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@confusedkittysewing | Sewing Influencer

A.J. Wu of San Jose, California, is an accomplished creator of costumes. Her work ranges from opulent Georgian- and Regency-era gowns to cosplay and exquisite traditional Chinese hanfu. In addition to designing, embroidering, and sewing these pieces, she performs as part of a Chinese dance group. Visit her Instagram account, @confusedkittysewing, to view her garments. You’ll also find out about the confused kitties in her life (who “help” her sew), and see some astonishing, evocative underwater costume photographs. For more detailed accounts of her projects, go to ConfusedKittySewing.com.

A.J. Wu and family in 18th-century costumes.
A.J. Wu, @confusedkittysewing, and her family, dressed in 18th-century costumes she made. Photo by Jeff Kuo, courtesy of A.J. Wu.

Who taught you to sew?

My first teacher was my mother. She sewed all my Chinese dance costumes when I was growing up. She taught me the basics and then, with help of the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (first edition, 1976), I muddled through making my own clothes. After college, my best friend, whom I met through costuming, became my teacher. She went to school for theater costuming, so I learned a ton from her.

What is your favorite sewing term?

Does “negative work” count as a sewing term? It’s a term my friends and I use a lot. It’s what happens at some unholy hour in the middle of the night when you mess something up, and it’s going to take more than a seam ripper to fix the mistake.

@confusedkittysewing dressed in "The Bride" cosplay outfit.
The Bride from the Five Star Stories manga series. Photo by Ed Pignol, courtesy of A.J. Wu.

What’s your favorite fabric to sew and why?

Wool blends. I love how they handle, and I love how the finished product looks. I also love how I don’t have to iron as much when it’s got a bit of polyester.

What are you currently sewing?

I am in middle of sewing a hanfu, which is a traditional Han Chinese costume. I am also working at the same time (because why do one project when you can do two or three?) on a baby quilt for my cousin’s baby.

What do you love most about sewing?

I really enjoy the process of going from two dimensions to three. Sometimes when I make a costume, all I have is a 2D reference and I have to figure out how to make it all work in 3D and I really enjoy the process.

@confusedkittysewing wears a green, Disney-inspired costume.
A.J. dressed as the good fairy Fauna, from Disney’s 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Oscar Chang, courtesy of A.J. Wu.

For more of Instagram’s most followed and admired sewers, check out the Threads  “Sewing Influencers” collection.


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