In January, I had a chance to finish up and refine some details of the shop interior. It has finally come together in the way that I had envisioned it. It's an intimate space (12 square meters) that manages to contain my cutting table, sewing table, ironing station, tools, fabric, and racks. The cutting table is on wheels, which allows me to push it back and forth, giving extra space for shoppers on the retail side, or for myself on the working side, depending on the need at the time. The tailor's racks are on wheels as well, and have space below to store fabric and packaging. Everything now has its place, which creates order in my mind and supports efficient movements within the space. Not only is it a great studio/workshop, the space sets the tone for the products made within it, and with a quick glance around, you can see all the steps involved in making a shirt.


Many thanks to David Peter Simon, from Holiday Matinee, for stopping by my shop last week. He posted our interview  on the HM blog today, for small business Saturday, and included some of the photos that he took inside the shop in Johannesburg.

He starts the interview by saying that he heard my sewing machine clattering when he walked past the shop--for those who haven't been there, I have a window next to my sewing machine that has a little hatch that I open while I'm working. I do get a lot of passers-by who are eager to talk with me about my machine (usually because they also own one and love it). It's a 1972  Bernina 830 Record--widely viewed as one of the best sewing machines ever made. I'm very happy it captured his attention!

Here's one of David's photos that didn't make it into the blog:

And for those who are curious, I will be posting more shop photos once the finishing touches are complete...stay tuned.


I recently acquired a seam allowance guide, which magnetically attaches to your scissors and serves as a reference point for how far away the scissor blades are from the pattern pieces, ideally eliminating the need to mark seam allowances on patterns that don't include them.  The key word is "ideally".  After a short trial, I decided that my own visual estimation of a 5/8", 3/8", 7/8", etc. seam allowance was more accurate and more quickly cut.  The protruding magnetic guide seemed to be getting in my way more than anything.

I'm disappointed that I spent money on a tool that I won't get much use out of, but its role in my life did one amazing thing: it gave me the confidence to trust my skills and eyeball it!

I feel like I've graduated (from the sewing version of about Kindergarten), or taken one step up the ladder of mastery of my craft.  It reminds me of an article I read years ago about a furniture maker, who explained that through repetition, he'd developed the ability to measure with his eyes, and that rulers actually hindered his craft and he didn't trust them as much as his eyes!  I found that amazing and yet somewhat unbelievable....until now! :)