August’s Featured Artist is sewing and community enthusiast Nancy Dow. When she’s not sewing for her business I Can So Sew That!, she is usually found around town supporting as many local shops as possible or eating locally with her husband and son, then sharing all about it on her blog Deliciously Brantford.
Nancy has been crafting since she was young and was trying every form possible. She settled in on the one she grew up around the most – sewing. Nancy’s mom was her inspiration and mentor. Her mother, herself, sewed most of her life and Nancy grew up watching her sew anything and everything but most noticeably, clothing. From sewn and hand smocked dresses when she was little to Nancy’s very own wedding dress. Her mom is always helping her with fixing sewing machines, giving her tips on how to create things better, or just going fabric shopping.
Nancy regained her interest in sewing around 2008 when she was sewing for her newborn. She also slowly started making items as gifts for friends and gained a bit of attention when they started requesting things for their kids, or to give as gifts. She officially opened a sewing business as I Can So Sew That! in 2012.
She has items that she makes in her “regular rotation” that typically change with the seasons. Large water resistant totes are popular in the spring and summer months for swim lessons or going to the beach, lunch bags and pencil cases for back-to-school, and winter brings out Christmas fabrics for stockings. Nancy has a display of her products for sale at Wylde Rose Handmade Soaps in Brantford. Items for sale include: hand painted totes, faux leather trimmed totes and pouches, water resistant pouches, baby bibs and booties, wallets and card pockets, and a full line of various shapes of key chain or clip on pouches that fit all sorts of items. All of her items have a heavy focus on being eco-friendly and multi-use.
Nancy is always creating new patterns and usually goes through several drafts and samples before settling on one that works the best. She has found that by learning new or different techniques that her sewing has become more polished and has a more finished and professional appearance then when she first started. Nancy always works with a sharp pair of scissors, pencil, ruler, hot iron and (since she says she’s addicted to fabric) whatever she finds that she wants to work with. She has gone through several sewing machines since starting her business but is currently putting her "workhorse" 1968 Canadian-made turquoise Singer sewing machine through a bit of a workout.
Nancy says, “Developing artists just need to keep trying. If something doesn’t work, try a different technique for the next one until it's right. Staying original and standing out in your area of work is important to keep a steady business and stay one step ahead.”
“I love seeing my products in use and hearing how much the customers use them or how long they have had an item and it still looks like new. It’s nice to know I’ve created a quality item that lasts and is loved.”
Nancy believes that Brantford has so much to offer in history and views. But the creative talent gaining interest in supporting local businesses is what she really loves to see. It’s so important to support the community and the people in it. Nancy says, “I have several craft business owner friends and we all love to support each other. I have even made friends who have the same interest but focus on different items. We help each other out in supporting through referrals, helping with techniques or even purchasing for ourselves. It’s always about growth and success and it’s never a competition.”
More information and pictures of her great creations can be found on Nancy’s I Can So Sew That! Facebook page and on Instagram @icansosewthat. And don’t forget to check out Nancy’s Deliciously Brantford Facebook page to follow her adventures around town!
Some of Nancy's work includes:
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