My name is Tee and you can say that sewing is in my blood. You see, I come from a family of wonderful seamstresses, including my Grandma Maggie. My aunt is also one of my favorite seamstresses. As a child, I was so amazed at all of the prom/ball gowns, dresses, suits, and lace slips hanging up everywhere that they made. They also made beautiful home décor, such as curtains, cushions, and pillows. Their work was impeccable to say the least and always looked so professionally-made. Though I admired their work greatly, I did not pick up the craft as a child.
However, my mom believed that I was born with the sewing gene, simply because my dad, his mom, and his sisters could sew. So when I was in high school, she bought me a beautiful 1960s sewing machine (the kind that folds into the table) and my Granny Elaine gave me several yards of fabric that she was planning to use to have a garment made. One Saturday morning, I pulled out the machine instructions and decided to give sewing a try. Sadly, my first attempts at sewing were complete fails…everything I tried to sew always fell apart…probably because I didn’t think the bobbin thread was necessary at the time. Instead of asking any of those wonderful familial resources to teach me to sew…I ended up folding the machine back into the table and using it for a lamp stand. It wasn’t until 15 years later that I would ever try sewing again.
In fall of 2011 while living in Chicago, I signed up for a sewing class at a local fabric store, called The Needle Shop. In just three hours, I learned the basic functions of the sewing machine, how to sew a straight stitch, and how to install a zipper. I also learned the bobbin thread was absolutely necessary for ensuring that stitches did not come apart. By the time the class was finished, I made my very first throw pillow. I felt a strong sense of achievement and I couldn’t wait to make more things. I was 125% hooked on sewing.
From that point, I purchased a small sewing machine and found more sewing classes around the city. For my next project, I learned to sew a reversible messenger bag at Lillstreet Art Center. However, my love affair with sewing went to the next level when I learned to sew garments at Vogue Fabric Store. A few years later, I moved to Vegas, where I connected with a tailor and learned menswear alterations. Additionally, I took classes at the Stitch Factory in downtown Vegas, where I learned to make pants, match plaids, and draft my own patterns.
In addition to DIY and sewing for fashion and the home, I really like thrifting and shopping great retail sales. I like to incorporate and style thrift and retail items into my DIY looks.
A little more about Grandma Maggie and Granny Elaine
I began learning to sew after my Grandma Maggie’s memory started to fade away from her. Much of her fabric was passed down to me and there are many times when I wish I could ask her thoughts and the background on certain fabrics. Nevertheless, before her memory loss progressed completely, I showed her my first throw pillow. I didn’t think she quite understood, until she quietly uttered the words, “you should add lace around it, that would make it pretty”. Anytime, I use my Grandma’s colorful laces or fabric, I hear her voice and I feel I am sharing this journey with her. I am also fortunate enough to have my Granny Elaine’s old and colorful leather coats. Pre-sewing, I would always tell her those things were “out of style” and needed to be donated. Thank goodness she didn’t listen to me, because she gave me all of those great coats that I plan on re-purposing for future DIY projects. Though her memory also is not quite the same, she is happy to know that I am going to re-use them. While packing those items to bring to Vegas with me, she repeated joyfully, “I can’t believe you saved all those things for so many years”…(though she is the one who saved them). I am so fortunate for my grandmothers and I dedicate this blog to them.