- like your first breath of crisp morning air
- as in something new and inviting
I saw your most recent fabric haul on Periscope Shari – oh my, how beautiful! I can’t help envying people who live in or near one of the great fabric Mecca’s. What are your favorite fabric sources/stores?
· Do you order fabric online?
· What are your favorite fabrics to work with?
· What yardage guidelines do you use when purchasing fabric?
SHARI: To be honest I thought my favorite place to shop for fabric would be New York but to my surprise it wasn’t. Now I’m not sure if it was just me but the shops that I was interested in visiting weren’t in close proximity to one another instead they were pretty scattered. I guess it could be that I’m just use to the fabric district in Los Angeles where everything is close together or within close walking distance. Now the selection and sheer beauty of the fabric in New York was amazing but then again the cost was unbelievably expensive. I was later told that I was in the designer area not really the ideal place to shop so next time I will plan better. LOL With that being said I would still say my favorite place to shop for fabric is right here in Los Angeles. Everything is close together, the price can be negotiated, they usually have everything I need and it’s not far from home.
· My favorite fabric to work with would be a great quality Ponte Knit, Gabardine, Challis, Crepe and SCUBA! lol I can never get enough of these lovely textiles and try to keep them stocked in my fabric stash.
I really don’t follow a guideline for how many yards I’m going to buy when I shop. There are times when I have a project in mind and other times I simply let the fabric speak to me so there’s never really a set amount that I go in a store ready to buy. Of course some would argue that this is crazy, a waste of time not to mention money, but I disagree. Even when I do have a project in mind if the fabric is fabulous and at the right price point I tend to buy large quantities. Doing it this way allows me to see how the fabric works/manipulates, moves and feels when being used for various styles. Plus buying extra is great for giveaways and sharing with the rest of my sew family which I try to do as often as I can.
I love your designs and their modernistic-retro vibe. Can you summarize your fashion esthetic?
SHARI: You know people have asked me this question a million times and it’s still hard for me to answer! I think of myself as EVERY WOMAN! You know kind of like Marie Osmond, sometimes I’m a little bit country and other days I’m a little bit rock n roll! Well not exactly country or rock & roll but you get my drift. I simply love fashion so what I wear and make tend to reflect how I’m feeling at that time in my life. Sometimes I’m retro because I’m remembering simpler times from my childhood and other times I’ll wear more modern pieces because I’m feeling strong and confident. Then I have my classic chic moments when I simply want to convey a lady like femininity that speaks for itself what I refer to as my Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera moments. So it’s hard to put me in one category and say “Yes that’s me” because tomorrow I’m likely to be someone else and I actually like it that way. However if you tied me down and made me choose I would say I like simple classic chic styles and tend to design within those realms.
Are you self-taught, Home Ec, or Fashion Design School – can you tell us your sewing story?
SHARI: While I did go to design school back in UHMMM (clears throat) let’s just say back in the day most of what I’ve learned about sewing I taught myself. Although some might consider me an expert I would definitely beg to differ. Okay so I’m no beginner but I’m no expert either! I have so much more to learn and the funny thing is I’m in no rush! LOL.
A passion for sewing oozes from your blog posts, what fuels this passion?
SHARI: This is a really great question and I wish I had a great answer for you. LOL The thing is I never really loved to sew but I love to design and my mind is always thinking of ways to make women look and feel good about themselves. The reason I sew is because I’m driven by my desire to see the visions in my head come to life. The truth is if I could hire someone to sew every design that pops into my head I probably would (no kidding). Now don’t get me wrong I do enjoy the peace and relaxation that comes from sitting in my studio and sewing but my career and life in general prevent me from enjoying it as much as I probably could.
What are your favorite garments to sew?
SHARI: My favorite garments to sew would definitely be anything off the shoulders and of course a great jumpsuit! I absolutely love sewing these two styles and can whip them up in my sleep!
What are some of the most challenging garment(s) you’ve ever sewn?
SHARI: Wow the most challenging garments I’ve ever sewn would have to be my sequined pieces. Talk about wanting to through something across the room and run it over with my car a couple of times! SHEESH! Yes while the results are fabulous the tedious time consuming, needle popping chore of it all is enough to drive anyone insane! The challenging part is having to remove just the right amount of sequins from your seams to not only allow for a smooth well-constructed garment but to minimize your chances of breaking needles and damaging your machine. Not a fun process at all! Just thinking about it now gives me the shakes! LOL.
What do you like most about your sewing space?
SHARI: I love everything about my sewing space and I do mean everything! From my lounge and changing area to my drafting and constructing space I love every square foot! There are times when I will go in my studio with the intent of sewing something fabulous but unfortunately my lounge area will call out to me and I know it’s probably best if I just chill. There is a calming affect that my space has over me and that is something I never want to lose.
What are your most useful sewing tools?
SHARI: Believe it or not my most useful sewing tools are my seam ripper, Iron, Ham/seam roll, my dress forms and of course my machines (my babies). I mean who among us hasn’t had one of those days when your seam ripper was your best friend! I do most of my sewing in the evening after work and I’m up until midnight or later so in my haste I have been known to sew something incorrectly and not catch it until I’m done. It’s so frustrating, but hey that’s what seam rippers are for! Having a good iron/ironing supplies are crucial to the sewing process, thus not taking the time to iron as you go and once you’re done can and most often will affect the outcome of your garment. Although having a dress form is not something you have to have to sew they are great tools to have with regard to fit and being able to create your own garments from scratch. Of course no dress form is exact with regard to your own personal measurements unless you have it custom made but there are kits available to help you achieve the most comparable fit for you.
How extensive is your sewing reference library? What books on your shelf would you recommend?
SHARI: You know I don’t have a big personal library mainly because I’m so close to several fashion schools that allow the public to visit and do research at their facilities that I simply haven’t felt the need to invest the money in building my own. I will however say that the few I do have are those I felt I couldn’t do without and I would definitely recommend others. Right now I have the revised edition of the Vogue Sewing book, Modern Pattern Design, The Fashion Designers Textile Directory, Readers Digest Guide to Sewing and lastly for those interested in draping the Drape Series books 1-3.
Can you share several sewing tips that would help others take their sewing skills to the next level?
SHARI: The first thing I would suggest is know your skill level and stay there until you master it! So often I see folks out in social media land sewing garments well beyond their skill level and it shows! I say master the basics and once you’ve done that then move on! There is no magic pill you can take to become a better sewer it’s all about the time you put into mastering the craft. Secondly I would say if you don’t know don’t be afraid to ask! Heck I don’t know everything and there are those in my circle who know more than I do so I make it a point to ask before screwing up a crap load of fabric. I would also recommend investing in certain membership opportunities that can help teach you based on your skill level such as, Burda Style, University of Fashion and Craftsy all of which have fabulous recorded sewing/drafting classes. Lastly I would say take your time, this sewing game is not a race. The only one you have to please is yourself and the moment you start trying to compete with what others are doing and how quickly they’re doing it is the moment you need to reevaluate why you want to sew.
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