Sew Maxi For Mother’s Day! with Teameaka Ray Grover and Crystal Collins

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:45:16 Sew Maxi For Mother’s Day! with Teameaka Ray Grover and Crystal Collins

Episode Summary

I speak to Crystal Collins and Teameaka Ray Grover about the 3rd Annual Sew Maxi for Mother’s Day Challenge (11 April-16 May). They explain how growing the challenge organically keeps it a celebration of motherhood, rather than just another international competition on maxis; how keeping it simple lets sewers of all tastes and skills participate; and what they’d be looking for in entries given this year’s theme is: “Sew Bold, Sew Bright”. They also define the maxi!

Episode Notes

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Find out more about the #SewMaxiForMothersDay challenge Sew Bold, Sew Bright

Be sure to follow the hashtag on IG and check out the Challenge Launch Video!

Crumpets Tea and Sewing Website  YouTube 

Crystal Sews and  Stuff   Website    YouTube

Read Full Transcript

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.

Hello everybody and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I'm your host Lisa Woolfork from Black Women Stitch and I am so excited because I am talking with two of my favorite instagrammers y'all. And that would be Tea Ray Grover and Crystal Sews and Stuff who is also known as Crystal Collins. And we are so happy to have them here on the podcast today. If you are a Patreon member, and why are you not it's only $2 a month minimum honestly. You will get the video of this conversation which you will want to have because I can tell you Tea and Crystal are looking like fire and me #always. And we are talking today about that's Sew Maxi for Mother's Day are Sew Maxi for Mother's Day, I always take the two ends. But you are this is so Maxi for Mother's Day Challenge. And I am so happy to have T and Crystal to talk with us about that today. Welcome friends.

Tea 1:51

Hi everyone.

Lisa Woolfork 1:54

Hello. We are tell tell me a bit about this challenge. Now this is not the first time you have offered the Sew Maxi for Mother's Day Challenge. Tell me how many years have you been doing it? And how did it get started.

Tea 2:08

So I guess I'll go first and then Crystal, you can go ahead and add to it whenever you would like. So we started about. So this is our third year. So we started almost three years ago, with the challenge. It's been such an amazing experience having this challenge. And we are just so grateful to be able to do this again. We started this challenge a couple of years ago, because Crystal and I wanted to contribute to the sewing community by participating in some type of a challenge. And when we first started, we didn't exactly know what we want it to do. But Crystal said hey, why don't we do a maxi dress challenge? And I thought, oh, wow, that would be really interesting. I didn't know exactly how that would hold up year after year if we decided to do it annually. But it has been such a wonderful experience. People really love the challenge. So Crystal, is there anything you want to add?

Crystal 3:04

Tea sent me a message on Instagram and said you want to do something for Mother's Day. And I was like, Oh yeah, that will be fun. And I said how about we do a maxi challenge because everybody loves maxi dresses because you just throw them on and put some cute sandals on and you just go. Everybody loves maxi dresses. It was springtime. People want to get ready to go to the beach in the pool. You just want to throw on something and get out the door. So that's Yeah, I was thinking about Maxis cuz that's what I like

Tea 3:35

Yeah it was all about to mention that that Yeah, I sent her a message. And yeah, that was really interesting and fun because it was my first time really so I had already known Crystal from YouTube and we followed each other and we were real big supporters of each other's work. But we never really had a collaboration until that point. And I remember being really nervous about approaching her and not knowing what she would say but I was really taken back when she was really really exciting and exuberant. She's like Yeah, let's do a maxi dress that she just the ideas just started flowing. So it was it was definitely a great experience.

Lisa Woolfork 4:11

I like the maxi dress. I like how it seems that both of you seem to come from different directions like one person was like a Mother's Day thing would be good. And then a maxi dress thing would be good. And let's put these together and I agree Crystal with you about the maxi dress. It feels like it's very easy to wear it's easy to put together. And sometimes because a dress is long, I sometimes call maxi dresses, my summer gowns, because it's a lot of fabric. They are long, but they can look really nice and dramatic depending on the kind of fabric that you use, or how you decide to put it together. It really is a nice fun thing to put together. And so so you so the two of you got together and your very first year of doing this, what was on your mind? How What did you do the very first year when you started to put things together and put the work out into the Instagram sewing community?

Crystal 5:14

So we got together and we said, we need graphics, we need to make sure people notice that it's about maxi dresses. And so we went on Canva. And we work together to come up with the graphics to have maxi dresses. And then we started looking on the McCall's and sites and stuff and looking at different patterns that would work well. And then T was looking at a lot of Pinterest stuff. And so she started connecting to pinterest pictures with the maxi dresses. So she started putting that on her stories. And then we thought about we needed a prize. And so we just we did just a gift card to an online PDF pen store, they close, they close down with last year, the company that we did the gift card with, but we gave a gift because we wanted it to be International, and we want everybody to be able to participate. But we were like how can we get prizes to people if they're international? So we decided to do PDF, a downloadable PDF, address. So everybody can have access to the prizes. That's how we did it. We just say okay, we just use our stuff. Because what I've done, nobody participate. But we want people to try. So we had we felt like we needed to have something some incentive to go ahead. And do we have such a big turnout, we were just so surprised, like people were really into it. Because that time we didn't even I don't even know we both have had 1000 followers. Maybe just a hair over that. Right. And we didn't have a big following at that time. And I love doing challenges. That's how I even got on Instagram, cuz umm Renata who's the Twilight Stitcher. She did the little red dress project. And I was just following her on YouTube. And I was like, yeah, you know I'm gonna do that, because I have one post on Instagram. I was like, you know what Okay, I'll do this. And so I went on ahead and participate. And I love looking every day to see what everybody made for the challenge. So I was up for doing a challenge myself when T asked me, I was like, Yes.

Lisa Woolfork 7:12

And what I like about what you just said, Crystal is that sewing challenges brought you to Instagram, then that and I think it's interesting to think about the ways in which Instagram sewing community is built around certain almost like group sewing type activities, and either a challenge or a photo post, like you post every day, or you tell a little bit about yourself every day, that there's a way that people decide to come together. And even though it's a challenge, it doesn't feel like a competition, it doesn't feel like oh, you have to make sure you have the best maxi dress in the world.

Tea 7:52

And that's one of the

Lisa Woolfork 7:53

Oh, sorry, I didn't know you were interrupted.

Tea 7:55

That's it. That's it. Teahat's what I was thinking. It's about that community spirit of coming together to do something fun.,And that's one of the things that me and Crystal put like number one on our list, like we did not want this to be about a competition, we wanted it to be directly related to celebrating motherhood, and honoring motherhood. And we didn't want to take the focus off of that we didn't want this to be about, Oh, she has the best maxi dress, or no, I really like her maxi dress better than because that's all objective. And also some people, they have the ability to take these pictures that look really amazing that might look like it's out of a catalog. And then other people don't sometimes don't have that capability. And it's not that they didn't do really well on their garment.

Lisa Woolfork 8:40


Tea 8:40

you know what I mean, so we didn't want to have that to be the main focus of this challenge. The main focus has always been about we are doing this to celebrate women to celebrate motherhood and things like that. And so I really liked that you brought that up, Lisa, that you know about this community because that's exactly what we intended it to be is about a community of people who want to get together and show their craft depends not in it's not dependent on whether or not you're a beginner, or advanced or intermediate or it's not dependent upon any of that just come and sew and enjoy. So that's basically what we wanted it to be about.

Lisa Woolfork 9:23

And I really appreciate too how you were saying that when you all did this, you didn't have a lot of followers, and that maybe made you a little bit nervous about approaching people. But I do think that Instagram has this way of helping to build community that's not based in numbers, right, that you don't have to have 1000 or 5000 or 10,000 or 30,000 followers in order to cultivate genuine community

Tea 9:53

and to be honest, we still don't have the numbers. We still don't have a big Instagram account and That's okay. And we're okay with that. And like I said, it's not about whether or not we have a big number of followers, or even trying to get a lot of followers from this challenge. It's just about just having a good time and Crystal says she came to this community because she likes challenges. And so that's what it's about is about what we like, and what we are trying to contribute.

Lisa Woolfork 10:24

Absolutely, and I feel the same, I feel that I think that that followings grow organically. I am a firm believer in slow steady growth, because that is stable.

Crystal 10:37

And you can handle it. Because the more far I had one YouTube video that went really well got a lot of views. And it was hard for me to keep up. Okay, I'm trying to respond, I'm trying to respond, it was just a lack, then it went back to normal. But it was it was good. I'm used to the way it's growing. I'm used to like, I'll check my Instagram and YouTube comments every morning, and I'll respond to everybody. But when it's a whole lot, it's a lot to deal with and it's good to gradually grow. You can buy followers, I was like No, cuz I want people who sew. I want, I don't want random people that

Tea 11:16

you can buy hair, all the hair accounts, there's only hair accounts that will follow you here. And I mean, like people that are manufacturing hair, I've had so many like, pair accounts try to follow me, I'm just like, block. You don't follow me, I do not want. I don't want companies that are just like this, what they're just shells, they're just there's no benefit to that. To me. My goal is not to have followers. My goal is to sustain and generate community. And to go to your original point, Lisa about Yeah, generating that community that slow and steady growth also ensures that you have people that you are actually are connecting with. And so like for me, like a lot of my followers, they'll see something in my stories. And they'll say oh my goodness, I really love your your top stitching on that dress, can you tell me what stitch length you use or whatever you use, right. And then I can actually go back and I can private message them and tell them exactly the details on that. And and it's more it builds more of a rapport with those individuals that you're actually connecting with, you can't do that with those shell accounts, you're not going to do that with those shell accounts. So it's I really do the slow and steady growth and how that growth has changed over and tying that back. And going full circle with the maxi dress challenge. We've been able to Crystal and I have been able to manage that. Because we have a small Instagram account, we've been able to manage those comments we've been able to post everybody makes, we've been able to do all of that because we have the smaller account.

Lisa Woolfork 12:54

And Speaking of the the growth. So in the first year, the challenge, you provided this, the prizes were to a PDF pattern coming in, so anybody internationally could receive it. I thought I think that's really beautiful. Because what it shows is that you are committed to access that you didn't want this to just be for US domestic contiguous 48 states or whatever you wanted this to be something that everybody could do. But you also needed to be something that you could manage. Now, as you also mentioned to one the second year, what changed from the first year to the second year. Were there lessons that you learn from the first time you did the challenge to the second time?

Crystal 13:34

Yeah, there. There were.

Tea 13:37

Oh, real quickly, the thing that came to mind when Lisa was finishing that sentence, is that so we wanted to include people in the UK and people around the world more. And so this idea of making it international so that every woman and every person can celebrate Mother's Day with us, that kind of resonated with us. And then we carried that over to the second year. And in the second year, we thought, Hey, why don't we open this up a little bit more, because in the US Mother's Day, I think last year was May ninth, right? Or may 10, or something like

Lisa Woolfork 14:13

that was like the first Sunday. Like the first Sunday of May, I believe.

Tea 14:20

And so we wanted to open it up a little more. But we have started it. We always try to give people at least four to six weeks to sew something. And so in the first year, that's what we did in the second year. We were like we need to open this up more, especially if we're doing an international challenge. And we want to be able to include people around the world and their mother's day might not be around the same time as ours. And by the way, we just found out this year that there is an international Mother's Day and that's always on. I think it's like may 11 or something like that. Oh, so yeah, it's an international Mother's Day. So everybody can celebrate internationally actually. But in the UK, I believe their mother's day is like a month ahead of ours

Crystal 15:06

in accordance with the Christian calendar is based off of like Easter. So it changes the way Easter changes.

Lisa Woolfork 15:14


Tea 15:15

So So, but Crystal and I had this bright idea, and we were like, We need to include all of our sisters. And if we open it up a little bit more than that might allow for more people to join, and there'll be more likely to do it if it's around their mother's day. And so it ended up being like the longest challenge ever. So I think it was something like eight weeks or nine weeks or something like that. And that was just too long for a challenge. So we definitely learned from that experience. And this year, we were like, maybe we'll just stick to the four to six weeks, give people a little bit of time, but nine weeks is definitely too long for a challenge. People tend to forget we have to keep the energy going throughout the whole nine weeks.

Lisa Woolfork 16:03

And that's a while. Yes. That was like a little over two months.

Crystal 16:07

Yeah, it just got to be too long. To move back to six to seven week mark.

Lisa Woolfork 16:15

And you also mentioned that You two personally you two personally provided the prizes for the first two challenges. That you use your personal funds to provide prizes for the first year and for the second year. But now,

Tea 16:32

No in second year we got sponsors .

Lisa Woolfork 16:35

Okay. All right. So that you have you said you did so you decided to get sponsors you In addition, you got sponsors for the second year. Okay, great. Okay, good. And now about the third year seems like so much changes so much growth, it feels. Would you say that the challenge has grown from the second year to the third year, twice as much, or maybe even 10 times as much like how much do you think it has grown from the second year to right now?

Tea 17:02

In terms of what Crystal and I have put into it, it definitely has changed. Our perspective has changed. And you have to understand, throughout each of these years, we're still learning and growing as sewers. And so we're still as we're still learning, we're still also learning how to navigate social media, we're still still learning how to connect with the community. And so in that respect, as we're changing, the challenge is changing as well. But in terms of like how much of a change in terms of people participating we won't know that until everybody's entries are in for this year.

Crystal 17:41

But you definitely get a lot more right before Mother's Day. So every time we're like really on it right around that Mother's Day people are posting reposting. And with the second year was we added that you can do Maxi skirts, Maxi jumpsuits and Maxi length paints. First Year, people were like, I don't like to wear dresses, can we do a maxi skirt. And since we had already said just dresses, we just stuck with that the first year. Okay, the second year, we added more because some people just don't like to wear dresses all the time. But we still wanted to keep that Maxi thing going. And so we just went on ahead and added the skirts and pants and jumpsuits. And that really helped because a lot of people like the skirts because a lot of people will really wanted to do skirts. And yeah, so I think that was a great change to be more inclusive.

Tea 18:35

Yes. And with the and I just want to add what Crystal was saying in terms of changing the changing and open opening up the possibility for people to do these different garments, we definitely seen like an increase in participation. People really like the idea of being able to have multiple things that they can choose from instead of just okay, I'm only stuck with making a maxi dress. I don't want to make a maxi dress. I already made this. I already have four or five of these in my closet. But we really opened up the challenge to include the wide leg pants like culottes and things like that. And Palazzo pants and people. That's when we saw a real dramatic difference. And people just really gravitated to that. So we were really excited and appreciative that so many people showed out and came out and just did all kinds of stuff. Now this year we have noticed because I think people are really excited about the Maxi jazz challenge. Like once they saw the flyer, so many people have commented It was like oh yes, I'm in I'm in. And then I think we had so far already five entries. And so it's only been a few days. It's been about what five days Crystal and so we already have five entries and so we can tell that people are really excited. I did about this challenge.

Lisa Woolfork 20:02

That is wonderful and I am really glad about it. I want to pivot now and talk a little bit more about patterns.

You are listening to a special episode of the Stitch Please Podcast, where we are talking with the creators of the Sew Maxi for Mother's Day Challenge. If you are a Patreon supporter, you can see the video of this episode, but it's free for anyone to listen. So this conversation will continue when we get back from the break. Stay tuned.

Black Women Stitch in 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 have 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, it will help you get your stitch together.

Welcome back everyone to this episode of the stitch plays podcast where I am very happy to be joined by Crystal Collins, also known as Crystal sews and stuff on Instagram, as well as Tea Grover, known as crumpets Tea and sewing on Instagram. And they are going to continue to tell us about this fantastic So Maxi for Mother's Day Challenge. Here we go.

I want to pivot now and talk a little bit more about patterns.

Crystal 21:38


Lisa Woolfork 21:38

because sometimes when you start a challenge, you might say at least for me as a sewist, I'll say okay, so they're having this challenge about maxi dresses. What are some of my favorite maxi dresses, I know I got a couple to 300 patterns for maxi dresses. I thought I wasn't about the front and say I got a couple two three. Clearly, Look, I know we just met in real life, but I'm not a liar. So I have to tell you that I got a couple to 300 patterns, I'm certain for maxi dresses, how does one decide what to make? And what made you decide to have it be so open? Rather than saying, okay, everybody's so this dress, this view this company, this whatever was there any back and forth about it because I think Crystal, you mentioned that you had a particular maxi dress that you had recently that you had recently made when you first started to think of the challenge idea that you had one that was like fresh off the sewing machine, so to speak. And what made you think rather than having everybody make the one I made, let's just have them make whatever one they liked in particular

Crystal 22:41

We wanted everybody to participate. So we didn't want people to have to go out and buy stuff. Because I know when people first start sewing, you might only have three, four patterns. And then some people just like to draft their own patterns. I'm not a drafter. But I know some people like to like, take some measurements and cut it out and they have a dress. And so we want everybody at whatever skill level they are. Because I haven't been sewing all my life, I was taking sewing classes and stuff like that. And so you could be on elastic skirt level. So we want to people who are level one can take the challenge. In the class I took different levels in level one was just an elastic waist skirt, just a front and back and a solid pattern. That's all you got to do. So I wanted people who are like level one, to be able to go ahead and be able to participate. So that was the thing that we wanted. Just we just want everybody to do it. Because we didn't want people who know all about understitching and topstitching to only participate when you first started sewing, you just need to learn how to sew straight.

Lisa Woolfork 23:45

That's right. Because then you need to sew straight and now over your fingers. Yeah.

Tea 23:51

And then to add to what Crystal saying. And to go back to your question, Lisa, when you restrict people to a pattern or a view or anything like that, you're also restricting them to the type of fabric they can use. And you and I talked about this, like we're opposite, like I love me some cotton, and you love a knit. So if I restrict the person and say you can only use this pattern, they might be like I'm not used to working with this type of fabric. I don't know how this is going to work for me. I've never done a mock up before you see what i'm saying like all these different types of variables start to play a role. And then people will be turned off by the idea of even participating in the challenge. And it's not about that it's about making something that you're going to wear from something what some kind of fabric that you actually love. So that's another element that me and Kcrystal talked about, too, that we did want to do too many restrictions because we want people to be able to just do whatever they want. And then also as Crystal said, We want people who are beginners to want to join the channel. as well,

Lisa Woolfork 25:01

yes, yes, I like that idea of giving people flexibility, right, because you can absolutely make a dress out of a maxi dress out of a knit or out of a woven. And so people can choose what's most comfortable for them in terms of their skill level, as well as like their weather, you know that some folks don't need to have a maxi dress that's made out of chambray, because that might be too hot where they are, or not, or to, or not warm enough where they are, depending on where they are. So I really like that idea. It's such an exciting challenge. We will talk a little bit about when you guys have we have sponsors, so you have a sponsor, you have sponsors for the second year. And now you have sponsors for the third year. Tell me a little bit about them, who they are, what they're bringing to the table, and how you went about asking because you said earlier that you didn't have that much of a following. And one of the things I love about the second year of the challenge was you felt like it does, because, as I said earlier, I don't think it matters how big a following is. I think what really matters is how big your heart is. And you all have such great heart. And this is how and this is why organic growth as we talked before, is so important. So talk a little bit about the sponsors you have this year and why you're excited about them.

Crystal 26:20

So we do have we have LA Finch fabrics and I like the quality of their fabrics. So we decided to ask them they have a lot of nice denims and a lot of nice like it wire knits and colorful knits sim because our theme this year is so bold, so bright. So we want a fabric company that provides like bright and bold fabric. So that's our theme it's so bold, so bright this year. And so we wanted to include a fabric company we also have styles by Unni she's providing ankara fabric and that's bold. You can't really have a non bold ankara fabric

Tea 26:56

That's the base level of the bold that is yes absolutely bold

Crystal 26:59

Oh yes. And then we have Love Notions Patterns. I'm an ambassador for Love Notions Patterns. And I just like that they're epic and they're very inclusive, their size inclusive. They go from a size extra small all the way up to 5x. And so they have a lot of size options. And then we also have Cache Muret who is also they were only doing mostly plus sizes so fast 12 and up but they're expanding their size range to go from zero and different cups as options. I said we wanted to include them because Tea loves her some Cashmerette

Tea 27:36

I'm telling you the Appleton dress is like a my one of my t and tees. I feel like

Lisa Woolfork 27:42

I ended one of our prep that is our prize from cash muret isn't it? Yes, Appleton dress. Let me tell y'all bear has so many folks in the charter membership of Black Women Stitch have made the Appleton dress, we were joking about calling it the unofficial dress of black woman stitch seriously, because so many people in the membership, the charter membership have made this dress seriously. It's bananas. How many people have made it, I really like it. So that's a new pattern.

Tea 28:10

It's a beautiful pattern. And so that's one of the first things that I thought about like when Jenny first announced and Jenny is the founder of Cashmerette patterns. When she first announced the Appleton dress and the expansion that the size expansion. I said Crystal, what do you think about asking Jenny to sponsor us for a pattern for this pattern because it will be the beautiful pattern for people because she's expanding the sizes but also is so easy. And Lisa since you this is your you've made it a couple times you can attest to this. It is so easy to just lengthen that front and back and making it to a maxi dress. Yes, so easy. So that's what I was thinking about with this particular pattern that all you have to do is cut on that line and lengthen the dress and then you have yourself a maxi so I really liked that. But go ahead sorry didn't mean to interrupt Crystal.

Crystal 29:10

Oh, we also have Minerva fabrics because we're both ambassadors for minerva fabrics and they're so gracious to have many ambassadors all over the world. Different sizes, races, everyone men and women and I just like their ethics. I like that they're a very inclusive company. And so we decided to use Minerva we used them in the second year and then we decided to go with them again and I just love how inclusive they are and how they have just such a great they have a lot of people out there all over the sewing community in different sizes and races and I just love their ethics. And so we went on ahead and asked them again and then we have i am missing somebody we have Stacy because she's provides beautiful earrings. She has beautiful style and we like style because we always want encourage people to style and makes. And that was one of the things when I first started sewing, I started following people who style their stuff like Erica bunker. And Anita by design said, cook it up. Don't just put that dress on, put some earrings on, put some makeup on, wear some cute heels look cute in it or wear some cute sandals. Yeah, yeah, don't just throw it on your basic elastic waist skirt. And you could put on a cute tops and big earrings and heels and you can work it in your level one.

Tea 30:30

If you had any belts and ties and sashes, you can decide to do that or not do that it depends. That's all sorts of ways that you can adapt this. And I think styling is a really big part of it. I think that's a really good point. It's another way to encourage people to expand their idea of their sewing. Because it's not just about making the dress that making the dress is a wonderful first step. But you want this if you want this to have life in your closet, it has to do more than just be a dress, it has to be like easy to wear, which is what a maxi dress is. And then you just throw on the accessories or decide how you want to style it. And you are ready, ready.

Crystal 31:11

Yeah. And we have one more new sponsor, true bias they came out. It's called the Mara skirt. And it's a really cute tiered skirt with different levels. You can make it a mini skirt, mini skirt or maxi skirt. And you can do 123 tiers. They have different tier options. It has a cute waistband with tags in the front. And I really liked that style. T was like Like let's ask them and they said they agreed and they just have the cutest is the perfect tiered skirt. So they have that as their prize for us. And so those I think that I miss anybody?

Tea 31:45

I believe that's everybody. Yeah, I believe that's everybody. Yeah. And yeah, to all the sponsors, I doubt that they would probably be listening to this. But if they are thank you so much

Lisa Woolfork 31:56

They better be listening to this Stitch Please podcast. Why not? But yeah, I tell you, if I was them, and I wanted to have a black audience, and I wanted black people to buy my shit, I would definitely be listening to this podcast. That's the truth. I can tell you. Some of them be listening because they write to me, they write to me and ask about different sponsorships things with Black Woman Stitch in the podcast. And I like Oh, how you going? When you went when you wait right within, cuz I can't work with everybody. Unless I can see some demonstrable, pro black affirming content in your posts, as well as in your organization. I can't, which is why I don't have any sponsors. That because they haven't asked me it's because they aren't yet to my standard of what they should be doing to serve and support black women sewing. And yes, they should definitely be listening. And if they're not, that's their fault. This is amazing. And I'm glad that you've got these relationships and that you're bringing these four that this is also helpful for them as well as it is for you. It's a great mutually beneficial thing. Now tell me, how do people find out information about this challenge? You mentioned that so we can follow you both on Instagram to get information. But you also have websites and YouTube channels. Where can we find information about the challenge that way?

Crystal 33:23

Okay, my website name is And I have a blog post on this on the challenge as well as my first dress that I sewed up. So I have a blog post on that. And then my YouTube is the same as crystal sews and stuff on YouTube and I do have a launch video. And this year, we forgot to say we have six ambassadors.

Lisa Woolfork 33:44

Oh, tell us about them?

Crystal 33:46

Yes, we have 6 ambassadors that are going to help us promote the challenge. So we have Mari of Mari Sews. And then we have Jen of Gen sewing room. We have nitida so natural Dane and she is the founder of the black stitch and pattern designers.

Tea 34:04

Yes, yes. We talked to her at the challenge. We talked with her and Kiara a couple months ago for the Black History Month pattern challenge.

Lisa Woolfork 34:12


Crystal 34:12

He and I were both ambassadors for that challenge. Right. And so we asked her if she would want to serve as an ambassador for our challenge. And then we have Koi of Koi peak made. And then we have to Terilisha of creativity back tea, and she goes by that on YouTube as well as on Instagram. So I wanted to make sure I talked a little bit about the ambassadors.

Lisa Woolfork 34:35

Wonderful. Ambassador, what are some of the ambassador responsibilities?

Crystal 34:40

What we just asked him to go ahead and participate in the challenges. Sew something Maxie and then share it on Instagram as well as share some inspiration with their audience just to keep it going. So we don't expect them to do a whole bunch. But if you and if they see somebody post a dress, you know why they're online. We're not saying you have to go online. Every day, but if you happen to be online and you see a maxi dress, go ahead and share it in your stories and so that other people can see cuz I know when I first got on when I first got shared on stories, this is my picture you envy me. So I think that would be encouraging, especially if you're a new seller and you just don't Instagram already. And I have people who just have I have followers who have five followers, I have people who haven't even posted anything that are following me. So I'm thinking if somebody shared what they made, that will give them a boost to keep participating in that in the sewing community.

Lisa Woolfork 35:39


Tea 35:40

yeah. And then for the ambassadors, we also ask for them to do so Crystal talked a little bit about the need to sewl something Maxie and then go promote their maxi dress on their challenge. And then also for share makes from other people. But then we also ask that they just announced the challenge on their social media. So we had like graphics and stuff. And so they put the graphics in there on their social media. Some of these women have YouTube accounts. And so we've asked if they are doing a YouTube video that they share the challenge over there as well. And it's like Crystal said they don't have to do like a ton, but they have social media and their presence is on social media. Quite often. We just asked them to promote the challenge to their platform.

Lisa Woolfork 36:26

Okay. Yes, that's great. I am so excited about this. And y'all really got me thinking about making a maxi dress like honestly

Crystal 36:36

Why don't you make earrings cuz I met you at the DC fracks. You had the cutest earrings, she made her own earrings, earrings. Yeah. And then we're like, long,

Lisa Woolfork 36:50

I think I'm gonna do an episode about that, or something quick, because people ask about that a lot. And it is really easy. And if you use the mediums that I use, you can have giant earrings that are lightweight, which was one of the that's one of the challenges about giant earrings. But I also mentioned DC frog tails, I won a pair of extra by Stacey, earrings, and frog tails, and I absolutely loved them. So I'm so glad that they've been able to sponsor any last things you want to encourage people to do or think as we wrap up today that okay, y'all this episode's coming out on the last Wednesday of April. So that gives you 18 days to still participate. So if you haven't already started your sew Maxi, for Mother's Day Challenge, you can start it and still have time to participate. Any last things you all want to share to encourage people or anything that you're excited about that you maybe didn't mention before.

Crystal 37:48

They just go ahead and try and just go ahead even if you're beginning, don't be afraid, we want to encourage you to go ahead and participate. And you can send us a message if you're thinking about pattern ideas. And also check out our ambassadors as well because they'll be putting patterned ideas on their stories and on their pages. I just want to encourage everybody to participate and also to make sure you tag the challenge. Sew Maxi for Mother's Day and tag tea and crumpets tea and sewing as well as myself and crystal sews and stuff. And that way your it can be entered. And so it just checks out the guidelines so you can go over the guidelines, that would be good.

Tea 38:28

Oh, yeah. So the guidelines are just basically you need to make a maxi dress within the submission date. And so that so it's it runs from April 11 to may 16. of 2021. As long as you make something in between that time, like you can't get a garment from three or four months ago, and then enter that into the challenge. It has to be something that you specifically made for the challenge. So that's one of the guidelines. As Crystal mentioned earlier on in the podcast. It needs to be bold and bright. So we're looking for colors that are rich and bold. So if you want to make a solid garment, it can be something like red or blues or yellow orange, your nice big bold colors. Or you could do a bold print. So you could do something like nice big polka dots or nice big floral designs or something bold or animal print or anything like that. So that's another thing that's different from the previous years, we've never had a theme. And so this year, we have a theme and so we're really excited about that theme being so bold, so bright, it seems to be something of a trend this year, seeing a lot of people make bright things or a show a lot of bright and bold colors. And so we wanted to do something along those lines. And then also the other guideline Crystal talked about that you just make sure that you tag us compost tea and sewing and at Crystal stoves and stuff, and then also use the hashtag. Sew Maxi for Mother's Day. And then I think that's about it, I think so we it's relatively simple and easy. We try to keep the guidelines and the rules at a minimum. Again, our goal is to get people to participate. We don't want people to focus too much on the rules and then not want to participate. So we try to keep the rules pretty limited. But yeah, I just wanted to add that I'm really excited about the challenge. I have highlights on my Instagram, that you can go for inspiration. There's a lot of Maxi inspo in there from Pinterest, there's a lot of different patterns. And I think that's something that Lisa also wanted us to talk about the different types of patterns. But if you go to my IG account, and you look in the highlights, you'll see all these different Maxi style patterns that you can actually use for the challenge that would be appropriate for the challenge. Oh, I forgot to mention the other rule or guideline is make sure that your garment is at least mid calf or longer. So when you think about a maxi dress, we're thinking about something that's long and flowy. So if it hits that the mid calf, or it's longer than that, then that actually counts as a maxi. So those are the things that I guess I would leave you all with.

Lisa Woolfork 41:25

Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. That's a good detail about how does one defines Maxi so mid calf. I love that that's a good. That's a good, easy thing that people can imagine to make sure that it fits. I am so excited. Thank you, Crystal. Thank you Tea. Thank you so much for being with us today. We have been talking everybody with crystal sews and stuff and crumpets tea and sewing about sew Maxi for Mother's Day, you can find the information on both of their YouTube channels, and on both of their Instagram channels, highlights, it's everywhere. They're also incredibly kind and responsive. So if you have questions or concerns, they are happy to talk with you in their DMs or reach out to them by email. And I will be sure to include both, I'll be sure to include all the links to their socials from their Instagram and webpages and YouTubes. So all of that will be there. All you do after you've seen this episode or listened to this episode, you can go in and click it. And one extra tip. If you are a Patreon subscriber, you get to see some wonderful examples of them wearing beautiful bold prints, because they are both wearing absolutely gorgeous fabrics right now. What you could see if you are a patron, as I said earlier, why are you not?

Tea 42:42

Thank you all so much for this. This was incredible. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Crystal 42:46

Thank you

Lisa Woolfork 42:46

so welcome.

Crystal 42:49

We appreciate it so much.

Lisa Woolfork 42:59

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 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 podcasts 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 this dish plays podcast. That is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stuff 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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