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American Seams

NY Premiere

Directors: Carly Jakins and Jared Jakins

United States, 2024, 17 min

Shooting Format:Digital

Festival Year:2024

Category:Documentary Short

Cast:Brenda Bailey, Sara Buscaglia, Susan "Traditional Woman" Hudson

Crew:Producers: Carly Jakins, Jared Jakins, Malone Hansen, Hunter Phillips, Kelyn Ikegami. Cinematography: Jared Jakins. Lighting: Leesie Clegg. Composer: Brendan Eder. Sound: Nathan Christofferson.


The stories of three quilters reveal an intimate portrait of rural women in the American West. Featuring Brenda Bailey, Sara Buscaglia, and Susan "Traditional Woman" Hudson.


About the directors

Carly Jakins - Carly Jakins is a documentary filmmaker whose work has been curated by The Atlantic and ITVS's Independent Lens. Her debut, Ghosts on the Mountain, was the Documentary Short award winner at the American Society for Visual Anthropology and Heartland Film Festival in 2014. Jakins has produced and co-directed several other award-winning short documentaries, including producing the feature documentary, Scenes From the Glittering World (PBS, 2022). She is currently engaged in exploring the experiences of rural women near her home in the Western United States.

Website Filmography

Jared Jakins -

Filmmakers' note

My grandmother was an avid quilter. I have memories of her sunroom crowded with piles of fabric, numerous antique sewing machines, and talk of her ongoing projects and quilting groups. I was in awe when at 7 years old, she gave me my first quilt of purple and pink stars with little blue flowers on the border - a quilt which I have passed on to my children.

As a filmmaker, I wanted to capture her passion for her practice, but missed that opportunity when she passed away in 2023. Soon after, the idea for American Seams was born as a way to explore her legacy in my life.

Throughout the centuries, quilting has been closely associated with domesticity and the household, reflecting the roles and responsibilities traditionally assigned to women. In my culture, women are largely responsible for creating and maintaining the home, and quilting has historically been an integral part of that sphere. To many, these ideas of gender roles may seem archaic, but they are still very much a dominant experience for rural women in the American West.

American Seams captures the stories of three quilters. These women carry a matriarchal responsibility as keepers of people, land, and culture. They developed their art through the metamorphosis of motherhood and domestic responsibilities, and use quilting to support their survival.

With this film, I wanted to simulate the richness of experiencing a quilt - noting the meticulous process, materials, and methods, while hearing the stories that the quilt itself may hold. As each woman has a different approach to quilting, each vignette has its own style as well. The importance of interior and exterior places, the motif of hands, and the de nu meau of the quilt portraits creates a visual quilt of what it means to me to be a woman in the contemporary American West.

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