April 22, 2016


...to Professional Dressmaker.  What a switch! One of the wonderful things about life is being able to make career changes a-n-d have it all turn out successful!   Such was the case with Victoria Baylor; author of TEN THOUSAND HOURS OF SEWING.  Her blog title spells out the philosophy behind her blog and her sewing adventure.  Click on her first blog post to get the full story, but to paraphrase; “anything that you put enough time and concentrated effort into – you eventually become good at”.  Victoria has proven that theory to be true; the proof is in the flawless garments she produces and showcases via her blog.  She also puts in concentrated time and effort sharing/teaching her craft and skills to others as co-producer of the Tailor and the Dressmaker Show, and through BurdaStyle courses.  I must tell you that the best part of Victoria’s blog for me; the part I look forward to most, are the dresses she makes for the Father/Daughter dance every year.  I invite you to visit Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing so you too can pick out your favorite parts…

How did you learn to sew?  Have you had any sewing classes or formal training?
VICTORIA:  I hand sewed my Barbie clothes when I was 7; nothing too formal about that. I just wanted her to have designer jeans so I realized I had to make them myself. I later learned how to sew by machine in High School Home Ec but of course that was the basic training and I learned how to make a pillow. After that I wouldn’t pick up sewing again until 2004. My Husband’s Grandmother died and I was given her sewing machine by my wonder Mother-In-Law. To commemorate the life of such a wonderful woman I decided to sew. I took a 6 month intro class at Hancock Fabrics and quickly out grew that. I then became self taught from that point on. I wanted to learn EVERYTHING I could so read, watched, tried everything. I progressed really far in a short period of time naturally hitting challenges when it came to fitting garments. Then I studied and worked more until I could figure that out. In 2013 I met Gentleman Jim and learned the art of fine tailoring from a Master Tailor which continues to be awesome. I’m a LIFETIME learner and I love expanding my knowledge in sewing!

Are there any sewing or fashion rules that you follow?
VICTORIA:  Ha, that’s a good question. Fashion rules? Hmmmmmm….. I guess I have my own personal rules and I suspect everyone does. I’m tall and pretty short waisted which means I’m about 75% legs with long arms. So my one big rule is if I wear a short dress I have to wear long sleeves or vice versa. Wearing short sleeves and a short dress/skirt would make me feel naked.  Unless I’m on the beach I try to keep my clothing a bit balanced.

What percentage of your wardrobe is hand sewn, and what are your favorite items to sew, and why?
VICTORIA:  I would say I’ve sewn about  60-65% of my wardrobe. I’m a very easy, and relaxed dresser. The older I get the less fuss I want. I joke that one day I’m gonna end up wearing a uniform like Steve Jobs, Marc Zuckeberg or Elizabeth Holmes (one smart Chick). But I’m not that over clothes just yet LOL. But I do like to keep things girly but simple. My favorite item to sew is peplum tops. It’s like the best mix between a top and a skirt without the full skirt commitment. I could wear one every single day. I’ve made at least 4 variations.  Might just become my new uniform LOL.

Is there anything that you refuse to sew, garment or otherwise; and why?
VICTORIA:  I’m not interested in sewing bras. I hate shopping for them so I wouldn’t want to spend the time sewing them. I may change my mind though. I should at least try it once.

What garment(s) to date have you made that you are most proud of?
VICTORIA:  I LOVE the dresses I’ve made for my daughter to wear to our annual Father/Daughter banquets. My favorite one is the one I made this year. Of course the gorgeous 40+ yard of fabric Lilac wedding gown I made for my client. Of course I love sewing for my clients too! Creating and sewing for them is a way to make their day even more special and I LOVE that!

What are your favorite fabric sources? Do you ever shop for fabric online?
VICTORIA:  I have a local Joann and Hancock’s (not for long since they’re going out of business). It’s good for the routine stuff but for special client pieces I often have to shop online. Fabric.com is one of my favorites! I used to like to fly to NY and fabric shop---for special occasions, but now there are great stores in Atlanta so every once in a while I do a road trip to go to Fine Fabrics and a few others!

You are so blessed to have a master tailor in your area (Gentleman Jim); do you have a tailoring tip that you could share?
VICTORIA:  Yes I do! Love him; he’s a wealth of information!  I have to admit when I met him it helped dispel a lot of the misconceptions I had about tailoring and fitting which was great. One tip I’ll share is “if it’s not broke don’t fix it”. Once you find a sewing technique master it and don’t be afraid to use it exclusively, that is unless you find a way to do it better and faster. The “learner” in me was always looking for new techniques but that can often take time away from just using the one you’ve got. If what you’re doing is working and looks impeccable then use it until you stumble onto something else. You don’t have to learn or master every technique out there.

How large is your pattern stash, and can you show us a few of your favorite (TNT) tried and true patterns?
VICTORIA:  That’s a good question. I just went through a rather large purge.  I think I have around 550 or so. Thankfully they’re stored very well and don’t get in the way.

I’ve made 3-4 versions of this one—actually I think 5. You can’t be a great princess seam dress! http://tenthousandsewinghours.blogspot.com/2010/05/mccall-5041-out-of-print.html

Can you share your most used sewing tool(s) or equipment?
VICTORIA:  I love the wax tailor’s chalk that disappears with heat and the Pilor Frixion markers that also disappear with heat. You can’t beat having great marking tools!

What is the best thing about (or in) your sewing area or room?
VICTORIA:  The best thing about my sewing room is it’s my personal sanctuary. I LOVE my space! It’s cozy and inspires me. It’s a wonderful workspace for me!  I have 5 machines in there--- one being an industrial machine. I have an AWESOME cutting table that has shelves on both sides. I have a ton of storage space---a great fabric closet and other little hideaway places! These links are a little old and I’ve rearranged things since then but you’ll get an idea of what it looks like. It was actually completely clean the other day, I should have snapped a picture LOL!

You can following Victoria on the following social media platforms:  
Facebook: Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing
Blog: Ten Thousand Hours of Sewing
Instagram: VictoriaBaylor
Twitter: VictoriaDBaylor
Periscope: 10,000 Hours of Sewing, and
YouTube: The Tailor and the Dressmaker

In addition, Victoria is currently running a video sale through the end of the month.  Information on two of her videos can be found here:   
Sewing Crystals and Rhinestone Course
 8 Tips for Gluing Crystals and Rhinestones Course

I'm sure you won't want to miss these offerings....


  1. Great review! I really admire how Victoria went about learning to sew, giving it her all and determined to do what it takes to succeed. She's an inspiration.

    1. Sheer determination - that's what Victoria has for sure. Hope you are all better Bunny!

  2. Anther fantastic interview!

  3. Awesome interview!


    "Once you find a sewing technique master it and don’t be afraid to use it exclusively, that is unless you find a way to do it better and faster. The “learner” in me was always looking for new techniques but that can often take time away from just using the one you’ve got. If what you’re doing is working and looks impeccable then use it until you stumble onto something else. You don’t have to learn or master every technique out there."

    THIS saved me from myself!

  4. It is funny how we have to actually save ourselves from ourselves when it comes to sewing. Victoria made a very good point here. Thanks for reading Erica B.

  5. This was a great interview Ms. Faye! I love her blog and the father/daughter posts are some of my favorites as well!

    1. Thank you for reading Carol and yes aren't those dresses gorgeous?

  6. Great interview, inspiring.

  7. Thank you for this interview Faye. I have always admired how Victoria switched gears and just took a dive into a new career. She is both talented and courageous!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview Tomasa!

  8. Thank you, Ms. Faye. Victoria is a very brave woman. I admire her courage to switch professions.

    1. You are welcome Cennetta, and yes she is courageous!

  9. So nice to read more about one of my faves! Also, all the sudden I don't feel so bad about my pattern stash...



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...