Melissa Evans is a seamstress and garment maker who creates handcrafted clothing and shares how she does it. She creates to satisfy her desires for color, style, originality and quality. Read about Melissa’s ongoing garment making journey!
How did you learn to sew?
I learned some basics in a 4H sewing course in middle school, but didn’t pick up sewing garments again until about 7 years ago. I’m thankful to be learning in an era where I can take advantage of the wealth of information at my fingertips.
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What keeps you inspired to sew your own clothes?
My inspiration to sew my own clothes has changed over time. In my early years I was driven to sew my own because I wasn’t finding what I wanted in RTW be it color, style or value. Later I learned more about the consequences of fast fashion. So I made the decision to opt out of purchasing RTW clothing almost entirely. This approach has allowed me to build an almost 100% self sewn wardrobe over the past three years. In my current phase of sewing I continue with my commitment to self sewn but my motivation is creating clothing that “fits me.” One of my goals this year is to learn some basic drafting skills so I can better understand how to fit myself and gain some insight into how patterns work.
How has your sewing changed over time? Do you see your skills evolving?
I think one of the aspects of sewing that keeps me so interested is the ever expanding list of new things to learn and try. I’ve come a long way from the early projects where I would have to read the instructions so carefully, was making bad fabric choices, and was totally oblivious to fit. On the horizon is learning about drafting and diving deeper into learning and using couture techniques.
Do you have 1 or 2 ‘go-to’ patterns that you have made over and over in different fabrics? What are they?
It has only been within the last year that I’ve found or really cared about building a collection of T’N’T (Tried and True) patterns. As a new sewist, I quickly found myself with a large collection of patterns to try. So I have focused on sewing through my pattern stash. I call this my One Hit Wonder approach. As a result, I have a wardrobe with very little repeats and that actually suits me well. I’m not the type that likes the same tee in a rainbow of colors because I want variety. I do have a few patterns that I have actually made more than once, the Georgia Top from Blue Dot Patterns, the Liana Stretch Jeans from Itch to Stitch, and the Chi Town chinos from Alina Design & Co.
Do you have other hobbies? Play around with other mediums?
I give knitting and crochet a try every 5 years or so, but it never sticks. I like to be in front of my sewing machine.
How often do you start a new sewing project?
I always have a project underway and usually am starting a new one every 10 days.
Are you the kind of person that sets out to do a project and finishes it before beginning a new one? Or do you have multiple projects in the works at once?
I have a lonely stack of Unfinished Objects (UFOs) that will attest to the fact that if I leave a project midstream I will not come back to it. To bring an end to wasting time and fabric, several years ago I switched over to being a project monogamist – one project at a time – and I haven’t had a new UFO since.
How do you store your fabric? your patterns?
My sewing space reflects my personality in that in some ways I’m super organized and in other ways a total mess. I keep most of my fabrics folded and labeled on a shelf. All of my patterns are stored in a filing drawer. Nice and neat. Then there’s the pile of miscellaneous supplies, fabrics, scraps, etc. that I just don’t want to deal with.
What is the best piece of advice you received?
The advice that greatly improved my sewing was to “slow down and do things right”.
Where can people find you and your work?
I blog at:https://mahlicadesigns.wordpress.com/
Interview posted February, 2018
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