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. Jayne says:

    The oldest piece of fabric is a pink wool I purchased in 1986. The oldest piece I have was inherited from my grandmother a wool tweed purchased in 1964. Not afraid to cut the fabric but would not want to make something that does not do the fabric justice (proper respect)!

  2. Suzette says:

    I have a piece of silk from my mother-in-law’s wedding dress (I love hand me downs). My husband’s parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary just a few months before his dad passed away.

  3. Mary H. says:

    Wonderful article! I have fabric that I bought in the early 90′s. I think that’s my oldest.

  4. Ruth Duling says:

    The farthest I have brought fabric was from southern Florida to my home in Michigan. But the piece I have that traveled the longest distance is a piece of sari silk from India that originally was a gift to my mother.

  5. Debra Hewitt says:

    I brought home Batik fabric from Hope Town, Bahamas to Orlando. Great interview! Thank you for sharing.

  6. B says:

    I have fabric from the ’60s. I inherited my mother and my mother-in-law’s stashes, and also have fabric I bought back then, too. My favorites in my stash are a couple of pieces I bought at an estate sale — that lady bought fabric all over the world…..

  7. ME Pendleton says:

    I have a piece of silk from Britex that is easily 25 yrs old . I’m too afteaid now to use it !!

  8. Sally says:

    My vintage fabric dates back to the early 1980′s when I traveled with my students on a fashion design tour to London, England. I purchased a beautiful piece of aqua silk corduroy at Harrods. I could not bring myself to cut the fabric because the use of silk in a cord weave is so unusual. The fabric has been the centerpiece of many lectures in my textile classes during my long tenure in education.

  9. Nancy Tafoya says:

    I live in CA and have fabrics that I purchased on my first trip to Liberty of London (in London, UK) in the mid-1970′s. I love it but haven’t quite determined what to make.

    Great article, enjoy your blog. Keep going!

  10. G says:

    I live in Germany and have fabric bought in Canada in my stash. And the oldest piece must be as old as 7 years, when I took up sewing.

  11. Marie says:

    Oldest fabric probably about 15yrs old. I hate to give any away!

  12. Cynthia says:

    I love the designer you’ve highlighted. Rhonda is very sweet person to know and a wonderful, creative blogger to follow. I hope to meet her in person one day, soon.

    To answer your question:
    When my son was in his last two years of high school (in the late 80s) I worked in a local California fabric store (now defunct). I got such good deals on really lovely fabrics long before the chain stores became the norm. When these fabrics went on sale, I usually bought three to six yards and used my discount to bring the cost even lower. The fact that many of these fabrics are still in my stash is not something I am proud of (…so don’t laugh at me or poke the bear….lol). I’ve moved cross country a lot and not found the right project for those left—which makes some of them 20-30 years old! I must say, I’ve learned my lesson and no longer accumulate huge volumes of fabric as I once did. Now I only accumulate interfacings, linings and other things that support the sewing process. They are a lot easier to move from place to place!

  13. Claudia says:

    The furthest away I purchased some fabric in kona Hawaii. I live in canada.

  14. Mickey Newman says:

    I would have had fabric from the 70s or 80s. But we experienced a flood in 1999 and everything was damaged or destroyed. We had over 3 feet of water in our house. So my fabrics now date back to 1999. Now wherever we travel, I try to find a fabric store. We are planning a trip to NYC next year and I want to visit Mood fabrics!

  15. BeaJay says:

    I have only been sewing for about 3 years so that is the oldest piece of fabric I have. Although I buy online from all over the world I haven’t travelled much in the last 3 years so I have only purchased locally. Must get out more!

  16. Jenny Ebner says:

    I always love reading about Rhonda and her incredible sewing and designing accomplishments, and have had the distinct pleasure of meeting with her a few times, plus she has helped me, via email, design a jacket that I had the idea but not enough know-how!

    Thank you so much for featuring her.

    I have a piece of fabric from the 1800′s. My great grandmother was a fashion designer, and when my aunt died she was still living in the house my great grandfather built, and in the attic, in a chest, we found some of the most beautiful lace, beaded opera capes and dresses and some fabric that I quickly confiscated.

    I, like Rhonda, always seek out fabric stores wherever I go, and luckily for me I travel a lot with my work and for pleasure. I have several pieces that I purchased at Jensen & Jensen in Paris. And I have another piece that I purchased in Paris at another shop that sells only designer ends, but I can’t remember the name of that shop right now.
    And I have purchased fabric in Greece and Italy.

  17. Anne Szabo says:

    My oldest fabric is 12 year old. I do have a lot that are 10 years old. Most of my fabric I bought on line. Have not had to travel with it.

  18. Katherine Merkel says:

    I recently took a tour of the Far East…Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, Bali etc. I bought batiks, beautiful Chinese silk, and some wonderful silk jacquard. Having had the opportunity to travel the world gives me a wonderful stash, and I frequently weed out pieces I no longer care for. But 22 large storage containers plus a full closet will keep me busy until I can no longer hold a needle!

  19. Kay says:

    I live in Ottawa, Canada. I have a length of beautiful silk brocade that my grandfather brought my grandmother from Hong Kong when he visited there in the 1960s. I inherited the piece from my grandmother, who sewed all her life. I guess it was “too good” for her to use for herself. Now it’s “too good” for me :( The oldest piece that I bought myself is a length of wool suiting that I purchased in about 1978 when I was a student in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

  20. This is a truly amazing interview and it made me relate to Rhonda in many different ways :) )). As for the question, I live in Aveiro, Portugal and the longest distance that I’ve brought fabric home is Paris, a magic place to buy fabric and appreciate fashion in general. I will never forget my vacation in Paris, where I had the pleasure of meeting a very dear fellow blogger and dressmaker, Isabelle from Kitty Couture (

  21. barbara bell says:

    I bought some great cotton at liberty in London a few years ago.

  22. Cennetta says:

    How. Great article of Mrs. Rhonda Buss. My oldest fabrics are 25 plus years old. Nothing very special about them. They were bought at a local store in Chicago.

  23. Jennilee says:

    I have fabric that my grandmother and I purchased years ago in Arizona (I live in OH) so that’s probably the furthest away that I’ve bought anything. I fabric shopped but didn’t buy anything in Luxembourg.

    The oldest fabric in my stash is some vintage stuff from my grandmother, including some flour sacks. I just can’t bear to cut into any of it!

  24. Jeannie says:

    I frequently bring home fabrics from Paris, so there are some old ones there. I’m pretty sure the oldest piece in the stash is from 1974 and was brought home from Madrid. Every once in a while I look at it, and think I should use it for something! But then I wouldn’t be able to answer this question so easily.

  25. Carolyn Floyd says:

    I have leftover pieces from the wedding dresses of my grandmother (1900), my mother (1947), mine (1972) and my daughter (2010). I am also the keeper of the dresses. Uncut fabric that is 30 years old that I can find. Also, some from my childhood. I live in Mississippi and have purchased fabric in New York state when I visited an aunt and in Washington State at the sewing show in Puyallup in 2007. Just about have most of that sewn now.

  26. Karen Harder says:

    I have purchased fabric from Kiruna, Sweden (north of the Arctic Circle), Merimekko fabric from Helsinki, Finland, and also from the same store in Innsbruck, Austria, as Rhonda!

    Congratulations, Rhonda, on your sewing career successes!

  27. Martha L says:

    I lived in Iran for one year, 1970-1971. I brought back many textiles, but no antique ones, just a vintage coat. It’s amazing what different cultures can create.

  28. The farthest I have brought fabric is from New Zealand and some of the oldest material I have is some tatting from one of my great Aunts which I cherish and dream of using it on something that I make.

  29. RitaB says:

    I have a piece of fabric I bought in Japan over 20 years ago. I look at it periodically but… I think I see it made into pillows now.

  30. ReAnn Scott says:

    I think Hong Kong would be further than Scotland, so saying Hong Kong is the furthest I’ve bought and brought home fabric.

  31. Ginny Mancini says:

    Great interview.
    My mom gave me 2 metres of black wool crepe fabric that she received from France during the sixties.

  32. Sueann Walter says:

    My oldest fabric is probably 25 years old and getting older. I have a hard time throwing out fabric even when I don’t like it.

  33. LindaC in AZ says:

    I live in Arizona and brought home fabric from NY. That’s probably the longest.

  34. I travel overseas every year or two and usually manage to fit something into my backpack for either myself or my mom. I’ve got fabrics from Japan, Vanuatu, Malawi, and India sitting in my cabinet that I don’t have the heart to cut up.

  35. Heather Dawson says:

    I have a piece of fabric from N. Ireland that I have been hoarding for 25 years. I am *this* close to using it!

  36. Shams says:

    What a wonderful interview! I am a fan of Rhonda’s and learned new things about her in this piece.

    I love to bring fabric home from my travels – it makes a great souvenir. But probably the farthest I have brought home fabric was from NYC, which is a mere 3000 miles away. I need to travel further afield!

  37. Paula Van Brink says:

    I have cute cotton border print yardage from the 1940′s given me by a friend who planned to make kitchen curtains from it but never did (nor have I!). And the fabric that came the longest distance is two beautiful modern design silk sari lengths that I bought in New Delhi in 2000 – I take them out and refold them and dream about what to make someday that will do it justice.

  38. Linda Dean says:

    I have a lot of fabric that I bought on a trip to Hong Kong and I live in Cincinnati, OH. I believe one suitcase of fabric weighed 60 pounds. When I travel, I like to buy fabric. Fabric is the best souvenir of a trip.

  39. Lelania says:

    When I was in highschool in South Africa, my mom and Dad went to visit family in the UK and bought me a beautifull piece of Brown Corduroy, which I made a shift dress with, I still have the dress and it will be 25 years old now, 5 years ago my mom went back to South Africa ( We now live in the UK) and bought me a wonderfull white silk with butterflies on, still have that blouse I made! Funny how life works!

  40. Pamela says:

    I have had fabric brought all the way from Nigeria, Cambodia & India to me in Pennsylvania. The fabrics are so beautiful, I am almost afraid to cut them up to make something! I am thinking my oldest piece is about 10 years-old at least! I’ve lost count really.

  41. Xtine Hutch says:

    I have fabric I brought home from a trip to Bali in 2005. Some of it was used to make a shower curtain, pieced with other batik prints I had. I have some sarongs from there I’d like to use for other projects. I often buy “vintage” fabrics at the thrift store; I know some of them are more than 50 years old.

  42. Julian says:

    I have fabric from the 1800s, as well as linens, lace and parts of garments from that era, but the oldest piece that I bought new was purchased in the late ’60s.

  43. I purchased a piece of fabric while on vacation to London 20 years ago. (It is still in my stash) I have some vintage laces I am guessing from the early 1900′s. I love Rhonda’s blog – always fresh, exciting ideas.

  44. The furthest ive traveled with fabric is from Haiti to north Florida. Not terribly far but most of it is hard to find in the states. Thanks for the opportunity m

  45. Joen says:

    I live in NJ and I am sure I have pieces of fabric from my grandmother in Indiana, and I do go up to fabric shop in NYC too. I also, like you, buy fabric with no particular project in mind but if I like the quality, design or texture then I take it home.

  46. Cherie says:

    What a great interview! Since I haven’t been sewing for long and don’t travel much I haven’t gone too far to buy fabric. And my oldest piece of fabric would be just a few years old.

  47. Nan says:

    I’m 52 and have cloth my mom has given me that she bought when I was a baby.

  48. Bunny says:

    I have pieces of lace that go back to the early 1900s that I inherited from my spinster aunt. She had a lifelong affair with the local priest, really, going back to when she was 18, and she hoarded every bit of linen and liturgical lace that he or the church no longer used. Luckily, my cousin saved it all for me when she passed on at 97 in 1973. There are some amazing pieces.

    I just want to add that Rhonda is amazing in many ways, not just sewing. She is inspirational in so many ways, having met challenges of life with grace. Her personal positivity is a blessing to witness.

  49. Mahasin Hazziez says:

    I’ve brought fabric from Jamaica in the late 80′s. I have fabric that I bought for projects while in college. I worked in a fabric store one summer break and I probably still have something from that time, early 70′s!

  50. I have gotten fabric from my neighbor who used to be a designer in her younger days. I am not as experienced as others but trying. Thank You