Self-Taught Sewer Spotlight: Keli of Drygoods Design

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My reason for starting this self-taught series is to inspire those who have always wanted to do something creatively but have never really acted on it.  I feel that it is important to surround yourself with positive people and energy in or order to help you realize your dreams and goals.

My very first guest is  Keli who is the owner of and online fabric shop called Drygoods Design, but she also has a shop called Bread and Salt where she sells her beautiful handmade goods.  She is self-taught and she inspires me : )

How long have you been sewing and what made you want to learn how to sew?
 I have been sewing for a little more than four years. I can't remember the exact catalyst but I started becoming more and more in love with the idea of creating something tangible. After finding a few sewing books I really loved and inheriting a 1950s or 60s Singer sewing machine, I decided to finally do it. It turned out that sewing, finding the right fabric and making something was such a fantastic creative outlet. I've long said that good fabric can cover up any of those early (and current) mistakes.

  How did you teach yourself how to sew and do you have any resources you recommend for those who want to learn how to sew?
 I found a book I really liked and felt the instructions were easy enough. In Stitches by Amy Butler was the book and the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing helped me in times of need (and lack of knowledge). There's so many more resources out there now and while I still haven't spent a ton of time on there, I know many people swear by instructional videos on sewing basics that are posted on YouTube. But I think the best thing, or at least what worked for me, is to focus on projects that consist of straight lines. My first project was an apron. It turned out pretty well except for when I went to put it on I got stuck by the pin I had trapped in the waistband:). There's a tiny hole from its recovery but no one would ever know by looking at it.

  What are some of your favorite things to make?  Is there anything you stay away from?
 I love making things for our home - pillows, drapes, bags, napkins, etc.. It was my first pregnancy that led me to make baby items. One thing led to another and I was making things for friends and now have a line of handmade goods for the home, baby, and mamas. I am still super intimated by quilts and apparel. Now that I just had a baby girl, I am thinking I can make some dresses since I hear that those are easiest. I constantly see fabric that I imagine as apparel and I have a few designs for both quilts and apparel but it's turning those sketches into patterns that has me stalled. And time, of course. Never enough time:).

  When did you decide that you were ready to start your own business selling your handmade goods?
  I think it was when I had people I really admire for their skill and talent say that they would buy it even though they knew they could get it from me as gifts or just because. There are days where I still don't think I am actually ready and I am constantly reassessing my process and finding ways to make it smoother, faster and more efficient. The real moments of satisfaction come from learning that someone you don't even know really enjoys what you made. It's been hard though, moving from friends placing custom orders for themselves or making gifts where I know the person and that drives my fabric choices and construction to having no idea about the recipient. While it's different, it's also fun to imagine how they'll enjoy it.

Thanks Again Keli for doing this interview!!!

~Be Inspired : )


  1. Thanks for spotlighting Kelli- I can't wait to check out her blog and be inspired :)


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