On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a values-based business with my guests Meg and Patrick McElwee.

Meg McElwee started sewing after finishing an undergraduate degree in philosophy and a graduate degree in education. While living and teaching in rural Mexico for three years, she studied pattern drafting and made her own clothes – first out of necessity, then because of the sense of empowerment and joy it brought to her life. The meditative act of stitching continues to bring her a deep sense of well-being.

Her passion for slow fashion has expanded over the years to include the Sew Liberated sewing pattern line, two books, a sewing course with Craftsy, and her own online course, The Mindful Wardrobe Project. She enjoys supporting the slow stitching community through her blog, her popular Instagram account, as well as live classes from time to time.

Patrick McElwee has been Meg’s best friend and partner since they met in French class at age 19. A historian, computer programmer, and breakdancer, Patrick manages the technical and business side of Sew Liberated and is often the one behind the camera.

Meg and Patrick have three kids, three cats, a dog, and the incredible luck to be able to work creatively together every day.

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We begin this conversation with Meg talking about her time in Teach For America in the Bronx. Meg and Patrick describe meeting one another early on in college and then deciding to move to the mountains in Mexico where they stayed for three years. Meg was a Montessori teacher and she started a blog about Montessori teaching and crafts.

Patrick talks about the next stage in the business’ development when Meg wrote her first book, Sew Liberated. They changed the name and focus of the blog to Sew Liberated as well. Meg wrote a second book, Growing Up Sew Liberated. We also talk about the shift from print to digital patterns.

Meg and Patrick have three children. Their second child had a serious heart condition that required multiple surgeries. Meg talks about the impact that this time had on her and her business.

We also discuss Meg’s approach to Instagram, where she has a large following, and her recently renewed interest in blogging. And finally, we discuss The Mindful Wardrobe project, an online class with a focus on mindfulness, personal style, and sustainability.

In this conversation, we talk about:

And, of course, I ask Meg and Patrick to recommend great stuff they’re enjoying right now.

Meg recommends:

Patrick recommends:

Keep up with Sew Liberated on their blog, where you can also subscribe to the Sew Liberated newsletter, and on Instagram.

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