Friday, March 27, 2009

My sewing story

OH, there aren't to many people that can say sewing is their passion. Here's what I'll say... my dm says that she was glad I was the youngest because when the other kids were at school (I'm the youngest of 6) and she didn't know what to do with me for the afternoon she would give me a bag of scrap fabric and I'd be happy all day long. That is how much it is in my blood! My oldest sister (who is the oldest) was a great seamstress. When she was in high school she would make these wonderful dresses out of much funner fabric than my DM would ever use. For some reason she wouldn't volunteer her scraps. I had to dig them out of the garbage. It use to make her so mad But they were just too fabulous to stay in the trash and my dolls really needed them. I also would pull up a chair next to my mom when she was sewing and just watch. I sewed all my clothes in high school and college and through 5 years of single parenting.

My life dream as a child was to be a fashion designer. I have parents who didn't know how to help you achieve your dream. I ended up getting a Fashion Merchandising AS degree from LDS Business college.
 I loved working retail but after marrying young, having a baby, and becoming a single parent. Retail was just not going to work. I worked for a clothing manufacturer sewing garments and then also working in the warehouse. I worked for them for 5 years. I decided I needed a much more lucrative career. I went back to college at the U of U. Just a couple of weeks before I started classes my DH and I started dating. I ended up getting married again and staying home with my then 6 yr old DD. I also gained weight, was home for the first time as a parent.
 Sewing for myself wasn't as easy anymore and I started watching Eleanor Burns on PBS. This was back in 1992. So this started a 15 yr love affair with quilting, and I have to say I am very good at it. It came very naturally to me. I could figure everything out and retain information from classes like I was meant to do it. I joined quilt guilds and also a surface design group. I became very efficient at dying, manipulating, printing and anything else surface related to fabric. I found a world so fabulous that I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was introduced to art quilting and studied processes to make art quilts. I took all kinds of classes involving regular quilt making and artsy compositions. I still can spout out rules for seam allowances for which kind of piecework you want. Quarter sq triangle, add 1 1/4 inch to a square.

Eventually my DH and I moved to CA. I grew up here so it wasn't a huge shock. We moved to the San Francisco Bay area. 107 miles from the home I grew up in. I still quilted and continued to sell Mary Kay. I was selling quite a bit of Mary Kay but alas my sewing won out. I still sell makeup just not as much as I used to.

During the second year of living here I was introduced to a jewelry designer that lives in my town.http://www.twisted-silver.com/
Because I think in a visual way and artistically I was immediately inspired again about my childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer. While talking to Debbie, she realized I should have her beloved fabric and trims, which she would no longer be using but wanted the right home for it all. I became the right home. I made her a custom, fabulous dress from part of it and also repurposed some clothing items from a second hand store. She was so taken with this dress it has become her favorite. I told her about my dream as a child. She responded that you never know what may happen. In the ensuing months she would tell me that she thought fashion is where she felt it was at for me. Thanks to her encouragement I have gone back to my original love of fashion design. I started sewing apparel again and LOVING it.

Last year I discovered while in a wacky fabric store and overhearing and butting into a conversation that there is a fashion department at a community college. About 35-40 miles way from my home. This woman informed me that it WOULD be worth my drive. (It takes over an hour with traffic in the morning and about 50 minutes without) Living here in CA is great. For only $20 a credit you can attend community college. For under a hundred dollars you can be in a specific class for a semester. That is a no brainer in my book. It costs less than any kind of sewing related daily workshop where the fees run anywhere from $40 to $100+ a day.
I currently am enrolled in a tailoring class. It is so much fun . I feel like a kid on christmas morning.

I also love felting, although I haven't done as much of it as I would like. Speaking of which I went to Exotic Silks after my class on Wednesday to buy lining for my jacket and overheard some ladies talking about felting. One of them had on this wonderful nuno felted vest. I just had to go see it. (I took a class on this several years ago and loved it) It is where you take wool roving and felt it into a sheer fabric to create a wearable felted fabric. Turns out this woman is here from Kansas City giving a workshop today and tomorrow. And get this, they had a space in tomorrow's workshop!!! I wouldn't have been permitted except that today is the learning curve and since I've had some experience they could let me come. They also asked if I was busy that afternoon. I had to get back here to the east bay to get my ds from school. Otherwise you know I would have taken off and gone felting with them. This woman who is doing the workshop is Sharon Kilfoyle. Her website is http://sharonkilfoyle.com/ and the woman who organized the workshop is Lorri Scott her web site is http://lasfibers.com/
I can't wait until tomorrow. 

2 comments:

  1. Suzanne Michelle HarmonMarch 30, 2009 at 9:20 AM

    Hi Melanie! LOVED reading your blog. I think we are somehow related, I really do! And we both have the exact same color of hair. You are an exceptional artist and very talented with fabrics.

    I'll be back many, many, times!

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  2. It sounds just like you to be digging in garbage to get scraps! :)

    ReplyDelete