Tools of the Trade: Sewing {Forestbound}

Contributor post by: Shauna Alterio

Alice Saunders

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts


SA: When did you begin sewing?

: When I was in my early teens I started using my mom's old portable Singer that I'm sure she bought at Sears or JC Penny. it stayed with me for almost 10 years and I remember only breaking 1 or 2 needles during that whole time period. I eventually sewed it into the ground and reluctantly had to find a replacement. the Singer Esteem was what I ended up choosing and I swear it's the best portable machine that I've ever used. I still have one in the corner of my studio!

SA: What do you make with your sewing machine(s)?

AS: I make utilitarian tote bags out of reclaimed historical textiles & hardware.

SA: What machine(s) are you currently using? What are the brands you love and the features you can't live without
AS: As far as sewing machines go, currently I work on a Juki DDL 505 and an old Adler from the 60s .. both heavy duty work horses. Since all of the canvas I use for my bags was once in the form of something else (WWII duffel bag, feed sacks from the 1930's, old Boyscout packs, etc) I take apart a lot of seams and always use my Carl Schlieper Eye Brand pocket knife. I use whatever scissors I find laying around the house which means they are usually pretty dull... so I'm constantly using my Fiskars scissor sharpener.

SA: What's tools are on your wish list?
AS: Well the machines that are on the top of my list are mostly for leather working since I'm pretty happy with my current sewing machine set up (although I would never pass up a Singer Class 7, a heavy duty machine that was used for sewing military tents, parachutes, etc). I currently use the hand held version of all these but having them in machine form would be a dream come true! I'd love a leather skiver, a strap cutter, an eyelet setter, a leather cutting machine and a rivet press. Oh and a workshop in a big ol' mill building to house all these machines.

SA: Tell us about someone else working with similar tools that inspires you.
AS: I'm a huge fan of Jason Gregory who does Makr. His bags are impeccably made and I've always loved seeing photos of his studio since he sews on the most beautiful machines. Also the denim & clothing brand Rising Sun Co. They really value the knowledge and technique of traditional sewers & tailors which is something I have a lot of respect for. They also have an incredible workshop!

photo: Makr Carry Goods

photo: Rising Sun Co.


Shauna Alterio is a designer and one half of Something's Hiding in Here. Together with her partner Stephen, she can be found dabbling with all sorts of tools and techniques from letterpress printing to sewing. The duo added haberdashers to their list of titles this year when they created FORAGE, a line of bow ties made from vintage fabrics in limited editions.

blog: somethingshidinginhere

shop: FORAGE.bigcartel

Jan Halvarson


Julie said...

amazing work! love the sewing machines!

Jack and Cassie said...

Fantastic post! I would love to know where the Wildwood sweat shirt is from. I grew up in a tiny former resort community turned tiny neighborhood in Maine named Wildwood and would love to get one!

shauna said...

thanks alice. i've been such a big fan of your work and it's amazing to see those vintage industrial sewing machines. insane.

Forever Lovely said...

I'm loving those beautiful sewing machines! Lovely work!


Ashley Anna Brown said...

Great interview! Alice - you always amaze and inspire me! Plus your studio looks SO GOOD. And you're super cute! eek!

Elke said...

Great Bags- You do utilitarian to a T. I really like the leather strap details.

shelby h.k. said...

omg! i live in allston and have not seen her work. i am now going to stalk her (in a non-creepy, illegal way) and purchase. <3


Dianne said...

Isn't Miss Alice Forestbound the most adorable thing ever, look at her in that amazing jumper. This is great and tres interesting x