It is thanksgiving week in the US, a time when I count my blessings. This year I have been reflecting on some of the colleagues and teachers who keep me sewing successfully and happily.
It all started this fall when I was teaching a zipper sampler class where I demonstrated the insertion and uses of a variety of zippers. Anytime I teach zippers, my students say “I am so afraid of inserting zippers.” That was my situation too, in 1983, when I was working at Lady L Bridal Shop in Charlottesville VA. When the spring alterations peaked, I was drafted into the sewing room to help Sue Corbett. She was a no-nonsense stitcher who did every alteration neatly and calmly. One day I was fretting about a zipper that needed to be repaired in a bridesmaid dress. Sue simply stated: “Rae, this is not hard. Sit down here and I will show you how to do it.” That lap zipper application has served me well ever since and I am happy to share it with others. At the same bridal shop, I learned techniques of good pressing from a former marine Victoria Kirkwood, and excellent client relations skills from the manager Anita Bruch. We were a great team.
After starting my own custom sewing business in Baltimore, Lightner Winstead saved me on more than one occasion when I had accepted a project that was a stretch for my skills and knowledge.
Several years into my business adventures I joined a new association for sewing professionals that was forming a local chapter. There is a long list of people in the Baltimore group and subsequently the national organization of ASDP who have influenced my professional sewing exploits. Indulge me as I name just a few and how they have influenced me:
- Susan Khalje – who taught me to appreciate beautiful fabrics and master the techniques for sewing successful garments with these fabrics.
- Sarah Veblen – who taught me the important elements of fit, modeled successful business practices and encouraged me to write about sewing topics.
- Helen Saunders – whose pieced jackets and creative finishes inspired me to make artful garments for myself and others.
- Edye Sanford and Robin Bolton – who have infused into my soul the joy of creating and sharing.
To show my thanks to these women and countless others who have shepherded me along the garment sewing path, I contribute both time and money to the Charitable Foundation of the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals. It is a growing endowment fund that will soon begin granting financial assistance to projects that teach others to be self-sufficient as sewing professionals.
Take a minute to reflect with thanks on the people who have helped you gain the skills and confidence that make sewing a pleasure. Honor them by mentioning them in a comment here, writing them a note, or choosing a charity and making a contribution in their name.
I believe that if we work together we can keep sewing alive and well for hobby sewers and professional practitioners alike. Thanks to each of you, and most especially to Carrie, for joining me on this journey.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Sewing, RAE
4 thoughts on “Sew Thankful for Teachers”
In chronological order:
My grandmother Gladys made all my clothes growing up and most of her own. That set of grandparents always gave me little projects to work on while they did their own work so I have a dual love of mechanical things as well as fabric things. More than once I took a sewing machine apart to see how it worked.
Mrs. Warehime lived next to me growing up and she was an avid quilter but she didn’t like making dresses so she had a friend make those for her. All the sewers she knew including my mom and Granny G gave her their scraps. It was so much fun to see her quilts and recognize a favorite piece of clothing. She too always put me to work and let me try my hand at whatever she was working on.
Rae Cumbie, Carrie and Sarah Veblen have taught me that I CAN HAVE COMFORTABLE PRETTY CLOTHES THAT FIT. And, it is possible to do what you love and make a living.
Sally, I love stories like this and I love sewing with you. Happy Thanksgiving. RAE
I am a bit of a newbie to the sewing world, but as I re-enter, I would like to thank Jane Danner, of Danner’s Bernina; Bobbi Brouillard of Somewear in Time; Debby Spence, the Ace Dressmaker; and Rae Cumbie, Carrie Emerson, Susan Khaljie and Sarah Veblen of the Baltimore ASDP Chapter.
Thank you Mary! I hope we’ll see you at the ASDP chapter gala in a couple weeks!