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Inspiration

@emilia_to_nuno | Sewing Influencer

Emilia Bergoglio, also known as @emilia_to_nuno, is an Italian neuroscientist who lives and works in Tokyo. However, Emilia is well known in the sewing community for highly detailed and often humorous social media and blog posts. An expert tailor, they have a family background in textiles and a scientist’s approach to learning and evaluating techniques. Their fabulous—and mostly black—wardrobe of suits and tailored separates proves that their research has paid off. Each piece is gorgeously made of high-quality fabrics. It’s not a surprise to learn that “Emilia to nuno” means “Emilia and fabric” in Japanese.

Emilia can be found on Instagram @emilia_to_nuno, and at emiliatonuno.blog. On Patreon, Emilia shares tailoring information and support, behind-the-scenes content, and commentary on life in Japan. I also highly recommend listening to Emilia on the Love to Sew podcast, Episode 188, “Tailoring for Them.” From thorough descriptions of tailoring materials and techniques, to thoughts on degendering fashion, Emilia’s insights are fascinating and beautifully articulated.

@emilia_to_nuno in a black suit with white shirt; wearing sunglasses.

How did you learn to sew?

A combination of knowledge I received from other relatives who sew (albeit over the phone since I live on the other side of the world), books, friends who happen to be tailors, and occasionally the internet. As a scientist, I like to compare my sources so I would never take one way to do anything as the standard, rather looking into more ways to do the exact same thing and then find the best way to do it for me. And, of course, I document the entire process. I like how there are always options: The result and, most importantly, how said result makes you feel are what counts. 

@emilia_to_nuno in a self-made white wool jacket, showing unlined interior.
Which sewing word or term is your favorite?

My favorite term is not really a sewing term: spalla camicia. This indicates a type of shoulder construction typical of Neapolitan tailoring and means “shirt-like shoulder.” With no padding and a high armscye, it’s super comfortable and gives great mobility. It’s also a unique feature.

@emilia_to_nuno, half-figure portrait, in black jacket with black shirt.
Which fabric do you enjoy sewing the most?

Hands down wool, especially worsted. Easy to cut, easy to shape with the iron, comes in a variety of weaves, takes the press well, doesn’t fray much: What’s not to love? I also come from the land of wool, in northwestern Italy, so sewing wool also reminds me of my family. Linen is a close second, though, and since I wear total black 90 percent of the time, I rely on texture a lot to keep my outfits interesting. Wool pants, which are very crisp, with a slightly crinkled, I-should-have-ironed-it linen shirt is one of my staples.

 

What are you currently sewing?

To be completely honest, not so much sewing is occurring at the moment, as I am working on a new pattern for winter, a double-breasted jacket. [Editor’s note: You can follow the construction of this jacket on Emilia’s blog]. I self-draft most of my tailoring because I always feel it takes me longer to hack a pattern than making my own. I actually think I spend more time plotting and planning my makes than actually sewing! As a palate cleanser to keep me motivated, I am also making a shirt. After some trial and error, I have found the perfect combination of loose but not too much body and a collar shape which compliments my square jaw, so I can’t seem to have enough shirts these days. 

 

@emilia_to_nuno in black suit with white shirt, dark tie, and energetic pose.

Please share what you love best about sewing.

I can realize my vision fully in a way ready-to-wear can never achieve, and I can do so in a way that doesn’t induce gender dysphoria. I have full control of the discourse this way, from deciding which silhouette I want to wear, to the fabric, to the lack of gendered definitions attached to the garments. In addition, bespoke tailoring is quite pricey, so making it myself is a great way to be creative and save some yen, too (to buy more fabric, to be sure).


Photos: courtesy of Emilia Bergoglio.


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

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