Sewing Shoes and More with Jaimie Black

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:34:46 Sewing Shoes and More with Jaimie Black


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Jaimie Black

Jaimie Black is a wife and mother that has fallen in love with DIY sewing, shoemaking, and the occasional bagmaking a few years ago. She has always had a passion for shoes and always believed that a beautiful shoe can always make an outfit. Her brand “Black Linings” has been a few years in the making. She produces specially crafted, limited-quantity designs and hopes to grow into more designs with time.

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 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.


  • How growing up in Africa shaped Jaimie’s creative vision
  • Jaimie’s sewing story
  • The relation between the art and utility of clothes
  • Lessons Jaimie learned sewing by hand, then transitioning to machine
  • Jaimie’s motivation to start sewing
  • Details about home shoe-making
  • Insights into Jaimie making her own clothes
  • Lessons she has learned since launching
  • Insights into Creations by Jaimie

Quotes from the show:

  • “Even sewing is an art because everything artistic starts in the mind. What you decide to wear is an art” —Jaimie Black in “Stitch Please”
  • “If you are dressed to the 9’s based on the options created by someone else, there’s always a bit of a limitation and always a big chance that what you like will be there” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “One of the things I have seen, is that all these movements ‘new movements for sustainability’ about visible mending, about let’s repair things, it’s the western world rediscovering practices that people in regions that are more committed to sustainability have been doing all along” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • ​​“Shoe-making became one of my big loves. I started shoe-making a few years ago, I was always an absolute lover of shoes (…) so the only way I could solve that was by making my own shoes, so that I could make as many as I wanted” —Jaimie Black in “Stitch Please”
  • “I truly wanted to keep the art of shoe-making alive (…) as a first launch I might be a bit more open to changing a few things now as I grow slowly” —Jaimie Black in “Stitch Please”
  • On lessons learned since launching her business: “One of the biggest things is that factories will never be on time” —Jaimie Black in “Stitch Please”

Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork

Jaimie Black

Website: Black Linings, Luxury Shoes & Accessories

Instagram: Creations by Jaimie (@sewcreatebyjaimie) 

This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork  0:10  

Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together. Hey, 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 is bringing us none other than Jaimie Black from Black Linings and Creations by Jaimie. This is a fantastic creative who is coming to us from a very rich background of sewing and creativity and just a robust sense of what it means to pursue a passion with intensity and with beautiful vibrancy. Welcome, Jaimie Black, and thank you for joining us today. 

Jaimie Black  1:22  

Thank you so much, Lisa, thank you for having me today. Thank you so much. 

Lisa  1:25  

I'm just so glad and so excited to talk with you. Now, Jaimie, you said you come to us via Zimbabwe. And I would love to hear about how your time growing up in Africa shaped your creative vision and your sewing story. How did you get started sewing? And did your family play a big role in that? 

Jaimie  1:51  

Well, thank you so much again for having me. So I was born and raised in Zimbabwe. And the first time I came across sewing, the art of learning how to sew, was all by hand. We actually started learning how to sew when I think I was in fourth grade. And one of the projects was to actually make a skirt by hand.

Lisa  2:10  


Jaimie  2:11  

Yeah, we didn't have fancy schools, you know, with sewing machines and stuff. It was you know, public school that I went to. And I remember my art teacher cutting up the fabric, and I sitting on the floor and you know, having a needle and thread. Her teaching us the basics behind actually making garments using your hand. So I have never actually ever used a sewing machine until I literally started sewing a few years ago. 

Lisa  2:35  

I love that. I love that the basic fundamentals of your sewing education came when you were in an early elementary school phase. That as a fourth grader, as someone who's 10 or 12, I forget how old fourth graders are, you know, the things you might not have access to as a fourth grader include your own sewing machine? Right? 

Jaimie  2:59  


Lisa  3:00  

Lots of fourth graders don't have that even in countries where they have, like you said, quote unquote, "fancy schools with all this equipment." Very few people are giving them to fourth graders. But what you do have is your hands and your ability perhaps to track down a needle and thread. Do you recall anything about that process as a young young child? I thought it was wonderful to hear that your art teacher was the one who cut the pieces for you all. Because we do, here in the states, do home economics, for example. But sewing comes under home economics, it does not often come under art. 

Jaimie  3:38  

I think it was the same for us, but it was all the same stuff kind of grouped together. 

Lisa  3:42  

Yeah, but I just love that you got to think about this as an art; that it came from the point of view that what you're going to be making and wearing is art. And in the same way that you create art with your crayons, and markers, and other materials you might use to create art are the same skills that you rely on to create clothing, garments, things that you will wear. Do you have a sense still of the relation between the artfulness of clothing and the utility of clothing? About, like, what it means just to throw something on, for example. Because when I look at the pieces that you've created, the looks that you've done, they look very artistic. It doesn't surprise me to learn that as a fourth grader, you first acquired sewing skills in an art context. It just feels like, of course, because look at this gorgeous palette that we see. But what happened between your earliest education, like learning to sew by hand, and what it means to start with a sewing machine many years later? Because in that time, you've learned so much already. Do you ever look back at those fourth-grade years and say, "I'm so glad I learned how to do this in this way," or did the sewing machine, like, accelerate your sewing game in ways that you didn't anticipate? 

Jaimie  5:01  

Yeah, well I think it was a mixture of both. So when I first started sewing by hand, I think we were mostly taught survival methods. You know, when something rips you go and buy another one. We  were taught a lot of patchwork, like what's the most beautiful way you can sew something up? And growing up in Africa, even putting buttons on, you didn't have places to go, like dry cleaners, to take that stuff. So it was based most, I feel, on survival. But why I always say even sewing is an art is because everything artistic starts in the mind. What you decide to wear is an art. I was never the kid that was crazy about fashion per se, even though I did have one, but it was more of my bohemian chic kind of style. So when I was taught the basic methods, even when I came to America, I was surprised that a lot of people didn't know how to sew on buttonholes, didn't know how to repair a hemming in the pants you know by doing a slip stitch. All those things were so fundamental. So fast forward on the story of how I actually started sewing by machine was my husband actually has a gala every year. You know, he graduated from Morgan State University. 

Lisa  5:01  

Yes, yes. I know. Morgan State. Well done. HBCUs in the house. 

Jaimie  6:14  

Yes. So his parents, his brothers, all went to Morgan State. Every year, there's this annual, amazing gala that goes on. So I remember it was the 100th anniversary or something. I can't remember which one it was. But I remember thinking to myself, Man, it happened on my 30th birthday, I showed up to my own birthday party, and someone else's wearing a dress I was wearing. And I remember just being like, oh my gosh, I was like --

Lisa  6:38  

 Wow, how dare that person wear my birthday dress? How dare you? Get out. Get out of my office! 

Jaimie  6:45  

 A lot of shock -- 

Lisa  6:46  

Get out of my office. Get out of my officer right now. 

Jaimie  6:49  

Right, but I think that's where a lot of thought process behind design came. It was more like okay, fine if they wore it, but maybe I should have added something on to it like maybe extended the bottom, added, you know, bling to it. Just little plaques or something to it just to make it stand out to make it my own. So when this 100th anniversary was coming, I was like, Oh my God, wait, where's everyone's gonna get different dresses from? And I bet there's gonna be a lot of people wearing the same outfits. And surely enough that year, tons of people were wearing the exact same dresses I had seen from Nordstrom, from Macy's, from all the department stores, that when I made the commitment. I was like, I'm gonna learn how to sew because next year, I'm gonna wear my own dress to the gala. 

Lisa  7:35  

Oh, I love this motivation. I love this motivation. That is one of my great motivations as well, like I love to just go out and what I put it on, and like, nobody else will have it. 

Jaimie  7:48  


Lisa  7:48  

Nobody else will have it. And it's so visually interesting that people are going to ask me about it. And so like, that's a huge shift from feeling like, okay, I bought this dress off the rack. It's the same rack that other people in my community are interested in, you know? We are folks who are stylish, we like to look good. And so I'm going to this wonderful HBCU commemoration. And I know people are going to want to be dressed to the nines, I know that. But if you are dressed to the nines, based on the options created by someone else, there's always a bit of a limitation and always a big chance that the same things that you like -- 

Jaimie  8:27  

Will be there. Yep, will definitely be there. And I remember walking in thinking to myself, and I hadn't started sewing, but I had so much on my mind. And I almost wore dress. as soon as I walked in, the dress I almost wore was on the first table. And that's when -- 

Lisa  8:43  

I'm just saying, and this is not to shame people for wearing retail. This just shows that we have a clear sense of what we like. And there's just not enough diverse options for us to all choose the different things, you know what I mean? There's not that many options. And that is one of the great gifts of sewing. And so tell me about the year you were able to walk in in a Jaimie Black that nobody else would have, and it would not be something you'd be concerned like, I wonder if this time the Vice President's wife will have on the same dress that I have on? Or will the Dean of Arts and Sciences be wearing what I thought I was gonna wear, you know, that kind of thing. 

Jaimie  8:43  

So the first year I had this goal that the following year, I was going to make my own dress, and I got a friend of mine to help me self draft a dress. Now this was before like even paterns. I had gone to a good friend of mine today, and she knew how to sew, and she had also like learned from other people. And I was like, look, this is my goal. Do you think it's doable? And she was like, yeah, absolutely. So I had taken a class with her and a few other girls. And so the first thing was to draft -the hardest thing I ever did. Drafting isn't easy, but with her guidance. It was doable. I did it, and I actually made the dress. Now the funny part about it, I got dressed that same night after making the dress, turned out amazing. I put it on, and I asked my husband, could you zip up my zipper? 

Lisa  10:10  

Oh, no. 

Jaimie  10:11  

And it broke. Like literally five minutes before leaving because we're running late. And I was like, I can't sew this back on so fast. And then, I was like, I gotta take the zipper and re-put .., it was just a mess. So -- 

Lisa  10:25  

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.

Jaimie  10:26  

Oh yes, he didn't hear the end of it the whole night. Was enough I had a backup dress. But still, but good news is that after that, I've made my own dress every one after that. Yes. I made some amazing dresses after that first failed year. But I still have the dress, I put the zipper back on. But it's been an amazing journey just leading up to it, I should say. 

Lisa  10:48  

I really love the fact that every year you're getting closer to finally realizing your vision. In that very first step. I mean, the idea of drafting - to go from, "I want to make my own dress and I want it to be unique." It wasn't enough for you to find one of the big five patterns or to buy a pattern online and say, "What are the chances that someone's going to sew this pattern" because those chances are very, very slim.

Jaimie  11:16  

Very slim, very slim.

Lisa  11:17  

Very, very slim. I mean, I've been to sewing events, like a "frocktail," which is a cocktail party where you wear, I think, clothing that you've made. And even with everyone making their own things, there are very few repeats. Very few. I think I've been to two or three frocktails. I've never seen anyone wearing the same, like this was the exact same pattern, it looks exactly the same as this pattern. It might be the same pattern. But you cannot tell.

Jaimie  11:42  

It looks totally different, right. Using different fabrics. 

Lisa  11:45  

Yeah, yeah.

Jaimie  11:46  

It almost seems like the sewing itself has a different shape to even the dress, you know, and body types. 

Lisa  11:52  

Absolutely, exactly, body type, color choices. All of these things make a difference. But you didn't take that risk. You said you know what people will not have? A drafted dress that I dreamed of in my own imagination. That will only come from me. And if for some reason that someone has on the exact same dress that I have drafted, that person is a stalker and should face criminal consequences. 

Jaimie  11:52  

At that point, they deserve it. We can sit together. 

Lisa  12:20  

No, they cannot. Because clearly they are stalking me. And I feel unsafe. And I will need to take better protocols about security. Because it's clearly an invasion of privacy because you've invested so much into this beautiful process. And one of the things I want to kind of just turn back to a little bit, you talked about your early education in Zimbabwe, and you might have been under resourced. One of the things that I think I've seen, and I wonder if you've seen it as well, that all of these new movements, quote unquote, new movements for sustainability, you know, about visible mending, about let's repair things, it seems to me really about the Western world, rediscovering practices, that people in regions that are more committed to sustainability have been doing all along, right? These are the practices that people in the global majority, black and brown people all around the world have learned to make things last longer. 

Jaimie  13:19  

Oh, yes, wasting was never an option. 

Lisa  13:21  

Not a disposable society. Like, oh -- 

Jaimie  13:23  

Yes, you took your shoes to cobblers to get repaired constantly. My school shoes would break, my mom would be like, well take it to the repair guy. You know? It's just part of life. 

Lisa  13:34  

Exactly. And it's interesting to see that now as folks wake up to realize that we only have one planet, and that we can't buy, or shouldn't buy, fast fashion that's exploiting people to make it, and then these places that they produce looks 1000 pieces of clothing a day, or 1000 pieces of clothing a month that your get to buy. And then you throw it away and you buy your next 1000 or something. 

Jaimie  13:58  

Exactly, exactly. 

Lisa  14:00  

It feels so fruitless, you know. And so that's one of the things I love about your work, and I want to turn to this wonderful red, oh my gosh, this jacket. And you talk about this coat and shoe combo. And y'all, this is one of those great examples of why you should be a Patreon supporter, because if you are a Patreon supporter, you get the video and you can see this dress/shoe ensemble that Jaimie has made. She is outfitted in Jaimie Black from head to toe. She is no longer the 30-year-old who was somehow a person at her party had her exact same outfit, and she was the birthday star you know? She is not gonna be wearing the same outfit that three wonderful ladies have bought at the next gala. She has totally committed to her own look. Tell us about this piece. It is amazing. iAnd the shoe, oh my gosh it is remarkable.

Jaimie  14:57  

So it's actually a coat. This is one of my most recent creations. So now that I've been sewing for many years, probably six years, seven years, this coat actually I kind of dedicated I think it was last year when I decided that each year I'm going to try and make a coat. Just to keep that skill up and just to grow as a sewer. And the shoes is something new that we've just introduced. Shoemaking became one of my big loves. I started shoemaking a few years ago. I was always an absolute lover of shoes. My mom until now tells me I've got a huge problem. So the only way I could solve that one was by making my own shoe so I could make as many as I wanted. Coming from a fashion sense, I love sewing but I always believed your shoe made your outfit. So I always looked at it backwards for some weird reason. 

Lisa  15:49  

No that's smart. 

Jaimie  15:50  

I don't know why, I just feel like shoes make or break your outfit. If you're wearing bad shoes with a nice new dress, it just doesn't go together. So I would always start with good shoes and then find the dress or make the dress and sometimes, you know obviously now that I'm more seasoned, you know decide what I want to wear and then actually make the shoe to go with it. So here, these are actually wool shoes, wool blend shoes made from the same fabric as the coat. That was my kind of winter look that I just made for this year. 

Lisa  16:20  

Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please podcast is grateful for all the support that made Sew Black possible. Special thanks to our underwriters, Spoonflower. Thanks also to Moda for generous sponsorship. Thank you, Bernina, for your wonderful support. Thank you also to Amtrak for partnering with us. Special thanks to those who shared resources to equip the space. This includes AccuQuilt, Aurifil, Crimson Tate, Sew Easy, Ruby Star Society, Free Spirit Fabrics, Kai Scissors, thank you, thank you, thank you. Special thanks to Focusrite for making the live recording possible through the donation of an audio interface, the Focusrite 18-i-eight. Thanks to The Bridge PAI for the initial funding. And thanks also to the Modern Quilt Guild for their generous support. Thank you all so much for making this possible.

And what kind of shoe is it? Like what style of shoe? I know that they're pumps, or is it like a mule, because it seems to have a heel? 

Jaimie  17:28  

Yeah, so it's a high heel mule, basically. 

Lisa  17:30  

Okay, a high heel mule. So for those of y'all who don't have the Patreon, you can find these images on Jaimie's Instagram page. So you can see images of the red coat and the high heel mule. And tell me how this worked as a winter look. I mean, it looks so gorgeous. The lighting is really great where you are. And I'm wondering also about the charm, the jewel, the buckle, is it a buckle? Is that what I'm looking at? Because it just looks like shoe bling. 

Jaimie  17:30  

Right. So actually, when I started making this coat, I knew I was going to make a shoe with it. I had enough fabric. First of all, I didn't think I was going to have enough fabric. This was some fabric I got a while ago. And then when I had enough pieces, I was like oh great. I'll make a mule, like a high heel mule. I would have loved it to be a full boot. But unfortunately, I was working with scraps. So I truly used everything I could out of this fabric. 

Lisa  17:58  

Oh, I love that. 

Jaimie  17:59  

So actually went to the frocktails in New York last year, and I went to Mood and that's where I got those buckles, those rhinestone buckles.

Lisa  18:34  

Oh, wonderful. 

Jaimie  18:35  

If you go into stores, you can always find embellishments to kind of [unclear] up your shoe. So I wanted something of a classic but that brought out the whole outfit. So I said basically the shoe you see 

Lisa  18:46  

it's a beautiful compliment coat and I really liked the heel. How do you decide how high you want your heel to be when you're creating a mule or a pump?

Jaimie  18:58  

So let's go back to shoemaking. Basically, this is home shoemaking which is something that I personally enjoy doing. There's different types of shoemaking, bespoke shoes, which are very personalized, handmade, and a lot of shoemaking is done in places with big machinery. But when I decided to learn shoemaking I took a course that is in house. So you can learn to make shoes at home without like the big machines and stuff like that. Using simple tools I should say.

Lisa  19:26  

You learned with someone named Marcel in Philadelphia I believe?

Jaimie  19:26  

So it actually grew. So I first learned with "I Can Make Shoes" which is a British-based lady that does in home, and I wanted to grow more, so when she started it I literally was one of the first students that gravitated towards right away. So I started basically with her, and then the more I got involved I was like okay, I want to know more because shoemaking is very complex, the more in to it you get with leather, the leather soles, the thickness, what to use.

Lisa  20:00  

I've done some shoe making, I took a couple of courses at the Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Work [Arts} . I've been up there a couple times. I've worked with Yohance Lacour, and I worked with Sara who is the owner. And it's just been really wonderful, really a lot of fun. But completely different for someone who started from many years and decades of sewing, machine sewing, to talk about shoemaking was just a complete shift. You started with, I need a good shoe before I can have a good outfit. So your priority was a little different. But can you explain for example, what lasted shoemaking is. Like what a "last" is. Like these sorts of things that were like, these vocabularies were things I had to learn, and I have yet to make a lasted shoe, right? I've done sneakers, which I love to make. I do love that. But I've not made one on a last where you have to kind of build it up. Can you explain what that is? 

Jaimie  20:51  

Sure. So a last is basically the foot mannequin - you use mannequins for clothing, elastics for the foot. Every last is very specific to the type of shoe you're trying to make. You can get a pump last that you can turn into a sandal sometimes or into, like very basic stuff that you can use maybe a kind of a generic one. But usually a last is very specific to a type of design that you're trying to produce. So if you want to closed shoe, you would have a certain type of last, in terms of heels, in terms of flats, because there's extra widths. If it's a slide you need like more back length, if it's a pump, you can have it a bit more constricted because the shoe puffer and the back hold the foot in so it squeezes -- 

Lisa  21:38  

Right? Okay, okay.

Jaimie  21:40  

So every last is very different. For sandals, same thing. I own nearly every type of last now of the sandals. 

Lisa  21:46  


Jaimie  21:47  

Yeah, I've got sneakers, I've got a boot lasts now which was a very recent buy cause I was using my pump to kind of built up. And you can build up, you know, lasts using certain things.

Lisa  21:58  

That must have taken forever to build up a boot --

Jaimie  22:01  


Lisa  22:01  

-- from a pump, because you had to make it taller and taller and taller and taller. Wow. 

Jaimie  22:06  

So I think we'll talk about it in the next photo or something. But I was gonna say how to build that up is also tricky. Use paper and stuff to build the design you want. And that's really the hardest and the longest part of it, I feel anyway.

Lisa  22:19  

Basically, you use the last which is a mannequin to create a pattern. And then that pattern needs to be kind of built up and applied to whatever garment or whatever shoe you'd like to make. This I think is my favorite. I love this one, y'all. This is a gorgeous yellow, another head-to-toe monochromatic look with this fierce, beautiful yellow coat with a sash binding and the boot just below the knee, bright yellow. It's just fantastic. Can you talk a bit about this look, and where it came from, and what made you choose these colors, and why the boot? I mean, why not the boot? Because the boot is like, I'm seeing what you're saying when you say any look starts with a shoe. Because, wow.

Jaimie  23:08  

Thank you. So in this picture, just like the first one, but with this one actually, I did start with the jacket as well. This was actually one of the first coats I made.

Lisa  23:17  


Jaimie  23:17  

And absolutely loved, it turned out really amazing. I was actually impressed myself. I was like, Oh!

Lisa  23:55  

This is lovely. 

Jaimie  23:24  

It's just a little fear that I think stops people. And so this was one of the first ones, and then the boot was one of my favorites definitely to make. So with this boot, I actually deep-built up the last, and then after you build up the last you take it off the last and then you flat pattern it. So you, yes, so you have to flat pattern it and then find all your measurements from whatever height you want it to be. All your foot your leg measurements.That can take quite a bit especially building it up to the shape of your foot with measurements and stuff. This one here I use the same wool as my coat for most of the shoe besides the toe area and the top rim I used a suede. Actually a mustard suede that matched identical to the coat. So it's pretty cool. 

Lisa  24:09  

This is clearly meant to be. It is meant to be if you managed to find a wool and a suede in the identical color. Nothing says "Make me a boot" than managing to find wool and suede in the identical color. 

Jaimie  24:24  

Yeah, I was pretty happy about that. 

Lisa  24:26  

It's beautiful. Can you tell us a little bit about Black Lining and how your shoe journey might have related to the business you launched in November of 2022. 

Jaimie  24:36  

Yes, after having done shoes for a while. I've always had also kind of a business mind to me. I grew up with a mother that was very business oriented. And I knew that I wanted to grow part of my learning to be clothing or shoes, but I fell in love with shoemaking so much, and I had gotten great research behind production and what entails going into creating a brand so it's been two years in the making. I should say even a little bit more. 

Lisa  25:06  

Oh, that's cool.

Jaimie  25:05  

Yeah. If you do properly it does take you a while. My brand Black Linings right now, the first release was an Italian-made shoe and bag. Black Lining's a little bit different. Just like we were talking about not populating the Earth with a lot of stuff, I decided to do small quantities that I'm able to sell and then recreate only if there's a huge need, I will rebuy or reproduce. But I try not to buy stuff to get rid of it. And then it goes into wherever they go in these days - pollute the earth, you know. So Black Linings launched in November. And it was actually produced in Italy by amazing artisans. And the reason I went to Italy, I know a lot of people always look at the price and like, oh, it's super pricey. But I truly wanted to keep the art of shoemaking alive. And in terms of it being handmade was part of it as my first launch. I might be a bit more open to changing a few things now as I grow slowly. But I was really passionate about the handmade portion for my first release. So it was a very small quantity, and made in Italy. And in order to produce even small, because you'll never find anyone else wearing it, it was my design. So both the shoes and bag were designed by me and a small factory in Italy actually sat and made them for me.

Lisa  26:32  

What excites me about this is that you are really extending your creative vision so broadly. I just imagine, like fourth-grade Jaimie sitting on the floor with friends or around the sewing circle. However you were taught to just sit and do these basic stitches. And until they became like, part of your basic essential vocabulary that you can slipstitch you can backstitch, you know the difference between those two things. You know when to use them and when not to. These are things that are just part of how you even learn to read and write, right? These are part of the basic creative literacy that you have. And then, when you started using the sewing machine, it just kind of picked it up another notch, another level. And then you were able to extend this vision into Black Linings, where you are thinking about the value of the work that you design, and what the outcome will be, and how it will land with consumers. But how it will also not land in a landfill. Because you're being so deliberate and so strategic. And I've got to ask you about like what you have coming up next. But before we get there, what is one of the most exciting things or biggest surprises that you found since launching Black Linings in November of 2022? Because it's still in its infancy state as a business, you know? What has been surprising to you about your own learnings or about how the response has been to what you brought to it? 

Jaimie  27:55  

So I've had a few. I'll say, one of the biggest things was factories will never be on time. 

Lisa  28:59  

Oh, that is a very good learning. Say more. 

Jaimie  28:08  

Yes, factories will never be on time, especially for small people like us. And there's a very small group of Black designers in shoemaking. Very limited. Like, I still don't know that many that are very specific to women, especially Black women. Actually, when I went into it, that was my idea. But now when things went to sale, people like oh, you know, I don't know any women shoemakers. I know a lot of men that are sneaker makers, but not many women that know how to make shoes, because a lot of designers, people don't realize, don't know how to make shoes. They know how to draw them. They know how to tell someone else to do them, but them themselves don't know how to make them. So I wanted to be intentional by knowing the art of it. So when I do get up here, I know the quality. I know how it was made, what's lacking with it. I was very intentional with that. The other surprise was that it was very warmly accepted. I didn't realize how many people actually understand what luxury was because ... I went back and forth with that. Because, as much as I wanted to go cheap, I knew a lot of things would end up just being thrown out because it will be something you wore -- 

Lisa  29:18  

Cheap and be disposable. 

Jaimie  29:19  

Right. Cheap disposable.

Lisa  29:19  

And your creative vision is not disposable. There's nothing about your creative vision that is meant to be here today, gone tomorrow. 

Jaimie  29:25  

Right. And that was my goal really, and just a couple of the surprises, and that you know, business is what it is. You'll have ups, you'll have downs, right? But I watched my mom through a lot of it, so I was kind of prepared for it. 

Lisa  29:41  

Oh, that's wonderful. 

Jaimie  29:43  

Yeah. When you're the person owning a business. It's a little bit different. Where as your child [unclear].

Lisa  29:48  

Exactly, exactly. Now you have a really exciting future opportunity coming up, and this is Creations by Jaimie, where you're again thinking in your creative vision and sharing it with the world. Can you talk a bit about what Creations by Jaimie is? 

Jaimie  30:05  

Yes. So we'll be, yeah, absolutely, I plan on basically launching a website in the near future that will actually have shoe components, offer soles for shoe making. And even going further than that, I'm hoping to actually add a lot of patterns that I've already done in the past or new patterns that I'll create for sale, including bags, because I have actually made bags too. A couple of those things I think will be on this website. And hopefully, with an even further vision of actually teaching shoemaking, my style, what I've made, or you know, simple creations so someone else can also see if they like it or not. Because a lot of people are always like, I don't know if I like it, I don't - you know. So I want to start slowly offering classes for first very basic styles, and maybe even kits. That's the vision I see myself going into as well. 

Lisa  30:56  

That is so exciting. And before we wrap up, I definitely want to talk about the Beauty and the Beast sneaker. I have a picture here and again, Patreon. peeps, look at this. Can you believe this is a shoe? This is a sneaker that was created as part of a fundraiser. Can you talk a bit about this shoe. And what we're looking at y'all is a sneaker that has been styled in the style of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. And this is the Beast shoe. Because well, I'll let you describe it - how you started to supplement the work of the artists when you all collaborated on this shoe. 

Jaimie  31:34  

Sure, this was one of the first collaborations I actually did. A guy named Dave, and they call him "Coach Dave", reached out to me about producing a Beauty and the Beast hightop. Like I said, a lot of people don't know how to make sneakers and stuff. But he didn't know how to sew like basic stuff. So he had kind of given me an idea of what he wanted in terms of the shoe to look like. And he wanted the Beast bow tie, I'm not sure what century they're from. But you know, like the three-layered tie that the Beast wore in a lot of the pictures. And I actually created that. And so he went out and got the fabric and stuff. And then the female version of the sneaker was a yellow satin with lace as well that I created a cape around. And it was so nice to see this creation come to life and that even the guy that I've collaborated with, yes, that's the Beauty and the Beast. And that's the yellow one. He's now gone out, he actually has gone on now to have a lot of the sneaker parts for like Jordans and stuff on sale. So he actually sells the components to make the sneakers. The designs basically. This was one of the first and very meaningful collaborations that I did, because both those sneakers actually were given out as a giveaway that people bought into for a foster home. So it was for a good cause and, it was really nice to have my hands in that. And all the fabric I used in creating that he used on the female sneakers, which was nice. So I'm glad I did. 

Lisa  33:05  

And, well. These are some beautiful choices. I mean, I don't think you can ever go wrong with yellow. I'm learning from this conversation. Jaimie, one of the things we ask our guests at the Stitch Please podcast is this last question to close all the interviews. Now the slogan of the Stitch Please podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. We will help you get your stitch together. So I'm going to ask you, Jaimie Black, what advice do you have for our listeners to help us get our stitch together? 

Jaimie  33:35  

Never give up is my biggest one. Keep trying when it fails, try again because the gold is just at the other side of the next stitch. 

Lisa  33:44  

The gold is on the other side of the next stitch. That is beautiful. And with that, thank you so much, Jaimie for being with us today. This has been a delightful conversation. Thank you so much for your time and sharing your talent with us today. Thank you so much, Lisa for having me. I really appreciate it. 

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

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

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

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