This month’s Q&A is with Jil Cappuccio, frequent Stitch designer and creator of One of a Kinds, Limited Lines. You can find out more about Jil on her website, www.jilcappuccio.com.
Jil’s Zip Dot Hoodie, from Stitch‘s
Stefanie: How and when did you learn to sew? Do you do any other textile crafts?
Jil: My love of sewing started halfway through my sophomore year in high school. I started the year in home ec class performing very badly. My lovely teacher Mrs. Tucker finally asked me what the problem was, and when I told her the directions just didn’t make any sense, she said “well, try making things without them.” Also, my Mom gave me a Singer Featherweight (the same one I use today) and as much fabric that I could find at the local thrift store. Then I just went to town. The first thing I made was a simple boxy summer shirt with a banded detail across the back. This was back in the 80’s so those boxy shirts were totally hot! I started knitting around the same time. I actually taught myself with a book I got at the library. I still knit on occasion although it is one of those things I abandon for a few years and then pick up out of the blue.
S: How does sewing fit into your life?
J: I sew EVERY DAY! I do it for work, fun, and to relax. I recently started to make my own fabric shopping bags as a way to cull some of my fabrics, and to just have a mindless sewing activity. Trippy, I know, but my customers LOVE them.
S: You have your own shop in Denver. What changes in your sewing life when you’re sewing for your store versus sewing for yourself?
J: The Denver shop is actually my second shop. The great thing about the shop is that I don’t have to limit myself to just sewing or buying fabrics for my self. Fabrics speak to me, they tell me ” I need to be… a coat!” If I made every one for myself I would have hundreds of coats. I like having my own shop versus wholesaling because I love the things I make and when they find their owner I want to be there.
Jil’s shop in Denver, Colorado.
S: Walk us through the steps when you’re making a project. Where does your inspiration come from, and how do you translate that into a finished piece?
J: I think about clothing. I think about fit. I think about fabric. I think about what I would want to wear. When a idea comes to me I just make it. Either it works or it doesn’t. If it does I refine it, if it doesn’t I throw it away and never look back.
S: You grew up in Europe and later spent four years as Hank Ford‘s personal assistant. Tell us a little bit about how those experiences have influenced you.
J: I think the most influential person from my Europe days was my Mom. She made all her own clothes and all of my sisters and mine. We were always dressed to the nines, in part because that is just the way people in Europe dressed. As for my time at Hank Ford’s, she taught me to love beautiful fabrics and fine tailoring. That was also where I learned, hands on, the craft of sewing and patternmaking. As a result of those experiences, I think my clothing is well made and therefore has a wide appeal. I have customers from 15 to 75, and they all appreciate the whimsy and quality I try to achieve. Nothing makes me happier when a young person comes in with their Mom so she can buy them something special.
Keep an eye out for more great projects from Jil in future issues of Stitch!