In this second installment of our Spoonflower staff interview series, I'm really pleased to introduce Beth Carr, our new customer service maven and most recently hired employee. Beth has been at Spoonflower for just under three months now but I'm only just now learning that her passion is sewing historical costumes. (How did I miss this in her hiring interview?) I hope you all enjoy reading about Beth as much as I did!
What do you do at Spoonflower, and what’s a typical day like for you?
I am the person you’ll likely reach if you email us for help on evenings or weekends. I typically arrive around 1 o’clock with a Coke Zero in hand and catch up on whatever I’ve missed from the mornings. After that, I’m basically attached to my keyboard for the rest of the day.
What sort of education and work experience did you have before coming to Spoonflower? What made you want to work here?
I have always been a bit of a fabric hoarder and a costume nerd. It was always a surprise to my family that I wasn’t doing anything related to fabric. Most of my prior work experience is customer service related but in a completely different field - I was a real estate assistant (specifically foreclosures) for a very long time. Far too long. When I relocated to North Carolina I finally decided that it was time to do something I enjoyed. After six months in NC, I found out that Spoonflower was hiring and I was fortunate enough to get an interview! I am grateful every day that I get to work for such an amazing company. My main reason for wanting to work at Spoonflower was so that I could be completely surrounded by fabric all the time, but now I have to say that I love being surrounded by like-minded individuals.
I know you’ve been here only a few months, but have you learned anything so far from your experience?
When I started I thought I had quite a firm grasp on Photoshop and Illustrator; but I have learned so much more about these programs than I thought I would! I love being able to take a look at a file and determine how to correct the repeat or fix a shifting color.
What’s your favorite way to get creative in your spare time?
Sewing, of course! Mostly dreaming up new historical costumes and studying and trying historical construction techniques. I have quite a hefty fabric stash that steadily grows with each new project idea.
I think it’s so intriguing that you like to sew historical costumes. How did you get started and what’s your favorite era to sew from?
When I was younger, my aunt used to sew the most amazing costumes for us for Halloween and my Mom would always adorn our clothing with adorable crewelwork. (My favorite was a kangaroo holding balloons.) I was always in awe of the idea of creating something wearable out of a flat piece of fabric, but I have absolutely zero modern fashion sense. At 14, never having picked up a single needle, I decided I wanted to make a Renaissance gown. My grandmother, with the patience of a saint, decided to teach me how to sew and suggested I make a pillow. I told her that I’d much rather make something useful and whipped up a bum roll (a crescent-shaped pad for the hips) for my first costume piece! From then on I’ve been drafting, draping, and sewing my own costumes from various periods. Because I was once a Civil War reenactor, most of my costumes are from the early to mid 1860’s and are unadorned work dresses. It’s very difficult to pick a favorite era since I always want to try something new. This year it’s Rococo (18th century).
What’s your favorite Spoonflower base fabric?
Organic cotton sateen, hands down. It has a nice weight and a nice finish. Plus, it works beautifully for a variety of my projects from costuming to quilting.
Do you have a current favorite design on the site?
There are so many wonderful designs out there, it would be too difficult to pick one. But I recently found the designer American Duchess and cannot wait to use her designs in my next costume!
Complete this sentence: If I could only ___________ at Spoonflower, ___________ would be much _______________.
If I could only store my fabric stash at Spoonflower, my sewing room would be much more organized!
Is there anything else you want to share with Spoonflower readers?
I truly have to give credit to my younger sister, Laura, for helping me to support my historical costume habit. Because I drape all my garments myself, I have to have a dummy for each one of my corsets. Every time I make a new corset, Laura helps me to make a new duct tape dummy. I would never have been able to get past Renaissance costuming without her!