I have a confession to make...
When I had Home Economics (I believe it was the 7th grade), it was the only and last time I made clothing for myself. I remember the project quite vividly - a knee-length, sunshine yellow circle skirt that tied on the side. When it came off the sewing machine, I couldn't wait to get it home to show my mother. She was thrilled about my advancement into an area she loved. My Mom was an amazing seamstress (though she only brought out her sewing machine for herself, and family. Unfortunately, her thoughts on me becoming her protege' were short-lived. Once the sewing portion of Home Ec. came to an end, so did my desire to create my own garments. Fast forward 38 years, and I wish I had stayed with it. I own a brand new Brother sewing machine that I've used to make curtains and little things for around the home, however, I've never made another garment. Sad, but true.
Now, with the wonderful world of YouTube and blogging, the desire to once again make clothing for myself has edged its way back into my mind. I imagine myself descending on the fabric district in downtown Los Angeles; racking up copious amounts of fabric to make divine, one-of-a-kind creations. So why haven't I begun? Because I'm intimidated as hell at the whole idea. Until recently, when I was introduced to Anita Morris the lovely creator of Anita by Design, and fellow member of the Fierce 50 Revolution. Anita and I have much in common. We share the same ideas on the subject of style, we're both Southern Californians, our husbands are our photographers, and we're both mother's of young men. Since watching her YouTube channel, I'm encouraged to give sewing a-go. After this introduction, you'll understand why. My dear friends, I would like for you to meet Anita Morris. Oh yes, all the garments worn by Anita are her own creations. Enjoy!
I am Anita Morris, a woman of God, wife, mother and seamstress. My faith in God is the foundation upon which I live my life. The choices I make in all areas of life are filtered through my faith in Jesus Christ. I am married to a recently retired Los Angeles City Fire Captain. In August, we will be celebrating 22 years of marriage. We have been blessed with two sons. Our oldest son will be 21 in May, and our youngest is 19. Sewing is my passion and one of the areas in my life by which God is using me to reach women to encourage them to embrace their personal style, live confidently, and use their creativity to express themselves.
How did you begin your career in blogging about sewing?
I started my blog as a result of being inspired by Mimi Goodwin of Mimi G Style and other bloggers I started following after returning to sewing in 2014. I was also encouraged by a few friends and fellow sew sisters. Since I was receiving such great feedback from the garments I was making, and I like to write, I decided to give it a try. I didn't know anything about blogging, so I researched how to start a blog and what it takes to keep it going. I learned that I must have something to offer to keep people coming back. With that information, I went into it with a plan to teach what I know through video tutorial, starting with a Beginner's Sewing Course. I launched the blog on January 20, 2016.
You've recently embarked on a huge project with Mimi G, the woman who has made sewing sexy. Tell us about this project.
Sew Sew Def Magazine is a multi-cultural magazine for men and women. It is the first of its kind and I'm honored to be part of the team of contributors. I was contacted by Mimi, asking if I'd be interested in being a contributor to the publication and I accepted her invitation immediately, with much enthusiasm. She picked each member of her team based on something that stood out to her in each of us. The team was put in place and sewsewdef.com launched on April 4, 2017. Mimi assigned me to the Beginners section and I could not be more thrilled, as I have a heart for teaching beginners. The best part about being chosen to be part of this publication is the fact that the creator is the same woman who inspired me to start blogging.
Is Sew Sew Def your first collaboration of this kind?
Yes, this is my first collaboration of this kind and thus far the most challenging and exciting.
How was the experience working on the magazine?
Working on my article for the first issue was a proud time. I wanted to represent the creators and Sew Sew Def magazine well, so I put my best effort into creating the content I would present. My first step was choosing a pattern to use for the article. Since Simplicity Pattern Company is who Mimi has her pattern line with and a sponsor for the magazine, I wanted to use one of her patterns from the company. The next step was preparing content that would speak to beginners and give them a take-away. I titled my article, 5 Tips for Successful Garment Construction. I'm very proud of the article and look forward to the next issue.
What advice would you give someone like myself, who is intimidated about the sewing process but has an interest in learning?
(1) Find a Beginner's Sewing Course on YouTube that teaches the basics of sewing. There are quite a few, so find one that you are able to follow along with and learn from. Check out my course on YouTube - Anita by Design. (2) Purchase sewing books to supplement the sewing course. Simplicity's, Simply the Best Sewing Book is a good start. (3) Be patient! Learning to sew is a process that takes time. The actual time it takes to learn is different for each person. Practice what you learn until you master it, then move on to the next step.
I listened to your recent interview on the Sewing Blab. I found one of the statements you made fascinating. It was asked, "Where do you like to shop?" You proudly stated, "Michael Levine Loft." Which is one of the most popular fabric destinations in downtown Los Angeles. I was very intrigued by your answer. Coming from a different perspective on shopping, I was waiting to hear your list of favorite clothing stores. With that being said, do you shop ready-to-wear, or like most people who sew, when you go into stored do you say, "I can make that myself?"
I currently sew almost everything that I wear, so I don't shop ready-to-wear much. I will still buy t-shirts, but that's the extent of it right now. I'm in need of new jeans but I refuse to buy a pair because I know I can make them. I enjoy sewing so much and yes, when I go into stores I always say, "I can make that." However, I won't say that I'll never shop ready-to-wear again. I keep my options open. I do still have a few pieces in my closet that were purchased at local clothing stores that I still wear.
What inspired you?
I'm inspired by other women, I love seeing women walk in confidence, embracing who they are. I'm inspired by sisterhood. Being in community with women, where encouragement, support, wisdom and accountability are shared - that's what inspired me. I smile every time I see a woman in public who's well dressed and with a smile on her face, especially elderly women. I will go out of my way to compliment her. I'm inspired by other stories of other women. I LOVE women!
What's next for Anita by Design?
As I continue to learn and master my craft, I wait to see what God has in store. I wait to see where this is leading. I'm focusing on finding balance, as things seem to be moving rather quickly. In the long run, I would like to design my own patterns. However, that is a process that will take time, and there are many steps that must be taken before that comes to fruition.
Anything else you would like the So What to Twenty community to know about you and your gift?
Yes! I am blessed to be a blessing. Whatever God gives me is to be shared with others. That's why I teach what I know about sewing. It's a way of showing gratitude to God and those who have taught me.
How can we stay in touch with you?
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