Sewist Spotlight: Meet Paulette
How long have you been sewing?
Over 50 years. I made some sad attempts with a needle and thread at about 8 or 9 but my mother didn’t want to teach me how to sew on a machine until I took sewing in middle school home economics.
How did you learn to sew?
Middle school home economics was the starting point of sewing education. My mother was a great sewist and encouraged me to try new things and coached me and gave me room to learn from my mistakes.
What was the first thing you remember sewing?
A very pitiful attempt at a dress for my Barbie from some scraps of fabric and a needle and thread but my first real sewing project was a green floral apron.
What do you like to sew?
I am a garment sewist. I have done some craft sewing and some small quilt projects but really prefer garments. Along the way I have sewn tailored coats, suits and my wedding dress.
What is your least favorite thing to do involving sewing?
I have to say it is sewing quilts. All those pieces and all those quarter inch seams.
Any particular type of fabric you like to use.
I’ve sewn a lot of different fabrics over the years. I’ve enjoyed sewing with natural fibers - cotton, linen, silk and wool. But these days I enjoy the ease of sewing with easy care knits.
What kind of sewing machine do you have? Any other machines like serger, etc.
I have seven sewing machines right now. I love Pfaffs from the 1980s and have three. I got hooked on the dual feed with my first machine a Pfaff 1471 that I purchased new in the 1980s. In the last couple of years I purchased two more “vintage” Pfaffs.
In addition, I have two sergers, a lightweight Janome Gem for sewing away from home, an embroidery only machine and a Janome MC 12000
What do you make that you are most proud of?
I am proud of my wedding dress that I made 30 years ago. I had taken a class in heirloom sewing by machine. I combined two Folkwear patterns – Walking Skirt and Gibson Girl Blouse – to create a silhouette similar to the dress my grandmother wore in 1902. I did a lot of pintucking and used a lot of entruduex and cotton lace.
How long have you been a Guild member? Why did you join the Guild?
I learned about and joined the Guild at a Round Bobbin event in St. Charles in 2012. I was intrigued by a group dedicated to sewing. It was a few years after I joined before I connected with a neighborhood group. The discounts and information from National is great but the real value of Guild membership comes from connecting with a Neighborhood Group.
Biggest change in sewing over the years?
I learned to sew on a mechanical machine that sewed a straight stitch and the fanciest thing it did was sew in reverse. It had a gigantic attachment that used cams to make buttonholes.
What machines can do now is amazing, self-threading needles, automatic thread cutting, bobbin sensors and machine embroidery.
Best sewing tip for us?
Sew a “muslin” or practice garment first. Sometimes my muslin is only the bodice of a garment without the sleeves. I may use a fashion fabric for a test garment but I find it always worth the time to perfect the fit of a pattern before cutting that special fabric.
Make time to sew.
What sewing groups do you belong to; neighborhood or online?
I attend Fashion, Fabrics and Friends. I am on a few mailing lists and sometimes tune into the Sewing Workshop’s Tuesday morning Facebook live.
Is there anything about you that you would like us to know?
It is an honor to serve as the chapter president.