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Sewing with Threads Podcast

Joi Mahon on Embracing the Sewing Learning Curve | Episode 46

Video: Threads magazine

In this episode of Sewing With Threads, Joi Mahon tells of her evolution—planned and unplanned—as a creative sewing entrepreneur, a title she has given herself. Plus, the custom clothier, teacher, and author offers encouraging words to all who are learning and honing their sewing skills.

“We are in a very fast-paced society,” Joi says. “We want instant results . . . I feel like the last year and a half, I’ve really embraced the learning. It’s less about, ‘let’s whip out a garment.’ You can do that, but sometimes you have to take the time to understand what you are doing first.”

Joi leads fitting and sewing classes to help students gain that understanding and try out techniques—to embrace learning for themselves. She offers an online Perfect Pattern and Fit Club for those wanting to study regularly with her in a virtual classroom setting.

But her true passion is teaching in-person classes, especially in her studio, The Sewing Factory, in Sioux City, Iowa. She loves the live fitting classes. They remind the students that “regardless of size, every single body type has fitting issues,” Joi says.

“Being able to see a variety of bodies and different fit issues is very eye-opening,” for the students. “The nice thing about that, too, is it helps people understand the aspect of how bodies are real . . . (because) there are lot of contrived things out there on Pinterest and Instagram.”

Joi shares how her family memories, early work experiences, and good timing led her to career successes. Today, she hosts Nancy’s Notions Wardrobe Builder, serves as a Craftsy instructor, and is a licensed McCall’s pattern designer. She’s also authored Create the Perfect Fit (F+W, 2014), Fashion Sewing Workshop (Fons & Porter, 2016), and the upcoming Ultimate Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes (Landauer Publishing, late 2021).

Find out more about Joi and her classes at her website: DesignerJoi.com. Learn more about Joi’s sewing favorites in “Five Sewing Questions with Joi Mahon.”

You can also read her Threads #216 (Winter 2021) article on creating and using a template to get better-fitting pants.



Baby Lock adToday’s episode is brought to you by our friends at Baby Lock. Did you hear? Baby Lock recently launched five new sewing, quilting, and embroidery machines—the Chorus, Ballad, Array, Vesta, and Flare. These new machines come with a variety of innovative features and accessories, so you can prep less and sew more. Visit your local Baby Lock retailer to try out these new machines and complete the Sew More Challenge to earn a coupon for 20 percent off manufacturers suggested retail price of Baby Lock-branded merchandise. Visit BabyLock.com to learn more.

Today’s episode also is brought to you by Creativity Inc., where the goal is to inspire everyone to create. Our family of brands includes: One Big Happy Yarn Company, Nancy’s Notions, Missouri Star Quilt Company, and Let’s Make Art. Whether you are looking to sew a new outfit, learn to knit your own sweater, make a quilt, or hone your painting skills, we are here to inspire you and provide the tools you need for your next creative adventure. Visit NancysNotions.com.


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  1. sewbobbimb | | #1

    Hi. Loved the Podcast. Joi talked about making a Kilt. Threads Magazine Issue 33, Feb/Mar 1991 has a great article on making a traditional Kilt. Hope you enjoy it.

    1. User avater
      riot203 | | #2

      I love that article! Think we will try to get it converted to digital in time for St. Andrew's Day!

  2. User avater
    wellsuited | | #3

    Ah, so lovely!
    Towards the end of her interview, Joi mentioned that she loved to make notes on Post-Its or in the margins of her books. Joi, THANK YOU! Your comment mirrored my thoughts and actions enough to spark me into my first comment ever. Just hearing that snippet brought to mind the image of a Post-It at my ironing station. Notes and mnemonics help me to incorporate great ideas into my work.

    This particular Post-It says:
    " Seam Allowances -- Grading and Pressing"
    Garment SA [seam allowance] is Greater
    Lining SA is Less
    Flat First,
    then press both SAs to
    Face the Facing

    From The VOGUE Sewing Book, pp 214-215

    A little introduction is due:
    A professional dressmaker and more recently alterationist, I'm a Threads Magazine subscriber since Issue 1. I've taken down my shingle of "Suit Yourself" to spend more time playing with and sewing for my grandchildren. Tonight finds me making a cape for a grandson's Paddington bear.

    Though this is my first Comment ever, I began listing to Threads' Podcasts (in order) this January. I really must go back and comment on Episode #1, Kenneth King's Podcast. He had me hooked from the beginning! I have a story to share about his favorite sewing term, Scrupe or Scroop. But that will have to wait a little longer....

    Until then, I'll keep listening! Threads has been a wonderful resource all these years. I'm a little late on board in discovering the treasures in both the online resources AND the community of kindred spirits!

    So SEW! Give Thanks to The Ultimate Creator. And Live, Laugh, Cry when you need to, and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE....

    Susan Oates
    Middlesex, NC

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