We first introduced Clive Bruder of #BoysSewToo via our Maker Series back in August, highlighting his integral part in creating the Terrence Higgins Memorial Quilt which was revealed at Festival of Quilts.
In our short time working with Clive, what we’ve learned is that he is just an all around good human. He is in this to lift others up… to educate, support, inspire, and engage. His creative path is long, winding, & beautiful, having started when he was only 10. He and his mum made curtains for their home on an old hand cranked Singer Sewing Machine that was given to them by a relative. That experience sparked a lifelong love and Clive went on to study textile design, earning a Fashion BA Honours Degree at University College for the Creative Arts in Epsom. This is where he really honed his skills as a sewer and pattern cutter.
He had to hit pause on his passion to sort through life a bit, but restarted over the past few years thanks to the support of his family and friends encouraging him to start his own business. He has enjoyed a regular guest slot on Sewing Street and, together with his husband Mark, immersed himself in the UK garment sewing scene. These days, Clive sews, quilts, and creates with a wide variety of materials and dedicates his heart and soul to the #BoysSewToo movement, encouraging and empowering an often excluded community within the textile world.
We’re delighted to introduce Clive’s debut Aurifil collection, which hit stores on October 1st. Comprised of a bold and bright range of Aurifil’s 100% Cotton 50wt, 40wt, and 28wt threads, they were selected with garment construction in mind. We’re so thrilled to host Clive here on Auribuzz today to share a bit more about We Sew Too: The Mend, Make, and Recreate Collection and are sure that you’ll be adding this unique set to your Fall must-have list in no time! HUGE thanks to Clive!!
Hi Clive! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us! We know you have all sorts of exciting things to share, but before we dive in, we’d love to kick off with some background… Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
It’s fantastic to have not just one, but two great creative inspirations in my life! Vivienne Westwood’s impact on the fashion industry is undeniable, and it’s wonderful that her work has influenced me in so may ways. But not only her designs and creativity but her attitude to life she has a real spirit shes a real rebel and I kind of relate to that a lot. Additionally my husband, Mark Francis from the Sewing Bee, has also been an inspiration to me. It’s always inspiring to have someone close to me who shares the same passion and creativity as I do. Having multiple sources of inspiration can provide a diverse range of ideas and perspectives to fuel my own artistic endeavors.
What is your favorite thing to make?
I think I would have to say a coat Sewing a coat can be such a rewarding and creative endeavor. Coats not only keep us warm but also allow us to express our personal style. Currently I love making my Kaleido coat. It’s very me and it always gets some great comments. I also love piecing patchwork right too now as its such a great way to sew its precise and I love precise sewing.
Describe your ideal space for creating something new– is there music playing? Daylight or dim lighting?
Ok so I have to have a tidy sewing room to start with. This is non negotiable for me starting a new project. I can’t work in chaos, it drives me insane! However by the time I’m done it looks as though a fabric and thread monster has come in and made the mess of all messes. I always sew in bare feet or just socks on I don’t like wearing shoes when I’m sewing I have no idea why its just the way I do it. And then the music! Well that very much depends on what I’m sewing. If it’s something for myself I usually go for Disco music or techno dance music. If I’m sewing for a project for someone else its usually something very easy listening and chilled. For example recently I was sewing a panel for the Terrance Higgins trust and I was listening to Pride and LGBTQIA related music. At some points during sewing it brought me to tears. I love the reflection and how music makes me feel when I sew.
Have you ever had one of those ‘aha’ moments when something just clicked and you knew exactly your best way forward?
In life or in sewing? Now that’s a question. In life I think there are a few moments I’ve had where things have just felt right. I do usually go with my gut instinct. If something usually feels right it feels right. If it doesn’t, then turn away and move forward. Now in sewing there have been many many aha moments I can’t think of many now but if I’m struggling with how to do something and I know how to do it but I’ve had a sewing block I usually go away from my machine, have a cuppa and go back to it. It can be so frustrating when the mind goes blank but also so amazing when you have that eureka moment! Haha.
We know you’ve made some incredible connections over the years, with young and experienced makers– is there a story that will always stick with you? The one that made you feel like you were truly making an impact?
This year I met a young lad at the Festival of Quilts. He’s been following the movement on his socials and he looks up to male sewers. He makes quilts and loves sewing. His aunt said to me that he couldn’t wait to meet me, which is very humbling to inspire young people to sew. He’s off to senior school soon, so I hope he continues to love what he does, as it can be tough at school, especially for younger lads who want to pursue sewing. I’m hoping the movement can inspire him to do so and all those in the younger generation out there to do so too.
This year, I’ve also been involved with the Terrance Higgins Trust. To date, it has been truly life changing to be involved in such an amazing project for the 40th Anniversary Quilt. It will forever be one of those experiences I’ll never forget and I’ll always be so proud to have been a part of it all.
We are so excited to be sponsoring the Boys Sew Too Catwalk this weekend at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra palace in London. How did this show come about and why is it so important?
First, we are so grateful to all at Aurifil for sponsoring and supporting this very special catwalk. This year’s #BoysSewToo Catwalk grew from our very first Catwalk event at this show last year. We hope to expand into various sewing shows in the future to further spread the word. Working alongside Aurifil– who have such an amazing ethos on inclusivity– is truly amazing and we’re so excited to have you all on board.
It is important that the #BoysSewToo Catwalk is happening this weekend at the Knitting and Stitching Show for several reasons… First, it promotes inclusivity and breaks gender stereotypes by showcasing that sewing is not limited to just one gender. By encouraging boys and men to participate in sewing, it helps to expand their creative skills and offers them a platform to express their unique style and ideas.
Additionally, the Boys Sew Too Catwalk is a wonderful opportunity for male sewers to gain confidence and recognition for their talents. It allows them to showcase their craftsmanship, design abilities, and innovation in front of a supportive audience. This can be incredibly empowering and inspiring for both the male sewers involved and others who witness their work.
Moreover, the Boys Sew Too Catwalk promotes diversity within the sewing community. By highlighting the talents and contributions of boys, it encourages more people from various backgrounds and communities who wouldn’t necessarily engage in sewing, fostering a rich and vibrant community of creators. We can show everyone that it doesn’t matter who you are or how you identify and that sewing is for everyone.
Who is participating this year and how can we follow along with them?
@hessewmatthew, @tony.maker and @house_of_tony_makes are contestants from this years Great British Sewing Bee. @hessewmatthew has also made an outfit for reality show star Jake Devline-Reed who is very passionate about sustainability and looking after the planet. @adamsews who is actually also an Aurifil Artisan. @superbuffsewing, @onesmallstitchforman, @sewnbyandrew, @lilsibwinnie, and @originalalexander who are traveling all the way from Canada! @raundism who is traveling from Ireland. @sewn_wolf, @Robertsexton100, & @Johnleebrunswick. Most of the guys have been on the catwalk before at previous shows so it’s so lovely to have their continued support. They all have various different styles so I know they are going to bring it this year for the show.
If you had to sum up all of the magic of the show in one short paragraph, what would you say?
Oh I can’t tell you in words how special it is, the support and the crowd are always incredible! There’s always nerves of course from the guys stepping out onto the catwalk, it can be quite nerve wracking but immediately after they have walked everyone is on a huge high! The crowd is always supportive, especially for the @boyssewtoo guys. We all love it and can’t wait to strut!
When did you first discover Aurifil Thread and why do you love it for sewing & quilting?
I first heard of Aurifil about three years ago at one of the sewing shows I had attended. Immediately I loved the range of colours and weights you could get. The one thing I love about using the threads is that it’s cotton and of great quality too ! It works very well with my makes I can’t get enough. The second thing I love about Aurifil is their inclusivity when it comes to being a brand. The encouragement and diversity of all sorts of people is amazing . I knew immediately I’d love to work with them one day. And now I do ! The team is just as important as the threads quality quality quality ! I can’t wait for the world to see this collection and also my brand too. I’m so happy the message of We Sew Too! Is out in the world for all to see. I couldn’t be happier than to work alongside Aurifil, they really do share the same values as me and that’s so important to my brand values also.
What is your favorite weight thread to work with? Your favorite color?
Well anyone who knows me knows I love colour! I mean that’s the understatement of the decade! Hahaha I don’t want to have to choose a particular colour but if I’m forced to, it would have to be anything pink. Specifically, I’m, of course, going to say the fuchsia 4020 40wt (also in my collection). It’s a good weight to work with due to its versatile uses, such as hand piecing, garment making, and even bag making!
What are you hoping to see people create with your new collection?
I’m hoping they will take some inspiration from the names collection and look at their fabric stashes and scraps of fabric and create anything from quilts to outfits and beyond. I really would love to see some inspirational pieces of sewing. I hope this collection will be used to inspire people to look at fabric differently. Like a pair of jeans for example, there’s so many things you can make from jeans. I hope people search the worldwide web and be inspired to mend make and recreate their fabrics and clothing.
Drop some knowledge on us… what is your absolute top thread tip?
So when you’re using your machine if you find the machine is skipping stitches it’s not your thread! It’s your machine. Give the bobbin cartridge and area a good clean. I like to use cotton buds… not the plastic variety of course! You can get earth-friendly ones. They’re great for picking up fabric dust and threads that may be clogging up that area. And a good tip is always to use a good thread, like Aurifil. Many times I’ve had questions about threads and machines not working etc, and the first question I ask is what brand of thread are they using. Nine times out of ten it’s usually a very low grade thread. In order to achieve a great finish I can’t stress enough to use a good quality thread, and of course to get you started of course I’m going to recommend Aurifil, especially my Mend, Make, & Recreate Collection.
What are your plans for the coming year and where can we find you for more inspiration?
Well as I type I’m getting ready for the knitting and stitching show at Alexandra Palace in a few days! Myself and my husband Mark are working there for four days. On Saturday 7th October we have the Boys Sew Too Catwalk which ties in very nicely with the launch of my thread collection. The theme this year is refuse reuse recycle. I can’t wait to see what everyone has made! (See below for more info!) Following that show we will also be at creative craft show in Birmingham in November from the 2nd – 5th and then up north to Harrogate for the knitting and stitch show. It’s a busy busy time of year, but we love it.
The 2023 Boys Sew Too Catwalk
The Boys Sew Too catwalk at the Knitting and Stitching Show, sponsored by Aurifil Thread, is an exciting and innovative platform dedicated to showcasing the creativity and talent of male sewers and crafters in the world of sewing. With a strong emphasis on this year’s theme of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” this catwalk aims to inspire and educate visitors about the power of sustainable and eco-friendly fashion.
The catwalk will feature a diverse range of designs and garments, all crafted by male sewers who are passionate about sustainable sewing practices. From upcycled and repurposed fabrics to innovative techniques that minimize waste, this showcase will demonstrate how reducing our environmental impact can be both stylish and socially responsible.
Expect to see unique pieces that challenge traditional notions of fashion, incorporating unconventional materials and textures. The Boys Sew Too catwalk will celebrate the art of transformation, as designers repurpose materials that might have otherwise been discarded, transforming them into stunning and one-of-a-kind creations.
The show is not only about fashion but also about promoting inclusivity and diversity within the sewing community. Clive Bruder founder of the Boys Sew Too movement and owner of We Sew Too is very passionate to highlight the talents of male home sewers, and anyone who wishes to sew despite their gender. The catwalk aims to break stereotypes and encourage individuals of all backgrounds and genders to explore their creative potential in the world of sewing. There will be some very interesting fabrics reimagined into something new !
So come and immerse yourself in the Boys Sew Too catwalk at the Knitting and Stitching Show, at Alexandra Palace where you’ll witness the incredible skills, imagination, and dedication of these talented male sewers, all while being inspired to embrace a more sustainable approach to fashion.