Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Brand Ambassador Intro - Stephanie Carton

Our next 2022 Brand Ambassador is the fantastic Stephanie Carton. She specializes in girls apparel and has an incredible eye for design. Her patterns and photography are inspiring and we are very excited to have her as part of the Michael Miller family! Read all about her and her sewing journey below.

Steph began sewing as a small child. The first sewing project that she can remember was a witch dress and hat for her Cabbage Patch Doll.  Working out the cone shape for the hat seemed to be a possible mission for her 7yo brain so she tackled it head on.  She did well except that she didn’t know that seam allowances were a thing so the project came out a bit small.  There was a period of time when she was banned from using her mother’s sewing machine because she’d somehow turn the bobbin case into a giant ball of thread so she switched to making tiny crazy quilts by hand (stuffed with cotton balls stolen from the bathroom vanity).  Then came the early 2000’s college application portfolio.  It included some feathers.  It was not a good time in both fashion history and Steph’s personal sewing history.  

As an adult, she combined that knowledge of sewing with her enthusiasm for exciting topics like human factors and anthropometry to create sewing patterns that are both beautiful and well-fitting.  She began sewing cloth diapers when her oldest was born and started selling the finished products.  The business grew and she couldn’t keep up with demand even though she had a few assistants helping her sew. Around the same time, her husband’s job was allowing the family to travel a lot more for extended periods of time and she needed something that would work while they were on the road. She decided to digitize some of the paper patterns she had developed for her own kids. This combined her love for sewing and making, with her obsession with anthropometry (the study of measurements and proportion of the human body). Steph was also excited about making NEW things instead of just doing the same design over and over again as she was when she was making diapers.  She loves the process of sketching something and then engineering some flat pieces of fabric into a 3D object. That problem-solving is the best part for her.

Steph lives in sunny Southwest Colorado (for now, at least) with a view of Mesa Verde National Park out her front window with her husband and 2 children.  A kitten wandered in one day and decided she liked living indoors and has taken to following Steph from room to room, positioning herself about 2 feet away while completely ignoring her and pretending that she’s NOT following Steph around the house. 

When she’s not sewing, you’ll probably find Steph halfway up a mountain or on some slick rock somewhere hiking and behind the camera taking photographs (there’s many photos of her kids on the trail but hardly any of herself).  Even though she ended up not majoring in fashion design in college, she thinks her degree in Cinema and Photography helps in her day-to-day business tasks.  Time spent at home is renovating their 85yo log cabin or creating the perfect goth garden filled with black flowers.

Steph is also an educator and creative mentor, helping other creative small businesses and non-profits grow and thrive.  She finds pain points for other creatives and works with her clients to find solutions.  Sometimes she’s an ear to bounce ideas off of.  Just as problem solving is her favorite part about designing, the logistical, problem solving part of running a creative business is her favorite part of mentoring!

Be sure to follow Stephanie (AKA The Eli Monster) with the links below to see all the Michael Miller fun she'll be sharing!


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