One of the perks of my job is being part of the most amazing community of fellow professional ladies - teachers, patternmakers, fabric designers, authors, quilters, etc. I am honored that so many of the incredible women I meet through my job have gone from being colleagues to friends. Deborah Moebes is such a lady. We met ages ago at a Quilt Market, and it was clear to me that, A) she was quite possibly the funniest person I'd ever met in my life, and B) that we were destined to be friends.
Deborah ran a shop in Atlanta for a number of years, called Whipstitch. She has since closed the shop, but luckily for us, she is still designing patterns, teaching, writing sewing books, and blogging. She also has started a few sewing groups. One of these is The League of Adventurous Dressmakers. Come on, best name ever, right? In this group, she helps sewers master skills each month, assisting them with various projects and techniques, all the while taking the students to a professional level with their sewing.
This group is an annual paid membership, but is a total steal at $15 a month, for direct access to all Deborah has to offer, including direct communication with Deborah herself. She's 100% hands on and genuinely cares about her students achieving their goals.
Just for all of you, Deborah is offering my readers a discount code! Yay! Use the code CITYSTITCHING2017 and get $3 off your monthly cost, making it $12 a month! You can sign up here and learn lots more about the League as well.
I had a chat with Deborah below about all things related to the group, so read on to learn a lot more about what she offers!
First, can you give us a little background history on the League of Adventurous Dressmakers and how it came to be?
I had this vision for a group where everyone was looking to make better clothing, and all of us could work together to hone our craft. I envisioned it as a club where we could dig into a single sewing topic each month, and then share ideas and inspiration and motivation--not a formal class, but a laboratory of ideas with curated guidance and an open forum to explore sewing techniques in depth. It launched last year, and I can honestly say that working with this group has re-invigorated and renewed my passion for garment sewing, in a way I could never have predicted--it's amazing!
I hear from a lot of my students that they hit a bit of a plateau after figuring out some of the basics, like assembling simple garments. How is the League of Adventurous Dressmakers helping take them to the next level?
I think the real strength of the League is the combination of up-close video that's archived and can be viewed forever, and real-time interaction through the private Facebook group and the monthly live chats. We get an unrivaled chance to share questions and then discuss the answers and options with lots of voices and levels of experience joining the conversation. So for any member who has hit a wall in one area of garment sewing, there is someone else with an insight or a link or an observation that can help. And when we're able to point to the video or the PDF guide for the month and use that as a road map for our discussions, we are able to make such productive use or our time--and then everyone sees that their skills and their results leap forward in ways they never would if we were all working alone!
I have spent a great deal of time over the last year working through the Wardrobe Architect project originally organized by Colette Patterns. How are you helping your students build wardrobes for themselves?
Most of the members come in with no lack of ideas and vision--most of them get stuck when it comes to fit issues and personalizing the wide range of great patterns that are out there. This year, we're addressing that directly, because all of us would love to increase the percentage of our wardrobes that are hand-sewn. So we're discussing fitting the bust, and how to adjust patterns to get a better fit; we're taking a virtual fabric shopping trip to work through pairing the right pattern with the right fabric; and we're discussion long-range planning for filling in gaps in our wardrobes intentionally. And any member can share ideas or questions about their wardrobe at any time, which leads to great conversations that come organically from the group!
I love that every month is a different garment related skill. What are some of the skills on tap for this year?
In addition to fitting and selecting fabrics, which are more about concepts, we'll be working with bias tape and French binding; making a range of pocket styles; discussing specialty hems; and making a functional fly, all specific techniques that can be applied to a wide range of patterns.
Without giving all the secrets you have planned for this year, what is one of your favorite tips or tricks that the students will learn more about?
I really get excited when I can share tips for the details that make a garment really look professional, but that seem to always get skipped in patterns and even on blogs: where to put buttons based on the button size, how to plan out the perfect placement of your buttonholes without a pattern to guide you, and how to use topstitching to maximize the visual impact. That, and the virtual fabric shopping trip--I'm SUPER excited about that one.
What are some of the patterns will the League be working with this year?
We started with a flat-front, elastic waist skirt this month while we discuss PDF patterns and how to get the most out of them. We'll also make a maxi dress with a drawstring waist, and a woven top with sleeve variations. And along the way there are some smaller patterns as treats to keep it fun!
Why do you feel it is important to form a community of sewers?
I think sewing can be a solitary activity, and for some of us that can be isolating. Part of the joy of being a maker is sharing our finishes, and building a community of folks to share them with can help with that sense of being solitary. But having a community of empathetic folks who totally get what we're trying to do can go even further to prevent that sense of isolation. I love that the League can really do that, and that it has become a place where we can share our frustrations at mistakes or failures and can share our excitement at breakthroughs with others who are supportive and enthusiastic about the highs and lows of making garments. It makes the reward of a project even greater when we can share the steps as we go along, and celebrate when we master a skill we've been struggling with!
What’s your least favorite thing to do while sewing? I always love hearing what professionals do because they have to, not because they enjoy doing it!
Haha! Ugh, I don't know if I have a good answer for that. I hate ripping out seams, just like everyone else. I think the most honest answer to this question would be HEMMING. I can't tell you how many projects I've had sitting around at any given time that were finished-but-for-the-hem. I know for a fact that you've seen me in person wearing a pair of linen pants that I literally NEVER bothered to hem and had clearly been wearing for years that way! And the worst part is that when I finally get around to sewing a hem, it takes NO time, and I always wonder: why did I wait so long? Ha!
Thanks Deborah for the chat and for offering my readers a discount to your awesome group! The League of Adventurous Dressmakers is ideal for all of you that read my blog and use my patterns! It's 100% about garment construction and taking your sewing to the next level. I hope many of you take advantage of this deal and sign up! Deborah is an amazing sewer and teacher, and will be there to guide you along the way. So sign up today!