Courtney Starks

Sewist Spotlight: Meet Courtney

How long have you been sewing?


About 40 years now


How did you learn to sew?


I used to sit and watch my mom sew. It probably drove her crazy, but you pick up a lot of things when you watch someone for HOURS before trying it yourself: where to put pins, different machine speeds for different terrain, the look of nicely matched edges, the fact that the seam allowances go on the inside...


What was the first thing you remember sewing?


Once my mom finally let me use her machine (after years of watching), my first real project was a 9-patch pillow. Each side of the pillow was made from 9 smaller pillows, each of which had a flat back and a pleated front to make it 3-dimensional. It’s sitting here next to me as I type this!


What do you like to sew?


After a mostly quilting phase, I started doing clothing again about 8 years ago. I had given it up because I didn’t know how to make fitting adjustments, but I decided it was time to learn! My daughter (now 14) doesn’t let me make her cute little dresses anymore, so I mostly sew for myself


Any particular type of fabric you like to use.


Cotton lawn, denim, knits with some body, wool felt…OK, pretty much all the fabric.


What kind of sewing machine do you have?  Any other machines like serger, etc.


My main machine is a Baby Lock Elizabeth. Moving to an electronic machine was life-changing: not because I need hundreds of stitches, but because it’s so easy to control! About 5 years ago, I (willingly) let my ASG friends peer-pressure me into getting a serger. So much fun! It doesn’t have air threading because I enjoy the sense of accomplishment, I get from threading it myself!


What do you make that you are most proud of?


The big four are jeans, bras, a wool coat, and swimsuits. I just finished a one-piece swimsuit that fits so well I almost can’t believe it!

How long have you been a Guild member?


6 years


Biggest change in sewing over the years?


It’s great having access to small, independent fabric stores online. I always try to shop at local independent stores first, but for things that aren’t available, it’s pretty cool that we can shop from stores all over the country (or world).


Best sewing tip for us?


Techniques I’ve learned from Craftsy videos with Janet Pray and Beverly Johnson have made me a better sewist—so I’d recommend checking those out!

Courtney Starks