Stef from Girl.Inspired is our question and answer all-star today! We had the opportunity to meet Stef at a luncheon this last winter and I wished we could have chatted more. Welcome Stef to our season....we absolutely can't wait to see what your designs bring!!!
How did you learn to sew? My mom and both of my grandmothers sewed when I was a little girl, but I think I was more interested in playing in the button drawer than actually learning to sew. Once I had my first job out of college, I became interested in sewing and taught myself to make a few quilts; I bought my first cheapy sewing machine at that point. When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I thought it would be brilliant to sew maternity clothes instead of buying them and my mom showed me how to follow a pattern, but I don't think I wore any of the clothes we made a single time - um, they didn't turn out to be the flattering, money-saving garments I had imagined. I continued sewing little things here and there for my girls, but it wasn't until my third daughter turned one year old that I really discovered garment sewing. I wanted to make her first birthday dress and from there I was hooked. I've learned pretty much everything I know by running to my mom with questions, trying new patterns, reading sewing blogs, and asking other sewists about their techniques. Every time I learn something new, I feel like a fraud for sewing without that knowledge previously and I also feel this huge sense of relief that I've finally learned the "right way" to do something. I really, really like to follow rules, so I spend a lot of time trying to do things "right." With children's clothes, I've also learned that sometimes it doesn't matter if you do it the right way, what matters is if your kids love it and wear it!
How would describe your style? I always have a hard time defining my style, I mean, I know it when I see it, but it's hard to put words to. I guess I'd say feminine, soft, maybe romantic, a little shabby chic, a little vintage. For children's clothing, those are the characteristics that I'm most attracted to. I have three little girls and they all appreciate pink and ruffles, but then their little personalities inspire me toward other styles, too, so I guess my style will adapt as they grow and have styles of their own, as long as they still let me sew for them!
What is your least favorite thing to sew? I despise hand sewing - DESPISE!!! I'll do pretty much anything to avoid it. I'll even do dishes and laundry. It takes all I've got to sit down and sew something by hand - shank buttons make me shudder and just thinking about quilt bindings is enough to stall a project by a year.
What are you favorite fabrics to work with? For a long time, I used quilting cottons for all my garments - you can always find the perfect color combinations and new, beautiful prints. The options are really just endless. But lately, I've been much more interested in sewing with special occasion fabrics - silk, silk/cotton blends. I don't have a lot of fabric choices to choose from locally, but I try to choose a couple new things every time I purchase fabric online - just a little bit, to see what's out there and make a connection between a fabric type whose name I've heard and what it actually looks and feels like.
When you are not sewing, what do you enjoy doing? Let's see, I like making lists of things that I may or may not ever do, I love baking and cooking, but I don't love doing the dishes, I like to decorate and rearrange furniture, I LOVE antiquing and thrifting, enjoy a good furniture makeover, I like to garden, but just the planting new plants part, not the maintenance or weeding. I love to plan a good party and get my girls involved in crafting or baking. I like experimenting with farm life, things like growing new vegetables, canning, raising chickens, wearing an apron; I don't really know what I'm doing, but it's fun to pretend. What else? I love to EAT, I love to travel (though this has slowed down to a near halt since having children). I love a lazy afternoon in my sunny family room with my family, goofing off dancing and singing karaoke.