Teacher Spotlight: Hillary O'Dell

Posted on 07 May 2024

By Anna Mejorada

Welcome to the second installment of our Teacher Spotlight series where we feature one of the wonderfully talented teachers you’ll meet by taking a workshop at Brooklyn Craft Company.

In this edition, we have Hillary O’Dell a Brooklyn-based designer, sewist, and “creative Jane-of-all-Trades” who leads various classes throughout the year. From seasonal wreath-making to macrame and sewing courses at all levels, including our latest workshops designed for kidssummer sessions just launched, and fall season after-school sign-ups coming soon! 

"I really love teaching beginners because it is such a gratifying evolution for both of us as they go from not knowing anything to making a skirt or a tote.”

O’Dell started teaching at Brooklyn Craft Company last summer, through a recommendation from a friend, and another of our wonderful sewing teachers, Diana Rodgers

“I love it when people come back to my class and tell me they hear my voice guiding them in their head.” A life-long student, O’Dell is continuously expanding her skillset and developing her communication method to better engage with students. “In my life, I seek to understand and be understood, and I’m always learning too!” She is even picking up a few lessons on knitting (check out her favorite yarn below) from Kristin Parker, our first Teacher Spotlight participant. In exchange, she is sharing her sewing expertise and know-how with Parker.

O’Dell’s interest in creating clothing started at a young age from a desire for self-expression. “I always loved styling myself which led to a lot of deconstruction and reconstruction, both out of interest and out of necessity, I would look in my closet and see what I could reinvent." She did it all by hand—mending, altering, and adding personal flair—until the age of 18, when she finally got a sewing machine. Her path took her from Texas to Illinois to Michigan before arriving in New York City—where she has proudly spent most of her life—to study fashion design at Parsons. 

In addition to teaching at Brooklyn Craft Company, O’Dell is the creative mastermind behind the boutique fashion brand, Hilandel, the name is derived from her full name Hillary Anne O’Dell, recently offering a limited-edition collection of ready-to-wear pieces and specializing in custom bridal. 

From weddings of all sizes to birthdays, and any occasion someone wants to celebrate, O’Dell collaborates with clients to help them feel their absolute best. “I love making the avant-garde more attainable and helping others celebrate themselves through fashion.” Each custom gown she creates starts with a personal consultation, “it’s really a bit of a therapy session,” and by sourcing materials and keeping production local, O’Dell minimizes CO2 emissions, making unique looks more sustainable. 

A resident of Astoria and a vegan, when in Greenpoint, O’Dell’s favorite spot to grab a sweet treat is Happy Zoe Vegan Bakery on Nassau Avenue—about a 10-minute walk from our little pink shop on Greenpoint Avenue. You can get updates from O’Dell by checking out her website, Hilandel.com, and by following along on her adventures via Instagram @hil.an.del.

From Sewing 101—where participants make a tote bag or a skirt—to sewing with stretchy knits to make leggings, and garment workshops where you can make a dress, blouse, or pants, check out the upcoming sewing classes led by O’Dell along with her favorite items in the shop.

And if you have kids aged 8-12 in your care, we’d love to hear from you by filling out this form to help shape our future kids' workshops. You’ll also be signed up to learn more about our latest offerings for kids.

Upcoming workshops with Hillary:
SEWING 101 MAKE A SKIRT WORKSHOP - 5/16, 6/15, or 6/29


Hillary’s favorite items in the shop: 
This 44-inch wide 100-percent organic cotton by Cloud9 Fabric is perfect for simple garments.

This merino wool yarn has a smooth texture and semi-solid colors. It's great for bulky cables and bold textures in accessories, outerwear, housewares, toys, and more.
This 43-inch wide linen-cotton blend by Robert Kaufman is ideal for garments with a lightweight feel offering a nice.

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