Everything Sanders makes is one-of-a-kind and made to measure from her home in California. Her ready-made items drop on every third Friday of the month (the next one is on April 16.) For a more customized experience, customers can also send her their own secondhand textiles, and she will combine it with her own vintage stock for a patchwork finish. “I’m a huge vintage textile collector, especially anything print-driven or quilts,” says Sanders of her stock, adding that she gets many of her secondhand textiles on eBay. “I always ask the eBay seller if they have a history [of the textile]. I like to imagine the woman who embroidered it.”
Though she makes use of all sorts of textiles, from pillow sheets to table runners, tea towels have been one of her most-requested materials so far. Whether the towels are embroidered with images of old clocks, Australian koalas, or vintage cars, both Sanders and her customers are drawn to the kitsch factor. “Tea towels were originally used as an additional decoration within tea service, but in America, tea towels have become more of a souvenir,” Sanders says. “I love the fact that they can capture a sense of time.” She also loves the challenge of using different-sized tea towels, and incorporating them into her designs. “I have to do a lot of math and pattern work, and be very strategic about where I place them,” she says.
In the spring-summer, she’ll experiment with new silhouettes, such as new dress shapes and possibly even menswear—but whatever the case, the design will still always revolve around the fabric first. “When I get a towel or an embroidered linen, I immediately know what it will go with,” she says. “I have so many fabrics, but I literally remember each and every one of them!”