I have decided (with the help of Erin) to start a new installment here called : Sewers Interview Series. I am going to interview many talented and awesome sewers ( be prepared for some of you to receive emails from me so you can be featured and interviewed) so that we can all learn from them and see what they do. Plus it is fun for me!!! So lets begin.
I am going to start with the person that taught me how to sew and in my opinion can sew anything and everything, from drapes, clothes, wedding dresses (yup she made mine) , bedding, pillows, quilts, etc. My Mom, Helen.
Q: Mom how old were you when you started to sew?
A: My Mom started me sewing when I was 8. I started on a pedal machine that was my grandmas. I sewed very simple things on that machine since it was a pedal machine and you had to pump it yourself there was no electricity.
Q: Who taught you to sew?
A: My Mother. She was a beautiful seamstress, she was called a " blue ribbon" seamstress. Anything she would submit to the fair she won the top prize for.
Q: What do you know how to sew?
A: I used to make my clothes in high school. I would start on something on Monday so that I could have it done on Friday for the dance. I learned to make draperies when I was 19. The first ones I made were out of orange burlap, 24 feet long by 8 feet, ceiling to floor. Then I made pillows in my early 20's for the house. I made all the baby clothes including diapers once I started to have kids so that everything would match. You can buy anything today but back then you could not so you had to make it yourself if you wanted it. Sewing was a necessity, there was no shops to buy dresses or anything you wanted so you had to make it.
Q: Have you always use patterns?
A: Yes I have always used patterns. I have learned to combine patterns and to enlarge them or make them smaller. I just threw away 250 patterns that I have had since the 50's! I had to learn to read a pattern in high school but my greatest teacher was my mother.
Q: What is your favorite thing to sew?
A: I enjoy today, at my age, alterations. I like to make things for other people but never for myself anymore. I earn the most money doing alterations. I started doing alterations for a cleaners years ago and it earned me the most money so I kept doing it. My ultimate favorite thing to make is brides maids dresses. I usually would alter the wedding dress too. I have made alot of fun costumes for people too.
Q:Do you have something that you made that is your favorite?
A: In 1971 my parents moved and I made my mothers bedspread out of tapestry fabric, with fringe, pillows and draperies for her bedroom. I then went to a class to learn how to make blinds. You would dip the fabric in a solution to make the fabric stiff and you would let it dry and then cut and trim it, then you could make it into a window shade. You now can buy iron on but back then you had to do it yourself.
Q: What is your favorite fabric line/ Designer?
A: I don't follow the fabric lines like you do. That is a new thing, it has not been popular until recently. I would not know if I bought name brands. I would just go to Los Angeles on San Pedro Street to the Garment District and there is streets full of fabric. I would go there and just buy what I liked. It is the best place to buy fabric.
Q: What are some of your sewing secrets?
A: 1. Use dressmaker pins which are longer. It makes things so much easier.
2. I always have a magnet pincushion so that I can throw the pins on it and they stick. It makes things faster and easier.
3. Anyone that wants to sew clothes has to have a Serger, it is the best machine to finish the inside seams, it cuts your time in half.
4. Always have an old cotton sheet to use to iron with as a pressing cloth. Use it on anything that is nice so that it doesn't cause your nice clothes and/or fabrics to get a shine.
5. A really nice padded ironing board. When you press your seams open it makes the seams so much flatter and nicer. Ironing is the most important thing a seamstress does. Iron as you go.
6. If you want a curve, cut your fabric on the bias. Bias cut makes the fabric curve when you sew it.
There you go the first installment of SEWERS INTERVIEW SERIES. I hope you enjoyed hearing from my Mom. Stay tuned for a new installment with a new sewer every month.