Sew Much Talent with Alethia Hudson

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Episode Summary

Alethia Hudson is a fashion designer, sewing instructor, and curator of a 10,000 member Facebook sewing group. She and Lisa chat about building a stitching community online and in real life. Alethia’s sewing retreats (the next one is July 2020) are an excellent example of stitching a community together. Lisa and Alethia also discuss the changes at JoAnn’s Fabrics and what constitutes an “emergency sewing situation.”

Episode Notes

Alethia’s Social Pages

website: https://www.alethiahudsondesigns.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/356147378053601/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SewMuchTalent
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sewmuchtalent/

Also mentioned in the podcast:

That’s Sew Monica: http://www.thatssewmonica.com/

Erica Bunker: http://www.ericabunker.com/

Patricej715: https://www.instagram.com/patricej715/?hl=en

Beaute’ J’adore: https://beautejadore.com/

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Read Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Lisa Woolfork: Hello, stitchers. Welcome to stitch, please. The official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter. I'm your host Lisa wool fork. 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.
[00:00:41] Lisa Woolfork: I'm talking with Lithia Hudson today. I'm very fortunate to do so. She is the genius. Behind so much talent. Um, I think it's such a beautiful project and she, she is the administrator and creator of a Facebook group with more than 10,000 [00:01:00] members. And so I wanted to talk a little bit about your sewing, your, like, how you got started and how you manage a group of that size as well as some real life events that you do.
[00:01:10] Lisa Woolfork: And I also listen to your recent live video where you were talking about. Just about Joanne's and all the games with the pattern sales and, you know, space, ways that we could become more independent with our own pattern making. So this I'm hoping for. A nice free form conversation because you have so much to teach, which you do all the time.
[00:01:33] Lisa Woolfork: Um, and I'm grateful that you are willing to come on and, and share all that, you know, with us. Well, not all that, you know, because it's really not that long a program. Um, I think it would take much longer than just a 30 minute conversation with you to teach everything that you know, but, um, I'm just so happy to, to be connected to you.
[00:01:51] Lisa Woolfork: So thank you. So can you tell us how you got started sewing and what. What that sewing background
[00:01:57] Alethia Hudson: look like? Yeah, it's funny. It's, it is very [00:02:00] similar to a lot of what I hear in the sewing community. You know, I was a little girl, about eight years old. Um, my mother, uh, she was a registered nurse and she actually was sew and make all of our clothes and, um, she'd come home midnight or, you know, late at night sometimes.
[00:02:17] Alethia Hudson: And I would just sit and watch her sew. And so I would take some of her scraps and, uh, create clothing from my. and I think she saw that I had a real interest in it. And, um, so probably I guess around about nine, nine and a half, 10 years old, um, she signed me up for this sewing class. It was a single sewing class in our local area, but I wasn't old enough to take the class, but I was tall.
[00:02:43] Alethia Hudson: And so I looked like I was old enough Uhhuh and so she kind of fudged on my age a little bit just to get me in. And so, you know,
[00:02:54] Lisa Woolfork: that's a, that's a, mother's love for you, right? There's like she can do it. I
[00:02:57] Alethia Hudson: believe in her. Exactly. She [00:03:00] was determined. So, you know, she, wasn't gonna let us stop that, but, you know, um, so I did that and, um, that's where it started, you know, um, went through home economic and middle school.
[00:03:13] Alethia Hudson: We didn't have it in, in, uh, high school. And, uh, that was by the extent of my, I guess you would say formal education. And, um, I went through from there. I, you know, I soaked up everything. I could high school. I looked at all kinds of fashion magazine w magazine, fold, magazine, 17 magazine. I, uh, watched stuff on TV.
[00:03:36] Alethia Hudson: Uh, I don't know if you ever remember the show style with SLA. Um, it was a segment.
[00:03:43] Lisa Woolfork: No, I don't, I, I remember her name, but I don't remember. So she had a show. Yeah, it was
[00:03:48] Alethia Hudson: a, it was a show called style. She was a host of that show and, uh, it was a segment. It was divided in three. Uh, it was divided in three segments, um, fashion, beauty tips, and then it was [00:04:00] home decor.
[00:04:01] Alethia Hudson: And so I watched that show religiously. That was like my online YouTube at that time. You know, we have YouTube back then, but we had PBS and, you know, um, all of those. So I would watch on PBS shows like, uh, Sandra Zina. Um,
[00:04:18] Lisa Woolfork: yes, our sewing with Nancy now. That's what I
[00:04:20] Alethia Hudson: remember sewing with Nancy was like our Mimi G back then.
[00:04:24] Alethia Hudson: Uh, yes,
[00:04:25] Lisa Woolfork: that's so true. You know, I met her, I met her in real life. Um, sewing with Nancy. I was in graduate school at the time and I had a baby. He was one years old and we went up to her. She had a shop up in place called sun Prairie, I believe. And she had a huge sale. Oh my gosh. They had all this stuff.
[00:04:44] Lisa Woolfork: That's in the catalog. At discount crisis, plus they had classes. And so I'm pushing the baby stroller around and she, I bump into her, not with my baby. Thank goodness. But she was like, oh, Hey, welcome. And I was like, Riley, that's my son's name. Now he's an adult. But I was like [00:05:00] that's. So with Nancy that's Nancy.
[00:05:01] Lisa Woolfork: So with Nancy, of course he's a baby. He doesn't care. But that was like a real high point of my visit. Like really? And she was so nice. I would love her. And so, yes. So you watched lot of stuff like on TV?
[00:05:12] Alethia Hudson: I did. I mean, and at that time, like I said, we have YouTube university now, but we didn't have, um, true website.
[00:05:19] Alethia Hudson: You know, we have internet, then we, we had TV, PBS, and so Nancy Zeman had this program where you could rent videos. For like two weeks at a time for different programs and you can learn stuff and then you can return them and, uh, you can rent something else out, return it. And so I did that for a long time.
[00:05:41] Alethia Hudson: That's how it came familiar with people like Roberta Carr, who was a, um, clothing designer. She taught that, um, uh, Sue Beamer, um, Who was another one? Yes. Now, uh, she creates, uh, wedding gowns and stuff. People, there was so many [00:06:00] different ones that I learned and gleaned from. So I spoke up everything I could and, um, through that process and also through, um, as I got older, I became married.
[00:06:11] Alethia Hudson: Um, I did this, you know, on the side I would take in alterations something I hated. Ooh, I hated alterations.
[00:06:22] Lisa Woolfork: I still do I admire you for doing that? I can't stand it. That's like my husband's like bought these pants. They're too long. And I was like, well, the dry cleaner will only charge you $5 to him, those pants.
[00:06:34] Lisa Woolfork: And he's like, but you got three solar machines down here. I'm like, yeah. And none of them wanna him, your pants hunting. I'm so sorry.
[00:06:45] Alethia Hudson: Oh, my goodness. That's so funny, but that that's the real of it, you know, who wants to take stuff apart just to put it back. But I found out, um, that was the one thing that really taught me. That was God's way of teaching me. Uh, [00:07:00] because of course I had to take it apart. I had to find out how to put it back together.
[00:07:03] Alethia Hudson: So going inside of garment was the way I found out how they were construc. . And so I was able to take what I learned and applied it to future projects that I was actually, uh, creating. So I learned how to do stuff in a professional way. Mm-hmm , you know, I learned how to, what interfacings was, what, what interfacings to use, uh, what techniques to use, you know, different things like that.
[00:07:29] Alethia Hudson: So what I hated actually, My teacher.
[00:07:33] Lisa Woolfork: That's amazing that it's so wise, you know, it's so wise so that you never then become afraid of anything. And that's something I always find very disappointing or sad when I'm talking to new SOS or listening to sewing groups. And they're like, oh, I'm afraid to do this.
[00:07:49] Lisa Woolfork: I'm afraid of this. I'm afraid of that. And I'm like, there is nothing at the sew machine that's should scare you. I mean, you drive a car that is dangerous. You know, but no one gets in their car and says, I'm afraid to [00:08:00] drive. I'm afraid. No, but we have all this, um, fear. Well, not, we, some people, many people do about making mistakes or something like that.
[00:08:09] Lisa Woolfork: And so I was talking with, um, Bonita Hinton, who does embroidery on leather and. You know, you know, you know, how leather is. It is very unforgiving. Once you poke that hole, there is no UN poking it. And she talked about like, she never had that fear because similar to our stories, she sold with leather. When she first started sewing as a child, her aunt worked at a leather factory and would bring home scraps.
[00:08:34] Lisa Woolfork: And that's how she would make her dog close out of leather scraps. And so she never developed. Kind of fear, um, or anxiety or concern. And I think that what you're describing so beautifully is, you know, I think that's a larger metaphor for life, too. The thing that you most are concerned or fearful or worried about just face it, head on, and now you have become this such a [00:09:00] talented, uh, Seamster and seam or seamstress, and, you know, alter her and all of these things that you're able to create because you trust your.
[00:09:09] Lisa Woolfork: And you taught yourself. And so you taught, you learned a lot through all the videos that you're describing and that type of education, and it's like, you created your own YouTube before there was a YouTube. Um, and it gave, and I love this lesson of deconstructing in order to learn construction. I think that's such a, um, It's such a, an organic way to learn something.
[00:09:32] Lisa Woolfork: Um, and it, and how do you incorporate that into your sewing today? Do you still find that you do that or do you not need to do that anymore?
[00:09:40] Alethia Hudson: Oh, no. Every day I'm learning. I, I always tell people, you never get to a place where you stop learning or you feel like you's learning at all. You might as well just give up and go home, be with the Lord.
[00:09:50] Alethia Hudson: Know, it's always, you know, and that's how life is, you know, it's life is pretty much like that. We feel like a lot of times we deconstruct it, feel like stuff fall [00:10:00] apart before it comes together. But I always have this mindset that if it's been done, if somebody else has done it, I can do it. So I have that mindset going into anything that, and I find myself a lot of times taking on challenges, projects now that, um, I'm challenged to do something that I haven't done.
[00:10:19] Alethia Hudson: You know, whether it's an embellishment technique, whether it's a, a different type of scene or stitching or placement, you know? Um, but I stretch myself and I encourage others, you know, in the group, stretch yourself, do something you haven't done before. Don't stay in the same thing because that's how you grow.
[00:10:37] Alethia Hudson: That's how you learn, know that's how you evolve, you know, mm-hmm, , I love
[00:10:43] Lisa Woolfork: that. And I love this idea that I have a similar philosophy, um, that I feel like. What I said, everything that I took, people are like, oh, I can't believe you made that dress. Or I can't believe you made that coat. And I'm like, everything you have on was made by somebody, why not you?
[00:10:59] Alethia Hudson: Right, [00:11:00] exactly.
[00:11:00] Lisa Woolfork: You and that, you know? And so that helped me. So I made umbrellas. I've made umbrellas, I've made shoes. I've made rain coats. I mean, all of these are things that can be made. It's not like it's sorcery or witchcraft or something. That's like, oh, this is magic. It's just, you know, hard work and focus and a real strong desire to do it.
[00:11:22] Lisa Woolfork: And so I love how you encourage people to take risks and sure. At first it might not work out or it might not look as good as it's gonna look the 10th time you've done it. But at least, you know, you can, and I think that there's a lot of power in that. So can we talk about your sewing group? So I think we're coming up on the anniversary of your group.
[00:11:42] Lisa Woolfork: Facebook says you started the group in October 19th of, of, um, 2019, so of 2016. So you're heading into your you're almost at three year anniversary by the time this episode release. You'll be at your three year anniversary with your group. So tell me about how or why you decided [00:12:00] to start that and what have you, what, what have you learned in the process?
[00:12:04] Alethia Hudson: Well, first of all, I've learned to not give up. Um, I actually started so much talent in 2008 on another class. Oh. And, um, it it's, a lot of people don't know
[00:12:15] Lisa Woolfork: that. So you're like heading this. This is like your 11th year anniversary, not your third. That's just a Facebook anniversary. That's just
[00:12:22] Alethia Hudson: a Facebook anniversary.
[00:12:24] Alethia Hudson: Okay,
[00:12:25] Lisa Woolfork: Fran, tell us
[00:12:26] Alethia Hudson: more, please. men. And my followers have been, have been with me since 2008 and I actually started this, um, um, for a local type situation just to, you know, get with other designers and creators and, uh, fashion designers. And so is. But it was funny because none of the locals seemed like they were biting.
[00:12:48] Alethia Hudson: You know, I thought, you know, I've seen other people with blogs and I said, oh, well, that's a nice way to kind of communicate with people. So maybe I'll do that. Well, it just seemed like it wasn't doing anything. And I, for like five years off and on, I [00:13:00] tried to stop the blog and, and, and the Lord would tell me no, you know, keep it going.
[00:13:05] Alethia Hudson: Mm-hmm I would say, you know, tell the people that were following, you know, I'm gonna, uh, end the blog. You know, you have content, you might wanna get your content. And so, whereas I didn't think people were paying attention cuz I had so much content that I was putting up there, you know, so much information and uh, they would say, no, don't do it.
[00:13:23] Alethia Hudson: Don't do it. So that went on for like five years and I reached maybe 750 people. Wow. So something happened where I ended up, I lost all my content. This particular platform was switching over some. Somehow I lost my content, but I felt like that was God's way saying, okay. That has some to in, and, uh, I ended up on Periscope being nosy.
[00:13:47] Alethia Hudson: Okay. really, and somehow Periscope, it was odd for me because I'm believe it or not contrary to popular belief. I can't talk now, but before I was pretty shy and I would never imagine [00:14:00] myself on a national international platform, like Periscope talking to people live. And so. I just started, uh, growing a following, you know, and then we moved over to Facebook as P crafters with another group of ladies, a couple other ladies, but then the Lord told me, he said, no, I didn't.
[00:14:19] Alethia Hudson: I, I told you to do so much talent.
[00:14:23] Lisa Woolfork: Oh, to have your own thing to do your own platform, not to kind of share it with another set of
[00:14:29] Alethia Hudson: folks. Right. He said, I told you to do so much talent. So I was like, okay, well I'm, I guess I'll be starting so much talent. You know? So when I did that, that was 2016, like you said, I just realized that last night that this was anniversary.
[00:14:45] Alethia Hudson: But when I did that in 2016, unbeknownst to. When I did what God asked me to do, my following grew on so much talent to 10,000 folks in two years. Now find you, it was [00:15:00] 750 on the other platform, but it grew now I wasn't in it for the numbers. That's not what I was doing. I just wanted a place where I could showcase other people's talent.
[00:15:08] Alethia Hudson: That's the whole premise of so much talent to. The much talent that's out there. You know, there's many different scenes to sew with fashion design of creators and craft. And I just wanted to have a platform where we could see all of that. And so people just started gravitating toward, you know, so much talent and, and now it's a group of people who can share what they make in confidence and be proud of it.
[00:15:36] Alethia Hudson: And we don't bash anybody. Uh, I don't tolerate, you know, the negativity or people. it's okay to give criticism, but constructive criticism and not next right criticism to make people feel bad about what they do, you know? Exactly.
[00:15:50] Lisa Woolfork: And you can critique in love. You really can, and you can critique in love.
[00:15:54] Lisa Woolfork: And I think that feedback is a gift, you know, that you can say, okay, I see what you've done here, but [00:16:00] maybe next time, make sure you're, you know, keeping your eye or whatever, you know, you can offer this kind of stuff and it doesn't have to come from a place of. Or hostility. Exactly.
[00:16:11] Alethia Hudson: Yeah. We nip that in for real quick.
[00:16:13] Alethia Hudson: And so it it's, it's been a pretty pleasant place to, you know,
[00:16:19] Lisa Woolfork: to hang out in. I'm joined today by AIA Hudson, the creator of so much talent. This is an online group on Facebook that has more than 10,000. Stay tuned to learn more about how AIA feels about the rising and the rising changes at Joanne's. Um, as well as the way that her project is growing in real life and online
[00:16:55] Lisa Woolfork: stitch. The black women's stitch podcast talks a lot about [00:17:00] sewing, but if you'd like to see some of what we're discussing, we invite you to follow us on the socials on Facebook. You can find us at stitch, please. And on Instagram, you can find us at black women's stitch on Instagram. You'll find a lot of great pictures and compelling social commentary.
[00:17:18] Lisa Woolfork: In addition, you can participate in a weekly live Instagram chat at 3:00 PM. On Thursdays at Eastern standard time. So follow us on the socials. Facebook at stitch, please and Instagram at black women's ditch and get your stitch together.
[00:17:41] Lisa Woolfork: I'm delighted to be here talking today with AIA Hudson of so much talent. Now we're gonna hear more about how AIA. Grows her platform and manages it as well as extending that platform from an online community branching out into real life events [00:18:00] stated I wanted to talk some about your most recent, um, video, as well as talking a little bit about some of the collaborations that you've done.
[00:18:10] Lisa Woolfork: I believe you had a. Last year. So I'd love to talk more about some of the real life events that you've done in addition to kind of pulling people from all over the world to come to your platform and to show their stuff. I think that, you know, sewers and quilters, you know, we like showing the stuff off that we make.
[00:18:26] Lisa Woolfork: I mean, like particularly for a community of like-minded people. Considering that. So often folks, you know, either, you know, our family can only take so much of us telling them about how much we love sewing and, you know, we need to, um, to share that more broadly. And so I would love to talk now about like your real life events.
[00:18:47] Lisa Woolfork: I know you've done some classes and challenges that you're working on. Um, but tell us about the retreat that you hosted last year and what the future plans for that event looks like.
[00:18:58] Alethia Hudson: Well, we've actually. [00:19:00] Had our second retreat this year, but, um, oh my gosh. Yeah, last year we started and that was another endeavor.
[00:19:07] Alethia Hudson: Something I had never done before, but I believed it was something that, um, that was leading me to do. And again, I had never done, uh, corporate events like that or had no issue, but I have a wonderful team of admins, um, that good and support me. And we, I develop a C. You know, that can help do this. And so I don't have to do it by myself.
[00:19:30] Alethia Hudson: And so we did, we had several, lots of sponsors. Uh, we had people like, uh, phone magazines, um, Lilu designs. Uh, I like to work with a lot of independent, um, yes, crafters and designers, because, you know, we get a lot of corporate, uh, sponsorship. So sometimes the independent, uh, crafts and creators, you know, go unheard.
[00:19:52] Alethia Hudson: And so I seek out those. You know, to give exposure because that's what so much talent is about, but we don't [00:20:00] engage the, the corporate sponsors. And so we did have, um, you know, a lot of people to help in that area. But, um, the first retreat last year, we met here in, in my hometown, Augusta, Georgia. And, uh, we did a, um, a three day retreat where we, um, had seminar, you know, so I had gentleman Jim and, uh, Victoria bay.
[00:20:21] Alethia Hudson: Yes. 2000 going hours. and, uh, I also talked, you know, and so that was a lot of fun. And then we had a, a, like a so day, we just spent the whole day sewing it and then we had to end it off. We had a, uh, high society gala where it to where, what they created, uh semi-formal or formal. And, uh, we had dinner and live music and it was a lot of.
[00:20:48] Alethia Hudson: And it was a good thing to, to bring people, like you said, from all over California, uh, Texas and different areas of the United States to get to know each other in person. Yes. [00:21:00] Yes.
[00:21:01] Lisa Woolfork: It was a lot of fun. And so this year's event, did you do anything different or did you do some of the similar things, but with, uh, different folks.
[00:21:10] Alethia Hudson: This year, uh, we had some of the same people come. We had some new folks come in, but this year we went to, uh, right outside of Atlanta, Jordan Hampton to a retreat. Um, and it was a place that we could all be in one general location. Uh, but this time we, uh, did a shopping strip in Atlanta. So one day, um, we did one full day of seminars where I had, um, Elizabeth far from Elizabeth made.
[00:21:36] Alethia Hudson: A Y glaze with a Yana glaze design, and also had, uh, Monica take with that. So Monica that's. So Monica.
[00:21:44] Lisa Woolfork: Yes. I met up with her once. Um, she had a sewing event in, you know, she does that monthly. So along in Dallas and I happened to be in Dallas for work. And so it was funny because. Um, I'm a university professor.
[00:21:57] Lisa Woolfork: So I go out and give lectures and stuff, and I [00:22:00] said, well, you want me to come in February, please include this Saturday in that trip because I wanna go. So with Monica. And so they did, and I got a chance to meet her and her crew out in Dallas and they were delightful. So tell us a bit, I, I saw some of those photos.
[00:22:14] Lisa Woolfork: So did you, um, get a bus together and is that how you did it? I think I might have seen some picks. Y'all like doing like a bus tour from place to place. Where did you go? We did,
[00:22:24] Alethia Hudson: we did a bus tour and, uh, that was a lot of fun just to get a bunch of women that love fabric and sewing and on a bus or so much fun, but we took a trip to find fabrics, one of the, uh, largest places in Atlanta.
[00:22:37] Alethia Hudson: And it's the, I guess it's the hot spot in Atlanta. Beautiful fabric, lots and lots of fabric. And, and we met a lot of people there. So it's a, uh, like a meetup hub for. Fabrics was just wonderful price, just right. Mm-hmm we also went to gal K fabrics. It was another beautiful place to shop. [00:23:00] Um, we ate, you know, did our luncheon there, but then we came back and, um, we had our location, so to speak, you know, we all did our store and had little things that we did.
[00:23:11] Alethia Hudson: We had a fabric swap, um, pattern swap and, um, yes, it, it was just a lot of fun. And. We're gonna do it. We're already planning now for next year. Next year will be in New York. Oh,
[00:23:26] Lisa Woolfork: that's great. So you were able to move from your, so for, so the first time you did it, you had it near you. And then the second time you did it, you had it a little bit further out from you.
[00:23:37] Lisa Woolfork: And then now for the third one, For 2020, you're planning it up in New York city, New York city, or just somewhere in New York state. Yeah.
[00:23:45] Alethia Hudson: New York city. And, uh, we we're one to reach the fabric district. So our, our goal is to shop the fabric district. But the premise of that is just to reach out in different areas because so much talent reaches out to so many different, [00:24:00] uh, spots in the United States.
[00:24:02] Alethia Hudson: Like we have a group in yes. Uh, um, the DMV area. Um, yes. And, uh, we have, of course we have our local meet group here. We have meet groups, you know, all over. So we just wanna kind of branch out and stand instead of standing still, we wanna go out, you know, travel out. And so that's the, the premise behind that.
[00:24:22] Alethia Hudson: So we just keep it moving, keep it exciting and, uh, just see what's out there. You know what, in other areas,
[00:24:31] Lisa Woolfork: All of this sounds amazing, and it is totally speaking my language. I'm gonna be in Atlanta on Thursday, I'm giving, I'll be at Emory for work. I'm doing on a panel discussion. And part of my goal is of course, to meet up and go to Emory.
[00:24:46] Lisa Woolfork: I've never been before. I'm looking forward to seeing the campus and a lot of the great scholars and activists there, but also on my list is going to find fabrics because when I went there, Another time for work. I mean, well, I didn't go to fine [00:25:00] fabrics for work. I also included some fine fabrics time.
[00:25:04] Lisa Woolfork: that place was ridiculous. I mean, I, I mean the variety of fabrics that you can get there. I mean, that's a whole day, you could spend a whole day just being in there. It really is a lot. And so I think that sounds wonderful and New York will be the same. There's so many different things we can do. And do you have a date yet at all that you've been thinking about for the 2020 event?
[00:25:27] Alethia Hudson: Our attentive goal is, um, somewhere towards the end of June. We generally do our retreat, uh, the third week in July, but we think we're gonna bump it up a little. because we realized that, um, July is a, a big month for, uh, family reunions and vacations. And so we wanna mm-hmm, include, uh, other people want to be included, you know, in the, uh, retreats that we do.
[00:25:52] Alethia Hudson: So they could, we bump it up a little bit, that will allow more people to get involved. Like they want. Yes. [00:26:00]
[00:26:00] Lisa Woolfork: And do you know when you'll be announcing the dates for that? Because what I plan to do is to include all the information you shared with me in the show notes, I'll be sure to put links, not just to your page, but to some of the pages of the folks that you've mentioned.
[00:26:12] Lisa Woolfork: Um, so I'd love to be able to kind of put like, oh, she's planning for, I can always say you're planning for June, July 20, 20. I'm sure people can just come to the page and follow it that way as well.
[00:26:22] Alethia Hudson: Right. Right. Cause we are we're in the plan stages now, so we haven't a locked down a definite date, but we do mm-hmm um, know it's gonna be, uh, for the end of.
[00:26:34] Lisa Woolfork: I'm joined today by AIA Hudson, the creator and curator of so much talent, a very popular group on Facebook. Join us now. And listen, as we talk about savvy shopping at Joanne fabrics, what is happening to the 99 cent sale? Nothing good from a consumer's point of view, I think, um, as well as. How do we set boundaries and limits about needs versus wants when it [00:27:00] comes to sewing?
[00:27:00] Lisa Woolfork: And what, if anything is a quote unquote emergency sewing situation? Here we go. That's wonderful. Um, I wanted to talk just a little bit in our last, our last few moments about your live video that you did. Earlier, I think it was a few days ago. And you were talking about some of the changes, um, that Joanne's is making in, um, trying to change consumer behavior, or at least that's how I'm seeing it.
[00:27:27] Lisa Woolfork: Um, you were saying that the days of the dollar 99 patterns, um, might be gone forever. Um, and talking a lot. I know, I know that a lot of folks, you know, at least I can't, well, I can't say a lot of folks I can speak for only myself. I know that I, myself. Um, definitely rely on the dollar 99 pattern sales, um, I, or the 99 cent.
[00:27:50] Lisa Woolfork: I'm still, I still remember the 99 cent pattern sales. And, um, so I would love to talk a bit about what you think is going on there. You were saying [00:28:00] that, um, in the video you said that it's because Joanne's is facing so much competition from online retailers. Um, that, and as well as how sometimes at some stores, the service is uneven or spotty, um, talk a bit about like, and then one of the things I loved about what you said was we can develop ways to be more independent, where we don't have to even rely on these pattern sales or rely on patterns at all.
[00:28:27] Lisa Woolfork: So can you talk a little bit about what you think is going on with Joanne's
[00:28:30] Alethia Hudson: these days?
[00:28:37] Alethia Hudson: Well, I, I can't help, but think that, uh, Joanne's is affected by the online shift. Uh, you know, consumers are now going more towards online, you know, and I mean, we've already seen, um, like Hancock fabrics and some of the other local stores that come to, uh, online shopping. And, um, I think in order to keep up, you know, Joanne has to make us.[00:29:00]
[00:29:01] Alethia Hudson: and we've seen the dollar 99 patterns and the, you know, five for five and all that for so long, but now I'm starting to see the shift. And I know other, so as our two send the shift of where now we're seeing more of percentages being taken off the patterns, you know, like 30% off, 40% off. And so we're like, wait, we've been doing this for so long.
[00:29:21] Alethia Hudson: Where's this coming? . And so I believe that they have to make a shift somewhere somewhere, you know, and we do now have a lot more, um, independent designers or, or some of our crafts or influencers, uh, taking part in, you know, some of that fabric, you know, the pattern business say for instance, Mimi G and you had people like, uh, Nikki re um, view your door.
[00:29:47] Alethia Hudson: These people they're pulling people from the community influence. You know, to try to capture our business mm-hmm , but something has to shift in order for them to stay afloat, right. They dependent [00:30:00] designers, pad America. They have to make money some kinda way, you know, and we support them. We do, but my thing was, uh, what you're referring to.
[00:30:08] Alethia Hudson: I was saying that a lot of times, and we've seen this a lot that we do get patterns or patterns are created and rotated. Nothing's really new, you know, just a few design elements here and. So, if you're not wanting to spend the extra money, if you don't want us succumb to the, you know, what's happening with the dollar 99 pattern, then we can learn to create patterns from what we already have.
[00:30:33] Lisa Woolfork: I'm
[00:30:34] Alethia Hudson: pattern staff here, staff there. I think we make it a thrill. You're not the only one, but I think we make it a thrill of the hunt to see how many patterns we can stash, you know? And. I mean, if you're like, if you be honest, there's many, many that we haven't stole from, you know, and I do know there are a few probably we can count 'em on hand who actually buy a few patterns, [00:31:00] buy a few fabrics and they sew up everything hit, you know, I think the people like Erica bunker, who is amazing.
[00:31:07] Alethia Hudson: Yes. And. I think she has like zero to little stash. And
[00:31:12] Lisa Woolfork: I have, I know someone probably hardly who, um, I interviewed from one of my IG live videos, Patrice. She has seven pieces of fabric in her stash and she makes gorgeous pieces. She is an excellent sewist, but she does not collect. She doesn't have a mountain of fabric.
[00:31:30] Lisa Woolfork: Um, and I have a mountain range of fabric. And so there's, there's certainly a way that you can be creative. And be minimal at the same time or rather be
[00:31:41] Alethia Hudson: strategic.
[00:31:48] Alethia Hudson: Exactly. And that's one of the things, and you were talking about the challenges that we do, uh, so much challenge that's. One of the things that we've known for is having monthly challenges and we kickstart each [00:32:00] year with a fabric and pattern fast. . So that means that if you're, if you're participating in the challenge, then you will not buy fabric during the month of January.
[00:32:10] Alethia Hudson: And last year we added in patterns. So you will not buy patterns during the month of January, you will sew from your stash and you will use the patterns that you have. And, uh, there's a little, you know, little leeway there, but, um, that's a way of us utilizing what we stored up for the year.
[00:32:27] Lisa Woolfork: You. And then I love that idea.
[00:32:30] Lisa Woolfork: And it's funny because I think this episode that we're talking you and I are speaking right now, we're recording everybody in October, but this episode probably won't release until late November, early December. And so it'd be nice to think about what it means to start the year fresh. And, um, that a challenge like that is a nice way to just think about it, you know?
[00:32:51] Lisa Woolfork: Um, so yeah, that's, that sounds great. That sounds great. A fabric and pattern fast for the month of January. You said that there's some leeway. I would like to know [00:33:00] what type of emergency sewing situations can come up, where one would qualify for
[00:33:05] Alethia Hudson: leeway. Okay.
[00:33:12] Alethia Hudson: Well, you know, there there's those times that you might not have enough fabric or you might need interfacing, or you might just need a little accent ease or something. So I generally allow, uh, 80% of what you sold on the month of January has to come from your St. So we allow that 20% to. To embellished or, you know, add a cuff or
[00:33:35] Lisa Woolfork: that's what's up.
[00:33:36] Lisa Woolfork: I like that. Well, shoot, you have me thinking that maybe I'll be sating on in the, for January, 2020, um, to do some, to participate in the first, um, SMT 2020 challenge, uh, because that's like a nice way. Cause of course, you know how people, how it is in January, people are joining the gym, they're resolving to read this stack of books or [00:34:00] whatever.
[00:34:00] Lisa Woolfork: And so this will be something that could be meaningful. I was very impressed with myself because for the month of August, I didn't go to Joannes at all. I didn't even walk in the store, which was like unusual. It's unusual for me. I mean, I'm in that. Joanne's my Joanne so much. Oh, people think I worked. Um, because I, and so it's like, they're like, where have you been?
[00:34:23] Lisa Woolfork: I was like, can't be the only person that's supporting this, um, this company and keeping y'all afloat. Um, so I have to cultivate, um, other relationships. Um, but, but yeah, cuz you know how it is, especially, you know, and I think that that's one of the things that helps to mitigate. That's some of the frustration that people might have with the corporate.
[00:34:45] Lisa Woolfork: Brand of Joanne's is that when you have people at your local store that are cool or that do their best or whatever. Right. And it was funny because I remember you saying in the live, you do a technique that I also do with the new, with way that the patterns, for example, that [00:35:00] MCCA have been divided, that they have the regular four digit pattern number.
[00:35:04] Lisa Woolfork: And now they have a new pattern number that starts with the letter R that's, like R 1 0, 0, and then three more digits. And that's on the top of the pattern drawer. And the ones on the top of the pattern drawer are exempt from any sales. And so, but it's it's, or they don't ring up. And so, like, I do the same thing you do.
[00:35:25] Lisa Woolfork: I take a photograph of, um, of the sales side. And I bringing me to the register. I said, look, McCall patterns are two ninety nine. This is a MCCA pattern. I expect to pay this price and they'll do it, you know, because you know, it's not their fault. These folks are making an hourly, an hourly wage, more or less.
[00:35:45] Lisa Woolfork: They're not one setting prices. So they don't set marketing strategy. So why should I be fussing at them? But I'm also, you know, it's somebody's fault. It's not hers. It's and it's certainly not mine. So, but.
[00:35:59] Alethia Hudson: It's not [00:36:00] for you, right. right. And it's a shame. You have to do that, but it it's happened so many times, you know, that, especially for people like you and I, and others who go in on a regular basis, you pretty much know how things operate, you know, where to find stuff and you know what to look for.
[00:36:18] Alethia Hudson: Mm-hmm . And so when something is amiss, then you say, wait, hold up. That's not how it worked, you know? And it's, it's say that when you can tell the yes, um, the worker. You know what what's up, you know? And so I started doing that. I started, you know, taking shots of, of things because then I realized that a lot of times, like I was speaking of in the video, there's a lot of turnover in session, our store, you know, they get new people all the time and, and whether they're versed in the cell or.
[00:36:51] Alethia Hudson: I've learned that that's the case many times they're not first and what's on fail. Mm-hmm so if I take a snapshot,
[00:36:56] Lisa Woolfork: then I don't have to waste my time for exactly. It's so funny because it seems like, [00:37:00] you know, I understand that Joanne, you know, has a bottom line that they need to meet, you know, they wanna survive, you know, they're just doing what they believe is best to help increase their profit.
[00:37:11] Lisa Woolfork: But they shouldn't need to make the experience such an unpleasant one. And I feel like it's gotten increasingly difficult to shop at Joanne's. I feel like I do a lot of, you know, my job is an English professor, so I read for a living. So I don't mind reading all the fine print in the coupons and reading all the stipulations.
[00:37:30] Lisa Woolfork: And so I'm used to doing that and I'm sure you are used to doing that too, because you are a, you know, a shopper and you wanna get the best experience. But I'm telling you if I see another buy three, get two, buy three, get three free notions. I am, I, I don't even go down that aisle anymore. I mean, I used to love to go to Joanne's and it had notions 50% off, simple 50% off, but now it's not 50% off now it's buy three, [00:38:00] get three free.
[00:38:01] Lisa Woolfork: Right. And I made the mistake, right. A few weeks ago of buying some horse hair braid. And I bought eight yards, which was my mistake because apparently if I want, and this was during the buy three, get three sale. My mistake was buying eight. What I should have bought was six, because I could have bought three and gotten three free, but I wasn't thinking, I know this was my own fault, but you do, you know, they could not just charge me 50% for the eight yards that they.
[00:38:36] Lisa Woolfork: and so they're not gonna do that. So I, I, I said, okay, I'm sorry, I'm not gonna take that. They're not, I, I went on my IG lab and complained, and then somebody came on and said, Lisa, don't worry about it. Go to Amazon. And do you know, I went to Amazon and I got 50 yards of that braid for what I would've paid for three regular price yards at Joanne's.
[00:38:58] Lisa Woolfork: And I was like, [00:39:00] see, this is why they're in trouble.
[00:39:04] Alethia Hudson: See. Yeah, exactly. And that, that was my point because I'm, I mean, come on. I mean, we all know it, Amazon is, is, is, you know, taking over, you know what I'm saying? You can go online, just buy for anything and pretty much find a good deal. And, uh, here's my come for the buy three, get two free. I'm like, well, I only need, but like one, you know, or.
[00:39:30] Alethia Hudson: We have to get in the habit of not coming to the more, you know, I'm saying many times we buy stuff, we don't need it buy because the sale is in front of us. But I think about that's true. I can sell, I can save me even more than that. If I just get what I need, you know? So that's how I look at stuff now and not being cheap or anything, but we.
[00:39:52] Lisa Woolfork: One buy it's true. And think that also goes for patterns as well, really? Like if they happen to have patterns by, you know, three [00:40:00] for $5 or some rare sale, you know, it's like, or do I really need that? Do I really need, even though I think you're right. I believe that 5 99 is a great deal for Vogue patterns.
[00:40:10] Lisa Woolfork: I think part of Joan's problem is that they have always had those pattern. Their regular price was 40% off. Remember it used to be 50, but the regular price is 40% off. That's the regular price that they were never selling their, um, their patterns at list price. I think they sold, they sold quick sell when they first started with quick sell.
[00:40:33] Lisa Woolfork: They did those at list price. Correct, but it just basically trains consumers for generations that patterns are regularly priced at 40%. So now that they're saying you could buy this at 30% off, that doesn't feel like a sale. And so it feels like I know they're trying to change consumer behavior. I understand that, but I am not, I'm not, you know, overly enamored with capitalism and I do not [00:41:00] feel like my job is to make sure Joanne's as a company stays in business, you know, I mean, I that's just not some or any company actually.
[00:41:10] Lisa Woolfork: And so I think that, I think that capitalism is based on inequity. And I think that people like as Jolan is making all these changes, people aren't making any more money. It's not like we have more money to spend the reason that people like sales isn't because they're cheap or they're they're, you know, it's because they wanna extend their dollar so that they can sew and pay their light bill, you know?
[00:41:41] Alethia Hudson: Exactly. And that's what we're looking at. That's what I was saying. You know, people are gonna start stopping where they can still get the quality product. But add a good price at a great price. And like you said, joins has to do what it has to do,
[00:41:56] Lisa Woolfork: you know, and that's, and that's our job. Like my job is to the way that [00:42:00] I see it is to kind of conserve my resources or spend my resources in such a way that aligns with my values.
[00:42:08] Lisa Woolfork: As well as helps to promote and preserve, you know, my family and my investment in my future. And I certainly don't wanna be, and I know that my sewing dollars are limited. And I think that I'd rather spend my dollars on maybe getting a machine or maybe getting, you know, as opposed to buying like six notions that I, I don't really need or I'm, I'm like, okay, well, if I buy three, I get two things free.
[00:42:32] Lisa Woolfork: And what are the two it's just too much work. All that mental energy. That sometimes shopping at Joanne's stuff uses is exhausting.
[00:42:42] Alethia Hudson: Right?
[00:42:45] Alethia Hudson: Exactly. And so that's why I want, that's why I'm starting to teach other how to look at things differently, you know, instead of collecting those patterns, use what you have and manipulate those patterns. [00:43:00] You know, yes. Become your designer. You know, you don't have to be perfect, but not to think outside the box, you know, learn about pricing, learn about these different things.
[00:43:09] Alethia Hudson: And so you can approach your work differently. You then you'll realize you don't have to have all of this, you know, you can work with what you have and then start buying quality stuff. Not just by
[00:43:20] Lisa Woolfork: cause I love that. And I love that you are providing people with the tools for independence and to say. You already have all that.
[00:43:29] Lisa Woolfork: You need to work around this system instead of having to take it as they offer it to you. You know, that those 50 11 million patterns that you've got can help you to create something that you really want, even if it requires mixing and matching, or as you were saying, learning to draft your own, um, Sloper your own Bodi block or whatever.
[00:43:52] Lisa Woolfork: Um,
[00:43:53] Alethia Hudson: I think that's wonderful.[00:44:00]
[00:44:01] Alethia Hudson: Yeah. And, and yeah, I mean, it is enjoyable to see others, you know, when they're able to get the vision and then they start doing it and they start creating things, you know, from, uh, what they're doing. And so wonderful. Actually, tonight I start, uh, my first design gown class. Well, How to, uh, create a pattern draft actually illustrated, uh, create a, uh, pattern.
[00:44:27] Alethia Hudson: Oh, um, do a mockup and then construc it, you know, on a professional level. Yes. Yes. Um, and then get a good product, you know what I'm saying? And so that's, and, um, and then too, not, not to leave our independent, uh, designers out, cause there's so many out. I think a lot of us rather put our monies into supporting independent designers, people who are really trying to create
[00:44:52] Lisa Woolfork: products, you know, I agree.
[00:44:54] Lisa Woolfork: Well, this has been so enjoyable. I am so grateful for you taking the time to talk with [00:45:00] us today. Can you tell us where we can find you on the socials? So people, um, can look you up and follow, um, your, your amazing progress.
[00:45:15] Alethia Hudson: Yeah, thank you so much for having me, Lisa, this has been awesome. And, um, your listeners can find me, um, on Facebook. I have Facebook group, so much talent and it's for instance, these gr I have to say that because there's, uh, Facebook page by the same name. Um, also find me on Instagram at so much talent, uh, Twitter.
[00:45:37] Alethia Hudson: I don't use that. That. So much talent on Parascope, same name, but you, I do have a website, Alicia Hudson designs do com and through that through the store, you can find some of the videos, uh, that I've done and see.
[00:45:51] Lisa Woolfork: Oh, that's great. Excellent. Oh, that's wonderful. Well, again, thank you so much for taking the time.
[00:45:57] Lisa Woolfork: This has been really great,
[00:45:58] Alethia Hudson: has been awesome and uh, [00:46:00] much blessing all your future.
[00:46:03] Lisa Woolfork: To you as well. And thank you so much for taking the time. This has been amazing. Thank you. Thank you. I hope you enjoyed today's conversation with Athia Hudson of so much talent, as much as I did be sure to tune into the show.
[00:46:17] Lisa Woolfork: Note, to find out more information about Alicia's project website and multiple offerings, including her mini videos.
[00:46:26] Alethia Hudson: Thank you for joining
[00:46:27] Lisa Woolfork: us for today's episode of stitch, please. The black women's stitch podcast. Let's continue the conversation. Come find us on the socials. We're at black women's stitch on Instagram, where we have a very active page and you can also find us on stitch, please.
[00:46:42] Lisa Woolfork: On Facebook. We also would love to hear from you. So feel free to email us at black women's stitch Gmail dot. There are three big ways you can support this project. And one of them you're doing already by listening to the podcast, you're really helping us. So thank you for doing that. In addition, [00:47:00] if you rate, review, subscribe, and share the podcast with other folks that helps the podcast to grow, and it also gives the algorithm that manage podcast information that will also help our podcast thrive the third way to help the podcast.
[00:47:15] Lisa Woolfork: It's for those of you all who happen to have a little extra change, burning a hole in your pocket. And if you don't have any plans to use it to buy your 20th or in my case 378th, big four pattern. That's how many I have in my top pattern drawer, about 378 patterns. You could take that money that you would spend at the pattern sale and give it to.
[00:47:38] Lisa Woolfork: We are accepting donations at our Patreon site where you can donate as little as $2 a month, or you can buy us a coffee at Ko dot I and small donations are greatly accepted and appreciated. So thank you for considering that. If you would like a transcript of this episode, you can find that at our website at stitch, please [00:48:00] podcast.com.
[00:48:01] Lisa Woolfork: And we also ask that you check the show notes, where we have lots of additional information and supplemental information from what we discussed in the podcast. You can find affiliate links there for the products that we like. You can find web links to the black women that we've been talking about here on the show to elevate and center their.
[00:48:19] Lisa Woolfork: And you can also find the info. We mentioned about donations as well as our email link. All of that is available at stitch please, podcast.com. Thanks again for joining us today. We look forward to seeing you next time, come back and we'll help you get your stitch together.[00:49:00]

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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