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Meet Catherine Nolan

Catherine started sewing about four years ago because she wanted a hobby that would help her feel less sad. It quickly took over her life, and now she's a buyer and manager at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley as well as an occasional instructor at Hello Stitch Studio. Some other things that Catherine loves almost as much as sewing are reading, cooking, and traveling. Today, Catherine is taking over our Instagram Stories as she makes a Maywood Totepack!











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^^ So much amazing handmade wardrobe and style inspo on Catherine’s  Instagram!

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Where are you currently located?

I live in Oakland, California. I'm actually right in the middle of moving from a shared apartment to my very own studio. I am super excited to have my own space and it's in my favorite neighborhood too!


How do you (normally) spend your days?

A normal workday at Stonemountain means taking photos and other content for the website and social pages, working with vendors, and interacting with customers. And for me a perfect weekend day includes reading at a cafe for a few hours, walking or biking around to run errands, a bit of sewing or sewing planning, and meeting up with a friend for a drink.

^^ Catherine and her coworker outside of Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics


What project(s) are you currently working on, or hope to work on, in the coming weeks?

I'd really like to work through some of my stash. Working at a fabric store can be trouble, because I have a lot of amazing fabric that I bought with a half-formed plan. (I blame my enabler coworkers!) I'd like to make some easy knit tanks for summer and maybe some comfy pants like the Pomona or Bob pants.

And of course with moving into a new space I have a dream of making all my home textiles like tea towels, hot pads, some rope baskets, maybe even a quilt.

^^ One of Catherine’s recent makes—a quiltedAthina top
 

What does you creative practice mean to you during this period of social distancing?

I've had a hard time wanting to work on the projects that I was excited about a couple months ago. I think this is because most of them were fancier/more style-forward garments that I want to go out and be seen in, which obviously isn't really happening right now. So I've been working on smaller scale projects like mending, masks, and simple patterns out of fabric that I don't feel too invested in. I also started a hand stitched top, which is a nice project for when I want to take it easy but still keep my hands busy. I've been having bouts of listlessness, and sitting down to sew a few seams has been helping me refocus.

What do you hope to nurture, build, or transform within yourself as a result of this experience?

It seems like this is a good time to get more comfortable with letting go and not trying to control and plan everything. Earlier in the year I was set to move to New York this summer and live with my best friend, but COVID-19 shut that down. At first it was really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that this thing I wanted wasn't going to happen, but I'm learning to not be so put out by things I can't control.

 

^^ Catherine’s sewing workspace

What are you reading, watching, and/or listening to these days?

Besides Fetch the Bolt Cutters, which has been on repeat since its release, I've been loving the song Miracles by Johnnie Frierson. It's a really uplifting and simple blues song that's great to listen to first thing in the morning. And I recently came across the Ethiopian jazz album Wede Harer Guzo, which is the perfect chill but kind of funky background music.

I've been reading a lot lately and find myself switching between kind of heavier reading like The Mars Room (loved it) and escapist books like the Outlander series (don't really love it, but I'm on book five so why stop now?).

I haven't had much patience for TV or movies these days, but when I do want to watch something I turn to comfy favorites like The Fifth Element or Escape From LA, campy horror like The Lair of the White Worm, or dumb rom coms.

Are there any resources, small businesses, or other creatives out there you’d like to send some virtual love to?

Stonemountain & Daughter Fabric, of course! Our brick and mortar is closed but we are still shipping orders and doing curbside pickup. I feel very grateful to be working right now, and with some seriously amazing folks.

And one of those folks is @natalie_ebaugh, who is a huge source of inspiration and a great friend!

@vidavazquezstudio makes beautiful earrings and has started making clothes from vintage fabric too. Vida also has a little vintage shop called @aguacatethrift. She finds the best stuff and focuses on size inclusivity, which is sorely lacking in the vintage community.

I recently commissioned a painted garment from @ciscosews and I love it. He has such good style and I really admire how he experiments with fabric and patterns.
 


Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us, Catherine! If you’d like to connect with Catherine, you can find her on Instagram at @threadsnips. Also, don’t forget to follow along with our Instagram Stories today as Catherine makes a Maywood Totepack

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MAKING FRIENDS is an interview series with friends who make! In this weekly(ish) series, we’ll be introducing you to some new friends in the sewing world and inviting them to share a bit about their current creative projects, where they’re finding inspiration, and what working with their hands means to them during these chaotic times. Our hope is that these conversations will foster connection, community, and mutual support during this season of physical separation.

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Want to make your own Maywood Totepack?!

Today only, save 15% on all Oberlin products with discount code MAKINGFRIENDS 

 

SHOP MAYWOOD

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