I have sewn since I was eight. Taught by my mother and two eldest sisters Audrey and Gail, I was making clothes for myself at an early age.
From sewing a straight stitch, I progressed to patterns in time to help express my teenage identity. I recall my mother’s lament that I “always wanted changes to the pattern,” which required her expertise to figure out.
When I moved from Ontario to BC at 21, I left the family sewing machine behind. I spent the wedding money from my in-laws on a Baycrest machine (a Husqvarna with plastic innards). It helped me earn money in those first few years; we started Skins, a business custom-making cycling gear for women.
I sewed almost all the clothes for my husband Trevor and our two boys Nathanael and Nigel throughout my ’20’s, then stopped sewing in my ’30’s while I earned my graduate degree in English Literature and began full time work.
Dabbling with Christmas projects throughout my ’40’s, that Baycrest served me well, but when at 50 I returned to sewing in earnest, it wasn’t up to my new endeavours. Trevor got me Pfaff for my 50th Christmas.
A CEO by day, I have become impassioned again with sewing on my weekends for the past four years. Rather than sew new garments however, my interest is in ReCouturing vintage items found in second-hand shops.
But it was Trevor’s gift of a dressmaker’s form in 2012 that propelled my talent for reinventing the drab and forgotten items in my closet. Now I’m recouturing neglected treasures in others peoples’ closets too.
Together with my friend of 30 years, Tina, who shares a talent for advanced sewing, we now have a dream to make a business of our hobby when we retire.
Have you ever reflected on whether or not you dream in colour?
Sewing and designing flows effervescent from my childhood, with memories of colour-infused dreams featuring odd, wild outfits.
Now, looking to inject more passion and creativity into the present, I’m conjuring up my childhood joys and again feeling a spirit of endless possibility.
Growing up in northern BC was magical, full of adventure and cold for much of the winter. With only 2 TV channels, hobbies provided entertainment. Apart from having the best Home Ec teacher ever, Mrs. Fraser, sewing seemed effortless and endlessly enjoyable. At home I made hippy skirts and soon took to knitting as well. I think at last count I’d knitted 75 Lopi sweaters.
Having improved on my first sewing endeavours at age 8, over the years I’ve rescued and rebirthed discarded furniture from alleys, taught adult ski suit construction, and clothed my own children with reworked thrift store finds. I have dabbled in leather jacket design and, as a summer job, have resurrected beloved old jeans with patchwork leather.
I have been busy over the past few years renovating my home and have realized I have an intense passion for tiling. Now most of these projects are complete and I’m ready to reclaim a less messy and portable enterprise.
Rekindling my friendship with Rebecca, we have committed to mentor each other, give more than we receive, and try to rock more than we roll!