Nicole Neales: Teacher Spotlight

Meet Nicole Neales!

Nicole is a first year teacher at Sew Magical Expo and heard about us through another teacher. We are so excited she will be joining us this year! 

Her experience with crafting started back when she was only in fifth grade. Over the years her love for crafting grew which led her to start her business, SoGnar. It started off as a personal art page on Instagram and then turned into a business page in 2018. Her business gets its name from a joke back when she lived in Durango, CO. 

She credits all her success to her customers. Before going full-time with SoGnar, Nicole was a preschool administrator. 

“My business is a means to connect to like minded folks. What started off as a hobby as now kept me fully self employed since late 2017, and if it weren’t for the support of my customers I’m not sure where I’d be or what I would be doing for work.”

After working with children, Nicole gained an advanced level of patience that she uses to help with all her customers. Whether that be with general concerns or questions about pattern writing, she caters her teaching to each individual because she believes learning is not a ‘one size fits all’ method. She describes her business as ‘sewing patterns & handcrafted cork accessories for the eco-conscious consumer.’ Nicole’s business stands out from your typical crafter because she prides herself on being a peta approved vegan business. Her focus is on cork which she sources from Spain.

So, what does it mean to sew with cork? And why is it different from sewing with fabric? 

Cork can be used for a multitude of projects and has a lot of benefits like being naturally water and dust repellent. The process of harvesting cork is actually beneficial to reducing greenhouse gasses because the tree absorbs five times the amount of CO2.

 “I’ve been sewing with cork for 8 years and it has brought me into a new era of sewing. I started off as a patchwork gal, making bags for friends, then I delved into clothing; but have since morphed into all accessories since starting my cork journey.”

For her class at the expo, she will explain her most popular published patterns, the Gallivanter Passport Wallet. This pattern is best for beginners or any experienced crafter looking to practice techniques. Perfect size to fit your passport and a few cards to help organize your travel plans! The passport wallet is described as ‘a slim yet roomy universal fit passport wallet with 4 recessed card slots, 2 passport areas, 1 slip pocket, 1 cash slot, and a zipper coin pouch.’

The Gallivanter Passport Wallet from

Nicole is active on YouTube and is well adjusted to teaching especially to beginners. The goal of her videos are to provide a relaxed and supportive environment for all her viewers as well as showcasing new challenges and techniques. 

“I’m hoping that my class will be fun and lively! Going into this new atmosphere I’m not sure what to expect, but if you ever watch my youtube videos then you’ll get an idea of my teaching style. I’m hoping that making this project will inspire creativity and a love for all things cork!”

Nicole’s advice to new crafters is to keep an open mind!

“It’s not that you can’t, it’s that you haven’t learned yet! We all bring our own set of skills to the table, and we’re not all on the same level, but that’s what makes it fun!”

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