[00:00:00]Lisa: [00:00:00] Hello Stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host. Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.
Hello everybody. And welcome to a special episode of the stitch please podcast. This is called sewing sisters. And no, it is not my sisters because they are not about that sewing life, but there are two sewing sisters that are in Black Women Stitch as charter members, and they are Sierra and Sone-Seere Burrell, and I am honored and delighted that they are here with us today.
Sone-Seere and Sierra have a very special place in my heart because they ended the very
Sierra: [00:00:55] first beach week.
Lisa: [00:00:57] A retreat that I held in. [00:01:00] Oh my gosh. Is it 2019? Is it 2019? No, 2018,
Sierra: [00:01:05] 2018,
Lisa: [00:01:06] 2018. See, this is why I
put it on the cup
Sone-Seere: [00:01:10] .
and by the way, I had the
Lisa: [00:01:13] very first, retreat. And, these two women were coming, they were coming from different States, but they were sisters.
And I was like, this will be nice that they'll know, they'll know each other and stuff. And they were such a delight and such a gift, the entire weekend, the entire week. They were just beautiful souls and it was a real blessing to get to know them. And they taught me about PDF patterns.
And Sierra told me about it's the stories again, which I had been trying to learn. All of these things. and just, they're just beautiful
resolute spirit of creativity
and love and sisterhood. And so one of the things I wanted to talk with them, I wanted to welcome them to the program today and to thank them for all that they have already done [00:02:00] and thanking them again for generously being here today.
So thank you both so
Sierra: [00:02:04] much.
Sone-Seere: [00:02:04] Okay. Yeah, it's a, the honor is ours and we receive that love and send it right back to you. we had such a great time and we're honored to be a part of the inaugural class, a Black Women stitch and beach week. And. We had an absolute ball. It was, it was a cool exchange. you think about like being able to share stuff, and then the, the things that we learned from one another and really foreign some bonds that.
There was no way we could even have expected, all of that. So thanks for including that. Yes.
Lisa: [00:02:41] Thank you. Thank you. I want to get started with one of the first stories that I believe you all told about your sisterhood, and that is how Sierra got her
Sierra: [00:02:55] name. I
Lisa: [00:02:57] love this story. So you have to [00:03:00] say, how Sierra got her name.
Sone-Seere: [00:03:04] You want to start?
Sierra: [00:03:06] I think you should start because you were there,
Sone-Seere: [00:03:10] you can chime in when you want. so Sierra and I are eight years apart. and I remember so, and there's a sibling in between us brother. And so it was my brother and I are two years apart hanging out. Carrying on in life. And around seven years old, I decided that I wanted a baby sister, This was a solo, thought mission and desire. But, it was something that, early on, I believe that I can have what I wanted right. Within reason, So I began the only way I knew how to manifest things at seven is to pray about it. So I literally would just include it in my prayers, share this idea with my parents.
I don't remember response from them, which means that they probably
Sierra: [00:03:59] did not [00:04:00] respond.
Sone-Seere: [00:04:00] but yeah, it was just a thing and I believe that it would happen. And I had no reason to believe that it wouldn't at seven. So I remember, my mom, I can still see what she had on it was this really cute blue and white, pajamas or nightgown.
And she had come back from the doctor. She hadn't been feeling good. She had the flu. And I remember I came around the corner. I'm like, you're pregnant. And I think I just skipped it and she's looking And sure enough, she thought she had the flu, she had gone to the doctor and, she was like, your flu has a heartbeat.
Sierra: [00:04:39] that was me. It was the era.
Sone-Seere: [00:04:42] And then I guess, because, they were just thanking me and I'm not going to say blaming, but they were giving
Sierra: [00:04:48] me the credit.
Sone-Seere: [00:04:50] So they also allowed me to name her. So at seven I decided that Sierra was the name that we were going with. I [00:05:00] think it might've had something to do with the mountain range, but I can't remember.
It was, 31 years ago.
Sierra: [00:05:06] So yeah, Sierra's here.
Sone-Seere: [00:05:09] and
Sierra: [00:05:10] thankful that you were a wise child, because I could have been like green crayon and I'm
Sone-Seere: [00:05:15] so think denim,
Sierra: [00:05:17] you could have been.
Sone-Seere: [00:05:19] I'm just saying,
Lisa: [00:05:21] names instead of Sierra Burrell, you could have been named Flu Burrell She promised Sone-Seere that she could do the naming.
And she was like, "mommy, you thought you had the flu. Maybe we should name maybe
Sierra: [00:05:36] flu." And then.
Sone-Seere: [00:05:39] She would have
Lisa: [00:05:39] to go through all these shenanigans to say, you can give the baby a special in the house name, but not the birth. Like I'd have to like
Sierra: [00:05:47] backtrack on what she had
Lisa: [00:05:48] promised, but, thankfully , had vision in addition to self-actualizing a sister, praying up a literal sister,
Sierra: [00:05:59] in her [00:06:00] life.
Lisa: [00:06:00] she also had the foresight
Sierra: [00:06:01] to nanny quite beautifully.
Sone-Seere: [00:06:03] So
Sierra: [00:06:05] she's so sweet.
Lisa: [00:06:07] when I was pregnant with my second, Riley was calling the baby, SpongeBob Square Diaper.
Sone-Seere: [00:06:12] And
Lisa: [00:06:13] that was like, you call it that as much as you want. It's not a real name.
Sierra: [00:06:17] Just respect them.
Lisa: [00:06:20] Yeah. I was like that actual name for a baby, whatever you want.
Sone-Seere: [00:06:25] Oh, gosh, that is hilarious
Lisa: [00:06:29] about like your, you all's creative. Do you create a vision? So I know at eight years apart, that is, can be considered that cause some kind of substantial distance, but it feels like you're creative.
You're creative spirits have been like woven together in some ways for me. I mean it's because I know you all as a set. I got to meet you as this beautiful, robust creative pair, who, when you all were sitting
Sierra: [00:06:51] together at retreat, you like you would bounce
Lisa: [00:06:53] ideas off each other, or let me take a little piece of that and you can put it on this thing that you're making.
How do you imagine [00:07:00] sisterhood as an, as a family concept shapes your creativity as individuals and as
Sierra: [00:07:06] a team. That's an excellent question. I think we really do
Sone-Seere: [00:07:12] balance each other out.
Sierra: [00:07:13] it's interesting to see how we influence each other because. I think we're both kind of sewing rebels.
Sone-Seere: [00:07:19] know that there's rules, but
Sierra: [00:07:23] are there, I think seam allowances are suggestions, but I think that we bring out a lot, in each other. I'm. Very much like I'm going to follow these directions. I'm going to, so this thing, cause that's how I learned how to sew. So veering off from that, it was like very scary.
And I'm like, no, I'm just going to follow the instructions. I might skip one, but I'm going to just follow them in general. And Ray is I'm just going to try to draft a pack and I'm like, Oh, what, who does that? Or even like doing different hacks and things of that nature, but yeah. I'm glad that [00:08:00] we're able to share this, this creative journey and creative practice because she, will have a completely different perspective.
And it helps me in my creative practice. So lets me loosen up a little bit and say, you know what? Yeah, there's a directions, but it's a guide. I don't have to follow it. Like it's very strict instructions. So she helps me let loose a little bit. And I help her in sometimes. Cause I'm like, that's tricky.
Sone-Seere: [00:08:26] want to try something else.
Sierra: [00:08:28] but I think that it's definitely strengthened our relationship. and it's something that we can always talk about no matter what, whether we're in person over the phone, I'm it doesn't matter where we are. I can be in the airport just talking to her about sewing.
Yeah, I love having that bond. Yes. Yeah.
Sone-Seere: [00:08:48] Also piggyback on the, the balancing out, because we ended up being able to, augment each other's style. I very much my, [00:09:00] earlier sewing, experiences allowed a little bit more pattern drafting. Or approaching things when I didn't have, I didn't even know what patterns were.
so I think it mimics my other artistic style of sort of experimentation. and while there's, that's my style and I, if fits me Sierra's perspective, which I think her brain is much more in tune with the scientific part than mine. And, it's been nice to be able to bounce things off of her.
that I'll have this vision for something and the technical aspect, I'll go to her like Sierra, all right. I want this kind of pant. I went like this, but I don't need this part to be this way. And she went, her brain works is, very technical, this, you might want to switch this piece. So I've been able to even.
With the technical aspects and the tips and things that she brings, and better able to bring like a vision that I have for [00:10:00] something, to life. And then, inversely, sometimes if she has a technical thing and there's some creative problem she has to solve and I'm like, Oh, why don't you do this?
Or use this, or, color block if you don't have like enough. So it's really cool. No, that's
Lisa: [00:10:17] so beautiful. And I love this kind of this dialogue that you all have, where you are able to supplement each other that it's not about. Oh, I have this lack or I have this limitation is that I just don't know how to get there yet.
Yeah. I know somebody who will help me get there. And that is just at the end of the phone.
Sierra: [00:10:39] You know
Sone-Seere: [00:10:40] exactly.
Lisa: [00:10:41] And that is really wonderful. When you think about your sewing journeys, who do you think who started sewing first? Did you all start this simultaneously? or did, what did was one person like, I really want to dive into doing more sewing.
Like how does, what is your sewing story?
Sierra: [00:10:59] Definitely [00:11:00] started sewing before me. but I think. For me, I just to be a hundred percent honest, like I was like in a
Sone-Seere: [00:11:09] heartbreak situation and I was like, Oh,
Sierra: [00:11:12] and I was like, I need something to do with my time.
Sone-Seere: [00:11:15] it's healing.
Lisa: [00:11:17] And people talk about sewing is therapy. I like therapy for my therapy,
Sierra: [00:11:21] but
Lisa: [00:11:23] therapeutic. It is yeah. Sick. It can be something that's definitely healing and restorative.
Sierra: [00:11:28] absolutely. Yeah. And so it came at a time where I needed an outlet, but also where I had started my career and was, really frustrated with the options that I had.
And then I could find it in store and I'm like, if it does come on my size, it's not the color I want. So I jumped in or were expensive or just doesn't fit. so I jumped into sewing and then combining those things. And so while Ray had started beforehand, she jumped back in after I jumped in.
[00:12:00] Absolutely. She can tell you about her journey to sewing.
Sone-Seere: [00:12:04] Yeah. that's a good segue. I think the very first time I sewed, I think I was about six or seven and had been signed up for sewing, a basic sewing class with one of my cousins. And I think we ended up, making a pillow and, just very basic things.
And I remember that foundation and I remember even at that age being like, why do I need to know all this. Like I remember it being in the class and thinking like, all right, can we get on the sewing machine? But they were still, I remember it's the first time I saw CE engage and I immediately decided it was something I didn't need.
And I thought it was extra, but it gave me a foundation. And I didn't know that I would come back to it, it was very basic. I didn't really. So for a long time after that, I don't think it was a conscious decision. I just was doing other things and then sewing popped up back for me in undergrad.
I was a part of, African dance group. And for one of them step shows [00:13:00] for homecoming. I went to North Carolina A and T. Shout out
Sierra: [00:13:02] to Aggie pride
Sone-Seere: [00:13:04] and yeah, it's here as a negative. and we were a part of, one of the steps shows and we did this whole Michael Jackson "remember the time." skit or whole it wasn't production.
Let me just be clear. And for some reason, so we had to think about costumes and then, when you like quietly put your finger up and start saying stuff and Oh,
Sierra: [00:13:26] she knows her. So she's going to make her costumes.
Sone-Seere: [00:13:28] And I'm like, so like I
Lisa: [00:13:32] made a pillow and I didn't even need
Sierra: [00:13:36] to go.
Sone-Seere: [00:13:37] I made a pillow in a class 10 years ago. I'm making everybody's costumes. cool. so I just took it on that's the other thing? sometimes my fearlessness places me into situations where I'm taking stuff on and then finding out how to do it later. w. Really with the Women costumes.
It was more about draping. Now that I'm thinking about that we were [00:14:00] draping things. Cause it was this Egypt kind of motif. And so I helped everybody with the draping, but the men, had to make like headbands and then like loincloth. so they had like biker shorts underneath, but legitimately I was.
I was going to say I had to, but
Sierra: [00:14:17] I got to it's like
I had to
Sone-Seere: [00:14:19] measure everybody's weight and it's undergrad and it's the alphas. And it's just like, all Yeah, I measured. Okay, who's next? I put, those were like, that was the, what I didn't realize was pattern drafting. And measuring and figuring out elastic and. I got through it.
I ended up, I used the glue gun at some point during that, I don't know,
Sierra: [00:14:41] project runway. That's what,
Sone-Seere: [00:14:43] say it in tact. and so that, I remember started me back into sewing, but more pattern drafting because also my African dance group, we made our own costumes. There were no patterns. And so we were just measuring, figuring out draping and [00:15:00] stuff and yeah. I had no clue, like at that time, anything about the pattern world.
So Sierra, I saw her beginning, not beginning, but continuing to find her voice and finding a, an outlet and even like this sewing as a tool for an empowerment. And as I saw her doing that, I was like,
Sierra: [00:15:20] and she brought. Am I, Oh,
Sone-Seere: [00:15:25] sorry. Yeah. so it was good to see that process and she brought this millennial perspective.
Cause you know, remember everything that I learned was like back in, I guess it was the eighties. So the eighties, you know what I'm saying? This, so she's, talking to me about all the new stuff and like indie pattern companies and fabric and size inclusive inclusivity. And. I was like what I'm used to these little tissue, paper joints, and, she started talking about things like a rotary cutter, like in tights.
And I just was like, I saw this like spark in her. And I was like, I [00:16:00] want some of that. So she really pulled us back in and we've started, humbly with the Mimi G SewIt Academy.we started there and it was like, Very quickly. We're like, all right, we got the foundation we're moving on.
learned some great stuff, but then took off into the Indy, patterns, world. And it's been, fabulous since then. So yeah, she, she brought me back in and, More structured way.
Lisa: [00:16:24] You're listening to the Stitch Please podcast. Today's topic is sewing sisters, and I am talking with Sone-Seere and Sierra Burrell. Stay tuned as they talk more about independent patterns and what it means to be a rebel.
Sierra: [00:16:39] After the break
Lisa: [00:16:40] The stitch please podcast is really growing. I want to thank you for listening to the podcast and ask a favor. If you are listening to this podcast on a medium that allows you to rate it or review it. For example, Apple podcasts or iTunes, please do. So if you're enjoying the podcast and if you could [00:17:00] drop me a five star rating,
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It really is a way to lean into the algorithm that helps to rank. Podcasts.
so if you had time to do that, to drop a little line in the review feature of the podcast, that would be really appreciated and it would help us to grow even further and faster.
Welcome back to the stitch please. Podcast today's episode is sewing sisters, and I'm speaking with Sierra and Sone-Seere Burrell. In our next portion, we're going to talk about what it means for them when they call themselves sewing rebels and what they also mean when they say your body is your canvas.
Here we go. But the structure of the [00:18:00] indie pattern world, it's still seems to allow you the kind of artistic flexibility and range that you enjoy, songs, SRE, and Sierra to experiment and stretch her wings as well. with being, all the testing that you do, Sierra like all of the work that you do to help.
Pattern companies be better. I really think that's incredibly generous labor that you are giving these companies. I think that anyone who tests is, excuse me, giving generous labor. but
Sierra: [00:18:29] can you
Lisa: [00:18:29] talk about that about the questions of created extension that I think we find in the indie pattern community that I don't think is I think that the big four patterns just aren't hungry in the same way.
That Indy patterns are, and maybe it's because they've been around since the 1920s, when you have a hundred years or so of an institution behind you, it can make you rigid and unflag inflexible. and they're starting to thought out a little bit, but the indie [00:19:00] patterns have they started from a totally different point.
can you talk a bit Sierra about some of the testing that you have done for people like, Or even the modeling for casual read, like I was saying on the, in the call y'all before we got started, I was like, I was gonna wear my Appleton dress in honor of the Burrell sisters who both Appleton dress at beach week.
And it was such a hit that I think almost everybody who was part of that first group has made an Appleton dress. I think they should just call it the Sierra and Sansa Ray at this point.
talk about naming things. So can you talk a bit about, did you get started with Cashmerette or what pattern testing brings to the community
Sierra: [00:19:39] overall?
Yeah, Cashmerette is,
Sone-Seere: [00:19:43] one of the first
Sierra: [00:19:44] indie pattern companies that I actually made a pattern from. and a lot of that had to do with the fact that I looked at the. The measurement chart. And I was like, Oh, my body fits in this because there was this excitement, Oh my gosh, indie patterns, and [00:20:00] it's this, you can print it off.
I get really excited. And then I look at the size sharp and I'm like,
Sone-Seere: [00:20:05] Oh,
Sierra: [00:20:06] that's not
Sone-Seere: [00:20:07] that's okay, cool.
Sierra: [00:20:09] I was smaller at the time. So it was even different experience than maybe where I am now. so when I saw that, I was like, you know what, I'm going to try this. And I got so excited when I printed out the first pattern and I was like, I can do this.
I can lay this out. I can put this together. And they had, they have grid lines, which is helpful for somebody like me, who he needs to line up more than one point on a page
Sone-Seere: [00:20:32] for it to work.
Sierra: [00:20:34] So I. I don't even know what my first Cashmerette pattern was, but it fits so well. And it was so easy and there was a so long and I was like, Oh, this is indie sewing.
this is, I can, go to the website and I can see this so long and there's pictures and you can look at hashtags. And that's when I realized there was an entire community here. there's a community of people making clothes that [00:21:00] fit their body. And it was so exciting. casually always has a special place in my heart because like my boobs spin on it and I don't have to do a full bust adjustment every time.
Because I, I can do one, but I prefer to not have to, especially now
Sone-Seere: [00:21:15] like
Sierra: [00:21:15] a pretty large one. because then it gets into other stuff that I don't know how to change, but, I was living in Massachusetts at the time and, they had an in-person workshop, cause they, they are a Boston based company and so they had the in-person workshop and I told Ray before I went and I was like, my goal.
Sone-Seere: [00:21:36] to model for Cashmerette. I
Sierra: [00:21:38] don't know how it's going to happen. She
Sone-Seere: [00:21:40] named it talking about manifestation.
Lisa: [00:21:44] This is apparently what you all do.
Sierra: [00:21:47] pattern.
Lisa: [00:21:48] Yeah. Sone-Seere wanted a sister, bam. Hello. Hi Sierra. Nice to meet you. And then Sierra, I want a model for Cashmerette. Bam.
Sierra: [00:21:59] How
[00:22:00] Lisa: [00:22:00] did the Appleton okay.
Sierra: [00:22:01] sorry. I'm just excited.
Sone-Seere: [00:22:03] I'm excited too was
Sierra: [00:22:04] because I was,
I was doing a lot of fan girling and it was really cool. so me, Jenny and ILA and Carrie and everybody was just so nice. and it was like, Oh, I like this. And then, Jimmy was like, Oh yeah. if you want to fuel a mile for us.
And I'm like,
Sone-Seere: [00:22:25] I was so excited. I was like, cool,
Sierra: [00:22:26] accomplished.
Sone-Seere: [00:22:27] but
Sierra: [00:22:28] it was a really cool experience cause I'd never done anything like that before. and I got to model the Lennox shirt dress, and the Springfield top. And what's funny is I had printed out. The Lennox shirt dress. I printed out like the sleeveless edition, the long sleeve edition, the regular one I have yet to make it.
And I don't know what that's about, but, you know what, because this is happening now. I'm vowing that in the next month, who's going to make it because I love it and I'm not going to be intimidated by it anymore. [00:23:00] I'm just going to make it's going to be great.
Lisa: [00:23:01] I made the Lennox shirt dress because you were on the cover.
Sone-Seere: [00:23:07] Oh, I love that so much.
Lisa: [00:23:09] These make it, I did make it. I still need to do some adjustments and stuff on it, but I was like my friends on
Sone-Seere: [00:23:16] this pattern. I got to make this pattern
Lisa: [00:23:18] come to find out my friend didn't even make the dog,
Sierra: [00:23:22] but
Lisa: [00:23:23] I wanted to know before I committed myself making it, but all right.
Sierra: [00:23:26] Yeah. But I love that. yeah, that you're so supportive. That's one of the things I love about Black Women Stitch. The most supportive group of people that I've met, like period, like even outside of sewing.
so that it makes me happy. and you asking about testing? so it was another one of those things where I didn't understand stand at first.
I'm like, what do you mean
Sone-Seere: [00:23:49] pattern testing?
Sierra: [00:23:50] what is that? And so I didn't understand exactly
Sone-Seere: [00:23:54] how
Sierra: [00:23:55] to be involved with it or anything. but. [00:24:00] I remember like sometimes,
pattern companies will have an, a test or call or like you fill out a form or if you want to be a pattern pastor. And I really started because I was like, you know what?
I just started sewing. There's a lot of stuff that I just don't know. And I think that it's important that if you have these people who want to try out your pattern or want to do this, I think you should be able to let it be, pretty approachable to people. And I understand every pattern is not.
Beginner friendly, but you have people like me who are just like, I'm just going to make it. going to make jeans, it's just more steps,
Sone-Seere: [00:24:35] but I love that
Sierra: [00:24:36] because I think we can get caught up in how hard something is supposed to be. Like my first burner was a knit and I remember somebody being like,
Sone-Seere: [00:24:44] Oh my gosh, it was
Sierra: [00:24:45] a knit.
And I'm like, Am I supposed to be afraid of though.
Lisa: [00:24:50] They are, that there's so much fear in everything. And I can't figure out if this is because women do it or what, but this idea of fear in [00:25:00] sewing and people who are afraid of their sergers Lord, be people who are afraid and I'm like, wait a minute, did the machine by you?
Or did you buy the machine?
Sierra: [00:25:08] But I liked that.
Lisa: [00:25:11] I'm trying to understand what you're afraid of because you sound like you're a grown ass woman who has a job and knows how to drive a car and that's way more scared than a serger,
Sierra: [00:25:20] it's very true. ,
yeah, I like that though.
I'd like to approach someone from my failures perspective. So I wanted to give that sort of perspective. And then from there became, trying to be a champion for more people to be able to have this pattern, it's fitting more bodies. And so then I almost felt like I had an obligation then since I was vocal about it.
To then be a part of the solution. So if you're going explain your size range. Okay. let me be a part of the testers for that. And but I really do enjoy it, because I love a well-tested pattern. I love when people give honest feedback and it
Sone-Seere: [00:25:59] is [00:26:00] incorporated
Sierra: [00:26:00] into the final pattern and some of that feedback might just be, Oh, it's not my style.
Okay. Cool. Thanks. But when it's actually like critical feedback, like this step doesn't make sense, or I know I cut this perfectly, these notches aren't lining up like,
Sone-Seere: [00:26:16] Oh, I love a well-tested pattern.
Sierra: [00:26:18] So I try to be. Somebody who gives pretty good feedback. And I know it's not always the most amazing feedback because time management, but, I like to be a part of it, the solution.
And sometimes if you have somebody who has a completely different body for mine, but they want somebody like me in their pattern, they don't always think about the same things. Like I always do. Think about, okay, where are you going to put this bus apex? And do I need to adjust it?
Lisa: [00:26:45] Yes, that's right.
Sierra: [00:26:47] or even just okay. So my body is bigger. My head is not, so let's maybe make the hood like regular size head. I do have a large head, but I love [00:27:00] being able to do that. And it's funny because whenever I'm talking to my mom, she's are you testing something again?
Sone-Seere: [00:27:06] Oh,
Lisa: [00:27:08] shoot into the
Sone-Seere: [00:27:09] lingo.
Sierra: [00:27:10] It's light shade, be very shady, but I love pattern testing. I am trying to do a little bit less just so I can really just make what I want it. I love it.
Lisa: [00:27:24] I feel like you're given such a powerful gift, And it's so funny. I want to go back to some of the things you were saying before, like we call it indie patterns or independent patterns, but something that you, something that your explanation reveals is that they're independently manufactured, right?
They're not from a giant company, but there is a huge, but you're not
Sierra: [00:27:43] lonely.
Lisa: [00:27:44] It's a huge community that you're participating. Yes. So even to call it independent pattern companies is a bit of a misnomer because although they don't have a giant corporate structure, they don't have a work room full of [00:28:00] pattern graders and soloists, and those kinds of things.
They have a whole global community of people who are making patterns, selling patterns, giving advice. There's the, so along the hashtags, you can find the support that you need.
as, so patterns from companies that are based in Australia, that I never would have just stumbled upon
Sierra: [00:28:23] if I was
Lisa: [00:28:23] flipping through the books and, at a mainstream fabric store, you know what I'm saying?
Sierra: [00:28:27] never would have.
Lisa: [00:28:28] and so these are the things that I think is so beautiful about sewing community and that's why the work that you're doing there is. So I think it's so important at the same time. You've also got to preserve your own time, because if you spend all your times testing patterns, when do you get to, so for your own happiness, and of course,
Sierra: [00:28:47] I'm sure the technical
Lisa: [00:28:49] part of that's great, but like sometimes you just want to like, not be working.
Sierra: [00:28:54] me, I want to know you're right. Yeah. I think that, as my sewing practice [00:29:00] evolves, my approach does as well. I've had like good testing experiences and not so great testing experiences. So I underst I'm starting to understand,
Sone-Seere: [00:29:09] this
Sierra: [00:29:09] is what I like about testing. This is what I don't, and there's also been a huge shift to compensate pattern testers, which I think is great.
And I very excited about that and, I look at it like, okay, you were saying, it's a gift. And it's yeah, it's a huge gift. and I understand that everybody's at a different place. So what they're able to offer is going to be different, but, then I can make the decision if I want to do it or not.
if I look at it like, when it comes to Muna and Broad or Cashemerette, there's a 99.9% chance that I'm going to buy that pattern anyway. I'm like, okay, I'm probably going to test that if they asked me to test it or just knowing that yeah. I love that whatever this pattern is, it's going to come out or that they're testing, but you know what I'm going to wait until it comes out and I'm just going to buy it and that's okay.
And it's no love lost because I also think it's important to [00:30:00] switch that testing pool up. Yeah,
Lisa: [00:30:02] absolutely. Absolutely. Because I think that if someone is I think that I really love your claim Sierra about beginners as testers. Because not every pattern of course is beginner friendly, but there are certain steps that beginners might need that.
Yes, that, I don't know. There's a certain form of unique feedback that you can get from a beginner, then you will, cause you can, then we can figure it out.
Sierra: [00:30:29] If it doesn't
Lisa: [00:30:31] give you this differently or whatever, or as Sone-Seere believes that instructions are. Suggestions
Sone-Seere: [00:30:37] suggestion to guidelines
Sierra: [00:30:40] and me, and I'm going to look at the cutting layout every time.
I am not good
Sone-Seere: [00:30:45] at Pattern Tetris,
Sierra: [00:30:46] Sone-Seere is like a Pattern Tetris, like level, whatever the top level is. And I'm over here, wait, so w where's the fold, is this the right? so I'm going to look at the pattern layouts. I'm going to get feedback on [00:31:00] that. or the cutting layout, but some people, that's something that some people don't care that much about, but from my experience, it is so important because I can't stand when I get the right amount of fabric and I go and I just start cutting.
I don't really lay it all out. I just start cutting. Yeah. That's that? Yeah. That,
Lisa: [00:31:16] and then you get to the end and you're like, Oh wait, but I need two sleeves though.
Sierra: [00:31:22] Then I just go to Sone-Seere. I'm like, I'll just color block. it's fine.
I can, so that's fine.
Lisa: [00:31:29] You would talk it before
being sewing rebels. And I love that idea of the idea of sewing as a tool of liberation. of helping to open your artistic process. Have you found that sewing plays a role in any of your other artistic endeavors? I know you do a lot of painting, little paintings, small things that can fit on the four corners of a page.
And most recently you all and actual building. A mural building in Richmond, Virginia, that [00:32:00] she and a collaborator did. There was hard hats involved. There was a hydraulic lift. My nerves were to up from the flo up and I was not even there. I was like, you know what, I'm going to wait until she's done. And it's off the thing before I look at any more
Sone-Seere: [00:32:18] photos, because my nerves
Sierra: [00:32:20] are
Lisa: [00:32:21] the way my nerves are set up.
I cannot imagine my friends and what I consider dangerous situations and be okay. but my friend did not think she was in a dangerous situation.
Sone-Seere: [00:32:29] how, what
Lisa: [00:32:30] was that like? How was. Not just painting the mural, which of course
Sierra: [00:32:34] I can. I'd love
Lisa: [00:32:35] to hear about that, but how do you imagine, like sewing and garment construction, draping color blocking, does that shape in any way the other, your other work
Sierra: [00:32:46] that you do with
Lisa: [00:32:47] painting and design?
Sone-Seere: [00:32:49] Very much And that's a great question. so yeah, I'm definitely a rebel and the. like foundation of my rebellion has to do with [00:33:00] a, sort of a bigger picture. when I think about life and how we operate in this world, I always, I think we're wildly told to conform to certain things and we'll look at situations and just, accept, a certain.
Sierra: [00:33:21] or a certain system
Sone-Seere: [00:33:22] and then point the finger back at us. something's wrong with me? The system is fine. It's me. And so I'm very much a person that's no, the system is not working for me. So the system has to adjust to me. and it comes from a place of, switching, and to recognizing, I'm a human being who's worthy of having a life I want.
To have the desires of my heart meant. And from early on, like I told you that my parents like can be believed that was possible. if it's not working for you, figure out a way. So sewing augment that because if we're talking about my sister and I talk about this all the time, [00:34:00] how we have been able to completely shift the way that we dress.
in a way that is empowering, that gives us autonomy. We get to choose the color, we get to choose a fabric, the silhouette. and there's a part of that I particularly like, because I'm very rebellious in the, creative expression, aspect of even like just everyday life or especially on the job.
I am going to be the person. if you, when I just started a new job and, Looking my main thing to look for was like, let me see this dress code. Let me see what it says. Let me see how I can, because I think it's important to show up as yourself as your true self. and I think that there's, there's certainly been a shift, Since I remember like having issues with it when I was in high school about even down to like certain colors that you're supposed to wear on a job interview. And I'm like, how vanilla is that? sewing really augments my ability to show up as I, as I feel [00:35:00] as I am, I get to make that decision and using clothing as expression is, huge.
I think it's huge. And it's, it's something that also augments my other art process, because even just the simple fact that I'm often like painting in public or. In places and I want to be comfortable and stylish. it allows me to do that. it allows me also to share that with other people like, Oh, I like their dress.
I know we've all been there. And it's I get such excitement and response. So I'm like, thank you. I made it. And then people, Oh, mind blown. And so then I take that and of course I do a little happy dance, but then I'm like, you can make things because you too can do that.
Lisa: [00:35:46] it's like riding bikes come from,
Sierra: [00:35:48] what do you think?
Sone-Seere: [00:35:48] People make them. and I was about to say, I like giving permission. It's not really given permission. It's holding up a mirror and just encouraging people. you can make these decisions too. [00:36:00] You also, if you want this kind of empowerment or you want the freedom to be.
Allow your body to be your canvas and just express yourself. You can do that too. I always had this ongoing campaign about getting people into the sewing process. so I feel it's like rebel where, cause I'm also like very sensory oriented. I remember as a child, a lot of the stuff that, Not a lot, but there were things that were out, especially sweaters.
I just would have such a hard time, like the fabric content being on my skin and just would, even little stuff like, how you have your socks and there's a little line on the socks you're seen with the toe. If that is off on my foot.
Lisa: [00:36:44] It's a bad day, it's a wrap.
Sierra: [00:36:45] It's a bad day.
Sone-Seere: [00:36:46] I don't care if I've had to deal with 50,000 other things like, Oh, you, car accident?
No, look at my sock. No, so right. It's like I'm so sensory oriented,
Lisa: [00:36:59] the car [00:37:00] has insurance.
Sierra: [00:37:02] I can't
Sone-Seere: [00:37:04] deal. Okay. So I recognize that about myself. So that's the other thing I love about, sewing and fabric buying, which we know are two
Sierra: [00:37:13] different.
Sone-Seere: [00:37:15] They're two different hobbies, They're related, but, are separate.
comfort during the day, like being literally being comfortable, whatever I'm doing is also. Super important. And speaking of comfort, so you're talking about the mural, right? So that is my first time being up in a, what we call a boom lift. Now I know what you're thinking. What's a boom lift. So if you've ever seen anybody lift go up on a lift and it's sorta like a.
visual. if you're not, if you're on the podcast, I'm making some weird with my hands,
Sierra: [00:37:49] but irregular
Sone-Seere: [00:37:50] there exits they go up and they almost like scissors or whatever, the lifts, regular lifts just go up and they come back down. the nature of our wall [00:38:00] meant that we had to have what we call a boom lift.
So a boom lift. Those uptown left. so it goes up and then it circles around and then you can turn it to the side and then there's another lift. So
Sierra: [00:38:12] it was like, boom.
Lisa: [00:38:13] You're in the air.
Sone-Seere: [00:38:14] wow. Yeah. Yeah, because what happened is the wall we're painting on theirs.
it didn't. But up to the parking lot, it was, there's like a. A little gravel area and a sidewalk. So we were having to, if we just went straight up, we'd be too far from the wall. So we had to go up and then over. And The first time I went up in the lift and, my, fellow artists, collaborator, Andre, he's a construction worker.
So he had this down and everything, and I'm like, still got my, harness on and I'm like, hold up, wait a minute. Where do I clip this to in the lift? And he's Oh, sorta had his half on or whatever. And that's he was comfortable in that space and I was faking like I was, and it's funny because when I went up the [00:39:00] first time and I'm so excited, it's my first huge mural like this.
And my first thought, when we got up there, I was like, okay. Sound, sorry. How are you going to tell this man that you're not going to be able to participate,
Sierra: [00:39:13] making this mural?
Sone-Seere: [00:39:15] Like I really was like, all Oh, maybe I can just do the bottom part of it and use a letter. I don't know. But the feeling of not being grounded drives me nuts.
So again, a sensory thing. But it wasn't so much the height. It was the fact that it was forever. This, it was forever swaying. Cause you're in the air.
Lisa: [00:39:35] The swing. That's the thing I can't get
Sone-Seere: [00:39:37] over. and then once you, once you, if you're going up on this part and you get to the end, it's like moving,
Sierra: [00:39:45] So I
Sone-Seere: [00:39:46] really was thinking like, Oh, I've told them I'm doing this, I've signed all this paperwork and stuff, and I'm going to have to figure out how to tell them I can't do this.
Sierra: [00:39:54] I
Sone-Seere: [00:39:55] got back down. And when I tell you I was grounded, like a mofo, when I got back [00:40:00] down on the ground, cause I was just like, all right, let me feel.
I sat on the ground, feel the ground and I am solid. and I just said to myself, I was like self, this is an opportunity. don't, if we can cuss on here. we sound on podcast. So I was like, thinking about my fear. I'm like, but that you just were up there, it's it's shaky.
And I was like, I just turned to myself. I was like, "fuck your fears", you don't get over it. just like fears, you got to do this, get over it. And so I just, push through the second time I went up, I was good. Wasn't a hundred percent, but I was like, I can do this. And then by the end of it, I'm running the lift myself.
Like he showed me how to do it. I would go up on my own. Yeah. I was just like, so I will say it still is not the most,
Sierra: [00:40:46] grounding experience.
Sone-Seere: [00:40:47] Cause then you're also painting. So sometimes that'd be like painting and I'd be swaying. I would paint a little bit and then it would come back. So it was a lot
Sierra: [00:40:56] to get over in such a large,
[00:41:00] Sone-Seere: [00:40:59] yeah, it was, it was huge.
So I just, I had that moment where I was like, I'm going to be more upset with myself. If I stop doing this is an opportunity is saying something big. We were highlighting to, people in Richmond who. particularly in the Black community where, are all about bringing, fresh, produce and vegetables and fruit to, food deserts.
And, the young lady is also a doula and they both like their beekeepers and stuff. And I had to keep saying it in my head, Focus on your purpose, what you're doing, get over your fears and push through. But it was, my body was tired. cause you're constantly trying to ground yourself and picking stuff up
Lisa: [00:41:44] class to stay well, like it's, it sounds like you're, it sounds like someone had, how you have a pendulum, with the old fashioned, like I'm going to hit in the Taz, you by swinging on a watch in front of you.
It sounds like you were painting. But you were also the watch, like it was swaying forward a little [00:42:00] bit. It swings back since four. I paint a little bit swing back. Yeah.
Sone-Seere: [00:42:04] And it wasn't
Sierra: [00:42:05] always so wildly like
Sone-Seere: [00:42:07] that, but the higher you go, the less grounded you are and the wind was blowing. And, so it was quite the experience.
It took me, want, physically to rest because also what happens. And I didn't learn this is that. I remember I was laying down the day after we finished and I still felt like I was doing this. Like I still, my body had the sensation where I was still moving and it did that for a day and a half.
It was bugged out. But, I'm glad I listened to the voice in me that said push through it. I will let you know that I was harnessed up and clipped onto that thing. nobody's business every time. Cause the other thing I was thinking, I was like, sounds sorry if you fall or do something stupid and somebody asked you if you were all hooked in, you're gonna, if you can answer at that point, you're going to be feeling like stupid.
Like I was like, Nope. Safety first. that was not a time [00:43:00] I chose to rebel. So yeah, it was, it was something else. So
Lisa: [00:43:06] incredible. that sound you're describing about the feeling you're describing. If that happens, apparently when you go on cruises, like if you were on a cruise ship for a day and then like when you get off
Sierra: [00:43:17] and you go to a port or whatever, and you're walking
Lisa: [00:43:19] around your body will still feel like.
You can still feel like you're moving, even if you're standing still, but the outcome is totally worth it.
Sone-Seere: [00:43:28] what a
Lisa: [00:43:30] massive tribute, it's a MultiCare building. It was really tall. It was
Sierra: [00:43:36] really
Sone-Seere: [00:43:36] high
Lisa: [00:43:37] and you, and it's such a beautiful, it's a beautiful tribute.
Sierra: [00:43:41] So I'm glad
Sone-Seere: [00:43:42] you
Lisa: [00:43:43] encouraged yourself.
and believed in yourself enough to stick with it because, yeah, I would not. I'll be like, my part requires being plugged in to the sewing machine.
I guess I could stay at, I guess I could. So with my sewing machine at a standing desk and just moved my foot up and [00:44:00] down, but that's pretty much as far as I'm willing to go in terms of, changing my particular approach to my craft.
I don't think I'll be doing anything that requires me sewing on top of like a two-story three-story building and exposed to the elements or anything that involves swaying.
That's a no,
Sone-Seere: [00:44:19] no, for me, dog,
Lisa: [00:44:21] as we start to wrap up, this has been a beautiful conversation. I want to, I'm eager to hear what you all have planned next. What are your next big sewing things, your next big making things I saw that you did alive with my body model. And I know you've had that for quite a while.
it had been working with them. And I know that you and you also do a lot of other, things in the online, someone community. What's the up next for you? What are some garments you want to get into for as we head into this season, changing weather, how's that
Sierra: [00:44:53] looking for you? Yeah, I'm really excited because I can be all over the [00:45:00] place when it comes to making things, which is fine.
but I wanted to make sure I could
Sone-Seere: [00:45:05] make
Sierra: [00:45:07] a cohesive fall garment collection, whatever you want to call it. so I did the same Mark as a design, your wardrobe, project or. Thing that they do, and it just guides you through like concept to like completion. And so I actually, I was like, I'm going to actually do this instead of just fake doing it.
now I did read through rather than watching every single video, but I did that. And then I was like, all right, cool. So part of that process, I like picked a color palette. I use some of the fab, it's all fabric for my stash, which is amazing, great to use. I was like, wow,
Lisa: [00:45:48] you just do shopping your stash.
Sone-Seere: [00:45:51] W
Sierra: [00:45:51] finally, that's not to say that I'm not buying fabric right now because that would be a lie. But for this particular project, I was like, I'm [00:46:00] going to use my stash. It's here. Like just use it. Don't just look at it and pet the fabric. and then I sketched the, looks on my, mind, body model quirky because it helped me understand, okay, this is where I'm want for him to hit.
And this is how much ease I want this to be in. Or maybe I'll make it this size.
Sone-Seere: [00:46:17] So I'm really looking forward
Sierra: [00:46:19] to making those garments. Like I have the fabric over there. I have the patterns cut out. I just have to sit down and do it. So that's my big thing. I'm really excited. And then I can finally have a sketch to finish thing.
I'm looking forward to all the mustard and teal and Burt orange makes out I'll have for whatever season. This is because apparently Georgia has like a fake fall. Oh, my air’s back on. I don't understand, very confusing, but that is my next big thing. And I'll still do stuff in between, but I'm excited to have a cohesive little, I'm not going to call it capsule collection, cause that doesn't really [00:47:00] fit for me.
But. Fall Makes
Lisa: [00:47:03] it. You know what I love about you talking about the My Body Model and the croaky, when it goes back to what Sone-Seere was just saying that you can allow your body to be your canvas.
Sierra: [00:47:14] Absolutely.
Lisa: [00:47:16] When we see your collection and your projects for the fall, the colors you're describing, it really is a beautiful illustration of you are your canvas.
And so using the My Body Model and in the drawing and the sketching and the coloring and look to see where is this going to hit me, or what do I want here for this hem rise and et cetera. that's just really beautiful. and it does it just cements this idea about sewing as a tool of liberation and empowerment, that you absolutely, you'll never again be by what some department store thinks you should be wearing.
Sierra: [00:47:52] Yes. It's my body. I wear what I want. Okay. Right
Lisa: [00:47:57] here. What about you? Sone-Seere, do you [00:48:00] have any upcoming, exciting sewing projects or art projects or
Sone-Seere: [00:48:04] both? so I will, it's a two part thing, but what the first part is, inspired by Sierra because, a couple of weeks ago I went down. to visit with her and spend some time.
I think it was a couple of weeks. I don't know what time is. so I went there sometime this year. and, we did this sort of Marie Kondo-ing of her fabric stash. We went through everything cause, it was in different Like stages of, I guess putting away, I think everybody can relate to that if you are, a fabric collector.
Yes. And, so we went through and she was able to touch everything. We would talk about it or laugh. We would decide, is this going to me? Is it going to stay in her stash or is she donating it? and then we had this sort of, Assembly line where we would, I would fold it back and we put the boards in there and decide where it was going and, seeing [00:49:00] how that even sparked, renewal and Sierra.
So I was like, Oh, I can't wait to get back and start organizing my fabric too. and it also made me think about, Lisa, your system of. categorizing or organizing your fabric? I just, I will never forget when you were showing me how you have the notebook and, the fabric suggestions you have the swatch book.
Like those are goals. I'm not there yet, but I'm on my way. the first part of what I want to do is continue to organize this stuff I have, so that. the part of me that likes to be free and creative can still benefit from some structure. and so then I'm not buying the same things because
Sierra: [00:49:42] that happens too sometimes, but,
Sone-Seere: [00:49:44] because I'm so visual, it helps to have things organized visually too.
I do want to take on the, I'll say task. I would like to make some jeans. I didn't, I know Sierra was so excited. I don't think I [00:50:00] necessarily had the desire, so much before now, but, again, getting to see the things that my sister is making in her sort of explaining that genes is just, you've done some difficult projects before.
It's just more steps. So I'm going to make a pair of jeans. And I also, this is probably at least a year away because I've been getting, so many, like compliments and questions about sewing, wanting to look into, use a mass studio to teach some very small, basic sewing classes. particularly for, the women I encounter you are running into the same, challenges with finding things that are unique to them as well.
so I have to make sure I balance that because another thing that my sister and I talk about is we get excited about opportunities and it's we take them along, we look up and our plate is like, Oh my goodness.
Lisa: [00:50:55] Yes. It's is this a plate or a platter? When did this happen?
Sone-Seere: [00:50:58] It's Oh my gosh.
[00:51:00] Lisa: [00:51:00] I always say yes.
Sone-Seere: [00:51:02] And then I'm like, I'm so tired. and in closing that out, is that everything that I'm thinking about, even if I think about the next year, Wanting to do so in a way that allows me more free time. That allows me more of a choice to do that. I've traditionally been someone who takes on a lot of commissions and I feel blessed to have that many requests.
Yes. but I have to be very vigilant about my boundaries with my time. and balancing that with the things that I do want to take on. So anything that I'm putting my thoughts in my mind to, coming up next is going to be balanced and I'll add one thing and I know Sierra is going to be like, Oh my gosh, you're signing us up for something.
Sierra: [00:51:47] but
Sone-Seere: [00:51:48] we're going to do this. We keep talking about it. And we actually do
Sierra: [00:51:52] it. We just have to
Sone-Seere: [00:51:53] structure it and record and, do all that. we've decided like our team name is the sisters
Sierra: [00:51:58] B [00:52:00] and
Sone-Seere: [00:52:00] one of the things we like doing is taking every day songs and remixing them. To fit into the fabric and sewing world.
So it is an elaborate pondering, like we have a list growing up, not only songs that were remixing, but like stuff that needs to go on T shirts, but, there's a whole video. I'll give you a little sneak peek. I'm not going to sing it, but I will tell you. the song I'm
Sierra: [00:52:33] like, I'm done,
Sone-Seere: [00:52:35] with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, "the girl is mine".
So we have concepted that we were going to remake the video, but instead of the girl is smile, it's the fabric smile. So we had this whole, yeah. So I'm going to say 2021, 2022, look out for the sisters be mixed tape. it is, sure to be a hot mess.
[00:53:00] Lisa: [00:53:01] It hits, I was saying it could be a hit.
Sone-Seere: [00:53:05] It’s gonna hit something…
Sierra: [00:53:06] the
Lisa: [00:53:06] fabric is mine. I love it. I am so excited. I can imagine. Yeah, like walking down the aisles of the fabric store and both hands reached for the same bolt, you're back and forth about who needs more, who needs it more. oh, goodness. the thing that my husband loves to quote to me is that, is it the old Dolphy?
Sone-Seere: [00:53:29] cut it.
Lisa: [00:53:31] Yeah. Yeah. Loves it. He's he'll pick up a piece of fabric and a song and he's like Lisa, this fabric is way too big. You need to cut it.
Sone-Seere: [00:53:39] Yeah.
Sierra: [00:53:40] Yes. It
Sone-Seere: [00:53:44] so much fun.
Lisa: [00:53:45] Yeah, I cannot wait. And I hope that when y'all mixtape drops that you will come back to the podcast for us. So listening session, a special listening section of the sisters be mixed [00:54:00] tape. there's a fabric addition. There's a snuff as the unselling addition of all the bad words in it.
it's all. Yeah, there's all sorts of things that are in the works. when we, before we leave, tell us where we can find you on social media will, I'll be sure to include the links to your projects in the show notes. How can people find you and follow you on Instagram and other parts of the internet world?
Sierra: [00:54:26] Yeah. I'm on Instagram, at Sierra Burrell. that's my name and I've had it for a long time, so I'm not going to change that. I also have a blog called Seams like Sierra and I post intermittently on there.
Sone-Seere: [00:54:40] My Instagram handle is at jusre, J U S R E. And my website is www.Justre.com.
So J U S R E.
Lisa: [00:54:53] I am just so grateful to you. Oh my goodness. I forgot that I can live. I forgot to mention this. You all the stitch please [00:55:00] logo with the Afro and the soling notions flying out of her hair. that was designed and gifted to the stitch please podcasts by Sone-Seere.
Sierra: [00:55:11] and I was
Sone-Seere: [00:55:12] honored to even be asked easy for me.
Lisa: [00:55:15] so beautiful. And it's so beautiful. It's so loving. I love it so much. And, one of our friends, Naomi is convinced that it is her.
He's this is me. No, I've got to make sure I get, this is obviously my face on here. So yeah. Thank you so much. Sone-Seere and Sierra for being with us today. This has been a delightful, beautiful, generous episode. I am so excited for it to hit the light of day. Thank you also for your patience, and being on the zoom today.
So for those who are listening to the podcast, I hope you've enjoyed this interview. If you are a patriotic
Sierra: [00:55:52] subscriber, you will get to see
Lisa: [00:55:54] the video as well. which is glorious
Sierra: [00:55:58] to look at our
Lisa: [00:55:58] lovely faces [00:56:00] and spaces, but this has been a delight. Thank you so super much. Y'all are amazing.
Sone-Seere: [00:56:06] You're amazing.
Sierra: [00:56:07] We, you are
Sone-Seere: [00:56:08] maybe the mirrors. We be the mirrors. So thank you, Lisa, for continuing to be your generous funny.
silly wisdom filled and pioneering. That's the word pioneering, in this world as a beautiful Black woman who sows and takes on so many things, don't ever forget that, like you, you're a pioneer and I think we're just really delighted to have met you and to get to share space with you.
So thank you for including us.
Lisa: [00:56:44] Excellent. all the loving hearts. All the loving hearts y'all are a delight. Hey.
You've been listening to the stitch pleas podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group, where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by [00:57:00] listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at Black Women email@example.com. If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon P a T R E O N.
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Thank you so much. Come back next week [00:58:00] and we'll help you get your stitch