A Q&A with Lori Beckstead of Clothes Making Mavens Podcast

One of my favourite sewing podcasts to listen to is Clothes Making Mavens co-hosted by Helena Ashbridge (GrayAllDay.com) and Lori Beckstead (Frivolousat Last.com).

Helena and Lori are two women who love to talk sewing but have exhausted the good humour of their non-sewing friends and family, so they now talk to each other! From across the continent they Skype to discuss their obsession with garment sewing. They also interview other like-minded sewists and delight in the wonderful international sewing community.

Lori shares her own experiences, motivation, inspiration and even her most used swear word!

What was your lightbulb moment for starting Clothes Making Mavens ).

I responded to Helena’s call on her blog GrayAllDay.com for a potential co-host. I had actually been thinking it would be good to start up a podcast but oftentimes my perfectionism or fear of failure gets in the way of jumping into something, so I think if it hadn’t been for Helena’s call I would never have done it on my own. And it turns out we make a great team! It’s like it was meant to happen.

What makes your podcast unique?

I think when it comes to sewing podcasts, it’s hard to be absolutely unique within that genre. Our main goal is for listeners to feel like they’re hanging out with their sewing friends having a chat. I like to say it’s like throwing a sewing get-together in your home except you don’t have to tidy up and bake banana bread! We try to highlight sewists from around the world. And, we make sure the audio quality is always high so it’s a great listening experience.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?

I cringe a bit when I hear myself on the first episode — I can hear in my voice that I was nervous. But I think that’s perfectly normal…it’s the same when I think back to the first garment I sewed and wore out in public. It wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty proud of it. (It was a black crushed velvet jumpsuit, by the way, with awkwardly short legs which I had very badly attempted to modify to be flared.) Overall there isn’t anything I’d do differently with the podcast. And the great thing about a podcast is there’s always a chance to do another episode if there’s something you want to try or something new you want to talk about.

What has been your proudest moment so far on this journey

I think just actually DOING this podcast makes me proud. It’s a ton of work: researching, networking, writing scripts, organizing recording times around multiple time zones, helping guests set up the right technology, and then I spend hours editing each episode. So I feel a great sense of accomplishment with each new episode we release. And of course, I always feel very proud when someone takes the time to let us know that they enjoy listening.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a podcast?

I have two pieces of advice, which may actually be contradictory! One, if you’re wanting to give it a try, go for it! I absolutely love doing a podcast, so I’d recommend it. But two, do your research so you know what’s involved. It’s a huge commitment, and there’s a lot to know about equipment, software, web hosting, how to do effective interviews, etc. Reach out to other podcasters for advice if you’re thinking of starting one up. Podcasters tend to be a pretty helpful bunch, which I discovered when I did my share of reaching out for help and advice. And if you happen to be near Toronto, come join us at the Toronto Women’s Podcasting Network! I recently started this group up to provide support and networking for women interested in podcasting.

How do you balance producing a podcast with a full-time job, a sewing blog and actually sewing?

I have no idea! Lol. I guess it’s a labour of love, and it’s part of how I like to express my creativity. I put a high value and priority on exercising my creative muscles; I think having the right creative outlets in one’s life adds immensely to overall quality of life and happiness. Sewing is a great creative outlet but so is creating media about sewing: photos, blog posts, podcasts. I enjoy doing it all. I am also very lucky that my full-time job is being a professor in a media production department at a university. So being an actual producer of media allows me to keep developing my own skills and understanding of media, to stay on top of new developments in media platforms and production software, and to bring all that to my students. So I get to do this creative thing that I love but technically it’s also professional development! Lucky me!

How do you switch off and relax?

I knit. I can really get into a zen state through the regular rhythm of knitting. And knitting is so portable so I can do it just about anywhere, including at meetings at work (where I am most likely to be in need of a little zen calm). And I drink wine. But I’m not allowed to do that at work meetings, unfortunately. ;-).

What does the future hold for Clothes Making Mavens?

More chatting about sewing! We don’t have any big changes in the works; we just hope to keep putting out episodes that we enjoy producing and that people hopefully enjoy listening to. Helena and I are always trying to dream up ways to get more people’s voices on the podcast, so I hope listeners will keep contributing their stories and comments. My favourite episodes are always ones in which listeners have sent in a recording or contributed a voice message for us to play.

What are your other interests/hobbies?

I am an avid volleyball player, both indoor and beach, so I play year-round. I like to do yoga. And I like to bake tasty things that are also healthy to eat (well, mostly!). I love to travel and am lucky/privileged enough to have been to a LOT of different places around the world. I dabble in jewellery making and have made various pieces of silver jewellery, but silversmithing is pretty involved and not quite so easy to do as an at-home hobby. I love birds and would probably be an avid bird watcher if that didn’t necessitate me getting out of bed before 9 am on a weekend! Lol. I read a ton of fiction. But in general, I’m pretty sure that if it weren’t for external expectations and obligations I would just spend all my days lying around napping with my cats. 🙂

What is your most used swear word when sewing?

Most used is “fuck” but actual favourite swear word is “clusterfuck”. I swear so often I don’t even realize it when I drop an F-bomb around my much-more-refined mother. Lol.

Dogs or Cats?

Cats. I love dogs, too, but I’m far too lazy to deal with having a dog. Maybe if they breed a new species of dog that knows how to use a litter box and can lick itself clean, I’d consider it. 😉

Scary movie or happy endings?

Scary movies with happy endings, of course!

Can you share your favourite quote with us?

“Better is the enemy of good.” I think of this whenever I feel perfectionism start to creep in and spoil my good time. :-).

Thank you so much Lori for taking the time to answer these questions!

The Mavens are hoping to bring lots of different voices to the podcast by allowing you to record your own answers and send them along to us to share with the sewing world! So if you fancy having a go at being on a podcast click here .


Clothes Making Mavens podcast: clothesmakingmavens.com
instagram: @frivolousatlast
pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lbeckste/

FrivolousAtLast.com (Lori Beckstead’s blog)

GrayAllDay.com (Helena Ashbridges’s blog)



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