...one must answer! Even after being too busy and having taken long years of hiatus, we have to answer that inevitable call. Such was the case with Tomasa. She had to go back to one of her first loves - that of sewing! She came back with a bang too! Even has her own knit top sloper. How handy - how great would that be to own? So in case you haven't run across Tomasa at Sew Much Fashion, I highly suggest you pay her a visit.
How did you learn to sew? Have you had any sewing classes or formal training?
TOMASA: My mother taught me how to sew when I was about 8 years old. When she purchased a sewing machine, I was intrigued by it. I remember it was a brandless sky blue metal portable straight stitch machine she purchased from a door-to-door salesman! She showed me how it worked and then I was hooked. We used to walk to a little local fabric shop on Saturdays where she would buy for me patterns, fabric and notions. We spent a lot of time together working on my sewing projects. I do so miss those days. The little fabric shop closed many years ago. My mom passed away 5 years ago but she left me with the gift of sewing.
I took a sewing hiatus in my twenties through mid-thirties because life got really crazy for me then. When I started sewing again in my late thirties, I realized how much I missed it. I decided to take my sewing to the next level and enrolled in certification classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. I have earned certifications in Ladies Tailoring, Draping and Haute Couture techniques. I have also taken several pattern-making classes which were really great.
Are there any sewing or fashion rules that you follow? Why or why not?
TOMASA: Press as you sew. You will get a more professional finish by doing so.
Secondly, don’t sew when you are tired. Most of my sewing and cutting mistakes have happened because I was tired.
What percentage of your wardrobe is hand sewn, and what are your favorite items to sew, and why?
TOMASA: I would say about half my wardrobe is hand sewn. Ready-to-wear fits me terribly, especially since my body has changed dramatically after menopause, but, as much as I wish I could, I do not have the time to make my whole wardrobe. Most of my bottoms are ready-to-wear because at least I could fit into them. I am quite top heavy so finding ready-to-wear tops that fit is next to impossible so most of my sewing has been for my top half.
My favorite garments to sew are knit tops. The fabric is forgiving and doesn’t ravel. Knit tops also come together quickly. I usually sew knit tops after I have completed a more complicated or involved project like a jacket or a gown. The patterns for all of my knit tops are self drafted.
|Knit Top Sloper|
Is there anything that you refuse to sew, garment or otherwise, and why?
TOMASA: My love is fashion sewing so I am willing to sew any garment. However, I don’t think I will ever sew a quilt. I have seen some really amazing work done by quilters, and some quilts are truly works of art, but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I can’t put my finger on why…it just doesn’t.
What garment(s) to date have you made that you are most proud of?
TOMASA: All of the garments of which I am most proud are those in which I used couture techniques. These techniques made the garments quite special. I made a blue satin evening gown which was the final project for one of my couture classes. I drafted the pattern. It was underlined in silk organza. The seam allowances were hand stitched to the organza. The most challenging part of the dress was the appliquéd flowers. I purchased some lace, cut out the flowers and placed them strategically along the front bodice and made straps from them that flow to the back bodice. It took hours upon hours upon hours to hand appliqué those flowers onto the dress with tiny stitches. For the final project of a draping class, I made a gown out of brown crepe back satin using techniques similar to the blue gown. This pattern is also self drafted using draping techniques made many years ago. Another garment I am proud of is a little red capelet made using Vogue 8622, Version B (OOP). I adored the design of it. It has sleeves that appear to be part of the cape itself when your arms are down. I made it out of a red novelty silk which was textured with a metallic thread woven throughout the fabric. I also love a navy blue silk crepe de chine top made using Vogue 1247 (OOP). I used French seams for all of the seams. The fabric is luscious. It is lightweight and luxurious. I love wearing it during the summer months.
What are your favorite fabric sources? Do you ever shop for fabric online?
TOMASA: I am quite lucky with fabric sources. I work in New York City right by the garment district so I have access to the best fabrics. NY Elegant, Mood Fabrics and B&J are my favorite fabric stores. Since I have access to the NYC stores, I rarely purchase online but the times that I have done so I purchased from Moodfabrics.com and Michael Levine (www.lowpricefabrics.com).
What are some of your favorite sewing techniques? And why?
TOMASA: Hand basting! When I first began sewing I would avoid hand basting at all costs. Once I took the haute couture classes, I realized that hand basting is a valuable tool that helps you increase your accuracy and gives you greater control when you are working with many layers or a difficult fabric. Even though it doesn’t seem like it at first, hand basting is a time saver. Hand basting has saved me from machine sewing and then unstitching so many times.
How large is your pattern stash, and can you show us a few of your favorite (TNT) tried and true patterns?
TOMASA: My pattern stash is not very large but I still think I have too many patterns. Learning pattern drafting has lessened my pattern purchasing tendencies but not abolished them. I usually purchase patterns that have design features I am curious about….or maybe I just feel too lazy to figure out how to draft it. My favorite pattern is Vogue 1247 (OOP). My knit tops sloper is definitely tried and true. I am currently working on developing other slopers that I want to use for pattern drafting. I plan to have a pants sloper soon and a bodice sloper as well. We shall see when though. There are just not enough hours in the day!
Can you share your most used sewing tool(s) or equipment?
TOMASA: Besides my sewing machine of course, my most used sewing tool is my iron.
What is the best thing about (or in) your sewing area or room?
TOMASA: The best thing about my sewing room is the lighting. It is very bright and sunny which helps me see what I am doing and also provides good lighting for photographs.
TOMASA: Thank you so much Faye for this exciting opportunity!
Hope you enjoyed learning about or being reintroduced to Tomasa. Please pay her a visit at Sew Much Fashion...