Sienna Parfitt hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan and relocated to the California Bay Area by way of Tulsa, Oklahoma. On any given day, you can find Sienna in front of her sewing machine as she has become enamored with the concept of creating a handmade wardrobe and the problem-solving skills involved in piecing together fabric. She’s also exploring the possibilities of surface design through block printing and creating functional ceramic objects at the local clay studio. By day, she teaches visual arts at an elementary and middle school.
Wearing a Mercer Tunic by Whitney Deal
Tell us a little about your creative self. What inspires you to create?
I’ve always needed to make things. My maternal grandfather was a prolific artist and would set up easels and clay for his grandchildren every summer. He made childhood really magical and making was always an integral part of that magic. His artwork hangs all over my home for inspiration.
Living room picture shows some of my grandfather’s work and the first quilt I made (Timber Quilt by Alison Glass)
Tell us about the person/people who taught you to do what you do.
I’m a mostly self-taught sewer. In the fall of 2014, I started off with small, zippered bags and simple garments mainly using free patterns I found online. In the beginning, I was too scared to buy fabric, so I thrifted bed sheets. I credit independent pattern makers like Sonya Philip, Grainline Studio, and Noodlehead with giving me early sewing successes. Without their detailed, picture-heavy instructions, willingness to answer questions, and all-around good design, I don’t think I would have gotten hooked. I’d also say the community of makers and sewists I’ve “met” on Instagram help me find inspiring fabrics, patterns, and local courses.
One of the many small zippered bags I’ve made since learning to sew.
If you had to pick one thing that drives you as a maker, what would it be?
Happiness. I’m happiest when I’m creating with my hands.
Some earrings I still need to glaze.
Learning how to do Y seams.
What is next on your crafting horizon. Do you have a new (to you) craft you want to conquer?
I recently enrolled in a Patternmaking & Design program at Apparel Arts in Oakland, CA. I started the program because I want to better understand how to manipulate patterns to better fit my body and to possibly design my own line someday. I’m also super excited about the sandal making kit I purchased from Rachel Sees Snail Shoes. If I can make footwear, I can wear an entirely me-made outfit (jewelry and unmentionables included)!
A planning page from my sketchbook. (The Makers Tote by Noodlehead)
If you had to pick one skill that you are most proud to have learned/accomplished what would it be?
This isn’t so much a skill as a practice, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride in having recently filled an entire sketchbook. Daily drawing is a practice I’ve been trying to cultivate since college and although I’m not quite at the daily level, I’m getting closer! I’m a visual person and have always loved drawing. Planning sewing projects through drawing has allowed me to engage with a sewing practice when I’m away from home. It’s kind of a symbiotic relationship - sewing provides me with endless subject matter for my drawing practice and drawing gets me really jazzed about sewing.
This eventually turned into a bucket bag.
My first sweater!
Thanks for sharing with us Sienna! If you want to keep up with all the awesome things Sienna is making hop over to her instagram account, NotAPrimaryColor.