Meet the designer – Rhonda Buss and enter to win a prize!

 Rhonda Buss is a long time contributor to Sew News and Sew It All magazines. She is also the winner of the Sew It All Casting Call and is currently working towards her Master Sewing and Design Professional Certification from the Association of Sewing And Design Professionals.

Today Rhonda is going to tell you a little bit about herself. Please answer the question at the bottom to be entered to win this month’s Meet The Designer gift pack. One winner will be randomly picked on August 22, 2014. And, now here’s Rhonda!

Rhonda Buss1 Meet  the designer   Rhonda Buss and enter to win a prize!

*What is your sewing pet peeve? Any tasks that you find annoying or put off to the end?

My biggest pet peeves are really directed at myself. All too often I have been known to do the easy tasks first, at least what seems easy, only to create more work for myself in the end. An example would be sewing up a pair of pants and waiting until the end to insert the zipper.

*What were your early days of learning to sew like? What was it that made you want to continue?

Sewing actually came quite easy to me. I loved it from the very start. The dream of a beautiful wardrobe was what drove me to continue.

*Who taught you how to sew? How long have you been sewing?

My grandmother was my very first teacher. There was nothing I loved more as a child than to spend time with her. She had limitless patience, a true virtue. Asking me how long I’ve been sewing is one in the same with asking me how old I am as I was five years old when my grandmother first put a needle in my hand!!!!

*Are there any new challenges you face?

Challenges, it seems that if you want to keep learning, there is always something that will make you stretch beyond your comfort zone. My biggest challenge is the computer and how it relates to sewing. There is just so much to learn.

*With blogging, expos, traveling, etc., how do you find the time to sew?

I will be teaching at my very first expo this year, The American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan, so traveling to an expo is something new to me. As for budgeting my time, I am like everyone else and there are times that I am completely overwhelmed and I fall behind. But the tried and true discipline of making a list is what I find to be of the utmost importance. I make daily lists, weekly lists as well as yearly lists. Now, following the list is the trick!!

*Who has been the biggest sewing star that you’ve met?

Quite a few years ago, I met Nicole Miller. It was fairly early in her career as a menswear designer. I loved the fact that she was venturing into a field that at the time, many felt a woman did not belong in. She bucked the system and became a success. I love stories like this!

*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?

I LOVE fabric! That probably answers all of the above questions!!

I have vintage fabrics and lace that are far too old and fragile to use, some date back to the early 1800’s. I have a piece of needlepoint fabric that I need to have appraised as I think it may date to sometime in the 14th century. It’s quite incredible. From time to time, I enjoy taking the pieces out and just looking at them.

As for the fabric that I use, yes I have quite the collection. When I see something that I like, if I can afford it, I buy it with no intention of what it will become. It may sit for a few days and it may languish for years, but when inspiration strikes, I love being able to go to my fabric closet and find a piece that will be perfect.

*Do you have a secret fabric store where you find all of your amazing fabrics?

I shop anywhere and everywhere. Whenever I have the opportunity to travel, visiting a local fabric store is always on the top of my must do list. But, I do have two favorites, High Fashion Fabrics in Houston, Texas and Gayfeather Fabrics in Madison, WI. High Fashion Fabrics is like Disneyland for a sewist. It’s almost indescribable. A must visit if you are ever in the Houston area.

Gayfeather fabrics is a much smaller store, but the owner has a wonderful eye and there is always a treasure just waiting to be had inside her door.

*What is the longest distance from which you’ve brought fabric home?

A few years ago, my husband and I traveled to Austria to attend the wedding of a former exchange student. I found a fabric store…of course and there I found the most beautiful piece of fabric. Strips of silk had been cut on the bias and were then sewn to the backing in swirls. It looked as though Van Gogh had created the piece himself. That fabric has become one of my favorite dresses.

*Do you have a favorite item or project to make?

My favorite projects are labor intensive projects, like weaving ribbon and creating a garment. I love to bead, embroider and embellish.

*When shopping for sewing supplies, is there something that you always buy too much of?

Honestly, no. It seems there is always something I need. At least that’s what I tell my husband!

*Are there any sewing techniques that you are trying to perfect?

Many years ago, I knew a woman who made the most incredible clothing. Everything was sewn to perfection. She told me that in all her years of sewing, she had made only one garment that she felt was perfect. She said that perfection is a fickle little fairy that we are constantly chasing and rarely catch. Like her, I am always chasing that same little fairy, so not one technique in particular, but the overall quality of the garment.

*What future plans/projects are in store for you? What would be the ultimate dream for you in regards to sewing/fashion?

I have two book ideas that I would love to see come to life, patterns, and more writing opportunities.

As for a dream…last year I was pulled out of a crowd of beautiful gowns and mine was photographed and featured in a national paper, my little homemade gown. It was an incredible honor and a dream come true. I was asked why I don’t have a line of clothing. I think that’s my ultimate dream.

*Any tips you would like to share with the Sew News sewing community?

Don’t give up! There are projects that for whatever reason just aren’t going to work out. It may be the pattern, the quality of the fabric, even the thread, there are just so many reasons why projects don’t come together as we envisioned they would. More times than not, the reason isn’t you. So don’t be too hard on yourself and try again.

Thanks so much to Rhonda! Please be sure to visit her blog Rhonda’s Creative Life and drop her a line. She’d love to hear from you!

As for my question to you, what is the longest distance you’ve brought home fabric? Or tell us how old the oldest piece is. No judging here! I’ve had a piece that I bought that is probably 20 years old. Ouch.

And, be sure to check out more of Rhonda at Rhonda’s Creative Life.

And, if you haven’t picked up a copy of the latest Sew News there’s still time. Check your favorite sewing store or subscribe online and don’t miss an issue.

1409 giveaway 500w Meet  the designer   Rhonda Buss and enter to win a prize!



 Meet  the designer   Rhonda Buss and enter to win a prize!

About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
This entry was posted in Meet the Designer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

137 Responses to Meet the designer – Rhonda Buss and enter to win a prize!

  1. Jeannie says:

    Hey, thanks! I just received my prize package—what fun, and how inspirational. No, I haven’t cut my well-aged fabric yet, but I’m thinking about it!

  2. Nikki Trott says:

    I bought several lengths of of beautiful crepe-backed silk satin from a market stall in Singapore in 1992. It took me 20 years to find the perfect occasion to wear the last piece, a wonderful red, and I finally made it up into V1118. My Singapore dress makes me feel like a million dollars very time I wear it – it was definitely worth the wait!

  3. Jennifer Murphy says:

    I found a beautiful wool/silk floral jacquard at an outdoor market in Florence when I was traveling as a college student. This was so many years ago, over 25 years! It is a beautiful blue and reminded me of my mother’s eyes, whom I was missing terribly at the time! I gifted it to her on my return. Unfortunately she never dared to make anything out of it! Too precious, she claims.
    Love your blog and your sewing!! Thank you!

  4. Angela says:

    I have two very special pieces of fabric in my stash. In 1981, I was stationed in Germany. I bought a beautiful deep turquoise wool to make a coat. Every year I pull the fabric out of the chest, snuggle it and inhale its fragrance and return it to it’s protective chest. Sixty years ago, my Jamaican parents were married. My mom had a beautiful piece of champagne silk from which she had made her wedding slip. That slip was passed on to me. Which I still have. There is also about half yard of the silk left from which I will make something for my future daughter-in-law. Who is currently a figment of my imagination! The 32 year old wool has travelled from Germany to the States, whilst 60+ year old the silk has travelled from England to Jamaica, back to England then to the States, back to Germany and back to it’s current residence in Maryland.

  5. Mary Jane says:

    The longest distance – Paris in 2000, I still haven’t cut into it! The oldest from my aunt’s stash I’m guessing at least 50 years old.

    Love your blog!

  6. Melanie says:

    The furthest away I’ve ever purchased fabric was when I was in Kyiv, Ukraine a few years ago; I found a beautiful hand-embroidered length of cream linen and had to buy it. Haven’t used it for anything yet, though — have to find something very special.

    As for length of time, I probably have fabric that’s been in my stash for more than 15 years…I just used some of it this spring!

  7. Janet Spaid says:

    I bought a couple of lovely batik shawls in Fiji that I intend to use as fabric. Thanks for the opportunity.

  8. Andrea Scheuerman says:

    I have fabric from my first job in a fabric shop at age 16…that was 35 years ago. I also have pieces from all of my sewing family that have passed…grandmother, great aunt and mother. Wonderful memories in all of that fabric!

  9. A C Murray says:

    Over the years, I have brought back fabric from a number of places in Europe – Paris, France and Florence, Bologna, Nice and Rome in Italy. They are my souvenirs and always make me smile.

  10. Laurie Rockman says:

    Oh Wow…It would have to be Hawaii when I lived in Duluth MN…It would have to be 35 years! A yard or so of Japanese silk…too beautiful to cut but at least I take it out ever so often to admire.

  11. Sue Heiss says:

    The oldest piece of un-cut fabric is 60 years old. Haha. It was a gift to my mother from a college boyfriend from India. Another one of the pieces I used for my cotillion dance when I was 16 in 1981.

  12. Thanks for the amazing fabric journey you shared with us!

  13. Thanks for the amazing fabric journey you took us on Rhonda!

  14. Ruth says:

    My parents sent me up to their attic last year to help clear out and tidy up. While there we uncovered fabric in a suitcase from the 1970s. I took this home and made a dress – needless to say there wasn’t too much tidying up done as we discovered more fabric, patterns and clothes my mum made in the 1960s – priceless!

  15. carmen says:

    My oldest piece of fabric is probably vintage from the 40′s that I thrifted, but I have this little print I bought when I was 14 that I hold onto with my dear life, that would be 38 years old. If I am really in love with a piece of fabric, I will have it shipped from anywhere in the world.

  16. Andrea says:

    Great interview, I loved reading it! Rhonda is such an inspiration!

  17. Mary says:

    The oldest piece of fabric I have in my stash is 57 years old. It’s about a yard of left over fine, blue cotton, that was used to make my husband a “romper” while my mother-in-law was pregnant with him. She gifted me all her sewing goods when she had to give up her home, and has told me the story of all the fabrics!

  18. Sewingelle says:

    I live in Australia and I’ve bought fabric back from Italy, France, Scotland, England and both the east and west coats of the USA. Fabric is the best souvenir!
    My oldest piece would be from my grandmother. A lovely small floral cotton lawn over 50 years old.

  19. Lenore says:

    I too like to fabric shop on vacations, and business trips if I get the chance. I have quilting fabrics from grandma, so that is at least 60 years old judging from the cotton print. That makes up a darling placemat.

  20. janet S says:

    I brought silk home on one of my trips to Japan/China. It was expensive for my budget. Still haven’t used it (after 8 years) but still look and it and marvel at the feel and sheen.

  21. Mary Mather says:

    I have material that I bought when I was in high school in the 60′s.

  22. Mary Ann says:

    I love shipping for fabric on vacation. I bought some in Hawaii.

  23. Jean says:

    I have a beautiful piece of stretch lace trim from Copenhagen. And I have just figured out how to incorporate it into a garment!

  24. Maria Curciarello says:

    First, a wonderful article on Rhonda and very deserved.
    Most of my fabrics have been purchased locally and some from New York City. I do have a lovely piece of silk that was given to me purchased in Japan. The oldest piece might be about 10 years old.

  25. In 1997 I moved from Perth, Australia to Montreal, Canada for three years. I took my sewing machine and some fabric and brought my machine and some of that fabric home again. I still have some of it now!

  26. Kim Hood says:

    I have fabric that I don’t even remember buying it was so long ago, and fabric inherited from friends ancient stash too (including a beautiful piece of Harris tweed I am unable to cut into!). I have brought fabric home from holidays but I particularly remember bringing fabric back from Thailand, India, and Spain to the UK.
    Great interview with Rhonda who is such an inspiration.

  27. Kyniska says:

    Does Internet ordering count as distance, LOL? But in terms of travelled distance, I think the furthest is about 8 hours’ drive.

  28. Nancy MacGregor says:

    I purchased fabric while on a trip to Barbados many years ago. Given the fact I lived in Northern Ontario at the time – I have no idea how many miles my return trip was but it was a long flight one way.

    My oldest piece of fabric would be an old velvet quilt made by my great, great grandmother and I suspect the quilt is over a hundred years old and its too fragile to use. or handle.

    That’s all for now, Nancy

  29. Marysia Paling says:

    Hi there,

    Lovely to read this article about Rhonda, as I am a fairly recent follower of her blog. This article has given me the chance to learn more about her!

    Frome the UK originally, but whilst living abroad we travelled from our home on the South Coast of Turkey to Istanbul ( 13 hour coach journey, or a flight away) with our teenage daughter. I had found details of the most amazing fabric shop out of the main city area. Can you believe it, most stores are open on Sundays, we took a taxi and it was unexpectedly shut for 2 days!!!!!! So no fabric bought then, but I drooled down the window; the equivalent of a child almost in the candy store. So near, yet so far. We had to return home empty handed.

    So, whilst in Turkey I have received packages of fabric from Australia ( from Country Bumpkin) USA, Linton Tweeds in the UK and Joel and Sons in London.
    I guess the answer is in the main the fabric travels to me!!

    Having returned home to Lincolnshire in the U.K. Live in a rural district, no buses through the village, so it is still a case that I have to choose on line and the fabric, yet again does the travelling.

  30. Terry kretzmer says:

    Not for sure if this is the longest distance but we go diving in Bonaire and there is a cute little fabric store there that I have purchased a few pieces from. Oldest fabric is from Wisconsin when Florence Eisman had a clearance sale of fabric.

  31. christine says:

    After purchasing a beautiful wool in Milan, Italy, my husband and I were walking back to the hotel and got caught in a downpour. He held his umbrella over the fabric package. The fabric remained safe and dry, the same couldn’t be said for his silk shirt!

  32. Jillnjosh says:

    I brought home fabric from Cairo, Egypt to DeKalb, IL for my then-boss, as I knew she’d appreciate it. At the time I did not sew (I knew how, but the bug had not yet bitten me).

  33. Deborah says:

    I currently live in Switzerland and brought some fabric back from a recent trip to Vietnam – they have some great fabric markets there.
    As for the oldest fabric in my stash – my Grandmother used to have a drapers shop and I have some fabric that are remnants from her store, so probably 35+ years old – I have used some recently for a dress for my daughter (which she loves) so it won’t languish there forever.

  34. Mary says:

    The greatest distance I brought fabric home was a lovely Lawn from Liberty of London. It was like Nirvana being there

  35. karen says:

    I have fabric which my mother bought and I inherited, so they must be around 38 years old. I live in the Philippines but am Dutch and I have brought a lot of fabric from Europe to the Philippines. I always visit fabric stores whenever I travel so a lot of my stash comes from other countries in Europe as well as Asia including Thailand and Shanghai!

  36. Janet says:

    I brought fabrics home from Ghana, West Africa and also Japan. The Ghanaian fabric is very special, as it was made by a woman who sold it by the side of the road–she made cotton tie-dye and each was unique.