Maine, United States

Contributor Spotlight / DAWN / Emily Clark
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Contributor Spotlight / DAWN / Emily Clark

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We're elated to kick off our latest series of Contributor Spotlight posts with a dear friend of the Making family, Emily Clark of Endearing Everyday. Emily designed the elegant Cascada Dress pattern featured in Making No. 11 / DAWN; its drape and wearability designed to keep your days flowing with ease. Along with sewing, Emily’s personal connections to family, nature, and slow living are shared through her practice of writing and photography.

Making Magazine Contributor Emily Clark

What is your craft, and how did you get started?

I participate in the craft of sewing and wearing handmade clothing. My grandmother taught me to sew during youth; she's been sewing her entire life. I wrote a series on my blog titled, What Nana Made, all about how vital sewing was in my grandmother's life. I remember participating in 4-H competitions with outfits we'd made. As I grew older, I lost interest in sewing and didn't take it up until about five years ago. When I got back into sewing, what drew me to it was learning I could make clothing that didn't look homemade, something that turned me off in the past. I started to understand that by being selective about the fabrics I used and altering patterns, I usually never follow a pattern exactly and always make my tweaks, I could make things I'd love wearing.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! I'm always pinning away on Pinterest and saving photos on Instagram. But the place I look to most is nature, from natural fabrics to a lifestyle in conjunction with the earth—I want the clothing I make to be worn everywhere from inside the house to outside doing things like gardening or walking along the beach. I've also always loved vintage styles for their timelessness. I've long held the philosophy that if I'm going to put the time and money into making clothing myself, I don't want them to go out of style and want to be able to wear them for a long time.

Cascada Dress

What made you want to design patterns?

I don't consider myself a designer; it feels like too fancy a word for the kind of work I do or the aspiration I have. I sew and enjoy creating lovely and functional things to make my world a little more beautiful and dear. I wanted to start creating patterns to more deeply share the things I create with fellow sewists. I don't plan to pump out many patterns, but I hope to continue making them here and there when inspiration strikes or the need calls for them.

What are your favorite materials to work with, and why?

I am all about linen! Linen is really what got me back into sewing, and not just any linen, Merchant and Mills' linen. I remember ordering it for the first time and falling in love—I didn't know something so beautiful could exist and that I could sew it into something that I could wear—I was hooked! I also love cotton lawn, which is currently one of my favorite fabrics to use for dresses.

Making No. 11 DAWN Cascada Dress
What are your best tools and resources?

My grandmother. She's been a vital part of everything I sew, and having her in my life to call whenever I need her is such a blessing. Though she wouldn't admit it, she has such a wealth of knowledge and skill in sewing, so whenever I run into a roadblock, she always has an answer for me when I'm in need. She's played an active part in the making of my patterns and many things I've sewn.

Do you have other passions and hobbies?

I'm pretty passionate about the outdoors, valuing it, and experiencing it; hiking is one of my favorite activities. In my younger years, I did a bit of camping and backpacking, camping is something I have many memories of from childhood, and backpacking is a more adventurous activity I picked up as an adult. I love to connect with nature each day and find it an essential tool for mental health.

Creatively, I also love writing and photography; I consider my blog, Endearing Everyday, a sort of love letter to myself and the world. I enjoy expressing myself through words, which is usually more of an exercise in finding my true feelings as I write. Writing is important because I believe it's a way to preserve memories and emotions and connect those feelings with others. Some of the most meaningful comments I've received have been regarding a connection with something I've written. Photography does this too in a visual way—preserving memories. My dad taught me to shoot film as a kid. Though I'm terrible at it these days due to the ease of digital and mobile photography, I still remember going to a camera show where he bought me my old Olympus, the same one he had in the 80s, and occasionally shoot film for the fun of it.

Making No. 11 / DAWN Cascada Dress

Why do you create & what do you hope to express with the things you make?

I create for self-expression and to bring beauty to my life and the world. Creativity, for me, is an essential part of my life, an outpouring. I also create to help inspire others by the words I share, photos I take, or things I sew. I hope people see the beauty in the things I create and feel uplifted and inspired to pursue some sort of creativity in their own lives.
What is one of your favorite things about the Cascada Dress you designed in DAWN?

I love its simplicity and that it feels timeless and organic—a garment that can be worn for years and years.

Making Magazine Contributor Emily Clark

We're graced to have Emily’s Cascada Dress featured in
Making No. 11 / DAWN and her meaningful contributions to past issues, our blog, and our life story. You can find Emily's Cascada Dress pattern on pages 64-77 of DAWN. For even more on Emily's journey in sewing, motherhood, and slow living, follow her Instagram, endearingeveryday.