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Meet Blogger Daryl Perry of Patchouli Moon Studio


Our first guest of the 2021 season is Daryl Perry of Patchouli Moon Studio. Daryl is an enthusiastic blogger who recently discovered Sew Powerful. With a history in the textile arts, Daryl started documenting her creations 13 years ago. As a professional handbag maker, Daryl was excited to discover Sew Powerful. Not only did the purse speak to her creative side, but the mission also spoke to her heart. She has been making purses and documenting her Sew Powerful journey on a special section of her blog. Listen to this episode and you will be inspired to check out Daryl's blog, Facebook page, Pinterest and Instagram posts.


Blogging, Patchouli Moon Studio, Oympia, WA, New Mexico, Taiwan, Sew Powerful, bag making, leather wallets


Patchouli Moon Studio on Facebook:

Patchouli Moon Studio Blog:

We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.


The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.


Host: Jan Cancila

Guest: Daryl Perry


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started.


Jan 00:19

Good morning. Welcome to the first podcast of 2021. We are delighted to have a brand-new purse maker and blogger extraordinaire with us today. We are going to be speaking with Daryl Perry, who lives in New Mexico, and she has quite the interesting background and quite the enthusiasm for Sew Powerful. So, I'm very excited for you to meet her. Good morning, Daryl, how are you today?


Daryl Perry, Guest 00:46

Good morning, Jan. I'm doing well. Thank you.


Jan 00:48

Yeah. So, you started popping up in the Facebook group right after Christmas. So, all of a sudden, here's Daryl Perry making purses. How did you hear about Sew Powerful?


Daryl 01:03

Well, you know, I think I heard about it maybe a year or so ago, but it just never registered, I was doing a blog hop, where a lot of women just post whatever they're making. And I think one of the ladies had a purse, and she was talking about the Sew Powerful group. And I made a comment saying, oh, those are really nice. And you know me, I love bags, because that's what I make. And she says, well, they might not be as nice as your bags. But she says it's really for a great cause and I kind of tucked it away in the back of my head, she had the link for the patterns that were free. And I know I put them on my computer, and I just didn't think about it anymore. And then something else came popping up. And finally I said, you know, I think I'm gonna make one of those bags and see what they look like. Well after I make one and then I kind of checked out the group. And when I read the description, and what you guys were all about, I thought, oh, this is wonderful. I have so much fabric, I can sew for years and never make a dent in my fabric. So, I'm going to do that.


Jan 02:09

That's wonderful. Well, now, you said that you make bags. So, tell us about your life before Sew Powerful.


Daryl 02:16

Well, I started as a quilt maker. And then I got into making bags because I was so frustrated with really poorly written patterns. And there were a couple of bag maker designers that were online that had written a blog post about it. And I made a comment saying, you know, this is great that you both have your bags tested because I'm so frustrated with spending money not only on the patterns, but my fabric and then having it go to waste, it was getting frustrated. So, they each said, Well, pick out a pattern for free from what we do. And I did and I made it and one of the ladies actually invited me to test her bags, and that was in 2013. And I'm still testing for her today. So, I really got into it, I really was like going to school and learning not only testing from her, but I started picking up and testing from a few other ladies. And then a lot of these designers offer free patterns. So, I would make those and for with every person I learned something a little different and then I do it my way, kind of a compilation of everything that I've learned. And I just love making them they're faster than making quilts. They're more useful. So, I really enjoy it and like kind of my blog is mostly about quilting bag making and knitting because I also do knitting.


Jan 03:35

Okay, so now do you make the bags as a hobby to give to others or is this a business?


Daryl 03:43

Well, I started off making them for myself and to give as gifts. And then I started getting so many bags that I decided I would try to sell some and I do really well at some of the local craft shows. I did open an Etsy shop, sold a few but not that many. So, I'd really rather stick with either word of mouth, people asking me. I put things on my blog for sale but that hasn't really happened but at least that way they know if they want a bag, they can contact me and I have had a few do that. And so yes, I do sell them.


Jan 04:18

And so, what kind of materials do you typically use to make your bags?


Daryl 04:22

Well because of my quilting background, I have such a ton of quilting fabric that is primarily what I do use. I throw in some denim once in a while. I don't really care for the vinyl. I mean I you know I can sew it. I have a good enough machine for it, but I just don't like the feel or the look of it. I love the vast palette of colors we get with quilting cotton and that's my thing is I really love colorful stuff, which is another reason I love that the girls who for Sew Powerful love colorful because that's me.


Jan 04:53

Oh fantastic. And so, do you use the quilting cotton plain or do you actually quilt it before you use it on the bags?


Daryl 05:00

Sometimes I do quilt, you know, especially if I'm doing scraps, you know, sewing scrappy, I like to kind of quilt it too. When I make bags, depending on the structure of the bag, I will use that foam stabilizer for something like a tote that I want to stand up on its own. If it's a crossbody bag, I'll use a fusible fleece in it because it's a little softer, and it doesn't need to stand up. So, it adds the structure to the bag.


Jan 05:28

Oh, well, those are good tips that we can use on the Sew Powerful bags too. Well, that's cool. Okay, so you came to Sew Powerful. I think the way many of us did sort of heard about it. But you know, sometimes it takes a while to percolate and actually do it. So, we're recording this the first week of January. And when did you start making purses for Sew Powerful?


Daryl 05:53

It was one or two days, maybe before Christmas? So, 2020?


Jan 05:57

Yeah, way last year. So how many have you made already?


Daryl 06:02

I have completed 11.


Jan 06:05

Wow, that is amazing. That is fantastic. And you are posting a picture of each of the Sew Powerful purses you make on your blog. Is that right?


Daryl 06:15

Yes. I like to document everything I make and put it on my blog.


Jan 06:20

And what has the reaction been? Have you been getting comments about that?


Daryl 06:23

Yes, well very positive. A lot of people think it's wonderful. A few of the ladies made comments like, oh, I'm gonna go check this out. And a couple of them said, I just joined. So that kind of made me feel good that they liked it enough that they wanted to join in too.


Jan 06:39

Oh, that's fantastic. And I know in your blog, you mentioned that you joined the Facebook group. So, it would be interesting for you to mention the group name specifically, which is the Sew Powerful Purse Project on Facebook. If you're listening and haven't joined, we urge you to do that. But it would be interesting to see, because every Sunday we list all the new people who have joined that Facebook group. So, it would be nice for you to welcome them to the group, because they came in through your blog. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. And I also noticed you added a section on your blog that's just about Sew Powerful.


Daryl 07:20

Yes, I did. Because I thought if anybody just came to my blog, or was looking for something, that if they clicked on that then they can see all of the purses that I have made just for the Sew Powerful group. And then it also encourages me because I go back and I go Wow, look at how many I made for the year, which will be interesting at the end of this year to see how many actually I do make.


Jan 07:42

Well, and we encourage you to send in as you get a box full because every month Jason and Cinnamon Miles host the Sew Powerful live event. And they thank purse makers for what they've sent in at that time. And we typically have two shipments that go to Zambia each year, and an organization called World Vision is kind enough to include the purses in the shipments that they send to Africa and then ours make their way to Zambia. As we expand to more schools in Zambia, then your purses can go to more and more girls, so. As you're making your purses, have you ventured into using webbing, or are you making the straps out of fabric?


Daryl 08:32

I use fabric straps because I have so much fabric, and I'm really wanting to go through it. And that's what I normally do anyway. So, I'll stick with the fabric because it's always on hand.


Jan 08:44

Okay, all right. Well, good for you. I think I'm a lazy sewer. I'm on Team Webbing. And I'll just give a little plug for those of you who want some webbing. There's a company called Home Sew, and they give a 10% discount on all of your purchases if you use the discount code "SP10". So, besides webbing, they have lots of good products that you could use for making purses or your other craft projects.


Jan 09:13

Oh why don't we take a quick break here and when we come back, we're going to continue to speak with you and I'm really curious about your entrance into the world of blogging. So, let's take a quick break here.


Jan 09:29

Have you gotten the second edition of the "We Are Sew Powerful" book? This updated version of the original bestseller, 4.9 out of five stars by the way, is again authored by Sew Powerful co-founders, Jason and Cinnamon Miles. It is available on Amazon in paperback or for your Kindle reader. This latest edition is packed full of moving stories about how Sew Powerful came to be, the volunteers who make it happen. And the way this small movement has grown into a global mission to break the cycle of poverty, through education and the dignity of work. And don't forget, when you place your order if you use, and designate Sew Powerful as your preferred charity, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase right back to Sew Powerful. And now back to our podcast.


Jan 10:32

Welcome back. We've been speaking with Daryl Perry, and she is an experienced bag maker. Those of you listening from the UK will appreciate that term because we typically say purses over in the US but as you get into the handbag world, I think bag is probably the more appropriate term. And Daryl is fairly new to Sew Powerful, but you would never know it by the number of purses she's made in such a short time. Daryl also has a blog. And tell us about the blog. Tell us the name of it, how we can find it and how we can follow you on your blog, Daryl?


Daryl 11:12

Well, my blog name is Patchouli Moon Studio. And just, you know, kind of my inner hippie, I guess I came up with the patchouli part, but I was playing around with names. And finally, I don't know, I was going patchouli, patchouli moon. Oh, that sounds good. And then yeah, just I don't know, it just sort of came to me. But I've been blogging since March of 2008. Ready to start my 13th year of blogging. Started off with quilting and knitting. And then I added the bags. And so that's kind of what I've been doing mainly just to document what I create, because I've always been doing something in the textile field of creation. And so I just started doing that and been still going at it even though blogging is kind of a dinosaur these days. Most people want to look at the YouTube videos or go on Instagram, or Facebook to go through it and not really read. But I'm one of those diehard bloggers, I'm still going at it. Everything's on my blog, and you can just Google it. I mean, if you put in Patchouli Moon Studio, you'll get my, my blog will come up my Facebook will come up my Pinterest, my Instagram, all those things will come up if you if you just google Patchouli Moon Studio.


Jan 12:34

Okay, well, that's that sounds great. And so, give us some background. How did you start sewing to begin with?


Daryl 12:43

Well, my mother was an artist, and I have an older brother and a younger sister. And when we were little, my mom would make my sister and I clothes, you know, I'd always be in the blue. And she'd be in the pink. Same outfit, but just different colors. So I learned a lot from my mom. And then of course, when I went to high school, I took the Home Ec courses, half the year was sewing half the year was cooking. And so, I learned how to do that. And then my mom started teaching quilting. And so that's how I kind of got into learning that but that was when it was all by hand in the 70s when I was a teenager and you know, the whole world opened up when they invented the rotary cutter and the mats and stuff, you know, around 1980.


Jan 13:26

Mm hmm. And what part of the country did you grow up in? Where are you from?


Daryl 13:32

Well, I lived in a lot of places, but I grew up in Southern California.


Jan 13:37

Okay. All right.


Daryl 13:38

In several places there too.


Daryl 13:40

Okay. All right. And can you share with us what brought you to New Mexico?


Daryl 13:46

Well, when my husband and I got married, shortly after we moved to Olympia, Washington, I know, Renton, Washington.


Jan 13:54



Daryl 13:56

And after growing up in Southern California, being a sunshine girl, 17 years of Olympia, gray and rain just was getting to me. So, we wanted to look for something sunny and California was just too expensive. So new, headed to New Mexico, fell in love with it, and been here since 1998.


Jan 14:17

Wow. Oh, well that's so cool. You know, I once met someone who ended up throwing a dart at a map and ended up where the dart went. So, I admire you by just picking a place and making it home. That's very cool. And do you have family, may I ask you that question?


Daryl 14:34

Yes, I have a son, who sort of in some ways followed in my footsteps. So, he makes mostly leather wallets. And he lives in Taiwan. And my daughter lives in the neighborhood across the street from us. And I have a grandson. My daughter's son.


Jan 14:51

Well, that's cool. That's very cool. As you have been on the Facebook page quite a bit with Sew Powerful, there's been some discussions about snaps or closures. So what is your point of view on that?


Daryl 15:09

Well, I was just wondering because somebody brought up about not using hardware and that she had used rivets. And so is that considered hardware? To me hardware is mostly like the rings for the straps and, you know, the metal closures...


Daryl 15:25

Or things like that. And I thought, well, why would - rivets don't weigh any more than a button, so maybe there was another reason you know, that they didn't want metal? I don't, but then Shirley said, yeah, rivets are okay. So that made me feel good, because I like to put a rivet on my straps, that just adds to the strength without having to stitch that little X, you know. I stitch it back and forth a lot of times, but then I add a little bit to really strengthen that. So that's good, because it's a lot easier to pop in a rivet than try to maneuver that X in your sewing machine.


Jan 15:25

Or buckles.


Jan 15:56

Well, I have to say, I'm not good at making the X. So, I've come up with two horizontal lines that I do and reinforced them really well. My X's look handwritten or they're not good. Well, and Shirley is our authority on this. And so, if Shirley says rivets are okay, then let's all do rivets if you have the capacity to do that. Now, how do you apply a rivet?


Daryl 16:20

Well, I have a leather punch, so I punch the hole and then I put Fray-check on it to make sure it doesn't unravel. And then it's a double cap rivet, you just snap it into place. And then I have a rivet press that you put it under, you can buy the little tools where you have to hammer it. But if you do a lot of bags like I do, it's worth the investment of a rivet press to do that.


Jan 16:43

So, if somebody were thinking about joining the Sew Powerful family of purse makers, but was hesitant to do that, what kind of advice would you give them, Daryl?


Daryl 16:53

I would tell them to join and to start with that beginner pattern. It's very easy. And I know you have a video too, because there's so many people who are visual learners. And so many bag designers these days are doing videos, in addition to the PDF because of those visual learners. I would say try one you know, just to see. You do get better, I mean, practice makes perfect. I totally believe in that. And just go ahead and make it and then you can start thinking about doing anything creative and artsy and embellishing because those are things if you throw all that out somebody at once they get overwhelmed with too much information. So start off simple, make one. Once you get that confidence, you're bound to go on and make more.


Jan 17:45

Well, that's fantastic. Okay, just one more time for our listeners. Give us the name of your blog but spell it this time so that we can definitely find it.


Daryl 17:55

Okay, it's Patchouli Moon Studio. PATCHOULI MOON STUDIO.


Jan 18:15

Oh, okay, all right. Well, we'll look forward, then. You're on Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest. And then of course on the internet with your blog.


Daryl 18:24



Jan 18:26

Well, Daryl, it's been a pleasure to get to know you and for our listeners please check out Daryl's blog and keep up with all the purses she's making and be inspired because these are really creative and really, really pretty purses that she's picturing on her blog. And that will soon be in the hands of a young school girl in Zambia, Africa. Thank you for your time, Daryl. We'll talk to you soon. Bye.


Daryl 18:54

Thank you, Jan, bye.


Jan 18:58

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference. I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at