Episode 53. A Chat with Man Yee Woo

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Vacation Fabric Hauls & A Podcast Update The Asian Sewist Collective Podcast

We're back! Well, sort of. In this episode, we're sharing a few podcast updates and talking about what you can expect from us in 2024. We also talk a lot about Ada and Nicole's respective holiday trips and fabric hauls.   Follow the pod at @AsianSewistCollective on Instagram. For show notes and a transcript of this episode, please see: https://asiansewistcollective.com/episode-56-vacation-fabric-hauls-a-podcast-update/ If you find our podcast informative and enjoy listening, you can support us by buying our limited edition merch, joining our monthly membership or making a one-time donation via Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/asiansewistcollective 

Links 

Patterns & Designers mentioned

MVP buttondown by Forest and thread

Jalie 2805

Artist box top by Artist Made Patterns

Ogden Cami by True Bias

Saltwater slip by Friday Pattern Company

Sicily Slip Dress by Sewing Masin

Lucy dress By Hand London

Bubble cardigan by Paintbox Yarns

Resources

Rumana Little Pomegranate

Projector Episode 

Kim ja-in make 

Let’s talk about loss – UK

The dinner party – US 

Show transcript

Ada   

Welcome to the Asian Sewist Collective Podcast. The Asian Sewist Collective is a group of Asian people from around the world brought together by our shared appreciation for fibre and textile arts, and our desire to see more Asian representation in the sewing community.

Nicole  

In this podcast, we explore the intersection of our identities and our shared sewing practice as we create a space for Asian sewists and our allies. 

Ada   

I’m your co-host, Ada Chen, and I’m recording from Denver, Colorado. Denver is the traditional territory of the Ute (yoot), Cheyenne, and Arapaho peoples. I’m a Taiwanese American marketer turned entrepreneur and these days you’ll find me running my own all natural skincare business called Chuan’s Skincare that’s CHUAN’S and sharing my marketing tips on my blog. Most importantly for this podcast, you can find my sewing and i dot hope dot sew on Instagram.

Nicole  

And I’m your co-host, Nicole. I’m based outside of Chicago, the original homelands of the council of the three fires, the Ojibwe (oh-jib-weh), Potawatomi (pot-uh-wat-uh-mee), and Odawa (oh-dah-wa) people. I am a Filipine-American woman, and a lawyer by day and a sewing enthusiast the rest of the time. You can find me on Instagram at @nicoleangelinesews.

Ada   

Before we dive into this week’s episode, Nicole, can you tell us about your current sewing project?

Nicole  

I can I am running down the clock on a pattern test.

Ada   

When are we not.

Nicole  

And I hate to say that I’m out of my “this was a panic sew” label. So I need to, I think I might need to buy another pack or two, which by the way, we are definitely still selling labels. So don’t forget to go to Ko-fi to pick them up. But yes, I am working on a on a pattern test for forest and thread. And it is their M V P button down. The button down is already out. But forest and thread is expanding their size range to include a larger bust range, so I think a double D range. And also to expand their B cup range. So I am testing for fit the B cup size 18. 

Ada   

Okay, 

Nicole  

this is just my quest for how to use all my woven fabric that I think is really pretty but just How am I going to? What am I going to do with all this. So it’s a buttoned down. It’s a classic buttoned down with some design features. I think the sleeves as is are going to be too long because they’re just like huge cuffs and it’s meant to look like that. But I’m realizing that as I am doing more woven shirts, particularly with collars, that I’m getting more confident in the construction, like I’m understanding it better, like it’s not as scary to do a collar stand and you know, to do collars and buttonholes and stuff. So I’m enjoying the process and I’m using some Ruby star society quilting cotton, which is a nice quality quilting cotton that is often used for garments and I know like quilting cotton isn’t always recommended for garments but it’s a nice actually this one might be a sateen because it just feels so nice. So yeah, it’s a it’ll be a slightly not oversized but a loose fitting buttoned down shirt. And I’m hoping to use it for lots of different things at work because I’m in the office a lot more often now or I’m off at a clinic or something and it’s nice to get dressed up otherwise I am that sweat pants working at home kind of person. And are you panic sewing anything right now?

Ada   

Okay, I’m just going to disclaim that when you listen to the rest of this episode, you will be like well, how did she know they talked about panic sewing so much because we do 

Nicole  

Oh, 

Ada   

but I’m getting ahead of myself. I did panic sew actually while you’re trying to get down on your woven stash. I panic sewed some loose kind of boxy tees for my trade show outfits before I left and I’ve really been liking them like one is a linen gauze single gauze but it’s like a sturdier gauze. And one was actually a checkerboard kind of translucent black linen from Blackbird fabrics that I got a while ago like two or three years ago had just been sitting on it and said I’m just going to cut the fabric as Lisa from Black Women’s stitch says cut the fabric. So I did I cut the fabrics and have been loving those two so I am well on my way to making more of those and I don’t know I’ve been in like a T shirt mood. So I cut out a bunch of Jalie 2805 T shirts which are the adjustable colors. And those were in knits. So we’re just trying to round out the t shirt vibe here not make any colors.

Nicole  

Is it as hot there as it has been here?

Ada   

It is quite hot. It is weird because the first year I moved here it did snow over Labor Day week. Now it is like 100 degrees. Yeah. So I don’t know what to tell you but I’m trying to make layering pieces basically,

Nicole  

I cannot get into knit like heavy knits or you know, even even autumn colors and, which I love Autumn is my season but like the plaids and the heavyweights, and like I just can so hot is so hot in Chicago. Well, what, what pattern did you use for the boxy tee the woven boxy tee? 

Ada   

Oh, that’s a good question. I think I based it off of the artist box top originally, which is fairly size inclusive, if I remember correctly. And Taryn, the designer behind it has that and the wrap skirt that I pattern-tested quite a few years ago. Both great patterns the box top is also I think, I don’t know if it’s supposed to be box top and a box top dress or just a box top and then you add a skirt panel. But I just remember finding the pieces and being like this will do. I’m just gonna whip it out. And I don’t think I followed the instructions because it was just a front piece and a back piece and I just bias bound all the way around. 

Nicole  

There we go. I mean, that’s the nice thing about boxtops I have I have a go to as well. I have to go tos for boxtops. And it’s just like I don’t really need that I don’t really need instructions. And if I mess up whatever, it’s fine, it’s boxy. But yeah, okay, that’s cool. Well, I’m really sorry I couldn’t make it to the interview that y’all are about to hear so shout out to Ada for for carry for you know talking with Man Yee with without me I did. I did really miss it. And I look forward to hearing the conversation because I haven’t heard it yet.

Ada   

Today we welcome Man Yee Woo. Man Yee is a sewist in London who’s passionate about fiber arts and was a finalist on Season Eight of the Great British sewing bee. Hey, podcast listeners, looking for a way to support the Asian Sewist Collective. Well, we have a great way for you to do that now and we are excited to announce our first set of merch we’ve launched a limited edition set of woven labels on our coffee page so ko-fi.com/asiansewistcollective and you can get a pack of five woven labels custom designed by our very own producer Mariko with some cute sayings from seasons one through three like “this was a panic sew” “forgot to pre wash” or “made with fabric purchase while traveling”. And they all have really cute designs on them that you should definitely go check out on our Instagram and on our coffee page. And to get your very own set of five labels. You will be supporting the podcast and helping us bring you new content and new guests week after week. So head to ko-fi.com/asiansewistcollective. 

Man Yee  

 Hi, Ada, thank you so much for having me on here today.

Ada   

For our listeners who might not know you from the sewing bee or from Instagram, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and maybe how you got started sewing?

Man Yee  

Yeah, of course. So hi, everyone. My name is Man Yee and I was a finalist on the Great British sewing bee series eight. So I was born in Hong Kong. And then I moved to the UK when I was nine. And I spent the rest of my life in the UK. So I did secondary school education here. I went to uni here. And now I’ve got my job here in the UK as well. So I started sewing when I was about 11 or 12 years old. And it all started in the most unconventional way, which was my friends and I wanted to dress up as anime characters and go to Comic Cons. And it’s such a strange thing. Like it’s not very common for people to start sewing in this way. 

Ada   

But I think it is actually, I mean 11 or 12 Seems kind of young. But yeah, yeah,

Man Yee  

yeah. So like, we really wanted to go to Comic Con because we started watching anime. And actually funnily enough, it was my friends who are it was my white friends who got me into anime and like the whole Japanese culture. And at that time, because we’re so young, that we had, we didn’t have any disposable money to buy costumes or anything like that. So I asked my aunt to teach me how to sew. And she taught me on so she taught me the different ways of sewing. She taught me hand sewing, she taught me machine sewing, and I was able to make my costume for the Comic Con.

Ada   

That sounds great. I wish I had somebody to personally teach me how to do all that sewing. Do you still sew cosplay and costumes and are you still going to conventions and Comic Con in that sphere Do you mind sharing a little bit more about that first costume and maybe what character you were?

Man Yee  

Gosh, that was so so long ago. For my first costume was a character called Haruhi Suzumiya and the anime that is from the manga that is from is called The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a sci fi manga, which was then adopted into an anime. Like I said, previously, my so my friends started watching it, and then they recommend it to me. And then I started watching it as well, and got really, really hooked onto it. I think that’s always the case. When you’re like, when you’re a kid, you just kind of see what your other friends are into. And you know, a lot of music, and like TV shows, it’s always like friends influences. 

Ada   

Yeah, 

Man Yee  

yeah, yeah. So yeah, we start, we started watching it together. And then we were learning the dance tour as well, because there’s a there’s a n theme song called Hare Hare Yukai. We, I don’t know what got into us. But we ended up learning it and performing it at a secondary school talent show. Which was 

Ada   

Oh my god. 

Man Yee  

Yeah. I don’t know where we got that bravery from like, nowadays, there’s no way I do that.

Ada   

Yeah, but when you’re a kid, you’re kind of like, I have no fear.

Man Yee  

Yeah, yeah. Because we didn’t only just perform it in school. We also decided that when we go to Comic Con, we’re also going to perform it on stage in front of hundreds and hundreds of people. Yeah, I still don’t know how, how we did it.

Ada   

That’s really impressive. Like that takes some real guts. Go for it. I mean, I’ll give you the credit of like, when you’re a kid, you’re like, what is whatever, I’m gonna do something. But like to do it in front of a couple 100 people it was still that’s like pretty brave for all of you to go.

Man Yee  

Yeah, I I’m gonna regret saying this. But I think there’s a YouTube video somewhere that my friends uploaded. And I don’t think she’s ever taken it off. So I’m gonna have to hunt it down and then try and get get it deleted at some point.

Ada   

You’ve got time before this episode comes out on YouTube, by the time you hear this listeners, I mean, I will admit that in when I was in high school, my friends and I were all very much into KPop before it was cool. And whenever we weren’t like before, it was cool. Like we were the weirdos. And we were like, we really wanted to learn all the dances. So our dance club basically became learning all the Kpop dances and there are videos of us in like the matching little outfits and costumes. I have definitely made sure that they are private and

Man Yee  

oh my gosh, that it’s so cute. Because I did the same as well. Like, you know, after I after I shifted from J pop into KPop my friends… 

Ada   

Yeah, 

Man Yee  

like we also learned the dances and like we got so obsessed with it that like that’s all we talked about every single day at school.

Ada   

That was literally the foundation going into college of one of my very core friendships like we’re still very good friends now. We don’t talk about Kpop at all. But we were both taking intro to Korean like Korean 101. So we had class four days a week. And then we would nerd out like about what music video came out or whatever, like new YouTube video was out and it was a very formative time and then somewhere along the way, and we were just kind of just all like lift it. And now it’s like the biggest thing and I was like, I I was into this before it was cool. 

Man Yee  

Yeah, I totally get you. 

Ada   

Like I feel I feel old now, but that’s fine. Um, anyways, back to sewing. So Okay, moving away from cosplay and your first kind of makes the first indie pattern that we saw on your Instagram scrolling all the way back is the very well known Ogden Cami by True Bias which you seem to be enjoying. I think some of the other pattern designers that we’ve seen are Tilly and the buttons Friday pattern company some more true bias and then paper theory. So for what it seems like and let me know if we’re reading this wrong. You seem to be sewing more indie than like big four big five. Do you have any favorite like tried and true patterns? TNTs?

Man Yee  

Yeah, yeah, I see you’ve done your research on my on my Instagram page to see what what was the first pattern that I’ve made indie the pattern because even I didn’t realize that myself. I think I’m just generally more drawn to indie patterns because there are a lot more popular amongst sewists online. So it’s a lot easier for me to look for the hashtags and look for reviews of patterns, which I think is really important before you start sewing because you want to know you any tweaks that you need to make yourself any adjustments that you need to make? So yeah, that’s, that’s why I’m a bit more drawn to them. And secretly, and secretly one of the other reasons why I love sewing indie patterns is because I am a very, very lazy person. And so I feel like you know where I’m getting at. I just hate tracing out paper patterns. Because like, when I when I buy paper patterns, I feel like I can’t just cut straight into them. Because what if I want to make it in a different size in the future? So I always

Ada   

 But you don’t. 

Man Yee  

But what if I do I know you’re right. I’ve never done it before. I made a paper pattern in a different size yet. And I don’t think I will be doing that anytime in the future, either. But yeah, like, I just feel like I have to trace everything out. And I just, I don’t have the time for that. I just want to get straight into you know, print it out. And you know what, even the printing process, I go for A0 printing, I don’t do the a4 printing anymore. That because I’m that lazy.

Ada   

I don’t know if I would call it lazy. I call it efficient, 

Man Yee  

perhaps yeah, like, I guess that’s a very nice way of putting it. And I want to maximize my sewing time instead of prepping time, you know, because sewing time is so precious.

Ada   

It is it’s true because you also have a day job. So it’s like juggling all of it. I think I had the same kind of hesitation when I bought my first few paper patterns because I also started with indie online and I was like we’re just gonna print 58 Pages for a jumpsuit and it’ll be fine. And then you’re like, what if I didn’t though what if I could just have it cut out and then here they got now I gotta trace it and I realized I traced probably like four or five 

Man Yee  

Yeah. 

Ada   

And then I realized I was like, there’s no like if I’m ever going to make this again. I’m probably going to be making it like one size up and I could figure that out. Or I’m just going to buy another one because at least I will say like that decisions definitely influenced by the fact that I can get them for $2 here and so it’s very accessible.

Man Yee  

Yeah felt like it’s a bit different in the UK I don’t think that you can get it for just $2 or two pounds here in the UK is it’s a bit more expensive in terms of items. There’s not usually much of a sale on paper patterns. So yeah, yeah. But yeah, I do. So I do have a an indie TNT pattern. And it is the saltwater slip dress by Friday pattern company.

Ada   

Okay, ask what make? Okay, because I gasped because I own the Ogden Cami pattern and I have made the Ogden Cami. I didn’t buy the saltwater slip because when it came out and I was like well couldn’t I just hack it by lengthening and Ogden Cami and Nicole agreed. And so I didn’t buy the dress and then I was like, oh, but it looks so cute. And I also have the Sewing by Masin Sicily slip dress, which besides the cowl is like very similar on the bottom. So tell tell me why the Friday pattern company saltwater slip is your TNT, like talk me into buying it

Man Yee  

Okay, so it has a lovely, lovely silhouette. Because the way that you construct it is different to the way you construct Ogden Cami, as you know, the for the Ogden cami you have your facing as well as your main pieces. And then your strap is separate to that. But for the saltwater slip dress, the strap is part of the bias binding.

Ada   

Oh, yeah.

Man Yee  

Yeah. So there’s no facing in that. So it’s very, very simple and straightforward to make. You don’t have to do any of what you call it. You don’t have to do any of the understitching like you do with Ogden. Yeah, yeah. So you just need to you just need to bind the other way around is a very, very easy and straightforward make.

Ada   

Okay, sold. Yeah,

Man Yee  

you should definitely try it. I would love to see you in that. And it’s just so versatile as well. And Rumana from the little pomegranate. So I wore that when I went to an event where she was at as well. And when she saw that dress, she was like she needs to make it because she she likes the way it looks. So yeah, if I can convince her I’m sure I can convince you as well.

Ada   

Oh, yeah, you had me at bias finding and not having to do the lining with for the one that you wore when you saw her or maybe some of the other ones that you’ve made. What do you use as your like fabric choice like what would you recommend?

Man Yee  

Um, I would definitely say something very flowy like viscose because I like wearing it as the layering piece at times. So sometimes, you know, I feel like the saltwater slip dress you can wear it in the summer and in the winter because for the summer, you can just work by itself when it’s really hot outside is very flowy. And it’s very, it’s very drapey on you. It’s a very drapey piece. So it’s really nice to wear. And then in the winter, you can wear it on top of like a long sleeve turtleneck or something and layer it up. So you want to go for something, maybe viscose like something that is quite slippery, so that it doesn’t drag on your clothes when you layer it up. And it also has this really luxurious feel to it when you wear it.

Ada   

Okay, sold I’m just gonna go buy I don’t, you might have me on the whole printing on the A zero, I do have a projector now. So we might just skip the whole printing Step. If you’re, if you’re really looking to get very Oh, never have to cut a pattern again.

Man Yee  

I will have to look into that after this.

Ada   

That’s a whole other episode that we did. And then at the end, I ended up buying a projector. A word to the wise, maybe, you know, don’t listen to that one if you’re not ready to buy it. But on the sewing bee, you were on Series, Series eight. Now, you just said that you’re a lazy Sewer. But you always made these like really ambitious projects, like so much so that Patrick Grant commented on it. And I know you were saying that, you know, they do a fantastic job of like editing everything, even when you’re looking at the camera. I guess my question is, like, where did the ambitious part that you were doing on the sewing bee come from if in your like normal sewing at home, you’re kind of like, whatever is the fastest.

Man Yee  

So I feel like I don’t know, being being overly ambitious is definitely one of my toxic traits, I will have to admit that. I think in general, I just really like my, I like my projects to be really exciting and thrilling. And I need it to be challenging because I have a very short attention span as well. So I need it to be something that I can throw myself into. Otherwise, I lose my attention really easily. So that’s why I go for really ambitious projects, because then I have to really use my brain to think about how I need to put the pieces together, how it’s all going to work together. I think like over the last few years, I challenged myself by drafting some evening gowns for various different balls. And recently as well, I was being overly ambitious. I mean, being ambitious, great. But being overly ambitious, also have a lot of downfalls. So recently, I was invited to a wedding. And for some reason, I thought I could just make my wedding guest dress and I thought I could just make my wedding guest dress that evening before the wedding. And you can see where this is going like I was.

Ada   

I mean, I’ve been there.

Man Yee  

I’m glad I’m not the only one. But I don’t know what like why I thought I could do that. You know, I was working with a really slippery fabric

I need that label! Sorry, I’ll carry on. Yeah, I don’t know why I thought that was achievable. Because I was working with a really slippery fabric and I was also using a pattern that I had drafted and I hadn’t toiled at all it was the Lucy dress from By Hand London where you have to make your own pattern. You know, it’s not one that can just cut out and yeah, it’s not one that you can just cut out from the pattern pieces is one way you have to draft it yourself using your own measurements. So yeah, I ended up staying up until 3am In the morning sewing it. I know, I know. And I was absolutely knackered the following day. But I think it was all worth it though. It was definitely all worth it

Ada   

Is, this was the Lucy dress. So it was like most recently in your feed. Yeah. Okay, but I wouldn’t have guessed that you started it the day before looking at it

Man Yee  

I just I tried to just lost track of time. I just feel like oh, it’s a really simple dress. You know, it looks simple enough that I can just whack it together in a few hours. But I feel like everything just always takes longer than you need it to be. But yeah, everything just takes so much longer than you expect it to, doesn’t it?

Ada   

Oh yeah. I mean, I’ve I’ve been there. I think probably the worst one was about 45 minutes before I had to leave the house. I decided, for the airport by the way. I decided that I was like, I need one more tank top like I didn’t, there. I have no clean tank tops, but everything’s packed away. I’m gonna need one more in tank top. It’s kind of going to be a sweaty and gross trip. And I didn’t I don’t think I finished the hem, but I got everything else. Because I had to get to the airport. I’m like, Yeah, I could do it. 45 minutes is fine. You know, it’s just like a front piece and a back piece and facings on front and back. And you know, don’t don’t don’t do that listener beware. Don’t panic sew your garments, right before a big event. But I’m curious, since, you know, I’m assuming the pressure of sewing for a wedding the next day is different from the pressure of being on the sewing bee. So was there anything that you learned during that process of being on the sewing bee that you maybe still use in your daily or regular sewing practice? 

Man Yee  

Yeah, so I learned quite a lot of that. I learned quite a lot from everyone on the sewing bee. So I learned a lot from the judges and also a lot from the contestants as well. So from Esme, I learned that you always want to interface your fabric if you’re sewing a zipper into it, especially if the fabric is slippery. Because you want to make sure when you’re sewing in the zipper into the fabric, you want to make sure everything is stable. You don’t want there to be any twists or any wonkiness. So if you have a stable fabric, then if you have a stable fabric after you’ve interfaced it, then everything will just go on smoothly. So yeah, that was 

Ada   

that’s actually genius. 

Man Yee  

Yeah, yeah, it’s not actually you know what she was giving that tip to someone else on the show. And I was I just happened to be next to them. And I was like, I am taking that tip. I am stealing that tip. And using that on my own garments going forward.

Ada   

I kind of love it. I mean, why not? Yeah, she’s kind of there to teach. 

Man Yee  

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And then from my friend Cristian, as well. He did something quite smart that not many of us were doing when we got the pattern pieces in the first challenge, which is to make sure you iron the paper pattern pieces before you start cutting the fabrics out. That’s not something that I thought about previously. But you know, I saw him doing it. And I was like, That is such a good shout, you know, you want everything to lay flat before you cut things out. Otherwise, you know, the sizes might be different. And you might miss out some pieces. Because there is one time, I think it was the very first challenge on sewing bee, I decided to just take the pattern pieces out from the envelope, laid it on the fabric and start cutting it out. And then I realized after I cut out the front piece of the skirt that I hadn’t even unfolded the whole paper. I know, I know, that wasted a bit of my time. So I had to like you know, re cut the pieces out from the fabric. Yeah. So always, always try and iron and make sure the whole paper pattern piece is flats before you cut things out.

Ada   

I’ve seen that from Lisa who’s at Black Women Stitch Stitch Please podcast, she does it with her tissue patterns, like the ones that you buy at Joann’s. And I was always like afraid to do it. And then I realized that they’re on the lowest lowest setting or even if you turn the iron off, and it’s just like cooling down. And you just kind of run it over. It just makes such a big difference compared to what I was doing before which I don’t know if this is what you were you were doing. But basically, I would unroll them or unfold them and then just like smash down as many weights as I could.

Man Yee  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it definitely does make a difference.

Ada   

So I want to talk about one project that you made on the show, one garment, which was a sport jacket. Would you mind telling us a little bit about that jacket and who you chose to honor with it?

Man Yee  

Yeah, so for the sports jacket challenge, we were asked to choose an athlete that we like. And I decided to choose Kim Jain, who is a Korean boulder climber. And over the last few years, I got really into bouldering and I started watching a lot of bouldering competitions, you know, clips on YouTube. And Kim Jain was one of the athletes that I really admire. So I watched a lot of her clips, you know, the way that she climbs it’s just so fluid. It’s like she’s, it’s like she’s she’s lightweight as a feather. So I just really enjoying watching her I felt like in general the East Asian bodies like our, in general our East Asian bodies are built differently compared to like, you know, bodies of Western women because the average height is shorter for us. So you know, sometimes it’s just a bit harder before sometimes it’s just a bit harder for us to like reach some of the holds when there are further distance away. But when I when I watch Kim Jain climb, you know She’s, I think they’re like a lot of Asian climbers, they’re of similar height to me. So I feel like I can relate to them a bit more, which is why I tend to watch them climb, I want to like learn from them as well to see how they move the body, how they position it so that they can reach as far as possible. Whereas, you know, a lot of a lot of Western climbers. They’re much taller than us so they can easily touch the holds. And yeah, I felt like, perhaps it’s because they’re Asian as well. I just feel like I can relate to them. A little bit more in that set. 

Ada   

Yeah. 

Man Yee  

So yeah, that’s, that’s one of the one of the reasons why I chose to I chose Kim Jain, and

Ada   

I love it. I mean, I, so I don’t climb I’m actually really terrible at hand eye coordination, despite sewing, 

Man Yee  

I was gonna say! 

Ada   

It’s really crazy. I cannot throw things I cannot reach things. But I can swing a golf club, which I’m very grateful for. And I know, it’s, it’s been historically an exclusionary sport. But since I came back to it after I inherited my dad’s clubs, you know, he taught me when I was little, and we had had three clubs, literally like, so I was just hitting the ball, it was something to take us out to. And then I rediscovered it when I got his clubs. And then I discovered that in the top 10 of the world rankings on the LPGA, which is like the women’s professional tour, I think about eight or nine of them are actually Asian women, either of Asian descent, and they live in the US or Australia, or I think there might be one from the UK, or like from Korea is a big country, Thailand is really big right now. And they actually all have these, like development programs for women. And it’s really encouraging, I think, because despite if I go play here, you know, I’m not I am probably like the only one or one of very few. Yeah, but if I look at the world rankings, or if I watch TV, and I watch the real matches, it’s kind of the same, like you said, their body looks like my body. And then the other person who’s in the top 10, her name is Nelly Korda, and she’s like six foot two, skinny, and she has completely different. So you’re like, I can’t even like your club is like as tall as I I kind of I get that I totally relate to when you see someone with a similar body type, especially if they look like you. It’s not necessarily like, because they look like you that you want to honor them. But you’re like, seeing that example, I think at least. And to your credit, you were also an example being on the sewing bee. And so it was Rumana. And I think Rumana has been pretty vocal about her experience being on TV, and being kind of in the public spotlight. Is there anything you want to share about your experience so far, kind of being a sewing celebrity?

Man Yee  

Oh, gosh, that does not sound right to hear. So I felt like I had a very nice time. Being on the sewing bee and the experience that came after I you know, everyone, everyone online were really nice to me. I didn’t get any hate messages or anything like that, you know, I was preparing myself for it. I was like, people are going to send me racist messages or something like that. But you know, no one really like, I mean, people might comment about me, but it’s not about the way I look. But it’s more on my sewing itself, which I really appreciate, even if it’s like comments on Oh, that doesn’t look quite right, or that doesn’t meet the brief or something like that. But I appreciate that, that they’re not looking at my race and like not not being, how do you call it, not not judging me, based on my race, which I really appreciate. So yeah, like I I feel like I had I liked my experience being on TV. Or maybe that’s just because I’m a bit gullible as well. So, I know it sounds really silly, but like, I’m very naive. And I like to believe the best in people. So even if someone’s saying really sarcastic to me, like I might not even register it, I might just take it as a compliment. And like, I suppose growing up as well, like I’ve had instances where I have been called names by other people, but I feel like because I’m such I’m so laid back at times. Or maybe that’s probably not how I should be. But because I am quite laid back that I kind of just brush it over I kind of I’ve always like it’s not me it’s them. Like they’re the they’re the ones who’s being a bully. They’re the ones who’s calling me chink, like it’s it’s things that doesn’t. Like, I’m not at fault here so I shouldn’t feel bad about it. So I’ve never really felt bad about I guess yeah, I’ve never really felt like ashamed or anything or like any worry about Being Asian or being on TV like that. And, in a way, like a funny, funny story, I guess funny now, but it wasn’t really funny when I was younger. But when I first moved to the UK, I was in a class with 30. I think about, yeah, I was in the class with like, 20 other kids. And I got bullied. I got picked on. I don’t know whether it’s to the extent of bullying, but like, I got picked on in class. But I didn’t get picked on by my white classmates, I got picked on by my classmate, who’s Chinese. So it’s very, I don’t know, I always think back to that, and I’m like, why did that happen? Like surely like, I should feel, you know, like, you would expect my white classmates to be the ones who’s like, not used to my skin color not used to my race. But it happened to be my Chinese classmate who would pick on me who would like, you know, kick puddles at me when it’s raining, and not even in like a friendly way. Like, it’s not like, Haha, we’re friends, or we’re like messing about, like, we never had that friendly encounter. I don’t know whether it might be because they feel threatened that there’s another Chinese person in the class, or something like that. But I feel like, because of that, I’ve never really felt that close. Have never really felt like I’m so in touch with my Chinese tradition and my Chinese culture. In a way I’ve always liked. I think growing up as well. I’ve always thought, oh, like, if I was white then everything will be a lot easier. It’s terrible to say, but I feel like, you know, if I if I look just like other other people, then I don’t have to worry about what other people would think of me. Yeah, so I’ve never really given yeah, I’ve never really like I guess, I guess I what I’m trying to say is growing up, I’ve never really tried to get close to discover my Chinese heritage at all.

Ada   

Yeah, I mean, I think every experience is valid. And I, I like the way that you approach it where it’s if somebody says something hurtful to you, it’s an it’s not a reflection on you. It’s a reflection on them of what they’re going through, or like, maybe they’re struggling with something, and they’re just taking it out on you which they shouldn’t. But we all know, it kind of just happens. And I think a lot of people have had that thought before of like, well, what if I was like the blank, right? Like, could I pass this way or that way? And would that make my life a bit easier? And so I think it’s, it’s a universal experience, which is kind of unfortunate, and hopefully it changes in the future. But thank you for sharing. So while we’re on the touchy feely stuff, like I think I mentioned, before we started recording, I lost my dad, Nicole has also talked about loss before on the podcast, she lost someone very close to her. And so we know that you’re also involved with this organization called let’s talk about loss in the UK. I’m involved in a similar organization here in the States called the dinner party. So if you wouldn’t mind, could you tell us a little bit about let’s talk about loss? And if you’re still involved with their work?

Man Yee  

Yeah, of course. So let’s talk about loss is a charity that supports young people aged from 18, to 35, who are bereaved, so they create a really safe space to talk about loss in a fun, but relaxed environment, I know, it’s very contradicting to say, you know, you’re talking about grief and everything in a fun way, they really want to make sure that it’s not so much of a taboo subject. So they want to make sure people do talk about it openly. Because you know, everyone goes through this thing. Like you’re going to be in this club, sooner or later. And I know it’s a terrible club to be in. But it’s just so important that you need to have the support around you, you need to find people who you can talk to about this. And you may not necessarily have friends who have gone through the same thing yet. But so you might not be able to talk to your friends about it. They might not necessarily understand the grief that you’re going through. So let’s talk about loss, they do different events each month, at different locations or across the UK as well. So you can go join them. Sometimes they might just go to the pub and just have a chat, you know, over a drink or over food. But sometimes they might go to the cinema or they do bowling. So there’s a lot of activities that they do in different regions of the country that you can get involved in. But all you have to do is sign up and turn up And yeah, you can just meet other people talk about different things. You don’t even necessarily need to talk about the person you’ve lost, you can just talk about anything. Like, you know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s just a, it’s a new friendship group, you know, you can make new friends through it. And it’s great. I do plan to stay involved with it by going to the sessions they have in London, and meet other people through that as well. But yeah, if you if you’re interested in that, if you’re interested in talking about loss with other people who’s gone through similar things, then absolutely. Look up, let’s talk about loss.

Ada   

Love it. And I would echo the same if you’re in the US, we have the dinner party, it’s also meant for you, they call it young Grievers. So it’s generally like 20 to early 40s. And it’s mostly local based, so kind of similar, and we do meet up so I’m very lucky that, you know, kind of in the depths, humor is a great coping mechanism. 

Man Yee  

Oh, yeah. 

Ada   

But like, in the depths of it, I there was another person who was coincidentally from the same area as me. Like in New Jersey, she had grown up, probably like, within half an hour of me. And I had also lost her dad, but then had also moved out here. And so she had started hosting the table, which is kind of how they refer to it here. And so now we have a nice little group of about like six or seven people, we’ve had a few people move away. But then they hopefully find people in their new area. And, yeah, it’s really nice, I think to have those people. And even if you’re not like, you don’t have to talk about loss the whole time, it does get to be a little bit of a bummer. If that’s all that it’s about, like you do end up being. I would say, I don’t know if you’d agree with this, but like a different type of friend, because not all of your regular friends would like get it yet. And yeah, you know, one day, they might, unfortunately, join the club. And when I’ve had a few friends join the club during the time I’m like, I’m so sorry, you were joining this terrible club. Here, all these resources, tell me what you need. And yeah, highly recommend doing that. I love that you’re involved. So check out the events in London and throughout the UK, everyone, if you’re in the UK, we’ll have links in the show notes a little bit to end on a higher note. Let’s let’s talk about sewing again. So I think your oldest make that we dug up is a 10 year old red crop tops that you still wear. And so I think you talked about how you feel more confident wearing what you want now, regardless of you know, people’s gaze, do you think that part of that is your sewing and your confidence in your sewing? Or is it just getting more mature, other things happening in life? Like, where does that come from?

Man Yee  

I think is probably a bit of both. Like, I feel like I am now at the point where I’ve learned not to care about what people think and specifically Asian aunties. I think I’m slowing. I think I started I think I started slowly getting to this stage. Since I became independent, I suppose, by in terms of independent I mean, like since I’ve moved out of home and moved to uni, because I went to uni in a different city. So I was able to, you know, have a new I don’t know, I guess I was able to create a new Man Yee like, you know, a Man Yee that nobody knows previously. So I’m able to be more confident, create what I want to wear, you know, where albeit revealing clothing, you know, things that Asian aunties and Asian parents would not approve of, basically, I was looking for pictures the other day, and I dug up this photo where I made this dress that I wore to, to end of Season Dinner Ball where I had an extremely low V neck front on my on my bodice. And it’s so low to the point where it’s like, literally getting to my belly button. There’s no way I would have worn that if I was still living at home. I felt like you know, growing up. A lot of I think a lot of Asian people, maybe a lot of Asian girls feel this always feel this way as well. Where growing up, their life is being judged and it’s being controlled by Asian family. You know, it’s not just not just in terms of what you wear, but also how you look like you know if you’re a bit chubby though, but like, Oh, you’ve gotten fat, but then they’ll turn around and be like, oh, you should eat more. You need to eat more food, and it’s just so contradicting and I just hated being judged like that. So when I went to uni, it was a very, very freeing experience. I felt like I was able to do what I want. And I think that’s where I started gaining more confidence in the way I dress, because you know, what’s the worst that could happen like my family, they can’t kick me out, or they can threaten to kick me out anymore. They call threaten to be like cutting me off anymore because I’m at uni, and I can just be my own self. And so I was able to, you know, create, like, do a lot more sewing that fits my own style, crop tops, short skirts, that sort of thing, like, whatever was in fashion back in 2016. Around then, yeah,

Ada   

I feel like most a lot of people are like that. So we’re like, as soon as I’m free, if they move out for university or college, they’re like, I’m free, you can’t see me all the time. Like, you know, you might have find My on, which is, I think that’s a new thing. Because I didn’t that did not exist when I was in college, like nobody, I would be halfway across the country, and they would not be able to know. Like, it was very much the same. And I think that happens for a lot of people. Like once you’ve left the nest, and you’ve moved all your stuff out, you’re like, and you you cannot dictate what I’m wearing anymore. And you have no say, and you might make these comments about how fat you think I am, how dark you think I am, all these different things that we know are rooted, you know, in their own beliefs and, and issues with society. And that’s where I’m going to leave it for today. But I think as long as we’re aware of, of what we’re doing, and how, you know, it’s not really what whatever they’re saying to us. That’s, that’s the best that we can do. So besides sewing, you also have knitting, which I think I saw the bubble cardigan. And then I also saw the recent crocheting. Are there any other fiber arts that you’re interested in?

Man Yee  

Oh, there are so so many fiber arts that I’m interested in. I did textiles in school, and also in college as well. So it’s the UK version of college. So it’s like, six forms or something like that. But yeah, I did a bit of silk painting, when I was there, and I really want to, you know, try that out again, I also really want to pick up punch-needling. And also weaving as well. Because you know, it’s just sounds so fun, you get to feel all the fiber, you get to feel the fiber material with your hands. And that is something that I just love. I don’t know, I might maybe I should do a do a series on learning new skills just like I did with the crochet series.

Ada   

I would totally be here for that you are also very busy. Because I think you said you said you finished studying. You got your house, you also work full time. And you’ve got all of these other fiber arts going on. So how do you still make time to sew?

Man Yee  

Oh, I don’t make time. I like to say that. Oh, yeah, I spent every weekend, nine to five sewing. You know, like, every Saturday, I wake up in the morning and I do a bit of sewing, I spend the whole day sewing. I wish I could say that. But I just don’t have the time. Like I am still. So even though I do full time work. I am also doing exams as well. I’m working towards my actual qualification. Hopefully, I’m towards the end now. Like hopefully I should qualify within the next year. But you never know. But yeah, like it’s so hard to make the time to sew. And I have a massive list of things that I need to sew you know, not just for myself, but for other people as well. I actually bought my boyfriend some fabric to make a shirt for him. And he came with me to pick up the fabric three years ago. Yeah, yeah. It’s still, it’s still work in progress. I’ve not even cut out the fabric. Yeah, actually.

Ada   

Shhh he doesn’t have to know,

no, it’ll be a surprise. You know, one day when he when he gets it for I didn’t know his birthday or Christmas, maybe five years down the line. He’ll be surprised by it. So it’ll be a nice gift then. But I just find it so hard to make time because there’s just so many things going on. And I feel like sewing can be such an isolated hobby. When you’re sewing at home, you just be at your desk. And I feel like you know what, sometimes we want to do sewing like I just end up locking myself in the room and not really talking to my boyfriend or doing anything else for the day because I’m I’m just so engrossed in it, and I’m just stuck in this room. It’s not something that you know, yeah, it’s not something we can easily take to do on the couch or anything. Which Yeah, so it’s, it’s, I just find that difficult to to find time for it. So I think at the moment, from what I guess from the from my track record for the past year, I feel like I’m only doing sewing when it’s very last Minute for like holiday or for weddings and things like that. So yeah, it’s hard to find the time.

I think the vast majority of people would also agree. Well, it has been lovely chatting with you many. Is there anything else going on for you or anything you’d like to promote? Where can people find you.

Man Yee  

And to be truthfully honest, I’ve thought about this for quite a lot, especially since the sewing bee has finished. I feel like I needed to use the momentum to create something to create my own business or create or get my name out there. But I think it’s just really hard, you know, this three else. So there were four finalists in the, in my series of sewing bee, and three out of four of us have quit their job, started their own business, and they’re all doing really well. But for me, I feel I just need to take it slow. I am still very much enjoying my job. So I just want to finish my qualification first, before I focus on other things, perhaps I’ll go into part time in the future or something like that. But yeah, like I think that’s my main focus for now. But I guess in the future you know, anything could happen. I might is a very much might, I might restart my YouTube channel. When I was younger, I used to have a YouTube channel and I used to teach people how to sew clothes, how to alter clothes, you know, not professionally, there’s like it’s, I was a teenager when I created those videos. So it’s very, very unprofessional. It’s not the right way of clothes. But now that I’ve learned a bit more now that I’ve gained a little bit more experience, I felt like it would be a really fun thing to do. So yeah, that’s something that I will probably look into in the near future.

Ada   

And listeners can stay up to date with what Man Yee is doing at Man Yee dot Woo  on Instagram. Thanks for being on with us today. Man Yee, I really appreciate it.

Man Yee  

Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed this.

Ada   

Thank you so much for joining us on this week’s episode of the Asian Sewist Collective Podcast. 

 If you like our show, please consider supporting us on Ko-fi by becoming a one-time or monthly supporter, or buying our stickers and sewing labels. That’s right we have merch, buy the labels, they are hilarious. Your financial support helps us with overhead expenses and will allow us to give back to our all-volunteer team, who works so hard to provide you with new content each week. The link to our Ko-fi page is Ko-fi.com/asiansewistcollective, and you can find the link in the show notes, on our website, and on our Instagram account! Check us out on Instagram @asiansewistcollective. That’s one word, “asiansewistcollective”.

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Nicole  

All of the links and resources mentioned in today’s episode will be in the show notes on our website, that’s asiansewistcollective.com. 

 And we’d love to hear from you! Email us with your questions, comments, or even voice messages if you want to be featured on future episodes, at asiansewistcollective@gmail.com.

  This episode was brought to you by your co hosts Ada Chen and Nicole Angeline. Thank you so much to the other members of our collective who made this week’s episode a reality. This is the Asian Sewist collective podcast and we’ll see you next week.

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