This week, our spotlight is on one of our newest teachers, Elizabeth Buss. She is teaching several excellent classes, including Delicate Fabric Techniques: Taffy Blouse, Pintuck Blouse, and Spring Sundress. Keep an eye out for more awesome classes from Elizabeth, and read on to learn more about her sewing life.
How long have you been sewing?
I have been sewing since I was about four years old. My grandma was an avid quilter and she would let me use her fabric scraps to make dresses for my dolls. Around the age of seven, my mom taught me how to sew from a pattern on a machine, and soon I was designing and making many of my own clothes.
Tell us about a favorite recent sewing project.
For my fiancé’s birthday last September I decided to make him a western style button-up shirt that actually fits! He is tall and slender and has the common problem that most shirts are either too roomy or too short in the sleeve. I found a great dobby weave fabric in light blue to bring out his eyes. He was, of course, thrilled to receive a custom-made shirt, and it’s definitely one of his favorite closet staples. I’ve already picked out fabric to make him a short-sleeve version for spring.
What is your favorite sewing tip/tool?
One of the best pieces of advice I can give, and something I have to continually remind myself, is to always fit as you go or even sew a sample in muslin or scrap fabric first. It’s so easy to make a garment from start to finish from a new pattern with a great fabric that you decided to splurge on, only to find that when you try it on it doesn’t fit. Adjusting a pattern to fit prior to sewing is important, but it still often takes several sewn garments before the fit of a pattern is perfect.
Where do you sew?
I recently moved into an old 1913 bungalow and it’s definitely a “fixer.” The attic-like upstairs will eventually get a complete makeover, but for now I’ve claimed the dormer area in the front of the house as my studio space. I didn’t find the all-white walls very inspiring, so I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to paint before setting anything up. This particular home-improvement project immediately became my number one priority, and soon I was sewing and crafting again. I have found over the years that having a separate creative work space with all of my equipment and supplies handy is pretty important for my emotional well-being!
What sewing project(s) do you plan to tackle next?
I am on the brink of starting one of the biggest sewing projects of my life. Despite the anxiety it’s sure to produce, I have always known that I would design and make my own wedding dress. Well, that time has come because I am getting married this coming August. Designing the dress was easier than I expected, and I have begun sourcing my materials (probably my favorite step). Next, I will be brushing up on my draping skills, something I last did about three years ago as a student at the Art Institute. I know it’s a lot to take on and I’m sure some tears will be shed during the process, but I think it will all be worth it when I am wearing the perfect one-of-a-kind dress on my wedding day!