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comparing. Just like my sloper tutorials, my Portrait of a Seamstress series started on a whim and I almost didn’t publish the first one. When I saw the response from the first post, I continued to find seamstresses in and around Philadelphia and so far, it’s been so much fun hunting down all types of seamstresses, which is the point of the series. A seamstress could be someone with three months, three years, or thirty years of experience under their belt. Also, a seamstress could be old and wrinkly or young, vibrant, and adorned with tattoos. Each seamstress has had her own set characteristic and unique personality but one common thread has been the presence of a mentor. In every interview I have conducted so far, she, the interviewee, talks about one person who has taught, influenced, and inspired her beyond what words could thank. The same goes for me – I have a mentor too and her name is Mishka. She taught me everything I know about sewing and we still talk on a regular basis. I respect and thank her tremendously and all the money in the world wouldn’t be enough to reward her for what she’s given me.

What about you? Do you have a mentor? If so, who was she (or he)?

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  1. Reply


    I don’t have a mentor and that is something I’d love to have. LeSigh…

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Someone will walk into your life and will leave an imprint on your skills. I have faith.

  2. Reply

    Natasha Estrada

    Professor Wisdom was my mentor. I already knew how to sew before I went to community college and she taught me that what I knew was worth something and how to refine that skill and taught me a heck of alot more. She was unconditionally proud of her students but you always wanted to make her proud. Like a sewing mom but better.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Sewing mom… I like that word. It’s more personal than mentor.

  3. Reply

    Carlee McTavish

    A book got me into sewing, but I have two aunts and a cousin who have been doing it for years who I find myself bouncing ideas off quite often.

  4. Reply


    No mentors here! Just my two hands and a stubborn personality! Oh yes, and the internet… let’s not forget the awesome tool that is the internet…

  5. Reply

    Lola Del Rey

    I have 2 mentors.. well more of inspirational people.. one was this lady i found via craigslist who made my halloween costume. All she did was take measurements and look at the pictures.. when I went for the fitting, it was PERFECT.. I love this lady to death and had her tailor my things before I became a hardcore sewing enthusiast.

    My real mentor, I guess.. was my professor Karen Middleton at FIT. I took sewing techniques with her, and she made the class not only enjoyable, but had so much knowledge. gahhh i miss her

  6. Reply


    It is so fun to read about all the different seamstresses you’ve reached out to. Being new to sewing, I’ve enjoyed their different perspectives. I never considered myself a seamstress before, but love how you consider people even with just a little sewing experience seamstresses. I guess should consider myself one as well. I have no mentors, mostly sewing bloggers I look up to. I’d love to find someone local to bounce ideas off of. This series makes me think that maybe that won’t be too hard to find…

  7. Reply

    Valentina Duracinsky

    How lovely!

    Valentina Valentina Duracinsky Blog

  8. Reply


    My grandmother was my mentor but not in the usual way. Yes, she knew how to sew – she had amazing skills – and she used those skills to provide for her family but by the time I was born she wasn’t well enough to sit at a machine and teach me how to sew (though she did manage to put two knitting needles in my very young and curious hands and show me the basics). This didn’t stop me from absorbing ever story from her working days and her passion for the craft. I remember wanting to be just like her. And so with all of this inspiration and admiration within me I hit the sewing machine head on and started figuring things out but pressing things and turning wheels. That seems to be a trait in me, wanting to learn things on my own by diving in head first and figuring everything out along the way.

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