One year ago, after I had just moved to Baton Rouge, I was sitting in my studio wondering what my next step would be. I had just completed a Fair Fit menswear collection and had worked with a couple interns from Louisiana State University, teaching them many of my techniques and strategies for creating a clothing collection.
Even though this was a great accomplishment, I still felt unfulfilled. Though I love my creative fashion practice, it was keeping me in a very tight niche and I wasn’t really sharing my love for the craftsmanship that I had spent 15+ years learning and developing.
I took a few months off to reexamine the direction I was taking with my life’s work. Something was separating me from reaching more people, from allowing me to share the knowledge, skill, and love for the craft of sewing and fashion. Then I received the idea - why don’t you start offering sewing classes?
I started sewing when I was 6 years old. I loved the idea that if I could imagine it - by learning to sew - I could make the idea in my head. I asked my mom for a sewing machine and she gave me a needle and a paper towel. And I worked with it. And when my aunt gave me her bag of cloth scraps, I started to hand sew outfits for my pound puppies and my barbie dolls. I even sewed my own action figures and started sewing dollhouse furniture and all kinds of toys. I loved it.
My mom gave me my first sewing machine when I was 11 years old, and thats when I started to make my own clothes. Sewing made me feel unlimited. I grew up on a farm in Iowa before the internet, yet I loved fashion. So, I made my clothes. And I taught myself for years by sifting through 60’s and 70’s sewing and craft books.
As far as textile and fashion education goes, I did go whole hog. Any workshop I could take, I took it. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Iowa in Painting and Drawing. I attended the dye and surface design workshops from Penland School of Craft. I completed my 10,000 hours of silkscreen, fabric printing, garment construction and clothing production by operating and owning 2 clothing lines since the age of 23. I've tried and failed and practiced as many skills from the world of fashion and craft over the course of 15 years. I have a lot of knowledge and I want to share it.
When I was working on my masters degree in Fiber and Material Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I had designed and taught a garment construction curriculum at an art center in the city. I created it and taught it from the perspective that people love the idea of making their own clothes and people will love sewing once they get a chance to try it. But, what stops people are the beliefs that it takes a lot of time and that it's a difficult craft to learn.
I have seen sewing taught from a painful perfectionist perspective - that you need to account for every millimeter and every seam has to be painstakingly executed. The directions given on construction and in patterns are too complex and with way too many steps that take up way too much time. Gee! We wonder why the craft is dying and no one knows how to sew anymore! This approach to teaching sewing has really killed the desire to try it, and created the mindset that sewing is impossible and or that you must be some crazy perfectionist with incredible hand eye coordination to do it and not to mention the time you need to spend working on one project.
I want to show people that it's doesn't have to take a ton of time, and with the right techniques, tools and instructions anyone can do it.
Yes, you do need hand eye coordination, but in our first class I'll teach you tricks to make that easy right away. And yes, you do need accuracy, but in the first class I'll teach you the grace of seam allowance and how to hold the cloth so you can sew straight. And yes, sewing takes practice, but you don’t have to practice through painstakingly complex steps to create a simple skirt. I work on simplifying what steps are most critical, and eliminating the excess of information that intimidates beginner students.
To help people to fall in love with sewing, I bring all my expertise and the tricks I've developed over the years to help them save time and to experience, right away, the satisfaction of creating their own clothing.
In the Fair Fit sewing classes, I teach you how to sew in the limited amount of time we have to develop a hobby in this busy age. I design my classes in 2 to 3 to 4 week intensives, to accommodate busy work and activity schedules, and our class size is kept small in order to give you that individualized attention that a beginning seamster needs.
Sewing does take practice, and you must pay attention to the steps that I show you and put forth a dedicated effort to apply what I teach you in class. But when you leave our class, I want you to feel confident that you can go home and start a project.
Sewing has blessed my life. It has allowed me to create businesses, to meet interesting people and teachers, to travel to Europe and show my fashion, brought me to higher levels of education, it enriches my home and life in so many ways. I want you to love it too, and to see what the practice brings to your life.
Have any questions? Drop me a line.