November 13, 2015


...I've read lots and lots of interviews on different blogs over the years, and have always wanted to actually do an interview myself.  Since I'm BLOGGINGLIKECRAZY this month, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to do a series of interviews with people with whom I have a connection  - you know people who SEW, like me and really enjoy it!

Recently I connected with Californian Venita Davis through a month long coat sew-along that we were both heavily involved in.  You can visit Venita here at SewVeStyle.  Please read on as she gives us a look into her sewing world:

  What things excite and inspire you in your sewing and the designs that you create?
Venita:    I love the entire process from concept to design.  There is something magical about buying a pattern and fabric then turning it into wearable art.  I delight in the reactions of people who learn that you have personally made a garment. 
  What are your favorite fabric sources?
Venita:   My favorite source is the Fabric Outlet in San Francisco, Ca.  They also have an on-line presence called CaliFabrics.  I can always find what I want and the owner/buyer is always available to answer questions and give suggestions in terms of fabrics.  JoAnn’s is another go-to but I typically have to work hard to find something that inspires me.  I tend to purchase patterns, linings and notions because of the sales and coupons.

Do you ever shop for fabric online?
Venita: I do not shop on-line very often.  I like to touch, feel, drape, squeeze – I am very tactile and visual by nature.  However, I am beginning to realize that if I want diversity in fabric selection, I will have to use on-line resources.  I have Mood, Michael Levine, FabricMart, Georgeous Fabric, and on my list.

    Are there any sewing techniques that you have not mastered yet, but plan to work on?
Venita:  Yes, too many to list here but I want to use advanced tailoring techniques for a jacket using a combination of the custom and machine methods.

    You made such a outrageously gorgeous coat recently, was this your first coat?, if not how many coats have you made?
Venita:  Thank you Faye!  This was my second coat.  The first one I made was an epic failure.  It was a combination of a poor fabric choice and a bagged lining that was my worst nightmare.  Let’s just say that the coat went to land of projects gone bad.
         Did you learn any new techniques in your recent coat making process?
Venita:  Indeed – I am a proponent of constructive feedback even if it is reflecting on a project I worked on.  After I made my coat – I shared with the group “everything” that I should have done differently.  For example, the fusible interfacing was to light and through the process of turning and pressing the garment the interfacing shredded.  If I had used hair canvas to shape the front and made a backstay for the back – the jacket would be in my closet for years to come.
     What are your favorite items to sew?
Venita:  That is a difficult question.  I like to make things that are quick and gratifying but also appreciate the difficult complex projects.  When I look at my completed projects, they really span the spectrum but I seem to gravitate toward dresses.  I intend to add more pants to the project list.

    What garment or project has presented the biggest challenge to you?
Venita:  I would say that the coat I recently made was a challenge.  The challenge was not the pattern – it was the fabric.  It was a loose woven with a tendency to shred.  I had to be very careful and take my time. I could not make mistakes and remove seams or I would destroy the fabric.

   What garment to date would you call your masterpiece?
Venita:  I have two jackets and I am particularly proud to call my signature pieces.  They were made using Vogue #7975.  I made a Chanel Inspired Jacket with a quilted lining and meticulous hand stitching throughout.  I spent roughly 40 hours on the jacket and I am very pleased with the outcome.  The second jacket was an experiment gone right.  I was participating in a denim sew-a-long and wanted to make a patchwork jacket.  I had an inspiration piece in mind but after laying out the pieces – I decided to do something different.  The outcome has the same classic shape as my Chanel jacket but it is denim and I took it over the top with novelty lining.
Vogue 7975
Quilted lining of Vogue 7975

    If you could only have five (5) patterns, which five would that be?
Venita:   Oh my gosh – that is a very difficult question.  This is my choice for now – there will never be a situation where I would only have (5) patterns.
Butterick B5966 – My Michelle Obama coat
Vogue V1433 – very elegant
Burda B6988 – best 2 piece dress ever – very figure flattering
McCalls M6209 – best wrap ever –it is a wrap not a cape.  As Edna Mode would say….no capes allowed
Vogue V9032 – best pants ever – I love the pockets
Have you had formal training or are you self taught?
Venita:       If you call a semester of sewing in Home Economics back in the day training…that’s where I learned how to read patterns.  Otherwise, I would say that I learned from a combination of watching my mother and learning on my own.

   Do you have a favorite sewing tip to share with us here?
Venita:       I sure do – can I offer more than one?
                                                               i.      Your iron is your friend – use it during not after your project is complete
                                                             ii.      Purchase a tailors ham and sleeve roll
                                                            iii.      Don’t buy fabric if you don’t love it

Be sure to look in at Venita via:
SewVeStyle Blog,
on Instagram,
Facebook, and
on Bloglovin
there is always something interesting going on in her California sewing room...


  1. Awesome interview and love her coat... beautiful!

  2. Thank you so much for reaching out and finding me interesting enough to interview. As a somewhat newbie blogger - exposure is key and you did that and more. I can never repay you but I can pay it forward in your honor. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your new Sew-Sister...Venita



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