March 11, 2016


according to the prevailing style or fashion.  She's also Couture et Tricot - because she sews and she knits.  I've been reading the blog content of this talented lady for a very long time.  I can remember seeing her tutorials illustrating thread tracing, and thinking "wow, I'd like to learn that".  I've virtually watched Tany log in countless painstaking hours producing her labors of love - her coats in particular.  Once she even helped me translate instructions for a  little Patrones jacket pattern - how kind of her! Just in case you haven't read her blog, I'll tell you ahead of time that every single visit is a learning experience in itself.

What things excite and inspire you in your sewing and the designs that you create?
(Tany) I am inspired by a LOT of things, and I feel that the internet and blogging plays an important role as my main source of inspiration and ideas. I love seeing what other sewing bloggers create and I am very lucky to have found many friends through blogging. I also like to keep informed about trends and fashion in general and I’m an avid consumer of street style and personal style blogs.

I am always interested in learning about how people learned to sew.  Have you had formal training or are you self taught?  Can you share your story with us?
(Tany) I am mostly self-taught; I mean I have never had any kind of formal training in garment sewing. There was a dressmaker who lived next door and when I was about 11-12 years old I began spending my summer break afternoons watching her to sew. I was fascinated by her sewing machine (an old Oliva) and one day I asked her to teach me how to thread it. I remember her telling me that the first thing to learn is how to stitch on a straight line (it’s not as easy as it sounds, if you never used a sewing machine before!). She had me practicing stitching over a plaid fabric, just following the straight lines with an unthreaded sewing machine, until I was able to feed the fabric to a straight seam. Then she taught me how to oil and thread the machine. The next day, when my mother came back from work, I had her old Singer all set up and oiled and I showed her my first creation: a fabric bag with a draw-string (the kind we used to store the bread). The following days Mrs. Lucilia taught me how to trace patterns from Burda magazines, how to cut, thread-trace and how to do hand-worked buttonholes (according to her, perfect hand-sewn buttonholes were the only option in fine sewing). Later I found and old sewing book that belonged to mother and start referring to it for instructions because Mrs. Lucilia’s Burda magazines were all in French and whenever she wasn’t available I had to figure out the instructions on my own. I started raiding any fabric that I could find at home (including my mother’s bead sheaths!) so I could turn it into my own self-made garments. I remember my first more elaborate self-made garment: a yellow seersucker shirt sewn during that same summer! I felt so proud of myself when I finished it… I wore it for many years. In my early years I sewed exclusively from Burda magazines without minding the instructions much because they were in French back in the day. This has made me grow sewing wise because I had to figure out the techniques researching from the few available book resources and sometimes by trial and error. I learned to think and solve problems on my own.

You make beautiful pants!  Can you share several of your pants fitting tips?

(Tany) I am not by all means a fitting expert. I know from experience that Burdastyle pants fit me without many (if any) alterations. My approach to fitting (pants or any other garments) has always been to carefully measure the pattern and to compare it to my own personal measurements, anticipating the main problem areas; my main issue with fitting has been weight fluctuations as I love more fitted garments. It wasn’t until I started blogging that I was introduced to standard seam allowances, along with commercial patterns other than the ones from BurdaStyle magazines. I used to mark the stitching lines and cut the seam allowances wide enough to comprise any alteration needed. I also used to hand baste the garment for fitting purposes. With years of experience I learned to assess a pattern, carefully measuring it and to know with a comfortable margin of error if it will work for me. Pants are indeed hard to fit but most of the fitting issues that I’ve seen came from not checking the pattern’s measurements (for example if you have larger thighs than average) and from wrong crotch depth and shape (again from not checking the pattern measurements and not knowing what works best for your body shape). Checking only the hip and waist measurement is not enough. I also think that paying close attention to getting the grain exactly right as you cut your fabric saved me from many problems. This was something I learned from Mrs. Lucilia and never forgot. As for the present day, whenever I am unsure about the fit, I always cut and fit a muslin first. It wasn’t the way I learned (Mrs. Lucilia would cut wide enough SAs, baste the garment together and fit it on the body of the client; I don’t remember her ever making a muslin) but I can certainly appreciate the value of a muslin specially if you are sewing with very expensive fabric and/or have difficult fitting issues to deal with.

What garment or project has presented the biggest challenge to you?
(Tany) It’s hard to pick one garment from the many I’ve made because I always try to challenge myself with each project. I think the most challenging garments to sew are coats, specially tailored coats, but then again I never tackled an evening gown or a bride’s dress.

What garment to date would you call your masterpiece?
 (Tany) Again, it’s a difficult choice. If I look into my recent achievements I would definitely point out my Chanel Inspired Little Black Jacket.

Can you tell us about your favorite fabric sources? and do you shop for fabric online?
(Tany) Other than the local fabric stores here in Aveiro, Portugal, I buy mostly online. I love GorgeousFabrics.com, I think Ann has a great eye for fabric and features an exquisite selection on her website. For tailoring fabrics my go-to supplier is an UK seller on ebay http://stores.ebay.co.uk/BRITISH-FABRICS, and I’ve recently discovered Linton Tweeds also in the UK.

Are there any sewing techniques that you have not mastered yet, but plan to work on?
(Tany) I’m always willing to learn new techniques as new challenges present themselves. I’d like to sew an elaborate evening gown with an understructure some day, something Couture leveled. Not so much on the sewing front, I’m now developing an interest into patternmaking. I’ve been researching a lot in that area lately.

If you could only have five (5) patterns, which five would that be and why?
(Tany) If I had the chance of having only five patterns, I wouldn’t pick any commercial patterns; I’d stick with a set of true-and-trued slopers or blocks that would allow me to develop any kind of garment of choice. A fitted bodice block, a skirt block, a pants block, a sleeve block and a jacket’s block would suffice. With a certain amount of work I could turn them into any style I want. If I had to pick from commercial patterns, I’d stick with the most versatile and classic ones (like a tailored blazer, a straight coat, a pencil skirt, straight pants and a fitted shirt).

I have long been inspired by your tailoring skills and have learned so much from your blog.  Can you share several any tailoring tips with us?

(Tany) Coats and jackets are my favorite garments to sew and I find myself employing different techniques on each one I make. The ones I consider to have been more thoroughly documented presenting the best learning resource to my readers are the Orwell coat.
(http://tanysewsandknits.blogspot.com/2007/02/costura-2007-1-casaco-orwell-2007.html), The Great Coat Sew-along Coat (http://tanysewsandknits.blogspot.com/2008/11/o-casaco-de-veludo-terminado-velvet.html ) and the Little Black Jacket that I’ve made recently (http://tanysewsandknits.blogspot.com/2015/09/20158-little-black-jacket-chanel.html ) - on my older posts remember to scroll down for the English text!
The Orwell coat was the first project that I posted about when I started blogging back in 2007 and is still one of the most emblematic coats that I’ve sewn so far. I shared all the construction details from start to finish, including how I customized a different pattern to meet the original Orwell coat’s design features.

The black velvet coat from The Great Coat Sew-along was my first traditionally tailored coat. Velvet on its own is a difficult fabric to work with, and tailoring it with horsehair canvas, padstitching, hand-applied lining, etc. was quite a challenge. Every step is fully documented on my blog, including many tailoring resources that I’ve listed along the way.
The Little Black Jacket was my first traditional Chanel-style jacket (I’ve also made the one in the first picture from a novelty denim-like fabric), and it’s also documented from start to finish. There were much more coats & jackets along my blogging journey, like the red Unrath & Strano suit, the Armani Knockoff coat and the ivory vintage Dior coat, just to name a few.

You’ve given us a peek at your sewing library from your blog; can you share a little about several of your favorite books?
(Tany) I am a book’s junkie and own many sewing, patternmaking and fiber arts books, ranging from vintage to modern editions. Many of them are in English and were acquired after I started blogging. (http://tanysewsandknits.blogspot.pt/search/label/Livros%20de%20Costura%20-%20Sewing%20Books ).

(Tany) I finish off by stating what a great pleasure and honor it has been to participate in Faye’s series of interviews! I met Faye through blogging and she has always been inspirational, supportive and kind; I treasure her friendship very much!

And I finish by stating that I love collaborating with this great sewists!  Tany actually has two blog locations:   http://tanyetlamode.blogspot.com/ her style blog, and http://tanysewsandknits.blogspot.com/.  You can also look her up on Facebook and Instagram where I'm sure you will find her showing great step-by-step pictorials of her construction details... 


  1. THANK YOU so much for the lovely interview, Faye! We are both lucky to be part of a great sewing blogging community. All I've been receiving from this community is support and love, and I'm happy if I can give some back :)

    1. You are so welcome my friend, and yes you do give back an awful lot!

  2. Another great interview Faye! This young lady's creations are beautiful and I've learned quite a bit just reading your interview! Thank you again for highlighting such creative souls! Congratulations Tany and thank you for sharing a little bit at yourself with us!

    1. Thank you so much Myra - every sewist needs to know about Tany!

  3. Tany was one of the first bloggers I followed and loved her work from the start. Her garments are all so beautiful and she is always willing to share her knowledge. A truly inspirational and wonderful person :)

    1. I'm in agreement Ann. Tany has wonderful skills JUST LIKE YOU! Thank you again for helping me with information when I made my Channelish jacket. I still can't believe I made it through that project!

    2. We "all" do love to share :)

  4. Mi admiración a Tany por sus impecables trabajos y por las fantásticas explicaciones que nos permiten seguir cada prenda paso a paso.

    1. Mary I wholeheartedly agree! I too admire Tany's work also because it does have impeccable details with fantastic explanations. Thank you so much for reading here!

  5. I'm a big Tany fan as well. I so admire her workmanship and sense of style. I can spend an evening browsing through her sewing and Mode blogs. Great interview Faye.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the interview Diana!

  6. Tany is a new-to-me sewing blogger-- I will have to check out her blogs now!

    1. That is wonderful Kyle. That is the whole purpose of the interview segments! Glad you liked it!

  7. Awesome job Faye!!! Loved the interview and now I can start following Tany too.

    1. Wonderful Lisa. Glad you liked it! Tany is an awesome blogger to follow!

  8. Have always loved Tany's blog. So much inspiration. Fun to read the interview.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. So glad you enjoyed reading Vicki. Thank you for reading!

  9. Great interview, Faye. Tany has always been one of my most favorite bloggers. Her skills are incredible and she truly inspires. She has taught so much to so many through her blog.

  10. Great Interview Faye. Tany is a master!!

    1. Thank you so much Carol. And I agree.

  11. Great interview Faye. I love Tany's work, she is so talented!

    x Diana

  12. Oh, how did I miss this post? Anyway, I've just read it. Thanks for this interview as I enjoyed reading about Tany very much. I will most definitely check out her blogs go forward!




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