I took my first Fashion class this semester at Monterey Peninsula College. Learning to sew on a machine is something I have always wanted to do, but with my busy travel and client schedule between Monterey and the SF Bay Area (I live in both places and work here, there, and everywhere in between) I never thought it possible to just plop a solid semester class down in my schedule book for a four month period. Being a professional organizer, I should also be able to manage my time, right? So I just did it. I set aside Tuesdays as “sewing class day” and led my life and business around it. It was a treat to myself that I’m grateful to have experienced.
During the semester the instructor Carla of Carla Renee Couture took us on field trips around the Monterey Peninsula to visit shops that exemplify sewing craft & creativity. One of these places was the bright and colorful Tessuti Zoo in Pacific Grove, Calif.Just peer into the front windows and gasp at the abundance of unique gifts, clothing, jewelry, art quilts, furniture, dolls, toys, books, and home décor. It’s full of hand-made treasures that will make you happy just looking at them.
The owners name is Emily Owens, and she took our sewing class on a personal tour through her in-store studio, which includes shelves of the most delightful fabric I have ever seen.
Emily uses uniquely designed fabric to sew dolls, quilts, and re-upholster old chairs, making them beautiful once again (see the one to her lower right in the photo). Some of the fabric she sews with is made by Kaffe Fassett, a fabric and color design artist out of Big Sur (now living in London) that creates knit, needlepoint, patchwork and painted patterns of repetition and repeating motifs. See Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming in Color.
Felts, feathers, beads and buttons adorn the one of a kind hand-made dolls at Tessuti Zoo. Functional designs by local artists can also be found there. I picked up the cutest turqoise mermaid clock that now lives in my Oakland kitchen.
It’s in my nature to want to see how creative people store their craft supplies, so I just had to know how she organizes hers. Emily kindly let me around and to my glee she reuses glass jars to store her beads! I LOVE repurposing food jars for just about everything, and here she uses large and small mason jars to display beads so she can find them with a glance.
Small see-through drawer organizers house different types of buttons by color and take up little space. You can find them at many home and hardware stores.
There are oodles of supplies required for sewing and craftwork…clasps, zippers, velcro, feathers, ribbons, tools… all of which need to have little homes of their own. Emily repurposed an old library card catalogue box and labeled accordingly.
There’s a lot of jewelry to choose from at Tessuti Zoo, all creatively displayed on organizers and display racks she made or found throughout the Monterey Bay (that’s me in the mirror.)
This field trip was a fabulous example of how a sewing skill, passion, and creativity can evolve into just about anything you want, and for Emily Owens it is Tessuti Zoo.
Tessuti zoo inventory is one-of-a-kind and constantly changing, so Emily’s website is informational only. Visit her store in Pacific Grove, a small town adjacent to Monterey, next time you’re in the area to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
As for me and my newfound fashion sewing skills, I don’t think I’ll be making more clothing anytime soon. But now that I know how to hem my own pants and drapes you know what I’ll be doing in my free time! I’ll be utilizing these new skills to work on projects around the house…I certainly won’t let what I learned fade away.
Knowing how to sew is a skill I respect greatly after having experienced the challenges I did this semester and sewing a final project garment from scratch. Now when I choose something to wear for the day, I stop and take a close look at the material, seams, how it was put together, and am in constant awe at how much time and talent it takes to weave fabric and sew a garment. I appreciate the clothing in my closet and other hand-sewn items I own more than ever before.
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Isabella Guajardo, also known as Girl With A Truck™, is a professional home organizer and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Living in Oakland and Monterey, she travels in her truck to work with clients throughout the SF Bay Area, East Bay, South Bay, Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz and Monterey Peninsula. She shares simple and creative ways to stay organized and stylish while reducing, recycling and re-purposing. Join Bella Organizing on Facebook. Gift certificates are available.
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