We are super excited to welcome Beth Wood of Sew DIY to the FTC blog today - and to the Fancy Tiger classroom in October for two garment classes! Beth is an inspiring maker and a talented sewing pattern designer, offering a modern take on classic basics with designs that are accessible to sewists of all skill levels.
How long have you been sewing?
I’ve been sewing pretty steadily for about 25 years now. I learned some of the basics from my mom early on about selecting a pattern and fabric and also in middle school home ec class. But it wasn’t until high school that I started sewing clothing for myself on a regular basis. I was able to take a couple of sewing classes in high school that were really helpful, and around that time, I also inherited my grandmother’s collection of vintage sewing patterns. I loved looking through them and dreaming of making all of those clothes. Not coincidentally, it was also in high school when I learned how challenging it was to find clothing that fit my 5’11” frame. Sewing became my solution for that.
Do you remember the first garment you sewed?
I think it was a pair of cotton pajama shorts in a star print cotton. But the most significant make was a dress out of shiny brown floral-print polyester with a matching purse. I learned a lot from sewing that dress and purse, like the importance of fabric selection and interfacing (my purse was sadly floppy). It took me a few years and lots of lessons learned through trial and error to sew things that I’d wear regularly.
What do you find most fulfilling about the work that you do?
My first love is the act of making. I love being able to get my hands on materials and transform them into something new. But a close second to that is sharing sewing with other people. It’s exciting and heart-warming to see people make things from my patterns, learn to sew for the first time or overcome sewing struggles after watching one of my videos.
When do you do your best work?
I’ve learned over the years that I need to be in the right mood to do anything. If something feels off and I have to push through a task (especially a creative one) the results usually won’t be as good. I do my best writing in the morning before I get too distracted by other things. For sewing, as long as I’m not too tired, I can do it at any time of day. I have learned that if I get frustrated or tired, I need to take a break and come back later, otherwise there will inevitably be more mistakes.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I would describe my design aesthetic as comfortable chic. I want my sewing patterns to be easy-to-sew and easy-to-wear garments. Things that will get a lot of wear and patterns that will be used repeatedly. Being comfortable in my clothing (both physically and mentally) is really important to me and I often opt for loose fitting silhouettes. I lived in Southern California for the last 13 years, and I think it’s had a big influence on my style choices. I definitely lean towards casual styles and garments that will be comfortable in warm weather.
Do you listen to music while you work?
Usually, I listen to music while doing computer work and podcasts while sewing. My go-to is to stream KEXP out of Seattle. I often discover new bands that I love and they have a great variety of programming. I listen to podcasts about all sorts of subjects including sewing, design, small business, crafting, cooking and even crime. Sometimes, if the work is mindless enough, like doing illustrations for a pattern, I will watch tv. For better or worse, I’m a multitasker. I like to always be making something.
What's next for you?
I’m working on developing new classes, both online and in person, as well as new sewing patterns. This year I’ve also been focused on sustainability, for myself personally and as it relates to sewing. One of the e-courses I’m working on is how to use scraps from garment sewing to make other things, like quilts.