@hann__made | Sewing Influencer
Hannah Hamill, known on social media as @hann__made, is an American in Paris. Her Instagram account reveals someone with a knack for creating comfortable, casual looks that can stand up to the style requirements of the French capital. Color, texture, and silhouette predominate over fussy embellishments and strict tailoring in her appealing wardrobe. She’s outgoing and friendly. She shares her playful side in a series of self-portraits in self-made clothes, posed in front of a variety of wonderful doors in the City of Light.
How did you learn to sew?
I took summer sewing lessons and learned some basics when I was 11 or 12 years old, but I’ve mostly been self-taught or learned by working on projects with my mom and grandma. My mom always tells people that I was her most project-oriented child and content to figure out how to do something myself. (This may have to do with me being the fifth of six children.) As I got older and became more interested in clothing and self-expression I used that motivation to stretch my wardrobe a bit when I didn’t have the funds to buy the exact type of clothes I wanted from a store.
In college, I didn’t have a sewing machine, but my friend had one. We’d have sewing nights with our girlfriends where we would alter thrifted clothes or sew scraps onto boring hoodies to personalize them. I continued along this path of altering and repurposing until about six years ago. With a toddler at home and a husband in business school, I decided I wanted to attempt making clothes using actual patterns. Once I discovered the world of indie sewing patterns, I never looked back and have been building my handmade wardrobe ever since.
Which sewing word or term is your favorite?
Stitch in the ditch. Ironically, it is the technique I hate doing the most, but it sure is fun to say.
Which fabric do you enjoy sewing the most?
Linen and linen blends. Practically speaking, it is the fabric that is the most available to me in my local Paris shops and much more affordable here than it is in the U.S. I am not at all a sustainability expert but I appreciate that linen is a natural fiber and one of the most sustainable fabric options available to me. It’s also a dream to sew and wear. I always recommend medium-weight linen and linen blends to friends who are learning to sew clothes for themselves: It’s such a beginner-friendly fiber that looks great as a garment.
What are you currently sewing?
I’m recovering from my annual summer loss of “sewtivation” and getting back into my sewing groove with some smaller projects while I work out my personal fall sewing plans. My 4-year-old doesn’t have any pants that fit him for back-to-school. I’m using up some leftover knit fabric in my stash and making one of my favorite tried-and-true patterns, the Hudson Pant by True Bias. I’ve made this pattern for everyone in our family so many times that I don’t need to follow the instructions anymore.
Please share what you love best about sewing.
Sewing seems like a solitary activity on the surface, but for me it is very much about the community. This is my favorite thing about sewing. I have always considered myself a “jack of all trades, master of none” in my creative experiments. I had never considered seeking out a community of like-minded folks who were as interested in these creative pursuits as I was. We moved around a lot, and I quit working full time after my oldest was born. Not regularly having people to talk to about something we had in common left me feeling a bit unmoored (extrovert problems).
When I got back into sewing a few years ago, I was living in Philadelphia and joined a class at a local shop to learn how to sew knits. I connected with the shop owner and my teacher on Instagram. When my family moved to California, I realized there were sewing communities everywhere. And they were even meeting up in person. I went to a few Bay Area Sewcialists meetups, and since we moved to Paris I’ve connected virtually and in person with a few local sewists that I’ve met through Instagram.
In addition to enabling me to make personal connections, the Instagram sewing community keeps me motivated by normalizing the slow nature of creating a garment from a few pieces of fabric when folks share their process via posts and stories. There are obviously hurdles that come along when you are in an online community with others (insensitive comments, trolls, mindlessly scrolling the app, etc.) but overall it has been an uplifting and much-needed resource, especially as I’ve been physically removed from community due to the COVID-19 virus and an international move.
Photos: courtesy of Hannah Hamill, @hann__made.