24 Feb Fantastic Guest Post: RTW Faster Cissie
Last week I had a disastrous experience padding my new dress form…….. then I got sick.
The good news is an awe-inspiring post awaits your reading pleasure from three-time RTW Faster Cissie Wellons. Would you believe this remarkable woman made 15 skirts, 27 tops, 11 pants, 29 dresses, 7 jackets in 2014? That’s 89 garments!! Read on 🙂
I would rather sew than eat! And that’s no exaggeration, although my husband wishes that weren’t the case!
Like so many people who sew, I began my journey as a child, learning from my mother. Also, I am from that generation when home economics was required in high school.. I still remember with horror a few of the garments that came from those years. But I guess the seed was planted, and I continued to sew throughout my college years and early years of marriage. It was the birth of my first daughter that really inspired me, and I made clothes for her and her younger sister until they screamed in protest! They wanted clothes from Gap, not smocked dresses with big sashes and bows in the back.
My real love then was heirloom sewing and embroidery, a passion I pursued fervently when my granddaughters were born.
From elablorate christening gowns to everyday play clothes, I made nearly everything they wore.
Then one day about 8 years ago, I realized that I could not cram one more outfit into their bulging closets. At the same time, I noticed that even though I was spending a goodly amount of money on my own clothes, I never seemed to have anything to wear.
So I headed off into the world of adult sewing. A whole new world of internet sites, online shopping, teachers and classes. I still wear the first cocktail dress I attempted — and although it is far from perfect, I am emotionally very attached to it!
The most life-changing event for me was gathering the courage to attend one of Susan Khalje’s classes. I needn’t have been nervous. Susan is the kindest, most patient teacher imaginable with that rare gift of assuring you that anything is possible and that nothing is hopeless. I made my first French jacket and became totally addicted to the world of courture sewing. There was enough handwork involved to satisfy that urge to hold a needle in my hand and loads of new techniques to master (still working on that “mastery” part!). I only wish that I could wear them inside-out!
I make several couture garments a year, often in class with Susan, but sometimes on my own, finding that Susan has a way of sneaking into my sewing room and pestering me to do it correctly. My latest and current favorite garment is the black brocade evening coat I made earlier this year which I’m wearing over a lace dress I made a couple of years ago, under Susan’s watchful eye!
Usually, after finishing a lengthy process such as a couture dress or jacket, I am in the mood for some down and dirty sewing. A little instant gratification! This almost always involves knit fabrics and my serger! I enjoy making simple knit dresses which are probably more suited to my life style than lace dresses and brocades!
I lead a beer and jeans life but have constant visions of champagne and state dinners! The most worn dresses in my closet are what I call my CCC clothes — church, cocktails, cemetery. Dresses that can go almost anywhere. Here are a some of my favorites.
Four years ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to not buy any RTW garments. To make everything I wore. My friends here thought I was nuts. And although I was tempted in the beginning, after a few months I was spoiled by being able to have what I wanted, in the color I wanted, and in my style. Also, I was horrified by the workmanship in most RTW.
The next year, when Sarah announced her first RTW fast, I quickly jumped in. This is my third official year, and it makes me so happy when I look in my closet and see it filled to the brim with my own creations! I’m not sure how much money I have actually saved because I doubt I would have bought 29 dresses last year, but it sure has saved my sanity more times than I can count. Does not having to visit the shrink on a weekly basis count?
When I think about my sewing journey, one of the greatest benefits has been the the friendships that have evolved along the way and the people I have met — some face-to-face and others merely on the internet. I believe the sewing community to be incredibly generous and supportive, and I have made many dear, dear friends in that world who have enriched my life! I am excited to continue my journey, adding new friends and experiences daily.
Having a passion is one of the true blessings of life. Whether it be bridge, cooking, reading, painting, Nascar, golf. Whatever it is, if it makes one excited about getting up in the morning, it is something to be thankful for!
Married: To the nicest, noblest man I know for 44 years. 3 grown, good children who have always been my favorite people to spend time with! 5 glorious grandchildren, with whom I am totally besotted!
Hometown: Smallville, USA! We lovingly call our little town “SmithVegas”!
When not sewing, I enjoy spending time in my rose garden and being at the beach with my family. I am also a voracious reader and crossword puzzle addict!
Biggest sewing gaffe: The first thing I decided to make for myself was a skirt. Bought the pattern. Paid no attention to the measurements and cut out my RTW size. Ended up with a lovely pencil skirt — that wouldn’t fit a pencil. I learned my lesson — there is no vanity sizing in the pattern world!!
What I hope to accomplish: Too many things to list, but I would like to become a more efficient, organized sewer. I am like a cyclone in the sewing room — pattern pieces blown around all over the room, always losing my scissors, tape measure, pins scattered everywhere, etc, etc. Is there any hope for me?
Read Cissie’s 194 entertaining pattern reviews HERE !
Until soon 🙂