Joi Mahon, Sewist at Nancy’s Notions
When and how did you first start sewing?
I started sewing somewhere between age 5-7. I would go to my grandma’s farm and read all of her Hershner’s catalogs and I would look at photos and try to figure out how projects and patterns were created. I guess I started teaching myself at an early age how to think creatively and to figure out how things are put together. I hand sewed a lot for several years and started using a sewing machine around age 11. I think I was the only kid who asked for gift cards to House of Fabrics for Christmas.
What advice would you give to someone who just started sewing/making their own clothing?
I encourage my students to gain a love of sewing first before perfection. Too many people are hard on themselves when they are learning and get frustrated in our instant result society. IF you are taking piano lessons you don’t expect to master the piano after one class or retreat and you don’t skip the intermediate recital just because you are not a maestro. I want new sewists to love and be proud of their first projects. Mastery comes with repetition, and remember no one sewist is a master of every fabric and technique.
What are your must-have tools in your studio?
Several different types of quality scissors as they are all for different things, true tailor’s chalk, and my industrial iron. You need an iron that can provide heat and pressure for professional results.
What inspires you and gets your creativity flowing?
I am super creative so ideas come pretty easy, but I find I read fabric and design around the strengths of an individual fabric; how it will drape, how it will hang, how the grain can be manipulated for fit and function. Additionally, I love problem solving so when someone poses a project scenario I just love tossing out all sorts of idea (not all are good) and the creative process.
How did you become the face of Nancy’s Notion’s Wardrobe Builder?
It’s such an honor and I loved talking to Nancy about her favorite type of sewing and I loved when she would comment on my work. Last year I was reaching out to Jenny about an idea and she said that she had an idea for me and had the team contact me. We had several planning and brainstorming meetings and WB was born. I am so excited about this program because we have such a beautiful blend of quality hand picked fabrics that work so well with our monthly projects, we have a fantastic team working behind the scenes and I love teaching technique. My approach is very much making sewing approachable for all skill levels while being able to toss in my personal experiences and professional techniques.