We dare you to watch He Sewed She Sewed — our hit series featuring Mimi G and Norris Dánta Ford — and not be inspired to make your own clothes. The two newlyweds (that’s right, they just got married!) clearly know how to vibe with one another, and that camaraderie has resulted in some seriously genius designs.
We sat down with Mimi and Norris to find out what keeps them in the creative groove and pick up a few of their best newbie tips.
What do you love most about making your own clothes?
Norris: The creative process! I really enjoy seeing a vision of mine come to life, from idea to finished garment.
Mimi: I get to make things that fit my body shape, and that is priceless. We’re all shaped so differently, and sometimes retail shopping can make us feel insecure when things don’t fit right. Sewing gives me total freedom to design what I want and make it specific to my curves.
Sewing clothes can feel intimidating — it can be tough to get sizing and fit right at first! What projects do you recommend starting with?
Mimi: Some tend to steer clear of knits, but I actually love teaching with them. So many quit sewing early on because they don’t get the fit quite right, but learning with knits gives you a bit more wiggle room thanks to its stretch. Once they have the tips and techniques for that material mastered, I graduate them into loose-fitting, woven designs that don’t require a ton of fitting, before transitioning into fitted garments once they have more experience under their belt.
Pro Tip: Learn the ins and outs of sewing with knits in our class, The Ultimate Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics.
Norris: I actually recommend your very first project be a T-shirt . This allows you to work with a knit fabric, and as Mimi just said, it’s a good material for new sewers to work with without needing much fit experience.
Pro Tip: Try your hand at a homemade T-shirt in our class, The Ultimate T-Shirt: Fitting & Construction.
OK, more about you: describe your sewing style in three words
Mimi: Comfy, stylish and detailed
Norris: Detailed, technical and eclectic
We like the variety! Regardless of experience level, what’s your favorite fabric to work with?
Norris: Oh man, I love so many…but if I had to choose a favorite, it’d have to be lightweight wools. They’re perfect for suits, and you can work with it year-round!
Mimi: I love rayons and double knits. I love a flowing dress and soft shirtings, and rayon is so versatile for a ton of styles. I also really love knits, and double knits in particular allow me to create comfy clothes that hold their shape.
Pro Tip: Figure out your own fabric faves in our class, Fabric Know-How: Choosing & Using Your Favorite Fabrics.
Time to confess: have you had a DIY fashion fail?
Mimi: All the time! Didn’t you see the plaid episode of He Sewed She Sewed? There are times when you think the fabric is going to work and it doesn’t, or that modification you were hoping to pull off didn’t happen. That’s normal and happens to even the most seasoned sewer — you just gotta take it in stride and keep going.
Norris: Yes! When I first started sewing, I went a long stretch without a DIY fashion fail. (Phew!) But as I’ve become more of an expert sewer, my project levels have increased as well, so it opens you up to potentially make mistakes. Recently, there was a double-breasted suit jacket I was making out of Tencel denim. I put hours of tailoring techniques into this garment, and toward the end when I was finishing up and pressing the front, I noticed the fusible interfacing was bubbling up on my front pieces. Doh!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.