Sewing for potters

In case you weren’t aware, I am a compulsive maker. In addition to pottery I make all my own clothes, and dabble in lots of other crafts as well.

I was looking for a roundup of sewing patterns good for people making pottery or wearing around the studio but couldn’t find any so I thought I would collate some of my favourite sewing patterns for potters here.

Aprons

Aprons are pottery studio essentials. There are a lot of people selling fancy split-leg style aprons like the ones worn on ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’.

Throwdown contestants in their spilt-leg aprons

These are really easy to make! There are some patterns out there for split-leg aprons – I haven’t tried one myself.

Instructions for making one have also been published in various ceramic journals – here is one example:

make a split leg potter’s apron instructions

I adapted the Victor Pattern from Merchant & Mills to be split legged.

To do this, I simply cut the main pattern piece horizontally about 1/3rd of the way from the top, and then cut that piece in 2 and sewed it together with a little overlap. It’s very similar to the design in the image above. Instead of using clips at the front like Merchant & Mills suggest, I added a side-release buckle at the back.

I really like the cross-back style in terms of ease of putting on & taking off if your hands are covered in clay. No fussy ties to deal with!

In terms of fabrics, you can choose what you prefer. Merchant and Mills suggest using waxed canvas. This is good but quite expensive, you can also have a go at waxing your own canvas. I have used the following fabrics and found they all work with varying degrees of my preference in terms of ease of cleaning

  • vinyl
  • showerproof nylon
  • laminated cotton
  • self-waxed ripstop canvas
  • heavy denim

Remember that silicosis is a real issue in pottery studios so you want to avoid having dried on clay stuck to your apron. Therefore make sure to wipe it down after use!

You could definitely make one out of leather too which would be really nice, that is on my do-do list! I’d recommend something fairly soft.

Dungarees & overalls

Overalls or dungarees are great studio-apparel as they keep your clothes underneath fairly clean. However if you have an apron on over a pair of dungarees going to the toilet can be a real mission!

Nevertheless I have a few pairs of Yanta Overalls by Helen’s Closet which are great for wearing in the workshop. They are loose fitting so you can really bend over that wheel or crouch down to pick up any dropped tools.

Yanta overalls

I am also planning on making the Merchant & Mills Harelene dungarees which seem like they would be good too!

Keeping warm

Lots of potters spend even the colder months in our unheated sheds up to our elbows in mud, myself included! My studio gets freezing cold in winter. It helps to have a kettle in the studio to add some hot water to my throwing bowl but layers are really key too!

I start with basic base layers made of merino. I use the Closet Core Nettie dress for making base layers – there are lots of sleeve options so I can do with a 3/4ths sleeve which keeps my arms warm without getting too covered in clay. You can use any tight-fitting knit top pattern you like.

I also usually wear a pair of merino leggings. There are lots of basic free leggings patterns available online.

The Merchant Mills Landgate is also a great ‘keeping warm’ piece. Again you can make it out of waxed canvas for easy cleaning.

Merchant Mills Landgate

The Fabric Store has a great selection of sustainably sourced merino wool, often on sale!

Ceramasewist community?

If you like to sew and make pots please leave your suggestions below. I’m very keen to hear what others recommend!

Author: niceassets

Kia ora, I'm Nicole of Nice Assets Workshop. I put the ‘fun’ in functional ceramics with sustainable and socially conscious ideology underpinning my pottery.

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