Episode 21. Sewing Special Occasionwear with Macy Camile

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34. This Long Thread: A Community Episode The Asian Sewist Collective Podcast

In this week's episode, we're using This Long Thread, a book by Jen Hewett, to guide our discussion. Jen is a printmaker, surface designer, teacher and author. In addition to designing and selling her own products, Jen also licenses her work to fabric manufacturers and large retailers. In the press for her first book, Print, Pattern, Sew, Jen talked about growing up mixed race – her dad is black and her mom is Filipina, and Jen's experience as a woman of color in the crafting world informed the creation of This Long Thread. Learn more about Jen at jenhewett.com or @jenhewett on Instagram. In this episode, we'll use the questions Jen asked for This Long Thread to ask you, our community, about your experiences in the sewing and fiber arts world. For show notes and a transcript of this episode, please see: https://asiansewistcollective.com/episode-34-this-long-thread/  If you find our podcast informative and enjoy listening, you can support us by joining our monthly membership or making a one-time donation via Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/asiansewistcollective  

Links 

Patterns & Designers mentioned

Heather Dress Sewing Pattern by Sew Over It

The Lola Racer Tank Top Pattern by Staystitch Pattern Co via Etsy

Sicily Slip Dress PDF Sewing Pattern by Sewing Patterns by Masin

Grace Dress PDF Pattern by Marsha Style

Saltwater Slip Dress – PDF Pattern by Friday Pattern Company

Nikko Top and Dress (PDF) by True Bias

Rose Cafe Bustier Dress by Daria Patternmaking via Etsy

Fabric Stores mentioned

Fabric Mart, based in Pennsylvania, PA, carries a large variety of fabrics, notions and patterns

Resources

Miss Philippines, Macy’s Filipino flag inspired gown via her Instagram account @macycamile

Macy’s daughter’s evening gown, via her Instagram account

That’s Sew Monica

Lumpia, Wikipedia

Turon, Wikipedia

Pinsec frito, Wikipedia

Barong tagalog, Wikipedia

Macy Camile, Macy’s sewing blog

Show transcript

Ada: The Winchester Mystery House is also like, a pop culture reference, I guess, in that like, this house has like, 52 bajillion rooms in it and like, something, and I guess, some references have been made to it and like, creepy movies.

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. 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. I’m your co-host, Ada Chen, and I’m recording from Denver, Colorado. Denver is a traditional territory of the Ute, 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 Skincare, that’s C-H-U-A-N – and sharing my marketing tips on my blog, The Cultivate method. Most importantly for this podcast, you can find my sewing at @i.hope.sew on Instagram.

Nicole: And I’m your co-host, Nicole. I’m based out of Chicago, Illinois, the original homelands of the Council of the Three Fires, the Ojibwe, the Potawatomi, and the Odawa people. I’m Filipinx American, and I’m a 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 am… I can, actually. I, I’ve, I finally sort of coming back into doing some garment sewing.

Ada: Okay.

Nicole: I just wasn’t really into it, at that… For whatever reason. And I became upset that I wasn’t into it at first. But then like, nah, I don’t have to sew garments, I can sew whatever I want. So I have a new Fabric Mart make coming up and I decided to make a couple of things. One is the Sew Over It Heather dress, and it’s a knee-length knit dress that you can make it in lighter knits or stable knits. And it has, you’re able to colour block it, so they they have it panelled with some inset pockets. Now, the reason why I chose this dress is because I, I wanted to use some of my allowance for some printed indie patterns, so I didn’t have to worry about buying and printing it myself. But I also wanted to pick a pattern where their full size range was available in print.

Ada: Nice.

Nicole: Some pattern companies, you know if they’ve extended their sizes, they’ll have their 6-18 or 6-20 or 0-20, PDF or printed, and oftentimes when they’ve extended their sizing, they’ll just have the, like, the 18-30 or whatever it goes to, as, like, PDF only. But Fabric Mart carries Sew Over It printed patterns in both of the ranges for each of their items. So I was like, okay, this is important to me to pick something that is available to everybody. So I went with that dress and I picked a couple of rayon pontes up to colour block with them. So one is, uh, black dots and the other is actually double-faced, so that means that you can use either side of the fabric, there is no wrong side, but it’s double-faced with pinstripes, black and white pinstripes, and then the other side is plain, but I don’t really love the pinstripes, I’m going to use the plain side for the colour blocking and then I’ll just use the polka dots. And, I also picked up a rust-coloured rayon-like raw, rib knit for a Stay Stitch Lola dress, which… I’ve been wanting to do that pattern and it’s very popular and it’s size-inclusive as well. So those are my my two upcoming makes, I think, by the time this comes out, they may already be out? But we shall see. What are you working on, Ada?

Ada  

Well, what I am working on is very timely and also relevant to today’s guest. I am hemming this lovely bridesmaids gown that I did not sew. It’s a ready-to-wear dress, everyone, behind me. And I think I talked about it with you on Instagram Live when we were chatting about my Workroom Social fabric haul.

Nicole: Yeah.

Ada: And it’s a cowl neck dress, clearly, as you can see, but it was… Like many ready-to-wear bridesmaids dresses and formal dresses, I think, in general, are… It was designed for somebody who is six feet tall and I’m five foot four. And even with the one inch heel I will be wearing for practicality purposes on that wedding day, I need to hem quite a bit of it up. So, I need to use the rolled hem foot that I bought off of eBay. And what I’m going to do is hopefully measure it out and then put it back on, have my fiance check it when I have the shoes on and then cut into it because you can’t grow fabric. And then, I might cut it in like, two or three goes so I don’t take off too much. And then I’ll practice on those scraps with the rolled hem foot to make sure that I know what I’m doing before actually do the rolled hem on the actual garment. So, not a fun new make, just an alteration, but definitely mildly stressful because this dress has been sitting in my closet for about a year, waiting for this person’s wedding. But hopefully by the time, well, I know by the time this episode comes out, the wedding will have passed and I will be through and done with wedding season 2021.

Nicole: 

Yeah, you’ve been busy.

Ada: I’m so over weddings, everyone.

Nicole: You have your own to plan though, so…

Ada: Don’t remind me.

Nicole: Well, good luck. I believe in you. I’m sure it’ll be great. Maybe…

Ada: Thanks!

Nicole: It probably will be fine.

Ada: Fingers crossed.

Nicole: This week’s guest is Macy Knight, also known by her fashion brand and blog, Macy Camile. Welcome, Macy.

Macy: Hi! How is everyone?

Nicole: We’re doing good! We’re so glad that you’re here.

Ada: Pretty good.

Macy: I’m so glad to be here.

Ada: Thanks for joining us. Do you mind telling our listeners a bit about yourself?

Macy: I live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I work full time at home, and then I also do a lot of designing and sewing on the side. I specialise in making custom gowns, but I am very much so trying to transition very hard into being a sewing blogger. It is such a task. I am very much an introvert, as bubbly as everything is, I find it hard to talk a lot of times and respond back to people and be social and social media is just that. It is just absolutely engaging. It’s everything. So sometimes I find myself in a little bit of a test, trying to make everything, then take the pictures, then talk about it and everything. But I’m really trying to merge over into transition over into the sewing blogging world.

Ada: I love it. And you also identify as Filipino American, so can you tell us a bit about how you got started sewing and also maybe how your identity intersects with your sewing?

Macy: So, my grandmother… So, I’m biracial, I am white. My family’s from, their side is from London, and then my other side, Filipino, they’re straight from Manila. And my grandmother came over here when she was in her teens, and she learned how to sew. But, both of the sides coming from different backgrounds where at the time were considered to be pretty poor. It was just during the Depression, and everything. And my grandmother made a lot of her clothes by curtains and sheets and stuff. So my grandmother was the first one who ever taught me how to sew. And she would have me make baby doll clothes, and she bought me my first American doll, Samantha, and she would have me make her clothes. So she would buy just a little bit of fabric and we would make her thing. And I love doing that with her. And she had this iron sewing machine, I literally have it still in my basement because it’s such a keepsake from her. But she was pretty much the staple and how I began to sew everything. And then my culture and heritage just tied so much into it because I wanted it to be so much alive in my family, as well as my daughters. And a lot of times I do typically feel like our culture tends to get overlooked sometimes. So I wanted to represent it in as much way as I could. And when I started fashion school, it just blossomed.

Nicole: Macy, you are an inspiration to me. Like, I, when I… So everything that you said about wanting to bring Filipino culture into fashion and to highlight the beauty of who we are, and I don’t even remember how I found your account last year… But you’re like, my idol, you and Shilyn are like, my, like… So both of you are on the podcast right now, Shilyn is producing, and I’m so inspired by both of you, and I love how the both of you, you know, are drawn to highlighting our heritage like, not just yours, ours. This is me too. Like, when I see your makes, it’s so important for me, so thank you for being that type of inspiration. And I want to chat with you about a specific make that’s on your feed, and it may have been like how I found you in that totally not creepy way, I promise. But I’m talking about that amazing Filipino flag inspired gown that you made, which you posted to your Instagram on January 31, 2020. Now, listeners, pause and go and run to Instagram and you find this gown and you look at it and love it but I will describe it for you right now. It’s a floor-length gown that was made from muslin fabric covered in over 1000 individual pieces of blue, white, red and yellow ornaments and other pieces as well. And you’re also wearing this amazing headpiece that looks like the Philippines sun and I just love it so much.

Ada: It’s so cool.

Macy: Thank you.

Nicole: It’s amazing. And when you look at the dress, from the viewer’s point of view, it has a blue vertical section on the left, a white section in the middle with a portion of the Philippines sun in yellow in that white section, and then a red section on the right. It’s just incredible. I look at it like, multiple times a year when I feel like, I want to be inspired. I literally am like…

Macy: Aww.

Nicole: @MacyCamile, ah, it’s just amazing. And then I think I’ve posted it like, five times to my stories just because it’s, it’s so incredible. And I know you like to make garments as an homage to your Philippine heritage. You just told us that, and I see it on your feed. So is there anything else you’d like to say about like, why it’s so important for you to do that? And then I want to know what it was like to make this incredible dress.

Macy: It’s so important, because, sometimes, I find it hard. My mother ended up moving back to the Philippines, so a lot of times, it’s just me here, but I find it hard to connect. We don’t have many Filipinos in Indianapolis, and unlike Chicago, you know, there’s a mass of them.

Nicole: Yeah.

Macy: And I find it hard to connect. Sometimes, I use those things to keep it relevant within me. I still try to do things and use traditions that were taught to me, but it shows much more in my clothing and things that I like to wear and things that I’m inspired by. So, that’s why it’s so important to me to keep everything going and keep the heritage alive within my household, just so that my children don’t stray away from who they are deep down, and things like that, because they’re not only just mixed, but they’re Filipino. And I want them to know about those things, those cultures, those traditions, what they do overseas, I want them to be able to go and just really be in touch with just their roots.

Nicole: So what was it like making that dress?

Macy: Making the dress? Oh, when I first started the dress, I almost drove myself crazy, it was an unconventional challenge. And I had no idea what I wanted to work on or the medium that I wanted to use, but I knew we were allowed to have a muslin, and that was our base. So I just knew whatever I was going to make was going to build on top of it. And I kept thinking, what could I do? Well, it was super easy that I wanted to do something that was in relation to being Filipino, but I had no idea what medium and it just happened to be right around Christmas time. And I was like, this is perfect. So, I went ahead and I went and got some ornaments. And my daughter and I, my oldest daughter, we spent so much time breaking the ornaments apart just into pieces over and over again. And I knew I wanted to make a gown because the gowns just run really good with me, I really could whip up a gown pretty fast. So I wanted to represent the Filipino flag. And then I also wanted to use a sort of traditional sleeve, it got hard to be extremely traditional, just because the weight of all of the ornaments that were on it. 

Nicole: Yeah.

Macy: But, oh my goodness, it… And then you know what else was so hard, it was so hard to find yellow ornaments. It was almost impossible for me to find yellow ornaments, I had to spray paint them.

Nicole: Oh.

Ada: Oh.

Macy: The red and the blue were super easy. And I couldn’t find just plain white ones either, so I also had to spray paint those as well. I really loved making it though. But each little piece was just hot glued on one at a time, one at a time, one at a time. And the dress was so heavy. It had to be like, 25 pounds. Just putting it on and just sitting there and I barely could close it up. I’m pretty sure the closure was just a zipper just hanging on. But I absolutely love the outcome of it. I really wanted to try to submit it somewhere to see if the museum or something will take it, just hoping that it wouldn’t go to waste. But yeah, I really did love making the dress.

Nicole: That’s incredible. And what’s it doing now? And what size is it, can I wear it?

Macy: Oh my gosh, I wish you could wear it.

Nicole: I’m just kidding.

Macy: It’s way too big, but otherwise I would let you have it. But it’s literally hanging out in storage. It’s literally just sitting there, but it’s so bad because, you know, over time, hot glue just really isn’t the perfect thing to hold it together. So like, if I move it just a little, beads and ornaments just all crack and pop off.

Nicole: Aww.

Macy: It’s literally just laying there.

Nicole: Hope we will find a good home for it.

Macy: Oh, thank you.

Ada: Yeah, it’d be really cool to see that in a museum. But that was at the beginning of this year. You posted it at the beginning of this year, but you were talking about Christmas of last year, so…

Macy: Yeah.

Ada: I’m curious, what are you currently sewing?

Macy: So, right now… I know this sounds bad but I am currently not really sewing anything because my mind is trying to transition into fall and there are so many summer makes that I did not post and I have just been thinking about, how am I going to turn this into a fall make? Like, how am I going to layer this up to be fall? I have worked on the Sicily dress, a Grace dress by Terri Marsh, or Teri Marsh. Um, I love, and I love that dress. Now, those are some things… And I’ve also made the Saltwater slip by Friday Pattern Company, and those are just like, summer things. I’m sitting here trying to think about how I’m going to layer them up for fall. But there has been some content that I’ve made that I just have not been able to take pictures of or just haven’t really felt like it. But my next project that I’m working on is a super quick make. But I want to make, I already have the coat made, by a Mimi G pattern, and it is like, a peach color. But now what I want to do is I want to make a little bit of a different contrasting Nikko top. So the Nikko top is, if you’ve seen it, it’s just like a turtleneck, and then I just want to make a long sleeve one. And then I want an olive-green skirt, just like, with a belt buckle and everything. Yeah, so just all fall colours.

Nicole: That sounds beautiful.

Ada: It’s green and fall.

Macy: Hopefully some boots and, yeah, but I think that’s my next thing. A lot of times I have to plan these things out in my head, and then think about it, how much I’m going to love wearing it, before I just dive right in, and it gets really bad sometimes.

Nicole: I get stuck in my head a lot, like, I think, ’cause, ’cause I think of all the possibilities. 

Macy: Yeah.

Nicole: And I’m like, okay, but what… But then there’s this. And then there’s al- Oh, but look what Macy did, I love what she did, okay, you know, oh, Ada made that thing, I like that too. And then like, you know, two months later, I’ve not made anything for myself at all. So I totally understand that. So you talked earlier about how you’d like to, you know, you want to transition into doing more blogging, if the pictures on your Instagram are gorgeous, I can see that they, you know, I don’t take for granted that takes work and time, for sure. Can you tell our listeners, what they can find on your blog and what you hope to turn it into?

Macy: Lately, I have been trying to find my niche. It’s troublesome sometimes, because sometimes I become so obsessed with what category I fall into. And when I went through design school, I always thought of myself as bright prints, heavy on florals, things of that nature. And I was always very into Asian culture, and it wasn’t even just so Filipino. I’ve made a couple collections on Japanese heritage and different things, so I feel like I’ve always had a different type of style, but I have been working on trying to put it all into one and make it make sense for me, whereas people can get on my page, and it’s not, you know, a bunch of random things, and it’s, it’s cohesive. I want something to be cohesive. So I have just literally been working on trying to do that. Now my designing and my sewing blogging, I feel like are distant cousins. Like, I make a lot of gowns, and I’m really good at designing gowns and creating gowns, but sewing blogging, you obviously can’t wear your gown out everywhere, and then it just becomes the idea of, what are we gonna do with all these gowns? So I have been trying to work hard on making it all make sense for me. But yeah, I would call my style very, I don’t know, sometimes like, I just really fall into flowers, and even more so like gardening and plants around the house and my sewing room. If I switch the camera around, it’s a huge collage of florals. So I really fall into that sometimes, and I have been working on it, and I think it’s a big play on modern, feminine style. And yeah, I just really love it sometimes. But sometimes I’m like, okay, am I cottagecore? Am I leaning towards 70s? I really like 60s… And I get lost in it sometimes.

Ada: And you mentioned before, like, the process of going to fashion and design school a few years ago. Do you mind telling our listeners… You said they’re kind of two different parts of your world. Do you mind telling our listeners who might be a little more familiar with the sewing side, what was the process of applying to fashion school like?

Macy: So when I applied to fashion school, I first went… Now, now this gets really good because I first went to fashion school back in 2008. I graduated high school a semester early so I could go straight into fashion school. And my grandma talked me out of it. She said you should focus on trying to be a nurse. She said, a nurse…

Nicole: Sorry, that’s like… I, I feel that to my core.

Macy: You should be a nurse, you will always have a job if you’re a nurse. And I say, grandma, I said, I just don’t know if I could have the mental capacity to be a nurse. I said, I just don’t know if I can do it. And she said, no, you should really try to be a nurse. So I ended up switching majors for my grandmother to be a nurse

Nicole: Aww.

Macy: And I went to IU. And for a little bit, I tried to do that, just that. And it just, you know what, I was at IU and I said, maybe I should switch to Fine Art. And so then I started going right back into design. And I took a couple of years there, IU, and then I ended up going right back to fashion school. So I went and graduated from the Art Institute of Indianapolis. I applied, and then initially, they do it just like any other college, they’ll have you send in your scores, and then you have to take a placement test to see if you need any more work, like any more math, any more English, just almost like regular college does. And then, you just dive right in. And I almost chose between the Art Institute and Ball State. The only reason why I did not choose Ball State was just because it had more courses that did not tie in directly to fashion. They wanted you to take more things like chemistry, biology, things that might not necessarily tie straight in, like construction or anything. But at the Art Institute, your main courses were all art. So we focused on a lot of foundation 101, and how movement happened and draping and it was just completely different. But yeah.

Nicole: Yeah, that sounds like a really neat experience. And our grandmas have a big influence on and how we think, who we are and what we do, so I definitely understand that. So you learned at home with your grandma from a very young age making these doll clothes and you kept teaching yourself until you did get to fashion school. So what would you say was the most valuable part of fashion school for you?

Macy: I think my senior year was the most valuable because it’s literally your senior collection. That is when you’re pretty much hands off with the teachers and they’re just simply there to guide you. You do all of your construction, you make all the clothes, you make all the purchases, then you make a plan to sell it. How much would your item cost? How much money would you get back from this? It’s so much research, it’s a lot of going into trends and forecasting. It’s just truly who you are and seeing it come alive, and I think that’s the best part of doing that. But my senior collection was over Cebu, the Philippines and my… Yes! And my collection was called Paraluman, and it’s a muse [producer note: “Paraluman” means “muse” in archaic Tagalog; Tagalog is the national language of the Philippines], so it was everything that inspired me, so of course, it was very tropical and it was the Philippines and I just loved it so much. Now that was very vibrant colors and very tropical. And it was just everything for me. I actually still have a lot of the pieces here. And I have them posted at the very bottom of my feed, I’m pretty sure.

Nicole: I was gonna say, can we find them, ’cause I would love… I would love to see that.

Macy: Yes.

Nicole: And we have had other designers on our show previously, but you’re actually our first guest who specialises in formal wear. So, could you talk to us a little bit about your process, like, when you make garments, like, they’re all one of a kind, right?

Macy: Yeah, they are very much so, one of a kind. I don’t typically ever use a pattern. I don’t use any Big Four patterns, I don’t use any indie patterns. I know a lot of times people make custom things for others and they’ll use a base pattern. I don’t, I just dive right in and I drape. A lot of my clothing happens to be tulle and that’s really big, what I’m into right now. So I’ll start with draping on our mannequin, and I’ll just add the layers, more and more, and then I will build on top of it. But I think the hardest thing with formal wear is, it gets so big and my machine is not an industrial machine and I’m literally holding the machine down and trying to push it along because it is so big. A lot of times formal wear comes with hand sewing and that really makes it couture. But I truly love making gowns. Gowns, I probably sew faster, way more than I do anything for myself. Gowns, I can like, literally pop out in a day or two, but clothes for myself, it takes a very long time. It could take a few weeks or things of that nature, depends on how into it I am.

Ada: Follow up question to the gowns you can apparently bust out in a day or two, which, props to you, on a home sewing machine. You mentioned tulle and obviously like, tulle, it can get very large, like you said, and poofy. Do you have any tips for working with tulle? Because I may have some in my stash that I like, bought on a whim from a secondhand store, and yeah.

Nicole: I’d like to say, I bought some because I saw one of Macy’s posts. And I remember messaging, you may see I’m gonna make a tulle skirt and like, you should do it. And I was like, okay, and now I have this tulle, and I don’t know what to do with it. So yes.

Ada: 

Tulle’s been really in the last like, year or two. And so… Tips for sewists?

Nicole: Give us all your tips. Yeah.

Macy: That’s a great question, because I don’t find a lot of times that tulle is hard to manipulate or use. I think when you use tulle, you should just go for it, it’s really not hard to actually work with. I usually typically don’t use it with patterns, I have tried to use it with patterns one time, and that was for my holiday skirt, and it turned out so bad, I had to take it apart, and then redo it again. But I think with tulle, you just dive straight in because it’s so hard to mess up. Tulle is just like, a polyester type of nylon, type of material. It’s obviously manmade, it’s nothing natural. And it’s so cheap that you can just go back and buy, you know, your couple more yards for $1.99. And just, you know what I mean? I truly feel that there’s not one tip, other than, do not be scared to mess up. I feel like that is the only thing is… Do not be scared to mess up whatever thing that you’re working on, because it’s so easy to fix. Even with holes and stuff. If you have a hole in tulle, you just keep cutting and then it blends in with everything else.

Nicole: Nobody’s gonna see it.

Macy: We’re gonna fix that hole and just, yes, just keep going.

Nicole: Okay.

Ada: Okay. So be confident.

Macy: Yes.

Nicole: Be confident, believe in yourself. So, follow up question again. Your daughter just turned 10 recently, this year, and on your feed, you made her a beautiful gown with a lot of tulle. So for folks listening, again, go to Macy’s feed, but it’s a floor length gown. And the bodice is a one shoulder bodice with a large bow over the shoulder and then just a flowy, big tulle skirt. Now, how much tulle did you use and, keeping in mind that this is for a 10 year old, because I would want to scale it up and then, you know, figure out like how much more tulle I would need, because I feel like the numbers that I read about how much you need are just like, astronomical, like, you need a lot. So how many yards of tulle do you think, did you use for your daughter’s dress?

Macy: I know for a fact. So I buy… Now this is a really good hint. This is the most helpful thing I could ever tell you with tulle. Get your tulle off of Amazon, they will come in packets and bolts of 40 yards for like, $5. That’s the best price, right? And then if you don’t use it, you return it. So that is the biggest most helpful thing. I usually, for an adult, I buy three packages for the long gown. Yeah, and then they’re, you know, only be $15 or so. But my daughter’s… I know for a fact that I used a little bit under 40 yards. And I know that sounds like a lot. But it was just one of those package bolts for about $4.99 for her.

Nicole: I remember hearing, I think, Monica from That’s Sew Monica talked about her first make, and she said she had 40 yards of tulle just like, draped all across the house like, trying to work with it. And that’s how I imagined it working for me and just not working at all, but I’m feeling more empowered by our conversation. So we’ll see how it goes.

Macy: Yeah! You totally have it.

Ada: So a few months ago, you were also featured on Indianapolis Monthly. Congrats! 

Macy: Thank you!

Ada: That is amazing. Can you tell us for anyone who hasn’t seen it? Which, listeners who don’t live in Indianapolis, that’s probably you. Can you tell us a little bit about the collection that was featured and what that was like?

Macy: A company reached out to me. Well, Indianapolis reached out to me and they were asking what I thought about the fashion scene in Indianapolis. And being truthfully blunt, I told them, I didn’t feel like there was much of one. We all very much lean towards the norm here, whereas you can go to Chicago and you’ll see so many different styles, but very much bundled up to make sure everyone’s warm, but you know what I mean. You’ll see all of the styles, you’ll see people express themselves and clothing. Whereas I feel like Indianapolis plays a very safe, they don’t have, not necessarily a sense of style, but it’s just very safe, it’s very much like the other person. And I just really expressed that to them that I would love to see more things happen. But what they picked up on was my gowns and so it wasn’t necessarily a collection, it was just over the work that I do and what I specialise in. So the very first one was… Actually, truly is, what got me started sewing gowns was one of my close friends, Pepper. She asked for a holiday winter gown, and it’s red. And she said, I really want it really long. And she was inspired by Jennifer Lopez; she said, I kind of want to, something like that. And I said, okay… Any time someone brings me something from a celebrity and says they want to just like that, just know, it will never be just like that. 

Nicole: Yeah.

Macy: For design purposes, I just absolutely cannot copy another person. And then also, for design purposes, I also cannot replicate anything else, just like how that person did it, because I don’t know what they did, I don’t know what structure… But, it was just basically showing and detailing the work that I do. And it had a few different dresses in there about three or four. And they were just all tulle and just showed everything. I just was so surprised that they put it in a magazine, I thought it was literally just the interview. And then when I saw the pictures, and then it was on the second page, I’m like, okay! So, it was really exciting. And I was truly happy about it.

Nicole: Yeah, it’s another… It’s amazing to see your own work in in print. And I think, for me, I had an article come out in an online magazine as well, and just like seeing what you do through someone else’s eyes. I’m sure you gave them the photos, and then they laid it all out. I think that’s a really amazing feeling. And like, what an accomplishment for you to be in that magazine. Is there like, an online interview that we can link to?

Macy: I don’t believe that they have the online thing because they are subscription based. 

Nicole: I see.

Macy: So, even more so, you could not go up to like the newsstand and just buy one. Yeah. I got, I gave my last copy to my grandma.

Ada: Aww.

Nicole: Aww, see? And that’s perfect.

Macy: She said, can I please have one? 

Nicole: Aww.

Macy: So, I gave it to her.

Nicole: So, if someone else wants to follow in your footsteps, as in, inspired to start making their own formal wear, do you have any tips for just like, regular old home sewists like us who want to maybe dive into making formal wear?

Macy: I do have tips! One, you become best friends with the Pinterest board. I… Me and Pinterest are like this! I bounce so many ideas and inspiration off of Pinterest, and I always feel like when you start sewing something you need to go into your ideas of what you want to make. But the next thing is, is you want to start with relatively cheap material. I would hate for someone to go out there trying to start something new, and then really invest into it. and then it doesn’t necessarily turn out the way they want it to. But I think something big is, with me, I am still learning different things about techniques and sewing. I recently made something for myself, and I saw a lot of other people make it beautifully. And it did not come out as beautifully for me. And it was nothing wrong with the girl’s pattern or anything. I actually made… It was the Daria Rose… Bustier?

Ada: Bustier.

Macy: Yeah, bustier. And I made that and I don’t know if I sized up or something wrong, but it just did not look as good on me as it does everyone else. I’m like, wow, you guys are good, okay? Your mind is… And I’m like, this is, looks a little struggling. But I just, I say that to say, do not be hard on yourself, because everyone has to start somewhere. And I think that’s so big, is that, you know, you just go ahead and try. But my very first start is when I was younger, and my dad, my dad used to buy me, well, he bought me my first sewing machine. And he used to buy me fabric, he would take me to Joann’s and let me pick fabric. I always picked out floral, I mean, not floral fabric, but formal fabric. And I would just start with a simple silhouette of a pattern. And I just kept on building on that. So one of my first gowns that I ever made, and I still have a picture of it, and I look back and it’s horrendous to this day. It was this prom gown, and it was a really pretty design, but the fabric that I chose to line it with, it was a nice brown, like, charmeuse type of fabric and it was so soft and silky, and then I lined it with this bright pink colour! And it was, it’s just so tacky. Like, to look back at it now. But looking back, I just think little steps like that just helped me build up things, and I think you should just constantly keep trying to perfect your craft. Because there will always be new techniques and new things that you learn. And I love watching tutorials online. And there’s a lot of people out there, especially… I know it sounds bad, but a lot of older people that have picked up on so many techniques that, you know what I mean, you don’t always know everything. And so I like to watch a lot of tutorials as well. 

Nicole: And, you know, it’s not bad that they’re older. Like, this is who we learn from, right?

Macy: Right.

Nicole: The folks that have been doing this for a long time, teaching us, the next generation. Now, Macy, you have me thinking about wanting to make a Filipino-inspired tulle something. I’m not, like, my personal style isn’t really tulle, like, I, I’m not very girly, I’m more, I don’t know, I don’t know how to describe my style either. I think of… I’ve recently landed on Mindy Kaling as my style inspiration. So I don’t know if you know her, she was the actor from like, The Office and…

Macy: Yes.

Nicole: So she’s like, I love her style. But now I’m like, I want to make, I want to make something like, out there. And I want it to be tulle and I want it to be blue and red and white and yellow. But it’s gonna, it’s, I can’t think of a way to make it not tacky.

Macy: Oh, no, it would not be tacky. 

Nicole: It might be.

Macy: There’s always things that you could do, and sometimes it’s just, you’re the artist, and it’s how you feel and how you want to look in. You know what I mean? I don’t think it would be tacky to make anything, especially when you have something, with the background of, this is Filipino inspired, then everybody will see where you drew inspiration from other than, here’s my tulle skirt with 16 different colours tied into it. I think it’ll be beautiful.

Nicole: Okay, we’ll see. Like, Saweetie, her Met Gala costume…

Macy: Yeah.

Ada: Oh my god.

Nicole: Had like, Filipino inspired colors. And I was just like, yeah. I think, it helped for me, like, making pieces that are related to my heritage, and I’ve only done three times, is so special because it helps with the creativity. And then I do feel like as I’m making it, I connect with family history, and global Filipino history and culture. And one of our guests earlier this season, Sandeep, said the same thing, when she was making her Indian suit, as she was making it she felt really like, connected to her heritage in a way that is unique when making clothes. So maybe I’ll do a tulle something or other in the next…

Macy: I saw yours for Seamwork and it was so beautiful.

Nicole: Oh, thank you.

Ada: What if you made a skirt that you could wear with that jacket?

Nicole: The jacket’s like a, like a… It’s not weird. It’s a purple colour…

Ada: Cotton, right?

Nicole: I’m not sure, it’s like, it was like a Walmart rem… It was supposed to be a toile, but then I got like, too caught up in life and it became what it, it became the final product.

Ada: No one has to know.

Nicole: Oh. Well, I’ve just said it on the podcast. But…

Ada: Then edit that out.

Nicole: It’s fine. Yeah, I think I’m looking forward to thinking about my new make. Did you get around to making anything for this month, Filipino American History Month, Macy? I don’t know if, I know that you’ve done it in the past. But…

Macy: I have done it in the past, I haven’t this year. I just have been so… Actually, I just started a new job and I have been getting used to that and everything. And I just really haven’t been able to make too much of everything. You know, what’s so funny is, I was going to make my fiance an outfit for us to go to St. Louis and something for him to wear, he was saying that he didn’t. I went out and bought all this fabric, got started on the patterns, then I was like, I don’t have time to do this! So it’s literally sitting right next to me right now. That’ll probably be the next thing I work on.

Nicole: Aww, yeah. I had all these plans to do something special too, and I was like, it’s okay. Like…

Macy: Yeah.

Nicole: It’ll come back around. And I don’t have to make it for Filipino American History Month. I could just make whatever I want, when I want.

Macy: Sure, of course.

Ada: Relevant question. So, we’ve talked about this in our DMs, we gripe, we’ve griped about it, but I saw, or we saw on your feed that you recently got engaged, Macy, congrats.

Macy: Thank you.

Ada: We have, we have griped about wedding planning because we are both not fans. But are you planning on making your wedding gown and/or sewing anything for your wedding? Or maybe even for your fiance?

Macy: I have thought about it. I absolutely am leaning towards no for the wedding dress, but it would not be me without something with a little bit of spice or something. So I thought about for the reception. And I saw, I saw this before but there was this Filipino gown and it had the terno sleeve, but it was so tailored to her body and hopefully I lose weight by then. Okay? So it was so tailored to her body, and it was so beautiful. It had beading on it and everything, and it was an ivory colour. Now that is something I would like to do for my reception, is I don’t necessarily want the stress of making a wedding gown. I feel like that’d just be too stressful, dealing with everybody and trying to get everything together. But I would love to make a reception dress and it’d be something like that. Now, truthfully speaking, I do want to have a Filipino wedding. But Anthony said that, he said, maybe we should have something where everybody will like, yeah. He was like, how do you know everyone wants Filipino food? Okay, but I want Filipino food!

Ada: And it’s your wedding. And also, it’s good food!

Macy: Right! Oh my gosh, it truly is, thinking of all the lumpias that will just be sitting there. Wow, what a good time.

Ada: This might be a controversial take, but I think, generally, Asian weddings do it better on food than like, a Western style reception.

Macy: Yeah. Yeah. And I’ve had some, I’ve went to some weddings lately and I just been like, what is this? Like, what am I eating? And I completely get it, you know what I mean? Like, you have to sacrifice somewhere. But wow, I just would love some good food on my wedding day. I think that’s great.

Nicole: On ours, we did the like, the plated food at the reception area. But this is something that like, I know, our family has done. So it’s, it’s, I don’t know, general American food. It’s just nice. But then after that, there’s a table where family brings food. So like…

Macy: Yeah.

Ada: Nice!

Nicole: They will bring, like, the Filipino desserts. And then though… Someone will bring like, turon and lumpia and like, you know, and sometimes at some parties, you’ll even see like, pinsec, like at the… Because people will like, be dancing and drinking and then get hungry later, so instead of bringing in like, the late night bites, like whatever, mini cocktail wieners. Like, you would just have this table where you could bring your own food. And I think that’s what we did for our wedding. But it was so long ago. I don’t remember if we did like, hot food, or it was just like, desserts, but it was such a nice way to be able to incorporate all that.

Macy: Oh, yeah.

Nicole: So you said like, you want to have like a Filipino wedding, but you and your fiance are talking about it. What does having a Filipino wedding mean to you? What does that look like for you?

Macy: Well, you know what? I truly wanted to have one at first. Now, he’s not Filipino. So I’m trying to take into account of things that he wants, as well, and things that make him happy, although sometimes I’m like, but does it really matter what you want? No, I’m just kidding, I’m just kidding. But…

Nicole: I hear you.

Macy: But I truly do want a Filipino at first, just like how I described with the clothing. I wanted to truly tie something in with my culture. I wanted us to take traditional pictures with him having the traditional shirt on and everything, and… I know! I thought about… I was like, I can make you one!

Nicole: Oh, that’s so special. So Macy’s referring to a barong, right? You’re talking about the barong, which is a men’s formal wear shirt that is traditionally made with piña cloth, which is from pineapple leaves. Is that right?

Macy: Yes.

Nicole: Yeah. And um, my husband’s white and he got, when we got married, like, we, we combined elements. He’s from England, so there’s an extra layer of his whiteness and like, he… I don’t mean that in a pejorative way.. 

Ada: I’ve never heard you describe it that way.

Nicole: Yeah. I mean, like, you know, American, it’s different, right? And like, so all the men including my Filipino family members, like my brother and my uncle, who was a sponsor at our wedding, which is kind of a Filipino slash Catholic thing. They wore English morning suits. So they wore like, the three piece suit with all the tradition, like the coat tails and everything. The only thing that was missing was like a cane and a top hat. But like…

Macy: Oh my gosh.

Nicole: That was like, how we did it for his side. But when we went to the Philippines in 2018, and we went for my cousin’s wedding… So they’re both Filipino, his wife is from the Philippines, moved to Australia, he was born in Australia, and my husband put on a barong for the wedding. And it was so, like, I was, I don’t know, it was just really delightful to see him in that and he, I’d never find him in one again, you know, like at an event because it’s such like, a formal wear thing, but I totally understand and I’ll tell you that like, seeing your partner, whatever he looks like, like, in a barong I can tell how important that would be to you and it would be really wonderful.

Macy: Yeah, I do think that I might for the very least try to push the issue for like, engagement pictures.

Ada: Yeah. 

Macy: Please!

Ada: You could do a great photo shoot day with that and like, maybe make it like a cute date night.

Macy: Oh, yeah. That’d be so sweet. I would love that. So, I just got to try to get the… But I know like, a lot of times, because you know, we don’t have things like that over here or the materials like that over here. Sometimes I find things on certain websites or like Etsy. Etsy is, has everything, it feels like!

Nicole: Mmhmm.

Macy: So a lot of times that’s why I’ve been looking at, for things like that.

Ada: I love it, I hope it all goes well.

Macy: Thank you.

Ada: Can you, to wrap it up, tell our listeners where they can find you on the Internet?

Macy: Yes, so you can find me at my handle at @macycamile – only one L in the “Camile” – and also you can reach out to me at macycamile.com, and you cannot find me on Facebook.

Ada: We will have links to all of those places, not Facebook, on our show notes.

Nicole: Thank you so much for being with us today, Macy. It’s been a real pleasure to chat with you. It’s personally, just like, very fangirly type of interview, in case listeners can’t tell. So I’m really, really glad that you could join us today.

Macy: Thank you for having me. I loved being here.

Ada: Thank you so much for joining us on this week’s episode of the Asian Sewist Collective podcast. This is our last episode of Season 2, so we will be taking a short break for the holidays and coming back in the new year. If you like our show, please consider supporting us on Ko-fi. Your financial support helps us with overhead expenses and will allow us to give back to our currently all-volunteer team who work 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 at @asiansewistcollective – that’s one word, asiansewistcollective. And you can help us out by spreading the word and telling your friends. We would also appreciate it if you could rate, review and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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. This episode was researched by Cindy Chan, produced by Shilyn Joy and Mariko Abe, and edited by Ellen Shek and Henry Wong. 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 season.

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