At the age of eight my Mom, Alice, began teaching me how to sew. My first project was a navy checked pinafore top. It is amazing to me with what detail I remember this, my first sewing project. Specifically I remember cutting the fold by mistake, cutting into two pieces, what should have been one. The first of many mistakes that were to be made for years to come! And I remember learning to sew this pinafore at our family camp where we spent many weekends. My mom packed up the sewing machine, fabric, patterns, pins, scissors, and a lot of patience!
This skill served me well as I got older. I was too short and a little too chubby for the ‘cool’ preteen clothes that they sold in the stores. I wanted to wear all the clothes that my friends were wearing but they just didn’t fit. This inspired me to find fabric and patterns that would give me the look that I wanted. With my mom’s help, I would adjust the pattern to fit me and sew everything together. I would stay up late at night on weekends sewing. Sometimes I would get frustrated because I had sewed something on backwards or in the wrong place. In the morning my mom would wake up and patiently teach me how to rip out the mistake and show me how to sew it correctly. Truly she had the patience of a saint!
By the time I was in the 10th grade I already knew I was going to become a fashion designer. I earned my first degree in Textile Science at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Shortly after graduation I left for the big apple, attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Apparel Design. This was a ‘dream come true’! It opened up a whole new experience of learning to drape and make patterns, how to design and sketch, and learning so much more, including fit, proportion, and production. Afterwards I had the amazing experience of working on Fashion Avenue in NYC for several different women’s sportswear companies. I traveled many times to Paris, and to the factories in Hong Kong, Korea, and Taiwan.
I continued my passion for textiles and design, pattern making and sewing, through freelance and starting my own company in Interior Design, as I was raising my family. What I loved then, and still love the most now, is ‘draping’. Draping is the process of positioning and pinning fabric on a dress form to create the shape and folds of a garment design. I love working directly with the fabric, and creating designs using color and texture.
My mom is with me in spirit now. She is in everything that I create. It is because of her influence that I became a fashion designer. And it is because of her influence that I have this life long passion. I wanted to honor her and all that she taught me by making her part of my sewing journal.