Sew Your Suitcase with “Garichild” Martha McIntosh

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:35:06 Sew Your Suitcase with “Garichild” Martha McIntosh



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Martha McIntosh

Also known as GariChild, Martha McIntosh is a powerful creative. An engineer by trade, she also makes stunning works of apparel that are guaranteed to impress while also sending her self regard into the stratosphere. You can find Martha being fabulous on Instgram, Facebook, and her website. She also has work indexed at the ever-helpful Curvy Sewing Collective.

Lisa Woolfork

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

  • Introduction to Martha McIntosh. [0:31]
    • Welcome to the stitch please podcast.
    • Introducing Martha McIntosh, GariChild
    • Check out Martha in the sewing holiday tradition series.
    • How Martha got started in sewing.
  • Bias, fat phobia and fat shaming. [4:46]
    • Bias, fat phobia, fat shaming and stigma.
    • Culture is reinforcing toxic and harmful ideas.
    • Plus size clothing is more expensive than regular size clothing.
    • Small clothes don’t cost less to make.
  • Swimsuits and kaftans. [8:29]
    • Swimsuits and caftans feed her spirit.
    • Her first project was a wrap dress.
    • Pouring into the garment and the journey.
    • Time is not on her side.
  • How to get ready for a trip. [13:15]
    • How to get ready for a trip.
    • How to plan a trip to Cuba.
    • Carnival is one of her favorite times to do soul work.
    • Honor other cultures and cultures.
  • The story of how she got the idea for the dress. [18:34]
    • An all black look for visually impaired people.
    • The story of the piece.
    • Deciding what fabrics to bring on vacation.
  • The importance of having the right fabrics. [22:07]
    • The importance of being intentional when shopping.
    • Meaningful times when she sees another sister.
    • Showing up in her bathing suit.
  • Martha’s goal is to be happy. [26:23]
    • The goal is to be at a space and be happy.
    • Martha is a possibility model.
    • Nothing is ever complete until it’s put together.
  • Packing cubes and suitcase. [30:50]
    • Trusting yourself and trusting yourself to keep going.
    • Packing a packing cube in a suitcase.
    • Summer is coming. Time to treat yourself.
    • Where to find Martha on social media.
Read Full Transcript

Martha  00:00

Hey friends, hey. Before we begin, let me introduce you to Kimberly Cartwright, a wonderful African American art quilter with a great project. Already got my tickets and accommodations. I will include links in the show notes. But here's Kimberly to tell you more.

Kimberly  00:14

Hello. My name is Kimberly Pierce Cartwright, and I'm here to tell you about a unique opportunity coming to Durham, North Carolina. Are you an African American quilter, looking to connect with others who share your passion for this timeless art form? Then mark your calendars for Kindred Spirits, a convergence of African American quilters happening on June 15th through 17th, in Durham, North Carolina. Join dynamic instructors: Cookie Washington, Kena Dorsey, Aisha Lumumba, and Kianga Jinaki to learn new techniques, perfect your skills, and share your love for quilting with fellow enthusiasts. But, that's not all. We're excited to announce that curators Dr. Marshall Price of the National Museum in Durham and Dr. Renee Anderson, from the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, will also be in attendance to share insight on making museum connections.  Don't miss out on this opportunity to connect with like-minded quilters. Learn from top notch instructors, and deepen your appreciation for this beautiful art form. Register today. Go to I'll repeat. Go to and scroll down to "Events" to register. It's a convergence of African American quilters in Durham, North Carolina, June 15th through 17th.

Lisa Woolfork  01:56

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 Woolfork. I'm a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.  Hello everybody, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I am your host Lisa Woolfork, and as I say every week: this is a very special episode because this episode brings to us none other than Martha McIntosh, also known as Garichild, to talk about something really important. It's called "Sew your suitcase." But before I do that, let me introduce you to Martha. She is an engineer. She is a sewist, she is a fashionista, she is a wonderful example of a whole, free, beautiful person. And I am so grateful to be in community with her. Martha is one of the kind of people that--she gets the highest of what I like to call "Negro compliments," the highest of Negro compliment. When you a Black person and Black people--you know how we do. We wanna compliment other Black people. We don't say, "Wow, you look really nice today." We say, "Where you going?" And whenever I see Martha, and I see these pictures, I be like, "Where she goin'?" "Outside" is pretty much the answer. Outside is the answer. But, in addition to wearing, like, amazing garments just to work, she also sews her suitcase. Martha, welcome to the Stitch Please podcast and thank you so much for all that you do.

Martha  03:25

Outside. Hi, Lisa. Hi everyone. It is a pleasure to be here with you today.

Lisa Woolfork  03:44

It's so much fun. Y'all, if you're not a Stitch Please podcast Patreon supporter, you should be! Because it's amazing and you get to see us, and you get to see some pictures of Martha's amazing outfits. Please follow Garichild on Instagram. It is an education. Her--I consider your account a real education. Thank you. And also check out Martha, who contributed to our Sewing Holiday Tradition series, and talked about the Garifuna people, and their very unique and powerful Christmas-slash-holiday traditions. So that's another episode of Martha. You can learn more about her. And, y'all, she goin' to have to come back because we were supposed to start our interview 20 minutes ago, and we've been talking the entire time without recording anything, and I'm like, okay, now I guess, as a producer, I need to say to myself, that's a different topic. And that's why we need to have another episode about sewing liberation. 

Martha  04:31

We got time!

Lisa Woolfork  04:33

But for today, welcome, welcome welcome. Tell us about your sewing story. How did you get started? How did sewing begin for you? How did it first come into your life?

Martha  04:42

As with anything, you know, the need. When you need something,-- --you just gonna have to figure it out, and I'm a card carrying member of "Look, we goin' to need to make this work." So you know,--

Lisa Woolfork  04:47

Mmm. Okay.

Martha  04:54

--when you have trouble finding outfits that speak to you to go on your vacations, and to go to special events, it becomes a little bit of stress for yourself. 

Lisa Woolfork  05:06


Martha  05:06

So you know one thing, here I am, I was like, "You know what? I want this Ankara dress for this event that I'm going to. And I was talkin' to a designer, and she's like, "Well, because you're plus size, that's going to be an extra $300."

Lisa Woolfork  05:20


Martha  05:22

I was like--so instead of the extra 300 dollars, I went and bought me a sewing machine. So that's exactly how my journey started. In terms of, "I'm not paying this extra $300 Just because of the extra two yards, supposedly, for my body." I'm just gonna go buy me a sewing machine and figure out how to make it myself.

Lisa Woolfork  05:40

You know what, that was a crappy experience. But can I say, I feel grateful to have benefited from the solution that you created to what was clearly a case of bias. It is bias. It is bias, it is fatphobia, it is fat shaming, it is all of these things that people talk around, but never directly to. And that--it's a stigma. And there's all sorts of ways that this culture is reinforcing ideas that are toxic and harmful, and trying to put 'em on you! That this is somehow--this is you! You know, girl, I'm so glad that she tried to tell me--I cannot believe she was like, "Okay, yes, I can do this dress for you; you sent me your measurements. And now, because of this, I will need 300 dollars additional to make this work"

Martha  06:30


Lisa Woolfork  06:31

And to be honest- I'm just gonna say it. Anybody who needs three hundred dollars to make this work is not someone who- I don't think- has the skills to do it in the first place. It seems to me very much like that three hundred dollars was meant to dissuade you. If you had said, "Oh, here you go, here's 500 extra. Money ain't no thang, to me, girl, here- you need 1000? Here's 1000." And what would she have given you in return? A hot mess express.

Martha  06:52

You know, and what it is, is that they normalize it. In order to accommodate the plus size, the bigger size, they love normalizing, paying extra, charging extra and thinking that that should be the expectation. So the expectation is that--many a times, a lot of the plus size or bigger size clothing is actually more expensive to purchase than regular size, you know, and we can talk about, you know, how that translates--

Lisa Woolfork  07:20


Martha  07:20

--into sewing patterns, and some of the things in our community, and some of those challenges, and how other people are overcoming that, and basically tapping the discussion to go, "Hey, we need to be included in this platform--

Lisa Woolfork  07:34


Martha  07:35

-- this community, and be represented.

Lisa Woolfork  07:39

Before we pivot for that, I just gotta say, "Small, clothes don't cost less." Okay. So, when I go into the store--I don't wear small size. But when I look--and I don't actually buy that many clothes, to be honest. But when I look at the sizes that are small, they are priced the same size as the sizes that are large. There is not a thing that says, "Oh, we use this much fabric, we charge less." That was case, baby clothes will be free. They don't use that much fabric to make baby clothes, but they're not free. So--

Martha  08:04

But they're not free. 

Lisa Woolfork  08:05

It just seems very much like another kind of toxic part of our culture. It's the same reason why it costs more to dry clean women's blouses than it does men's shirts. No matter the size. It's for men, it's cheap; it's for women, it costs more. Period. It makes no sense beyond our willingness to participate in these toxic systems that are meant to keep us separated. But! Here's something that you are doing to help us get our stuff together. And that is: making stuff for your vacation. So, you want to travel- you are someone who travels, you go actually, what feels like to me, everywhere. At least everywhere throughout the Caribbean, everywhere warm. I don't see you jumpin' to go to places that are very cold.

Martha  08:44

No. I believe swimsuits is where I want to be. [Laughter]

Lisa Woolfork  08:48

Yes, that's a uniform for the life we would like to be accustomed to.

Martha  08:52


Lisa Woolfork  08:52

Swimsuit and a caftan. That is what I would like to have be my uniform from here on out, because I live close to warm, sandy weather at all times.  And so, do you remember your first project that you sold your suitcase for? Do you remember the first trip you might have gone on that said, "You know what, I can't find this particular outfit," or, "I can't find these looks that I know I wanna have when I get there." What was the first time you got started with this journey?

Martha  09:01

Yes.  The very first time, it was when I was going to my friend's wedding in San Francisco. It was my first time seeing him in years and I was in the wedding. I was in the wedding. And so, I'm like, "Okay. I need to gather myself. Get myself together. But I also want to look cute."--

Lisa Woolfork  09:35

Of course.

Martha  09:35

--I haven't seen everybody in a long time, we're going to a wedding."

Lisa Woolfork  09:39

You're not just going to a wedding; you are in the wedding. And that means there's gonna be pictures.

Martha  09:44

There's gonna be pictures. There's going to be obligations before the wedding--

Lisa Woolfork  09:48


Martha  09:49

--that I need to dress for. So I needed to dress for the rehearsal dinner. I knew my friend, and my friend is everything. Energy match energy. So as I'm-- how I am , I need to come correct, too.

Lisa Woolfork  09:57

Mhm. Yes, yes. 

Martha  10:00

So--and that's what I did. It was my very first, and it was one of my favorite--and I wore it the other day. It was a wrap dress. 

Lisa Woolfork  10:07


Martha  10:08

A Simplicity pattern. And I love wrap dresses. And it was one of my most successful sews, one of my first sews, and I still wear it to this day. And that was--oh, he's been married since 2016. 

Lisa Woolfork  10:21

Oh, my word. 

Martha  10:23

And I wore that dress last week, in 2023. 

Lisa Woolfork  10:25

That's seven years, seven years. And then, you know what's so wonderful, because I've talked to some folks who are like, kind of new at sewing, and so, like, they'll talk about their first thing they made. And then they wore it some place and the seam popped, or this came off, and they had to walk out of the room backwards. You made that so well, that it wasn't just good for this occasion, for the wedding. It was still gonna be good seven years later for you to, just, wear someplace you wanted to look nice.  Do you remember when you were pouring into that garment, when you were making it, when you were like, "You know what, I've got to get my stuff together." Or, if you were thinking the way I sometimes think, I was like, "Oh my gosh, I've got to stunt on these hoes." And, you're sitting at the sewing machine and you're like, "Oh, is this gonna be the thing that does it? I feel like, it but I just don't know." And then it turns out, obviously, yes, this was the choice. Do you remember that vibe, when you were like, "Okay, oh, my gosh, the stakes are gonna be so freakin high. Because I know he's extra. And I'm extra. And we got to put our extra together. And it's a wedding celebration. And it's in San Francisco."--like there's so many other things that, like, get piled on to the travel.

Martha  11:29

What it is, is that, it definitely was one of those. You sit there. And I remember, I looked at the fabric and I'm like, "This is the fabric you chose. Okay." As you're going through the sewing, and there was a lot of hand stitching going on, I was like, "Woof. I don't know what we're gonna look like, I don't know what we're gonna look like, but I'm gonna roll with things." Because time is not on my side sometimes, too. 

Lisa Woolfork  11:50


Martha  11:50

That's the other day about the journey. That was my very first Sew Your Suitcase and I was frazzled. Because, again, I didn't give myself enough time. 

Lisa Woolfork  11:59


Martha  11:59

And so, therefore, I'm sitting there like, "Is this gonna fall apart? Is this gonna be ready?" But I need this to look good. When I show up, everybody's goin' be like, "Oh, is that her?" 

Lisa Woolfork  12:09

Yes, it's going to be on it is on.

Martha  12:11

And--I tell you this. I took it out the suitcase as soon as I got to San Francisco. I didn't pack nothing else. So this is it. I put my face on, my hair was on, and I walked in-ooooh!--even I felt good. 

Lisa Woolfork  12:24


Martha  12:25

So you and yourself gotta be like, "Mhm. I did that."

Lisa Woolfork  12:28

I did that. 

Martha  12:28

I did that. 

Lisa Woolfork  12:29

You walk past the mirror; it's like, "God Dang." 

Martha  12:32

And that's me. You gotta talk to me nice. You got to talk to me nice when I look nice. 

Lisa Woolfork  12:36


Martha  12:37

That crown will not budge, nor move, nor dip. Because I am walking. I am now walking in space. 

Lisa Woolfork  12:43


Martha  12:44

In my me-made outfit.  You got to talk to me nicely. I even walk with some, [chuckles]--

Lisa Woolfork  12:46

Yes.  A little bit of something in it. Put a little somethin' somethin' in it.

Martha  12:52

A little something. It activates a whole entire character. New character has now loaded. 

Lisa Woolfork  12:58


Martha  12:59

Martha has arrived. 

Lisa Woolfork  13:00

Yes. Yes.

Martha  13:01

Martha in her me-made is here for a good time.

Lisa Woolfork  13:04

I tell you what, I am loving it. [Music] The slogan of the Stitch Please podcast is that "we will help you get your stitch together." And now we're bringing it to you in a new way. The Stitch is a newsletter from Black Women Stitch, and I am delighted to tell you about it. What do you get when you sign up for the Black Women Stitch newsletter? You get to hear what's happening with Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please podcast; events that we've had; events that are coming up; contests for prizes; live shows; social media meetups; IRL meetups; episodes of the podcast that you might have missed; as well as opportunities to learn and sew in community with other Black makers across the country and across the world. You'll learn also about some actual stitches. We will help you get your stitch together with continuing education for your sewing life. Oh my goodness, y'all, I am so excited for this newsletter. It's always things I want to tell you, you know, but how? Well, now we have The Stitch. Sign up using the link in the show notes or on our website. We look forward to helping you get your stitch together soon. [Music] Now, when you get ready to plan for a trip--I know sometimes your trips are spontaneous. Just based on your Instagram, you have a very loving and spontaneous spouse, who will do things like, "Oh, I got a package in the mail. It's a Louis Vuitton gift card! And a trip to Cuba that we're going to, tomorrow." 

Martha  14:51

That was in my wishes. I was trying to put it out in the universe. My husband was like, "One day, but not today." I was like, "Oh, you not gonna do that for me?" Like, just send me. Send me away. 

Lisa Woolfork  15:01

Send me away--but listen- hey, that's a great way of staying ready though, you know, one way to stay ready is to manifest that. That's why we have suitcases. 

Martha  15:09

And if you don't have a husband that's gonna do it, hint, hint, what you do is, you get your good friends who will go, "I just found the ticket to Cuba. We going?" When? And then you go, "Thank you for my soul sisters who have the time to provide for me all those wishes and those spontaneous trips to Cuba, to South Africa." Oof, we have a good time. We have a good time.

Lisa Woolfork  15:31

You do all this in clothes that you have made yourself. That's the thing that is just so exciting to me. Of course travel is exciting. Of course spending time with your soul sistahs and soul friends is exciting. It is extra exciting to travel and wear things that you have made while doing so. And so, when you have a trip that is coming up, and it's something like, "Okay, we're going to Trinidad. We're going to go for Carnival." What kind of things do you do to get yourself ready ahead of time? Do you plan out your outfits? Do you say, okay--do you do it by occasion? Do you do it by meal time? Do you do it by event? How do you decide what to make and wear?

Martha  16:11

So Carnival is one of my favorites. These are my favorite times to do my Sew Your Suitcase series, because... There's so much stuff involved in my trip. So when I'm going to Carnival, there's a lot of theme parties. 

Lisa Woolfork  16:24


Martha  16:25

My husband is from Trinidad, so there's planned events with family. I'm always have to think about what is my schedule? My sons laugh, 'cause I have to create a spreadsheet, in terms of--

Lisa Woolfork  16:35


Martha  16:36

--what is happening at what hour, and at what time. And so, that begins that process of going, "Okay. I have these events. I have some that are themed." Either your all white, or- there was one year that it was Asian infusion. So how do I show up for an Asian fusion party and still honor myself in the same way without--

Lisa Woolfork  16:59

Exactly. It's like, to pay homage, but you're not trying to do yellowface. You're not trying to do anything like that. This is about honoring some of the Asian connections that come through the Caribbean, et cetera, et cetera. So how do we honor and not step on people's toes--

Martha  17:14


Lisa Woolfork  17:14

--and be rude and disrespectful.

Martha  17:15

Right. Because it's also this thing of, it's not a costume. Because I don't want to treat others- the same way I don't want to be treated.

Lisa Woolfork  17:23


Martha  17:24

My life is not a costume. My entire culture is not a costume. So how do I then honor these--

Lisa Woolfork  17:30


Martha  17:30

--other themes, or other cultures, per se, other cultures in order to say, "Okay, ooh, yes. How do I show and showcase, in my sewing those influences--

Lisa Woolfork  17:41


Martha  17:41

--in our garment or whatever I'm making." So there's a lot of planning with intention, also.  So I'm always like, something new, something blue, something borrowed. 

Lisa Woolfork  17:47

Yes. [Laughter]

Martha  17:51

I'm usually doin' something new, something Black. And when I say "something Black," is a Black designer, Black-inspired fabric. It has to speak to that. There's always that element, also. And, oof! That one right there.

Lisa Woolfork  18:05

So y'all, if you're not watching on Patreon, you should be sad and join the Patreon.  This is an all-Black look to me. So it looks like you are so--just to describe it, I'll describe what I'm seeing as, like,--just for visually impaired folks. But this is Martha standing in the stairway, one hand on, the other hand on the wall, with one foot elevated on this step. And she is giving, okay. It's like a sheer, black bathing suit underneath. Looks like a black bathing suit, two piece, with a one piece caftan, that has side slits on either side, up to the hip. Which makes it really great for moving and walking, but it makes it absolutely fire for the pose. This what I'm seeing it, just someone who just saw this on Instagram. You have to tell me the story of this piece. So is this picture taken in Trinidad?

Martha  18:48

This picture is taken in Trinidad, and this piece is the last thing I added to my suitcase.

Lisa Woolfork  18:55

No way. Wait--his almost didn't make it. 

Martha  18:57

It almost didn't make it.

Lisa Woolfork  18:58


Martha  18:59

But I was packing my suitcase- I had everything ready. And then, on the corner my eye--I'd made a previous garment; I tested it. I tested this garment out and I'm trying to envision patterns. It is the Sunny dress. When I was testing it, I had just gotten COVID, I was so sick. 

Lisa Woolfork  19:15

Oh, no.

Martha  19:15

So I never got a chance to wear or photograph the original dress that I tested. When she was-- when she had dropped the pattern. Here I am, gathering my stuff, and I saw it from the corner of my eye. I tried it on, and I was like--

Lisa Woolfork  19:28


Martha  19:28

--this gotta come on the trip. And I got on that sewing machine, pulled out this fabric, and- the magic. I love--it is one of my favorite dresses, favorite outfits, that I wore.

Lisa Woolfork  19:39

It looks like something that you want to bring on vacation. I love traveling with fabrics that are, mostly ITYs, which is kind of weird because I tend to travel to hot Caribbean type-- I'm from South Florida originally, and my family spends a lot of time- we might go back for the summer, or we go to California. We go to warm places typically. And so, ITY can be a little tiny bit warm if it's too, too hot, but it packs up so nice. Because one thing I never want to do on vacation is iron. 

Martha  20:08

Never, ever.

Lisa Woolfork  20:09

Love to press, hate to iron. Love to press, hate to iron. 

Martha  20:12


Lisa Woolfork  20:12

That is the fact of my sewing life.  So, how do you decide what fabrics to bring? How do you decide what's gonna work well for warm climate? Because people love saying "Linen, linen, linen." And I'm like, "I do not want to look like a dryer sheet." Because I can never get linen to be straight, and I have no patience. My mother-in-law is wonderful for this. She's got linen pieces that she has had for years. And they are so soft. I don't think she has to even iron them. Because she's had them so long. Me--and my patience is not set up for a lifetime of relationship to a piece of linen. [Laughter] 

Martha  20:46

Or the iron. On anybody's vacation--

Lisa Woolfork  20:48

Or the iron.

Martha  20:49

Driving through the Caribbean, there might not be no power to use the iron. So-- That goes to [Crosstalk]. I'm typically always--love the stretchy fabrics. Stuff that I can crumble and pack, so I can just pull it out. When I'm shopping, I look for that. The bright colors, the lightness. 

Lisa Woolfork  20:54

Girl. Mhm.

Martha  21:09

So that particular fabric is burnouts. So it's basically solid and burnout,--

Lisa Woolfork  21:14


Martha  21:14


Lisa Woolfork  21:15


Martha  21:16

--in ITY. And so it's like, this is nice. Gives me an element of sexy, which is (unclear).

Lisa Woolfork  21:22

Yes. Yes, yes. Which is your zone of genius. 

Martha  21:27


Lisa Woolfork  21:27

I get it.

Martha  21:28

So, it's comfortable. It's something that I could wear. And if I need to go to the beach and get it wet, it don't take a long time to dry. These are those things that you think about, even when--I curate a whole fabric store here. [Chuckle] Unfortunately, or fortunately.

Lisa Woolfork  21:43

Fortunately. I have one, too. I have one, too. That's why I'm slaying. I feel quite fortunate. I do not want to not have this, I tell you that much. And I don't want to start over.

Martha  21:46

[Laughter] And we're going to be grateful for abundance. And that's what I call it. I'm just grateful for abundance.

Lisa Woolfork  21:58


Martha  21:58

And freedom to, just, be able to pick something else, in my wonderful little homemade fabric store. 

Lisa Woolfork  22:05


Martha  22:06

And so, it's intentional, even when you're shopping, like,--

Lisa Woolfork  22:09


Martha  22:10

--"Am I gonna wear this? Will this work when I go to one of the islands?"

Lisa Woolfork  22:13


Martha  22:14

Does this pack well? Will this wash well? And little prep.

Lisa Woolfork  22:18

You talked about, like, the wedding. And, of course, when you come into a wedding people are prepared--expecting to see you, because you're part of the wedding. But do you have any stories about being on vacation, and people seeing you in your me-mades, and being like, "Oh my gosh, where did you get that?" Or is that something that happens not so often? Or, is that something that--I imagine that happens often. But do you remember any specific time that was meaningful to you?

Martha  22:37

It does happen. I think one of my most meaningful times would be when it's another sister. You know, we've been in spaces where we're usually the majority and stuff, but when we're not--

Lisa Woolfork  22:47


Martha  22:48

--and we see another sister, another kin, and they're like, "Ooh! How are you doing?" Like, "Where did you get that?" 

Lisa Woolfork  22:54


Martha  22:55

Especially when--my plus size queens? 

Lisa Woolfork  22:57


Martha  22:58

And they come, and they're like, "Where did you get that? You make that in our size?" I sure do. I sure do. 

Lisa Woolfork  23:04

And you say, "No baby. They don't make it in our size. But we can make it in our size."

Martha  23:09

But we can make it in our size. Exactly. It gives me the chills. 

Lisa Woolfork  23:13

It does, it- I just got 'em. Yeah, yeah. 

Martha  23:16

When I can showcase, even on Instagram,-- 

Lisa Woolfork  23:19


Martha  23:19

When you're seeing me in the bathing suits, and the sisters are in my DMs goin', "Can you send me that?" Like, "I need that right now."

Lisa Woolfork  23:26

Yeah, yeah.

Martha  23:26

Like, "There's nothing in the store--"

Lisa Woolfork  23:28

No. Yep. 

Martha  23:29

"--that will give me the look that you're delivering now." That's how you should feel: you should feel excited about what you wearin'.  And I wish that everybody else can feel that way. And so why not? 

Lisa Woolfork  23:38

That's right. 

Martha  23:39

That's the permission., right? You can feel this way. When I'm walking, and I'm struttin' in that bathing suit- cuz I'm struttin' in the bathing suit.

Lisa Woolfork  23:46

Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am. That's what bathing suits are for. 

Martha  23:49

And I love it. I love it. It just really does make me feel good. 'Cause when we look good, we feel good. 

Lisa Woolfork  23:55

We really do. You really do. 

Martha  23:57

So, when we're on vacation, or when we're somewhere else where it's not our normal, I wanna be at that elevated space. 

Lisa Woolfork  24:04

Yes. Yes.

Martha  24:05

I want to start my vacation on the highest high. 

Lisa Woolfork  24:08


Martha  24:08

Because, from then on, it's like, okay?

Lisa Woolfork  24:11

It's goin' nowhere but up. Nowhere but up.

Martha  24:14

And why not? That's the luxury of it all, that's the goal. The goal is to be at a space and just be like, "I'm here."

Lisa Woolfork  24:21

I'm here. I'm happy, and no matter what you might think to the contrary, that is a concern that is solely yours. It has nothing to do with me. [Music] Backstitch is a reinforcing stitch sewn by hand, or stitched by machine. To back stitch is a return with a purpose. On the Stitch Please podcast, our new Backstitch series will recall early and/or favorite episodes of the podcast. And the best news? It's hosted by you. Yes, you. Thank you. You. Do you have a favorite Stitch Please podcast episode? Let us know by leaving a voice memo on our website. Five minutes max. Let us know what episodes you love and why other people will love it too. And if we use your message on the show you will receive an honoraria. So remember, the backstitch makes a seem stronger. Leave us a message so that your contribution can make the Stitch Please podcast that much stronger. You can find the link at the website, or just click on it in the show notes for this episode. [Music]  What I love about what you've explained to us, Martha, is what I like to describe as a "possibility model." And you are a possibility model. And I know you probably don't intend to, because you're just living your life, but I'm telling you the way that you do that is a gift to other people. I just wanted to say that, and I'm not going to get too far into it because I know you know more than I do. But I just wanted you to know that there are so many people who are being shaped and held by your own ability to love yourself well. And that is why it's so wonderful to be in community with you. It's so great to have these conversations. And it's so great to look at this picture right here and be like, "I can't believe you didn't like this outfit the first time you made it." Y'all, if you on Patreon, you see this great two piece cute little outfit that Martha's made with cute head wrap. Is that that piece of African print from Joanne's at the top?

Martha  26:42

Yes, the Joanne's has, I guess--when they did a call out to Black designers. So this is Shae Anthony. Shae Anthony is the designer. 

Lisa Woolfork  26:49

Shae Anthony.

Martha  26:50

And she has done a couple of pieces for Joanne Fabrics. And so, I had at first seen it with Aaronica from Needle and the Belle. I drove 45 minutes to go get this fabric, because it needed to happen.

Lisa Woolfork  27:03

Yes, it needed to live with the other fabric at your house. Clearly. You don't have that.

Martha  27:07

Yes. And then, the day I made this, I said, "Okay, this is not going to sit for a year. We're going to make something with it." At first, when--I finished the shirt, and I was like, "Mm, I dunno." And you finish the shorts and you're like, "Okay, I don't know." But then I'm like, "Nope, nothing is ever complete until I put it together." That's the fast rule for myself. No outfit gets discounted until I put it completely together, how I'm going to step out in the street. So nothing gets discounted. So, I will make something from beginning to end- relatively- my UFO power ain't that big.

Lisa Woolfork  27:41

Listen. Nobody's here to talk about old shit, okay. 

Martha  27:44


Lisa Woolfork  27:44

I didn't bring you here to talk about old shit. I don't want nobody talkin' about my old shit. Everybody mind their business. I'm the one that ask the questions around here. So, continue.

Martha  27:52

I haven't had have any one of those. And I said, "Nope, we're gonna finish this." And when I put it together--and I was like, "Okay, I'm gonna put a head wrap on, to match the little head wraps in my shirt."

Lisa Woolfork  28:04

 Yep,yep. And the little tie- the twist tie in the belt, I thought was cute, too.

Martha  28:07

And everything is from the stash. So, even when you're talking about, you know--I always laugh because I am queen of the notions. You,--

Lisa Woolfork  28:17


Martha  28:17

--Lisa, will always inspire me to do things. 

Lisa Woolfork  28:20

You're welcome. 

Martha  28:21

And my husband gives me a whole side eye. So, I have gone to estate sales for sewing because of Lisa and her podcast. 

Lisa Woolfork  28:29


Martha  28:29

And I ended up going and picking up all this binding, like, boxes and boxes of binding from this woman--

Lisa Woolfork  28:35


Martha  28:36

--at an estate sale. So every time I have a project, I pull out from other people's stuff, from another sewist, and create stuff that I've had in my stash, maybe for a couple of years now, and I sit there and I go, "Ooh, look at that."

Lisa Woolfork  28:49


Martha  28:50

I ain't need to go nobody's store. 

Lisa Woolfork  28:52


Martha  28:52

I'm using the stuff that's in my possession,-- 

Lisa Woolfork  28:55

That's right. 

Martha  28:56

--and making it happen.

Lisa Woolfork  28:57

And you're making it happen so beautifully. And I'm just so glad to see that, at first you were skeptical about each piece separately, but you also then trusted yourself in the end to say, You know what? I'm just gonna keep going. Let's keep swimming. Just keep swimmin'. Just gonna keep sewing along and see what happens." And then this magic happens and I am glad you stuck with it.  I wanted to ask one last question about the Sew Your Suitcase. Recently you mentioned that you had an entire packing cube of clothes that you managed to pack in a packing cube. You heard that: packing cube. This is not somebody who might be like yours truly, who packs by just throwin' stuff in a suitcase, and it's like, "Okay, put the shoes facin' together. Put the drawers in a Ziploc. Do the this and that." Like, no, no- she's got packing cubes. Okay. One cube with me-made clothes didn't even get opened. Tell us more about that. Like, I'm amazed.

Martha  29:52

That is the beauty. The fact that I have now come to a place from, let's say my first Sew Your Suitcase at 2016, to then have a Sew Your Suitcase in 2023, and have enough me-mades that it was too much for a whole trip, where I was for 10 days. A 10 day trip there has a whole cube- packing cube- full of me-made clothes that did not surface at all.

Lisa Woolfork  30:19

Wow. I mean, I understand packing, maybe, too many socks- 'cause you bought a bunch of socks. But, like, you had made so many things. And all I think this means is, and I think you might need to talk to your husband about this, you simply need more vacations. You just talk to your spouse about-- talk to your kids, talk to your job, because it's clearly--there's something in your life, your sewing outfits, that say they need places to go and to be. And going to work is not the same as going on vacation. [Crosstalk] You didn't make 'em for work. They're not work clothes. They're not work clothes.

Martha  30:51

They're definitely not work clothes.

Lisa Woolfork  30:53

They're travel, vacation, Caribbean clothes.

Martha  30:56

Travel, vacation clothes. And that just means that I am going to be just- in many places. 

Lisa Woolfork  31:02


Martha  31:02

And I'm gonna be ready. 

Lisa Woolfork  31:03


Martha  31:04

And I'm gonna be ready. 

Lisa Woolfork  31:05

I love it.

Martha  31:05

Because the good thing about the Sew Your Suitcase series is that it doesn't necessarily mean that you need to do new clothing. It just has to be clothing you made for yourself.

Lisa Woolfork  31:14

 You made. Oh, yes. 

Martha  31:17

You don't have to try to plan out like I tend to do, for, "Okay, I need that one outfit," or "I need those two outfits for these different themes." It literally can be, "Oh, let me wear that dress again, that I wore, or that I made--"

Lisa Woolfork  31:33

Oh, yeah.

Martha  31:34

"--a couple months ago, but I haven't taken--" 

Lisa Woolfork  31:36

That's right.

Martha  31:36

"--it anywhere." You know, because how many times have you stuff and then we're like waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Lisa Woolfork  31:41

Okay, [Crosstalk] Yes. There is a suitcase. I love that so much. And then you'll be good to go. And like you say, I think we both agree with this principle. If you stay ready, you don't have to get ready. 

Martha  31:52

Exactly. You always bein' ready. 

Lisa Woolfork  31:54

You're always ready for vacation. I'm gonna to ask you this one last question. The slogan of the Stitch Please podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. Martha, you talked to us so beautifully today about Sew Your Suitcase. What is something you would tell us? We are about to launch into summer- summer is about to be officially official. How would you help us get our stitch together this summer?

Martha  32:13

Well, plan it! We know summer's coming. Summer is on its way. And, so, take out the pattern that you was thinking about- those dresses, the ones without the sleeve, maybe the one with the cap sleeve, or maybe a skirt with the long slit. Or maybe I'm just talking about my wish list here. But take it out and just make it. Like the fabric is there; you have the fabric. And if you don't have it, you might go get it. Or you could go trade it or swap it. Just do it. The one hour or two hours or the half hour that you may have. Give that time for yourself and just do it for yourselves. Why not? Look, treat yourself. And if that means giving yourself the time to make something for yourself so that this summer, when you go to that brunch that you got invited to, or the barbecue that somebody's throwin', you ready. You put on the dress. You're sewin' for your summer now. Now you're sewin' for your summer. Listen, I'm here for- what is it? Local vacations, too. Staycations is also a thing- getting dressed for that.

Lisa Woolfork  33:14

Yes, it is. And you need a outfit--you sure should, because that way it makes it feel more like a vacation because you're actually wearing something different. You're so smart. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Martha, where can we find you on the socials? Where can folks tune in to learn more about Garichild and find out more about what you're gonna be up to these days?

Martha  33:29

Well, as anything, you can always find me on Instagram on the Garichild. You can also find me on Facebook. While there is other participation, in terms of old articles and old broad clothes with Curving Sew Collective- even though they are silent, they are still great tutorials and great outfits that have been made that you may wanna go visit. So I welcome to everybody just goes out and check it out. So come find me at Garichild, you know, and say "hello" and say, "Hey, I found you over here on Black Woman's Stitch." And I definitely know that this is because you was on Patreon-- 

Lisa Woolfork  34:03

That's right. 

Martha  34:04

--and you saw all these wonderful outfits that Lisa put in here. 

Lisa Woolfork  34:07

That's right.

Martha  34:08

And, so, and then you could go see it on my website.

Lisa Woolfork  34:10

[Laughter] I love it. I love it. We'll make sure to have the links to all that in the show notes. Thank you so much, Martha. It is always a great treat to talk with you. I'm so grateful that you spent time with us today.  [Music] You've been listening to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women's Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you joining us this week and every week for stories that center Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. We invite you to join the Black Women Stitch Patreon community with giving levels beginning at five dollars a month. Your contributions help us bring the Stitch Please podcast to you every week. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your support, and come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

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

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