The first stitch occurred from a series of random events. While surfing in the water, someone stole Nagle's backpack which contained her favorite pair of cheeky bottoms. Being a crafty college student, she decided she was going to hand sew a pair of spandex shorts. They ended up looking just like normal bottoms.
Nearly six months later, we had been surfing almost every day. Our normal surf attire consisted of swimwear bottoms and a sports bra. At the time, none of our swimwear tops were supportive enough to go surfing in. It was extremely aggravating because sports bra material is not the same as swimwear material. It takes forever to dry and it's not fashionable. The last thing you want to worry about in the water is what you are wearing. As a female, I found sometimes I was held back from catching a wave because my top/bottoms were coming off. I wanted to create something all female surfers would be comfortable in so they could focus on improving their skills in the water.
I ended up visiting my hometown of Orange Beach one weekend. I called my grandmother and told her I was going to sew swimsuits and I needed my great-grandmother's old sewing machine. She immediately laughed as hard as she could and said "ok." At the time, I didn't know how to sew.
As a child, I remember watching my great-grandmother, Marie, sew in her studio. She shared her studio with my play room. She would sew and I would read, play, and create. She taught me how to hand sew and would give me her spare fabric to make little clothes out of. In the early sixties, she worked in a factory as a seamstress. She had three daughters and sewed nearly all of their clothes in the seventies. Marie sewed for the community making majorette uniforms, elaborate gowns, and hand-tailoring their clothes. She was a fashionista. Whenever I was twelve years old, she passed away. She was my best-friend and I miss her so much.
After my weekend visit, I drove seven hours back to St. Augustine and straight to Nagle's house. We set up shop on the dining room table (thank you Rachel Needham). We immediately tried to set up the machine. Hours and hours went by. I went back to my house late into the night and went to school early in the morning. After my classes, I went back to Nagle's house and she went to her afternoon classes. She told me her stopping point in the instruction manual for the sewing machine.
I couldn't understand why the machine was not working for hours. I went to go to my favorite eating spot, Tropical Smoothie, and arrived back at Nagle's. She was there and we did a walk through of the entire setting up process of the machine. I realized we had been placing the bobbin clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. There it was.
The first stitch. We started running around the house screaming, dancing, borderline crying.