Last Week CC sat down with student and business owner Chelsea West, creator of Sew.est.
Rachel: How did you get into sewing, is it something you’ve always done or is it a more recent hobby?
Chelsea: I basically started in this fashion and textiles club we had in school, I learnt how to use a sewing machine and do basic stitches. When I got to sixth year I was doing my advanced highers and working on a project and I wanted to work with different mediums. I wasn’t really in to painting or drawing, so one of my teachers suggested sewing. I tried it and I really enjoyed it and from then on, I just started sewing artists that I was really inspired by: grime, hip hop, rap. Mostly Drake (laughs).
Rachel: How did you go about starting a business?
Chelsea: I started Sew.est because for a while I had been wanting to sell my works but I didn’t know how to go about it. My boyfriend told me, just do it! Just start an Instagram! He said it was really easy, and it actually is really easy to do. Especially with hashtags and the ability to tag lots of people. For example, if I did a South Park embroidery, I’d tag lots of people and hashtag lots and gain followers that way.
Rachel: I know you’ve done patches for clothing, is that something you would be able to tailor make for a customer if they put in a request?
Chelsea: Oh, definitely, yeah. I’ve actually been making these Super Mario ones, they’re going to be patches but they are more intricate than the ones I’ve done before. I started with the easier models because I’ve never done patches before and I wanted to test it out and now that I’ve done them I want to do more intricate ones and put it on a t-shirt at the end. But, yeah, it’s really easy to custom make those, it’s just the same as doing normal embroidery.
Rachel: How long does that take?
Chelsea: It depends what you’re doing. The basic patches don’t take that long at all, probably an hour to sew. It passes the time so quickly. And then another half an hour to an hour to cut it out, put on some adhesive and then iron it on. If this is something anyone wanted to get in to, I think patches are probably the easiest thing to do. They’re the most fun as well and you can wear them and show them off a little bit!
Rachel: Do you find it difficult to run the business side of things and be a student?
Chelsea: That’s actually the easier part. It’s quite easy to run the business because I procrastinate quite a lot so I’m always on Facebook or my Instagram. What’s more difficult is being a student and doing the sewing as well. I find it quite difficult to balance my work life, social life and my hobbies, because I feel like hobbies have to give a little bit. It’s nice as a hobby though, and it’s nice to take a day off and watch movies and sit and sew through all them. One day I watched all 3 Thor’s and finished one work.
Kylie: It’s also really cool that you can wear your art, as opposed to it just being at your house.
Chelsea: I find with things like the bigger pieces, no one wants them as much because where would they put them? But with the things like tshirts it’s easier to have my work worn. I really want to recreate something like the embroidered Gucci jean jacket – I actually got my sewing machine for my birthday so that I could try do that.
Rachel: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to CC today. We love your stuff and what you do!
If you’d like to check out more of Chelsea’s work, head over to her Instagram @sew.est or her etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SewestCo?ref=s2-header-shopname
Photography: Kylie Andrews