Student Feature: Stephanie's 100 sewing projects
Would you believe that Stephanie here has sewn over 100 garments and 50 bags? Having sewn for over 40 years and counting, we invited Stephanie to the spotlight to ask what keeps her going (and also when the last time was that she bought clothes off the shelf)!
My name is Stephanie and I'm working as a Teacher Assistant in UWC. My hobby is sewing and I like outdoor activities.
How did you start making your own garments?
When I was young I took Home Economics so my first piece was children's clothes. At home, I would just take my mom’s sewing machine and then I just sewed anything that I wanted. Although it's not the perfect piece. My mom loved to sew too. So she sewed my cousin's wedding dress - it inspired me. Actually we can make really beautiful clothes with our own patterns.
The cousin of Stephanie's mother in the middle adorned with the wedding dress that inspired Stephanie!
How did you end up sewing your entire wardrobe?
My First sewing lesson was at Fashionmakerspace where I used my Skillsfuture credits. That lesson/course was the Top and Skirt - and that hooked me in actually. And then I came back for the Pants course. I was using that bodice to do a lot of different, different kinds of like, patterns that I want. I can do like flared skirts or tight ones. I probably have sewn over a hundred pieces of clothes. I have dresses, I have pants, I have tops, I have shirts - I've sewn a lot of bags too to match with my clothes! I think I have sewn maybe 50 pieces of bags.
Stephanie together with her family in a variety of matching tops.
When was the last time you bought clothes off the shelf?
Most of the clothes that I wear now - even to work, I've sewn them. I only buy clothes when it’s made of t-shirt material and certain fabrics that do not go well with my sewing machine. So I think the last time was a few years ago that I bought my clothes. I like to wear something that is different from other people - you know H&M and Uniqlo, those types of clothes are very standard. When you wear them out, everybody wears the same thing. So I’d like to have my own design, own fashion and own bag.
Many people give up on sewing after a while, what kept you going?
Sewing is a mindfulness thing for me. It just calms you down, and you know sometimes when you’re stressed, some people might just go jogging, swimming, or do some other activities. But for me, I think when I sit in front of the sewing machine, it really calms me down.
Tell us more about your work!
Stephanie's favourite work.
I probably have sewn 100 over pieces of clothes. Including sewing for people, sewing for my family - like during Chinese New Year. I’ll sew, I’ll buy fabric that matches everybody. So I’ll sew different kinds of patterns. My husband will have a shirt, my daughters will have skirts. My favourite garment is - I think behind - this piece! This Batik one. This is the piece that I really put in a lot of effort and I'm very pleased with the outcome.
Best dressed family goes to Stephanie's family!
I sewed this soft toy for my daughter because she likes green. Although it looks like a turtle, it's actually a dog. I bought this pattern online. Just wanted to see - is there a market? Do people want to buy a soft toy that is personalised? You can put the names here. I put Bible verses for her. So this is like a night-time, sleeping Chou Chou (comfort object) [laughs].
Any tips for people who are new to sewing?
So you need to have that interest and then get a good sewing machine like, you know - at least invest in one. And it's not like those types of toy sewing machines - then you’ll face a lot of problems, then you’ll give up.
Pro Tip 1 [When sewing with PVC]:
And guess what I used to sew it with! Because I didn’t buy the footer, it will get stuck when you sew. This is a good tip for sewing PVC - I used lip gloss (balm)! Or I’ll use Vaseline. You just go through the fabric, then it will sew smoothly. If not it will get jammed up.
Pro Tip 2:
Actually this is just - what do you call those kinds of rings they hook together with the paper? When you studied you always had those cards then you’ll always clip [them] together. So I used the ring binder to hold it.
Improve yourself, everyday is a learning journey. So I think it's like if you have the interest, why not? You just don't give up, keep on trying and if you want to be outstanding and unique, then I think sewing is your kind of thing!