In this latest edition of Staff Spotlight we're highlighting resident garment making expert, Sheri Trawczynski! Our sewists have fallen in love with garment making (as evidenced by how quickly our garment-making classes sell out), but that isn't the only reason we're focusing on Sheri today. It also happens to be her birthday! So if you pop into the store this week and see her, definitely extend your well wishes, or feel free to say happy birthday to her on our Facebook and Instagram pages!
Read on to learn about Sheri's history with making, her favorite projects, and more. We especially love her sewing advice—it's one of the best answers we've heard, and a piece of advice we should all follow!
What was your first experience with hand crafting?
My grandma taught me how to crochet when I was 11.
When did you learn how to sew?
I don't recall when I learned how to sew because all of the women in my life owned a sewing machine. They made dresses and other clothes for me and my sisters and we would make simple projects. I learned to quilt when I started working at Thimbles in August of 2016.
Who taught you how to sew?
I remember taking home economics in junior high school. When I was expecting my first son, my aunt taught me how to sew a pair of footie pjs for him. I used to watch when my mom mended something on her machine.
Which machine do you sew on at home?
What is the one tool you can’t live without?
My Easy Kut Spring Action Scissors.
What’s your specialty at Thimbles Quilts? The one thing everyone turns to you for?
I have several! I make some of the bag samples. One of my favorite bags to make was the Maxwell Bag by Abbey Lane Quilts (below). I also make some of the garment samples seen in the store. I learned how to make garments using a serger. I'm kind of the jack-of-all-trades at Thimbles. I've been seen climbing a ladder to hang quilts. I've even helped put cabinets and Koala Chairs together.
What do you do in your free time?
When I'm not sewing, I'm spending time with my hubby and my two boys. We've been married 23 years and our boys are 20 and 17. In the summer we like to go to cruise nights in his 1971 Chevy Nova. His car is the same age as me.
What is your favorite thing you’ve ever made?
I have two. The first is my Summit Peak Hoodie from Pattern Niche. I used quilted knit fabric and probably wear it more than I should! The second is a quilt from the Fat Quarter Style book that was a shop sample a few years ago. The pattern is called Plume.
Do you have a sewn or crafted family heirloom you inherited? What is it? (provide a picture if you can!)
My grandmother crocheted a beautiful afghan for my wedding.
What is the best sewing or quilting advice you’ve been given?
Don't point out your mistakes to others when showing off your beautiful work. Be positive and proud of your accomplishments.
What is the most important thing new garment makers should know?
Don't be discouraged if you don't succeed on your first item. When you're trying something new, don't focus on mistakes. Don't be afraid to use your seam ripper!
What is the best garment pattern for someone who has never made a garment before?
A sleeveless tank top is very simple and only has two pattern pieces.
Happy birthday, Sheri! Thank you so much for all the wonderful photos and valuable advice!
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