• Tiana Marie

How did I get here?

Do you ever stop and ask this question? The great thing about blogs is you get to talk about yourself. I sometimes ask myself this. When you were going through it, it seemed like you were just tripping and stumbling and running into dead ends. But then when you look back it all of a sudden looks like the flawless path leading you directly (while not always expectedly) to where you are now. That's how I came into sewing.

When I was 15 my mom let me use her sewing machine. My very first sewing project I remember was adding a pleather ruffle and giant matching pocket to a courdoroy skirt. I was so tall it needed extra length. It turned out so cute and it was completely unique, but most importantly it met my personal needs. That is good clothing. And I was completely hooked.

I must have asked my mom a thousand times how to thread the bobbin. Eventually I worked her little machine so hard its motor seized. I had not learned it needed oil! Oh my poor mother haha. For my 16th birthday she bought me my own machine. A little Singer. I designed my first purse and gave it to her in gratitude. That machine had all sorts of tension issues but I powered through and did my best. She literally used that purse for years, in fact she just recently retired it. I immediately engineered a newer cooler purse and made it for my boyfiend's mom. I patched his pants and made shorts that recycled the hem with his old jeans. I upcycled all sorts of old clothes. It was entirely addicting. After developing such a passion for sewing, I was gifted a Pfaff. Now we are talking. I was in business. That is the machine I still use today. Along with a few newer additions of course. But that machine has proved its salt.

At some point I printed flyers offering sewing services and looking for a job. I got a few calls. It was exciting. I landed an interview at an alterations shop. I was all ambition and little experience. But it's better to strive and fail I say! I ended up going to CSU for fashion design. It felt like a far cry from my sewing machine sitting at home getting dusty while I sifted through homework. I kept seeking a way to get back to it. It was at a burlesque class with Vivienne VaVoom that I got my opportunity that forever sealed my fate. It was a sewing apprenticeship. I spent nearly 5 years overall working under Julianna's Wardrobe. We made beautiful belly dance costumes for what seemed like celebrity dancers at the time. They were world traveling, Suhaila Salimpoor taught dancers. I got to travel to San Francisco to do fittings and spent a few days each summer in California to work the shows. It was more than fun. I cried the opening night after working on those costumes for nearly a year. There were over 300 custom pieces we made for that show. Sometimes it was all nighters of sewing after my homework. Sometimes I missed class. But it felt so right. Each and every dancer was measured and made her own, perfectly fitted costumes. Every girl had her own pattern made. I loved it. And the dancers loved it. You could see their eyes light up when they put them on. On the stage they looked flawless and felt beautiful and it just made the show so perfect. It was mesmerizing.

We also did alterations for local dancers and I spent many hours hand sewing tiny beads and sequins. It was awesome. We made a custom renaissance wedding dress from gorgeous ivory silk. And so sewing seemed to take over my life. I was finally gaining professional skills. School suffered and eventually I left. I started working at a children's theatre in Boulder designing little kid costumes for every new fad movie that came out. I made Monsters Inc, Finding Dory, and classics like Little Mermaid (one of my favorite sparkly shows), and Charlotte's web. It took A LOT of creativity to pattern all those shows in two short weeks. My little sewing desk, then sewing closet, eventually turned into an entire room dedicated to my fabric, machines, patterns, and cutting table. So then I had my shop. I sewed like the wind.

They say it takes at least 7 years to truly master a craft with some modest dedication. And of course it takes much longer than that to become an expert. I'm 26 now. I don't get to sew every day like I used to in manufacturing. I enjoyed that job, it paid well, but it just didn't hold the glamorous aspect of designing. I spend many days staring at my children growing. I lose track of the day between feeding and cleaning and going to story time and changing nappies and laundry. Any mom can tell you. But somehow over the years my little shop has grown and come through with business, contracts, and opportunities.

At some points it seems like you are lost on your journey. I think I felt that way recently and that's why I'm writing this. My baby boy will be 2 months old this week. It's just so happy sad that they get bigger. And it doesn't stop; my little girl will be 2 years old next month. Time just flies. Last year I was doing fashion shows and could have someone watch the kiddo. My schedule was so bursting full at times I wondered if it was even possible to do. But somehow it all got done. I finally got a real website and official business cards. I was on the brink of something! But then the baby came and things grind to a halt. Not in a bad way. It's good to live life slowly sometimes; to savor the little things (literally), like little humans, and little clothes, and little feet and toes.

But the nagging feeling of that dream is still on the tip of my tongue, the back of my mind, as I go through my days. I remember that dizzying feeling of being completely enthralled with the beauty in making something beautiful. It's so close. But for now. I have to go slowly and enjoy these times of loving on my babies. Someday they won't be babies at all. For now I get to sneak down occassionaly when they coincide naps. When there aren't a thousand things on the household to do list. It's rare. Someday they'll go off to school and the days will melt again into creativity and bustle. It's like a space between words, the pause between breaths. That time to reflect that goes by in the blink of an eye. Where will the journey lead next? And just the absolutey perfect time to START A BLOG!


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