The Fashionable Therapist

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Jessica explains her approach to her work-sewing balance this way. “I take my job very seriously because I know the profound impact my words have on people’s lives and outcomes. So, everyday I get to be a Therapist is a day that is both meaningful, and heavy to me. Sewing, on the other hand provides me with the freedom to be myself. It gives me a space to make mistakes and say exactly what I have to say, in the way I want to say it without consequence. That experience is so meaningful to my emotional and mental health. I have been a Marriage and Family Therapist, in private practice for 10 years By far, branching out on my own to become an entrepreneur of a sustainable business has been an awe inspiring event for me. Over the years, I/my business has been featured in publications like Parenting Magazine, Heart and Soul magazine, Counseling Today magazine, but my greatest accomplishment is the work that happens behind closed doors, with my people. I have only been sewing for 5 years but my sewing journey has provided me with so many opportunities to learn who I really am through the process of building my own self-esteem. I never would have imagined that 5 years ago, when my client gifted me an old sewing machine of hers, that I would become a Janome maker, be featured in Sewn magazine, have an opportunity to speak on a sewing related podcast or even become a coalition member of Black Makers Matter. I have learned that my perspective matters and I don’t want to squander the opportunity to positively affect people, either through sewing or through my therapeutic intervention. To me, there is nothing more meaningful than that!”

Her upcoming project is the relaunch of Relationship Rocket Science: I am so excited to be relaunching my Relationship Rocket Science brand which is geared toward teaching people how to create the lives they want through their relationships. I am an educator at heart, so it is very important to me that my people walk away from me with tools and skills that will allow them to execute what they have learned successfully. For this reason, I will soon be releasing a series of workbooks that will address healing oneself, communication skill building and, dating and marriage tools for success. I realize that I cannot be everyone’s therapist, so I’m using Relationship Rocket Science to touch as many people as I can in a variety of ways. I love to answer people’s questions about love and all kinds of relationships, so My Relationship Rocket Science advice column podcast is in the planning stages and will be up and running soon. I’m so excited about all of it!

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork 0:15

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 the Stitch Please podcast. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. And I am speaking today with Jessica Webb. Jessica is the fashionable therapist on Instagram. She is a delight. She is a marriage and family counselor in private practice, and she sews like the wind. So Jessica, welcome to the program

Jessica 1:17

Hello thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.

Lisa Woolfork 1:22

This is so great. I'm so happy you are here as well. We are now in the month of December in 2020, which is the end of the year and we are heading through to 2021 quite soon. And I want I invited Jessica to come on the program because I was very interested in giving us some type of advice or tips on what it meant to transition from 2020 to 2021. This is about the time because I'm thinking about what their new year's resolutions are going to be or putting up new plans or some people do quarterly plans for the future. Some people do whole years. I tend to take it just one day at a time and see what happens. But I invited Jessica because I thought that she would have a lot of things to share with us about what it meant to think about our sewing in this context as well as about different resolutions that we might need to step into this new year. Jessica, can you get started just by telling us your sewing story. How did sewing start for you?

Jessica 2:22

Yeah, okay.

It's interesting, because I had a grandmother, who is now deceased. She She died when I was about 19 years old, who I did not know, was an amazing seamstress. And I did not know that until I started becoming ex excited about sewing and my family didn't know that I was initially I was stalking YouTube pages and thinking to myself how can I do this, I've always been a very creative person, I used to express myself through my hair always through my writing. But when I came to the idea that I want to be able to make my own clothes, I had no idea where to start. And so I had a client at the time, which is interesting, who was a design student. And she and I, through her therapy would talk about some things that were important to her. And she brought in her sketches and I just remember gushing over them and talking about how I would be interested in starting that and learning how to sell and one day towards the end of her cycle. In therapy. She brought this singer sewing machine that probably the most simple machine that didn't have any bells nor whistles. And she said Jessica, I want you to have this she said sewing is not as hard as you think it is. I want you to try it. And I said I can't take this from you. She said please take this for me because I have six more just like them collecting dust in my basement. I said okay, so I take the sewing machine and the first thing that I do is go to Joanne and grab a very easy Vogue pattern. Why did I do that?

Lisa Woolfork 4:04

Wait! A very easy Vogue pattern. I would like to Let the record show that Miss Jessica Webb, who doesn't know nam, nam none zero information about sewing has been gifted a sewing machine and head straight to Joanne's to get a very easy vogue pattern.

Jessica 4:28

very easy

So I am

Lisa Woolfork 4:30


Jessica 4:31

listening to what the manufacturer says. And apparently they are lying because

I went when I got to Joanne I found somebody that was working there. And I said to her What are notions and where are they like this is

Lisa Woolfork 4:50

oh my gosh, I love this.

Jessica 4:51

And this was just literally five years ago. This was in 2015 in June of 2015. Okay, so She helps me sort some things out. She did not warn me about that pattern, which I'm mad. But

Lisa Woolfork 5:06

Oh, that's so funny. Honestly, I don't know if this is like some sewing malpractice. I don't know, I used to work at a Joanne's years ago when I was in graduate school. That was over 20 years ago. And if you had walked in there when I was in there saying, I want to learn to sew. This is my first pattern is very easy Vogue. Now, lady, can you take me to where these things called notions are? I would have probably said, Are you sure about that pattern?

Jessica 5:31

Now, she did look at me sideways. But listen, I'm a weirdo. So people always look at me sideways. So I didn't think anything of it. And I even have pictures, I should send you that picture. I even have pictures of me like being completely flabbergasted and exasperated by this thing. So I let that go. And I realized that sewing with patterns is not for me. So I started cutting my clothes. And I started using the shapes of my clothes as patterns, just to learn how to work the actual machine. Because remember, the machine was used, it didn't come with a manual, it was just a machine. And I just had to figure it all out. And in doing so, I just grew, I learned how to do things that I never thought that I would be able to do. And by the year 2016, I had learned how to make some pretty important pieces, at least for me at the time. But I kind of got distracted. I think when you are somebody who's a thinker, and you're very intuitive, and you're very tied into other people. Sewing for me is difficult when I cannot be emotionally weightless, when I have a lot of pressure or New York is overwhelmed I cannot create something I can do. I want to I dream about it. I Pinterest everything in the world. But I can't physically sit at my machine and work.

Lisa Woolfork 7:04

And yeah, because it just feels too heavy. It feels like now let me before you before we talk about the 2016 I do want to go back because I will I am not gonna let this go that you that you started with a Vogue pattern. And then you decided that patterns were no good for you.

Jessica 7:19

I did. And now I am like I don't know why people do this.

Lisa Woolfork 7:23

You're like, I think my client might need some more therapy because she's a liar. Yeah, she has not been honest with me about the sewing thing. Because it's quite difficult. And so the thing I'm so excited about is that instead of saying this sewing thing is ridiculous. You say, Okay, I still want to do I'm going to give it a try. Let me cut up my clothes, and make my own patterns from that. How did you make that leap from? patterns are not for me, because some folks who say patterns are not for me also think sewing is not for me. I tried it didn't work is too frustrating. The instructions don't make sense to me. I don't understand the illustrations, forget it. This is dumb. You said you've maybe had that experience. But you said you know what? I have clothes in my closet that were made by somebody. Let me go in there and take those apart, like how did you make that leap?

Jessica 8:15

I have attention deficit disorder. And I have always been an alternative learner. And I had to teach myself a whole lot of things that come very naturally to other people throughout my life. So that being a barrier or challenge didn't really present that way to me, the way my brain works. It's just okay, that didn't work. Let me go in a different direction let me try this. So I just think that once I'm the kind of person that once I've decided on something, I don't know who you think you are, that's gonna stop me. Because if you're not

Lisa Woolfork 8:54

right, yeah,

Jessica 8:56

so yeah, I wanted to sell period. And I've never been reading has always been a challenge for me, even though I love to write, make it make sense, I don't understand. But so I knew that reading the instructions was not going to be something that I could do easily, or that it would allow me to produce something that looks good. So the pictures of course, I was reading but I didn't necessarily even know what the terms were at that point. Because remember, I had no prior instructions, all the basic terms basting gathering. I don't know what that is. So I just had to play and figure it out. And so I would set small goals for myself. And today, I'm going to figure out how what is a bobbin? And how does that work? And then today, I'm going to figure out what these little lines are. What is five eighths of an inch and how do I line that up? And what am I supposed to be looking at when I'm stitching? Am I looking at the needle? Am I looking at my clothes? Am I looking at the line? What am I looking at right now. Little things, those small milestones that I made over the weeks over the months over the days and when I first started, but when you have ADD that you have the ability to hyper focus on things that you really like. So I would stay up into hours into the night, just sitting and trying to figure this whole thing out, or I'm gonna make a skirt tonight. I don't even know how to make it but this skirt, and Exactly. So that was the way that I transitioned was how I always transition in what I'm doing in my life, I just make those things happen, regardless of what's in front of me.

Lisa Woolfork 10:40

That is so powerful. And what I appreciate about what you're saying, is that because of your ADD, you were used to finding alternative solutions, and that you win when you confront a roadblock. It's not Okay, nevermind not gonna do it. That's clearly a stepping stone for you. You're like, Okay, so this thing didn't work. I don't understand it. Let me figure it out. And then you just do so I think that's really incredible. So you were talking about in 2016. How you were having difficulty like sitting and focusing with sowing, because you are the type of person that needs emotional levity in order to sort of sit or to create at all, what, what changed for you in 2016, in terms of your sewing, because this is pretty early, considering that you just started in 2015, and in June of 2015.

Jessica 11:34

So by somewhere in 2016, I just completely put it down. And if I'm totally honest, it was because I was dealing with some depression. And I could not,I couldn't come back, I couldn't find my way back to that I have three children, I run a business and I have to stay okay for that. So every drip drop of my emotional wellness was poured into every other aspect that couldn't fall, the balls that couldn't get dropped, got what they needed. And so sewing just that finger was sitting in my closet for an entire year. I didn't pick it back up. So I like to tell people that I've been sewing since 2015. But I've only been sewing for four years because I didn't pick it back up until 2017. And I just kind of hit the ground running. At that point, I'd set a new goal for myself, to learn how to pattern and I said, I don't know what I got to do.But I'm going to figure this thing out. I'm a car. And by this time, I found my way to Instagram and really started making some, some good connections with people who I could ask ,people who I really look up to people who I thought would never even answer my DMS because the heck am I and even other people who just were willing to help me, I use that. And I just forged a way to to get to the other side of pattern sewing. And that's what brings me here today.

Lisa Woolfork 13:16

That's fantastic. Do you remember what the second pattern you sewed was? Because the first thing you grabbed, of course, was the cool, very easy Vogue, the very easy of the hardest. It's so clear that you weren't that you weren't versed in the vocabulary or rankings, so to speak of the apparel pattern sewing patterns, or at least the Big Four patterns. Because those of us who do so with these patterns know that Vogue is considered to be the most difficult because it's because of the way it has these designers and it has always been connected to fashion and high fashion and then you get folks who will design for Vogue and I don't know it's just very interesting that the Vogue's appeal to you because they're really gorgeous

Jessica 14:00

Yea it is fashion baby it is fashion

Lisa Woolfork 14:02

Yeah it is fashion you feel like I'm the fashionable therapist, not the unfashionable therapist,

Jessica 14:06

I need the vogue.

I looked at this one pattern I know what it is and I can tell you the pattern number it was Vogue 9075 that jumpsuit. And I said oh i'ts simple it's this wide leg cool white jumpsuit with what looks like a T shirt.

Lisa Woolfork 14:22

Wrong. No I can. I am right here next to my podcast studio, which I say podcast studio. But what it really is a two foot folding table with a microphone setup on it. But it's right next to my pattern cabinet and my pattern cabinet came from Joanne's when the Joanne's moved. I tell folks this all the time y'all if you're Joanne's or you're some big fabric store whatever is moving if they are moving from one location to the other, go there and buy fixtures because you know how they have the pattern drawers that had that say simplicity or vogue gotten them. I have one of those in my house right now. And I paid $25 for

Jessica 15:04

oh thats wonderful

Lisa Woolfork 15:06

I had to get three people to move it in this house because it is heavy. And now it is as full as any of the ones they have at the fabric stores. But I'm like, I'm kind of looking at my bones real quick and see if I had that jumpsuit just so I can see how ambitious you really were. I'm not going to put my hands on it right now. But that's incredible. That's the one you're like, this is not good. I like jumpsuits.

Jessica 15:31

Actually, let me tell you my thinking behind all this. My thought was if you can read you can sew.There was a lady. Before I was going to join I really was a shopper at Hancock.

Lisa Woolfork 15:46

Oh, I used to I miss Hancock. So they had such good knits.

Jessica 15:51

That's what I used to call them my home base. And not just because I like the fabric. But because there was a lady in there that used to take care of me every time I walked in that store, she would make me pull up on my phone. What did you make was the last thing you make. She knows that knew that. I turned into a maniac about sewing and I was everything every day. And every time I walked in that store, she would make me pull out what I was sewing and show her and then she would have a cutting line. She was always at the cutting counter and her line will be all the way to the back of the store. She would stop everything that she was doing and make me show all these older ladies. They have been sewing since they were 2.5 years old. The thing that I was doing and I remember saying to her Why are you doing that? It's a shirt. If you can read you can sew she I said that to her one day? And she said No, ma'am. No, ma'am. It is not about the fact that you can read it is what you do it is the choices that you're making is your fabric choices. This is a gift that you have. That's what this one lady told me. And that is what put wind in my wings. That is what propelled me for that one lady whose name I still do not know, every time she saw me, she encouraged me and told me that I had something. And I was so proud of myself just because of that.

Lisa Woolfork 17:16

That's a lot to be proud of. You know what I love about this idea that the that the employee slash mentor at Hancock fabrics did for you was that you were trying to minimize your achievement. Yeah, even the phrase, if you can read, you can sew. There's a lot of folks who can't read Yeah, like other folks, or folks who reading is very difficult or it's visually impaired, or they might have dyslexia or whatever. that reading is difficult

Jessica 17:42

for me.

Lisa Woolfork 17:42

But yeah, exactly. It's hard. And so you say I know, I can read, so therefore I can, but it's not automatic at all. And so I'm really happy that this woman said to you no, It's about the choices you make. And how much is that about both sewing and life? Everything. And this is one of the things this is why I never worry about finding somebody wearing the same outfit I have. Because even if we're doing like if you look at the sew your view or any other pattern challenge where you have a bunch of people making the exact same pattern. Yeah, they always look different. Yeah. And at least for me, I can't speak for you but for me I find a tried and true or they say yeah, tried and true pattern. Something that I know fit something I know loves. I will make that same dress five times.

Jessica 18:30

I can't do that.

Lisa Woolfork 18:32

Oh, yes. Oh, yes, girl, please. After I got that junk adjusted and did it full bust adjustment and a swayback adjustment? You think I'm gonna make that pattern one time? Oh, yes. And I wear it every day of the week. And every day of the week, someone will say that's a nice dress. I say Oh, thank you. I made it.

Jessica 18:48

I've got four more.

Lisa Woolfork 18:50

I got four more. You might see them later this week. Maybe you won't. I don't know. You have to see if you're lucky. You might. But the idea that's so powerful about it is that sewing like everything else is about choices. It's also about opportunity. Yeah. And then the what you're what I'm hearing you describe is that you had a real life sewing community where you could go into a Hancock fabrics when they existed and talk with an employee who was helpful and supportive and encouraging. And you had a digital community. Yeah. Were you able to make connections with people to ask simple questions that happened to me as well. I think I was this was I don't know, maybe this must have been last year. It must have been last year and I was working on a pair of pants from a I think was a Mimi g pattern. And I remember saying, Oh my gosh, these pockets are driving me bananas. They're poking out the side. I know it's a hip thigh thing I can't figure it out. And Brittany j Jones Brittany Jones but of course I'm like geeking out because Brittany Jones DM me it was like you need the book patterns for and check page. I think she might have even sent me a picture of the page. And I was just like, why my Goodness What? Okay, thank you. Yeah, so it was. So I do think about Instagram, as like one of the happiest, friendliest corners of the internet. Yeah. And I maybe a little bit less so now because I spend a lot of time on Instagram with Black Women Stitch and other things. And so I know that there are a lot of unfriendly things out there. But still to be able to get help and support from people who are willing to do that. Not everybody is and that's okay. There's always gonna be some funky buckets out there. But for the most part, people have been like really helpful and supportive. And I love to do that for other people, too. I like I like, here's a little video of something that I did it since you asked about it, that kind of thing.

Jessica 20:42


Lisa Woolfork 20:42

Yeah. And I just love that. So here you are. It's 2017 you are sewing. And then how I'm so excited about to talk about how you started to get these other like relationships and to grow in your participation in the online sewing community. So we're gonna take a quick break. And when we come back, we'll talk with Jessica, the fashionable therapist about her more about her sewing more about her future projects, Relationship Rocket Science, put it on your calendars. We'll talk about that when we get back. Stay tuned.

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Welcome back, everybody. We are back. Thank you if you are just joining us to listen to the Stitch Please podcast. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. And I'm speaking today with Jessica Webb, the fashionable therapist. And we're going to shift gears to talk a little bit more about Jessica's involvement now in the sewing community. This is someone who started she says she's she started sewing in 2015. And she's been following for years. That's because she had a little bit of a hiatus this year. But now she is in the thick of it. So can you talk about your participation in the Instagram online sewing community? I know you're working with genomes as a genomic maker and you've been involved with Black Makers Matter? How do you get from someone who is picking out a very easy vogue pattern to? I'm telling you, I will never in life forget that. And as long as I know you, I will now that image is permanently affixed to my perception of you whenever I see on Instagram, I'm gonna say oh, that's Jessica.The first thing she tried to make was, it was vogue number vogue number 9075. I have written it down Jessica, don't worry, I'm not gonna forget that. So how do you get from there being a very ambitious beginner to where you are now.

Jessica 23:48

I think the transition was easy because prior to being on Instagram for sewing purposes, or for my personal page, I had another business page for my Relationship Rocket Science brand. And so I was there. And once I started sewing and I realized, oh my god, I am completely passionate about this, I have to do this. My brain just I found that I was struggling to find space for both where I was giving people the advice or whatever it was that came to my mind. A lot of times it was things that I discussed in session I just needed to share with more people and this other world where I'm selling and and taking pictures and showing you look what I made. I felt like a kid being pulled between their two parents and I couldn't figure out how to make that work. And so when I came back to sewing in 2017 I completely stopped doing any posting on my Relationship Rocket Science page on Instagram. And so then I started only posting on at that point my name was Sew Amazingligh, my middle name is Ligh L i g h. So it's a play on words. I love that name. I still miss it

Lisa Woolfork 25:10

So it's so amazing. So it's not amazingly l y was amazingligh ligh.

Jessica 25:15

That's right.

Lisa Woolfork 25:17

Oh, that's so clever.

Jessica 25:18

I love That name, but then I had to give it up. Because eventually I said to myself, Jessica, you are all of these things, you don't have to be one thing, you don't have to switch between, do shadow work on the left, and then be somebody else on the right, this is actually who you are. And the people that are going to come to your page are going to be people who are coming for the fashion and staying for the advice, or coming for the advice and intrigued by the fashion. And you just have to be who you are. And people are gonna have to figure that out. And even if it makes sense to them, they're gonna have to figure it out, because you can't compartmentalize at this point anymore. So that's how the fashionable therapist was really born, I brought the two of those worlds together. And I said that I'm going to be authentic, because there are going to be some days that I need to say something verbally. And there are going to be some days I need to say something create creatively through my clothes. And I don't know what that's gonna look like, I don't have a whole lot of organization when it comes to how I do that. And so when it comes to being an influencer, I still technically do not consider myself that. I am someone who is on Instagram who has an account, that is trying to just be myself and change people's lives as I go, whether that's drawing people in with what I'm making, but then whispering something in their ear. While they're looking. This is just how I am. And I know that I was born for purpose, and that is to affect positive change in the lives of other people. And the way that the Lord decides to use that has come about in ways that I wasn't expecting, namely, sewing.

Lisa Woolfork 27:11

Mm hmm. I love that I love how you've been able to, I really like although I love Sew Amazingligh, now that I can see it in my head. I love that. And I really like how you able to bring in the two halves of your life. Yeah, and draw them in together, draw them together into one holistic, whole, I just really think that's a gorgeous approach. And it reminds me of what your sewing mentor back at Hancock fabric says, nothing is automatic. It's about the choices that you make. And when you look through when I look through your account, and I do want to talk about one garment in particular, when I look through your account, I see someone who is affecting that balance. And this kind of constant need this constant need this that we are engaged in is indeed a process, a constant process of choices. And we are making decisions all the time, whether we're trying to decide which fabric we're going to use, or what path we're going to take about a particular challenging situation in life. It's about decision. And so the fashionable therapist brings these two things together. And I don't know I just think it's really very exciting. Before we get to talk about one of the things I wanted to address, which was some tips and advice for moving into the new year. I really want to talk about your yellow shirt blouse. Because Listen, you have been sewing for maybe one fifth one fifth of the time that I have been sewing Okay, I have been sewing five times longer than you. And in that time, I have wanted to make a shirt blouse. No, actually, I want to make a shirt bodice out of encara or African fabrics because I always buy these dresses at festivals. Whenever I go to a black festival or African American festival. I see these dresses. I buy them because I can wear them without a bra. And they're very pleasant to wear and they look good on me. And I was like Lisa, why are you buying these dresses and looks like it's just a couple yards of fabric and you finish the top you finish the bottom you shear the middle you put it on and you have a dress. Can I tell you I have not yet been able to figure that out. And I have been actively wanting one of these dresses. I've been I've been actively wanting to make one of these dresses for at least eight years, at least eight years. And I have not I want to say eight years worth but I don't tend to buy clothes since I make everything Yeah, but I buy these. And so when I saw that you had that cute little yellow top that was shirt and that it started with a piece of I think it said that. Maybe Erica bunker had done it first. That's what your post says. So you've got to tell me about that. And everyone says it's kinda like what they were telling you Oh sewing is easy if you can read you can sew I can read, I can sew, but I cannot shear I have bought the elastic. I have bought the elasticised thread, I have a specialty bobbin case like I have invested.

Jessica 30:20

I have a question for you. You cannot or you have not?

Lisa Woolfork 30:24

I have not because I believe that I cannot.

Jessica 30:28

Okay, I got it. Okay,

Lisa Woolfork 30:30

So my belief is limiting me because I do not believe I can do it. Okay, I have, I'm trying to think about all the times I've sat down to try, maybe one time and I was like, You know what, I can do other things so much better than this. So I will put this aside. And then one day, I'll talk to Jessica on the podcast, and she will explain to me exactly how to do it. But yeah, that's exactly what I think that's a great question too that. Yeah, I believe that I cannot. And that's why I have not. So tell me how you got to do because to me, this is a lot. You take a big piece of fabric and you shrink it down so much and using the elasiticed spread. What made you decide to do this? And you said in your post that you learned a lot? What did what were some of the things you learned.

Jessica 31:13

So I'm a person who is addicted to challenging myself and driving myself crazy.

I feel like if I'm not pushing myself to some kind of ridiculous limit, then I'm just not living and

Lisa Woolfork 31:28

oh my gosh,

Jessica 31:30

I don't know what that is. But that's about that. We'll do a therapy session on another day about that. But as far as the shearing goes, I saw the style that it was all the rage this summer, everybody was wearing sheared things not just in the sewing community in general. And I said, I want that I want that top. So I watched youtube I bought my little thread that I needed. I used some fabric that literally I had since Hancock that I haven't wanted to cut because I love yellow. And I said this would be the perfect little bit of fabric. I'm going to take this and I'm going to figure it out. And at that point, I was still learning certain things on my current machine at the time. And I just, I'm just challenged driven, Lisa, that that is really the answer. I if I don't know how to do something, I don't want to say I didn't do it. Because I don't know how, even though it makes me nervous, and my stomach is about to drop jump out of my throat regardless of what the thing is. I still feel so driven to push myself to do it anyway. And even though we're just talking about shearing a shirt, that's where that shirt came from me saying I want the shirt and would dumb for me to say I'm not going to try it just because I don't know how.

Lisa Woolfork 32:55

No, I think that and that speaks, I think to your passion and your ambition that when you say you're challenge driven, I think that's real. And I think you can definitely see that. And of course, I'm teasing about the very easy vogue pattern. But that's the kind of that's a challenge driven type of, of mode. I think that you go in you have the confidence and I am I'm quite confident about a lot of things in sewing. And I also believe that anybody can make anything. Yes, I tell people this all the time. People think I'm like, Oh, I made this sweater. I made this jumpsuit or I made this. I made my bra made underwear I made like, they're like, oh, what I'm like, it's i'm not i'm not a sorcerer. You know, like, it's not magic. I get all you need to know straight line, you can make anything. If people think that I'm absolutely lying to them. And I'm like, I'm not. I'm really not. So I feel like it's so funny because I feel like I've made I've made umbrellas. Okay, but you try to get me to sit down and shear a shirt. I'm like, nevermind. It's too hard.

Jessica 33:54

So the advice that I'll give you since you asked,okay

Lisa Woolfork 33:58

Yes please share

Jessica 34:00

is to decide, Lisa, you just have to decide that's what you gotta do. And once you decide, it doesn't matter how difficult it is when you sit at the machine, you got to figure it out, but you got to decide first.

Lisa Woolfork 34:11

That is so true. It's so funny. You are absolutely it's so funny, but like I bet my family or anyone who knows me is listening to this. They're probably laughing they're like Lisa, since when Have you put your mind to something and not done it. You do actually have a podcast that you are talking to someone on and making a podcast must be more difficult than sewing lines of elastic. What do you say?

Jessica 34:36

It just takes patience.That's it.

Lisa Woolfork 34:38

It's patience. It's all it takes patience. Okay, I have some patience. I have to go check on it but because I tend to like things done like right now. But no, I think that's really great. Let's shift gears a bit to talk about one of the reasons I was super excited to have you on the program was that because we are in December and we are starting to move into the anticipate that 2020 One is right around the corner. And I wanted to see if you had any kind of tips or advice for helping us move through the challenges of 2020. To get to 2021, I guess keep thinking, this is a time of year where you start seeing things like different listicles, about things to wrap up your new year, or different resolutions or commitments you can make to yourself, would there be some type of advice that you might offer to people who are listening about what is required? Or what kind of processes or thoughts or plans or approach one might take to moving into the new year in a really healthy, forward thinking way?

Jessica 35:45

Yeah. So I would say I learned a lot. Being a therapist in the year 2020. Oh, yeah, watching my clients, I call them my people, I see my people go through what they've gone through watching myself go through what I've gone through, feeling the world go through what it's gone through, I've just absorbed a lot. And I think one thing is that we have learned that we should not take anything for granted at 2020 and teach you anything tomorrow is really not promised to anybody. And so we have to be so careful to not define ourselves by what society says I think our jobs, our titles, our functions have meant more to us than they should, up to this point. And my people have really learned that it's the bare basic things that I have failed to acknowledge, fail to look at fail to deal with, that are now driving my bus, when I can't be where I thought I was. So I think that going into this 2021 year, people have to be so intentional about getting to know yourself, who you really are, aside and apart from your job, your the fact that you may or may not be apparent, your hobbies however you have self defined, I'm challenging people to consider that might not be enough. And the way that you can really do that is by creating goals in areas that don't include those things. So emotional goals, physical goals, spiritual goals, and even possibly interpersonal goals that you should be able to set for yourself and each day go through what have I done to feed myself emotionally? What have I done to feed myself physically? What have I done to feed myself spiritually, and so on? And you have the ability to track your progress in that way. But if you're only thinking about who you are, from the perspective of a person, from a place that is imbalanced, meaning what am I doing my job, what is my boss thinking? Did I get my kids on the zoom call? What am I cooking for dinner? All of these things that seem to take precedence because we justify those things to be more important than ourselves. It makes sense on its face, if anybody is passing by my life, and I'm just sitting here trying to take care of my family. I'm trying to be a good mother, I'm trying to be a good therapist, then nobody would look twice at what I'm doing. It makes sense. Yes, she's a good person. However, there's more to that ,and the scale of our priorities I think are askew.

Lisa Woolfork 38:45

That's so powerful. And one of the things I'm course I'm writing, I'm writing notes, but this idea of getting to know yourself. The idea, I think that this is something that a lot of us have had to sit with, because we've had to move through the world differently, and move through the way that we've thought about ourselves differently. And one of the things I wrote down was, who you are versus what you do, And that and the idea of putting like aligning priorities, setting goals for yourself. But that, to me feels a bit different than the new year's resolution list that somebody might make. And then by the end of February, that list is long gone and forgotten that what you're describing is a way to commit to yourself.

Jessica 39:32

Yeah. And it starts with having a conversation, that honest conversation with yourself about the ways in which you know that you are imbalanced because it's our imbalance, the imbalanced parts of our lives that keep us from focusing on understanding who we are apart from what we have to do. So when we think we have to do something, then that makes us feel like we are doing something for us. And that's not necessarily true.

Lisa Woolfork 40:02

Mm hmm. This is great. This is really helpful. Thank you so much for sharing this. I do appreciate it. Let's talk a bit as we start to wrap up about what is next for you. I see that you are a genome maker. I'm really curious about what that involves. And you are there any and also want to hear more about Relationship Rocket Science. So for the genome maker, what is what does that involve? What how does that go? Like they give you a sewing machine, they loan you a sewing machine, or and then you like, make stuff with it? Yes, that's what it sounds like.

Jessica 40:34

So they ask you what products you're looking for based on the kind of sew as seamstress, whatever word you want to use to describe yourself are, and they give you what they have of their inventory based on that. Because they want you to promote it in the best way that you can. Hi, I am a garment sewist. And so I got the skyline S9 and the 2000 D air threader serger. So I am enamored by those things. And the thing to not have to include

Lisa Woolfork 41:09

A serger Come on girl I put trust me I have I have a baby lock ovation. Not ovation. I have a baby lock evolution. Yeah. And it is auto thread. And I have had auto thread for six years. I love it. You press that button. It's gone.

It is just it is just Wonderful.

I know. And so I'm always telling folks who like Oh, I hate my serger. I'm like, Oh, I think you should get a baby lock. But they are very expensive. And not everybody can pull that off. What's expensive. Yeah. So you know, and I know that Baby Lock lost the patent on that it expired for air threading. And so now genome has an air threader for their sergers. And they have it for the cover stitches as well, because I do have a genomic coverstitch

Jessica 41:50

I'm not sure

Lisa Woolfork 41:51

what your cert but they do have it because I think I saw Raven Marine demonstrating hers.

Jessica 41:57

Yeah, she has the same serger that I have. So yeah, okay.

Lisa Woolfork 42:00

Yeah. So they have it for air threading. Okay, that's great. That makes it a lot easier. And so then you are meant to just I guess promote it in the way that makes sense for your sewing.

Jessica 42:09

Yes. So I'm basically doing what I already do, but on on a genome machine. And then of course, I've make certain posts and make that available to them so that they can post it on their website as well. It's just a means of promoting, of course, to a broader community. Once everything happened with George Floyd, I think a lot of community companies started to look towards Black makers, people who are in the sewing community, but didn't necessarily have that much of a voice to say, Hey, listen, you guys are on our stuff, let's bring you in, we want to see what you're doing. We want to see what you're making. And I was really at the forefront of that, in our discussions in Black Makers Matters, I was happy to join with them because I felt like who they were, as a company was fell in line with what we were trying to achieve. And as far as inclusivity. And all those things are concerned.

Lisa Woolfork 43:06

That's interesting. And so that's where your sewing life is headed. So you've got the genome. And I also saw that you were in sewing magazine. And that's really great. I like Michelle's product a lot. And so what's next on the horizon with bringing back Relationship Rocket Science? What's that going to be about? And how can we get more information about that?

Jessica 43:26

So I am really excited about that. Well as you can tell, on some issues, I can be a little bit hot and cold because I am a passionate person. And so I go where my my passion leads me. And because the covid crisis pandemic brought up so many issues for my people, I was telling you earlier that I am eyeball deep in referrals. And I cannot see all the people that would like to get seen, I can barely see my own clients. Now. Because I'm so full, I wanted to produce something that people could take with them that didn't necessarily need my specific oversight. Because I'm solution focused, I wanted to create a product that people could start and finish and walk away with something tick with tools that could last them for a lifetime. Understanding things that a therapist you might never even hear in therapy, so to speak, because this is really just about the how I want you to know how not just why but how. And so I'm starting the first workbook series is that I'm starting a workbook series. The first workbook in the series is based on healing because this is really where people are struggling, since they've had to sit down and not live the lives that we've wanted to live. For six or seven months, or however long COVID has been in existence, people have really been struggling with the past bubbling up, their past hurts, the things that have happened to them traumas, things that they might have even forgotten or put away. But now they're sitting in their homes because they can't go out and be busy. And they don't know how to deal with it, they have no clue what to do with it. And in addition to relationship issues, you used to be able to use your errands as a way to get away from your husband, your wife, your children, just have a minute to breathe, but now stores are closed. Where are you going? Everybody out there are going to get you. Where are you going?

Lisa Woolfork 45:45


Jessica 45:46

So everybody has to sit at home and look at the person they can't stand. They don't know how to communicate with them, because they never learned how to communicate with them. They don't even know the first thing about themselves and what they're bringing to the table that is not good. This series is really to help people learn about themselves and learn about the people around them. So that really, they can just create the life that they want to create.

Lisa Woolfork 46:15

I think that's absolutely beautiful. And there has been so much conversation about the ways that the Coronavirus and the global pandemic, which are very large, global, destructive things have also impacted us on such an individual daily level that we are. My son yesterday. He's a teenager. He's well he's about to be graduated from high school and he was like, Mom, I think we are oversaturated with each other. I was just impressed. My baby was caught using the word oversaturate. Yeah, thank you. Wow, that prep class really paid off. But yeah, we're oversaturated with each other mom. And I was like, okay, like, but I still want to talk to you. He's like, we're oversaturated. So there's a lot of of what it means to be confined, and learning about that. And we're learning so much. And I am in a very lucky position, because my one son is 17. And he is very independent. And I think about folks with little kids with littles who have to be helped and have to be, it's just a lot of pressure. And so I appreciate you creating a tool to help people deal with that pressure. Yeah. And so how can we access the workbook? When is it going to be ready? Is it ready now? How do we find it?

Jessica 47:39

The first workbook is about 97% done. Okay, I am is almost there. And so the release date is coming very soon. The second workbook is still in the works, but I'm into that. But I want to also say that because I made the T's on Instagram, and I asked people what they thought I was going to be doing based on just what, who they knew I am. A lot of people guess that I would be doing a podcast. And I said to myself, maybe I need to do that.One of the things that I truly adore is giving people off the cuff advice about love and all kinds of relationships like that is just for me, it's just a sport. It's fun. You and

Lisa Woolfork 48:30

You are perfect. You are a marriage and family counselor. Yeah, you are a marriage, you are a certified marriage and family therapists. So you have skills in this area. It's like me when I get a literature category on Jeopardy. I have an English PhD like, Oh, this is gonna be for me. I can do that much.

Jessica 48:45

Exactly. It's just simply fun. So I think that my partner, I think my podcast is coming, guys,

Lisa Woolfork 48:52

it's coming.

Jessica 48:54

And I'm not sure when but it's coming down the pike soon I have some things to learn. So remember when I said that I'm addicted to challenges. I know what I am doing But I will figure it out

Lisa Woolfork 49:04

same listen to me. Same

Jessica 49:06

Yeah, you just got to figure it out as you go. So I'm going to build a plane and fly it at the same time. But I do know that it is going to be advice column based. And there will be some times where I talk about certain issues or particular topics that might arise in my therapy. There are a lot of times in session that something somebody says something or I say something and I'm like oh, other people need to hear this. So on those days, I will also discuss those things. But for the most part, it will be an advice column. So I'll have people write in. And I will be able to answer your questions in real time and just give you more details about those topics as I go.

Lisa Woolfork 49:45

Oh my goodness. I love this. This is great. This is so exciting. Jessica, this has been such a fun conversation. Thank you so much

Jessica 49:53

Thank you so much for having me.

Lisa Woolfork 49:54

so tell me how we can find you on the socials and that way we can. Stay tuned. To what you're doing so we'll know when the workbook drops. Yeah, where can we find you.

Jessica 50:04

So on Instagram, I am the fashionable therapist, but in between the and therapists are underscores the underscore fashionable underscore therapist on Facebook, I am the fashionable therapist. And I also have a blog that I did not mention laura hart blog. I have a blog. I've been blogging for a while. And this is another way that I tried to combine my fashion because I take pictures of the things that I've made and put them on my blog as well.

Lisa Woolfork 50:38

Beautiful. It's a beautiful blog, and it's a beautiful Instagram page. And if you all aren't following you should totally be doing so. Thank you so much.

Jessica 50:46

The blog is the fashionable And I foresee that you will be able to get my workbook from the link from the And one more thing I did write a book in 2017 called Relationship Rocket Science, the modern Woman's Guide to marrying the traditional modern traditional man, and that is stock full of goodness, because I do speak man especially caveman I speak caveman,

Lisa Woolfork 51:19

my goodness.

Jessica 51:21

So I just kind of help those women who are looking for the traditional man navigate what that looks like. That book is available for purchase on Amazon. It's called Relationship Rocket Science.

Lisa Woolfork 51:31

And we'll include the link to that in the show notes. So just make sure you send me all that info and it will all be in the notes for your episode. So people will listen to the episode, and they can click through your links to find you and your goodies. Yay. Thank you again, Jessica. Jessica, this was wonderful. And thank you all so much for listening and joining us but the Stitch Please podcast today.

Jessica 51:51

Thank you.

Lisa Woolfork 52:15

You've been listening to the Stitch Please podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch the sewing group where black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, patreon and you can find Black Women Stitch there and the Patreon directory and for as little as $2 a month you can help support the project with things like editing transcripts and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews. But for those who do for those that have a star rating or just ask for a few comments if you could share those comments and say nice things about us and the Stitch Please podcasts. That is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Transcribed by

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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