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The Sewist Tag, or Get to Know Me Better

I am standing in front of a wall covered in vine , smiling, wearing a crushed black velvet Natalie Dress
Happy Goth!

The Seamstress Tag has been around for some time. As this is my first post of 2022, I thought it would be a good idea to start the year by sharing a little bit more about myself. So, here we go!

Who are you?

Hi, there! My name is Paula. I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I lived until I was 24. I moved to Los Angeles to study photography but ended up with a Master’s in English Literature. I have been an educator for 20 years, first as a teacher and now as a teacher librarian.

When and why did you start sewing?

Image of a woman with long black hair wearing a black buttoned up shirt, black skirt, and black boots.
I want clothes that match my personality and fit my body

I started sewing over 20 years ago, but only in the last 15 have I become consistent in my practice. The clothes that I wanted to wear either did not exist or when they did, they did not fit me properly. I have a squarish frame, big boobs, and a round belly. I want my clothes to fit my body, not the other way around. 

What is your favorite make?

Image of a woman with long black hair standing in front of a white garage door. She is wearing a black and white polka dotted empire-waits dress and boots.
Best Dress Ever

I am absolutely in love with the Aubepine dress that I made in 2021. It is beautiful, comfortable, and flowy. I cannot get enough of this dress and have a few more coming in 2022.

What is your proudest make?

Image of a eoman ieth long black hair standing in front of a wall covered in vines. She is wearing a dark gray coat.
My First—and Only—Handmade Coat

I sewed a coat a couple of years ago, and that thing was a beast to complete. It is beautiful but incredibly heavy. I cannot wear it in Los Angeles because the coat is too warm. I cannot bring it on trips because it is so darn heavy. I am super proud of it, though. I learned a lot making this coat.

What is your most disastrous make?

I have had my fair share of disastrous makes. The most tear-inducing disaster happened many years ago when I first started using a serger. I was finishing a seam on an almost completed skirt when the serger cut through the front of it. Don’t know how it happened, and I was not able to mend the hole. Very disastrous, indeed.

Where is your favorite place to go fabric shopping?

Image of a fabric store with different sections and a multitude of colors
Inside Michael Levine

Living in Los Angeles, I am spoiled when it comes to fabric shopping. I love Mood and Michael Levine Fabric 26 (the original store was sold, so the new owners had to come up with a ”new” name ) for high-end stuff, Joann for novelty quilt cotton, and the DTLA Fashion District for cheap muslin fabric and costume fabrics. To be honest, the Fashion District brings me anxiety. Too many people, too many choices. I have had great luck buying online from Fabric.com and Fabric Wholesale Direct.

What is your most used pattern?

Deer and Doe Plantain. I love this pattern and have hacked it in so many ways—I’ve made dresses, added lace sleeves, and hacked into an empire-waist dress. And it is FREE! 

Your most dreaded sewing task is…

Hemming. Not so much sewing but marking, pressing, and pinning. I sometimes wait days after a whole project is almost finished to hem a dress or skirt. I usually hand sew my hems, which probably contributes to my dislike of the whole process.

And your favorite sewing task is

The actual sewing part of any project.

What is your favorite sewing entertainment?

I listen to music all the time. From Sisters of Mercy to Boy Harsher , this is the soundtrack to my sewing. I tried listening to podcasts, but there is not a lot out there that I enjoy. I highly recommend Punk Frockers!

Printed or PDF?

Because of the pandemic and my diminishing desire to mingle with the masses, all of the patterns I bought this past year have been PDF patterns. I hate taping them together, so I send them to a print shop.

What sewing machine do you use?

Image of a Juki sewing machine
My Baby

I am a Juki fan. I have a Juki 400 sewing machine, a Juki MO-654 DE serger, and a Juki MCS-1500 Coverstitch.

Do you have any other hobbies?

Image of a woman wearing a short blue wig with a firefly hair pin wearing a red and white shirt. She reads the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman.
My Halloween Nod to One of My Favorite Books

I love to read, cook, and watch bad TV shows. I recently started with drawing and watercolor, and I would love to learn how to knit.

Anything Else?

Image of a black and white cat on a gray couch
My Sweet Pota

I love cats. I am the person who will stop mid-sentence and scream in delight at the sight of a cat. Our current baby, Pota, came into our lives as a foster. She never left. She is cute and silly and so loving.

What about you?

Now you know more about me and my sewing than you probably ever cared to. If there is anything else you would like to know, go ahead and ask. And I’d love to learn more about you. Leave a comment below telling me a bit about your sewing journey.

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