9 months ago

The Seamstress Tag

I was tagged with The Seamtress Tag by Jenny from Ms. Jenny Homemaker. I first read about the tag on Sarah’s blog Sew Sarah Smith and I loved the idea. Sarah even asked me to write on it but I got busy with renos and successfully forgot about…

I think the tag is a great way to get to know your sewing friends a little better and bring the sewing community closer together. So without further ado, here are my answers to the 12 questions.

1. Who are you?

I’m Anya. Originally I am from Russia. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg and moved to Canada with my family when I was 17. I am 32 years old now and I live in Calgary, Canada with my fiancé (which is still a little strange to say) Shaun and our 2 cats, Arah and Bumblebee, and 2 dogs, Skye and Misha. We are both huge animal lovers and can’t seem to get enough of our furry family members. I graduated with a business degree from University of Calgary and I am working as Contracts Analyst by day.

Bumblebee is being his fabulous self

 

2. When & why did you start sewing?

I grew up around sewing. My mom has a seamstress education, but she does not enjoy sewing. She sewed mostly out of necessity. Back when I was a kid it was more difficult to find fun clothes so I remember my mom making me a lot of things. My grandmother also sewed. She only wore dresses which she made. So my first memory of sewing is tying off dart ends for my grandma and my mom making my doll a pair of tights out of a lonely sock which lost its partner. My mind was blown!

I made my first “garment” when I was still a kid. I found a piece of red and white striped jersey and hand sewn a skirt for myself. I was so proud of it! My mom was the one who me how to sew properly. She explained my errors and showed me better ways to do things. And together my parents patiently funded my hobby with all of its failures and unfinished projects.

When I moved to Canada I stopped sewing. I picked it up again in my last year of university. I was very envious of a hounds tooth mini skirt a girl I knew was wearing and I could not afford to buy one at the time. Then I realized I can make it. So I did! The next thing I realized was that none of my coats fit me. I have broad shoulders and long arms. So without thinking twice I jumped into making my first coat. It was hard, but I managed to come out with something I was not afraid to wear in public! Ever since then my obsession with sewing was revived.

My mama and I. I bet she made that outfit I am wearing!

 

3. What is your favorite or proudest make?

This is a really tough one. I am proud of almost everything I make. If it is a finished garment that looks professional and I can wear in public, I am very proud of it. If I have to pick one or two, I would say it would be a general category. I am very proud of making my own lingerie and jeans. I have never would have thought that I will be able to not only do those things but also love the fit more than store bought items.

Some of my recent lingerie makes. They are so comfy!

 

4. What is your most disastrous make?

Also a really tough question! I have a few. For some time I had a category on my blog called Fail Friday. The idea behind it was to show the fails as well as successes. I don’t see a fail as a fail but rather as a learning opportunity. My fails have been my biggest teachers. Some taught me new ways of sewing while others taught me about fit, style and my own preferences when it comes to clothes. Yet, if I had to pick one, I would say it was a skirt I attempted to make years ago. I always wanted a pleated chiffon skirt. I came across very expensive pleated chiffon and after thinking for a bit I bought some. It still hurts to think about it. I blotched the skirt completely. I couldn’t unpick it and ended up throwing the whole thing out. I still hope that one day I will be able to make a similar skirt!

 

5. Where is your favorite place to go fabric shopping?

Oh boy, where isn’t? I love shopping for fabric. Although this year I am planning to drastically decrease my fabric spending, which we will see how it will turn out. We do have a couple fabric stores in Calgary and Fabric Land can have some decent fabrics. I do spend majority of my money online though. I frequent Blackbird Fabrics, Style Maker Fabrics, Cali Fabrics, Emma One Sock, LA Finch Fabrics. Even though Fabric Land may be cheaper, I know I can count on the quality of fabrics in these stores. I also recently discovered L’Oiseau Fabrics and I really liked some of their cotton knit prints. I was really impressed with their quality as well!

For lingerie supplies I frequent The Emerald Studio on Etsy (she also carries fantastic bamboo knit jersey in six basic colors that I use for a lot of my basic t-shirts), Bra Makers Supply, Tailor Made Shop, Sew Sassy (cheapest elastics I found), and I will be frequenting aforementioned L’Oiseau Fabrics for cotton spandex for underwear.

 

6. What is your most used pattern?

I like to use a pattern more than once. If something fits well, I will do my best to hack it and re-make it over and over again. I think to date my most used patterns are Laurel Dress and Panama Tee Dress, which I hacked into a sweater. One night I made 4 Panama Sweaters! I have been wearing them all.

 

7. Your most dreaded sewing task is…

I have to say anything that involves hand sewing. A lot of people find hand sewing soothing and meditative, I don’t. I get very anxious and impatient. I also don’t like the quality of my hand stitching. I am sure I am just being hard on myself. But I definitely dread anything that I need to do by hand.

 

8. And your favorite sewing task?

I am not sure if it really is a task, but my favorite moment of sewing is when all the pattern pieces that were cut out for the project are connected. Now that I am trying to explain it, I realize that it sounds really weird… I really like the feeling when I see there are no lone pattern pieces left on my working table. Even if a project is not finished yet, seeing how it all has now came together gives me immense satisfaction.

 

9. What is your favorite ‘sewing entertainment’?

I actually can not watch TV when I sew! I can not multitask when it involves looking somewhere else other than my sewing table or following a story line closely.

When Shaun and I first moved in together we realized that we really enjoy spending time together while doing our own things. This way we can have small talk here and there, and share laughs. He really likes playing video games, so our solution is to have his gaming set up around my sewing area. Strangely enough I have no interest in playing video games, but I do really enjoy watching someone else play a game with a good story. This way I get to sing along with the games soundtracks and make generally silly and funny random comments about what he is playing and in return he gets… I am not sure what he gets actually. Time with me? Random lingerie showing of completed garments? He is not complaining so I assume he is happy with this arrangement.

And when he is not around I usually have Spotify on. I really enjoy music and breaking out in random dances, so Spotify is great for it. Some days I have fun with Becky, my dress form….

…or throw together random workouts with a bold of fabric!

 

10. Printed or PDF?

PDF! I am all for instant gratification. Even if I don’t make the pattern right away, what if I wake up the next day and I simply must make it right then and there??? I can not dare to take the risk of not having a pattern accessible. And also tracing, I hate tracing!

 

11. What sewing machine do you use?

I use my old Janome 4030QDC machine. My parents, with my contribution, got it for me as a birthday present 10 years ago. At the time I thought it was a big commitment. I was still unsure how long this whole sewing thing is going to stick around. The machine has been serving me really well! Overall it is a good, sturdy machine that can take silk and layers of denim. I did have troubles with a twin needle though. It seems like I could never get the tension right. I am feeling like I am growing out of this sewing machine. I imagine I will be in the market for a new machine this year or the next. I am open to suggestions!

I also have Janome serger 1110DX which I love. It is a pretty great serger that does its thing really well. The only thing is when I bought it I didn’t realize that the pedal was defective and it only had one speed – very, very, very fast. I learnt about it years after when I took it in for service. It doesn’t bother me at all, so I never replaced the pedal. I guess may be that is why I can whip out 4 sweaters in one night…

Last year I also added Janome Coverlock to my sewing machine line up. It was a Christmas gift from me to me. I found a barely used coverlock for a very reasonable price on kijiji and snagged it. It has been a lifesaver for hemming knits!

Here is my old girl!

 

12. Do you have any other hobbies?

I had a lot of hobbies as I was rediscovering sewing! And all of them were also really time consuming. At one point in time I had a horse and was really into trail riding. I would be out in the stables as soon as work day was over. Before that I did martial arts for 7 years, which was really fun and makes me feel like I can stand up for myself if I need to. I also used to paint and draw. I still do very rarely when the mood strikes. I was really into dance and took everything from hip hop to poledance. I participated in a few flash mobs and it is so thrilling to dance for crowds of people. We danced on ice at a hockey game with a crowd of 20,000 people! Talk about trying not to slip and fall… I even spent a few years teaching poledance until I got a concussion (surprisingly not pole related) which took over a year to recover from and I couldn’t spin or invert anymore and re-learning everything was very time consuming.

Over the past couple years I realized that as much as I love doing all these great things, I was better off narrowing my hobbies down to one or two things. I wanted to do less, but do it well. It was tough to let go of a lot of my hobbies. I bawled for weeks as I was selling my horse and quitting dance took months and was extremely hard. My favorite part about teaching was empowering women and helping them realize there is no need to be anything specific to be sexy and beautiful, we are all gorgeous beings just the way and the size we are now.

At this time I would say sewing is my main hobby. I love to work out and cook, go for long walks with my dogs, spend time annoying Shaun with my silly comments and dances, and read. I think I like it that way for now.

I guarantee I was being a mischievous smartass as this photo was being taken.

 

Well, that was a long post! I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about me. I would love to know more about you! If you read to the bottom of this post, consider yourself tagged. I am curious to get to know you all.

So if you are down to participate, here are the 12 questions:

The questions:
1. Who are you?
2. When & why did you start sewing?
3. What is your favorite or proudest make?
4. What is your most disastrous make?
5. Where is your favorite place to go fabric shopping?
6. What is your most used pattern?
7. Your most dreaded sewing task is…
8. And your favorite sewing task?
9. What is your favorite ‘sewing entertainment’?
10. Printed or PDF?
11. What sewing machine do you use?
12. Do you have any other hobbies?

Love,
Anya

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