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Inspiration

@needleandthebelle | Sewing Influencer

Meet Aaronica Cole, aka @needleandthebelle, a popular sewist and designer from the Metro Atlanta area. She has a wonderful spirit and a style that makes the dimmest days brighter.


How did you learn your craft?

Practicing and failing A LOT!

When I was about 5, I started hand sewing and would make dolls from the backs of the stuffing bags. Yes, those plastic bags with the stuffy patterns on the back. I remember making Raggedy Ann and Andy and then making them clothes. When I was 13, my mom put me into a class which just was NOT fun, in my opinion. We learned how to thread the machine, sew in a straight line, and thread a drawstring through a casing as we made a drawstring backpack.

I hated it. So I didn’t pursue it. We didn’t learn how to read patterns and when I looked at the tutorials, they seemed like Greek to me and that just was NOT fun. This of course was before YouTube University was a thing.

When I was going through the divorce with my practice husband, my mom gifted me another sewing machine hoping that having a creative outlet would help me cope. I somehow made a New Year’s Eve dress that magically stayed together with a New Year’s wish. I still didn’t know how to read patterns and didn’t start then because I became pregnant with my oldest daughter.

But then I started upcycling her clothes because:

  1. I was a broke, single mom who couldn’t really afford to always buy us new things, and;
  2. She just grew straight up like a little beanpole so she could still fit the smaller clothes but I just transformed them so they didn’t look like it.

I got engaged and we got pregnant so I started to upcycle thrifted items to be maternity clothes. It was really fun for me and made things easier on our pockets. Once our second child was born, I started learning about PDF patterns. I failed MANY MANY MANY times at making leggings because I didn’t understand stretch content, but indie tutorials were so much easier to read. I started testing patterns for Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids and committed to sewing a minimum of an hour daily.

A lot of my learning came from daring to make mistakes, though, and pattern testing.

What is your favorite project you’ve made?

OMG I can’t believe you’re asking me to show favoritism with my makes!!!! LOL!

I honestly don’t have a favorite because I really love all of the things I make. I think the piece I get the most wear out of and that was “hardest” for me to get out of my head to make is my shacket. Shackets are essentially button-down shirts with lining and I used to be so scared of making button-downs.

All those buttons, button-holes, lining up, working with woven fabric … it was so intimidating to me. But it wasn’t hard and after I was finished making mine and my son’s, I was really so proud.

How do you handle mistakes or setbacks when working on a project?

They’re no biggie to me.

My life has been filled with mistakes and setbacks. I just take them in stride and don’t try to hide the fact that I make them. I sew live on IG, TikTok and YouTube often and I make mistakes on live.

One of my favorite things to do is to see the setback or the mistake as a plot twist—how can I turn this just into a customization of this project? Or what steps do I now need to do to finish it? Seam rippers, fabric snips, scissors are all your friend in making corrections. Color blocking helps as well.

Also: I don’t believe that a mistake is a mistake unless you learned nothing. Otherwise, it’s just a remix to the original!

What are you currently making?

A mess! Jk jk jk.

Right now I’m drafting my next indie pattern giving an elevated look to some cozy wear, filming hacks for my fall KnowMe patterns and creating fall/winter wardrobes for my kids.

If you could have anything in the world to support your craft, what would it be?

A million dollars.

But having more funds would allow me to have a dedicated sewing studio outside of my house and I would be able to teach as well as record in a nicer space.


For more of the most followed and admired sewers on Instagram, check out the Threads  Sewing Influencers collection.

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