Dawn Anderson Schons is a frequent contributor to Sew News and we’re all so lucky for it! She has a MFA in Costume Design and has a passion for fashion history and traditional tailoring technqiues. She runs sewing workshops and classes and has a line of wonderful patterns. Please read our Meet The Designer post today to learn more about Dawn and her work.
What is your sewing pet peeve? Any tasks that you find annoying? Alterations can be tough but not much rattles me, it’s just a matter of how long it will take to fix the problem.
What were your early days of learning to sew like? What was it that made you want to continue? I started sewing when I was four years old. My first projects were “embroideries” sewn with crewel wool yarn and a very large round end needle. My Mom sewed everything and she gave me her yarn scraps from her needle point projects and fabric scraps from her bridal alterations business. I made clothes and hats for my dolls when I was in Elementary school and made clothes for myself in Junior High. In High School I made costumes for Drama productions and I designed and sewed dance costumes for my Ballet School. I made three prom gowns my senior year, one for myself and two for friends who wanted custom designs. I went on to major in Costume Design in college. Sewing is in my blood, it is a part of me. No matter how much other work I do during the day, I never feel like I accomplished anything unless it was in my sewing room.
What do you do when you are not sewing? I think about sewing! Ha! I chase my three small children around the house, cook, and clean, and allow myself at least an hour a day to sew, sketch, and dream about the perfect wardrobe.
What is your favorite thing to embellish your projects with? Beads. I love to sew with prints and a few beads highlight the centers of flowers or add interest to the dominant motif in a geometric print.
Who taught you how to sew? My Mom in my younger years and then some great professors in undergrad, grad school, and my exchange program in England.
What’s the oldest piece of fabric in your stash? Do you keep your fabric stash in control or are you less disciplined in your fabric collection. My oldest pieces of fabric are remnants of early 1960s metallic brocades that I found in a thrift store years ago. My fabric stash is fairly organized. I have lots of big storage bins labeled by fabric type, cotton print, wool boucle, silk, etc. I have two big shelves of fabric bolts which are less organized.
Do you have a favorite item or project to make? I like to sew clothing. I sew shirts and jackets for my husband, costumes and dresses for my daughter, pants for my boys, and tailored jackets, pants, and skirts for myself. I love sewing silk blouses too; they are so expensive to buy ready to wear!
Do you find the change of seasons inspires you to sew and do you have a favorite season? The change of season is always exciting for me. Everything seems new and fresh. I look forward to making skirts and sundresses in the spring. Fall is my favorite though. I love tailored jackets, plaid, wool, and hats.
When shopping for sewing supplies is there something you always buy too much of. Patterns! I can’t resist the pattern sales at the local fabric stores and I usually buy at least 5 or more at a time. I have several boxes of patterns organized my garment type.
Are there any sewing techniques you are trying to perfect? Hand tailoring details. I love bound buttonholes and tailored pockets. I have been designing new shapes for welts and incorporating pockets into seams and darts in a new way. I made a green wool crepe jacket inspired by nature with tear drop shaped welt pockets sewn into a curved seam and bound buttonholes in the shape of leaves. I wanted to have some fun with my tailoring skills.
What future projects/plans are in store for you? I just finished my custom pants sloper (after fitting and altering three muslins) and I can’t wait to make a pair of menswear plaid pants for fall. I have 5 lengths of fabric just waiting to be cut out for my perfect fitting semi-straight leg pants.
Any tips you would like to share with the Sew News sewing community? Press your seams really well as you are sewing and your finished garment will look polished.
Thanks so much to Dawn Anderson Schons! I really love her work and can’t wait to see those plaid pants! If you would like to learn more about Dawn please visit her website at dawnandersondesigns.com.
So, for all our Sew News readers what do you buy way to much of when you go to the fabric store? Answer below and you’ll be entered to win the gift pack below. One winner will be announced next Friday, June 20th.
The winners of the SIA magazine contest (held June 12) are: Lydia, Gertrude and ME Pendelton. Please check your email and you will be notified as to how to get your prize!