March 15, 2016


...yes, that's right - ALABAMA (I know you've heard the song)!  Way back when I discovered that sewing blogs existed (circa 2006), Erica Bunker's DIY Style was the second blog I happened upon.  Everything I saw there inspired and motivated me to want to improve my sewing skills, and reach for higher heights in the techniques department - especially tailoring.  Oh, the language she used - shameless at best!  Line drawings, flat pattern measurements, pad stitching, back stays, turn of cloth.  I had never heard of such things!, and thought "what in the world"!  How would I ever learn such things?  But I kept reading and watching, and guess what?, I did learn!  So the moral of my story is: sometimes you need only look right next door (in this case a neighboring state - Alabama) to find out what you need to know.

I can't imagine that you haven't happened upon Erica's Blog, but just in case you haven't here's a little insight into her sewing world... 

Your garments are always so on point.  What inspires you most in the designs you sew and create?
ERICA:  The art of building my wardrobe.  I get to create ready-to-wear inspired pieces that are outside of my budget.  And I love seeing a high-end garment and being able to translate it to my own wearability.  Take for instance; I was just looking at a Ted Baker bodycon midi dress online.  I immediately started thinking about what the dress needs for it to work perfectly for me.  I would make it with an invisible zipper so it would be easier to pull on and off.  And add a walking vent so I can walk up and down stairs and enter and exit my car! 

Have you had formal training; or are you self taught?
ERICA:  I’m completely self-taught.  I would love to be able to take design classes.

What is your favorite garment(s) to sew, and why?
ERICA:  I like coats and jackets.  I love all of the steps involved.  Sometimes, I just want to work on a slow sewing project that will take days to sew.

What has been the most challenging garment you have ever made?
ERICA:  Thus far, Simplicity 1427, that huge, frothy pink tulle skirt!  That was my first time working with tulle.  I never say ‘never’, but I’m not looking forward to ever working with that amount of tulle again.  All of the gathering of that many yards at once was tedious and fiddly.  I don’t like tedious and fiddly!  I would rather sew silk chiffon than gather tulle.

What garment or garments to date would you call your “Masterpiece(s)?

ERICA:  The term “masterpiece” made me LOL!  I love my Vintage Vogue Paris Original 1023 – Christian Dior mohair coat.  If I must claim a masterpiece, it would be that coat.  For the last year, I’ve opened my hall coat closet just to pull it out and “pet” it!  I really appreciate the time and effort I put into that coat.  The channel stitching is pretty amazing if I do say so myself!  

Of all the fabulous patterns in your collection, if you could keep only 5 - which ones would you keep, and why?

McCall’s 2353 is my newest favorite.  It’s a great button down shirt pattern.

Vogue 9032 is the greatest pants pattern I’ve come across.

McCall’s 6886 is an amazing dress pattern with endless possibilities.

Vogue 1465 makes a great layering piece or it’s a great top on its own.

And Simplicity 2446 is my favorite blazer pattern.

You have been a member of the Mood Fabric Network for several years, can you tell us a little about that experience?
ERICA:  I love being part of the Mood Sewing Network.  Being that I don’t live in an area with more to choose from fabric-wise beyond the basic big box fabric stores, being a part of MSN is a home sewer’s dream!  Being given a monthly allowance for fabric and 100% autonomy on whatever you want to buy and sew? Life changing.  In the last several years, I’ve gotten to work with fabrics that I probably would not have been able to, based on the cost and simply having access.  Before MSN, I wasn’t a big online fabric shopper.  I always felt that I had to touch and feel before I could buy.  But based on Mood Fabric’s reputation, I was at ease purchasing online and knowing that I would get that impressive designer fabric quality.  I’ve only gotten a couple of cuts that I was not happy with.  And that was due to my own fault of not swatching first.  And I highly recommend doing that if it’s a fabric that you’re unfamiliar with.

Your work has been a great inspiration to us.  Could you please share your best tried and true sewing tip(s)?
ERICA:  Use flat pattern measurements!  Measure all of the pattern pieces and subtract the seam allowance measurements.  Use those measurements to select the size pattern you sew.  And fit as you sew!  As soon as you can try a garment on, do it!  And nip and tuck as necessary.

What are your favorite social media platforms? and why?
ERICA:  I love Instagram!  It’s the quick and dirty of blogging.  Sometimes I want to just “look” and not necessarily read.  I love getting inspiration from IG.  If it’s a blogger and I want to know more, I’ll find a link to their blog.

You are hosting a “The Amazing CoatSew-along”, what prompted your initiation of this forum?
ERICA:  I decided to host “The Amazing Coat Sew-along” as the initial introduction to a series of sew-alongs that I plan to do this year.  My goal is to encourage and inspire “better sewing”.  I want to encourage sewers to look beyond the pattern companies’ suggested instructions sheets… and to utilize other sewing reference material such as books and sewing periodicals, etc… for different techniques. 
How many people have joined to date?
ERICA:  We currently have 538 members.  I’m proud of that number.  It keeps things quaint and drama-free!  We currently have no need for written rules!  I like it like that.

How many coats completed been completed by you and the participates to date?
ERICA:  As of today, around 30 coats have been completed with a few still as “works in progress”.  But I was so happy that people that hadn’t ever made a coat were inspired to tackle such a huge project. 

If you aspire to take your sewing skills to yet another level, this is a blogger you should be following. You can find Erica whipping up new fashion inspiration on a regular basis via her blog, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest...


  1. Another Awesome interview. Faye, I am anxiously waiting for the next inteview.

    1. THANK YOU for reading Alethia and please stay tuned!

  2. Anonymous3/15/2016

    Great interview - I'm always inspired by Erica, I just don't possess her sewing skills!!

    1. Thank you. There's one thing about Erica she encourages you and that lets you know that if you keep trying you can do it too.

  3. Loved this interview Faye. Great post.

    1. Thank you and most importantly thank you for reading.

  4. Great Interview and enjoyed reading more about Erica.

  5. I love Erica's sense of style. Love it! And she is also a sewing goddess. She is such an inspiration! Thanks for this great interview. I enjoyed reading more about Erica.

    1. Thank you Tomasa and I agree. Could you please email me at fayedoll (at)cox (dot)net???

  6. Thanks so much for the highlight!

  7. VERY informative interview! Thanks to both of you!

  8. Hi Faye. I answered your email but for some reason it wouldn't send so I thought I'd leave a message here. Thank you so much for asking me and I'd love to be a guest on your blog, which I love. The next week until after Easter will be very busy for me but I'd be glad to participate after that and if you send me the questions now, I'll work on answering them a little at a time.

    1. Thank you for agreeing to do an interview Diana. I do understand busy schedules - so working on it at your convenience would be wonderful! How can I send the questions to you?

    2. Well, I got your email so we could try that. I don't know why it wouldn't send and I tried twice. my address is

  9. Another great blogger. Erica wardrobe is fabulous.

  10. Wow, I'm surprised she's completely self-taught. She makes amazing garments and has a great sense of style. Thanks for the interview.

  11. Wow Linda! Thoroughly enjoyed reading about Erica. She is definitely one to follow. Great interview as you asked questions that gave me answers that I've wanted to know. Keep up the good work!



Paying Homage to Black Pattern Designers...

...for years February has been set aside as a special time to learn about and recognize accomplishments of African Americans and other peopl...