Member Spotlight: Laura sewing fandom accessories at MADE

Handmade Accessories by Laura Helton

Laura Helton sewing photo credit Kelly Cook
Photo credit: Kelly Cook.

 

Meet Laura Helton, the latest member to occupy MADE’s sewing bay on a weekly basis. She’s been a member at MADE since October 2020, and she’s made a ton of work while she’s been here! Read this Q & A MADE did with her to discover more about her practice:

MADE: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What are your hobbies?

Laura: Hi!  I’m Laura.  I grew up in a very small town in upstate New York, about 30 miles south of Albany.  I went to school in Binghamton NY and then moved to St Louis in 2007.   I’m a professional geek – I’m proud to work for Mastercard – and I have a 7 year old son, a wonderfully supportive fiancé, our niece and two cats at home who keeps me nice and busy as well.

In off moments I read, watch videogame let’s plays on youtube, and get paged into work to fix things.  I like Classical and 90’s punk music, art by Edmund Dulac and Arthur Rackham, and books by Ursula Vernon and Dorothy Sayers; I collect whiskey from the countries to which I travel, and recipes that I’m (really) going to get around to making any day now.

Laura sewing in MADE Makerspace's bay, making clutches

MADE: What’s your ‘making’ background? How did you start, what have you done, and where are you now?

Laura: When someone asks about my hobbies, I usually generalize: I make stuff with string.  In specific, I spin, weave, knit, crochet, tat, sew, cross stitch, and have a smattering of Turkish needle lace (poorly) and embroidery (extremely poorly).    My family are all makers: generally speaking, if we need something (from doll clothes to window frames), we’ll probably figure out how to make it.   My grandmother taught me to knit, quilt and sew when I was about 8; my mother also sews and embroiders beautiful blackwork.   My brother makes historical podcasts and writes for Atlas Obscura!  Aside from sewing curtains and whatnot during my college years (as one does) I put most crafting on a shelf while I figured out how to be a grown up.   I picked up knitting again shortly after I got married.  That lead to a wonderful community of fibery and bookish friends here in St Louis, and we all gleefully enable each other to try new crafts!

MADE: What project have you made at MADE that you’re most proud of?

Laura: I think I’m always the most proud of whatever I’ve just finished!   Right now that’s a custom ordered shoulder bag with an AMAZING brilliantly coloured Cheshire Cat quote (“We’re All Mad Here”).

hand sewn handbags made by Larua Helton, Cybermenology
Laura is inspired by many different fandoms, including Dr. Who (left) and Alice in Wonderland (right)

MADE: What are you working on right now?

Laura: This weekend I started a messenger bag with a fabric print featuring a whole bunch of chibi-style horror characters playing on a playground together; it’s completely ridiculous and is going to be amazing

MADE: What’s your favorite part about MADE?

Laura: Definitely the industrial Juki sewing machine!  It’s my bff.  The fact that there are lasers 30 feet from the sewing machines is pretty amazing, though.  It’s such an eclectic place.

MADE: What are your favorite fandoms?

Laura: I started out by hoarding sewing with fabrics that I love – Star Wars, Dr Who, Lord of the Rings, the Legend of Zelda, Alice in Wonderland, D&D, Star Trek, Animal Crossing, Disney movies, Minecraft, Baldur’s Gate, goth and witchy prints, anime, even random Lovecraftian-esque things with tentacles?! And now I stay motivated by finding fabrics that enable my customers to show off THEIR fandoms.  I mean, I am not personally into horror at all – but who can resist a chibi Pennywise on a swingset?!  I know that someone’s going to love it, and that’s what counts.

 

Cybermenology purses made in MADE's sewing bay
Some more of Laura’s creations, including an “Untitled Goose Game” bag (left) and a Baby Yoda/Starbucks crossover purse (right)

 

MADE: Anything else you want to share with us?

Laura: I LOVE making custom bags.  I have a lot of purses, clutches, laptop bags and stuff ready to ship – just things I make that I think are awesome, and that are now waiting for the right person to love them – but it’s even more fun to work one-on-one with someone to design exactly the bag that they’re going to love.

Follow my Instagram account or Facebook page (@cybermenology) to get updates on new projects in progress, sneak peaks of new fabrics, and ridiculous photos of my cat.

 

Be sure to check out Laura’s etsy page to see more of her amazing creations, cybermenology.etsy.com/

 

Want to take a sewing class at MADE, and get started on your own creations? Book a training session today!