Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"The Porch" - Sew Country Chick


 ***Today's guest is someone I often think of as my virtual sewing "mama". She's highly fashionable, has tons of experience sewing and designing, and I love hearing all about her sewing adventures! I'm glad she's here to sit on "The Porch" and chat!***

WELCOME, JUSTINE!!!

First off I 'd like to thank Vanessa for having me over for a little virtual chat on her porch!

I had to think to myself, if I were in the south sitting on Vanessa's porch, sipping mint juleps with her, what would little old me talk about?

I'm sure the subject of sewing would come up because that's how Vanessa and I met, both of us being sewing bloggers.

I might spin a little yarn about the long and winding road I took to becoming a somewhat skilled seamstress ...

I grew up in Los Angeles in the eighties. Sewing classes had been taken out of the public schools so I didn't have the opportunity to learn at school like the generation just before me did. My mom did have an old Kenmore that she bought at Sears to make some living room curtains with, but I don't remember her sewing much else, after those curtains were done.
At 14, I wanted to try making a skirt like I had seen Madonna, my teen idol wearing, so I got out Mom's sewing machine an old pillow case while my mom was at work, and I went to work. I ended up jamming up the sewing machine pretty badly, and put it away before my mom would find out.
I forgot all about my sewing ambitions until I decided to take a sewing class at the local community college four years later. We spent the whole semester making a straight skirt in the class with an interfaced separate waistband, a zipper, and a back vent. I was so proud of myself, but the fabric I chose was too stiff so I didn't wear it much.
At 20, I went to Florence, Italy for a semester to study Italian. While there, I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer! So I went back to the states, applied to FIDM in Los Angeles and was accepted based on my sketches. Fashion design school was difficult for me because my limited sewing skills made it almost impossible to realize the ambitious designs I was sketching. Surprisingly, when I applied to design school they asked to see my sketches only, not actual garments. Many of the students in design school were in the same boat as me and could barely sew when they started, but after two years we had gotten much better, although I still had trouble with zippers and you can forget about buttonholes!

So now I will flash forward almost twenty years... I had met my future husband while I was still a student, gotten married in a whirlwind, and had become a stay at home mom, indefinitely putting my career on hold. I was pregnant with my fourth child and had long since stopped sewing anything besides Halloween costumes, curtains, and pillows. We also had recently moved to the country from Los Angeles. I felt isolated and needed a creative outlet.
Suddenly I was seized with an urge to start making clothes again. Maybe my nesting instinct had gone haywire?! I started sewing simple things, like baby dresses and bibs.
I started my blog Sew Country Chick soon after that in July of 2010 and I haven't stopped sewing since. I am happy to say that say I love what I am doing now. It's such a blessing to have this great community of other sewists to share projects with and learn from. Anything you should want to learn about sewing and design is now available with a mouse click. It really is amazing! Blogging has also created other opportunities, like costume design jobs, teaching and speaking opportunities. And hopefully I will have some of my own  pattern designs to release this summer. You see, it's never to late to figure out what it is you love to do!
Thanks for having me Vanessa, and although I missed hanging out on your porch for real, at least I didn't get any mosquito bites! Stop by my blog Sew Country Chick sometime for a visit!

Aw, thanks Justine! I love hearing all about your journey to sewing and YES, I am positive we would have chatted about that! You are such an inspiration to keep learning! Thanks for coming and being a part of this little series! You are awesome! 

See more of Justine at Sew Country Chick!