OLFA Interview - Michael Gardner
Guest Designer: Michael Gardner
YouTube: Daddy Dressed Me by MG
Please tell us about yourself – where you’re from, what you do in your community, what you like to do.
I am Michael Gardner, a proud #GirlDad, self-taught sewist, life-long crafter and DIY enthusiast. I can usually be found exercising my creative abilities and enjoying time with family.
How did you get into sewing? Is it something you knew how to do already or did you have to learn?
I was inspired by my sister, she was customizing ready to wear clothing with fun and bold fabrics and I decided to try. I was looking for a new creative challenge and a way to bond with my daughter. I learned via YouTube, Pinterest, trial and error. Eight years later I’m still enjoying my sewing journey.
You make garments for your daughter and yourself. Do you use commercial patterns or draw your own?
I usually self-draft my garments. I’m most comfortable self-drafting because that’s how I learned when I started. I mostly lay ready to wear or previously made pieces on to the fabric and cut, I rarely use pattern paper. I had a fear of commercial patterns and finally overcame it a few years ago.
Why is it important for you to sew for your daughter? What are some of the challenges you’ve discovered sewing for her?
I use sewing and Ava modeling to build Ava’s confidence and teach her about self-love. Being creative is the best way for me to express myself so incorporating my creativity into my fatherhood experience was so important to me. Ava is also creative and this journey has built our bond even stronger. Being self-taught, I learned a lot by making mistakes. I’ve cut pieces too small, too big, used the wrong needles and stiches but I always learned and did better the next time around.
Your daughter sews too. Did you teach her or has she taken sewing classes?
I taught Ava to sew. Seeing her on the sewing machine makes my heart happy. I just love seeing her express her creativity in all forms. We’ve worked on a few projects together, recently she made me a t-shirt and I’ll cherish it forever.
What’s some advice you can offer for teaching kids to sew?
Patience is key! It takes a lot of time, care and patience to teach anyone to sew, especially kids. I think it’s best to let kids get comfortable with the sewing machine before starting any project. Teach them how to thread the needle, fill the bobbin and get used to the peddle, that worked great with Ava.
How have online sewing communities helped you grow your skills?
What prompted you to begin doing tutorials on your YouTube channel?
For years, people have asked me to share my techniques and tips and finally I decided to just go for it. Being self-taught, I often doubted my ability to teach others, however after getting over my fears I’m so glad I created the channel. Each tutorial I gain more confidence and I plan to continue inspiring others to create.
What other creative outlets do you enjoy?
I love to cook, make candles, paint, make jewelry and now I’m in love with crochet. My sister gave me a one-on-one lesson and now I’m obsessed. I’m almost done a tank top I’m making for Ava. Can’t wait to go shopping all colors of yarn!
When you’re not sewing, you’re creating for your shop. What are some of your favorite items there?
I love making the puffer tote bags. I have so much fabric and I enjoy getting to use it to make someone smile. I appreciate the opportunity to create for others. I also love seeing sewist in my logo t-shirts and sweatshirts.
Fill in the blank: When I’m not behind a sewing machine, you’ll find me ______.
Watching sewing tutorials on YouTube.
Be sure to head over to Michaels fabric wallet project here.