I’ve always loved to sew, and on my twelfth birthday my mother gave me the choice of a birthday party or a sewing machine. No contest, I chose the 1990’s Kenmore and purchased a case for it myself. With it I created the biggest bell bottoms in middle school, my bejewelled prom dress in high school, and curtains in college. Later it even helped me make my wedding dress, and sews all of the creations seen in my shop today.
I tried to follow the traditional collegiate path, but two semesters before I finished my degree at UC Santa Cruz, I met the man of my dreams. He was travelling through the US on holiday from New Zealand, and we were instant companions. We couldn’t believe our good luck in meeting, and were inspired to take life by the reigns and follow our wildest dreams. We moved to Portland, Oregon; I dreamed of attending The Art Institute of Portland to study Fashion Design. Unfortunately, on my meager wage at Fabric Depot, my dreams were financially out of reach. After a year, we returned to Santa Cruz so I could finish my degree in Physical Anthropology.
In this time, I cultivated an awareness for our environment and a concern for the great impact of our waste of unwanted garments and textiles. Still determined to follow my dreams, I decided to teach myself design and pattern drafting using the literature of times passed. Consulting vintage sewing books and patterns, I have begun to scratch at the surface of the art of dressmaking.
My Kiwi husband and I now live in tiny house in the redwood forest, overlooking a creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I sew all of my upcycled garments from our small spare room with the companionship of my white and black spotted bunny.
Making quality clothing out of recycled fabrics is the perfect combination for me. It enables me to pair traditional dressmaking techniques with environmental consciousness. It is an outlet for me to experiment with different design methods and continue to pursue my dreams and teach myself. I have always been bored by making the same thing over and over again. Constantly using limited materials quenches my thirst for a challenge and allows me to make one of a kind garments. The book ‘Singer Dressmaking Course (1961)’ notes,
“Color (and design) in a dress should provide a frame for, and enhance the personality of, the wearer.”
I like to think that my dresses are like people, each with it’s own unique personality. I hope that you find the dress that I have sewn just for you.