Have you ever met that person, that from the minute you meet it’s like you’re best friends? You can talk about all of your favorite things like sewing, quilting, patterns, and they just get it. Well, there’s one maker that stole our hearts from the moment we met him. Around here we know him as Mathew but in the sewing community you probably know him as Mister Domestic.
Mister Domestic left us speechless with his famed AGF Denim Woven Toddler Trench Coat, which we called the “Jacket of the Year” here in the HQ. From that point on, we just couldn’t get enough of his talent! From garment sewing to quilts, he is a self-taught sewing genius!
For this reason, we are super excited to announce that Mathew a.k.a. Mister Domestic is the newest addition to the AGF family! Mister Domestic will be our official AGF Sewcialite, keeping you up to date with tons of fun projects, sew-alongs, and much more. We’ve prepared a little interview with Mister Domestic so that you can get to know all about how he started sewing, his passions, and to simply show you how cool he is!
Without further ado, we would like you to meet Mister Domestic the AGF Sewcialite…
AGF: Mathew, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Mister Domestic: I just turned 40 and I couldn't be more stoked about it because my thirties were rad, so I can't wait to see what the forties have in store for me. I grew up in Houston, TX, where I met my now husband of 8 years. We migrated to the Pacific Northwest via Los Angeles and finally settled down in Camas, Washington with our three-year-old daughter Helena and two cats, Jordan and Camden. I have two masters degrees, one in communication and a second in business administration, and I work in oncology pharmaceuticals during the day. Despite the neato resume, I've always considered myself more right brain having worked professionally in theatre, modeling, photography and now all things fabric.
AGF: How did you learn to sew and what was your first project?
Mister Domestic: Well, the sewing gene runs in my family, with my grandmother having a tailoring business and my mom introducing me to fabric hoarding, but I don't remember ever being sat down and taught. I think I just watched and figured it out on my own. My first projects I think were making Barbie clothes when I was a kid and then like pillows and drapes that were absolutely dreadful. But I really didn't get inspired to the level I am now until we had our daughter and I wanted to make clothes for her. My husband was a peach and bought me an a-line skirt and yoga pants class at Modern Domestic in Portland and the fire was lit. I've also taken a quilting class and long arm class there, so basically I owe Modern Domestic for lighting all my fires.
AGF: What inspires you and who are some people you look up to?
Mister Domestic: EVERYTHING inspires me. When I was in theatre, I read a book by Stella Adler who said that the best way to become a better actor was to fully experience life. And that's how I try to live. But outside of a general way of life, my daughter inspires me each and every day. Especially with sewing, which is a part I was missing in my sewing before we had her. Like once I started sewing stuff for her, my attention to detail and quality increased exponentially. And it was that love component that you hear people talk about in their projects. Now that my projects are inspired by love, the sky is the limit. I hate to sound trite, but my husband inspires me. He taught me how to love and makes me want to be the best version of myself. I wouldn't be who I am today without him. In the sewing world, it’s impossible not to get inspired by the amazing community of sewists on the interweb. Like the creativity blows my mind and continually makes me want to try new things. And on top of that, the response and support that I have received in such a short amount of time makes me want to keep bringing it. Like this drives me to try even more crazy stuff because I can feel everyone getting jazzed with me and it totally lifts me up in moments when I’m toast.
AGF: When you’re not sewing what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Mister Domestic: Well, I have a threenager, so she takes all of my time when I'm not sewing. So basically I watch Doc McStuffins and do interpretive dancing on the floor with my little lady. When I do get a spare moment of Mathew time, it generally involves coffee, Netflix, fashion, cupcakes and a dabble of going to the gym. Basically I just love to laugh and have fun with whatever I'm doing, so it’s less about what I’m doing and more about my state of mind.
AGF: What’s your planning process when you make quilts and other projects?
Mister Domestic: Each project is different really. Sometimes I start with the fabric as inspiration and sometimes I start with a project in mind and go from there. My sketching skills are basic, but I usually start with a sketch and then try to figure out how to make it come to life. Then I just go for it full force and never think that I can't get it done. I honestly think that this is the only difference between me and anyone else is that I don’t doubt myself. I'm also very big on skill development because I feel like I'm making up for lost time, so a lot of times I'll think of a skill or technique that I want to learn and then find a project that I can use to figure it out on. I'm always trying to next-level myself and with each question I answer, it's like I open the door to even more questions. Thank goodness for YouTube and Instagram because I would be lost without the information and resources they provide.
AGF: When you have a creative block, how do you do to get motivated to sew again?
Mister Domestic: I legit have a book of a bajillion ideas, so I haven't been confronted with a creative block yet. But I do get tired of working on specific projects. Like either it becomes redundant or I need to figure out the logistics or it's just downright frustrating me and I need to get back to my happy place. When this happens, I just start working on something else. I have this mental matrix of project types that I have to be working on at all times to be fulfilled: a quilty project, kids apparel, grown folk apparel, something weavy, and something that'll stretch me. This rotation seems to be working, but it also has a way of taking over my life and getting me in over my head.
AGF: What are some of your favorite collections from AGF?
Mister Domestic: The Denim Studio introduced me to Art Gallery Fabrics and there's honestly something about working with these denims that just makes me feel the feels. And after I worked with that, I'd have to say that Pat Bravo's DARE & Katarina Roccella's AVANTEGARDE really got my attention because literally every print in those two collections excited me. But trying to pick a favorite right now is impossible because I want to get my hands on every single collection from 2016. This is a big part of the reason that being the AGF Sewcialite was so interesting to me because honestly prints scare me a little, but these don't. They have the opposite effect on me and actually inspire me.
AGF: If you were able to go back in time and give yourself advice before you started sewing, what would you tell yourself?
Mister Domestic: A part of me wants to say nothing because my life has been this beautiful cascade of serendipitous events that has gotten me where I am and I love my life and would hate for some Butterfly Effect thing to alter that in any way. So let's say that wouldn't happen. Then I would tell myself to pay closer attention to my mom and ask more questions when she worked on projects. And I'd tell myself not to let the women who give me side eye at the fabric store scare me away because one day they might be my friends, so I just need to smile at them until that day comes. I'd tell myself to take my job in the costume shop more seriously in undergrad. I'd tell myself to pick up drawing along the way so my sketches wouldn't be so janky. And finally, I'd tell myself to just stay on my path and enjoy life and to trust my intuition and to focus on love because that it true inspiration.
AGF: How would you describe your sewing/making style?
Mister Domestic: A lot of my projects start off with me wondering what something would look like and whether I can even do it. And a lot of times the final product is way more rad than anything I had in my head because I just go with it and adjust as I need until it makes my soul happy. I love love love bold colors and I love movement and transition, but I'm also curious about the subtle gradient. I want what I make to have a story, whether it’s through the fabric, construction, or where that person is going. So what’s that called? Let’s call it Modern Narrative with a Twist of Awesome Sauce.
AGF: Now that you’re an experienced sewist what advice would you give a beginner?
Mister Domestic: I'd say that if someone offers to help you, you need to jump on it. And if no one offers, take a class. And if you can't afford a class, get on the Internet and watch videos and tutorials on the basics of sewing. And if you're off the grid and don't have Internet, then read the manual to the machine. And if you don't have a machine, hand sewing is neat too. But most importantly, don't be scared and jump in the water and make sure to get a sharp seam ripper.
We hope you had tons of fun getting to know Mister Domestic! Visit his Instagram for more details on this exciting news and stay tuned for tons of projects!
Till next time,