Tulsa is a treasure trove of makers and here at Owl & Drum we have been lucky to get to know some pretty special ones. So, that's why we would like to introduce you to our new blog segment - Maker Spotlight. Now its your chance to see what makes these makers' tick, their inspirations, backgrounds and accomplishments.
Our first Maker Spotlight features talented local "baker & maker" Kelly Crowley of Bake Simple. Store customers may recognize Kelly as she is also a part-time sales associate at Owl & Drum. We love the different point of view and sense of style that Kelly brings to the shop and, as you will learn, she's a pretty clever sewist, too!
Kelly wearing a Fen Dress that she made with fabric by Carolyn Friedlander.
When did you start sewing/quilting?
I was living in Austin and found myself making up little projects and sewing them by hand a lot. I investigated sewing machines and pretty blindly bought myself a Baby Lock. My skills stayed really basic for a few years. I eventually moved up here to Tulsa - and took the "Absolute Beginner Sewing" class with Mary during my third week in town! I've learned everything I know from Mary, Ann Olson, Bianca and all the nice people I've met through the shop. I finally have sewing friends!
Tell us about an early pattern learned at Owl & Drum?
During the Absolute Beginner Sewing class that got me hooked, I learned how to do the envelope pillow pattern. I've used the famous pattern a number of times to decorate my home or my friend's home since then. Even though I had been sewing for a few years at that point, I was completely self taught. It helped me feel confident in my skills and brave enough to try new patterns!
Please tell us which Owl & Drum classes you have taken.
Oh geez, so many . . . Working with Sewing Patterns, Fen Dress class, Modern Starter Quilt, Modern Triangle Quilt, the embroidery classes with Retro Den, the dress workshop at Owl & Drum's Urban Quilt/Sew-In and various private lessons with Mary, such as learning how to work with my serger. I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two!
What benefits do you find that sewing/quilting provides?
It helps get my creative energy out. Picking out patterns and fabrics - or even just making it up on my own - is experimental and fulfilling. Then, when you're all done, a lot of times you've created an actual useful item! My handmade items make up a majority of my wardrobe, along with my pillows, blankets, aprons and so on.
How has sewing influenced your business Bake Simple?
Sewing influences my baking in a number of ways. I'm inspired by color schemes and quilt designs. Sometimes, the relaxation I get from sewing allows my mind to dream up new flavor combinations. I love hand-making aprons, napkins, bread covers and other things to make my time in the kitchen full of thought and purpose. Creativity begets creativity; anytime spent at my sewing table inspires me to dream and create!
Kelly doing her thing - and wearing an apron that she designed!
What are current your favorite sewing/quilting projects?
I love making clothes! Dress and tops are my favorite. Dresses with pockets, to be exact. Quilting is still a new adventure for me and I've dipped my toes into improvisational quilting. I definitely find that satisfying. I've made just a few improv quilting blocks - and want to make more.
A couple of Scout Tees that Kelly made.
What are your future sewing/quilting goals?
I've been working on my second quilt, which will be my new bed spread. With the help of Ann (Owl & Drum's quilting instructor), I'm adjusting the pattern from a throw to a queen size quilt. It feels challenging, but I know I can do it.
What is one project or skill you really want to tackle?
I would love to complete an improv quilt big enough for snuggling. I have a new shirt pattern with buttons all along the center back. I know this may be challenging for me, so I'm going to take a private lesson with Mary very soon. I also bought some blush pink shirting fabric from a fabric shop in Austin that I know is begging to be turned into something beautiful - I just do not know what yet!
Do you have any favorite fabric designers?
That's a tough one because there are so many that I enjoy. I have to say that the one I've used the most is fabric from Carolyn Friedlander. Her subdued and organic designs lend themselves to any project. I've made a dress, top and quilt from her current line, Friedlander. In fact, I want some more so I can make some pillow cases!
The Willow Tank, a staple top of Kelly's making.
How often do you get to sew?
I sit down to sew, crochet, needle felt or embroider at least a couple times a week. It helps that I can do the last three in bed while I am watching TV - it's the best way to wind down after a long day!
Which project are you most proud of so far?
I am really proud of my first quilt - the Modern Starter Quilt with Les Fleurs fabric from Rifle Paper Co.'s first fabric line. I originally started classes with the end goal of making a quilt, so it felt like a huge accomplishment. My other proud moment was from an Owl & Drum's Stitch Society craft swap. I made a pillow and needle felted a painting originally painted by the recipient on to it. It felt really special to me and ended up meaning a lot to her, as well!
The Modern Starter Quilt featuring fabric from Rifle Paper Co.
Kelly's own creation, a needle-felted pillow for a secret craft swap.
Any last thoughts on all things sewing?
Sewing is a constant journey of learning and creativity. The more you learn, the more there is to find out - and the more creative you will be! I am regularly inspired by the community I've met at Owl & Drum. I count my blessings to be surrounded by such creative people who are happy to share their knowledge. A great example is all the guest teachers who show up at Owl & Drum to teach different textile and fiber skills. There are some things that are not my favorite, like tracing sewing patterns and attaching sleeves, but I've found once I start going it doesn't feel like a chore at all.
Wow, thank you so much Kelly for taking the time to share your ongoing sewing and making journey with us! Any readers who would like to get to know Kelly more you can follow her on Instagram under @bakesimple and check out her baking shop over at www.bakesimpleshop.com.
Thanks for reading the debut edition of Owl & Drum's Makers Spotlight. Please keep an eye out for our future profiles on talented local artists. There are so many! Happy sewing everybody!