Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Who Inspires You?

Do you realize that tomorrow is the last day of October and that there are only two months to this year left? 2007 where did you go?

At the beginning of the year I was doing end of the month stats. Halfway through I abandoned those posts because the stats were holding me back and making me feel as if I wasn't accomplishing much. I mean I can only sew what I can sew and no matter how much I don't want to become "the house where the fabric lady lives", I will continue to purchase fabric. Afterall, I am an unrepentant fabricaholic...*LOL*

However, as the end of the year draws near, I am starting to review what I want to accomplish before December 31st. Am I going to share it with you? Probably sooner or later but not today...instead today I want to throw it back.

Last year I wrote a series of posts about women who sew that inspire me. I have decided to consolidate and update this list because some of the links are outdated, some of the blogs have been moved or changed, etc. So without further ado and in no particular order, my list:

Kathryn who logs in on Stitchers Guild as fzxdoc. Yesterday she posted the most amazing little black dress! This ain't your mama's little black dress and most designers would try to duplicate it. I can just see Allan B. Schwartz (you know the guy who knocks off the Golden Globe and Academy Award dresses) out there sketching his version of the dress for only $199. But it is not just the clothing she makes, it is how freely she shares her sewing knowledge, her ability to always be kind to everyone via cyberspace (harder to do than you think sometimes!), how she gets so excited and inspired over other's creations and she gets it! She understands the need to put fabric and thread together to come up with a delectable 3D creation!

Liana logs into Stitchers Guild as Liana. Liana knits, sews, gardens and has the coolest embellishing machine on the planet. Okay, I know others of you own the machine but Liana really works that thing! Just look at her photo albums and you can see how much she likes to play when she creates but it is all done with such quality! The other thing is that Liana is as obsessed as I am about fashion as evidenced by her fashion blog, aptly named Fashioned. I know that in the middle of the night when I am up watching Fashiontrance on the Style network that somewhere in the west, Liana is up watching it with me!

The next inspiring woman is one of the Sewing Divas...Gigi! I can't call Gigi a friend but I would like to! Gigi's spot is full of kewl clothes that women would wear everyday! I love how she takes a simple pattern and reinvents it four or five times using different materials and notions to get a different effect with each garment. Visit her site and see how she works a Loes Hinse pattern like nobody's business. Again someone who is kind and willing to share and has a love of what she does!

I called these next three women, my old school inspirations because I met all of them on a sewing list on Quiltropolis that was later spun off into an email list called Sewing Circle. I experienced some major fabric shopping trips with them and whenever I think of where I've come from sewing-wise...these names always fall from my lips.

Colleen Jones is one of my sheros! Many of you that have been members of Patternreview for several years will remember Colleen since she and her partner Lisa Tarunto taught the first internet sewing classes there. Colleen is a wonderful sewing teacher. She is patient and kind and has a true love of sewing that she wants to impart to everyone! She encourages you to continue sewing no matter what your sewing level, knowing that you will learn the techniques and get better and she just emanates joy when you are discussing sewing! Colleen was doing full bust adjustments with her pie example long before they became the rage. But mostly Collen encouraged me to collect beautiful fabrics! She shared unselfishly of her own fabric, pattern and sewing book collections with me at a time when my fabric stash had been taken from me. But mostly she was there for me ~ sewing and otherwise. To me, Colleen is the Goddess of Fit!

Lynn Cope Conroy...Lynn dyes, quilts and sews from a beautiful sewing room on the West Coast. Lynn exposed me to my first Sewing Workshop patterns, to felting wool jersey and to Christine Jonson patterns. She makes beautiful quilts that have been displayed in coffee shops in her local neighborhood. She was the first woman I met that collected fabric in a specific color and yardage to turn out wonderful wearable garments that were made just for her! She encouraged me to sew when my personal life was in great upheaval. She listened to me and loved my long rambling email posts about what I wanted to make and she encouraged me to capsule sew. Lynn, thank you for helping me through the drama and for taking me fabric shopping in San Francisco!

My friend, Lisa Kennedy! I met her on an internet sewing list and we became road dogs! Lisa will drive anywhere for fabric! Many of my excursions to Fabric Mart, Jomars in Philadelphia and GStreet in Maryland were done by Lisa's side! Her enthusiasm for sewing things, fabric and patterns knows no bounds. And she is the most generous person...when the Joann's near her closed down and all the patterns were 50 cents apiece she bought an entire cabinet worth of patterns and shared them with her friends! Bags and boxes of patterns were left in her living and dining rooms and you were allowed to go through and just pick what you wanted. It was one of my kewlest sewing experiences of my life ever!!!! Even to this day if you mention road trip, Lisa's eyes light up with a sparkle, she gets out her blackberry to put in the date and she starts to wax poetic about what we could possibly find! And thanks to Lisa, I now can put in a much better invisible zipper! Thanks Lisa for giving up your weekend to teach me what I was doing wrong!

I have had some of the best times in the company of my best friend sorting through fabrics, patterns and making sewing dreams come true! Since I am on a roll here, I would like to add just a few more names! Sandra Coleman, Christine Adams, Julie McFann, Dawn Earl and all the women of the Sewing Circle - thank you for all the good times, the information shared, the fabric bought and the inspiration!

This last grouping of women just inspire me...ohmygosh! When I open a patternreview digest and their names are listed, I automatically click on their review to see what they've created! Talk about eye candy for the sewist's soul, these women provide it in droves...

Debra H. is first...I noticed her reviews about two years ago on Patternreview. And the reason that I noticed them was that she used color! Lots of color and interesting fabrics! Wow! Those are two primary inspiration triggers for me! She sews out of North Carolina and makes the kewlest things. Here is a link to her reviews on patternreview. There are 142 of them! Get a cup of coffee, get comfortable and be amazed at some of the wonderful garments she has produced. Thank you for always providing inspiration through your use of color and fabrics which you use so amazingly to create some awesome garments!

Ann Smith is next, I am totally in awe at what Ann creates in beautiful California. She sews from all the pattern companies, making things that I think look like garbage on the pattern envelope and turning them into true works of art. I know that she has exhibited some of her garments at the Quilt Show and I understand why she was asked because her clothing is like candy for the eyes! I love her sense of adventure in her sewing and always get excited when her name appears next to a review at Patternreview. Ann now has a blog called, "Stitch Me Up" where you can see all of her work ~ past and present. And if you just want eye candy go to her Flickr Album and just browse. Ann also has pictures of her sewing room in her Flickr album. I could see myself sitting with Ann there talking about what makes her sew and why. Ann, thank you for always bringing joy to me when I see your reviews!

Barbara Elfman Bell ~ when I first got internet access I was surfing and looking at all of the websites and picture galleries. Barbara's is called Cat Fur Studio (http://mysite.verizon.net/Cat_Fur_Studio/). What made me really take notice of Barbara's garments were two things. One she worked in a corporate type setting, same as me, so her garments really spoke to the way I dress daily. But most importantly, she shops at one of my all time favorite fabric warehouses ~ Jomars! I will not turn this into a breathy salute to Jomars but suffice it to say that I know Barbara has access to some very kewl fabrics. And anyone who can have that much fabric inspiration and turn out such wonderful workwear deserves a shout out in my book. Barbara has quite a few reviews at Patternreview and she sews a lot of Christine Jonson patterns. I love how Barbara uses CJ's patterns with their clean, simple lines to create amazing workwear. And in the year that has passed, I have had the great honor to fabric shop with her and believe me her taste is amazing! Barbara ~ we are still going to get to Jomars together I promise! *LOL*

Finally, now there are even more women that inspire me and encourage me daily...many of you visit my blog on the regular. Please realize that if I didn't mention your name it isn't that you don't touch, inspire, or encourage me on a regular basis...I was just throwing it back to people who I called out last year.

Now if any of these women inspire you or if there is someone I haven't named and you would like to pay homage to, please feel free! I truly believe that we are all better by naming the people who came before us and showed us the way...so shout back at me!


  1. Hi there Carolyn! It's Lynn. You'll never guess but, a friend pointed me here today. I am touched that I have been a part of your life and your creative life in particular. Keep on blogging! L

  2. Carolyn, YOU inspire me!
    There are many other ladies who inspire me enormously. I might do a post about it on my blog some time, because the list may get too long here! Just to name a few though - friends who've made a world of difference to me, through their sewing but not only that: Summerset, Tany, Shannon, Lauralo :)

  3. I love to read your blog because not only are you so generous in sharing the spotlight with others, but you yourself are an inspiration. I love your musings and your approach to life.

  4. Oooh, I am also inspired by all the people you mentioned (who have an internet presence, anyway!), and of course i am inspired by you! (I am here now, right?!) And I always love what Ann Rowley produces. I think she is the one who really hooked me in at Stitchers Guild. If I work really, really hard, I might be as good as she is when I am her age.
    Great post!

  5. I agree, inspiration is abundant out there. In truth, you are truly one of my inspirators!


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