Saying Farewell: Sewcialists Interviews

Becky Jo here, one last time. I was on the senior editing staff for a few years but my job was 90% in the background. I’m a white, 40-something, CISHet breeder, lower end of the size bracket…I mean COME ON…my name is even Becky!!! No one needs to hear from me. The world is literally made for me other than maybe missing a certain appendage. I felt it best I lifted other voices and spent my time not centering myself on this site.

It was in this self-deprecating, self-reflection that The Sewcialist Interviews was born. A conversational-style interview with pivotal members of the sewing community and me, Becky Jo, intentionally asking the ignorant questions of the privileged. Most of the interviews start off with the basics and some fluff, then deep dive into meatier questions. The method of recording the interview, removing the majority of the interviewer’s dialog, and leaving the interviewee’s natural cadence is difficult, tedious, and time consuming but ultimately leaves the reader with a holistic view of the subject and interviewee.

As The Sewcialists goes on hiatus, now is the perfect time to read up on your favorite sewcial mentors and maybe discover some new ones. These are long reads, perfect for a Sunday brunch on the patio or an evening cup of tea. We cover everyone from the beginning of the new indie pattern movement and one of the first pattern companies with inclusive sizing, Sarai Mitnick of Colette & Seamwork Patterns, to the latest challenger on the block (get it, block), Muna and Broad.

A fat Asian woman standing facing the camera in a boxy red top
Leila, 1/2 of Muna and Broad


Carolyn, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic was like talking to my favorite aunt. Carolyn let me ask the question about Trumpers, and if the bigots that all came pouring out of the closet during his tenure as US president #45 was better than keeping them a secret. The answer had us both bawling. Literally crying. It was a painful question to ask, and more painful for her to answer. She’s a treasure of sewing knowledge, candor, sass, and absolutely the biggest heart you’ll ever meet.

Michelle of That Black Chick and Sewn, a fashion-sewing magazine inspires and brings people together on a level NO ONE has rivaled yet. No one. Michelle is in a league all her own. She creates, manages, finances, sells, markets, produces garments for, and gets a menagerie of artists to submit projects for the ONLY high fashion sewing magazine. Not only does she do all of that, but the magazine is a rainbow of representation rivaled by few, and she does it without ever uttering, “It’s hard to get……(fill in the blank for missing representation)” Michelle doesn’t whine. Michelle doesn’t flake. Michelle doesn’t make excuses. Michelle is an absolute force to be reckoned with and while I’m a huge proponent of “don’t put your heroes on pedestals,” I make an exception for Michelle.

Woman in a sheer gauze embroidered top with a crown of greenery in the forest
Shannon of Rare Device

Shannon of Rare Device kicked my ass. No, really. She handed it to me on a silver platter WITH GRACE. I stuck my foot in my mouth so many times, and there were parts omitted, because I deleted a lot of my dialog as is my MO, but she addressed them on her Instagram stories. Don’t know about Shannon’s Instagram stories? Oh, honey, buckle your seatbelt and get ready for a Harvard-level dissertation delivered on a soapbox with extra salt to rub in. However, the grace with which Shannon delivers that salt will leave you coming back for more. She has never once named me, never called me out, never even so much as got pissy with me. Instead, Shannon made a learning opportunity in a clear, concise manner so that I both got the message, was humbled, was grateful and anyone else who happened upon that posted story also learned something. That, my friends, is a rare gift.

Ohhhhh Jennifer of Workroom Social. I quote Jennifer on the regular. Sure, sometimes I’m talking to myself especially this last year, but it still counts. You want to make your own Sewcial gathering? Come to the alter of Jennifer with me. There is no equal. And in that same realm, Joost De Cock. He has literally created a pattern making platform for you to create patterns in any size, for any gender representation, and he does it all for free. I mean, it’s literally called That and you’ve never met anyone more charming. No, really. He’s more charming than a puppy on a summer day at the beach.

Favorites by Others

As my time came to its conclusion here, the interview mantel was passed on. I commend those who followed in my footsteps. My set-up for quality requires a lot of hours, and I have serious respect for those that achieved it in the end. Journalism is almost a lost art, and you did it justice. Thank you.

Denise interviewed Michelle Mason. Michelle is the reason many of us take photos of sewn garments sitting down. You don’t know until you know, so please read the interview to understand how so many of us take our able-bodied selves for granted.

A large quilt with an image of Trayvon Martin
SJSA Art Quilt of Trayvon Martin, child murdered in a hate crime

An absolute favorite, the perfect example to end on, and a boon for this entire Interview section is Emilia and Chloe’s interview of Sara from Social Justice Sewing Academy. I’ve been a member of my local chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild for nearly a decade, so this one made my heart leap when I saw it published. Art saves lives, and SJSA is the epitome of that fact. Fiber art binds us all together, and we FEEL each other’s pain, happiness, love, and loss when we see it poured into our art. For many of us, it takes decades to find our medium, and sometimes we change mediums, but whatever your chosen form of expression is, we all need that outlet. The SJSA is feeding souls by providing outlets. Really, one of the most beautiful organizations. (Without knowing me, that may read as trite in comparison to the subject matter of Black folks, Black children, being murdered every damn day for the color of their skin all around the world, so please know I am anything but trite on this subject.)

This is a condensed and incomplete list, but there is enough summer reading in there to inspire you for years. The thousands of hours of labor contained in the Interviews vertical birthed a wealth of information and knowledge all free, all for you. As we bid you farewell on this platform to meet you elsewhere in this sewing sphere, we hope the mass of information collected and contained in this site on the sheer variety of human experiences, emotions, perspectives, and real, lived trials in sewing help you feel connected around the globe.

All my love to you,

Becky Jo

Becky Jo slowly creates sewing patterns, is the Dr. Frankenstein of vintage sewing machine salvation, owns Portland Frocktails, talks way too loudly, eats pizza like no one is watching, is the personal cheerleader/enabler for all of her sewing friends, bikes/takes transit because owning cars is killing us all, loves to bait trolls, feels that we didn’t take the racism conversation here on Sewcialists far enough, and sleeps well at night.

A black and white photo of a woman holding a camera to her face with cyclists in the background
early photo of Becky Jo’s journalistic curiosity & short lived modeling career