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Where are you from?
“I live in Greenville, SC and I am an elementary school art teacher by day. I teach every grade at my school, four year old kindergarten through fifth grade. It’s a great job—busy, but very rewarding. I help kids make art all day long. I dabble in drawing, painting and printmaking myself. I’d love to illustrate a children’s book one day. At night, I sew fanatically. When I’m not actually sewing or cutting something out, I’m planning what I’m going to sew next. I love to make things. My mom is also an art teacher/artist, so I grew up immersed in all sorts of creative art projects and craftiness.”

“You know you had a sweatshirt like this, too”

How did you start sewing?
“I took a sewing lesson when I was eight. I learned the basics and made an elastic waist skirt. I absolutely hated it. I remember having to unpick a mistake and that was it. I wanted nothing else to do with sewing. Then, almost two years ago, my husband came home with a sewing machine and the crazy idea that he was going to make a tipi. The rest is history. It all came back to me. I suddenly had the patience to sew. I’ve been sewing nonstop since.

I love looking back at my studio here on BurdaStyle because I can definitely see my progress. I joined BurdaStyle shortly after the beginning of the tipi venture and it has been an invaluable resource. I visit nearly everyday and I love to see what other people are up to. I’ve learned so much through online resources. I started a blog six months ago for purely selfish reasons. I like to talk about things I make. The online sewing community is just awesome. I’m tickled that everyone who sews is so incredibly generous and nice. (Why is that?) I’ve been pleased with a lot of things I’ve turned out lately, but the project I’m most proud of is my Lady Grey. I learned so much during the process and I still can’t believe I actually made it."

My Lady Grey

Where do you go to get inspired?
“I love to laugh, so I like it when clothes make me smile. I don’t exactly have a style icon, but I find inspiration a lot of different places. I’m not the most fashionable girl in the world, but I do love to talk about color. I’m a little obsessed. Part of it is a side effect of the day job, I’m sure. I think about color combinations all the time. I look for color inspiration in art and everyday life. Henri Matisse is one of my favorite artists and he was a master colorist. I married an artist/designer man who is even more obsessed with color than I am. You should see us try to pick a wall color.

I’m also inspired by the kids I teach. They are amazing and hilarious. They constantly remind me not to take myself too seriously. My husband is also a great source of inspiration. I think we both initially bonded over our love of art, but we couldn’t be more different when it comes to style and preference. He has great determination while I can be pretty lazy. He pushes me to work harder and take pride in the craftsmanship of my work, both art and sewing."

“Portrait of me painted my super talented husband”

What’s your sewing experience like?
“I’m excited to show my sewing space! It’s not the most attractive space right now, but it is totally functional. It’s brand new, too. We moved in to a house this past summer that has a gigantic sunroom on the back. We knew the sunroom would be a perfect studio for both of us. We’ve been working hard on renovating the rest of the house so I’ve only recently set up my sewing area. I used to sew on the coffee table. Now I have space. It’s wonderful. And the best part is that when company comes over, I just shut the door to the sunroom and no one has to see the mess. I sew a little bit in the evenings, but most of my sewing is done on the weekends.”

“I sew under the watchful eye of White Cloud”

What is your dream sewing project?
“I’m very in to furniture at the moment. I’m working on a project right now for a friend’s nursery. I would say my dream sewing project would be to learn proper upholstery. I’d love to be able to upholster a couch or recliner. Just think of all the options. I have supplies for silk painting in the studio right now, too. I’d love to make a dress from completely hand painted silk one day. And I’m on a mission to make a really great pair of pants.”

Matisse Inspiration

What is the most frustrating thing about sewing for you? What is the most rewarding?
“I almost always sew something on backwards or inside out. Never fails. Like everyone else, I hate unpicking. The most rewarding thing about sewing is wearing a garment I’ve made. It’s so much fun to say, I made this.”

Check out lizajane’s Top Ten Favorite Member Creations


  • Missing

    May 4, 2011, 01.27 PMby Retrojean

    I sewed that very same coat (as your Lady Grey), but mine was turquoise. Looked silly on me (I’m short), so I gave it away. I got the pattern in a box of free stuff that I won from Sew News. I got the fabric at a thrift store for $5. I was real bummed when I saw how it looked on me, after all that work! Yours looks very nice. I’m glad someone liked that pattern.. I threw mine away.

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    Apr 20, 2011, 11.58 PMby shari-1

    Congrats on being a featured member….Your lady grey coat looks amazing! Love the tipi.

    1 Reply
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      Apr 21, 2011, 01.18 AMby lizajane09

      Thanks so much!

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    Apr 18, 2011, 07.59 AMby tilshmil

    Great interview! Congrats on being our Feature Member!

    1 Reply
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    Apr 15, 2011, 05.36 PMby jeskagrue

    I love that you two did make the tipi – and you had its photo in the feature! It was great to hear that you balance teaching and sewing — I’m a future social sciences secondary teacher that will be taking classes from a local university’s theatre costume studies program during any free time ;). Love the kids drawings of your wares too!

    1 Reply
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      Apr 21, 2011, 01.17 AMby lizajane09

      Thanks so much! Sewing keeps me sane :)

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    Apr 15, 2011, 09.19 AMby carolyn-s

    Hey, congratulations on being featured member! I loved reading your feature interview… and your sewing space is awesome. Your Lady Grey is beautiful, I can see why you’re so proud of it!

    1 Reply
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      Apr 15, 2011, 10.48 AMby lizajane09

      Thanks Carolyn!

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    Apr 15, 2011, 09.19 AMby carolyn-s

    Hey, congratulations on being featured member! I loved reading your feature interview… and your sewing space is awesome. Your Lady Grey is beautiful, I can see why you’re so proud of it!

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    Apr 15, 2011, 01.18 AMby littlewren

    hey! congrats on being featured! As an art educator it is so wonderful to be inspired by other art teachers creating their own work! Love your pieces and insights… can’t wait to look a little closer at your studio!

    1 Reply
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      Apr 15, 2011, 10.50 AMby lizajane09

      Hey, cool- another art teacher! I just looked at your profile— much cooler to be an art teacher in China :) Thanks so much

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    Apr 14, 2011, 05.50 PMby amaydak

    Congratulations on being a featured member lizajane! So much fun to read more about you. I continually love all your sewing projects!

    1 Reply
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      Apr 15, 2011, 10.51 AMby lizajane09

      Thanks! That’s very sweet :)

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    Apr 14, 2011, 03.16 PMby lunachick

    Congratulations on being featured! Your Lady Grey is amazing, I’m so jealous! I’ve sewn a skirt (my first project) that I wore once because I realized that not only is it a little transparent (I forgot to line it) but that it’s too loose on me! So I’m going to have to add elastic or take it in a little. I can imagine unpicking your stitches because I did that with a top I’d made for my cousin’s wedding… AND I wore it with the wrong bra (I needed a strapless bra but couldn’t find one at the last minute, so I tucked my strap under the thick strap of the top that went off shoulder instead of sitting on my shoulder)… still I’m proud of them both and will have to go back and tweak them but I will definitely be wearing them again… You’ve certainly come along way with your sewing and I hope i find inspiration to start on projects again… Well, I have a month-old niece who’s inspired me to sew a dress for her to wear on Easter, so that’s a start! Your story certainly has inspired me that much more! :D

    1 Reply
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      Apr 15, 2011, 10.52 AMby lizajane09

      Thank you! You should make something for your niece. I found it so gratifying to make things for my friends baby— less fabric, less time :)

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    Apr 14, 2011, 11.29 AMby hdk100

    Congratulations on being featured! You really deserve it, because you (re)started recently and you got so far! I admire your work it’s a good inspiration!

    1 Reply
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    Apr 14, 2011, 08.19 AMby susanne2011

    I love the tipi, that is an amazing first project. Most of us start with a simple skirt, you start with a 3 meter high tipi, respect, haha!

    1 Reply
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      Apr 14, 2011, 11.03 AMby lizajane09

      Ha, thanks! Actually, I did start with a drawstring skirt. My nutty husband made the tipi. I only helped with measuring and folding.

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    Apr 14, 2011, 07.59 AMby janul

    Hi liza, so great to read about you here! I love your Matisse inspiration!

    1 Reply
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    Apr 13, 2011, 05.54 PMby marcy harriell | oonaballoona

    lizajane, your feature was so much fun to read, and OH MY GOD. your matisse inspiration is AMAZING.

    ps: lizajane’s blog link is broken on this post :(…

    3 Replies
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    Apr 13, 2011, 05.50 PMby danired

    I was so excited to read the first line…“I live in Greenville, SC”…..because I do too!!! I also followed along on Gertie’s ‘Lady Grey’….I didn’t sew it because I’m a beginner….meaning I’ve sewn on skirt that still isn’t completed. I hate having to rip stitches & have done it so many times on this skirt I’m losing my patience! I’m one who looks/admires/& dreams about making something while watching someone else do it. haha! Your Lady Grey looks beautiful. Great color! & your tipi is outrageous! I love it!

    1 Reply
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      Apr 14, 2011, 10.59 AMby lizajane09

      Yay Greenville! Keep going on your skirt. I tore out stitches several times on my first project. Once you complete something and wear it, you’ll be totally addicted!

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