Pellon: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Melissa: The internet -even before I became a Pinterest addict, I would spend hours using google image search to research theatrical projects and eventually create a color palette and shapes I liked for a particular project. And since I discovered the community of sewing bloggers, it’s like inspiration at every turn.
P: What does your creative process entail?
M: It usually starts with me wanting a particular item that I can’t find. Sometimes I’m inspired by a certain fabric, or event. Once the inspiration hits, then I’ll deconstruct my idea, find or make the materials (I do a lot of my own dyeing now), paper draft then create muslins before creating the final product.
P: Why do you enjoy sewing/crafting/quilting?
M: I find that though I have undertaken many other creative endeavors in my life, sewing and other textile arts (I also spin, knit and crochet) are my touchstone; sewing has always seemed like a natural extension of myself.
P: Do you create mainly for satisfaction, gifts, art or another reason?
M: I’m a pretty small person, so in shopping for myself, fit was always an issue. Add that to the fact that I’m really picky, and thank goodness my mom taught me how to sew at an early age! It’s gotten to the point where I look first to make clothing before buying it, because buying almost always entails lots of tailoring and adjustment. The same thing has happened with my boys – I’ll get an image in my head of something specific that I want, and then I won’t be able to find it anywhere, or I can’t find it in their size, or it’s way above my budget. So I find a lot of satisfaction getting to have exactly what I want, and knowing it’s well made. When I sewed in middle school and high school and even for the theatre sometimes, I was all about taking every shortcut possible to get a garment made quickly. But now I really delight in the finishing details that you may not see but that make a garment last. I like that even though I have rough and tumble boys, I can hand a lot of my older son’s handmade wardrobe to my younger son and it still looks good and has a lot of wear left in it.
P: What tips or tricks learned through experience can you share?
M: Go for it in a planned way. Keep cheap fabric on hand to make muslins if you’re making a garment.You’ll be much happier with the fit that way. But also remember that most sewing is very forgiving, and you can always use your seam ripper. It’s not like construction, where a measurement 1/4″ off can throw your whole project off. There are usually fairly easy ways to compensate for mistakes, and if worst comes to worst you have something you can cut down into smaller projects and you’ve learned how not to do something.
P: When and why did you start sewing/quilting/crafting?
M: I can’t really remember not being able to sew. My mother says she taught me to sew with needle and thread when I was three, and got me on a sewing machine when I was about five.I do remember her having me sew over lines she drew on scrap fabric, and not being allowed to use the scissors, but even then I could create doll dresses with a needle and thread (and telling my mom where I wanted things cut).
P: What inspires you to start a project?
M: Events and necessity(like having nothing appropriate to wear somewhere), creative inspiration(sometimes I just HAVE to have something for myself or my boys) or just because it’s next on my to-do list. I like lists a lot.