Thread Cult










May 2020
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A current exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum explores how Georgia O'Keeffe used her wardrobe and photographs taken of her to help craft her public image. Christine talks with guest curator Wanda M. Corn about how she came upon a trove of the artist's clothes (many of which O'Keeffe sewed by hand), and how O'Keeffe applied her modern aesthetic to nearly every facet of her life. The show runs through July 23, 2017 in Brooklyn. It will travel to two more museums: the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Winston Salem, North Carolina Aug. 18-Nov. 17, 2017; and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Massachusetts Dec. 16-April 1, 2018. Outro: "Beast on the Soil," Desert Orchard by Blue Dot Sessions.



Direct download: Georgia_OKeeffe_Wanda_Corn_FINAL_CUT.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:36pm EDT

Rosie Martin, the force behind DIYcouture, discusses her new book No Patterns Needed, a collection of patternless sewing designs based on squares, circles, and rectangles. Rosie shares how she started designing patternless fashions, her favorite indie patterns to sew from, and where she likes to go for inspiration in London, her hometown. Outro: “Summer Fun” by Scott Holmes

Direct download: Rosie_Martin_Geometric_Patterns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:39am EDT

Jessica Rosenkrantz, co-founder of Nervous System, a generative design studio, discusses her work creating 3D-printed clothing. Nervous System has collaborated with New Balance to make 3D-printed midsoles for sneakers, and they've also designed several 3D-printed dresses, the most recent of which was commissioned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for their #techstyle exhibit. Jessica and Christine talk about how 3D printing clothing works, and about Nervous System's innovative technique for printing a dress in one full piece. Outro: "Lift off" by Jahzzar. 

Direct download: 40_3D_Clothing_with_Nervous_System.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:02am EDT

Sewing blogger and upholsterer Sonja Gingerich (of Ginger Makes) recently started an online fabric shop, Hell Gate Fabrics, specializing in fabrics that are healthier for the environment. Christine caught up with Sonja to chat about career transitions and the murky world of textile sourcing. Outro: "Redhead" by Jahzzar.

Direct download: Sonja_of_Hell_Gate.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:38am EDT

Filmmaker Vicki Vasilopoulos discusses her documentary, Men of the Cloth, which follows three Italian master tailors in the U.S. and Italy. Christine and Vicki also chat about her newest project, The Little Dress: A Journey of Hope, that will tell the story of a 100-year-old woman who sews a dress a day for girls in Malawi. Outro:”Where the River Run” by Ketsa.

Direct download: Craft_and_Film_with_Vicki_Vasilopoulos.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:19am EDT

A current exhibit at the Museum at FIT explores the connection between haute couture and the folk stories of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault, among others. Christine and associate curator Colleen Hill chat about the process of organizing the show, how fast fashion is pushing designers toward the fantastical, and why we might want to teach kids traditional fairy tales rather than the sanitized Disney versions. See the exhibit virtually by visiting Music: “Sweet Water” and “Welcome Home," by David Szesztay.

Direct download: Fairy_Tale_Fashion.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:28pm EDT

Artist and teacher Rebecca Ringquist pulls embroidery out of its classic confines, using her needle and floss to tell modern stories in cloth. This episode she and Christine chat about her process, the art of collecting, and her new book, Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops: A Bend-the-Rules Primer. Outro music: "Inspire me Forever" by Spinningmerkaba 

Direct download: Rebecca_Ringquist.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:03am EDT

How do you come to know someone if all you have is the evidence of their clothes? This is the mystery author Jessamyn Hatcher is trying to solve after the discovery of 21 rare couture gowns in a forgotten storeroom of the heiress Hortense Mitchell Acton. The dresses were made by the innovative and radical Callot Soeurs, one of the Belle Epoque’s most celebrated couture houses. The collection reveals not only a forgotten piece of fashion history, but the story of one woman’s life. Jessamyn detailed the discovery in the March 23 issue of the New Yorker, and in this episode she dives deeper into the tale, revealing along the way how the clothes we wear can tell our story long after we’re gone. 

Direct download: 35_Imprint_of_a_Life_with_Jessamyn_Hatcher.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:02pm EDT

A new exhibit at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art explores how high fashion influenced bereavement rituals during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. In this episode, Jessica Regan, co-curator of the exhibit Death Becomes Her, discusses how the silhouettes of women’s clothing changed during this time period and how elaborate mourning rituals created a booming business for dress makers, as well as a costly investment for women who needed to wear black for an entire year. Jessica also shares some of her fashion and textile must-sees at the Met. 

Outro: Fauré’s Requiem in D Minor, Op. 48: Introit, The Choire of King’s College Cambridge,  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment & Stephen Cleobury


Direct download: 34_Death_Becomes_Her_SMALL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:54am EDT

History, home ec, and fashion converge in this episode, an interview with historian Linda Przybyszewski (Professor Pski to her students), author of The Lost Art of Dress. Professor Pski fills us in on the fascinating and little-known story of the "dress doctors"—a group of early 20th-century seamstresses, scientists, and artists who taught girls and women the art of dressing (and living) with style, taste, and beauty. If you've ever wondered why vintage sewing books are so rad, you can thank the dress doctors!  Outro: "Born on a Train" by The Candy Strypers

Direct download: The_Lost_Art_of_Dress.m4a
Category: -- posted at: 10:47am EDT

Sometimes home is the best place for great ideas to thrive. Fifteen years ago, Natalie Chanin discovered just this when she moved her nascent clothing company—Alabama Chanin—from New York to her hometown of Florence, Alabama. Since then, she’s built a thriving clothing and lifestyle company that merges craft and fashion in a beautiful way. Christine and Natalie talk about starting her business, how to get over creative bumps in the road, and how changing your perspective can make you more successful. Outro music: "Insprie Me Forever (Secret Anomaly Jonez Mix)" by Spinningmerkaba


Direct download: 31_Alabama_Chanin.m4a
Category: -- posted at: 8:25pm EDT

Textile designer Heather Ross is best known for her whimsical fabric designs and illustrations for children's books, but her art springs from a darker past. This month she publishes a memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional family in rural Vermont and her path to becoming an artist, entrepreneur, and mother. In this episode, Heather and Christine discuss the book, how she gets creative work done (hint: early in the day!), and tricks for surviving muggy city summers. Outro music: "Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously," by Lee Rosevere

Direct download: 31_DIY_Life_with_Heather_Ross.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:34pm EDT


Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, a traveling exhibit, currently at the New York Historical Society, explores how quilts, flags, and other sewn goods communicated the wartime experience. Curators Lynne Bassett and Margi Hofer discuss how cotton and textiles played a powerful part in the conflict, and how women's work contributed to the war effort and eventually helped propel the suffrage movement. Outro: "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sung by Odetta

Direct download: Civil_War_Quilts.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:34am EDT


For someone who sews, the workrooms of haute couture houses are probably just as (if not more!) interesting than what we ultimately see on the runways. Claire Shaeffer has spent her career studying the construction techniques for haute couture, expensive ready-to-wear, and historic designs, and written more than 20 books on the subject. This episode, Christine and Claire discuss a variety of topics, including Claire's background as an acrobat, shadowing dressmakers in Paris workrooms, and her two newest books on Chanel. Outro music: "Bughici - Suite for Violin, 8 Ardeleneasca, moderato" by Advent Chamber Orechestra

Direct download: 29_Claire_Shaeffer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:49pm EDT

Whether you're a fashion history buff, or just really like to play dress up, the world of historical costuming offers a unique perspective on how people lived and moved in the past. This episode, Christine catches up with Lauren Stowell, creator of American Duchess, a blog focused on sewing costumes from the 18th through 20th centures, and the creator of the American Duchess line of historically-accurate footware from the same period. Lauren shares a cool new shoe for pre order, and Christine shares an exciting opportunity for amature sewers (hint: it involves being on TV!). Outro music "Handel -- Entrance to the Queen of Sheba for Two Oboes, Strings, and Continuo allegro" by Advent Chamber Orchestra.


Direct download: 28_American_Duchess.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56am EDT

#27 Susan Khalje’s Cocktail Party


Need advice on sewing for special occasions? Susan Khalje, the renowned couture sewing teacher (and Thread Cult’s first repeat guest!), has you covered. This episode, she and Christine discuss her soon-to-be released online cocktail dress class, as well as the art of the French jacket, dressing for your body type, and how investing in quality fabrics can make you a better (and saner!) sewer. Outro music "Wave Rider" by Necronomikon Quartett. 

Direct download: 27_Susan_Khalje.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:29pm EDT

Nora Abousteit helped found and then founded, a beautiful and fashion-forward site that lets sewers, knitters, and other makers share their work and sell their patterns. This episode, Christine and Nora discuss building an online crafting community, how indie designers can use Kollabora to sell their fashion and home decor patterns, and Nora shares an exciting new video component of the site. Outro music: "Waterflies" by Drama for Yamaha

Direct download: Kollabora_An_Interview_with_Nora_Abousteit.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:08am EDT

Liesl Gibson creates super chic, modern sewing patterns for both kids and women. This episode Liesl and Christine talk about her design process, the resurgence of sewing as craft, and the delicate dance of balancing motherhood with a successful business. Outro music: "Paradise Engineering" by Yacht

Direct download: 25_Liesl_Gibson_of_Oliver__S.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am EDT

Maura Grace Ambrose, Austin-based artist and founder of Folk Fibers, makes beautiful, timeless hand-dyed and hand-stitched quilts. In this episode, Maura and Christine discuss the art of natural dyeing and hand quilting, foraging for dyestuffs, and how quilts tell their own stories. Outro music: "Smoothest Runes" by Thick Business

Direct download: Stories_in_Cloth_with_Quilter_Maura_Grace_Ambrose.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20am EDT

Often called the mother of modern quilting, Denyse Schmidt marries the best of the handmade and modern design. This episode, Christine chats with Denyse about what goes into making her quilts, the history of patchwork, the creative process, and several museum shows Denyse will be featured in this fall.

Direct download: Modern_Patchwork__An_Interview_with_Denyse_Schmidt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:49pm EDT

Folk art and fine art meet this week in a facinating interview with weaver and textile designer Catharine Ellis, creator of the woven shibori technique. If you love beautiful fabrics, natural dyes, or just like learning about something new, don't miss this episode! Outro music: "Little Wooden Church," by The Trumpeteers.

Direct download: Woven_Shibori.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm EDT

There's no fabric more luxurious to wear, or tricky to sew, than silk. This episode, Christine gets the scoop on working with this delicate fabric from silk expert and Threads magazine contributor Katrina Walker.

Direct download: silk_Sewing_Tips_from_Katrina_Walker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:44pm EDT

Summer has officially arrived! When it heats up, few fabrics are more refreshing to wear than linen. This episode, Christine and Linda Lee, of The Sewing Workshop, discuss sewing with this natural fabric—from buying the right kind to cutting, stitching, and finishing techniques. Linda's expert advice is sure to get you amped for making something light and lovely this summer. Outro music by Drama for Yamaha. 

Direct download: Sewing_with_Linen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm EDT

From the timeless silhouettes created by Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Grès to the futuristic designs of Issey Miyake, there's nothing quite like bias-cut clothing. This episode, Christine chats with Julianne Bramson and Susan Lenahan, co-founders of Fashions in Harmony, a pattern and fabric company specializing in bias-cut garments. Julianne has studied and taught this method of sewing for years and shares some of her favorite tips on fabrics, finishing techniques, and patterns to use when exploring this tricky but highly rewarding style of design and sewing.


Direct download: On_the_Bias.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:18pm EDT

The sewing industry has seen a boom in independent pattern companies over the past few years, and Colette Patterns has been at the forefront of this indie movement. This episode, Christine chats with Sarai Mitnick, founder and designer of Colette Patterns. If you're interested in indie pattern design, and just sewing in general, this is a great episode filled with tips and insights that any sewer will appreciate!

Direct download: Colette_Patterns_Inerview_with_Sarai_Mitnick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:01pm EDT

Jeans are probably one of the toughest garments to sew and get right (you know, so they don't look homemade). This episode, Christine catches up with Angela Wolf, contributor to Threads and Sew Stylish magazines, founder of ABO Apparel, and custom jean maker extraordinaire. Angela dishes on what to look for in fabric, how to distress denim (hint: a trip to Home Depot is in order), the perfect pockets, and how to get great topstitching. If you've been thinking of making jeans, or already tried and want to learn more, this is the episode for you! 

Direct download: All_about_Jeans_Couture_Advice_from_Angela_Wolf.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm EDT

Producing clothing and other sewn goods locally and sustainaly is no easy task, particularly in our global age. Yet there are still dreamers and doers out there actually making things on their own turf—and their own terms. This episode, Christine catches up with Libby O'Bryan, an artist and founder of the Western Carolina Sewing Company (a.k.a. Sew Co.), a full-service cut-and-sew manufacturer of high quality clothing and other products. Sew Co. operates out of the Oriole Mill, in Hendersonville, NC. Check out episode #15 to learn more about this amazing Jacquard mill.

Direct download: 16_Going_Local_with_Western_Carolina_Sewing_Company.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:14pm EDT

If you love beautiful fabrics, don't miss this episode! Christine takes Thread Cult on the road to interview Bethanne Knudson, co-founder of The Oriole Mill in Hendersonville, North Carolina. The mill specializes in Jacquard woven textiles made exclusively from high-quality natural fibers, and produces some of the most beautiful heirloom quality linens you'll likely ever see. Visit for some amazing images of the mill and fabrics. 

Direct download: 15_Weaving_Special_The_Oriole_Mill.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:42pm EDT

If you sew, or aspire to sew, you surely have questions about that most important piece of hardware—the sewing machine. Perhaps you're in the market for a new one, want to maintain your current one, or wonder whether it's worth fixing Grandma's hand-me-down? Christine gets the answers from Harvey Federman, master sewing machine repairman and owner of Sew Right, a sewing machine and quilting shop in Bayside, Queens. 

Direct download: 14__Boost_Your_Sewing_Machine_IQ.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:59am EDT

Have you ever daydreamed of ditching your 9 to 5, stretching your creative muscles, and sewing fulltime? Nayantara Banerjee—a.k.a. The Williamsburg Seamster—did just that six years ago when she started her own concierge tailoring service and custom design shop. Christine and Tara chat about how she launched, as well as about favorite sewing notions and machines, and a cool textile-related volunteer opportunity (hint: it's in Peru!). 

Direct download: 13_Fashioning_a_Sewing_Career_with_the_Williamsburg_Seamster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:40pm EDT

#12: Reuse, Recycle, Refashion!

This episode, Christine catches up with Kate Sekules, founder of Refashioner, a new website that acts as a curated consignment shop for pre-loved couture and designer fashions. The women chat about what it means to invest in a beautiful wardrobe, why we should keep good clothes in rotation, and how the site differs from other online e-sellers, like eBay and Etsy. 

Direct download: 12_Reuse_Recycle_Refashion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19pm EDT

By now, most people recognize the environmental and health benefits of eating natural, organic, and sustainably-raised food. But what about the fabrics we sew with and wear? Should we hold them to the same standard? In this episode, Christine chats with Tara Bloyd, founder of NearSea Naturals, an online retailer specializing in organic, sustainable, and domestically produced cotton, wool, silk, and hemp fabrics. 

Direct download: 11_Going_Organic_with_NearSea_Naturals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:21am EDT

Making perfect-fitting clothes is one of the toughest sewing skills to master. In this episode, couture designer and sewing expert Kenneth D. King gives his tips on achieving perfect fit, as well as details on his new Threads DVD series "Smart Fitting with Kenneth D. King."

Direct download: 10-The_Art_of_Fit_with_Kenneth_D._King.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:12pm EDT

Textile designer Lotta Jansdotter is the epitome of Scandinavian cool, even when she's designing in her Brooklyn studio. Christine catches up with Lotta on what's inspiring her now and her newest projects, including lines of fabric, rugs, and melamine picnic ware, out this spring.

Direct download: 9_Lotta_Jansdotters_Scandinavian_Style_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10pm EDT

The New York Times has called her the artisanal dyer of the fashion world, but Audrey Louise Reynolds, a Brooklyn-based natural dye and color expert, could also be considered an alchemist, as she turns fabric and natural plant dyes into high fashion. Christine chats with Audrey about creating colors, nature as muse, and her new line of kid-friendly natural crayons, paints, and molding clays. 

Direct download: 8_Color_Wizardry_with_Audrey_Louise_Reynolds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:04pm EDT

Small crafts have become big business, with the likes of West Elm and Anthropologie trolling booths at the Renegade Craft Fair for the next big thing. This episode, Christine speaks with Sarah Spies, director of vendor relations for Renegade, about the growth of the indie craft movement, starting a crafts business, and tips for getting into one of the most influential indie craft fairs in the country.

Direct download: 7_Shes_Crafty_Inside_the_Renegade_Craft_Fair.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26pm EDT

Christine chats with renowned couture sewing expert Susan Khalje about sewing women’s dreams (wedding dresses!), fabric shopping in Paris, and a new series of online couture classes she’ll soon launch. 

Direct download: Thread_Cult_Episode_6__Susan_Khalje_Dreams_of_Couture.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:31am EDT

Since the industrial revolution, fashion has been inextricably linked with technology. From the invention of the sewing machine to the zipper to high-performance fabrics, technology has continually changed the way we make and wear clothing. This episode, Christine chats with Ariele Elia and Emma McClendon, co-curators of Fashion and Technology, a new show at the Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in Manhattan. Along with talking about the exhibit, they also discuss how new inventions—such as 3D printing and fabrics made from bacteria—may change what we wear in the future. To see images of the show, visit Christine’s blog,

Direct download: Thread_Cult_Episode_5_Fashion_and_Technology.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:36pm EDT

This episode, Christine chats with Stephen Fraser, co-founder of the digital fabric printing company Spoonflower, which has allowed crafters and small businesses to order custom-designed fabrics at affordable prices. Along with the company's origins, they talk about how internet-based businesses can innovate and change the way manufacturing is done in the U.S. today.

Direct download: Thread_Cult_Episode_4_Spoonflower.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:15pm EDT

In this season of gift giving, Christine teams up with Oona, of, to try and answer an elusive question: Why is it so hard to sew for your significant other? They tour Mood Fabrics in Midtown for a lesson in mens' shirting fabrics, and a frank and laugh-inducing discussion on why it's so dang hard to sew for men!

Direct download: Thread_Cult_Episode_3__Sewing_for_Your_Sweetie_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:06pm EDT

We all want to grow our own these days. Christine, of, chats with Isa Rodrigues, from the Textile Arts Center in Brooklyn, about growing your own natural dye garden.

Direct download: Thread_Cult_Episode_2_Natural_Dyes_MONO.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:11pm EDT

Christine of chats with Jamie Lau, of, about the new book Sewing Vintage Modern, updating vintage looks, and starting a small fashion label.

Direct download: Thread_Cult_Episode_1_Sewing_Vintage_Modern_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:11pm EDT