A beautiful Sunday here in North Carolina . . . bright blue skies, lots of sunshine, the temperature and humidity letting you know that summer is just about here. And it’s Father’s Day. I’ve wanted to do nothing but watch sappy movies and pull the covers over my head. I haven’t even been able to post well wishes for those great Dad’s I know on my Facebook feed.
You see, five years ago this month, I lost my Dad. We didn’t have that close bond like a lot of daughter’s do with their fat Continue reading →
The Oxford Dictionary states the definition of the verb BLOSSOM as, “mature or develop in a promising or healthy way” and that’s what I’ve been doing! About the time I wrote my last post, I received an invite asking me to participate in ‘Repurposed: An Upcycled Fashion Show & Auction.’ It was being sponsored by The City of Charlotte’s Solid Waste Services and Healthy Communities. The city of Charlotte has a trash problem and they wanted to raise awareness about recycling. Residents accumulate about 1,600 pounds of garbage per person per year. It goes into landfills and produces dangerous gasses, which cause pollution and ultimately diseases. Upcycling is a waste reduction solution. It was a unique, innovative concept and something I felt I really wanted to participate in. Continue reading →
In September of 2015, I was chatting online with my good friend, Margaret, and she told me about a conference she’d just heard about taking place in Chicago the following year, Sew Pro, for sewing professionals. She shared the link, and within 15 minutes we were both signed up. I wasn’t a quilter, pattern maker, fabric designer, or any of the other professions this conference appeared geared towards, it didn’t matter. I was missing my good friend, I hadn’t seen her in over six years, and I’d never been to Chicago . . . girls weekend, birthday celebration (it was her birthday weekend!), and a little sewing talk, woo hoo!! I was sold!
As the days were getting closer, I was getting more and more excited. The Facebook page was buzzing and I was already meeting some fellow sewists. I still didn’t feel that any of the tracks were for me, but was glad to learn that we didn’t have to follow a specific one. I’ll admit, I’m embarrassed now to say, I wasn’t familiar with any of the names on the roster (sorry Pat,Tula, Sara,Kristin, Spoonflower, etc.) . . . except for Mimi G. I knew she had a line of patterns for Simplicity and I liked her style. My expectations of the weekend were nil . . . I’d lived in my own little sewing bubble for eons, I didn’t know anyone else that sewed. I always felt alone in this creative world of turning large rectangles of fabric into pieces of art that hug women’s curves. You see, I’m a sewist who creates clothes, mostly for others. And I’ve been doing it a long, long time!
I met my first fellow cloth lover at the airport . . . we were both arriving very early, hours before check in, and had connected online. From that initial meeting, I knew I was where I should be and it was just the start of developing friendships and networking that will continue for years to come.
It’s a jumble, still to me now, who I learned or heard what details from. I never realized there were so many avenues available that I could branch into and blossom my sewing brand. Like Mimi G said, pick one, get good at it, and then move on another. I think the biggest impact came from Roseann Kermes of Rosebud Cottage when she told me, “You can do this, and start with getting on social media!” I have my work cut out for me, but I’m happy to say that I immediately got on Instagram and Pinterest, got a new computer, and now I’m delving into the blog arena. I have so much to learn and even more knowledge to share.
After SewPro concluded on Saturday, there were a group of us that boarded the El train and headed into the city. Crazy photos at The Bean in Millennium Park, being tourists and snapping pictures of everything we saw on the streets, and getting six women to agree on where to eat dinner, so much fun and there was lots of bonding with new friends.
We walked several blocks and came across Bohemian House, a restaurant just over the river and down a little side street. We walked in and I exclaimed, “Sewing machines!!” Yep on the back bar, fate . . . and there have been more signs since, which I’ll save for other blogs, but I am confident I’m heading in the right direction.
I came home with a head full of ideas and plans and an email message, “I have a client, she’s a fabric designer, and attending Quilt Market in Houston, and looking for someone to create some garments for her out of her new line, are you interested?” Ummmmmm, yes I am!!!! The stars were already starting to align . . . I had just heard about quilt market at Sew Pro and had made a mental note that I’d like to work with a fabric designer (or two) on some clothing samples. Never did I expect to do so for an event that was mere weeks away!
From all my takeaways of this experience, I wanted to design something. Oh, okay, it was a requirement to participate in this blog hop . . . so, I quickly put my pencil to paper to see what transpired. I wanted something to wrap myself in that was my aesthetic, my style and would forever keep the memories alive. A jacket, perfect for the fall September days of Chicago, grey like The Bean mirrors, to always reflect who I am. Some chevron shaped inserts to remind me to always reach for the stars, these pieces should be colorful and pieced like a quilt, to remind me of all my friendships and how different people are entwined in our lives, placed close to my heart and waist, like a hug. A Mimi G pattern as my base, to always remember how she inspired me. A hi/low hem as I know there will be ups and downs. The SewPro experience is still surreal to me.
The gray suiting has finally arrived and pattern altering (Simplicity #1016) has begun. I’ll need to do a muslin first to get the fit right. The fabric designer, Jackie McFee of Camelot Fabrics, from Market has given me permission to use her scraps. One is a chevron and her line, My Gray or the Highway is befitting, don’t you think . . .
***Enter the Sew Pro Giveaway below to win a Fabric Bundle and Patterns***
According to Threads Magazine, Sewist: a relatively new term, combining the words “sew” and “artist”, to describe someone who creates sewn works of art, which can include clothing or other items made with sewn elements. Sewer vs. Sewist – ThreadsIt sure beats being a Sewer! (an underground conduit for carrying off drainage water and waste matter.) After calling myself a ‘seamstress,’ for the past 30 plus years, this term is starting to grow on me!
I began my foray down the creative path with fabrics and my sewing machine in my youth. Designing cloth clothing for my paper dolls when I was around seven, or so my mother tells me. Fifty years later and the passion has not waned. Over the years I’ve made numerous articles of clothing for myself as well as sewing for others, primarily women, curvaceous women at that. I’ve taken on the aesthetic of ‘Real Women have Curves’ with a tag line of ‘Let me flatter yours!’ It’s a niche I’ve found myself very good at, being a big, curvy girl myself!!
I’m starting this venture to document all the things I create with fabric, needle and thread. There have been so many items and people, and as I get older I want something to go back to, to remember and relive these moments, some good and some not so good. Along the way I hope to weave tales of times past, what I’ve learned, and what I can teach, share and pass on to others who are as passionate about sewing as I am. I hope you’ll follow me on this journey – what’s more amazing than taking a rectangle of cloth, cutting it into different shapes, zip it under the pressure foot of a sewing machine, stitch away, and in no time you have an article of clothing to wear! Yep, it’s an art.
I have no professional training, I’ve read very little literature on sewing and couture, my skills have been developed over many years, with lots of patience, and a damn good seam ripper!! I didn’t have the internet or you tube tutorials to hone my craft, very few others in my adult life even know how to thread a needle and sew on a button. For me, it’s just been practice, practice, practice. And all that practicing sure has paid off!!
I’m heading into the studio now, but will be back soon with a lot more to share!