Lisa Woolfork 0:09
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
Welcome to the very first live show for the Stitch Please podcast that was recorded on March 26 2022. At Pike Place Market when we visited Deborah Boone's amazing shop called Our Fabric Stash. Located in historic Pike Place Market. Deborah sells amazing fabric new but mostly consigned pieces that allows us to think about sewing and really sustainable ways. She sells pieces online as well as patterns. We talk about this amazing coat she had on it looks like- what did I call it? A sexy Jedi. It was a really, really cute coat. And so I know she's working on a pattern for that. And I'm very glad to have met her and worked with her. The Stitch Please podcast very first live show is sponsored in part by Bernina. Bernina is a sewing machine company, you know, that was 'made to create' is one of their slogans. And I wanted to thank them for their support of the Stitch Please podcast. I also wanted to draw you all's attention to some Stitch Please guests that are also Bernina ambassadors. So when we started out in the very early days of the podcast, I spoke with Aaronica Cole in Episode 53. And then just recently, a few weeks ago, well, maybe closer to a month ago, I spoke with Nefertiti Griggs, or the Corny Rainbow who was also a Bernina. Ambassador, and that is episode 122. Coming up in a few months, Marcia Spencer is another Bernina ambassador, who will be on the show. So I'm really again grateful to Bernina for their support and encourage you all to listen to these Bernina ambassadors who have visited the Stitch Please podcast and helped us get our stitch together. I'm also very grateful to Dr. Julie Nelson Christoph and Dr. Erin Colbert-White from the University of Puget Sound. They were very supportive during the live taping of the podcast and very supportive with the equipment. So I'm very grateful to the University of Puget Sound for making this happen. And finally, my producer, Latrice Sampson Richards, thank you so much for all that you have done to make this event happen. Latrice is fantastic with logistics, as well as with the production of the episode after she's giving you these excellent logistics. And so thank you so much to Latrice for putting together what you are about to hear. So without further ado, here is the very first live show of the Stitch Please podcast
Hey, friends, hey, welcome. Welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. Now, I do say this every week. This is a very special episode. But this episode is especially special special, because for the first time in my entire podcasting career, I'm not podcasting at my house.
I'm not downstairs in the sewing room in the corner facing a wall recording, or sitting in my special corner recording on YouTube or on you know, what's that called, Zoom, and these other interviews. I get to talk with someone for the very first time, live and in living color in actual real life. This is Deborah who does not have COVID. And Lisa does also not have COVID. And that's Latrice over there who you cannot see yet. Also does not have COVID. But this is going to be a special new episode as it's going to kind of do two things. One, I think it's going to launch the start of my travel sewing series because I hope to go more places. And if you are a brand or a company and you want to support me in the travel sewing series, you can send me some information and I will consider it, because I vetted Bernina quite carefully before inviting them to work with me on this project. And I have to say that the folks that I have worked with and spoken with have been really very helpful and so I just want to give a shout out to Bernina, USA, to Burnett, USA, to the folks that work in these in all the different capacities. I can't, I'm not gonna be able to, I don't want to forget any names. So I'm not gonna say any names, but you know who you are. And I'm very grateful for all the support that you've given for this project. So our episode today is about Our Fabric Stash. And I am joined today with Deborah Boone, who is the owner of Our Fabric Stash. So, Deborah, welcome to the program. It is very weird to welcome you to your own store. But welcome.
Thank you. I'm so glad to be here and so glad to have you both here in the store. And I'm looking forward to this being a wonderful, wonderful occasion and collaboration going forward.
Lisa Woolfork 5:51
Excellent. This is great news. So tell me, Deborah, how did you start? I know that the shop is heading into its eighth year here at Pike Place Market in Seattle, in the pacific northwest of the United States. And it's the sea, the market has been great, y'all if you have never been to Seattle. It is so nice. There are so many things to do. The weather is good. The views are spectacular. Up near Puget Sound, they have this mountain that keeps hiding, like I saw the first day I got here, and I haven't seen it since because it's been so cloudy. And so I'm glad I have photos, because
I'll tell you this, my husband and I have a thing. If the mountain shows itself, that means good people are coming to town. So (laughs).
Lisa Woolfork 6:39
It was really showing itself off when I flew in. I made a whole video. I was like "Is that real?" Yeah, that's where my head was. So thank you for that. But tell us a bit about how does your sewing story begin? I tend to ask people that like, how did your sewing story begin? What got you started in sewing?
Well, actually, it was an interest of mine as a young kid. And, but I think also too, in parallel with that, was I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But I didn't know that. If I had gotten into sewing at the young age of eight, I used to try on clothes. I used to design clothes on myself because I didn't have a mannequin. By the time I got to high school, there was a sewing class offered. But I suppressed it, because I knew if I got into an actual craft, I probably wouldn't have made it to college. So it wasn't until actually I finished school, and moved to the Pacific Northwest. And I lived in Olympia, and this was like 32 years ago. So it wasn't nothing to do and sewing, it was time to get to sewing.
Lisa Woolfork 7:59
So now you're situated in a space where now you have nothing to distract you from what sewing can bring. What were some of the first things you made?
Well, the very first thing I made, actually, I have it here. It's in that counter, on the top shelf.
Lisa Woolfork 8:18
How many of us have your very first sewing project that you could put your hands on right now? I don't know if I can. I think my very first project was a tote bag made out of some white denim with red webbing. And then my spouse wrote then our son's name on it in Sharpie, like that's my first project. Look at that! Just put it away. Nobody wants to see that. You know, you know, Deborah, nobody likes a show off.
So the store actually pays homage to the woman who taught me how to sew. So the very first stash I got the opportunity to shop in was her stash. When I met her, I asked, "Would you teach me how to sew?" And she said, "I don't have time. But here's a sewing machine and a book go read." And so I went off and I did that and they came back to her and she said "Deborah, you did not read and she got the seam ripper for this particular dress. And so where I had, this is what I made.
Lisa Woolfork 9:25
I cannot believe that that was the first thing you made. That is ridiculous. Like that is beautiful. The way that she's experimenting with textures and different types of fabrics on the same garment is quite advanced. It looks like it has kind of a shantung type nub to the fabric, but I'm not sure if it's silk or not. But what I'm really excited about is this contrast. There are some beginning sewists who would look at this top and think 'I'm not going to touch that, because that looks too complicated.' That would not be Deborah's path.
So what I had trouble with was the zipper. And that's what she took out. The other thing I had trouble with was darts. Understanding darts. And then also the, the facing. Yes.
Lisa Woolfork 10:22
Did you serge that facing?
No. I turned it under
Lisa Woolfork 10:24
Oh, my goodness. Y'all, the facing is very well constructed for a beginner. And the fact that she cleaned it up. She didn't have a serger. So she just turned it under. And it looks great. It really does. It looks great. It's funny, so what made you choose a dress as your first project, when you could have chosen, I don't know, a tote bag, like some of us did, or were told to do with sewing class.
Well, in growing up, I played dress-up with my mother's clothes as well as with my aunt's clothes. And so I wanted to make a garment, something that I can actually wear. So that's what I did. I wore that garment for about 10 years. Wow, that is wonderful. I am so glad to see that.
Lisa Woolfork 11:14
Wow, that is wonderful. I am so glad to see that. And so one of the another questions that I had was, you are also an artist, and you are a fiber artist and a stitching artist. And actually one of the things, one of the pieces you're wearing right now is something that you designed the African Samurai, I was calling an Afro Samurai after the cartoon series, but that is a beautiful piece, and I see it in different varieties around the store it seems. Can you talk about this beautiful jacket? Oh my gosh, y'all. If you are a Patreon subscriber, you have the opportunity to be watching this as we are recording it here on March 26. Pacific Standard Time at around 12:44. This episode will be published sometime in June, probably, and the video will be released to Patreon folks as well again. I think we're recording this. I hope the Zoom is recording. Okay. So I don't know. We're looking to see if the Zoom is recording. Or if the Zoom is not recording, then congratulations, Patreon peeps, you got to see the live of the live show. Okay, so my question was- I got distracted by my own excitement- was about how wonderful the Afro Samurai jacket is, or African Samurai jacket is, could you talk a bit about it and like where the inspiration came from?
Well, I have an affinity to the aesthetic, the Japanese aesthetic, I'm really attracted to it. And as well as my own culture. So I wanted an opportunity to celebrate both. And so then the other thing too, is I wanted something that can fit different body types, but also accent it is well yes. And so in the design of it, I made sure that there was enough room for coverage if you needed to, to have it as well as in the back as well. But let me show you. The back of it has a racerback so, like it kinda accentuates the back.
Lisa Woolfork 13:25
Yes the center, the center back seam. And then I love this, this kind of box pleat, this inverted pleat right here, which gives you a lot of room to accommodate the swing. Right so that as you're moving, I know that's really very clever. And the way that the raglan back kind of allows the way that the raglan back allows for a type of sleeve that is really forgiving in terms of giving your upper body movement, and it looks amazing. I mean the way that you embellished it, the bias tape that you did. Did you make that bias tape?
I did actually from one of our jelly rolls. As a matter of fact it was made from the very first jelly roll that I made for the store which was about five years ago. I made it into a fabric and then cut it on the bias.
Lisa Woolfork 14:16
Oh! So you took the jelly roll. And now y'all if you don't know a jelly roll is a fabric bundle that is usually standardized at two and a half inches. So two and a half inch strips that go across the width of fabric, right, and woven fabrics are typically 44 inches 44-45 or between 42 and 45. And you then cut it across with the fabric. You stack them on top, is it about 40? 40 strips?
Normally it's 42 strips, if you do it at 42 and a half. We do ours at three inches and we include 24.
Lisa Woolfork 15:01
Oh, wow. Okay, so you get wider you get more things. So it's three inches, rather than two and a half. And that kind of accommodates for that same conversion. So you sewed all your jelly rolls into strips. And then may you still tell all strips into one big piece. And then you made the bias.
and then I made the bias.
Lisa Woolfork 15:22
And was it an issue to deal with the seams?
No, you just need to make sure that you keep the seams open.
Lisa Woolfork 15:29
Press the seams open. Well, I'm telling you pressing is a huge part of sewing. I hate ironing, I don't like to iron. I think ironing sucks. But pressing, pressing I like, because pressing is a way to bring your vision to life. And if you are serious about sewing, I don't like to lecture people, because y'all are grown, do what you want. But pressing is something you will want to do. I press my patterns when I get them out the envelope. I press. I do because when you press your pattern it makes static electricity, and it makes your, you know, it makes the pattern stick to the fabric. You can then, I use weights because I hate pins. I hate pins. I use weights and put those down, and then you can cut with no difficulty. And so pressing is amazing. So the idea that you have to see, so is it 23 different fabrics?
It is 24 different fabrics.
Lisa Woolfork 16:22
Twenty-four different African fabrics sewn with the fabric across and then cut into bias tape and made into this. As you see, she has it as embellishment on the sleeve in the flat as a double fold bias. And then she's folded it again, just like I did earlier today on that demo for the Bernina demo for the Bernette 33. You then fold that in half by pressing by pressing, and then you can put it on this beautiful edge, and it really brings that fabric to life. Now, did I ask about this fabric? Do you have more of this?
Yes, I do.
Lisa Woolfork 17:01
Listen, y'all when I walked in, I saw on one of the dress forms this gorgeous, this gorgeous Afro, African Samurai piece. But that one has a hood. Is that a hood or is that a shawl collar?
It's the same shawl collar this way, but if you turn it around.
Lisa Woolfork 17:21
Oh! okay, so now that you said that, I'm gonna need you to do that real quick for me, because I like the idea of having garments that are two garments and one. So the idea that you can- are you saying this is reversible?
It is not reversible. But if I turn it upside down.
Lisa Woolfork 17:38
Oh! What!? Y'all, she has turned this jacket from right side up to upside down. When you turn the jacket upside down, it will make a hood. You look like a Jedi! You know like a sexy Black Jedi. I want to be a sexy- Well, I was gonna say, I was gonna say "I want to be a sexy Black jedi, and then I remembered who I was. I'm like, "I'm that bitch. I already am the sexy Black jedi.
Y'all here to see the sexy Black Jedi? Sure, sure. Okay, so this is one garment. This is what I like to call a convertible garment. If you wear it one way, it's a shawl collar. If you turn it upside down. You can be a sexy Jedi. And I have friends who have very strong affinities for certain fabrics. I have a friend who loves linen. I have a couple of friends that love denim. If you did that piece using denim, or a pre quilted fabric. And yeah, oh yeah, I like it. So tell me where can we get this pattern or a tutorial to make ourselves into sexy Jedis?
I would say coming in June, coming in June will be classes. But right now we offer it as a custom piece.
Lisa Woolfork 19:07
Oh, so you make it for people?
Yes, we do.
Lisa Woolfork 19:12
Okay, so if someone wants to learn, they need to be patient. And then they can take a class with you to sign up. You all are gonna want to do this if you too want to be a sexy Jedi. And honestly, who doesn't? Beautiful. I really, really just love that. So now you have been in this shop for eight years coming around next year. So tell me what made you move to this location. And what has been some of the benefits about being in this kind of marketplace?
Well I'll start back a little bit. We started as a twice a year sale and here in the region. But our very first brick and mortar after that was in the International District. And we were there for two years. And what I would do is whenever people would come or call, I would jot down where I'm giving them directions from. And the number one place that people were calling from was Pike Place Market.
Lisa Woolfork 20:11
Oh, okay. "I'm in Pike Place Market. Can you tell me how to get to you?" Okay.
Yes. Uh huh. So that was that journey in coming, coming to the market. When we came in actually, that's a long story associated with that. But it was divine order.
Lisa Woolfork 20:29
That is wonderful that you're able to scale up.
And so, but being here at the market has definitely been a blessing. It is going on the eighth year, come next month, April.
Lisa Woolfork 20:42
And so it has been an opportunity, basically, to hone the business. And get the opportunity to run a retail. I'd never never did retail before. And so coming off of my career in high tech, I wanted to get into my passion. And so this has allowed me the opportunity to do so.
Lisa Woolfork 21:08
That is wonderful. And one of my questions was about the model of this store. You are really shining a light on issues of sustainability. Can you talk a little bit about what Our Fabric Stash is. You don't contact with, usually you typically don't contact with fabric manufacturers and buy a line or anything like that. You are working with used and donated fabrics, is that right?
Well, let me just give you the model. The model is consignment. And so when we started our first events, they were called "Purge Parties,"
Lisa Woolfork 21:44
And we welcome the community to take a look at your stash that you have. If you're not ready to purge, at least take the opportunity to organize it. Yes. And so with that, we would do it twice a year. We did it the spring and in the fall. And it was basically engaged in the sewing community, the artists, the teachers, you know, the designers, that entire breadth of the community to come and earn some cash for your stash.
Lisa Woolfork 22:15
Cash for your stash. You know what I like about that is that I have so much stuff. And the idea that I could get even a fraction of the money that I paid, you know, and also the way that sometimes fabric can amortize over time? Like you spent, you bought it for $25 a yard, but you've had it for 10 years and not touched it. And so you're totally happy to get five bucks for it now. Yeah, you know, that's wonderful. So believe it or not, we are near the end of our time. And I have to ask you the question I've been asking everybody lately. The slogan for the Stitch Please podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. What advice would you give for someone to help them get their stitch together? You already do it with the stash. So tell us, I don't know if you, if that's what get your stitch together- I usually ask people whatever it means to you, that's what I want to hear.
Well, the entire business concept is that. And so it is welcoming people to not necessarily put the items in the waste stream. And I'm not necessarily speaking of the stashaholics; I'm speaking of their loved ones. And so this is an extension of our legacy, and so whenever we get the opportunity to retain that, yes, we welcome it.
Lisa Woolfork 23:38
Wonderful, wonderful. And on that note, Deborah Boone, thank you so much for all of this, for helping us get our stitch together, for opening your shop to the Stitch Please podcast and Afros and Audios. Thank you to Afros and Audios. Thank you to you. Thank you to Bernina USA and Bernette, USA. Thank you to the University of Puget Sound for bringing me here for the Chisholm Residency. And thank you to you all, the Patreon supporters and those who are not yet Patreon supporters. I am so glad that you were willing to share some of your time and attention with me today. And come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.
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