Nora Meets the Maker: Stitchin' Summer Winner Elizabeth Hyer!
by Kollabora Follow

posted 3 years ago

Elizabeth recently won our BERNINA Stitchin' Summer sewing contest with her awesome Jasmine and Grace Spacesuit and shared a bit of what went into making her machine-winning entry!

I was already making the suit when I got the email from Kollabora about the contest, and I definitely did not foresee myself winning, but I also thought it wouldn't hurt anything to give it a shot. My friend Melody took the photos in the pool for me the day I finished the suit and then I took all the photos of it flat and on my dress form myself, the whole process was pretty fun and I'm really excited to have a swimsuit that I actually like and am proud of. I haven't bought one in, like, 5 years and I was borrowing suits from other people before I made my first (poorly sewn) suit last year. When I tried that one on this year it just wasn't going to work, so I cut out pieces for a new one, decided they wouldn't work together, remembered I had the galaxy printed lycra, and then it was like the heavens opened up and shone down on the black and galaxy print together. Either that or I thought they were a much better fit and then left the fabrics in a pile together before I headed to work. Whatever the actual case was, I'm pretty excited that it's been such a hit, it's probably one of my favorite makes.

My name is Elizabeth Hyer, but you maybe know me as Hyer Handmade, and my DIY weapons of choice are a Pfaff Passport 2.0, a Bernina 2000DCE, and a rotary cutter.

When I am looking for inspiration I look at my garment rack. I'm pretty practical when it comes to making so I usually know what I need right away. I'm also inspired by good literature and good film.

After a long day of making things I like to be around other people, make more things, or spend the rest of the night watching Doctor Who.

I got started making when I turned 21. I had just made some Norwegian friends and they taught me how to knit and about a year later I had knit my first sweater and I decided that if I could do that I could also probably sew. Well, I've actually been making things in general for as long as I can remember, but that's when I started making things I could wear.

The one thing that drives my creativity is the fact that I've always been this way. Even before I knew how to sew I was still making things - out of wood or clay or anything, and I focused on fine art for a long time before I started more practical artistic endeavors

When I think about starting a new project I draw and plan it out and then tarry for 6 months to a year. With a few exceptions, my creative process is obscenely long

If I wasn’t a full time barista I would love to be a socialite married to a very rich man who would let me use his money to travel. I'm joking, I'd probably want to find a way to make writing a sustainable job for me, or I'd like to teach sewing

The first thing I do when I wake up is look at the time and let out a groan. And then I get out of bed and shower. I get most things done at night; I'm very much the opposite of a morning person

The song that can cheer me out of any bad mood is Dance Yrself Clean or Movement by LCD Soundsystem.

My favorite word is gnarly.

My least favorite word is photography. Or maybe any word with graph in it, but I don't mind the word graph by itself. 

Making makes me feel like a total bad ass. 

I get out of a creative rut by kicking myself into gear and making something anyway, even if it isn't something I end up loving. Although I usually knit in those cases so that I can easily take out my work and start over. 

I most relate to other INTJs who serve coffee and make things on the side. It's sort of a niche but there are a few of us out there. Or, you know, anyone. I feel like you can always find some level on which to relate to someone/something. 

My favorite artists/designers/makers are my family (who all make things), Banksy, a lot of different friends and acquaintances, Jen Beeman (Grainline Studio), Heather Lewenza (Closet Case Files), but it really just is pretty much anyone I know who makes things. They're all great, everyone is my favorite. 

To me, DIY means not being subject to the whims of the fashion industry, and being subject to my own whims instead. 

The first thing I made was a Megan Neilsen Briar tee. It was very bad. I didn't know what grainlines were

My favorite thing to do on the weekend is hang out and listen to music when I get off work

I can’t get enough pizza.

Three words that describe me: blunt, analytical, organized

Three words that describe my work: practical, comfortable, black

Best creative advice I ever received is "go back and add more shading" which was what I was told about a specific drawing, but what I took from that into every other part of my life is to not say I'm done with something until it's the best work I can do

I never leave the house without my headphones, sketchbook, notebook, wallet, pencil and pen, contact solution. 

If I could live in any other country it would be Croatia.

My DIY secret weapon is having people who don't sew around so they can tell me that “I'm doing so well and oh my gosh they can't believe I made X and I'm so great at sewing and everything ever” so that I'm encouraged to keep going even if I made some pretty gnarly mistakes. 

The biggest DIY mistake I ever made was not knowing about grainlines on that first project. I've made a lot of mistakes but that one is arguably the biggest. 

My next project is a Morris blazer, some Ginger jeans, and a Watson bra

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