Learning to sew under direction from their grandmother as a child was not pleasant for Molly Stratton.
“It was deeply frustrating and I often thought my grandmother had wasted her time teaching me an outdated skill,” the 32-year-old Morgantown, W.Va., native says.
But now Stratton feels like being able to sew is like “discovering I have a superpower.”
“The truth is that even with ‘fast fashion,’ clothing still has to be mended and altered the same way it was decades ago. I’m just using these skills in a different way than my grandmother ever imagined.”
Stratton says they’ve (preferred pronoun) struggled with clothes their whole life. Stuff styled the way they liked was never in the right size or out of reach financially. Last year they did more socializing on the queer party scene and found out whenever they mentioned their sewing hobby, people were always asking Stratton to make a binder or alter a men’s suit so that it would fit properly in the bust/chest.
So they started the new group Sew Queer D.C., a monthly sewing class in which they’ll pass on their skills. Beginners are welcome. “My Gender is Pockets” is a hands-on class where Stratton will teach students how to add pockets to garments. Bring a dress, skirt, shirt, apron or any other clothing item and they’ll show them how to add a simple patch pocket or hidden pocket. Fabric and thread will be provided and two sewing machines are available.
It’s $25 per person and meets Saturday, March 3 at 2 p.m. in Mt. Pleasant at St. Stephen & the Incarnation Episcopal Church (1525 Newton St., N.W.). Look for the group on Facebook to register. Stratton will teach other skills in future classes. Classes will be offered monthly.
“I want it to be a non-judgmental place where people who have non-normative bodies and genders outside the LGBT acronym can hang out, trade tips and feel safe creating and altering the clothes they want,” Stratton says.
Stratton, who identifies as agender and bi, came to Washington in 2010 for their first job. They’re single and lives in Petworth. They enjoys dancing, video games, talking urban fantasy with their best friend and baths with “stupidly expensive bath bombs” in their free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
Being “out” is such a continuous process, isn’t it? I feel like I’m in a good place as far as my workplace and friends go, but I’m still constantly having to explain to people what “agender” means, so I don’t know if I will ever be done coming out.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Mx. Justin Bond. I didn’t realize choosing your own pronoun and a non-gendered honorific was even an option until Mx. Bond did it.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
So there isn’t really a queer “club” in D.C. (though there are plenty of ones for gay men), so my favorite place isn’t a club but wherever the queer girl party collectives set up shop.
Describe your dream wedding.
I am tossed overboard as an offering to the Sea God during a hurricane. The Sea “God” turns out to be a gorgeous merperson who is so taken with my green hair that they make me their consort and we jointly rule their undersea kingdom.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
I just really wish America would get their shit together on infrastructure. I want more buses and a bullet train and a metro that works.
What historical outcome would you change?
If I could just get in a time machine and reverse the Flint water crisis, that would be good.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Seeing what “Black Panther” means to people leading up to the movie has been amazing.
On what do you insist?
Be nice to servers.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A video of 3-D printed cat armor.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“I’m Not Straight Enough for This Shit”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Sign up Mike Pence for the first procedure.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Nothing at the moment, but I read tarot sometimes.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
For the love of fuck, include people of color! Include trans people! Include trans people of color! You can do better.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
An explicit queer romance in a blockbuster movie.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
You can’t be androgynous if you have breasts.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Thor: Ragnarok.” (Just kidding — there aren’t any explicit LGBT characters in that movie. I don’t think my favorite LGBT movie exists yet.)
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
The Infinity Stones.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
There are jobs without dress codes and you won’t be trapped in a conservative haircut and a corporate skirt forever.
I feel like the queer community here is Washington’s best-kept secret and now that I’ve found it, I never want to leave.