This week, we are very pleased to introduce you to our newest making friend, Simone Nelson (@intenselydistracted)!
Simone’s handmade wardrobe began in 2018. She's a mother of two and received her first sewing machine after the birth of her youngest. After occasionally sewing garments and Halloween costumes for her family, she finally started sewing for herself after realizing how much joy it brings to her. Today, Simone is taking over our Instagram Stories as she makes a Woodland Dopp Kitfrom a Klum House kit.
(All of our Woodland products and tools are currently 15% off, and we have a free virtual Woodland sew-along coming up on Friday, April 24 if you’d like to make yours along with Ellie!)
Where are you currently located?
I've lived outside of Salt Lake City, Utah my entire life. We have the "greatest snow on earth," easy access to outdoor activities year round including 5 national parks, and are one of the sunniest cities in the US. You can find everything you need within a drive and can easily see the amazing red rocks of central Utah as well as the snow capped Wasatch mountains in one day.
How do you (normally) spend your days?
I've been lucky to be a stay at home mom since having kids and am slowly figuring out what I want to do now that my kids are older and more independent. I've been filling my time with more sewing as well as other other home-based endeavors that allow me to keep my focus at home. Before the quarantine, I started teaching computers at my daughter's elementary part-time and was just getting the hang of it before distance learning kept me home again. I'm used to being home most days so it has actually been nice having my husband and kids home too.
What project(s) are you currently working on, or hope to work on, in the coming weeks?
I would love to add more separates to my wardrobe and currently want to sew more elastic waistband pants. Partly because it's good quarantine attire, partly because I'm ready to retire my jeans. Sew House Seven's Free Range Slacks are at the top of my list and I can't wait to finally make them. I have some testing projects coming as well, but I'm probably most excited to start weaving. All the mask sewing drained me to the point that I wanted something non-sewing to do and I'm patiently waiting for my loom and supplies to arrive. Wish me luck!
What does you creative practice mean to you during this period of social distancing?
I originally turned to sewing when I was feeling aimless and unsure of what I wanted to do with my time. My kids were in school full time and weren't as dependent and I was honestly feeling depressed and lonely. I turned to sewing to help me through it and I find myself turning to it whenever I'm going through a rough time. Having something to work on helps me focus, calm my mind, and feel less anxious. If I didn't have a creative outlet to turn to, I don't know what else I'd do with my time. Now more than ever, I realize how important it is to take care of myself and working on a creative project helps me feel like I have some control. Knowing what to expect, being able to work through the steps, and completing a project is a form of therapy I'm especially grateful for now.
What do you hope to nurture, build, or transform within yourself as a result of this experience?
One thing I've been thinking about during this time is how much I have control of. Seizing some control of a situation when you feel completely helpless is a powerful thing and I'd like to remember that. It's easy to list all the things I don't have control of, but I can also look at it from a different angle and list how many things I do have control of. I might not have control of my emotional spikes, but I do have control of letting myself feel the emotions, working through them rather than pushing them away.
I've also seen how resilient my kids and others have been with the sudden changes. Teachers have gone above and beyond to reinvent teaching in a short time, and my kids have adapted almost seamlessly. We had our first major earthquake in decades the same day distance learning began. Instead of letting the uncertainty affect them, I watched as my kids adjusted to the new normal and I admire how they worked through it. We may be apart, but there are a lot of people showing their resilience and I'd like to remember this experience as an obstacle we were able to overcome and learn from together.
^^ Stevie Jean Jacket with hand embroidery.
What are you reading, watching, and/or listening to these days?
I'm a huge fan of book-to-movie adaptations and am always trying to read the book first. To All the Boys I've Loved Before on Netflix was my most recent book-to-movie obsession and rereading the trilogy by Jenny Han is on my list. I finished reading the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer right before the quarantine and I'd highly recommend that series as well as anything by Rainbow Rowell if you're a fan of YA fiction. As far as watching goes, my husband and I are currently watching Star Trek: Picard (his pick) and Roswell, New Mexico (my pick, which happens to be a reboot of one of my all-time favorite shows, Roswell, which also happened to be based on a book series). Let's just say I'm a huge geek when it comes to this topic and could talk about it all day!
Are there any resources, small businesses, or other creatives out there you’d like to send some virtual love to?
Finding the sewing community on Instagram has been such a game changer and I've loved staying connected during this time. The comments and messages I've received from all over the world have helped me feel less isolated and most of those are coming from smaller accounts that I've only met through Instagram. Anyone can find their people online and I think that is especially important as we find our own ways to work through this.
I'd love to give a shout out to the Sew My Style challenge which is the what really helped me learn about different designers and try new styles. I even had the chance to be a leader in 2019. If you're new to sewing or want to challenge yourself, this is a good way to do it. I'd also love to give a shout out to Helen's Closet. The York Pinafore pattern is my favorite self-care sew and taught me techniques as a beginner that I'm grateful for today. Helen was one of the first indie designers I ever tried and she showed me right away how unique indie patterns are.
And of course I have to give a shout out to Klum House for inviting me to participate in this series. The invitation came at a time when my emotions were all over the place, as it still is from day to day. To be recognized and given this opportunity will always be a highlight during this surreal time period.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us, Simone! If you’d like to connect with Simone, you can find her on Instagram at @intenselydistracted and follow along with more of her sewing projects on her website.
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.