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An Interview with @ashtomaton

Scrolling through Ashley's Instagram feed feels like stepping on the set of a 1940s musical that history has forgotten the name of. Her extensive collection of vintage toys is impressive enough, but her sewing prowess is even more worth marveling at. Her sense of style is entirely unique and her ability to brandish it so beautifully is altogether enviable. On top of all that, she is remarkably kind and has a warm presence, even through cyberspace.

What work are you most proud of?

The handful of dresses I've made that turn out exactly how they looked in my head.

Who do you think is the most creative person alive?

She's never been a particular inspiration [of mine], but I think Bjork is incredibly creative and never apologizes for being a weirdo.

What's your favorite toy in your collection?

It's so hard to pick a favorite; there are so many, but a new favorite is my Felix the Cat toy from the 1920s before he got cute and cartoony.

Has your style changed at all over the years?

My style hasn't changed much over the years. I have more freedom to wear what I want now and the means to create whatever I dream up.

What's a piece of clothing you regret buying?

I rarely buy new clothing, except when I'm in Japan. A couple years ago, I bought a pretty expensive dress that didn't fit very well. I blame the jet lag for my clouded judgement. I altered the dress to fit, but I still rarely wear it.

What is the hardest sewing project you've ever completed?

A couple of years ago, I dressed up as the Cookie Queen from the 1930s Disney Silly Symphony, Cookie Carnival. Her dress is drippy frosting and I had no idea what I was doing. I had to implement several new things I'd never done before to make it and somehow it turned out. I've taught myself how to sew so there's always a lot of guessing (and swearing).

What was your biggest sewing fail?

I've never had a huge sewing fail, just little mistakes along the way. I did, however, run over my finger with my sewing machine which involved the needle going into my nail, snapping in half and then coming out the top. I'll never stay up super late and sew again!

What was your first sewing project?

My first sewing project I think was a tiny quilt my grandma helped me make. I think I used it for a doll. She taught me to sew by hand but I never touched a sewing machine until I was 25 or so.

What person are you most inspired by?

Shirley Temple is a huge inspiration for my dresses, and fashion from that era in general. There was such great care taken in creating all the details and it made things so special. I feel that, nowadays, things tend to be made as quickly and cheaply as possible. Most of the time spent when I sew is adding details like vintage collars, trims, and ribbons. Sometimes I have a drawing of what I'm doing, but I usually just make it up as I go.

If you had to compare your wardrobe to an album, what album would it be?

It would definitely be music from the 30s or 40s. Maybe a soundtrack to a film from that time.

\Photo Credit: @ashtomaton


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