I Can Make That Podcast | Episode 010 :: Aaronica B. Cole, The Needle and the Belle

Mar 5, 2023

This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, y’all!!! Welcome back to “I Can Make That: Conversations with Creatives”!!! The podcast is officially rebooted and I am unbelievably excited to share that we are LIVE!

The only person I wanted for my first guest during this reboot is also the first guest I had during the original launch back in 2019. When I listen back on our episode together, it seriously warms my heart to realize how our friendship has grown in such a short period of time. We went from talking about fangirling each other back then, to being actual biffies…texting and supporting each other with family and personal things – and this fall I can happily say that we FINALLY got to meet “in real life” and give each other hugs. It was the best.

Of course, I’m talking about the power house that is Aaronica Cole. I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who can fit more into one single day than this woman. First and foremost, she’s a strong, Black woman – with an amazing grasp on parenting, marriage, social issues, and knowing your self worth.

Meet (or re-meet): Aaronica Cole!

Aaronica is also the driving force behind multiple online networks. The overarching name she works under is her own: Aaronica B Cole (or aaronicabcole.com) but she also has branches in The Needle and the Belle and Harmony Trace Apothecary. As well as being a designer for Know Me Patterns and Made for Mermaids.

Some links that we discussed during our episode:

Instagram: @aaronicabcole / @acmediahouse@needleandthebelle / @harmonytraceapothecary
Website: AaronicaBCole.com / The Needle and the Belle / Harmony Trace Apothecary
YouTube: Aaronica B Cole & Co.
TikTok: @aaronicabcole
Facebook: Aaronica B. Cole / The Needle and the Belle

Aaronica also sent some love to Carmen Green! Find her on Instagram: @cagreinvented or TikTok: @cagthemag


Great news!  You can subscribe to us on any of your favorite podcasting networks!  Head here to find more ways to subscribe or grab one of the links below.

See you next time, Creatives!


For those of you that are hearing impaired, I’ve been trying to find the best way to share our podcast with you as well!  It is transcribed using an Ai platform — with lots of imperfections. I’m hoping in the future we work on accuracy. Always learning and growing, aren’t we? 🙂


00;00;00;02 – 00;00;39;09
Katy McKinley
I’m Katy McKinley and you are listening to I Can Make That: Conversations with Creatives. I have been existing in a world of art, sewing and other various forms of creativity my entire life. Along my crafty journey, I’ve collected quite the group of talented characters that I get to call my friends. Instead of keeping their wisdom and all to myself, I’m using this podcast to bring them to you. Behind every piece of art is a human being who went through a range of successes and failures in making and in life.

00;00;39;19 – 00;00;54;29
Katy McKinley
And I’m here to share their stories.

00;00;57;16 – 00;01;19;13
Katy McKinley
Welcome back to I Can Make That: Conversations with Creatives. I am so super duper excited to be back. Seriously, after three years of being M.I.A. From this podcast, yet constantly talking about wanting to revisit it, it is happening after what seems like the longest break ever. I’m back in action and ready to introduce you to some incredibly talented and creative people.

00;01;20;01 – 00;01;45;10
Katy McKinley
The only person I really wanted for my first guest during this reboot happens to also be the first guest I had during the original launch back in 2019. When I listen back on our episode together, it seriously warms my heart because I realize how much our friendship has grown in such a short period of time. We went from talking about fangirling each other back then to being actual bfi’s texting and supporting each other with family and personal things.

00;01;45;21 – 00;02;12;00
Katy McKinley
And this fall, I can happily say that we finally got to meet in real life and give each other hugs. It was the best thing ever. Of course, I’m talking about the powerhouse that is Aaronica Cole. I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who could fit more into one single day than this woman. First and foremost, she’s a strong Black woman with an amazing grasp on parenting, marriage, social issues, and knowing your self-worth.

00;02;12;22 – 00;02;38;05
Katy McKinley
She’s also the driving force behind multiple online networks. The overarching name she works under is her own. Aaronica B Cole or aaronicabcole.com, but she also has branches in the needle and the Belle and harmony trace apothecary, as well as being a designer for Know Me Patterns and made for mermaids. I’m stoked to play catch up with her today and talk about the last three years of her career.

00;02;38;14 – 00;02;42;17
Katy McKinley
Welcome back to I can make that Aaronica.

00;02;42;17 – 00;03;07;13
Aaronica Cole
Oh my gosh. Katy I cannot believe that you’re about to have me crying like 2 minutes into the episode. I definitely am over your wiping the tears away because I don’t know if I could have said the same thing about you any better because I feel the exact same way, even just being associated with you. Because, of course, I mean, as we showed on the first episode, I have been fangirling you forever.

00;03;07;17 – 00;03;15;05
Aaronica Cole
You are actually one of my biggest inspiration in sewing and one of the reasons why I’m where I am today. So I’m so excited to be here.

00;03;15;27 – 00;03;35;14
Katy McKinley
Oh my gosh. I feel like you just gave me an intro. That is right. Well, for anyone who didn’t listen to your first episode, let’s go ahead and fill them in with a little background about you. How did you end up here? What got you started with sewing and creating and what brought you into this self-employed life?

00;03;36;03 – 00;04;01;01
Aaronica Cole
Yeah. How did I end up here? So it’s so funny because I actually started sewing when I was 13 and I hated it. I thought it was. I just thought it was, like, not interesting. I made some drawstring bag and I was like, This is not it. And I just could not understand the tissue pattern instructions, right? Because they were written by people who expect you to have gone to school for something.

00;04;01;02 – 00;04;31;23
Aaronica Cole
They were not really written for the home. So as to teaching themselves how to sew as they go. And so I was really discouraged with sewing until I actually found patterns for pirates. It mainly pegs where you were the covergirl, and I was like, Oh, I think I can do this, you know. That was one of I, I can’t even count how many pairs of pegs that I messed up before I finally got it, you know, because you don’t know the difference between two way and four way stretch unless, unless you make a lot of mistakes or unless someone sits you down and says, Hey, here’s the difference.

00;04;31;23 – 00;04;51;02
Aaronica Cole
But I actually came back to sewing kind of because a girlfriend of mine was like, Hey, I really would like to have some some Ankara wax pants for my baby. And I would much rather give you the money as opposed to paying someone else. She was like, So can you do that? And I was like, Of course, I had no idea what I was doing.

00;04;51;06 – 00;05;10;02
Aaronica Cole
I had no I didn’t even know what they were like. I didn’t know what Heron Pants were. And I was like, okay, I mean, I can totally do this. So I made my own patterns for it, and I began to sell them on Etsy and I was like, This is cool. But then I really got burned out because one thing about me is I’m not going to make the same thing over and over and over and over and over again.

00;05;10;13 – 00;05;30;15
Aaronica Cole
There was like a limit to how many times I could make a powder and I got burnt out from that. But I fell in love with being able to sew for my body after I had my second child. I just I like I just could not bounce back. Even though I don’t believe in the snap back culture, I just couldn’t get my body back to where I could fit into my old clothes.

00;05;30;25 – 00;05;46;10
Aaronica Cole
And so instead of really trying to to to focus on that, I decided to figure out what I wanted my style to be and and kind of how to sew for my body. And then, of course, in addition to that, at that point in time, I was actually working at corporate America and I was like, you know what?

00;05;46;14 – 00;06;06;08
Aaronica Cole
I don’t think I want to go back. I had my second child, she was eight months old, and she kept having recurring ear infections. And they prescribed me an antibiotic for her that was $275. And I was like, okay, so if I give this to my kid, will we lay down with the ear infection? They were like, Probably not.

00;06;06;08 – 00;06;22;13
Aaronica Cole
And she’s probably going to have to come in to get tubes in your ears. And I was like, No, there’s got to be another way. Now, I’ve been a blogger for since about 2006, and I was like, I think I’m just I think I’m just going to leave corporate America and I think I’m just going to go off on my own because I can I could do this by myself.

00;06;22;23 – 00;06;47;13
Aaronica Cole
So I did. I found a doctor who was a chiropractor and doctor of homeopathy. And together we shield my daughter of ear infections. And so when I walked out, I walked out of corporate America because I knew I could make it on my own. I had one of my Spelman sisters. I went to Spelman College. Say to me, If you could work that hard for people that you don’t even like, imagine what you could do for yourself and you really like you.

00;06;47;27 – 00;07;00;09
Aaronica Cole
And so with that thought, I was like, Well, I can do it along the lines of, Oh, well, I can make that. It was like I can make this happen for my family. And so I did. I was like, Forget it, I’m out. And that’s how I’ve been ever since.

00;07;01;10 – 00;07;24;03
Katy McKinley
Well, it’s it’s a it’s a joy to follow and watch everything that you do. And you can tell that you have a lot of passion behind all of it. You’ve got a multitude of things happening at all times. It’s so fun to watch you grow and excel in all these different ways. But let’s go ahead and list out all the branches of businesses that you run and all of the skills that you bring to the table.

00;07;24;03 – 00;07;55;08
Aaronica Cole
Yeah, sure. So I am a blogger. I am one of the people who there’s not very many of us who start out as bloggers and continue to blog, but I’m a blogger, an influencer in the sustainability and mommy space as well as of course, in selling spaces as well. So under Aaronica Pico, I have an award winning blog where I talk about essentially like life as a black mom who is really trying to like, save the world one one sustainable moment at a time.

00;07;55;24 – 00;08;32;12
Aaronica Cole
And then, of course, The Needle on the Bell is a blog that’s dedicated to plus-size bodies. You know, it’s a safe space for plus sized fat bodies to find really cute clothes and how to do different adjustments and patterns that are size, inclusive said. And that sort of thing. And then I’m also a business coach for creative business owners, where I actually coach and I teach business owners how to make more money through systems and strategy so that they can really take advantage of the reasons why they decided to no longer work in corporate America or why they decided to go into business.

00;08;32;12 – 00;08;54;02
Aaronica Cole
Right. Because it’s not so that we could be working every single second of every single day, Right? Hustle culture is not the only way to make money. And I don’t believe in hustle culture. So therefore, I coach my clients on how to be successful in business while having a life and really focusing on the energy that you have available in order to make that happen.

00;08;54;14 – 00;09;24;10
Aaronica Cole
And then of course, I’m also a pattern designer. Last year I became a pattern designer with Nomi Patterns, which is the fifth pattern company within the largest pattern company. And I guess in the United States, which is the design group of America. And it started by Mimi G, who is an inspiration to many people. And then of course, I have just started designing for Made for Mermaids, which I and incredibly excited about.

00;09;24;19 – 00;09;59;20
Aaronica Cole
I’m like, What else is there? Is there anything else that I do? I also, of course, am a speaker, a writer. I wrote my first book a couple of years ago that I still need to edit and finish published. Yeah, And then when I’m not working, of course I am, Mommy, three children, which I do feel like is like part of this business because, you know, they’re in it with us because we started a in e-commerce there called Harmony Trace Apothecary, where we sell products that help people who are wanting to live a softer life do that, you know, So we do a lot of sustainable and eco friendly like bath bombs, you know, silk

00;09;59;20 – 00;10;05;12
Aaronica Cole
products that are really good for your skin, that are also sustainably sourced, that sort of stuff.

00;10;07;00 – 00;10;21;28
Katy McKinley
So besides parenting, because you know that you’re going to answer parenting with this, let’s get that one out of the way. Right. What’s your favorite of all the different hats you wear? What’s the thing that you like the most of all? These different job roles that you carry?

00;10;22;21 – 00;10;52;15
Aaronica Cole
I love that I get to help and inspire people. You know, I think that many of us, we have dreams, we have goals, but sometimes it’s hard to find someone who is doing something similar to us while life-ing, right. Like a lot of times you’ll see that people only share their highlight reels on social media. Whereas I decide to share everything right, Like I share the pictures of my kids crying, I share videos of me crying, I share the successes, I share the failures, I share the lessons, I share it all.

00;10;52;24 – 00;11;17;16
Aaronica Cole
And I do that with the intention of letting someone else know who’s struggling that they aren’t alone. Right? Like we can always struggle and they continue to thrive, you know? And we can always decide to take a break as long as we don’t quit. And I like to feel like the way that I live in the way that I share encourages people to take the breaks when necessary and just pick back up and keep going whenever you feel like you can.

00;11;17;16 – 00;11;42;21
Aaronica Cole
Right. As opposed to giving up. But that’s my favorite. But my favorite thing is when people will see me and say, Oh my gosh, I work crop top the other day because because of you or when they’ll see me, pictures of me and they’ll be like, Oh, my body is similar to yours. So I feel like I can wear this to the fact that I get to help people find the liberation that they need to live a fuller life really is my favorite thing.

00;11;43;24 – 00;11;50;25
Katy McKinley
I think maybe we should start adding to your tagline that you’re a professional cheerleader too. Or professional personal cheerleader.

00;11;51;18 – 00;11;53;16
Aaronica Cole
However, that little cheerleader.

00;11;53;21 – 00;12;30;24
Katy McKinley
There you go. Well, when you look at sewing and the sewing and blogging industry as a whole, it’s typically been represented by cis white women and apparel. Sewing patterns have usually stopped at more mid-range sizes. But I do feel like we’re starting to see change happen. I think back on the sewing community just a couple of years ago, even when we first talked versus say, and there really has been a shift, if you think about it, even just in the apparel sewing community, there are more black designers than before, and more and more of the designers are finally starting to draft a larger sizes and show up for the plus community.

00;12;31;10 – 00;12;52;15
Katy McKinley
I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s a start at least. And so I’ve got a two part question for you. Are you happy with the changes you’ve been seeing in the indie sewing world so far as more and more bodies are being represented? And what do you think the average person can do to help keep pushing this change for more representation and more inclusion?

00;12;54;09 – 00;13;17;03
Aaronica Cole
Oh, those are some really great questions. AM I happy with the change? For the most part, yes, I have. I’ve actually had the honor of being able to to coach some of the some of the indie designer that are out there in both business as well as size expansion. So I’m excited to see that that they are open to it.

00;13;17;03 – 00;13;30;13
Aaronica Cole
Right. Because there was definitely a time in which it was like, Well, why don’t you just inflate like, okay, thank you so much for stating the obvious in possibly what I was already trying to do. But until I lose the weight, why can’t I? Why can’t I look?

00;13;30;13 – 00;13;48;23
Katy McKinley
Q2 Well, now there was a bit of a like defense mechanism that would immediately start with them when you not use specifically, but it would be like, I wish that this pattern was an expanded sizes and instead of saying, oh, you know, let me think about that, I’ll get back to you on how I can make this work.

00;13;48;23 – 00;13;56;27
Katy McKinley
It was like, Well, I can’t find pattern testers or I can’t find that. And it was just like they were doubling down on defense. And I feel like that’s changed a little bit.

00;13;57;26 – 00;14;30;20
Aaronica Cole
I want to be completely honest when I say this. I wouldn’t know with the fact and I think because I had to because honestly, social media has the ability to be the most beautiful place where you can meet some of the kindest and most gentle and your best friends, i.e., like our relationship, right? But then it also has the ability to be the most toxic place in the world and honestly for me, like fit the Facebook so in community became very toxic for me because of the way that people were receiving requests.

00;14;30;20 – 00;15;01;01
Aaronica Cole
And either the response to being plus size or being more size inclusive, being more inclusive, just not even just sizes right, but more inclusive, period. And it’s not about, oh, we want you, but we want your money, right? But it’s about saying, Oh, I see that there is a space for us to grow into, whether it be and being size inclusive, whether it be in being gender inclusive, whatever the inclusivity is.

00;15;01;01 – 00;15;23;15
Aaronica Cole
Right. There’s a difference between being like, oh, yes, we’re going to work on it and being like, No, we want you here, right? And because that was it, that wasn’t the risk. What we were received as I just had to take a step back. So even with with whether or not patterns or size inclusive, I look at the size chart and I make the decision that if my size doesn’t include, I’m just not going to support, right?

00;15;23;24 – 00;15;42;11
Aaronica Cole
I’m not going to say anything, not going to make mention, I’m not going to attack. I’m not going to do any of those things. I just simply will not support with my money. That’s as simple as it gets for me, because the back and forth was really toxic and it put me in a bad mental space. And like as much as we say, Oh, but it’s only Facebook.

00;15;42;11 – 00;15;59;25
Aaronica Cole
It’s not only Facebook or it’s not only Instagram, like these things affect us outside of there. Like, I remember there was one day I had picked my kids up from school and something was going on in the song community, and I was literally sitting on my couch crying as opposed to spending time with my kids after their first day of school.

00;16;00;11 – 00;16;23;26
Aaronica Cole
You know, And when something like that happens, it gives you a much needed perspective shift that you that you need to get right. Because if something can take me away from what matters most to me in the world, which is my family, then it doesn’t really need need my attention. And so I have to take a step back and take a step away from even seeing whether or not the changes were going to be made.

00;16;23;26 – 00;16;46;19
Aaronica Cole
Like, I’ve see that like gurdy has become size inclusive and she has her token black girl modeling for her, right? I still don’t support her, you know, because of what me down in her group. I think that there’s still work that needs to be done. As far as going back. In fact, in in African culture, there is something that’s called Sankofa, which means that you have to go back to get your lessons before you move forward.

00;16;46;27 – 00;16;59;12
Aaronica Cole
And I really think that a lot of these pattern groups do need to go back to where they they messed up and go back and correct their behavior before moving forward and expecting to be welcomed with open arms.

00;16;59;23 – 00;17;25;28
Katy McKinley
What do you think we could do to help push more inclusivity and and more representation for a just as and I’m coming to you, I guess, from a representative of a pattern company, but I am just a person who exists online. And so this is part of this own community that I really do like. I want to see change happen and I want to I want to do it in a gentle but very firm.

00;17;26;01 – 00;17;52;02
Aaronica Cole
Way, right, my friend. So I think what people fail to kind of see and understand is that the textile art and I’m saying that intentionally because both sewing as well as like knitting fishing. Right. We’re just a microcosm of overall society. Right. And as opposed to being saying things like, oh, well, it should just be about sewing or oh, it should just be about knitting or oh, it’s just about crocheting.

00;17;52;02 – 00;18;13;18
Aaronica Cole
I think that we all have in every single one of us has some kind of privilege, Right? And I think that it’s up to us to utilize our privilege, whatever it is that we have. Right? Because granted, I’m a black woman, so I don’t have as much privilege as, say, a white man, but I do still have some because I am heterosexual and I’m cis presenting, right?

00;18;13;28 – 00;18;36;13
Aaronica Cole
So I’m deemed as being quote unquote normal. And I see that very, very loosely. Right. I’m deemed as being normal as opposed to someone who is a little bit more different. Right. So I think that it’s up to us to make sure that we are using whatever privilege it is that we have to really push inclusivity wherever we can.

00;18;36;15 – 00;19;00;06
Aaronica Cole
Right. So for me, even even though I am a size when I see patterns, companies that don’t have smaller sizes or petite sizing, I also see that as problematic too, because size inclusivity is more than just expanding your sizes to include plus size. Size inclusivity means that people, people can find their sizes right?

00;19;00;06 – 00;19;03;03
Katy McKinley
It’s making everyone feel welcome in Exactly.

00;19;03;10 – 00;19;21;28
Aaronica Cole
So whether that is the petite person who might be a size zero because of their genetics or because they work out or because of whatever reason is also included in that sizing as well, because they want to sew for themselves, too. So I think that whatever privilege that we hold, it’s up to us to make sure that we stand up and we look out for fellow humans.

00;19;22;22 – 00;19;44;19
Katy McKinley
Right? Well, speaking of representation and doing it in such a positive way, let’s start talking about your role within the design team at Know Me Patterns. It you mentioned before that it’s under the design group conglomerate which owns is it Vogue Butter egg McCall’s simplicity.

00;19;45;00 – 00;19;45;18
Aaronica Cole

00;19;46;11 – 00;20;08;21
Katy McKinley
And then about a million other companies I think when I looked at it and say it’s a fairly brand new brand. Yeah, so do the designers, just like you who’ve been making a mark in the sewing community and representing the diversity that really exists within this craft, how amazing has this experience that in for you?

00;20;08;21 – 00;20;29;07
Aaronica Cole
It has been surreal especially, and it’s been surreal for, for quite a few reasons, right? Because when people have said that they love my style, I’m always like, Well, what style is that really? Like, what? What, what’s, what is my style? Right? Because in my head I create garments that are just really comfortable, like I want to wear.

00;20;29;14 – 00;20;48;05
Aaronica Cole
I want to feel like I’m wearing pajamas at all times, right? Even if I’m wearing something that is not pajamas. Like, I just want to be cute and comfortable at all times. And like, I don’t I don’t really subscribe to a specific esthetic. So I always thought that that was like, really interesting when people be like, I love your style and I’m like things.

00;20;48;05 – 00;21;16;18
Aaronica Cole
I’m not exactly sure what my style is, but I appreciate you seeing me. But then also like to be plus size in a world that has essentially confirmed that if you are like bigger, you’re not of the standard of beauty, which means that you don’t deserve to have a space in front of people. So to be seen as someone who stylish and beautiful and who deserves to be had, their style seen is like mind blowing, right?

00;21;16;18 – 00;21;33;19
Aaronica Cole
Because I would have never thought that would have been me. I thought that being seen as a pattern designer was probably going to be as good as it got. I mean, a pattern tester was going to be as good as it got right. So to be seen by one of the people who I admire most in the salon community was really big for.

00;21;33;26 – 00;22;01;05
Aaronica Cole
Right, Because Mini G has been I’ve been following her for years, like years. And I remember always just admiring her style and like we have a similar body type where she’s got big legs and she’s smaller up top and she would wear her legs out proudly. And as someone who’s always had like an issue with my body, I got a lot of like, I learned a lot from her before we even had a chance to interact.

00;22;01;05 – 00;22;20;27
Aaronica Cole
Like I learned that it’s okay to show my legs. I learned that it’s okay to to not have the perfect body and that I can still wear these things. I learned so much just from following her that being seen by her was really, really cool, right? Especially because she’s a really dope person. Like, she’s really kind, really gentle, really wise.

00;22;21;07 – 00;22;41;04
Aaronica Cole
So even being able to that to develop a friendship with her has been really cool. But also being able to see these designs that have been in my head come to Light has been awesome, right? Because like, who is making space for plus Plus-size body, right? Who’s like making these patterns that are showing off like the thighs of the chunky girls, right?

00;22;41;12 – 00;23;07;07
Aaronica Cole
Like, no one. Like, you don’t get these sexy patterns from the big Well, now the big five, right? Or that are readily available like we just haven’t gotten that before. So being able to do that with the patterns has been really, really fun and really amazing because, you know, I get this actually create for myself, of course, but I also get to empower a whole group of people who have been told like, Oh no, you don’t need to like, show off your body.

00;23;07;07 – 00;23;27;13
Aaronica Cole
Right? I don’t know if you’ve ever read Tim Gunn’s like Book of Style, but he’s essentially said that if you are a plus size to just hide your body in like black so that you can’t see that you’re you know, that you’re plus size. And here I am doing the exact opposite and doing it in color and showing my stomach in every pattern that I can possibly get to.

00;23;27;19 – 00;23;39;17
Aaronica Cole
Right. Showing off my like thick diys that are saving lives. So it’s like really cool. But it’s also intimidating because I’m like, Oh my God, what if everybody hates it? What if they hate me? You know? So it’s mostly fun, though.

00;23;40;15 – 00;24;06;15
Katy McKinley
I am like a proud mom when I walk into Joann Fabrics. I think to find out that I literally like straight to the catalogs that have your picture online. And if there is any body within distance of me, I’m like, This is my friend Aaronica. Like, I know I decided. And if they don’t share my level of excitement, then, like, we just we don’t we can’t be friends.

00;24;06;15 – 00;24;33;25
Katy McKinley
I think the manager at my local too is always very hype. And she, I think, treats me like I’m famous by association. So I thank you for my notoriety. I bet the other designers, because I think you guys did like a Thanksgiving or something together. The other designers in No Me patterns all look just like such amazing fun, like real people too.

00;24;34;14 – 00;25;01;12
Aaronica Cole
Yes. And they all I mean, like, I really love my co designers, so much. They are incredible people outside of of course, having like really dope design esthetics, right? They are just such fun people like Julie and I were friends before Nefertiti and we were friends before, so it was really cool to be able to go through the experience with like, you know, people I know and then to all be in person together.

00;25;01;12 – 00;25;04;18
Aaronica Cole
It was like just a big love fest, you know?

00;25;05;13 – 00;25;13;04
Katy McKinley
Yeah, I, I can’t even imagine. And it would be like being starstruck and being part of the crew at the same time. I don’t know. I don’t know how you got through that.

00;25;13;24 – 00;25;38;12
Aaronica Cole
I was definitely starstruck like Julian and I actually met through a sewing. I forget which one, it’s no longer around, but through a sewing challenge. And he helped me with like I was following a pattern and I was like, the pattern instructions because we were supposed to be following the pattern instructions, sweetie, and giving Odyssey back. Now, Katy, you probably know this, but I don’t follow instructions, so this was hard for me anyway.

00;25;38;19 – 00;26;09;09
Aaronica Cole
But I was following the instructions and I was like, I’m lost on the pattern. These pants are a pansy. And I was like, Juliet, can you help me? Like, is it me or is it or is it the instructions? And he was like, No, it’s definitely against the instructions. And I was like very intimidated to even reach out to him, to ask him for his help, because I was like, I mean, like, it’s Julian, Like, it’s Julian creates like, why would I reach out to him and, like, show myself as being, like, this sewing fool and have him look at me and be like, You fool, Why are you even sewing for this challenge?

00;26;09;20 – 00;26;32;13
Aaronica Cole
But that’s not at all how he was. He was very kind, you know, Now he and I are really great friends. But also, like Alissa and I, we just did a Valentine’s Day challenge where we were able to just like, have a party because she’s super girly. Ed loves all things Valentine’s Day and even associating with her and being able to just like chat with her allowed my inner girly girl to come out.

00;26;32;13 – 00;26;36;06
Aaronica Cole
So like, everyone brings like their own soft to the pot.

00;26;36;20 – 00;27;04;01
Katy McKinley
Now, I know that you mentioned earlier that you’re going to be starting to pop up with some designs with Made for Mermaids, which I think, and that indie pattern community is probably going to just die of excitement to see that you’re in this realm of things. But what’s the biggest difference working with the more corporate sewing brands of No Me Patterns and then this indie brand of Made for Mermaids?

00;27;04;01 – 00;27;09;24
Katy McKinley
Because I mean, it’s sewing, it’s patterned designing, but it’s like completely different worlds.

00;27;10;08 – 00;27;33;07
Aaronica Cole
So with no me patterns, we just submit a sketch, like we think of an idea, or if we see something that’s inspiring that we want to use as our base design, we can just send it in. I’ve actually been working hard on my technical sketches, so I send those in and then they actually have the professional, the professionals draft the patterns for us.

00;27;33;25 – 00;27;58;23
Aaronica Cole
They do all of the tests fit everything like that, all of the grading process, and then they send us the patterns and then from there we actually have to cut and make the patterns we do our Muslins and everything like that to make sure it’s our bodies. Then we’re charged with, of course, shooting the covers for each of our patterns and boom, we’re also responsible for doing the marketing and everything like that as well.

00;27;59;17 – 00;28;20;16
Aaronica Cole
Whereas with Made for Mermaids or with any patterns, you know, with specifically me for always, because I do know that some people outsource their, their drafting as well. But with me for mermaids like you know, we go through the drafting like we come up with the idea, we come up with the, the drafting process like we draft the patterns, we braid the patterns, we test the pattern.

00;28;20;27 – 00;28;52;00
Aaronica Cole
It is a I don’t want to say harder because it’s just different, right? Like with me for mermaids, especially because Meghan is amazing with that, you know, she’s given, she’s given me training wheels and been like, Hey, you know, here is your how to and how to make this happen. And it’s very helpful because while I have drafted my own patterns, it’s not been digitally like I have just been like, Oh, let me draw this out on this year fabric and cut it all at the same time.

00;28;52;09 – 00;29;11;07
Aaronica Cole
Whereas now this is like, let me open up Illustrator in what do all of these buttons and things like that mean again? And you know, Illustrator is very much so a thing of if you don’t use it, you lose everything that you’ve learned. So you know, whereas before over probably about three or four years ago I was pretty proficient in Illustrator.

00;29;11;16 – 00;29;35;19
Aaronica Cole
Now I’m just like, Huh, what does this mean? So it’s different, but it’s more flexible being, you know, doing any designs because there’s no red tape, right? Design is is a corporation. So there is, you know, approval processes and they have their own processes in place, whereas like, you know, made for mermaid because I’ve been a pattern tester with, you know, past pirates made for mermaids for what?

00;29;35;25 – 00;29;49;29
Aaronica Cole
Let’s see, Aurora is eight and I started testing when she was like a year and a half. So, you know, this process I know and I have down so, you know, it’s it’s different but they’re they’re both very fun.

00;29;50;27 – 00;30;12;19
Katy McKinley
Yeah I have So I put out a couple of patterns through patterns her pirates and then I have some on my own website and I experience a lot of imposter syndrome. I think when I go to do it, it’s like I’m so confident and I really actually pretty good illustrator. And then when I go to put it into that testing phase, I’m like, Oh my God, everyone’s going to hate this.

00;30;12;19 – 00;30;15;19
Katy McKinley
It’s not going to fit anybody. I’m going to crash and burn.

00;30;16;21 – 00;30;44;06
Aaronica Cole
That is go, Wow. We were last hour and people were so excited. I remember Florence being like, Oh my gosh, I can’t wait. This has this pattern of kids. And I was like, I really want to make that one too. But I remember I forgot what I had. I think I was traveling when you were testing and I was like, It sucks that whenever Katy does her for pattern tests, I’m always either out of town or like, I’ve got like we have to do our own so longs for each of our patterns or I’m like, recording this.

00;30;44;06 – 00;30;56;21
Aaronica Cole
So on the way where I’m battling imposter syndrome at the same time. Right. But yeah, if that’s your pattern, your maple skirt pattern was a Ruth first pattern that she sewed. Oh.

00;30;57;04 – 00;31;03;22
Katy McKinley
And she wore it. Is that the one that she wore until like her first or not, first day of school. But she made it for a uniform piece, wasn’t it?

00;31;03;22 – 00;31;06;20
Aaronica Cole
Yes, I remember. Awesome.

00;31;06;20 – 00;31;26;06
Katy McKinley
Well, Aurora’s my girl, so. Well, you’re a never ending machine of ideas and inspiration, and I just need to know why you’ve got planned as your next big thing. So I can get ready to cheer for you on the sidelines, even if it’s not big. But what’s your next move that you’re hoping to make soon?

00;31;26;27 – 00;31;50;06
Aaronica Cole
So I have been interviewed on so many podcasts and people keep telling me that I need to do my own and I actually have bought the URL and have started getting it set up as far as my own podcast. Yeah, so I’m pretty excited about that. It’s talking about, of course, like create a business, you know, so there will be a little bit of creativity, a little bit of business.

00;31;51;01 – 00;32;16;00
Aaronica Cole
I also have have switched out my model for coaching. So whereas before I was going through a standard six week coaching cohort, now we’re doing different types of coaching, so we have different coaching sessions that people can sign up for that will get listed. I also have another projector, so in class it will be coming up the second weekend of March, which my first last year.

00;32;16;00 – 00;32;32;25
Aaronica Cole
I did the first two classes and they were wildly successful. They helped people. I love projector sewing, not only because it’s a lot easier to me, but also because it sees so much paper like and I I’m sure you feel me when I say this, Katy, but like the testing process, I would go through like reams of paper.

00;32;32;25 – 00;32;52;07
Aaronica Cole
I have like ink on auto shape because I was always running out. So knowing that I’m able to help others add a little bit of sustainability to this, this super fun hobby of ours, you know, it really makes me feel good about my contribution to the sewing world. So I have those classes that are coming up as well.

00;32;52;08 – 00;32;55;04
Aaronica Cole
Very, very excited. Well, I know you.

00;32;55;04 – 00;33;19;29
Katy McKinley
Just mentioned projector sewing. I what was that? I was on Joanne’s website or something the other day and one of the big pattern companies is going to start putting out a projector with their patterns attached to it or something like that. Like so that the corporate version of sewing apparently is finally catching up with the indie version of sewing and going into the projector world as well.

00;33;20;04 – 00;33;24;25
Katy McKinley
It’s kind of interesting. Usually it’s the other way around. We’re playing catch up. They’re doing it this way.

00;33;24;25 – 00;33;58;10
Aaronica Cole
Yeah. I’m not the I don’t want to say that I am not the biggest fan, but I’m really not right, because one of the things that they said was this is the biggest change to selling in 160 years. But this is something that indie soloists have been doing for years. Like I’ve been with a projector for three years and I wasn’t the one who started it, you know, And I, I don’t really like the way that it kind of it doesn’t really give credit to the people who some of the the trailblazers in our community.

00;33;58;10 – 00;34;17;24
Katy McKinley
Well, you know that I love to spread the love so it’s shout out time. Who is your favorite creative person to follow on social media? Is there anything that makes them extra special or has stand out to you the most and you can go ahead and set me? I know it’s already going to be me, so you can talk about somebody else.

00;34;18;01 – 00;34;18;24
Katy McKinley
I was thinking.

00;34;19;02 – 00;34;40;29
Aaronica Cole
Outside, if we look at that, you’re honestly one of the people who has like recently been sending out to me. Her name is Carmen Green. She actually started the Black Sewing Network. But one of the you know, you mentioned imposter syndrome as well. But one of my big, big issues, of course, in coming out with with patrons has they had like, will people like them?

00;34;40;29 – 00;35;09;29
Aaronica Cole
Will people support me? Will I be able to show corporate the corporations in that plus sizes matter and that they should be printing more of them? Carmen has been truly inspirational in her support and it’s not even like she wants to support reciprocated, right? She just wants to come out and support and to show love. And that has been so inspiring for me because I’m someone who struggles a lot with, especially in this new area of being a designer, Right?

00;35;10;11 – 00;35;41;22
Aaronica Cole
It’s very hard for me to to comfortably promote myself into comfortably push these these patterns, even though they are my babies and I love them and I’m so excited about them. But she has just shown so much love and so much support and been a really great sounding board. Whenever it came time for me to be talking about how to promote things or whether or not this is a good idea, on top of the fact that she’s an incredible so it’s like she turned my first my fall patterns into this amazing dress out of like sequins.

00;35;41;22 – 00;36;03;25
Aaronica Cole
And I didn’t even know it was my pattern. And so she tag me in and was like, yeah, this is a, you know, ironic could be Kohl’s pattern, you know, go out and get it. And she supports in such a a loving way. Right. And she shines a beautiful light on the sewing community that I really feel like that needs to consistently be brought up and supported.

00;36;03;25 – 00;36;31;12
Aaronica Cole
Right Because she just does it for the sake of love. Like she just wants to shine, right. And be positive in the community. And I appreciate that, especially in an area that has been you know, that has has a lot of toxicity in it as well. So her socials are tagged the mag on Tik tok and tag re invented on Instagram and she’s she’s an amazing soloist.

00;36;31;12 – 00;36;42;27
Aaronica Cole
So whenever I see her out here producing and making garments, it’s very exciting because it’s like, Oh man, what is she going to work on next? Let me let me work on something too. So.

00;36;43;28 – 00;37;06;09
Katy McKinley
Well, we’ll make sure to link her in the blog posts for this episode so everyone could go find her and be inspired as well. Thank you so much for helping me kick off the comeback tour for my show. Ironically, obviously, you know, I love and adore you and I’m so happy that you are part of this journey. I couldn’t think of anyone else that I’d want to restart this with.

00;37;06;10 – 00;37;28;03
Katy McKinley
So thank you for being here and for everyone listening. Thank you for joining us for today’s episode of I can make that conversation a creative. And now around the car, I’m going to give you the floor. Please take this out by telling us how to find you online so we can support you, your family, your businesses, and your sewing adventures.

00;37;28;26 – 00;37;57;15
Aaronica Cole
Okay, Well, okay, so I am Aaronica B Cole on pretty much every social media network. So Instagram, I could be around you could be called Tik-tok YouTube. I’m Aaronica B Cole and Co and I’ve really been working to build my YouTube channel, so definitely follow me there. Pinterest, I’m Aaronica B Cole, but you can also follow Needle and the Bell as well, especially for sewing and inspiration.

00;37;57;15 – 00;38;22;01
Aaronica Cole
If you’re interested in connecting business wise, I can be found at aaronicabcole.me or you can follow me on Instagram at AC Media House. Oh, and then you up with that your family businesses. So Harmony trace apothecary dot com is our family store again and all of our socials for that is also harmony trace apothecary.

00;38;23;01 – 00;38;27;12
Katy McKinley
All right well make sure to link all of those Everyone can find you. Thanks again.

00;38;27;20 – 00;38;37;01
Aaronica Cole
Thanks so much Katy. I’m so excited for the reboot. Woo woo!

00;38;37;01 – 00;39;06;24
Katy McKinley
Thank you for tuning in to. I can make that conversations with creative transcripts from this episode along with links and more information about today’s guests can be found at www.wildandwanderful.com. See you next time.

Disclosure: As always, you’ll find some affiliate links scattered within my post, which means I receive a small amount of compensation if you end up purchasing something I’ve recommended.  Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.  Purchasing from my links does not alter the pricing in any way for you, it simply helps feed my sewing, creating and blogging habits.  Thank you for your support!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome to Wild+Wanderful!  I’m Katy.
Momma. Wife. West Virginian.
Dreamer. Coffee Consumer.
Craft Beer Enthusiast.
Purple Obsessor. Lover of Handmade.



My Sudoku Travel Capsule Wardrobe + FREE Interactive Sudoku Capsule Planner!

We are about to embark upon an epic family trip to Scotland and Ireland. I could not be more excited. It's all I can talk about. It's all I can think about. I'm just so fricken pumped. We are being true travelers during our trip, where we are constantly on the move...

The Little Wanderer Skirt | A Free PDF Sewing Pattern from Wild+Wanderful!

I'm excited to share that I've been able to update another pattern for y'all! The Little Wanderer skirt is the youth version of my beloved Wanderer Skirt pattern (which is also free). It's an adorable high/low half circle skirt with two hem lengths and optional...

Irish I Were Sewing :: FREE St. Patrick’s Day Themed Silhouette + Cricut Cut Files!

I've been super missing making fun themed outfits to wear. And I've been missing sharing fun cut files on here like I used to. So I remedied both of these things by creating a super fun St. Patrick's Day themed sewing design AND am giving it to you as a freebie on...

The Wanderer Skirt | A Free PDF Sewing Pattern from Wild+Wanderful!

I know, I know. You might be thinking: "Katy, didn't you release The Wanderer Skirt back in 2017?" Yes. I did. But it's been six years of learning how to draft and design and I really wanted to go back and give it a little facelift. So here we are! On the surface,...

The Snuggler Sweater | A Free PDF Sewing Pattern from Wild+Wanderful!

A sewing friend of mine sent me a photo of this adorable sweater, with no sleeve seam, a cross-over front and back, and a "batwing" style dolman sleeve. And I was obsessed with the idea of turning that rtw sweater into a sewing pattern. And that's what I did! Meet:...

Elffire Club :: FREE Stranger Things Inspired Silhouette + Cricut Cut Files!

I saw someone use my free Elf on the Shelf Clothing Pattern the other day for a Stranger Things Eddie / Hellfire Club outfit and immediately was struck by a Christmas pun.  It had to be made.  I couldn't resist. If you need a little refresher on what I was...


Hale Half Zip by Patterns for Pirates

Oh boy, do I have some fun sewing to share with you today! Patterns for Pirates has officially launched the latest lineup of patterns and they are SO. FREAKING. GOOD. Cannot wait to share with y'all what I made! Judy didn't just release one pattern, she released THREE...

Fabric for Pirates :: September 2023 Reveal

It's the 15th of the month, and you know what that means! It's the fabric shipment reveal day! WOOOOOO!! This month's fabric is a total Katy Pick. Not only is it in the prettiest purple (plum...

Ruched Top & Dress by Patterns for Pirates

Listen. LISTEN. I would have shared this new sew of mine last week when we officially launched it over at Patterns for Pirates but I've had a lot of things going on around here. After we returned from our whirlwind Ireland/Scotland trip, I had barely enough time to...

Fabric for Pirates :: August 2023 Reveal

Hey Fabric Lovers! Long time no talk...in fact, it's been a whole month since we've talked about the subscription. It's so uncool that I have to wait until the 15th of every month to share what...