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Influencer Spotlight, July: Aaliyah Johnson

TSM: Aaliyah, I want to thank you for hanging out with me today. We are so excited to learn more about you. What your likes and dislikes are, and what you are passionate about. So, lets dive right in and get to all the good stuff!

TSM: What do you like to do for fun?

Aaliyah: Other than sewing, I typically like anything crafty. Going hiking and thrift shopping are also big parts of my life!

TSM: Did thrifting for great finds and crafting start your passion for sewing?

Aaliyah: Thrifting did tie into my journey when I started! I actually learned both skills when Kaia was a baby because we couldn’t afford all the boutique clothes that I wanted her to wear. I started learning right before her first birthday and everything I sewed was made with something from the thrift shop or old clothing from my neighbors. For a long time, all my sewing work was made with thrift store finds.

TSM: That is such a creative way to make something vintage or boutique. Not only on a budget but with a purpose. Did that start your path to designing?

Aaliyah: Definitely! Even when I first started my sewing journey, I have always been one to mix and match options from different already available patterns. I often hack the pieces myself just winging it. So, I think designing my own patterns was meant to be for me! Although I no longer design for a company anymore, it’s still something I very much enjoy. I definitely see myself doing more of it in the future! I still make notes often of different styles I see in the wild that I’d like to draft to my liking someday.

TSM: You are so talented to be able to piece things together and create a whole new outfit. What other crafts do you like to do?

Aaliyah: I like to do hand embroidery and crochet are my main go-to's. Besides sewing, I’ve also enjoyed baking recently, as well as furniture upcycling when we have the space for it.

TSM: Wow, that sounds amazing. You are truly full of many talents.

TSM: What is something unique or unknown that others may not know about you?

Aaliyah: Thank you! Hmmm, maybe that I’m vegan? People are always surprised when they find that out for some reason. I’m a junk food vegan just to be clear. I like to eat just as much as I like to sew or live. LOL!

TSM: That definitely is a foodie addiction then for sure. Do you find it hard to be vegan versus vegetarian?

Aaliyah: I think vegetarian is definitely more catered too as a whole in society but the more years that pass, I think it’s gotten easier because its forced me to learn to cook. Plus there are so many new products that come out in the last few years. I’m a better cook than I have ever been because it’s made me think outside of the box. Also to use ingredients that I wasn’t familiar with before I became vegan. We are super lucky to live in a very vegan populated city. So, we have countless options here in Portland as vegans both at the grocery stores and for restaurants. It’s a lot different than when we lived back in Minnesota. In that area it was definitely less vegan friendly and more vegetarian-catered.

TSM: That is a great way to be creative and think outside of the box. It allowed you to cook more which is also better overall. You said earlier that thrifting and crafts started your sewing journey, what is your favorite sewing tool or technique?

Aaliyah: That’s a hard one! I’d probably say my cover-stitch because of how much quicker hemming is with it. I love to use rainbow threads and use the reverse cover-stitch feature. It gives my makes an extra pop of happiness when the fabric is right for it.

TSM: The pops of color in an outfit or make can send it to the next level for sure. When the item is complete “happiness” is an understatement. It definitely elevates it.

What is your favorite thing to sew?

Aaliyah: I like to switch it up. Honestly, most of what I sew at this current time are clothes. If I had to narrow it down further, I’d probably say a girly, ruffly vintage style outfit for my daughter. I would have to add handmade accessories. Something that can be styled either modernized or vintage.

TSM: Wow! That sounds adorable! You have such a unique style of clothes.

What is your current favorite pattern?

Aaliyah: You are so sweet. I think my favorite for myself is Patterns for Pirates Cozy Pants.

TSM: That pattern looks super comfortable. This question may be harder but what is your favorite TSM print?

Aaliyah: That was very hard. I love the alcohol inks the most of anything. It really comes down to those. I’d say my current favorite today is Arctic Sea. If you asked me tomorrow the answer would probably change. There are too many good ones.

TSM: The Alcohol Inks are definitely a huge favorite. The Arctic Sea is so beautiful too.

TSM: What is your favorite fabric base to sew with?

Aaliyah: It’s a tie between the Athletic Brushed Poly (ABP), Cotton French Terry (CFT), and Faux Leather.

TSM: There is nothing wrong with a 3-way tie. Having choices opens up the possibilities of the items you make. Athletic Brushed Poly is a top choice for myself.

Aaliyah: Yes, that’s my go to when I don’t know what to get. It’s good for almost everything. I’m always cold so those bases are better for me. They help me not get too chilly.

TSM: Who do you sew for the most? You, your kids, your partner?

Aaliyah: Myself and my daughter, but I guess my kids. She just ends up getting the most of it I feel like.

TSM: You mentioned earlier you like hiking, what is your favorite place to go?

Aaliyah: Our current favorite is Milo McIver State Park. It has lots of wild berries. We enjoy picking them along the way. There is a waterfront view with a gorgeous tree line, and lots of trails that aren’t too steep for my littles to climb themselves.

TSM: Wow that sounds like a beautiful area to spend time, walk around, and get lost in nature.

How can we support you in your sewing ventures?

Aaliyah: We have such a supportive team as is, that it’s hard to pinpoint! I love the release of new fabric bases and the ones TSM has brought on in the last few years. Continue introducing more fabric bases like you all have done over time is one way! I think it feeds into everyone’s creativity and pushes me to think of ways I’d use these pretty prints other than my typical go-to’s. I really love the support and input we give to each other as a team!

TSM: We love our team and your influence on the team is amazing. Thank you for inspiring us to continue to provide amazing prints to spark your creativity.

TSM: Is there a specific make or pattern you want to try in the future that you haven't had the time for? If so, what?

Aaliyah: I’d like to make a corset.

TSM: One with the boning and all?

Aaliyah: Yes! Also, with underwire.

TSM: That sounds so cool. Vintage like the old west or more modern like Victoria Secret lingerie style?

Aaliyah: Both. I think the one I’d try first is one that was recommended to me. It is the Rose Cafe Bustier by Daria Patternmaking. I love the shape of the cups on that one.

TSM: We cannot wait to see the corset you make. Please make sure and share it with us. Aaliyah you have been so much fun to spend time with. I do not want to take up any more of your time. Thank you so much for hanging out with us.

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