Rachel Collman

maker / seamster / mover + shaker

Social worker by day, maker by night, social changer at all hours. I am a social work student (soon-to-be official) providing mental health services to underserved populations. I have also been a “mover and shaker,” as my grandmother likes to say, for…forever. I fight for justice for all folks but dedicate much of time organizing white folks for racial justice, people of all abilities for disability justice, and broader issues that allow people to live their lives safely, freely, and with dignity.

I started hand crafts at a young age, taught by my aunt and grandmother, who showed me the beauty of self-sufficiency, meditative art-making, and love. I began sewing in October 2018, by a dear friend and beautiful maker, and am grateful to have continued support from sewists and makers far and wide. My making has never been a solo project. Even if the action itself is alone, it is always grounded in community, shared knowledge, and collective creating.

I knit, weave, mold clay, embroider, draw, paint, and sew. My primary work is making clothing for myself and others, to build handmade wardrobe that feels good to my body and soul. I fluctuate between wanting an all-neutral, easily-mixable wardrobe, but love to embrace the beauty that comes in wild colors, shapes, and styles. It makes it hard to pin down my style, but more fun and that’s what I find more fulfilling. As a person who has had a challenging relationship to fashion, fit, and my own body, I feel liberated as a seamster. Before learning how to sew, I was trying to fit in and now I create what fits for me.

I believe we can sew the wardrobes we wish to buy, knit what we want to warm our bodies, and create the world we deserve to have.

What influence does music have in your life as a creative?:

As North Carolinian, I was raised by beautiful music, mostly country, bluegrass, and folk. While I listen to every genre these days, my heart always drawn back to twang. I feel the most inspired when I hear a swell of music that makes my heart grow three times it’s size — as making is emotional for me.

When I create, I like to listen to stories. Country and folk music’s history of storytelling lends itself to be my favorite creating music. That means my playlists are full of Dolly Parton, Our Native Daughters, Brandi Carlile, Rhiannon Giddens, Justin Hiltner, Brittany Howard, Chris Thile and Neko Case.

Tell us about your playlist:

This playlist has some of my all-time favorites mixed with some new releases I can’t stop listening to. It’s overall pretty upbeat, with a few slower tunes that I love so much, I have to pause mid-sewing to listen to intently. I hope you enjoy!

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Stitchin' Tunes

  1. You Look Like Trouble (But I Guess I Do Too) – Lisa LeBlanc
  2. Silver Dagger – Dolly Parton
  3. Neon Cross – Jaime Wyatt
  4. Soon or Never – Punch Brothers
  5. Country Girl – Carolina Chocolate Drops
  6. Dead and Gone – Yola
  7. Silver – The Secret Sisters
  8. Good Enough – Molly Tuttle
  9. Paranoia in B Major – The Avett Brothers
  10. Emmylou – First Aid Kit
  11. 9 to 5 – Dolly Parton
  12. Quasheba, Quasheba – Our Native Daughters, Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell
  13. There’s Your Trouble – Dixie Chicks
  14. If I Don’t Marry Molly I’ll Die – Justin Hiltner, Jon Weisberger
  15. Take It On Faith – Natalie Maines
  16. If I Could Talk To A Younger Me – Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn
  17. A Couple Acres Greener – Mipso
  18. Magpie to the Morning – Neko Case
  19. Jolene – Dolly Parton
  20. Wishing Well – Jaime Wyatt
  21. Rivers and Roads – The Head and the Heart
  22. Sin Wagon – Dixie Chicks
  23. Georgia – Brittany Howard
  24. Alone – Trampled by Turtles
  25. Love Letter – The Wild Reeds
  26. Missy – Punch Brothers