Lesley Ware is a writer, designer, entrepreneur, educator, zine-maker, and self-described dream-chaser. The Muskegon, Michigan native, who currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, recently released her first book, Sew Fab: Sewing and Style for Young Fashionistas. The book features 8 sewing projects for tailor-made for young girls.
SS: Can you tell us a little bit about your new book Sew Fab?
LW: Yes, it’s great fun and basically the book that I wish I had had as a girl. Sew Fab is a style and sewing guide for girls ages 8-13 — it teaches basic sewing and styling skills. I was fortunate to land a deal with my #1 choice of a publisher, Laurence King, who is based in London. The illustrations are by a German-based illustrator named Sabine Pieper. Sew Fab is dreamy and imaginative. I’m hopeful that fashionistas of all ages will want to read it — it’s really for all girls!
It’s a bit of an intersection between Girl Scouts, New York Fashion Week, and Martha Stewart ☺.
SS: What inspired you to write/make it?
LW: I teach sewing and design classes for tweens and teens and was surprised when I went to search for a book that there was nothing on the shelves that spoke to today’s girl.
SS: How did your past experiences working with/teaching young girls help you write the Sew Fab?
LW: My students are a huge source of inspiration. They adore beauty and fashion – they like to push their creations outside of the status quo. It’s refreshing to teach them because I in-turn learn so much. It keeps me forward thinking and young.
SS: When did you first learn to sew? How did you learn?
LW: I was 4-years-old. My mom used to sew most of my clothes. I remember hand sewing hems and making doll clothes from scraps. Often I would sneak into her workspace and run my fingers along the fabrics. It felt like magic.
SS: Do you have a favorite project featured in Sew Fab?
LW: That’s hard – I actually wear them all – from the bow to the dress! I’m really into rescuing materials so scarf that you can make out of scraps is one of my faves. But I honestly love them all!
SS: What do you think are some major advantages for girls who learn to craft/sew at a young age?
LW: Learning something new is always in style. Having a new skill builds confidence that will boosts self-esteem. I believe that if you can speak up with your fashion you can in other ways too!
(Image Credits (L-R) Leslie Ware by Kamau Ware, Raydene Salinas, Jay LA)
SS: You are such a stylish dresser! How much of your wardrobe would you say is made or customized by you? Do you have favorite brands or favorites spots in New York to shop?
LW: Thank you ☺. I rarely buy clothes these days. Most of what I wear I make, trade or swap with friends. When I do shop it’s usually something that’s eco-friendly. I love grabbing basics from American Apparel, wearing separates from TranquiliT or hunting for thrifted goodies.
Right now, I’m in a thrifted oversized cardigan, graphic t-shirt and cozy sweats from American Apparel.
SS: Do you have any hobbies or interests that you like to pursue when you are not working?
LW: It’s not really a hobby, but my husband, Kamau, and I own a gallery (www.warehouse-gallery.com) – it’s our passion project. We met in a gallery that he was running in Pittsburgh and it’s very cool to own our own.
SS:Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with our readers?
LW: My 2nd book (yes, I just finished writing another one with the same publisher) will be released sometime around the spring 2016.
Sew Fab is available now, for a complete list of locations and online venues, go here. Lesley Ware blogs at Creative Cookie. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.