I'm long overdue to tell you all a little bit about me and my background in sewing.
My name is Amanda Elias, I'm originally from Oakville, Ontario, and I began my love affair with fiber arts around 15 years old. Not having any formal instruction, I was free to dabble as I pleased. I started with supplies that I found at a craft store. I did regular babysitting jobs and delivered the local paper, and used all my money on craft supplies and music tapes. My favourite bands were Depeche Mode (still is, actually) and Deee-Lite (it was the 90's!). Living in a small town in Ontario, it wasn't likely that I would be able to buy concert merch any time soon, so I made my own. I used a Sharpie to draw the logos of the bands, and embroidery floss to fill it all in with a satin stitch. I had no idea what a satin stitch was at the time, or what embroidery was. These were the glorious days before the internet...
My next project was when I was 20, and wanted to make myself a dress for my boyfriend's friend's wedding. I wanted something in black crushed velvet, with flowing sleeves, and a high-low hemline. Again, I knew nothing of these things back then.. I just did as I pleased... knowing what I know now, I wouldn't suggest stretchy velvet for a first sewing project! I was sewing the seams by hand when my mother saw what I was doing, and offered to give me her sewing machine. She had a sewing machine?!?! How did I not know this? Turns out, she bought a machine and took a lesson to learn how to use it, so she could hem her pants. She decided safety pins worked just fine.
May I introduce you to my first sewing machine: White 1477. I still use her as my primary machine, 20+ years later!
She's all metal inside, does a straight stitch, a zig zag stitch and a few other stitches I've rarely used. She lets me sew almost any kind of fabric.
So what have I made with this simple machine?
A steampunk style wallet
A Thomas the Tank Engine dress shirt for my nephew
Some cat collars
A Doctor Who purse
Large tote bags
A full sized quilt
Obviously, there have been many things sewn in the last 20 years and I can't post them all... (I should make an album for them!)
I didn't make the immediate leap from sewing to teaching / owning a fabric shop. I only made things for fun or as supplemental income. I have had a completely different career, in Supply Chain Management! In 1999, I moved back to Montreal (I had moved to Montreal from Oakville, in 1995, then followed a boyfriend to Kingston, Ontario, in 1997, returning in 1999 after our relationship ended). I landed my first office job as a filing clerk for a Logistics company. I quickly learned how to do customer invoicing, and create customs documentation and commercial invoices for export. From there, I had a few more contract jobs in purchasing, and inventory management, and importation document verification. It looked like I had fallen into this as my career, so I enrolled in a 3 year university program in Purchasing & Supply Chain Management, studying at night, and working full time during the day. After completing that program, I added more skills in quality assurance and auditing. This field seemed to have limitless things to learn and specialize in. But that didn't last forever. Companies that I worked for, all ended up leaving Quebec, and I didn't follow them. Jobs in my field became fewer and fewer, and I ended up working in tech support. It wasn't a great job, or a well paying job, so I left it to persue my dreams of crafting for a living, and here I am, a few years later, spreading my passion for sewing with beginners all around Montreal, and finally owning my own business, selling fiber arts supplies. It's a really nice feeling, loving what you do, and hopefully, I will be able to tell you that you can also make a living wage at it! ;)
Passion, dedication, and determination should make it sew. (make it so... See what I did there?!)