2013 ESSENTIAL TOPS SEW-A-LONG FINISHED PROJECTS

March 1, 2016

CHICAGO, CHICAGO...

...I've only pit stopped at Chicago's O'Hare Airport a couple of times en route from California to New York. Yet, there are so many sights AND people I'd like to see there. One of them being the lovely Cennetta Burwell known to many as The Mahogany Stylist.  I've been an avid reader of  Cennetta's blog for nine years now and just in case you haven't, take this as an introduction - a peek into the goings on of a real couture sewist.  You'd better believe that every garment produced by this lady is really something for the eye to behold.




Cennetta, what things excite and inspire you in your sewing and the designs that you create?


CENNETTA:  There are so many things that inspire me to create my designs.  It is a combination of so many things.  To make it simple, I am inspired by people, photos in a magazine and books, movies, a color, many designers, Pinterest, online fashion websites, other sewists/designers and (bloggers).

  
Have you had formal training or are you self taught?

CENNETTA:  I’m self-taught.  I started sewing when I was ten years ago.  In middle school I took sewing for one semester.  Within the past ten years, I participated in several workshops and seminars, which include:  Palmer/Pletsch Fit and Teacher workshops, Sandra Betzina’s Retreat, several workshops taught by John Koch (Designer and Milliner), Rhonda Buss and Susan Khalji (Designers).

I come from a family of creative people; both of my grandmothers where sewers and mom also sews.  So it was only natural for me to pick up on some sort of craft. 

What are your favorite items to sew?

CENNETTA:  I like sewing fashion in general.  But I must say my favorite garment to sew is a dress.  In the beginning, my favorite was sewing pants.  This desire was out of necessity. My legs are very long.  Back then I was thin as a rail.  So it was very difficult to find pants that fit and were long enough.





What garment or project has presented the biggest challenge to you?

CENNETTA:  The most challenging aspect of my sewing experience has been fitting the bodice.  All types of bodices.  This is an area I have aggressively pursued over the past 15 years.  Sometimes the jacket and coat linings aren’t as polished as I’d like at the hem.  As far as challenging project, I guess I would say some of the formals that I have made for clients.  
What garment(s) to date would you call your masterpiece(s)?
 CENNETTA:  Ms. Faye that is a hard one.  I don’t think I’ve created a “masterpiece” yet.  But if I must name something that I’m very proud of it would be my sister’s prom dress, my striped jacket, and the green military style coat I made for my daughter.



 What are your favorite fabric sources?


CENNETTA:  My favorite brick and mortar stores are in Chicago:  Fishman’s Fabrics and Vogue Fabrics.  My favorite online stores are Mood and Fabric Mart.

Do you ever shop for fabric online?
CENNETTA:   Yes

Are there any sewing techniques that you have not mastered yet, but plan to work on?

CENNETTA:  There are too many to name.  I want to master the technique of making a French jacket.  I started one in 2012 and have yet to complete it.  I really need to finish it. Lol!  I think the hardest thing about it is that it takes so many hours to complete.  Tailored shirts would be the next thing.  I’d like to make flawless button down shirts with French cuffs, collar stands, plackets, etc.  All perfect and polished.  Finally, flawless in-set sleeves and welt pockets of all shapes and sizes.

If you could only have five (5) patterns, which five would that be and why?


CENNETTA:  My five slopers would be:  McCall 5818, Simplicity 4076, New Look 6824, Simplicity 2508, and Vogue 9029.  These five patterns provide basic designs for essential wardrobe pieces.  Using these patterns I could create several different designs.



Other than garment sewing are there other crafts that you enjoy?


CENNETTA:  I like making accessories too:  hats, purses, and some home dec.  I also draw, crochet and do a little knitting.


Can you tell us a little about your sewing machine arsenal?

CENNETTA:  My sewing machines are all Singer products.  I have Singer sewing machines and one serger.  My oldest machine is about 25 years old.  Back then it retailed for about $2,500.  I got it for $1,200.  The second machine was supposed to be my backup machine, but lately I use it more than the older machine.  Finally, I purchased my serger about 10 years ago.  I owned another prior to then, but it not in my possession now.  I’m the market to purchase some new machines.  But I haven’t decided what yet.  I’d like an industrial sewing machine.

Do you have a favorite sewing or crafting tip to share with us?


CENNETTA:  I like to make the finishings of some garment stand out.  Sometimes I finish seams using the Hong Kong method.  While attending the Sandra Betzina retreat, I was taught an easy way to make my own binding.  Here is the link to the tutorial:    http://themahoganystylist.blogspot.com/2012/11/making-your-own-bias-tape-tutorial.html
Also, I like to hand picked zippers occasionally adding beans.  Here is a link to Threads tutorial on how to do it:  http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/5135/a-hand-picked-zipper-is-worth-the-effort.


How did you become involved in the Haute Couture Club of Chicago, and what are some of the things the organization does?
 CENNETTA:  Margaret Moser, then the President, contacted me asking if I'd like to be a member.  I went to my first meeting October 2009.  You can imagine how excited I was being in a room full of sewists/designers.  Just awesome.  This is a great organization located in Chicago.  I don't know how anyone who sews could not be a part of it.  Here is the link to the official website:  Haute Couture Club of Chicago, NFP








sewing club

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On the website, you will find all the details regarding events and fashion shows.  In summary, we meet the first Saturday of most months during the year. The meetings consist of up-dates of activities and announcements, program (guest speakers), and show and share. There  are also workshops and outings supported and sponsored by the club.


Last, but certainly not least, Cennetta is a member of the Mood Sewing Network.  Please be sure to stop in to visit The Mahogany Stylist - where you will always find a treat for your eyes in the form of impeccably sewn garments.  Cennetta says "Home Economics is still very much en Vouge"...

50 comments:

  1. Thanks for this interview, Faye. Cenetta is one of the most amazing sewists out there and I am always so impressed with the fit and style of her work. Couture, for sure!

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    1. Thank you, Bunny.

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    2. Thank you for reading Bunny!

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  2. Great interview and enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for sharig

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  3. Thank you, Faye, for giving me an opportunity to share with your readers. Dear you gave me way too much credit. Couture sewist.., not by a long shot. Lol aspiring sewist would be a better decription. Thank you again.

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    1. Cennetta - Couture for real!

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    2. Thank you Sheila! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. Hope to see you at Pattern review this year in Chicago. I will be there.

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    1. You girls have a wonderful time Tany!

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    2. I haven't decided yet.

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  5. Hope to see you at Pattern review this year in Chicago. I will be there.

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  6. Great interview Faye! Congratulations and thanks Cennetta, this was a great peek at who you are!

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    1. Myra, as usual thank you for reading!

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    2. Sure thing, Ms. Myra.

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  7. Great interview! I'm a long-time fan of Cenetta!!!

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    1. TEE IKR! Thanks for reading and hope your hand is healing perfectly!

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  8. Thanks, Faye, for giving us all the opportunity to get to know Cennetta a little better! She is an inspiration.....

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    1. My pleasure Patty thanks so much for reading!

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  9. Thanks, Faye, it was wonderful to get to know Cennetta better.

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  10. Love this interview. Thanks for asking about the 5 pattern choices. That was great to know how people create their wardrobes.

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    1. Thank you, Aysun.

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    2. Thank you Aysun! Yes, I am so noisy asking about people's favorite 5 patterns - but it's such great information!

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  11. Cennetta from the Chi...she's so Chiiiii...:-). I love, love, love the striped jacket. That is a true masterpiece and evidence of some serious skill and ability. Another great interview Miss Faye!

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  12. Very inspiring interview! great pattern selections and your masterpieces are great! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Anabelle thanking you for reading the interview, now I'm following you by Bloglovin!

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  14. Great interview Faye! I follow Cennetta and am always amazed at how beautifully she fits her garments.

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    1. Thank you, Tomasa! You are a dear.

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    2. You are so right about Cenetta's fitting abilities Tomasa.

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  15. I love these interviews & the chance to get to know such talented sewists ! Cennetta has such a great style & I enjoyed learning more about her

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    1. Oh, MaryEllen. Thank you so much.

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    2. So glad you enjoyed Cennetta's interview MaryEllen!

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  16. PR weekend will be in Chicago this year Faye, if you want to get off the plane at O'Hare!!

    Another great interview Faye! Cennetta is couture for sure!

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    1. Hey Kyle. Thanks, I'm still debating on PR Weekend.

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    2. I won't be able to get there but girls have a marvelous time!

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  17. Great interview. I have also followed Cennetta's blog and find it very interesting. Love her style too! Thanks for taking the time to do this Linda.
    Cecil

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the interview Cecil!

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    2. Thank you, Cecil.

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  18. Faye, you've done another great interview. Cennetta is one of my favorite bloggers. She is so talented

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    1. I agree Rose, and thank you so much for reading!

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