Today we’re introducing Will Riddle, our new JUKI Designer Ambassador! Known for his bold risks and designs, Will’s journey in sewing has taken him everywhere, and we are so excited it has brought him to JUKI! Coming up in the fashion industry Will has been a contestant on Amazon Prime’s Season 1 “Making the Cut,” presented a collection at NYFW, and styled celebrities such as Obama’s, Camila Cabello, Megan Markle, and more! Follow along as we get to know Will Riddle and introduce him to the JUKI team.
Will’s story starts not in fashion but painting! While always attracted to the arts, Will’s first medium was oil and acrylic painting. Taking 15 years’ worth of lessons, he decided it was time for something new and broke away from the medium to find a new one, branching out to the fashion world. Graduating from the Fashion School at Kent State University, he received his CFDA+ certification for his work in evening wear and achieved one of his most significant accomplishments.
“A few weeks after I graduated college, I had the opportunity to create a capsule collection that walked the runway at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week. To be that age and entering the industry with such an accomplishment under my belt was an amazing feeling.”
Diving into the world of sewing, Will turned to it as a form of comfort. Seeing it as his time to relax and unwind, he placed sole focus on his projects and creating. Will views designing and sewing as a therapeutic activity and finds sewing like a puzzle. He engineers the pattern pieces and designs to come together in a certain way for the perfect finish.
Finding inspiration for his work is exciting as he pulls from his own life experiences. Viewing life experiences as unique to each person and non-replicable, he draws from his past to create beautiful futures. In addition, he finds motivation behind the fact that creating is all he knows how to do. From an early on exposure to art, he’s been able to ensure that he’s constantly surrounded by creativity in his life, from fashion and music to performance and more.
Will’s present finds him most excited about developing custom prints and artwork featured in future collections! Using his favorite tool, a JUKI industrial sewing machine, he’s able to create fashion pieces he’s proud of. “I was spoiled in college by learning how to professionally sew on a fleet of new JUKI machines, and as soon as I started building my atelier, made the investment to have one of my own!” His work is bold and different, and his current favorite trend is domestic embroidery machines! Using his JUKI quilting machine DX-3000QVP and MO-2000QVP, he’s able to create personalized artworks with embellishments and accessories. This tool comes in handy when he designs his second favorite kind of outfit, campy Halloween costumes! His first favorite is the evening gowns he’s known for.
Will’s experience in sewing has been exciting! Still coming up in the fashion industry Will has had a whole career he feels, “from managing the atelier at 3.1 Phillip Lim and Oscar de la Renta, to managing NYC factory relationships for sample creation, working with overseas factories, teaching newcomers how to sew and everything in between!” One word he would use for his projects? “Complex.” Created with the idea of bringing out bold styles and looks, it’s no wonder he’s gotten this far!
Will’s future in sewing is exciting and filled with opportunities, JUKI Lovers! His advice to new sewers joining is to complete projects at your skill level. We know how fun it can be to start large, but like
Will states, “feeling of accomplishment you get from successfully completing a project that you find slightly challenging, but not impossible, is incredibly rewarding and helps to encourage more difficult projects as you sharpen your skills.”
We hope you loved learning about Will as much as we did! So follow along as we continue introducing new JUKI Designers these coming weekends! Which Will Riddle design did you love best? Let us know down below!
Sewing has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was young, my mother sewed many of our outfits. We went to a private school, and with some additional help, she even sewed all the students’ uniforms. But it wasn’t just my mother who influenced my sewing journey, my paternal grandmother would sew Barbie clothes for me, which filled me with great delight! Later in life, my aunt helped me make curtains for my first apartment. Eventually, a majority of the women in our family started meeting regularly to either sew group projects or just work on our things. We still try to get together every year!
I didn’t start “seriously sewing” until I transitioned out of the corporate world (back in 2013). I’ve always been a driven and determined person and was convinced that there was more to being a stay-at-home mom than philanthropy and the car rider line. Most of my friends and all of my family knew that I love to sew. I was often asked to make things for people and told to sell my creations. I never really gave it too much thought until our local music Association hosted a craft fair. I decided to put myself out there and get a booth. I made several pillowcases and sold the majority of them at the craft fair. I was so excited about my success that I decided to open an Etsy shop and place the leftover products for sale online. This is how my company, Sew Much Moore In Storebegan.
My Etsy shop was how I initially made money with sewing. I started with pillowcases, then transitioned to bags, and was doing well making custom ID wallets for people on my Etsy shop. During this time, I started a website and learned about blogging through an online course. I created multiple lines of income through affiliate marketing and paid sponsorships. It wasn’t until 2016 that I made my business legitimate. You see, Etsy sent me an email that said they needed either my social security number or my FEIN#. I decided to go ahead and get my business license and things took off from there.
After I went legitimate, I was motivated and decided to give Amazon Handmade a try. At the time, I was using a hand-me-down 1984 Kenmore. This poor machine was on its last leg. I had made hundreds of ID wallets and make-up bags on it. I was constantly sending it in for service, and it just couldn’t keep up. When I opened my Amazon Handmade shop on Black Friday weekend, I made enough money to purchase my first Juki sewing machine. I’ve decided on an industrial sewing machine considering the amount of bags I was making in my commercial business. I purchased the Juki DU-1181N. I decided to get the servo motor so I could control the speed. I learned a great deal about industrial machines and even wrote a blog series which can be found here.
I found great success with my JUKI industrial, so it was an easy decision to purchase additional JUKI machines like the JUKI TL-2010Q straight stitch sewing machine. This is hands-down my favorite machine to sew on! I can easily piece my quilts, make most bags and even do some free motion quilting. It sews like a dream! And because I love free motion quilting, I added a JUKI J-350QVP as well. I occasionally quilt other people’s quilts, but because my long arm is currently on a table (and not a frame) I mostly just quilt my quilts with my J-350QVP. One of my business goals is to transition my long arm sit down to a frame and add the automation package. Both my kids are still in the house so until they fly the coop, I don’t have the real estate in my home for a longarm business right now. I’m also learning more about making garments so it only makes sense that I have a JUKI serger and cover stitch combo, MO-735. I bought these as gifts for my Mom and love to use them when I visit her. My mom still loves to teach me new things since sewing garments is something that I am still learning more about.
Speaking of sewing lessons… In 2017, I decided to add sewing lessons to my business! I was already contracted with a local quilt shop to teach monthly lessons to a kids club. I enjoyed working with the kids and decided to offer classes in my home for the local community. We don’t have a large space for group sewing, but we did manage to gather around the dining room table with our machines and learn about quilt piecing, bag making, and many other valuable sewing lessons. I continue to teach sewing and quilting through my videos and offer classes to guilds and quilt shops as well. To learn more about my lectures and and in-person workshops, you can visit my website here.
2017 was also the year that I was nominated for the Vice President of programming for the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. During my two years of service, I had the opportunity to learn more about being a professional in the industry. I gained experience including contract negotiations, learning what a professional is worth, and the pleasure of getting to know so many inspiring creators in the industry. I was also pleased that the membership of the guild experienced tremendous growth during my years of service. I believe it had a lot to do with the talent we acquired for lectures and workshops. I also believe our guild was more successful in gaining new members and filling most sewing workshops because of the marketing efforts for the guild. My experience with Facebook pages, groups and events provided maximum exposure for our guild members and for potential members as well. We grew so much that we had to find a new place to meet as most meetings were “standing room only” and many workshops would sell out quickly.
I was getting comfortable with social media by this time and started engaging my audience through these platforms. By this time, my business had a weekly newsletter, a Pinterest marketing strategy, a social media schedule, patterns and products offerings on my WooCommerce website while still maintaining my Etsy and Amazon Handmade presence. I even started a custom t-shirt quilt business as well! With all these things going on, I decided it was time for a YouTube channel! This was a pretty good learning curve because I didn’t know much about editing videos. Fortunately, iMovie made it pretty simple and with the help of Google, I was able to start producing video tutorials. This new format helped reach a new audience and brought additional traffic to my website, which was now hosting advertising for yet another line of income to my business.
Fast forward to 2019, and I was sharing every day on my Instagram stories. I would constantly get questions about my sewing business. These questions inquired about how I managed everything that I was doing, and it made me feel happy and excited to help other people do the same thing. I never thought about adding coaching to my business until I learned more about producing my online courses. I learned how to create my business by online learning, so it only made sense for me to create my own coaching company.
The Creative Day Job began in 2020 and it currently hosts multiple online courses that serves Creative Entrepreneurs (mostly in the sewing and quilting industry). I love to help sewers and quilters that want to turn their hobby into a business by navigating the technology and overwhelm so they can start earning income from their craft. If I were to give a piece of advice to someone about starting or creating their own sewing/quilting business, it would be this, “just get started.” There’s always going to be something to overcome or some obstacle that might get in your way, but if you just get started and keep moving forward you can do it also! To learn more about the Creative Day Job, you can visit my website here.
I truly believe there is Sew Much Moore In Store for myself and my journey with the sewing and quilting industry. I love to help people with their sewing and quilting projects and I love to help people overcome their creative business obstacles. I especially love the JUKI brand because with the help of their machines and technology, my work has become more productive and enjoyable!