Today on the Craft Industry Alliance podcast my guest is Rob Appell.
Rob Appell is the host of Man Sewing, a YouTube channel of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Man Sewing currently has 27,000 subscribers and it’s growing fast. Rob is a quilter and national quilting instructor who travels and teaches at many premier quilting shows and retreats.
If you’ve never seen Man Sewing, here’s a quick intro.
For many years Rob’s mom owned The Cotton Ball, a quilt shop in Morro Bay, California. Rob began working there sorta reluctantly when he was newly married and in need of some extra income. Soon he was servicing Pfaffs, then making some quilts with fusible applique. He found himself really enjoying sewing and quilting and before long began pursuing a career in the quilt industry, traveling and teaching around the country and making videos as well.
Eight months ago Rob started working with the Missouri Star Quilt Company on a new YouTube channel and, as he says, that really changed everything. We talk about how Rob got connected with Missouri Star and what the company was hoping to achieve when they came up with the idea of Man Sewing. He explains how he prepares both physically and mentally before flying to Hamilton, MO (where he is right now!) for a week of taping shows.
Rob has had some pretty serious ups and downs in his life, including a battle with alcoholism. He shares how he tapped into his faith in God to get him through difficult times and the role that creative expression and physical fitness plays in keeping him happy and healthy now. We also talk about being a man in a female-dominated industry.
Rob’s got some great tips for avoiding overwhelm when you have a lot of projects waiting for your attention (he often gets a box full of fabrics for multiple projects from Missouri Star and has to focus on one at a time in order to get them all completed) and he shares good advice on how to be at ease in front of a camera.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be the Craft Industry Alliance podcast if I didn’t ask Rob to recommend some things he’s enjoying right now. He chose a do-it-yourself electric guitar kit he bought for $149 from eBay (similar to this one). Rob built this guitar himself as a way to still be creative once sewing became his job.
Today’s episode is sponsored by Lauren Dahl of Pattern Workshop. Hundreds of students – both aspiring and well-established designers – have used Lauren’s step-by-step method to create their first PDF sewing patterns OR to improve upon their current processes. Whether you’re just sketching ideas and have never used Illustrator, or if you’re a well-known designer with several patterns under-your-belt, this course can dramatically speed your production time (and fun!) so you can release more patterns…with less frustration. Check out Pattern Workshop to get started.