Makers who make for makers are some of my favorite kinds of makers. (Say that 5 times fast!) Seriously, having well-made tools and accessories is a must for makers and in this regard, Geana Sieburger leads the way with her I-want-all-of-them collection of handmade smocks and aprons found in her GDS Cloth Goods shop. I’ve been meaning to give Geana some floorspace here to discuss her creative process and Geana gracefully obliged me amd somehow made me care about SEAMS. Yes, she’s that good. So, without further ado, here she is.
When I lead my fiber and textile workshops, people often want to know what makes a quality textile. Is it something that happens in the field when farmers are growing the fiber? Or, is quality determined by how it’s woven? The answer is usually no surprise–decisions are made at every stage that take away or contribute to quality. At every stage there are details to be overlooked or to be included in the process.
I’m grateful to have access to some of the highest quality denims that exist. These are selvedge (or selvage) denims and sometimes canvases made on narrow looms that produce beautiful self-edges (hence the name selvedge). The finished edges have their aesthetic value, but also make the designers job a little easier and the narrow widths allow them to produce less waste in the process. There’s history and tradition here, and I appreciate that as well.
Then there are overall design, pocket, and seam finishing decisions. When I design, I always strive to find a balance between aesthetics and utility. I feel I’ve succeeded with a design when it’s visually calming but inspires discovery. What I mean is that I strive for designs that appear simple but are actually quite detailed, both technically and in their utility. I spend a lot of time thinking about pocket placement, their shape, and the lines they create. Shapes have personalities which come through in the finished work.
“GDS was founded to provide ethical and sustainable alternatives to people who appreciate simple modern design. We believe that knowing the makers of our textile goods is as important as understanding the route of food from farm to table.By making products and facilitating workshops at the intersection of design, sustainability and community, it’s our mission to contribute to the restoration of our environment and a more equitable fashion and textile industry.”
I don’t hear people talk about seams very much. Maybe it’s because it can sound like a different language. Other than choosing a quality cloth this the most important step in determening how long a piece of clothing will last. We use techniques such as flat-fell and french seams which guarantee that our pieces will last at least a lifetime. These kinds of seams have no exposed thread except for the dotted line of a straight stitch which sinks into the fabric so that no snagging can occur. You can wear our pieces inside out and no one but would know the difference.
Another fact that never gets talked about is thread quality and tension of the stitching. Lower quality threads can break more easily especially when the tension of the stitching is off.
The fabrics become more beautiful with age, thoughtful stitching details become more prominent, and because the designs are simple, they seem to always be in style. My goal in paying attention to these details is to create pieces that will stay with people all of their lives. I hope people will see that pieces made with care really are different, not just because of some abstract idea about handmade being better, but because when something is made with care throughout the entire process, you can actually see and experience it for a very long time.
About The Maker
Inspired by the trendsetting women in her own family and a grandmother who was one of the most sought-after seamstresses in town, Geana Sieburger worked within the textile industry for 7 years before she founded GDS. Growing up in Southern Brazil deeply influenced her work, a place where in the 80’s, bakeries and their bakers could be found every few blocks and skilled seamstresses still sewed a good portion of people’s everyday wardrobes. Communities sustained themselves, and Geana believes there’s a lot to learn from that. These experiences left an impression that would later resurface as objects to better appreciate the everyday work of living.
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