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What is your dream sewing project?
My dream project is to make a perfectly tailored dress suit out of vintage Chanel silk tweed (in black/white) that Mom left to me when I inherited her sewing stash. I’d love to make it a cross between that ’40s utilitarian style with a structure suited to my curvaceous figure.

The next big thing to make is a silk and lace dress inspired by modern runway looks.

Where are you from and where do you live? What do you do other than sewing?
I was originally born not far from San Jose, CA but we moved around a lot because of my father’s job. Eventually we ended up settling in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. and I’ve lived here now for almost 20 years. So, despite being a transplant, my roots here are pretty deep. My husband and I have been married for 11 years, and I have a 10 year old son and 8 year old daughter. For my ‘day job’ (I work graveyard shift), I work for a major telecommunications company.


A little ladykatza with her parents

Outside of sewing, I play a lot of table top role playing and board games. I also love to cook, garden, read and dabble in amateur photography. Usually, I end up sacrificing cleaning to have time with family. There’s very rarely a dull moment in my house.

If we were to come to your town, where would you take us?
The best fabric store in the Atlanta area is Gail K Fabrics. It’s a mom and pop shop that is like a treasure hunt. Even when I go in there with very specific goals, I always walk out with something else. Their stock is literally packed from floor to ceiling.

My favorite antique shop is called Big Shanty Antiques & Gifts. I always find awesome hats and costume jewelry there, and the occasional vintage pattern/fabric score.

If you were to visit in the summer I would take you up to Lake Allatoona at Red Top Mountain for a picnic and swimming.

Tell us about your sewing journey.
My basic knowledge of sewing came from my mother. She had been a victim of polio and had such a weird shape that she had to sew almost everything she wore. Because her arm and leg would fatigue so quickly, she would have me lay out and cut the patterns for her. This is where I learned about the importance of laying the fabric on grain, and how to maximize fabric potential. She made all of my Renaissance Festival costuming. I never really got behind the sewing machine though, and it would be years before I would try it for myself.


ladykatza’s mother.

I started to truly get into sewing about five years ago when I was trying to put together a Gothic Lolita outfit for Dragon*Con. I had combed the internet for a video of how to install a zipper and could find nothing. A couple of disastrous attempts using the Big Four patterns and I gave up for a while. Fast forward a couple years and I decided I wanted to make a straight skirt. Once again I went googling in search of a tutorial and, low and behold, the internet had exploded with sewing!

And here is where what Mom had taught me and what I wanted to do for myself started to combine. Through the happenstance of what I call “link surfing,” I found BurdaStyle and several of its members’ blogs. Here, there was a wealth of information sharing about tips, tricks, great patterns and, best of all, book reviews.

That’s how I started sewing, but I continue to sew because it is almost impossible to find anything in the stores that fits well. Unless, of course, it’s made out of knit. I love knit and sew with it frequently, but I find myself wishing for skirts, blouses, and suits that are tailored. Since I have broad shoulders, a large bust and, well, lots of curves, tailoring is not something I can buy or afford to have made — so I sew.

I think my two greatest accomplishments were making a Victorian corset, and my ’40s dress. Both were projects that required the greatest amount of new knowledge to accomplish.

Who or what inspires you?
In the realm of designer inspiration, I love Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren. I’ve heard them referred to as ‘safe and a bit old’, but I’ve always had a classic taste for clothes. Because my body type is more Sophia Loren than Audrey Hepburn, I prefer the tailored, clean looks. This doesn’t stop me from branching out, however. That is the beauty of being able to sew your own clothes.


Some of ladykatza’s inspirations.

My big “Style Icons” list is a bit long. I love Hedy Lamarr, Katherine Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Dame Hellen Mirren, Paloma Faith and Christina Hendricks. Lately, I’ve been using Pinterest as a mood board.

What’s your sewing secret weapon?
My secret sewing weapon is a great reference library. As I already mentioned, the online sewing community has helped me put together a very well-edited library. My proverbial “sewing skeleton-in-the-closet,” though, is I often use embellishment to hide botched seams and hems. I haven’t had to do this so much recently, but it’s always a good stand-by.

What is your sewing room like?
My sewing and office area are combined. I take up half the sunroom, the other half being our library and computers. My husband and I are both computer nerds and so we have one for each household member. This is where the family hangs out and I try to catch sewing time whenever I can. Friends often come to hang out and talk, too. If it’s the middle of the night and I’m the only one awake, I love to listen to music or have silly sci-fi shows playing on my computer.


ladykatza’s sewing room (via her Flickr page).


ladykatza’s inspiration wall (via her Flickr page).

How did you find BurdaStyle and pick your username? What keeps you coming back?
I’ve been a member of BurdaStyle for three years now. My username has been my online moniker for almost 15 years now. Like I said, I’m a geek and a nerd and proud of it! I visit almost every day, though sometimes once or twice a week. I love looking through all the member projects to see how people interpret patterns, bring vintage styles modern or make contemporary looks fit them.

What is the most frustrating thing about sewing for you? What is the most rewarding?
The most frustrating thing for me is a lack of time, or large blocks of time. I often have very ambitious ideas that I want to make right now, yet it takes so long to make them happen.

The most rewarding thing is finally completing a well-made project that looks so lovely hanging in my closet.

Discover ladykatza’s top ten favorite member projects!

30 Comments

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    Mar 4, 2012, 01.53 AMby Becky Ware

    HI ladykatza! You obviously have a FLAIR for style & color! You look absolutely GORGEOUS in all of your beautiful, colorful fashions! I would never have imagined anyone making something flattering & beautiful if I just saw the fabric from your maxi dress on the bolt, but you absolutely are a STUNNER in it! I’ve always heard so much about “red heads shouldn’t wear red”, or “purple” or “pink”, or any other fun colors, but not only do you wear them, you are so incredibly beautiful in them! I also love the styles you have chosen, & how they really flatter your figure! Thank you for sharing, & keep up the good work! Becky in NC

    1 Reply
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      Mar 14, 2012, 01.32 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you so much!

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    Jan 19, 2012, 03.00 AMby threadsquare

    Yay!!! I just assumed you’d been featured before, and browsing around today I was pleasantly surprised. Fantastic story :)

    1 Reply
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      Mar 14, 2012, 01.32 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you very much.

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    Jan 13, 2012, 02.14 AMby PeachBlossom05

    Ladykatza – Simply stunning – you SO know how to dress to complement your gorgeous figure. One very talented woman – keep up the great work.

    1 Reply
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      Jan 13, 2012, 03.15 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment!

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    Jan 12, 2012, 10.38 PMby redredhoodie

    Congrats on being featured. You really made some awesome things. I really like how you are not affraid of colors or prints. One can tell that you have fun with the fabrics and designs!

    1 Reply
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      Jan 13, 2012, 03.16 AMby ladykatza

      Thanks! I still default to black and red a good bit of the time. But with the ability to make my own clothes I can wear color and print without looking like an old lady table cloth! :)

  • Missing

    Jan 12, 2012, 02.04 AMby sewmt

    What pattern did you use to make your Victorian corset? Would you use the same pattern again or try a different one? Do you have comments or suggestions for anyone thinking of making a corset? Love your dress with the red piping.

    1 Reply
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      Jan 12, 2012, 06.42 AMby ladykatza

      I used the Laughing Moon pattern. She also has a dvd you can purchase that goes into detail. My recommendation is that if you are anything over a size 10 make sure you go 6 inches smaller, otherwise you’ll not have enough gap for tightening. And DO NOT leave out using the special casings for boning or you’ll end up with it poking out all over the place. That was my biggest mistake.

      http://www.lafnmoon.com/victunder.htm is the link.

      And thanks :)

  • Gardenofdecadence-avatar_large

    Jan 11, 2012, 04.19 PMby thewiltedmagnolia

    Great job on your garments! :) That blue in the snow is really a great color for you. And what woman doesn’t have a thing for shoes?

    I’m so excited there’s another seamstress that lives semi-close to me! No one in my little town really sews, lots of quilting, but not garments. And I agree, Gail K’s is the best! I can get lost in there.

    1 Reply
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      Jan 13, 2012, 03.17 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you! I love to find people in GA too. :)

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    Jan 11, 2012, 06.22 AMby Sandra Gata

    What a very nice selection of projects!! Love your hair as well :)

    1 Reply
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    Jan 11, 2012, 03.34 AMby kelepso

    Congratulations Ladykatza! You deserve it! It was great learning more about you! Best of luck and I’m looking forward to seeing your new projects.

    1 Reply
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      Jan 11, 2012, 03.54 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you!

  • Missing

    Jan 11, 2012, 01.08 AMby rochelle49

    Congratulations on your lovely projects! I too love the designs of Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren. I feel they know how to style clothes for the curvy female form best. They are also more ageless (suiting all ages of women).

    1 Reply
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      Jan 11, 2012, 03.54 AMby ladykatza

      I totally agree! They love women in all varieties too.

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    Jan 11, 2012, 12.46 AMby poppykettle

    Gorgeous work! It’s always lovely to read up on the secret lives of other Burdastylers. Keep pumping out awesome clothes!

    1 Reply
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      Jan 11, 2012, 03.54 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you so much. :)

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    Jan 10, 2012, 01.38 PMby CazzyYoung

    How lovely to have some beautiful fabric passed from your mum, that dress is going to be one special piece sewn with memories when you make it! Come back and show us it!

    1 Reply
    • Poe_large

      Jan 11, 2012, 03.55 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you! I’m still scared to cut into the Chanel silk tweed. One day though…

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    Jan 10, 2012, 11.37 AMby carolyn-s

    It was so interesting to read your bio, and I loved those shots in the snow! You’ve made some beautiful things. I just adore your colourful maxi dress.. And about those shoes…mmmmm!!!

    1 Reply
    • Poe_large

      Jan 11, 2012, 03.55 AMby ladykatza

      The snow was very serendipitous! It almost never snows like that in The South. And thank you. :)

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    Jan 10, 2012, 05.26 AMby JuliaBobbin

    So lovely to get to know you! I love your sewing room, and I can’t wait to see your silk and lace dress!

    1 Reply
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      Jan 10, 2012, 06.30 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you so much! I can’t wait for my silk and lace dress either. Maybe it will sew itself?

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    Jan 10, 2012, 04.17 AMby lennert

    Very inspiring… Love your shoes by the way!

    1 Reply
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      Jan 10, 2012, 06.29 AMby ladykatza

      Thank you! I have a thing for shoes. :)

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    Jan 10, 2012, 04.03 AMby oonaballoona

    i loved reading every bit of this!

    1 Reply
    • Poe_large

      Jan 10, 2012, 06.31 AMby ladykatza

      I give you two thumbs up

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