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!
*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.
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