Pattern Cutting Deconstructed with Monisola Omotoso

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Moni says: “My business endeavours are extremely important to me. My fashion design and pattern cutting career has enabled me to now teach dressmakers and the next generation of fashion designers about pattern cutting skills. I give draping masterclasses to John Moore Liverpool fashion design students, via Zoom, which I love. My passion for draping, something I loved at University has been rekindled after my stint at Alexander McQueen in 2019 – 2020.”

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Lisa Woolfork 0:17

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.

Lisa Woolfork 0:52

Hello everybody, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I'm your host Lisa Woolfork joining you from Charlottesville, Virginia, and I have a fantastic guest, the guru and genius behind pattern cutting deconstructed. Welcome, Moni Omotoso. Thank you so much for joining us today. Are you in London right now?

Moni 1:14

I am in London right now, Yes.

Lisa Woolfork 1:16

My goodness everybody, five hours ahead, four hours ahead, and she made the time to come and speak with us today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Moni.

Moni 1:24

Oh, thank you for having me Lisa. It's a pleasure and an honor to be here.

Lisa Woolfork 1:27

I am so excited. Your work is lovely. It is just lovely and powerful and interesting and so complex. And there's so many ways to begin, but I was hoping you could give us a little bit of a sense of how you got started and when you knew that what you were doing the design, fashion design sewing instruction was right for you.

Moni 1:48

Well, I would say my fashion career began ridiculously to when I think about it, at the age of six. I was, I basically made a twirl, a muslin out of paaper and put it on my baby sister, pinned it to her and you sticky tape and insisted that she sat on the sofa for two hours until my dad came home from work, so that she could model it. So my start in fashion was from quite a young age. My mum used to make, I'd have two sisters, I'm the middle child. So my mum made us, made our clothes for us from a really young age. And I would copy her while she was sewing and I made clothes for my dolls and we also danced as children. So costumes are made by my mom and I would basically just copy her. I was obsessed with Vogue patterns as well. So I would buy those regularly and make things, or upcycle my clothes. I remember trying to iron pleats into my skin tight jeans, because pleated jeans were all the rage. And I didn't have a pair. So I wanted to try and get them as close as to the sort of fashionable styles as possible. But obviously, as soon as I put them on, the pleates fell out and I was back in my skinny jeans.

Lisa Woolfork 3:05

Maybe you hadn't yet mastered the principles perhaps at that age, but soon enough.

Moni 3:12

Absolutely. So sewing has been in my blood for a long time. My mom is Guyanese and so she comes from a heritage of tailors. Her family made her clothes and family's clothes when they were growing up. And I guess out of the three of us, me and my sisters, I was the one who really took to art and fashion or academic, although I'm academic obviously, but art and fashion, that's what I was obsessed with and continue to be I have to say, and I feel really quite lucky that I'm still as passionate about my work as I was back then.

Lisa Woolfork 3:46

That is wonderful. It's like you've created a career or walked into a career that you could actually grow into that. I could imagine like you're younger, is this your younger sister that you put your first design on when you were little?

Moni 3:59

Yeah,

Lisa Woolfork 3:59

I mean, what a patient child I can only imagine like between the pinning and the taping and the don't you move sissy Daddy's gonna be home soon and all the bribes that might've required for her to sit still on the couch for that? How did that turn out in the end? Did she really sit there for two hours?

Moni 4:15

She did and she became a model when she grew up, and she was my muse for my fashion career when I had my own labels. So I think I started that really, I sort of well peeled into her mind and she went for it.

Lisa Woolfork 4:30

That is incredible. What a beautiful story, for anybody else that would be the story of a traumatic bullying. But in your story, it really is no I helped my sister discover what she was really good at which is modeling clothes, and you're welcome, sister that I have helped you along on this path. So what was up, so when you, did you go in terms of your studying and developing your credentials and developing your practice, how did you accumulate those skills and were there certain things that you found were more important to learn that others?

Moni 5:03

Well, I did my foundation course at Middlesex University, which was an amazing or continues to be an amazing institution. I then went on and did my fashion degree there for three years. And the reason why I chose Middlesex is because of the foundation skills you were taught as a fashion designer, which were sewing, pattern cutting, and design. And those have held me in good stead, I took to a pattern cutting like a duck to water and really fell in love with draping. And almost in a way the design was secondary to the technical skills because I, in my opinion, humble opinion, I believe that you can't really be taught how to be a designer, I think you can be taught the skills to develop ideas, but I think you either, you either have that or you don't. But you can be taught how to pattern cut, and those are really important skills to, to grow with if you want to build a future as a fashion designer, I think it's almost impossible to call yourself a fashion designer without the skills of pattern cutting.

Lisa Woolfork 6:08

I find that so interesting. One of the questions I had was that I noticed you use three different terms to talk about pattern work, you talk about pattern making, pattern designing and pattern cutting, are these the same? Can you describe what the difference is between pattern making versus pattern designing, and then what pattern cutting is because to my ear, I mean, I'm not a designer, I am a very avid and passionate home sewist. So when you say pattern cutting I think, I buy the tissue and I cut the pattern out of the tissue. But you're thinking of something totally different, can you explain what you mean by pattern cutting?

Moni 6:46

Well, the generic term for making your own patterns is pattern cutting. So while you've mentioned pattern design, pattern making and pattern cutting, they're all the same. And pattern, I guess pattern making might be the best term to use. Because as you said, you think of pattern cutting, you're buying a paper pattern and you're cutting into it. That isn't the definition, it's pattern cutting, there are three approaches to take to pattern cutting draping on the mannequin, flat pattern cutting where you use a block, which is a template. And then you then apply design ideas to that template, which then becomes your pattern. And the third process for pattern making is digital pattern cutting. And they all work together very well. Although creative pattern cutting falls under the umbrella of draping, and flat pattern cutting using a block.

Lisa Woolfork 7:44

This is all so fascinating. It's a bit confusing, but it also opens up the doors of understanding to help understand, at least for me, that there are essentially the same words or phrases can describe the same general process. And that when you go to fashion school and design school, you spend a lot of time, like you said, the three years in the fashion program, learning all these different things. And what I find so powerful about your work is that you're willing to bring these things out of the classroom, because I didn't go to design school, I wouldn't know about how these things work. But you're sharing that resource with us by creating your own system, and teaching that to other folks. And I think that is incredibly generous and really powerful. I just love looking at all the sketches and stuff that you have on your page. And I'm just like, Oh my gosh, look, what's that gonna be? And I kind of suss it out to see what I think it's gonna be. And that's what that is. And you do it with such poise and grace and confidence. It's really very inspiring. Now, I was looking through your page and you were, you had worked for previous designers and brands before what are some of the things that one might expect to find if you are a designer working at a large fashion house, if you are working at a fashion house? What kind of tasks Do you, are you asked to do? I saw some gowns that you had made and I was astounded. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. They were so gorgeous, so elaborate.

Moni 9:21

That was during my time at Alexander McQueen when I was working as a Draper, which is the Draper, draping fabric onto the mannequin and creating styles, which are then taken up to the design studio by the designers and sort of cut up, redesigned on the stand to then create new looks. And then they're given back to me as the pattern cutter to reinterpret in a new way. And it's a beautiful process draping on the stand is so serendipitous and so creative and working there, you're basically given carte blanche to interpret certain aspects of the designs you're given in your own way, which is fantastic. It's so creative. It's just allows your mind to flow and and you can create some astounding stuff. But I love the idea that once that first drape is made, it's then whisked away, and shown to the head designer who then sort of starts cutting into things and then reimagined it in a totally different way. So, when you look at the first drape, compared to the actual finished product, they're very different. So the the dresses that you see, you saw that I'd done for Phil McQueen started out looking very different. And that is a brilliant process.

Lisa Woolfork 10:44

And speaking of brilliant processes, when I look at some of your igtv videos, where you're just like manipulating the dark, like you're moving the dark all around the bodies piece. Yeah. And I'm watching this and I'm like, is this art? Is it a craft? It is science? What is this? What am I looking at? It is so beautiful.

Moni 11:04

It's magic.

Lisa Woolfork 11:06

It's what it is. It is magic, it looks very much like magic. And so it makes me wonder about what do you believe? Or what do you think we can all learn from what it takes to modify these patterns, I'm looking at one where you have a little teeny, tiny miniature bodice, and you're demonstrating what kind of different effects you can get by shifting certain parts of the garment as certain points. And just moving it back and forth. And moving it all around. It looks like a toy. It looks like it's magic. And it's also looks quite fun. Is it important you believe for someone who's learning to sew or just starting out to acquire these skills about pattern manipulation? Or is that something that you find is more advanced? Or is it a little of both?

Moni 11:55

I'd say it's a little of both because since starting pattern cutting deconstructed and joining the sewing community, I've noticed that so many people who buy dress making patterns, do pattern hacks, and more so hacker pattern, you have to have some understanding of pattern cutting. Otherwise, it's almost impossible to do. But what I love about the idea of pattern hacking is that you are pattern cutting, and you don't even necessarily realize you're doing it. It's, it's a great skill to have. So for example, you adding fullness to narrow sleeve pattern by slashing it, dividing those pieces that have been slashed and filling them with paper so that you widen the sleeve head. That's pattern hacking. And that's doing it based on an existing pattern. It's a great way to learn pattern cutting skills. So yes, it's important if you want to then go on and turn a board pattern into something that suits you a bit better. And so many people do want to do that. That's what dressmaking is about, isn't it, you're trying to put your mark on something that already exists. And it's cycling, it's like buying clothes from a secondhand store and then improving them changing things. It's a very similar ideology, really. So yes, pattern cutting skills are really important if you're sewing.

Lisa Woolfork 13:17

And I love the way that your program works to give so as confidence in that, and that some of the videos that you've released about pattern hacks and how to do them and why they are important. And I do agree with you that you know when we learn to sew at least for me, I speak for myself, I don't sew that I can look exactly like it does on the pattern. You know everyone, at least for myself, when I sew, I want it to look like something I would wear. And I can and I only imagine that by building out my skills in the drafting as you have done here, it would only make that better and only make my sewing that much more exciting for me. And also give me results that I'm going to be really proud of. And then when you start to feel proud and happy about what you've done, it makes you want to do it more often. You're really like helping to reintroduce skills to folks, and empower folks. And at least I feel quite empowered by the work that you have created and continue to create. So you have gone from designing for as a six year old for a little sister with great patience. And then designing for Alexander McQueen house, which I could imagine does not have as much patience as an infant or a toddler. But maybe I don't know, I've never been there.

Moni 14:34

The latter. We'll discuss at another time.

Lisa Woolfork 14:41

Exactly, exactly. This is this is not about them. This is about you. So we're here to celebrate you. And I'm just so glad to be able to do that. And so for I guess one of the another question that I was really interested in is how do you imagine that your program, the pattern cutting deconstructed program, how does it work to access a way of understanding their own bodies perhaps. And by that, I mean that custom sewing or getting a pattern to fit can be pretty difficult for some people who don't have a body that's placed on the standard block. And I become convinced that these blocks are based on very thin European women. And if you are not a thin European woman, you are not going to easily find what you need, in terms of sewing patterns. And so one of the things I love about your program is that you have offered the opportunity to come in and make these changes so that it will fit. Do you hear feedback from clients who've used the system that you have helped them to fit themselves better?

Moni 15:50

I've just recently started doing one to one, zoom tutorials.

Lisa Woolfork 15:55

Oh, wow, how's that going?

Moni 15:57

Amazing, really well, I'm loving it. And one of my clients has had signed up because she is not of European shape. She's an African lady. And yes, it's a problem. All patterns and blocks are made to standardize European figure. But there are so many ways to change the shape of a basic block. And when I talk about a basic block, I'm not talking about a dress making pattern, I'm talking about the block that I mentioned earlier, which is the starting point for you to create your patterns. So with the client I have, we're basically developing a set of blocks for her to then use to create her own patterns to follow the tutorials that I do on Instagram or on YouTube, and to create her own designs. And the process we're using is by padding a mannequin to replicate her body type again. And then we start draping. And it's she's a brilliant student, and the sessions are lovely. So it's a 40 week program that she signed up for, a hour a week. And also, I've had quite a few inquiries since I've been posting on ig stories about her sessions, because I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to teach students in terms of whether I wanted to do a course where lots of people sign up or whether I think about something that's a bit more one to one, so that I'm basically addressing the needs of the individual, because that's what it's about, really, you everybody has individual needs. And if you want something to fit you perfectly, I need to address that in a one to one setting, not necessarily in a group environment. Yeah, in answer to your question in regards to, for people to get things to fit them properly, there are various approaches to it, it could be done as a one to one session. I'm in the process of writing blog posts on how you can adjust the flat blocks to suit your particular body. So once you have the tools at hand, and you understand the principles of adjusting standardised blocks, patterns, whatever, then you can run with it. But my whole idea behind pattern cutting deconstructed was to deconstruct the myths behind the difficulties of making your own patterns. But it's also been quite organic in regards to working out what my audience wants, I have an idea of what I think they want, but it's not necessarily what they do want. But it's quite an organic process by asking lots of questions. I've got my facebook group where I'm asking lots of questions to my audience to find out exactly what they want, because that's all it's about. It's about addressing their needs and making sure that they're happy.

Lisa Woolfork 18:38

And by serving in that way you're also helping people serve themselves.

Moni 18:42

Yeah abosultely, giving them the tools to progress. That's what it's about.

Lisa Woolfork 18:47

That's right. That's exactly what I was thinking. I want to pivot after. I want to take a quick break really quickly Moni. And when we come back, I want to talk about some of your collaborations because you've had some pretty cool collaborations. And so I wanted to talk about that, so we'll take a quick break. When we come back, y'all we're gonna be speaking with Moni Omotoso, who is a fantastic designer and the genius behind pattern cutting deconstructed, stay tuned.

Lisa Woolfork 19:17

Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please podcast are happy to announce that we have another way to connect with our community in addition to the ig lives that we do every Thursday at 3pm. We also now have a club on clubhouse. That's right friends, they done messed up and given me the chance to have a club. Follow Black Women Stitch on Instagram and now on Clubhouse, thursdays at 3pm on Instagram and 3:45pm on clubhouse Eastern Standard Time, and we'll help you get your stitch together. Hello, everybody. We are back. You are listening to the stitch place podcast. I'm your host Lisa Woolfork. So I'm back with Moni Omotoso everyone and she is a fantastic designer and the genius behind pattern, cutting deconstructed, and as she said in the previous segment, she's trying to deconstruct the idea that this is too hard for people to do. And if you look at her videos, which I have done many times, she shows you that it's not that hard. And she is like pattern cut pattern cutting demystified. She has demystified this process by showing that again, it's not easy, but it is absolutely possible, and you can learn. And so, I want to talk a little bit more about your collaboration. And the first one that I saw was with the Victoria and Albert Museum, can you talk about that? And what was required for that partnership? What kind of work did you do in that connection?

Moni 20:46

Yeah, I was introduced to head of education by a friend and took my cut and spread kits along to show her and she loved them. And from that point on, we she basically sent me quite a few ideas in terms of educational ideas that needed to be addressed for various events with schools or with the staff at the V and A. So we worked together for from the end of 2019 up until lockdown, things are obviously on hold because of COVID. The first lockdown anyway, and one of the first things I did with the V and A was to it was a school event with teenagers, where we go, I basically spoke to them about the kits and had some practical workshops to explain how you can create your own dress making patterns. From that I then went on to do a sleeve pattern making workshop with the staff. The teachers sanctuary came next where secondary school teachers would come to visit the V and A on a Friday evening and have a couple, a two hour session for where they could just sort of discover new things that are going on in the educational arena, and my kids came into play for that. I was then asked to develop a dressmaking pattern for the kimono from kimono to kioto catwalk sorry kimono, coyote, to catwalk exhibition, which ran in 2020. And I developed the dress pattern inspired by the kimono with various sleeves, which are based on origami, which I'm very much into and that was amazingly well received actually really didn't launch because of COVID. And then at the probably four or five months after it was meant to launch it happened, which was fantastic because we put so much work into it. I have never I think when I set up pattern cutting deconstructed my idea was to only ever do kits, which taught you how to pattern cut, I wasn't really that keen on doing dress making patterns, because there are so many dressmaking patterns out there. It's it's the community, it's a dress making community, you would buy a dress making pattern and you make a product from that I wanted to do something that really focused more on pattern cutting. But I've since found that by doing patterns, that hackable people love hacking patterns. So it sort of made sense to, to sort of continue along the those along that line. So my last project to date with the V and A has been the kimono inspired dress, I was supposed to be doing something with the handbag exhibition, but that was all put on hold because of COVID. And we'll see what's around the corner, plastic relationship with them actually developing. I need different ideas for educational purposes. And it really helped me with the product which I had just only launched. Yeah, it's been brilliant.

Lisa Woolfork 23:44

This seems like wonderful timing as well. Although things have been slowed and delayed, as you said with COVID and lockdowns and these kinds of things. What I also really appreciate about what you were saying earlier about how there's so many dress patterns. I love the way you do sleeves. I feel like, I was like If only I could have a dress made just out of those sleeves. These are incredible. And that seems to be a really wonderful place between the sleeve that was inspired by origami folded paper to the caldera sleeve. And I think there was nothing that you had on most recently that I was like, oh my gosh that, wow. Yes. Oh, they're just so stunning, you know, because it's really quite lovely. And then one of the things I'm excited by is that if you're doing the pattern drafting and if someone is learning that from you, they can learn how to make a sleeve like that. Because that's not something that you know, you would find easily in any other type of pattern, you know, like something for a costume. So I really love the way that you have such high drama about your sleeves. They're really quite lovely and elegant. I was gonna also ask you had another collaboration with seamwork. Now that seems like a totally different kind of collaborate. So, the Victorian Albert Museum is this very classic museum and you're doing education efforts. You're doing continuing education to help teachers, you're helping young people. So you're doing that in this educational context through the Victoria and Albert Museum. But then along comes seamwork, which is a magazine teaching people how to sew, what about different sewing patterns and those kinds of things. And you also collaborate with them. So how did that come along?

Moni 25:25

I answered a call for new writers. And they Yeah, they liked a couple of my ideas. And then we, yeah, got going on it. But the, the idea that I took to them that they ran with was based on one of the first things that I did when I set up the platform PCD focus on which is it was basically a series of videos that I made, which looked at a design that I was quite into that was very intricate, and that I inspired me, and usually made designed by Charles James, who I absolutely adore, a British American designer from the 30s up until the 70s, when he died. So basically, the focus was on a particular technique from a garment, which I then broke down into quite a speedy video. And just to give you a taste of how you can achieve this look. So the collaboration with seamwork was based on this idea, I would select the three designers I spoke about and wrote three articles. And I chose the designers based on their, I guess the advances they've made in pattern cutting. That was obviously what was important for these articles, because it was about pattern cutting. And I wrote about their life and what they done which inspired me and then focused on three out items, three garments, but did a video editing on one garment. And then that was turned, that was yeah, they ran with the idea of the video because initially it was only supposed to be a written piece. But I think they liked the idea of including a video. So it was, it was great. We're in talks with the doing some more pieces as well. It's exciting, yes, absolutely.

Lisa Woolfork 27:12

And I was thinking about another project that I saw that you worked on back in 2020, that I was excited about you were trying to create an open source, catalog or encyclopedia of patterns. Can you talk a bit about that and what your motivation behind that project was? Why it was important, you thought to kind of develop this, this that that particular resource?

Moni 27:33

Yes, my motivation was a visit to clothworkers, which is the it's an archive held by the V and A up in West London where you can you can view, you make an appointment, you can view costumes and garments from the past. But you're not allowed to actually touch the garments, you a lady or an assistant would wear gloves and turn the garment for you to then study, which was almost impossible to study because I think I really wanted to touch things. And it was really frustrating. And there were some were some patterns by Charles James, which again, you couldn't really touch you could just look at. And then it just I just thought about the idea of clothes in museums, which are in museums to look at, but you don't ever really get a great understanding of how they're made or how they're developed unless you can see a pattern or you can touch the garmet. So then the idea of an open source for creating patterns based on vintage garments, for example, that might be falling apart. And only for study purposes, for students who want to know how things are put together, because construction techniques are very different to how they used to be in the past.

Lisa Woolfork 28:40

Yes.

Moni 28:40

And the past is so important because it informs the present and motivates the future. So it's it's important that we understand what went before. But the response for that I put a call out for it, and I didn't really get that much love back for it. It's something I would love to revisit. But yeah, it's a tricky one, it's something that I guess needs to be developed with other like minded people, and yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 29:09

Let us hope that these like minded people are listening to this episode. So listen, if you have access to these garments that might be falling apart, if you have access to early patterns, if you are a costumer or someone who does historical reenactments, if you're someone that does costuming on television, and you happen to listen to my podcast, thanks. Thanks a lot, and also help Monisola she is doing something amazing. You can find her at pattern cutting deconstructed, and she's really interested in building this archive and I like the idea of the community creating an archive because you're right when something is up in a museum, It does get preserved. But it can only be accessed in limited ways. I've never actually been to London before so I wouldn't be able to see what I didn't even know they had all these costumes that you can do by appointment in a museum. Once you finally get there you can't touch anything.

Moni 30:10

It's really frustrating. So it would be a digital archive. So it's global, anyone can access it.

Lisa Woolfork 30:16

Exactly. So I think that's fantastic. I, another video that I appreciate that you did was when you had a video of how to use the pattern maker tool. As a pattern master ruler, which I was explaining to Moni, during the break, I have one of those. And I have no idea how to really use it. And I told her also that I keep buying French curves in the hope that buying them will teach me how to use them. So now I have about I think I have about 10.

Moni 30:48

you have to start using them, Lisa, but the best is to learn how to.

Lisa Woolfork 30:51

You know what, you know, I can be very adventurous at times. But sometimes I don't want to mess up, and I think it's that fear of making mistakes that keeps a lot of people back. And so I think I should just try it and see, and I've done a little stuff like you know, because I'm between sizes, and so I have to kind of blend between the two. And so that's something I'm learning to do more comfortably. But you had another, you had a video where you showed us how to do that. And I thought that was very impressive. And then you had an image on your page with all your tools. And someone like me, I have a notions fanatic. I love sewing notions. I love the pressing hams, I love the claws, I love the clappers. I love all of them, and so to see all of these tools laid out so gorgeously, and I was like it's almost like you know how to go to the dentist or teeth surgery have all the tools laid out on the tray, you know,

Moni 31:48

Drills and et cetera.

Lisa Woolfork 31:51

Yes!

Moni 31:51

I was a Beal's Freak. I, one of my favorite shops in London when I was a fashion student was Beals and it was a shop that sold ropes and chain for ship chandler. So sailing ships, so anything you you would possibly need to create a ship. And all the things that went onto a ship, they would have them lined up on the wall shining and oh, incredible. I spent so many hours there just buying little bits and pieces and tools to use as fastenings on garments I might have been making during my degree. It was Yeah, one of my favorite shops.

Lisa Woolfork 32:30

So you could go there. And you could see these things and say, well, I'm not going to be building a sail, or I'm not going to be building this particular part of the boat, But this is really cute and it'll make it really nice closure for a garment.

Moni 32:44

Abosolutely, fantastic shop. I think it's still around now.

Lisa Woolfork 32:46

Oh, that's good. That's good. Yeah. So I'm so excited to be speaking with you, tell us what is next for you, you have so much going on. And I'm so excited that this project is thriving so beautifully. What do you see is around the corner for you?

Moni 33:03

Well, I just had my products picked up for a retail company and an online company,

Lisa Woolfork 33:10

Hey, congratulations, hurray.

Moni 33:13

Which is really exciting because they been a bit difficult to sell to shops, the kits in particular, because they're, they're a little bit unusual. They're not about entirely about sewing, it's about pattern making. And the majority of the community are about sewing. So it was a bit sort of tricky trying to pull some interest. They love what I do, but they don't necessarily think they had the audience for it. So while I've been selling them through my website, it was really important to me to get some retail outlets. So that should be going live in the next couple of weeks.

Lisa Woolfork 33:46

Oh, congratulations.

Moni 33:48

Which is really exciting. And then I've also updated all of my products with qR coded videos. Which means that when you buy a kit or a pattern, if you focus on the QR code, it will take you to a video, which shows you how to create the pattern or do the sewing depending on what you bought. And that's been really exciting for me, because that's what people know me for, showing process through the videos, so it was really important that aspect of what I do was included in my products. Yes, that's been pretty cool. So I'm quite excited about that. An I've been sort of toying with the idea of writing a book. And I started a treatment during the first lockdown on an idea, which I've sort of put to one side because I don't think it's entirely right but I've just sussed what I'm going to do so I've started the idea for it. So I'm giving myself an hour an evening just to get it done. And then we'll, Yeah, put it out there and see what happens really. So that's one of my main focuses but then there are lots of other things that I'm, I think I'm a typical creative, I have lots of different ideas, and I tend to sometimes get a bit lost in terms of what do I focus on first? And this has been an issue throughout my life I have achieved, I've achieved a lot. Yeah,

Lisa Woolfork 35:10

You really have, you have done quite a lot. I mean, you could easily say, oh, my next steps are to rest on a beach.

Moni 35:19

I never rest, I'm always, there's always something going on. And it's not necessarily the best way to function. So I'm trying to sort of tone it down a little bit. And just to, to take a step back and just go a bit slower. But I still have all these ideas in my head of this would be really great. I could do that and but it's okay, calm down, there's plenty of time to focus on other things it's just yeah, the most important what's going to serve the community the best. And I think a book is where it's at really.

Lisa Woolfork 35:50

I would agree with that. I absolutely agree. And I think it could be such a wonderful supplement to what you're already doing. It's just a way to extend the reach of your project. And this, I love the QR codes, I saw that in your feed and many people are trained to say, oh, I got a thing. Let me go see if I can find something on YouTube, perhaps. So let's see. And you don't let you don't leave people hanging, you, you are giving people the support, they need to be successful with your products. And I think that's really wonderful because it's clear that you stand behind the work that you've created. And that makes a difference. It gives a customer a good feeling of confidence that they can rely on what you done, so thank you for that.

Moni 36:31

Oh, thank you.

Lisa Woolfork 36:33

Anything else that we should know, before we wrap up? And how can people find you on social media and any last projects you want to tell us about before we wrap up today?

Moni 36:42

All right, let's see. Something I wanted to mention. Well, you could find me on Instagram under pattern cutting deconstructed in the first instance, my website is has the same name, and then I'm on YouTube under pattern cutting deconstructed as well. The longest name in the world, but it really sort of does tell you what's on the packet, I suppose.

Lisa Woolfork 37:03

And we will not confuse you with anyone else. You are only you. So we're definitely unique and perfectly for you.

Moni 37:10

Yeah, okay yes, the other thing that I'm finalizing are the some programs, one to one programs I'm developing. I mean, I mentioned that I've got some one to one clients already. But I, they were worth through word of mouth. And I've had quite a few emails just asking me can I, will I be open to doing one to one so I'm going to start uploading that information to my website, offering three programs, various links. So I'm in the process of just sorting those out, which should be on the website by the end of this week. And I think that's enough, really for the moment.

Lisa Woolfork 37:48

Excellent, that's excellent. So you can buy the materials, you can buy the kits, you can practice on your own, you can follow the videos that come with the products. And you can also decide to take a one to one class with with her as well. This is really wonderful. It's not every day that you get a chance to take a one to one class with someone who is designed and been designing for all this time, it's such a beautiful and dynamic way, someone who is interested in draping and cutting and drafting and all of it and is going to help you do that for your own body. That's, it's quite stunning that to have someone of your skill and someone of your reputation, and with such beautiful vision, as well as really beautiful vision and being so generously willing to share that with other people. Just amazing, really amazing.

Moni 38:41

Teaching is where it's at.

Lisa Woolfork 38:43

Teaching is where it's at

Moni 38:46

It's the most satisfying thing. Yeah, absolutely. I thoroughly enjoy it.

Lisa Woolfork 38:52

And that makes it that much more fun to be in a class, right?

Moni 38:55

Absolutely.

Lisa Woolfork 38:55

When you have a teacher who is enjoying what they're doing, when they are really excited about it, It just makes the learning that much more effective. So, thank you so much for that. This, Moni, this has been such a wonderful conversation. I am so grateful to you for being so patient and aligning the times up because I mean this is nighttime for you. This is you know.

Moni 39:16

Yeah, I mean I do a couple of hours after this, a couple of hours work.

Lisa Woolfork 39:20

Oh my goodness.

Moni 39:21

I'm a bit of a night owl. It's great, it's fine. No problem, nine o'clock. Not too late for me.

Lisa Woolfork 39:27

That is lovely. Everyone, we have been speaking with Moni Omotoso and she is a fantastic designer and creative and teacher. Thank you so much for joining us from London tonight. Thank you, thank you. This has been so much fun.

Moni 39:43

Thank you, Lisa, and thank you so much for having me. It's been a pleasure. I really enjoyed it.

Lisa Woolfork 39:58

You've been listening to the Stich 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, P A T R E O N. 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 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 a star rating or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us and 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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