Friday Interview: Christine Haynes! August 05, 2011 11:18

Happy Friday, and Happy August! This week I'm going to introduce you to Christine Haynes, an artist living and working in Los Angeles. She makes garments, and even was the author of a book on sewing that you may have picked up here. Read on to learn more about Christine and what she thinks about buying handmade. Have a great weekend everyone! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your handmade business.
Hi! I'm Christine Haynes of the business with the same name. I teach sewing in Los Angeles at Sew LA and The Urban Craft Center. I have a book out called Chic & Simple Sewing, which is all about sewing beginner level garments. (Editor's note: Soon to be available for sale at Craftland.)
I also design sewing patterns and am currently fundraising on Kickstarter to launch the first two designs. Check out my campaign and watch my rather embarrassing video! Please note that any donation, even teeny tiny ones, add up and are helpful! Though time is limited, so don’t wait!

Describe your studio for us.
My studio is in my home in Los Angeles. I recently moved into a new place and love my new studio space. It's technically supposed to be a dining room, but when I saw the original 1950's chandelier that was hanging in that room, I knew that I had to put my work table under it!

In my studio is a large work table for cutting fabric, drafting patterns, sewing, and using as a desk. There is also a garment rack full of items in progress and hanging patterns, my bust form, a bulletin board full of inspiration, a book case full of fashion and sewing books, some small storage, and two large cabinets with glass doors full of fabric, thread, and vintage sewing patterns. Because my studio is in my home, I can use the hall storage for studio stuff, and I get to have my ironing board by my record player.
My favorite thing in my studio is my collection of Barbie-sized dresses that my grandmother crocheted for my mother when she was a little girl. I have them up on the top of the cabinets on miniature bust forms. They are precious!

What is the handmade scene like in Los Angeles, has it impacted your work?
The handmade scene in Los Angeles is happening! We have many craft hubs like the spots I teach at, The Urban Craft Center and Sew LA, as well as some other great spots like Sew Modern, the Little Knittery, and Common Thread. We have the great Craft and Folk Museum, and tons of indie-friendly shops. I'm not going to drop names, but there are a lot of amazing crafters here too!
The LA scene has impacted my business tremendously. The connections I've made here have led me from sewing for my first Renegade Craft Fair, to my first article for Craft Magazine, to my book deal with Random House, to teaching, to sewing patterns, to my recent shoot for the PBS show Sew It All, and my workshop and lectures at the upcoming American Sewing Guild conference. Everyone here is very supportive and we all work really hard at what we do.

What's your process like for taking an idea to a new garment?
Usually it goes like this: I sketch an idea in my notebook, I drape a muslin on my bust form, and I baste it together and tweak it until eventually I’m happy with it. From there I draft it onto marker paper and cut it out of muslin and sew it up in a finished state. Then I fit it and see if there are any issues to be corrected. If there are, I go back to the paper and make the changes, and re-cut and re-sew until it’s correct. Once there are no issues to be corrected, I draft the pattern onto manila paper for a “final” pattern. I then take it to my pattern grader and have them digitize the pattern and grade it for other sizes. Then it’s ready for me to use in my studio or for my students to use in class.

Why is buying handmade important to you?
Buying handmade is important for so many reasons, the biggest being that you know exactly where your item came from. In many cases you know the name of the person that made it and sometimes, like in the case of events like Renegade, you might actually get to meet the maker face to face. In a world of outsourcing, it’s nice to know where your goods are coming from.
I grew up in a creative community with a very supportive family when it came to being creative and following your passions in life. Buying handmade is a way to support artists both emotionally and monetarily. Every day we make decisions on how we’re going to spend our money. It seems small, but I think that when you buy something, you’ve chosen to endorse it and all that it stands for. So it’s important to think about what you fund with your dollars.

What's your most treasured handmade item?
There are two handmade items in my home that I cherish. First are the doll-sized crochet dresses that I mentioned in question 2. My mom woke up Christmas morning when she was a little girl, and under the tree was a row of these dresses that my grandmother spent months crocheting to give to her for Christmas. They have since been passed down to me and I adore them.
The other handmade item in my house that I love is a painting from my boyfriend. It is so special to me and hangs over my couch for a constant reminder of who he is and how much I love him.


How did you first become involved with Craftland?
Honestly, I can’t remember! I remember hearing about Deb and her business in the really early days. At one of those early shows she asked if I wanted to submit to the Craftland holiday show and it just took off from there.

Guilty Pleasure?
Macaroni & Cheese!

Live far away? You can order one of Christine's tote bag from our online shop! Just click here.