfork  4:21  

So sorry --

Nikki  4:21  

--remember at that time. Thank you. I quit my job. I was like, you know what life is passing me by. I don't know what I want to do. But I know this is not what I want to do anymore. And I quit my job. I started a blog. The blog consisted of like, nothing but business suits. I was like, Okay, this is boring. No one wants to watch this. And I didn't even look at like, blogs really. So I didn't even really know how to navigate the whole thing. I wasn't looking at YouTube. It wasn't a thing. And I saw the Mimi G Maxi skirt. Y'all remember that maxi skirt, it was the one with the pockets, right? And I was like, I have a sewing machine.

Lisa Woolfork  4:56  

A lot of people got introduced--

Nikki  4:57  


Lisa Woolfork  4:57  

 --to sewing through that. So you were one of them. 

Lisa Woolfork  4:59  

Yeah. I was one of them. Yeah. And I didn't sew at all. I had a sewing machine that I'd had for years, that was just like stuck in a closet. And, I remember going to Joann's, getting some fabric and it was this pink, fuchsia to super bright, crazy-looking fabric. And I made the skirt. And it was super easy to do. And I was like, "Oh, I like this." But then there were just some different things that I wanted to do different with the skirt. And I ended up doing that. And I was like, "Okay, I kind of like this a lot." And I wore to the mall. And this was 2012 at the time. I wore to the mall, everyone was like, "That's such a cute skirt." I was like "I made it, I made it." And so, I was like, I want to make some clothes. And I ended up getting some more fabric, and I just started sewing. And then I was like, Okay, I'm kind of good at it. And then I started making patterns n' adjusting patterns. And it just came very natural to me. And I was like, okay, this is kind of something. This is something for me. Yeah. That's where it started.

Lisa Woolfork  6:10  

The slogan of the Stitch Please podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. And now we're bringing it to you in a new way. The stitch is a newsletter from Black Women Stitch and I am delighted to tell you about it. What do you get when you sign up for the Black Women Stitch newsletter, you get to hear what's happening with Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please podcast, events that we've had, events that are coming up, contests for prizes, live shows, social media meetups, IRL meetups, episodes of the podcast that you might have missed, as well as opportunities to learn. And so in community, with other Black makers, across the country, and across the world, you will learn also about some actual stitches, we will help you get your stitch together with continuing education for your sewing life. Oh my goodness, y'all, I am so excited for this newsletter. As always, things I want to tell you, you know, wow. Well, now we have the Stitch, sign up using the link in the show notes or on our website, we look forward to helping you get to a stitch together soon.

Lisa Woolfork  7:27  

It's such a beautiful flourishing for you to shift from a corporate environment, where I'm sure you had decades of study and-- 

Nikki  7:37  


Lisa Woolfork  7:37  

--labor that went into creating your success in your corporate role. One of the things that corporations do for people is to provide them a place. Like, you know, you're gonna be here in this unit that reports to this so-and-so. So that's a lot of structure. To pivot from that to "I'ma start a blog, and-- 

Nikki  7:58  


Lisa Woolfork  7:58  

--I'm gonna fully live my whole life"--

Lisa Woolfork  8:00  


Lisa Woolfork  8:00  

--You know, that's a huge shift. --

Nikki  8:02  


Lisa Woolfork  8:03  

--what was required, you think, in order for you to make that transition? Was it processing the grief? Or had you already been considering making a change? Or was it just like an epiphany, as you say, just kind of hit you that you want to do something different? Do you remember that phase of that process?

Nikki  8:20  

I do, because I never considered it before. I mean, I've made good money. And so I had no intention on ever leaving at all. And it literally, when she passed away (she lived in Nebraska) there was so much regret, because I was just like, man, I didn't go back to see her as much. We talked to every single day, because I was always in work mode. I didn't take the time. And I just thought, man, life is passing me by. Yes, I'm making really good money. But I'm not enjoying it because I am just working for someone else. And I didn't know what I wanted to do. But I knew I had really started liking looking at fashion on social media. And, ---

Lisa Woolfork  8:59  


Nikki  9:00  

--you know, that's kind of where it happened. So, it was nothing that I had mulled over for some time. January, I quit my job January 2012. And I started, I think I made my skirt in May of 2012.

Lisa Woolfork  9:13  

This is such a beautiful testimony to what it means to take a step of faith. --

Nikki  9:19  

Yeah. Abolutely.--

Lisa Woolfork  9:20  

--To kind of step out, just to see, and just to trust yourself and trust the vision (that you have) to see yourself and your life differently.-- 

Nikki  9:28  


Lisa Woolfork  9:29  

--It can be very difficult to do, and I want to talk a little bit about what the Mimi G skirt gave to you in terms of empowering you. And by that I mean, of course I had read that you were a self-trained self-taught designer, but I have thought you had been self training and self teaching yourself since the fourth grade. --

Nikki  9:48  


Lisa Woolfork  9:48  

--You were like, you know one of those! And then I was reading these books that I couldn't --

Nikki  9:52  


Lisa Woolfork  9:52  

--understand all the words! Because I was only 11. And I didn't know what this meant. You know, that's what I loved. And guess what it proves as well. is that it's not about the time it takes.-- 

Nikki  10:02  


Lisa Woolfork  10:03  

It's about the time you give. 

Nikki  10:05  

There's no timeline that says, you have to have invested in this for this many years in order... You know what I mean?

Lisa Woolfork  10:12  

Yeah. How did you get past that... a friend described it for me, 'preparation paralysis'? 

Nikki  10:17  

I am someone who has to study, study, study, study study. 

Lisa Woolfork  10:20  


Nikki  10:20  

Before I do anything, before I thread my new serger. Let me read the manual 80,000 times. 

Lisa Woolfork  10:26  

And I'm complete opposite though. So tell me, so you don't have that? Tell me, tell me about it. Nikki gets a new machine. She's like, I'm plugging it in. I'm turning it on. And so--

Nikki  10:35  

--that is me. That is me. Like, these machines right here, I can promise you, I have never read the manual. I'm like, Okay, if I get stuck on something, I'll go to YouTube. And okay, give me the Cliff Notes. And just let me run with it and try to figure it out. And that was the same thing with patterns. When I first started sewing. Patterns, just like, I hate these patterns, I was like, they're making it, for just as regular people? We can't understand this. Give me just the clean cut. Which is why, when I first started sewing,--

Lisa Woolfork  11:03  


Nikki  11:03  

--just the bullet points. I first started sewing (and I tell everyone this) start with vintage patterns, vintage patterns have three pieces, and you can make it happen.--

Lisa Woolfork  11:13  

Yeah, those little jiffy pieces. It's just like, --

Nikki  11:15  


Lisa Woolfork  11:15  

--when I make a dress, it's one seem, two seems-- 

Nikki  11:18  


Lisa Woolfork  11:18  

--in the front, one for the front, one for the back, and then put it on. Alright.--

Nikki  11:20  

And it's still to this day, I do not read the instructions. I see how it's made. And I'm like, Okay, I'm going to do what makes sense for me, not what it says on here. And I have to kind of like, pull away from that. Because if people are buying the patterns, they want to be able to make it just like the pattern says.--

Lisa Woolfork  11:37  

They do. They do.--

Nikki  11:39  

Yeah. But I'm like, I want to give you something that's a little easier. That just makes sense to your brain. --

Lisa Woolfork  11:44  

That's right. That's right.--

Nikki  11:46  

Yeah. And so for me, that's what made sense. And that's why I think it came easier for me too.

Lisa Woolfork  11:52  

Yeah. Well, you trusted yourself. You trusted-- 

Nikki  11:55  

Yeah --

Lisa Woolfork  11:55  

--the same way that you trusted yourself to walk away from a job that was paying you well, but not feeding your spirit. You know, it was filling up your bank account, but your soul, your sense of just 'full of life' just felt like it was in a deficit. 

Nikki  12:07  


Lisa Woolfork  12:07  

And it's like, no, like we say, 'All money ain't good money', you know? 

Nikki  12:12  


Lisa Woolfork  12:12  

And so, you just gotta see what's gotta be good for your actual life. Right. And so, this is what I love about it. It's the spirit of bravery, the spirit of boldness, and that is something that requires practice. And another thing I wanted to note was that you looked at YouTube and saw Mimi G's video, and then saw in that an invitation, you saw in that a possibility, rather than just like watching it, making a skirt, and moving on to the next thing. It sparked something in your own imagination about the things that you could design. And so when you approach patterns, you said, "Oh, my gosh, this jacket's ugly. I don't like it. What can I do to make it more my style?" So you --

Nikki  12:52  


Lisa Woolfork  12:52  

--able to step in and just start altering patterns as well? How did that come about? Like, the need to change the pattern? Was it about the pattern piece itself? Or was it about the instructions of the pattern? Like, what are the kinda things that you needed to improve?

Nikki  13:05  

I would look at what "Do I want to make? What am I drawn to?" And then I've looked at vintage patterns, I'm like, okay, I can create this, from this. It just needs, you know, some altering. And that's kind of how it started. And I found it to be really easy to do. It made sense to me. As soon as I took the instruction part out, and I'm just working with these three pieces of pattern, I was able to add my own pattern pieces to it and just make it just for me, I love that, I love that part of the creative process.

Lisa Woolfork  13:39  

What I appreciate about what you're saying is, that is what we wanna do when we sew anyway. Right? --

Lisa Woolfork  13:45  


Lisa Woolfork  13:45  

--the reason we are sewing is because we wanna create something that will be unique to us. And even if a million of us, and I hope a million of us are out there y'all! Go buy these patterns. Even if a million of us buy these patterns, they will not look the same. You know what I mean? We can still make 'em all very different.

Nikki  14:05  

And that's the point. Even with the patterns that I'm making with with Know Me, I love when someone tags me and they faltered the pattern. I'm like, that's the whole point. Make it just for you, make it your own, make it your own little thing. And I love that, I really do. 

Lisa Woolfork  14:19  

I wanted to turn now to talk a little bit about your Sew Alongs because your pattern is wonderful. This is the Know Me 2016 everybody, it's ME2016. If you are not a Patreon supporter, why aren't you? You should be because this is a really great podcast. And don't you want this to continue and be sustainable? Thanks for being a sustainer. But this pattern is so wonderful. And one of the reasons that we're talking about it now (even though it's July) is, it's convertible. That you offer possibility within your patterns. You are not trying to create us all as a bunch of clones. You're giving us guidelines. You're not like, look, don't go out and try to be a Nikki clone. All right, y'all not out there trying to look like me! Go out there and look like you, right? And do it the way you want. And so this pattern, which to me does not scream blouse in any way. And yet I was looking at your sew along. So, can you talk about the Kika Vargas modification that you made and how that came about, and who Kika Vargas is, etc.

Nikki  15:19  

Okay, Kika Vargas, she's a designer. And she makes these really nice dresses and tops with just crazy sleeves. And I'm a sleeve person, I love some drama to a more simple silhouette. So I don't know if it's some type of skill, but I can look at a pattern and be like, oh okay, that pattern, my memory is absolutely trashed. But I can remember all the patterns that I have. And I'm like, okay, I can look at something and say, Oh, that dress pattern that is, you know, whatever. I don't remember the numbers, but I know I have it, that you can create that from that. You have to be completely outside the box. When I look at the covers of patterns, nine times out of 10 I never like them, ever. But you have to be able to remove the fabric choice that someone else made. Look at it, turn the pattern around, and look at just like, the line drawing. And then you'll get a better idea of the possibilities of it.

Lisa Woolfork  16:14  

And the feeling that, when you begin with a pattern, it's not meant to make it in the identical way. It's meant to be modified. I'm thinking about this sleeve, (I'm wearing the sleeve right now) it's elasticized at the hem, which gives you a really nice mid-cuff, mid-bicep kind of puff for the overall sleeve. What made you decide to alter that sleeve? Wasn't that difficult an alteration? It's very encouraging. Your sew alongs are very detailed.--

Nikki  16:15  

Thank you.

Lisa Woolfork  16:17  

And I thank you. I think people that are watching your sew alongs are also grateful, because you do go into such detail. I found it also very encouraging, the way that you are teaching people to modify patterns with just eight and a half by 11 sheets of paper they already would have. Maybe they had a printer or somebody sent us an old mail or something.--

Nikki  16:17  

Yeah, yeah. 

Lisa Woolfork  16:22  

The backstitch is a reinforcing stitch sewn by hand or stitch by machine. The back stitch is a return with a purpose. On the Stitch Please podcast, our new back stitch series will recall early and or favorite episodes of the podcast. And the best news. It's hosted by you. Yes, you. Thank you. You. Do you have a favorite Stitch Please podcast episode, let us know by leaving a voice memo on our website, five minutes max, let us know what episodes you love and why other people will love it too. And if we use your message on the show, you will receive an honoraria. So remember, the backstitch makes us seem stronger. Leave us a message so that your contribution can make the Stitch Please podcast that much stronger. You can find the link at the website or just click on it in the show notes for this episode.

Lisa Woolfork  18:17  

What is it about the process that you are able to turn complicated ideas into simple tasks? How do you do that?

Nikki  18:27  

You know what even when you look at patterns and some of the terminology, you're just like, "I don't know what that means". You have to look at it in a way that's very simplified. Because people want to make sewing this thing that's just so completely undoable for most people, right? And you wanna take that away.--

Lisa Woolfork  18:27  


Nikki  18:30  

In its simplest form. It's really just doing something that fits your personality. And if it doesn't work out, you can scrap it and move to the next one. I feel like, when I have patterns that I'm working with or, I'm trying to alter. I take all the instruction because people who have gone to school for this are probably so annoyed at me. Even with some of the way that I give instruction, because it's just like "No, that's not how you do it." But that's how I take the complicated part out, and I make it so that it works for me. And so, even what the Kika Vargas top that we recreated. It's not like a dupe, it is literally like your own interpretation of that top. And so, what I did, I was like okay, I know that we're gonna need more sleeve, we're gonna need even more sleeve, more crazy. And it's simply putting it on the fold and just adding 10 more extra inches.--

Lisa Woolfork  19:38  


Nikki  19:38  

And you thinking 10 extra inches, but that's going to give you what you need.--

Lisa Woolfork  19:42  

So much.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  19:42  

Yeah. And it's just like, take the chance and alter these patterns. Use a muslin if you don't wanna cut into some real fabric.--

Lisa Woolfork  19:49  


Nikki  19:50  

Because I know I get that question all the time. Oh my god, I'm so afraid to cut to the fabrics. Cut into that fabric! It's all right. And if you don't, use a old sheet that you have and mess around with it.--

Lisa Woolfork  19:59  

Absolutely. And you know, I think that's a great idea because you're inviting people to practice the same type of bravery that you practice all the time.-- 

Nikki  20:08  


Lisa Woolfork  20:08  

And I think that if you keep doing it, it becomes a habit, you know, it becomes a habit. And that is a good habit to have, to be able to step outside, to go beyond, to look beyond the kind of first impression, and to find a way to make it make sense for you.--

Nikki  20:25  


Lisa Woolfork  20:25  

I want to pivot to talk a little bit about summer sewing. What kind of looks and sewing, and makes do you have for the summer months? It's hot, it's sticky. I just, I think one state line away from you in Virginia. Like it's hot. 

Nikki  20:40  


Lisa Woolfork  20:40  

What do we do? What kind of sewing Do you enjoy? What kind of looks do you create for the summer when you're using maybe a little bit less fabric?

Nikki  20:48  

So, it's funny. I know a lot of people kind of plan out their sewing for the summer and for the seasons. I don't, I don't. I'll get up. And I'm just like, oh, okay, well, I feel like I want a dress, or I'll buy some fabric. And I'll look and the fabric speaks to me, but I don't plan out what would I wear, I wish I could (or what I make.) I wish I could plan it out. But I just don't. Because, a lot of times, once I get into that planning out process, and then it's time to make it, it's like, oh I'm kind of over it now. So, I think about something that I'm gonna make and then I make it, and then move on to something else. But yeah, I don't plan it out. I like linens for the summer. I like flowy. Yeah, I'm not a big print girl. But you know, I like--

Lisa Woolfork  21:34  


Nikki  21:34  

--white fabrics. There's certain parts of your body that you wanna cover up. And there's certain parts that you don't want covered up.--

Lisa Woolfork  21:40  

That's right.-- 

Nikki  21:40  

--So yeah, the fabric speaks to me all the time. It's always the fabric. I pick the fabric first. And then I figure out okay, what am I going to do with this fabric? 

Lisa Woolfork  21:47  

Yeah, I was wondering about that, can we talk a little bit about the design process. What it means to create, not just a pattern, but then you're also creating the looks for the cover. Because, especially, when you know that some of these things are styled horribly, the Know Me patterns, that's one of the big exceptions, it's like there are many times I look at a Big fFve pattern. And I'm like, 'Who's wearing that?' because,--

Nikki  22:10  

Right, right!--

Lisa Woolfork  22:12  

Wow, they not like this person? This model must have made them very annoyed, because--

Nikki  22:17  


Lisa Woolfork  22:17  

--they did not do her well, at all, they did her wrong wrong. I'd love to hear more about that, to take it from the idea in your head to be in an envelope that we can buy.

Nikki  22:26  

The whole process with Know Me and how that works. That's different from like the other ones, right? Because I've been through the process with the other ones. And with that one, you go into the studio (with [unclear] energy) go into the studio, and you know, they shoot it. And so they style you. And so, what I really love about Know Me is that we get our own pictures taken, we style it, everything ourselves. Which is why it makes it a bit more relatable because these are like real clothes. And this is what I would actually wear. This is how I would style it normally. So, what happens is, we send in our ideas in terms of 'this is what we want to make.' It's kind of a simple process. And I'm also not that person that I have this long list of things that I've designed. And I want to turn into pattern. If the date to have them turned in is the 15th, the 14th I've decided what we're gonna make. Because I've changed it so many times. I change my mind a lot. It's difficult for me to commit to something right then n' there. So it's like, okay, this is my idea today. This is how I'm feeling today. This is what I like today. I'm going to hand it in tomorrow. So yeah, then we end up getting the sample pattern done, and we make it, and photograph it, then we see it on the cover. 

Lisa Woolfork  23:42  

I just love that. You can tell that there's so much care and personality in these pieces. And I think that's what makes them so popular. And, it was so funny because I went in looking at the Know Me patterns. And it was some people that I actually knew, you know, people that I have spoken with before was like, Oh, wait, I know him. I know her. I know her. And the lady at the Joanne's was like, 'I wish I knew some pattern designers'. And I was like, 'isn't taht so cool'. It's called the Know Me pattern design. It's the Know Me line. And you all want people to get to know you. I mean, it really is very much a very engaging brand, a very engaging--

Nikki  24:16  


Lisa Woolfork  24:17  

--style. There's a reason that people make multiples of these patterns. 

Nikki  24:22  

I love that! I love that part of it. I love the fact that, this community we're designing for y'all. We're designing for all you guys. And even when I think about what I can make, I think about, not just myself, because you do have to be kind of true to yourself with these patterns. But I also-- 

Lisa Woolfork  24:38  


Nikki  24:38  

--think, 'how well other bodies look and feel in this pattern?' I'm not gonna make stuff that's just simply for me, because then I have--

Lisa Woolfork  24:47  


Nikki  24:47  

 my own patterns too, you know,--

Lisa Woolfork  24:49  


Nikki  24:49  

And so with my own patterns, I kind of do things that everybody might not just absolutely love. But I am conscious to the fact that I want everybody to be able to enjoy these patterns. and I'm like multiple bodies to be able to enjoy these patterns as well.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  25:03  

That's right.--

Nikki  25:03  

And I think that that's something that the Know Me line has been thinking more about, is the size inclusion aspect. Which is something that does give it an advantage over some of the previous iterations of the Big Five patterns. So that's definitely something that they definitely bring forward in ways that the other brands has yet to do, as forwardly as what Know Me is doing. 

Lisa Woolfork  25:23  

I hate to say that we at near the end of our time, because I feel like we just got started. This has been such a beautiful conversation, Nikki. I'm so thankful to you for taking.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  25:30  

Thank you.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  25:30  

--the time to walk us through your process. And, I like, whenever we get together for real I might bring my patterns, so I can get my patterns signed.-- 

Nikki  25:31  


Lisa Woolfork  25:31  

Absolutely. Sorry. I's not my fault you're a celebrity. You didn't want me to have you signing, you shouldn't 've put your picture on the envelope. So yeah, I'm definitely gonna get you to sign it. Don't worry about it. 

Nikki  25:50  


Lisa Woolfork  25:51  

The slogan Stitch Please podcast that we will help you get your stitch together. Nikki Brooks of Beauty J'adore, what advice do you have for our listeners that will help us get our stitch together?

Nikki  26:01  

You know what, the one piece of advice that I always like to give everyone is just take a chance, make the risk, go out there and actually do it because people, like we said, we plan so much that we'll plan ourself out of actually going in and jumping in and doing it. Stop all the planning and just do it. Just do it. Literally. There's so many places online that you can go in. Find out if you don't know how to do a button, Google, how do you sew a button? How do you handstitch? There are so many resources out there, and I enjoy helping people, I really do. That's the one piece of advice. It's just do it. Just go and do it. 

Lisa Woolfork  26:38  

That is wonderful advice. And it's advice that has served you well. And it has allowed you to create things that serve others well, like me (wearing your actual dress right now.).

Nikki  26:48  


Lisa Woolfork  26:49  

Thank you so much for being with us today. This has been-- 

Nikki  26:52  

Thank you.--

Lisa Woolfork  26:53  

--a delight. Thank you.

Nikki  26:55  

Thank you, Lisa.

Lisa Woolfork  26:58  

You've been listening to Stitch Please. The official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you joining us this week and every week for stories that center Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. We invite you to join the Black Women Stitch Patreon community with giving levels beginning at $5 a month. Your contributions help us bring the Stitch Please podcast to you every week. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your support, and 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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