1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I grew up in a small town on the perpetually green Olympic Peninsula called Quilcene. I and my husband currently live in limbo, which means that we’re on our third house-sitting stint this year and planning for another, as we continue to contemplate the direction of our next major move.
2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
My mother and grandmother have always sewn, so I think I had many projects shepherded along by their expertise. My first independent sewing accomplishment was a mint green eyeglass case, made with quilted fabric and eyelet lace, and a button fastener. It was marvelous.
3. What role does sewing play in your life?
Sewing is necessary for my survival— and not in a specialized, esoteric sense that only fellow seamstresses can really understand, but in a makes-me-money-so-that-I-can-eat sense. During college and my first year of marriage I was fortunate enough to be able to submit my pieces to obliging boutiques for a bit of supplementary income, but was never required to make it my bread and butter. After a stint in Africa, my husband and I came back to Portland and a tough job market that drove me, after papering the streets of downtown with my impressively perky resumes and receiving nary a bite, to sew in earnest. I lobbed wads of my clothing at every boutique I came across, and in the cutthroat fashion climate of Portland, I was fortunate to eventually worm my clothing into three stores. In the mean time I set up shop on Etsy.com, and the rest is history!
4. What is your favorite and what is your least favorite thing about sewing?
I love stumbling on a design that works well and expresses the evolving personality of Fancy Clothing. I never use patterns, so any new design I create comes from eyeballing another design and thinking about translating into Fancy Clothing terms. Patterns are probably my LEAST favorite thing about sewing, but I’m trying to discipline myself into learning the right way, and not just my way. Ugh— patience and details are my biggest problems. I want to get things done!
5. If you could make something for anyone who would it be and what would you make?
Hmm… I would probably make things for me! It’s something I never seem to have the time to do— any piece that I keep has some hole that I had failed to notice while making it, or something like that. I would love to learn how to make jeans and jackets and SHOES (how amazing, right?) with all of those lovely details competently worked out, and then I would wear only my own creations, all made from thrift store fabric that cost me less than $1 a yard. And I would finally be stylish. Sigh.
6. What are you looking for on our site? What do you think should be improved and what do you really like?
Burda is so amazing— it, more than anything else, had inspired me to buckle down and learn how to really do things, like sew from patterns and pay attention to terms and whatnot. I found this amazing tutorial on how to use those old button-hole attachments, and I was floored!
I would love to have more and more How-To’s! And free patterns, of course…
7. What is your motto?
I didn’t have one until last night, when I read this World War II mantra in a book I was thumbing through:
Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Do without.
It’s so obvious, so austere. But just right.
Just by looking at FancyClothing’s profile you get a smile on your face, and then you see her creations. Her awesome pinafores have graced the front page of BurdaStyle many a time. You may also recognize her from her Etsy shop Necessity is the mother. Make sure to check out her top ten