This weekend, Klum House friend Katie Whittle (@makerandshaker) is making our new Slabtown Backpack and sharing her process on our Instagram Stories!
Katie used a Klum House kit to make her Slabtown with a black main body, brush brown front pocket, tan leather straps, antique hardware, and berry zippers. She’s used her own fabric—a coating from Stone Mountain and Daughters—for the side pockets and added a cute embroidered patch.
Pre-sale for the Slabtown Backpack goes live on Monday!
Join the waitlist for early access + discount code
Katie is a sewing educator and fashion design student in Los Angeles. Throughout her sewing adventure, Katie has been fascinated by the empowerment sewing can give us all, whether it's through making an affirming item of clothing that fits or proving to ourselves that we can tackle a challenging project.
Where are you currently located?
I technically live in Los Angeles but decided to wait out the remainder of social isolation at my partner’s parent’s place in Upstate, New York.
How do you (normally) spend your days?
My days typically start with my 7am Patternmaking class. I love patternmaking, but that early, every weekday, is a killer! After class, I usually snarf lunch and head out to tutor one of my weekly high school and middle school-aged sewing students. After teaching, I run across town to get in a good ol' swole sesh at the gym.
Oh my god, just writing that was exhausting. Nowadays, things are a bit more relaxed. My patternmaking course is now online, and tutoring is all on hold for the moment. I'm doing a bit of working out, but mostly just cooking, sewing a bit, and drinking way too much coffee.
What project(s) are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on repairing a few quilts my great-great-grandma made in the '70s that I've meant to get to for years. Also, I'm finding lots of entertainment in continually thinking about how to recreate this sweatshirt-cardigan from Prarie Underground. I scored one in Portland when I was there to film the Slabtown online class, and I need it's sack-cheque esthetic in every color.
What does your creative practice mean to you during this period of social distancing?
My creative practice right now is a way to take tangible time for myself. I typically would rather worry about my to-do list or how other folks are holding up rather than how I'm doing. But, that shit gets me in trouble, especially when all of a sudden my tank is empty and I crash. Thankfully, I've found some space in the house to be alone and work on my school work and sewing projects. Even if it's just 30 minutes here and there, I'm able to checkout, recharge, and get lost in making.
What do you hope to build, nurture, or transform within yourself as a result of this experience?
I have struggled with the idea of "quarantine goals" since this whole mess started. I got tripped up by thinking that I was failing if I didn't take full advantage of this time of isolation. It is a privilege to have the time and resources to consider self-care right now, and if I hope to gain anything, it would be more humility. At times, I've felt so overwhelmed, powerless, or pissed. But at other times, I have been calm, grounded, felt wrapped up in all the support and care that our communities give one another. Right now, two things are for sure the right thing to do: put one foot in front of the other and try to help someone.
What are you reading/listening to/watching these days?
It is without shame that I admit that I’m mostly watching reruns of the Challenge on MTV. But when I have the brain space for it, I love the local LA public radio station, KCRW. Their morning music show, Morning Becomes Eclectic, is killer, and staying in the know doesn’t hurt either.
Are there any resources, small businesses, or other creatives out there you’d like to send some virtual love to?
I would love to shout out some resourceful educators who have adapted their usual forms of instruction to fit our new at-home classrooms:
Liz Spencer of The Dogwood Dyer is a bi-coastal natural dye educator with years of experience foraging, growing & processing natural dye plants as well as experience in fiber farming. I signed up for one of her (now-postponed) retreats in Joshua Tree this Spring but thankfully, she’ll soon be releasing online natural dye workshop and physical kit pairings for anyone interested in learning traditional and modern dye methods.
Don’t miss Katie sharing her Slabtown-making journey on our Instagram Stories!
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.