"New Yorkers inspire me a lot, I am always fascinated looking at how people put themselves together, if you want to know what‘s “in” or what the trends are, then ride the NY subways." -Sayzie Carr
Born into a world of art, it's no surprise Sayzie Carr naturally gravitated towards a life of creativity. Taught to sew by her mother, Sayzie's interest in textiles and sewing her own clothes as a teenager, developed into a career. Right out of art school she worked in theatrical costume. Then, made the big leap, moving to New York with dreams and, a used sewing machine bought for 30 dollars at a tag sale.
During the high-end interior textile industry boom, she worked at a textile design studio, sewing together displays for a museum show. With that company's success (opening up showrooms all around the country), Sayzie had designers knocking on her door. This lead to her own freelance sewing business. She created backdrops for photographers and events, costumes and displays. "I just about always said yes to jobs, even though I did not know how to do it. I could always go back to my studio and figure it out. I was asked to make a 8’ Raggedy Ann and Andy using a children’s textile collection, I have also made life size soft sculpture portraits, and a 60’ banner of the NY skyline at night using gold and silver ribbon. I also made a life size Punch and Judy for a window display. I can sew just about anything!"
Drapery became her bread and butter, though not a favorite task, she found creative ways to make the work fun. Asked by a New York Times Homes section journalist what were the “trends” in drapery, she realized that she found most to be boring. So, she invented her own trends! Creating designs such as 'painting architecture, specifically making plain windows into arched windows by painting on canvas and cutting it out, sewing it into.' This was written up in the NY Times and the love was overwhelming! Various textile companies approached her to design and produce promotional items using their fabrics, items such as bags, pillows and quilts. A few years later she found a tiny storefront, and set up shop!
Currently, she's still involved in making art and sewing quilts. As well as teaching young people about art and textiles, a fantastic and unexplored medium. She is also, developing courses to teach at workshops and/or schools.
I caught up with Sayzie to ask for sewing tips and discuss her New York love...
How did you get started sewing?
Sayzie Carr: My mother taught me the basics of how to sew. I remember my very first project was making a pouch for a gift for my grandmother, it was with red and white striped fabric. I was so proud of it because I sewed on a button and cut a buttonhole! I also got very busy making clothes for my dolls.
Did you study fashion design?
SC: No, I studied painting at an art school, but I got around to all the other departments as much as I could, such as printmaking, ceramics, photography, film and sculpture.
How would you describe your own style? SC: Old/new Bohemian chic
Do you have any favorite fabrics?
SC: I have always really loved good quality cotton prints.
What’s your favorite sewing tip or trick that you could share with us? SC: Sewing requires patience, and pressing is just as important as sewing.
How do you feel about sewing no longer being offered in schools?
SC: Sewing is such a great and useful skill to have, I think it is coming back.
Describe your 'aha moment' when you realized you wanted to create for the rest of your life.
SC: My mother was a pianist, I went with her when she took lessons or played duets with friends. She would let me bring my crayons and paper, I remember drawing listening to music and getting totally lost ( or found depending on how you look at it) thinking this was really IT! That’s what I love to do. I knew I wanted to be an artist.
What has been your most memorable custom job so far? SC: Sewing costumes for an entire cast of professional ice skaters for Halloween extravaganza for the Ice Theatre of New York. I made mummies, witches, gnomes, ghouls, (a la Breughel), a headless man, and gypsies on ice!
Do you have a favorite store or neighborhood or any special place or activity in New York which inspires you creatively?
SC: I love rummaging around fabric stores in the garment district.
All of NY City inspires me, there is so much diversity and creativity here!
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