As part of our Maker Festivals Lancaster 2023 event, the Sew Daily team was excited to highlight 20 stand-out individuals in our industry. We were thrilled to select honorees in the following categories: Innovators, Community Leaders, Trendsetters, and Rising Stars.
Read on to learn more about each category and who we decided to spotlight — we’re delighted with this group of sewing superstars. We talk a lot about sewing superpowers here on Sew Daily, and these innovators, leaders, trendsetters, and rising stars shine bright with those superpowers, using them for good in the community and beyond. We hope you’ll be as inspired and impressed as we are!
Leila Kelleher is a pattern designer, activist, and Assistant Professor of Fashion Design and Social Justice at Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her work at her sewing pattern company, Muna and Broad, combines her expertise in patternmaking with her knowledge of the human body to ensure an excellent fit for plus-size bodies. She strives to make sewing and fashion accessible — we all deserve to swathe our bodies in beautiful garments to express our style because sewing is for everyBODY. Follow Leila on Instagram.
Understanding the life-changing power of sewing clothes that fit your body and reflect your style in a way that shop-bought clothes never could, Elisalex Jewell founded By Hand London (BHL) in 2012 with school friend Charlotte Vivian-Hintzen, and the brand quickly became a household name in the sewing community. With a vision to create modern, approachable, inclusive, and beautifully designed sewing patterns, BHL has become synonymous with DIY glamor, timeless elegance, and versatility.
In addition to running BHL, Elisalex’s mission is to empower sewists to make clothes that fit like a dream and, as a result, look and feel amazing! Elisalex has taught dressmaking, bodice fitting, crochet, embroidery, and mending techniques all over the UK and is a regular columnist at Love Sewing magazine. Find Elisalex on Instagram at @byhandlondon and @elisalex.
Helen is the designer and founder behind Helen’s Closet Patterns. They pride themselves on having the best pattern instructions, so you are never left guessing when sewing your projects. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew podcast, where they chat about all things sewing! They have six years of episodes full of fun, learning, and laughter. Recently, Helen started a quilt pattern company called Cedar Quilt Co., spreading her newfound love for quilting across the sewing community!
In 2016, she launched her blog and YouTube channel. She has also been an editor for a digital sewing magazine, Sew Sew Def, collaborated with amazing online fabric stores, worked with commercial and indie pattern companies, been featured in published magazines, became a brand ambassador for Husqvarna Viking, a Sewing Instructor in the Sew It Academy and last but not least, is now the co-owner of a fabric store—Melanated Fabrics!
Carolyn has been sewing since she was 11 years old. She loves to sew and has made everything from her wedding outfit to coats, her daughter’s and grandchildren’s clothing, and home décor.
She describes herself as a sewist, dressmaker, fabricaholic, and creative fiber artist. She’s a plus-size fashionista journeying through the sewing world, trying to make magic with each garment she creates. One of her favorite quotes is by Connie Crawford, “Looking good is not about what size you are but how well the garments fit!” Learn more about Carolyn on her blog, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic.
Read: Meet the Maker column in the October/November 2020 issue of Sew News.
Zoe Edwards is a writer, podcaster, sewing teacher, and mum obsessed with sewing and passionate about sustainability. Zoe started her blog, So, Zo… What Do You Know?, over 14 years ago, and the popular wardrobe challenge, Me-Made-May, shortly after that.
Now a major fixture in the sewing-and-making community, thousands of makers participate in Me-Made-May each year, all pledging to wear their me-mades more, or in new ways, to learn lessons to improve their relationships with their handmade wardrobes. Like many, Zoe is increasingly concerned about the climate crisis and her lifestyle’s impact on the planet. Her Check Your Thread podcast was born out of her desire to look at ways to reduce this impact through the lens of her love of sewing (and beyond!).
Jenny Rushmore is a curvy sewing pioneer, best-selling author, and founder of Cashmerette. She learned to sew at the tender age of 30 and rapidly realized the profound life-changing potential of having a wardrobe of clothes that actually fit her curvy, plus-size body. Her revelation that she could change her clothes to fit her body—rather than her body to fit her clothes—led to Cashmerette, which offers thoughtfully designed sewing patterns for curves as well as a monthly membership program, online workshops, books, and more.
Read & Listen: Cashmerette and the State of Curvy Sewing 📝 and Sew & Tell Podcast — Curvy Sewing with Cashmerette 🎤
Meg is a writer, artist, sewist, and slow fashion advocate who founded Sew Liberated in 2007. After three kids and countless sewing projects, she still loves what she does and hesitates to call it a “job.” It’s more of a passion project, truly. When she’s not sketching ideas or making plans for Sew Liberated, she loves trail running, Barre3, knitting, and making music with her family.
Read: Sewing for Mental Health
Sarai is the founder of Seamwork and an advocate for creativity in everyday life. She has been sewing for 25 years, publishing patterns, best-selling sewing books and articles, and building community in the sewing world for the last 14 years. She’s a collector of all sorts of hobbies because there’s nothing she’d rather do than make something with her hands.
Watch: Sew It All TV
Mimi G is the founder and CEO of the Mimi G Style fashion and lifestyle brand, which includes her DIY blog and the sewing and design school Sew It! Academy. Her courses on DIY sewing, self-empowerment, business coaching, and lifestyle have resulted in 3.2 million followers across all social media platforms.
Listen: Sew & Tell Podcast with Mimi G
Cornelius was involved in a farm accident when he was three years old. A large harvesting machine fell on top of him and tore and stretched some of the nerves in his spine. As a result, several of the muscles on his right side atrophied and have never developed. In his mid-20s, he worked on a glove to repair the lack of mobility in his right hand. Ultimately, the project taught him that he is okay just as he is. Today, he sews clothes uniquely tailored to fit his body and to embrace who he is. Visit Cornelius on his blog and follow him on Instagram.
Chelsea Gurnoe is a maker and designer based in Sacramento, CA, and the founder of Friday Pattern Company, which creates fun and easy-to-sew patterns. Their goal is to help you find joy in the process of making and wearing the clothing you create.
Monica Monyo-Tetteh, also known as That’s Sew Monica, is a Sewing, DIY, and lifestyle creative. Born and raised in New York City with Ghanaian roots, Monica turned to sewing to connect with her late mother. She possesses a deep passion for sewing and the sewing community. Monica is a co-owner of Sewrority Wear, LLC, a sewing novelty and apparel company. She organizes a monthly sew-a-long called SEWYOURVIEW and hosts a regular in-person sewing meetup called Project Sew.
Brad Schultz Design is all about making sewing fun, approachable, and modern. I believe everyone should feel empowered and confident enough to express themselves authentically, and I designed my content with that in mind. My goal is to help people find their happy place through sewing — where they can be creative, learn new things, and express themselves uniquely.
Michael Gardner is the creator of Daddy Dressed Me, a fashion content blog featuring designs by the thirty-seven-year-old father and modeled by his ten-year-old daughter, Ava. Gardner started creating designs for Ava when she was just three years old, refashioning thrifted women’s clothing. He was looking for a new way to strengthen his relationship with his daughter and decided to pick up the hobby after seeing his sister sew. They live in Philadelphia.
Daniela Alejandra Garza Meza
Daniela’s enthusiasm for fashion began when she was eight years old designing dresses, and her mother would bring them to life. She knew she would do this all my life after she designed a dress for graduation at 22. She started her brand in 2009 and participated in a National contest, Elle “Mexico Disena,” and won in 2013. She was chosen Top 14 Most Prominent Designers and received the People’s Choice Award.
She likes to make her clients feel like a celebrity while building each piece with the latest trends in the fashion industry. Her artistic vision and enchantment are what make her designs unique. Follow her on Instagram and subscribe to her YouTube channel, where she shows you how to make DIY fashion!
Anastasia is a fashion designer with over 20 years of experience, a pattern maker, and a sewing educator. She makes sewing tutorials with pdf patterns so you can follow along at home and myriad sewing videos ranging from DIY sewing projects for beginners to more advanced techniques like pattern drafting and draping.
She upcycles or tailors her finds from a thrift haul in some videos. In others, she’ll teach you how to sew a different stitch or hand-sew a patch on a jacket. It’s all part of the sewing adventure that she loves and wants to take you on with her! Whether you’re into craft projects for home sewing or want to make a DIY prom dress, she wants to help you! Visit Anastasia on the web follow her on Instagram, and subscribe to her YouTube Channel.
Emilia is a scientist by day and a creative the rest of the time. Be it sewing, knitting, welding pieces of steel together with dubious results, or making music; there’s no artistic endeavor they will not try and consequently become completely absorbed by. As a proud non-binary person, Emilia is keen to bring access to style to whoever wants to participate in it, regardless of gender identity. Follow them on Instagram!
Geri Berman shares her love for sewing and her sewing adventures as she builds a handmade wardrobe one garment at a time. Geri is a self-taught sewist who creates how-to videos of sewing tips and tricks, pattern hacks and tutorials, and sewing pattern reviews. On her journey to create a me-made wardrobe, she intends to share sew-along videos, fabric hauls, and sewing plans.
Join her in creating DIY fashion: personalizing each outfit with embroidery or tie-dye techniques. Follow her as she learns how to draft sewing patterns and grow her skills. Geri is a cheongsam devotee, a jumpsuit junkie, a sashiko and shibori addict, and a fabric hoarder. Follow her on Instagram or buy her a coffee!
Max Alexander was born in 2016 in Los Angeles, California to a Canadian father and American mother. He graduated from Little Dolphins by the Sea, an arts-based preschool, in 2021. During his time there, he was heavily influenced by the works of Vincent Van Gogh, Yayoi Kusama, Frida Kahlo, and Alexander Calder. Max announced to his family in 2020 that he was a dressmaker. Encouraged by his mother, also an artist, Max began designing, draping, and sewing and launched his Couture to the Max label in 2021.
Before learning to sew, his designs comprised ribbons, plastic wrap, and scraps of material fastened together with knots and tape. After learning to sew, his work quickly progressed into the more refined style you see today. One year later, at the age of 5, Max began formal sewing classes. His first collection was completed in Summer 2021 and culminated with the overwhelming success of his first runway show in Los Angeles, California. Follow Max on Instagram!
Please join us in congratulating our 2023 Sew Daily Top 20 honorees by leaving them a comment below. ❤️ 🧵 ✂️ And let us know if you think we missed any sewing influencers or industry leaders — this is an ongoing project, and we want to know who you follow in the community, too!