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Seamwork Radio: Sewing Stories

Seamwork Radio: Sewing Stories

Stories about designing, sewing, and wearing your own clothing. On Seamwork Radio, we hear the stories of all sorts of makers and what it means to them to sew clothing. We also explore the craft of sewing, how to stay creative, and the practice of creating your own wardrobe. Join us!


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Escaping the Cult of Efficiency

An obsession with goals, productivity, and checking things off can be really unhealthy. In this week's episode of the podcast, we explore how the Cult of Efficiency came to dominate our cultures and share 5 tips to help.

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I Healed My Brain Through Sewing, with Nia Kelley

In this episode, Sarai speaks to Nia Kelley. At just 36, Nia suffered a stroke that would damage about a third of her brain, making basic tasks like speech and reading difficult. The road to recovery was long. But on that journey, Nia discovered new sources of creativity and hard-won lessons about ambition and just what she is truly capable of.

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Create Your Own Personal Sewing Challenge

After packing up and moving to a new house, Sarai decided to create a queue of 5 projects that she believes she?ll wear for at least 10 years. She?s calling it The Decade Project. In this episode, she and Haley talk about this project and how you can create your own personal sewing challenge.

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Create a Personal Wardrobe Palette

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Going Deep with Moodboards

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Rediscover Your Style When Life Changes

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Paperless Sewing Using a Projector (with Fuyo of Projectors for Sewing)

Have you ever wished that you could just SEW, without all the hassle of printing and assembling paper patterns? Today, Fuyo from Projectors for Sewing tells us how.

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What We?ve Learned From a Year of Pandemic Making

The last year and a half have been transformative for many of us. In this episode, we explore how the pandemic shaped our thoughts about making, and the lessons we've learned about the importance of craft in our lives.

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6 Tools We Wish We?d Bought Sooner

Are there sewing tools you wish you'd bought sooner than you did? In this episode, we discuss the six sewing tools and notions that we love so much, we wish we'd always had them in our lives.

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How Much Clothing Do I Really Need?

Do you ever look at your closet and wonder, how much of this stuff do I really need? In today's episode, we share some approaches to this question, and ideas we've used (or want to use) to eliminate clutter and maintain a reasonable wardrobe.

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Finding Your Sewing Why, Part 2

In the last episode, we explored the reasons that we sew in order to uncover our individual sewing "why." Today, we discuss how to use that "why" to make decisions with purpose and intention.

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Finding Your Sewing Why, Part 1

What is the real reason you sew? By understanding the "why" behind your sewing practice, you can find new ways to stay motivated, understand your sewing, and make meaningful choices about how you spend your time.

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Behind the Scenes: The Seamwork Philosophy

We're looking inward this week and sharing a bit about what it's like working at Seamwork. Sarai and Haley share our values and philosophy and why we're pursuing B Corp certification this year.

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A Rising Ruby Star

If you love fabric, you might be familiar with both Cotton + Steel and Ruby Star society. In this episode, Haley sits down with all five founding designers to talk about their creative journey, their close friendship, and what designing fabric means to them.

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Why Buy Organic? (Featuring Birch Fabrics)

What exactly is organic fabric? And why should you buy it? We're joined by Arleen, Director of Operations for Birch Fabric to talk about the how and why of organics, and why they focus their business on organic cotton.

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Taking the First Steps to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business

Ever thought about turning the hobby you love into a business? Today, we're joined by Abby Glassenberg of Craft Industry Alliance, who shares her wisdom after working with over a thousand craft businesses of all sizes.

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What are the signs of high quality clothing?

How do you know if a piece of clothing is high quality? And how do you build quality into the clothing that you make? In this episode, we discuss the three areas to look for quality in clothing, and what "high quality" really means for us.

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Three DIY Replacements for Disposables in the Bathroom

This month, we had an amazing article about making your own non-disposable bathroom products. Today, we'll talk through those DIY ideas to help us all reduce waste in the home while using the scraps we already have.

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Creative Mending Tips and Ideas

This month, we're talking about making clothes last. In this episode, learn 10 different ways you can mend, adapt, or wear your clothes when they've gotten a little past their prime.

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Quick Tips to Make Paper Patterns Last

Today's episode was inspired by a video on our YouTube channel called "3 Tips to Make Paper Patterns Last". We'll share the 3 tips from that video, and also adding a few more ideas to keep your paper patterns around longer.

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How to Use the Rule of Three Outfits

In last week's episode, we talked about prioritizing your projects. This week, we're quickly digging into one specific technique that will help you to plan and develop an idea, and make sure it fits your wardrobe.

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How to Prioritize Your Projects

This week, we address a question in the Seamwork community about how to prioritize projects and prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed. We share Seamwork members' tips, and our own experiences to give you a few ideas to try.

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What to do When Your Hobby Feels Like a Chore

Do you ever feel a bit "meh" about sewing? We'll explore how you can tackle the creative doldrums by asking yourself a few key questions, and figuring out the right approach for you to find your way back to a hobby you love.

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Creativity Runs in the Family

The Burrells are a tight-knit family that sews together. Patricia, Sierra, and Sone-Seerè each know how to sew, but it wasn't something that they did together?until recently. These three women tell the story of how they share this creative spark.

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Look for Hidden Sewing Fears

Creativity makes us feel vulnerable. Sometimes we have hidden fears around our own shortcomings, our self-image, or what other people might think. We'll talk about what some of the common fears around sewing are, and how we deal with them.

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Learn to Celebrate Progress

Not many of us spend a lot of time patting ourselves on the back. Let's change that! In this episode, we'll share some concrete ideas that we've found helpful to celebrate progress and stay motivated.

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Find Your Sewing Affirmations

What do you do when sewing frustrates you? How do you handle stress, failure, and the occasional hit to your self-esteem that comes with creating? In this episode, we'll share a tool that can help you be kinder to yourself and stay motivated to make.

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Ann Lowe: Big Risks for Big Dreams

Ann Lowe moved to New York with big dreams. She wanted to become a great American designer, no small feat for a Black woman from Alabama in 1928. But she held fast to her dream, taking enormous risks and facing down catastrophe to realize her talent.


As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.

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Where to Find Vintage and Deadstock Fabric

Have you heard the term ?deadstock? applied to fabric? What does that mean? Inspired by a thread in our community, we?ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of deadstock, vintage, and secondhand fabric. And we?ll share some favorite places to find it.

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Update Your Sewing Room Without Buying More Stuff

We?ve all been spending a lot more time at home in 2020, and that?s led many of us to think more about our spaces. Whether you have a tiny corner or a luxurious craft room, we?ll share 8 tips to help you organize and update your space without buying things you don?t need.

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How do I Get Rid of Clothes I've Made?

Decluttering handmade clothing is HARD. We all get attached to things we?ve made with our own two hands. In this episode. Haley helps us out with five questions you can ask yourself and three practical tips to help you move your handmade clothes to the donation pile when it?s time.

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Creativity is Magic, with Christi Johnson

This is the story of a designer who really knows herself and her craft. She left a decade-long career in the fashion scenes of Los Angeles and NYC to open up a textiles studio in the Catskills of upstate New York, where she rebuilds textiles with magic, ritual, and a deep connection to nature.

As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.

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Sewing Through the Generations

In this episode, we?ll hear stories from the Seamwork team about how past and future generations of sewists have impacted our sewing stories.

As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up

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Sewing a Legacy, the Story of Folkwear

Folkwear has been creating patterns for nearly 50 years. Despite four changes in ownership and two recessions, this women-owned business is still making patterns today.


As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up

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The Ways We Share

In this episode, we?ll hear stories about sharing, and how we share our craft with our loved ones. We asked you about a time that you sewed for someone else. Did it go as planned? Did they love it? How did they react?


As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.

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Sewing for the Body I have Right Now, with Maggie

Maggie Crisler stands 6?1? tall, is plus-sized, and feels like her accent isn?t quite Southern enough for her small Alabama town, but it?s too Southern for the rest of the world. After a tumor on her pituitary gland caused her to rapidly gain over 90 pounds in one year, she thought she was locked out of clothing that fits. And she quit sewing. Why should she bother making clothing if her body might be totally different in a few months?

?I didn?t know what was gonna happen, and I still honestly don?t know what?s gonna happen with my health and my body. I don?t know if once we get all of the stuff sorted, if I?m going to drop 30 pounds or if I?m going to stay the same size or what. ?

Maggie is a force. She plays a bright red vintage organ in a rock ?n roll band, quilts, has long, wavy red hair, sews her clothes by hand, and has a cool job at Alabama Chanin. When you talk to her, she exudes confidence. She?s matter of fact. She has a kind tone in her voice, she?s a great storyteller, and you can?t help but want to just hang out and chat all day. But she?s spent much of her life feeling like she doesn?t fit in.

Born and raised in Alabama, and growing up in a creative household, sewing has always been a part of Maggie?s life. Her relationship with this craft has changed as much as her body. After a two-year hiatus from sewing, Maggie is back with some lifelong lessons she?s learned about making, sustainability, self-image, and the power of a well-fitting garment.

As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.

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Finding Unexpected Connections Through Sewing

In this episode, we?ll hear stories about how sewing connects us. We asked you the question, when has sewing helped you form unexpected connections?

Adrienne finds a sense of connection through the online community but also with previous generations of sewers and makers in her own family.

Megan finds a sewing pattern in her grandmother?s sewing stash with a special note.

We also talk about building our own communities. Carmela Zabala, one of the founders of Sew Tampa Bay, shares some tips for cultivating your very own sewing meet-up.

Don?t forget to share your stories with us! Next month (October 2020), we?re looking for stories about sharing handmade gifts. You can share your story at

Building a Local Sewing Community Sewing Heals: An interview with Tabitha Sewer Sewing Heals T-shirt Smart Closet Read the latest issue of Seamwork


Check out the latest patterns the Milo cardigan and the Sawyer skirt.

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Daddy Dressed Me with Michael and Ava

It?s unlikely that you?ve met a father and daughter with a bond like that of Michael and Ava.

Ava is 9 years old, and absolutely loves her dad, Michael. Not only does she feel comfortable discussing her life with him and letting him in on what?s bothering her as she grows up, but they collaborate together on custom-sewn outfits just for her.

Years ago, Michael made the decision to be there for his daughter. Sometimes that?s meant listening to her when she faces a problem at school, and other times it?s meant learning to do her hair or paint her nails. And it?s also meant using his creativity to learn to sew for her.

As a single Black father who works every day to empower his daughter to become the person she?s meant to be, he?s breaking stereotypes. As a male in a traditionally female-dominated hobby space, he?s used his creativity to empower others to be vulnerable, empathetic, and share what they create with pride.

"One of my biggest goals was for her to be able to express herself. That was a struggle for me when I was growing up. It wasn't even that it wasn't encouraged. I just wasn't given the opportunity. And I didn't want her to have that same experience. So, you know, just initially sitting down and having conversations with her, asking her how she's doing, giving her the opportunity to say how things are actually impacting her."

"So with my upbringing I have always felt close to women like. So it's just like a natural transition for me to be close with her, to be able to listen to her and, you know, I understand some of her emotions, some of it, you know, I have no clue what, you know, some of the feelings are. But, yeah, I think it's just being emotionally available to her."

"It was pretty much anything creative, so I would um, take like the alphabet, I used to make this for my mom. When I was younger, I would take the whole alphabet and assign a word to describe her. So she would post that on her walls. Or if it was when I was younger, I used to go to the Boys and Girls Club on Saturdays and take like an art class. So painting, drawing, writing. When I got older, I started doing like party planning, having, you know, gatherings for birthdays where I could create invitations and centerpieces."

Find Michael on Instagram at:
Read an article by Michael in the July issue of Seamwork at:

As a podcast listener, you get half off an unlimited membership to Seamwork. Just go to and sign up.


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Overcoming Mistakes with Creative Grit

In this episode, we?ll hear stories about sewing projects gone awry, and how failures can become opportunities.

Marjorie thought she had ruined the dress she was sewing to wear to her son's wedding when she burned a hole in it. After literally throwing the dress in the trash, she decided to turn the flaw into a feature and added hand embellishment to cover the burn.

Tiffanie wanted to give up on a ruffled dress for a student showcase, but when she finally finished the dress, she felt proud of how she executed her vision. Tiffanie says the when you are frustrated, take a break from the project to get some perspective.

Munirah was frustrated when a bra project just didn?t fit the way she wanted it to. She was ready to just move on to the next project, but after an epiphany one night, she was able to salvage the project.

Maressa was ready to give up on a knitting project after repeatedly ripping out a sleeve she could get quite right. After deciding to pivot and make the sweater sleeveless, she created one of her most loved and worn knitting projects of all time.

Don?t forget to share your stories with us! Next month (September 2020), we?re looking for stories about unexpected connections made through sewing. You can share your story at

Related links from this episode:

How to Develop Creative Grit

Follow Tiffanie on Instagram @cheri_amor24

Follow Munirah on Instagram @making_moon

Follow Maressa on Instagram @maressamade

Failure is the Birthplace of Creative Opportunity

Find the Abolitionist Sewing Circle by visiting:



The Natural Colors Cookbook by Maggie Pate

Read the latest issue of Seamwork.

Check out the latest patterns: the Beckett overalls and Samson top.


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A Bright Spot in the Dark with Ashley

Ashley grew up in British Columbia, Canada and had a freewheeling, happy childhood.
Her mother was confident, creative, and charismatic. Everyone seemed to adore her, especially Ashley. She was full of energy and seemed able to do anything.

But as Ashley got older, a different picture emerged. She learned that her mom had a secret, and over time it would destroy their relationship ? and her mom?s life.

But somehow, for some reason, the experience of sewing with her mom remained one of the few bright spots.

?I just feel like, you know, that was sort of one of the one of the activities that we shared where she wasn't she wasn't so critical. She wasn't hard on me. She was competitive with me. You know, she coached me. She gave me some space. She gave me, like, access to her tools.?

?I'm pretty sure my mom made the shirt she's wearing, plus the sweater my toddler brother was wearing, and she definitely made the pink corduroy overalls I'm wearing, plus the booties. I used to ask her about those overalls all the time. For some reason I was delighted by the buttons, which were little kitties.?

?You can see the wall hanging in the background that my mom made. I feel like that could probably sell for a lot of money at some hipster craft fair these days!?

?You can just see the fur tops of my brother's mocassins - she definitely would have made those.?

?She was so tall, look how high I have to reach her hands! She liked to dress strikingly - bold colours and designs that accentuated her features. I remember she had to wear a stick-on bra with that dress because it was open in the back with verticle panels from collar to waistline, and we laughed about that; she was always showing me how to be classy - bra straps should never be visible for example.?

?She knit a special blanket for each of her babies during her pregnancies, and for mine she said she just knew intuitively that she was having a girl, so she chose the peach colour. I actually remember her finishing my baby brother's blanket in the hospital bed just hours after delivering him. She was a tough lady.?

If you are interested in helping address drug use in a compassionate way, Ashley has provided some wonderful links to help you get involved.


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Seamwork Radio is Back!

Welcome to Season 3 of Seamwork Radio! After a long hiatus, we're back with a brand new season of stories.

We'll bring you a new full-length story on the first of the month this fall, along with a mini-episode on the 15th. You'll hear stories from the lives of people like you, and how sewing has impacted them.

We're so happy to be back! Enjoy the first episode with Ashley, and look for our mini-episode in mid-August 2020.

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Creative Community with Kristine Vejar

In 1999, Kristine Vejar took her first trip to India. There, she met the Rabari, a small community that changed her perspective and direction for the future. In this story told by contributor Jessica Yen, Kristine shares what she learned, and how that informed the direction of her growing business, A Verb for Keeping Warm.

Related links from this episode:

A Verb for Keeping Warm, Kristine?s multi-faceted business. The Modern Natural Dyer, Kristine?s book



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Beating the Odds with Melissa Fehr

In 2008, sewing blogger Melissa Fehr revealed something on her blog: she?d been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder. Soon, she?d need a complete bone marrow transplant. In this episode, Melissa shares how her relationship with her body changed before and after this life-changing experience ? and how this relationship eventually led her to designing her own patterns.

Related links from this episode:

Fehr Trade, Melissa?s blog and patterns Be The Match, the US National Marrow Donation Program British Bone Marrow Registry


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Loving a person, not their gender with Marie of A Stitching Odyssey

In September 2015, Marie wrote a post on her sewing blog called ?Loving a Person, Not Their Gender.? In that post, she talked about the experience of having her partner come out as transgender. In today?s story, we talk to Marie and her girlfriend Charlotte about that experience, and what came after.

Editor?s note: At the end of this episode, the name of Marie?s blog is misidentified as Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, another lovely sewing blog. Marie?s blog is called A Stitching Odyssey. We apologize for the error.

Related links from this episode:

Loving a Person, Not Their Gender, Marie?s blog post from September 2015. A Stitching Odyssey, Marie?s blog Marie on twitter Marie on Instagram Charlotte on Instagram


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The Learning Process with Joost De Cock

Have you ever wished for a way to just punch in your measurements somewhere and get a pattern that?s drafted just for you? That?s the idea behind, a menswear-focused website created by Belgian sewist Joost De Cock. Joost went from only sewing a few curtains and pillows to making his own wardrobe to creating this incredible online service in the span of just a few years. In this episode, we talk about his learning process and resources he recommends to improve your own sewing.

Related links from this episode:

Make My Pattern, Joost?s pattern site All Things Joost Joost on twitter


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The ?head stuff? with Felicia Semple

Felicia Semple is the creator of The Craft Sessions, an incredible sewing retreat she created to help teach women to find joy and meaning ? not perfection ? in the practice of craft. In this episode, I talk to Felicia about her path to creating the sewing retreat she dreamed of, and how the "head stuff" around sewing and creating has affected her life.

Related links from this episode:

The Craft Sessions, Felicia?s blog The Craft Sessions Retreat, where you can learn more about attending the event The Craft Sessions Manifesto offers an overview of Felicia?s philosophy


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Let?s talk money with Heather Lewenza

Talking publicly about money is a little bit taboo for most of us. And yet, it motivates and influences much of what we do with our lives, how we spend our time, and how we cope with feelings.

In today?s episode, designer Heather Lewenza of Closet Case Files opens up about how money and spending have shaped her life and career, and led her to the world of home sewing. From working in an auto factory to designing shopping centers to running her own business, see how Heather?s relationship with money has transformed her thinking over time.

Related links from this episode:

Closet Case Files, Heather?s company The Bombshell Swimsuit The Ginger Jeans The Clare Coat The Morgan Jeans


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A Shift in Mindset with Jacqui Palhegyi

Jacqui Palhegyi is the blogger behind Birds of a Thread, a sewing and ethical fashion blog. She?s always been passionate about issues of social justice. But it was on a trip to Egypt with her husband that an encounter forever shifted the way she thought about how her clothing was made ? and what she could do about it.

Related links from this episode:

Birds of a Thread, Jacqui?s blog The Colette Violet blouse


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Open Up with Jennifer Wiese

Jennifer Wiese had a dream. The founder of Brooklyn sewing studio Workroom Social wanted to create a weekend-long sewing event that brought a spirit of play and fun to sewing. In 2015, she hosted Camp Workroom Social, an overnight sewing camp for adults. She talks about why being present and open to imperfection is always better than fretting over mistakes ? in sewing and in life.

Related links from this episode:

Workroom Social Camp Workroom Social


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Design, Fame, and Villainy with Gretchen Jones

Gretchen Jones is the controversial winner of season 8 of Project Runway. Her singular style won the show, but her bold and ambitious personality led her to be cast as the season?s villain. In this interview with contributor Heather Lewenza, Gretchen talks about what led her to put herself out there on television, what life was like after sudden fame, and how she?s discovered her true career path through it all.

Just a note, this recording does have several words that you may not find appropriate for young listeners.

Related links from this episode:

Follow Gretchen on Instagram Follow Gretchen on Pinterest A Closet Tour with Gretchen Jones by Heather Lewenza, in this month?s issue of Seamwork Magazine Project Runway Season 8 The Neutral Territory, an experiment in dressing within a focused palette Heather Lewenza of Closet Case Files, our intrepid reporter!


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