The life of an artist, whether famous or not, has always interested me. Where did they learn their skills? How did they get to where they are today? Who inspires their work? And what can I learn from them? One of the many artists that I know is Amparo, a seamstress who was born in Columbia speaks so-so English. She tries her hardest to answer my questions thoroughly when I go to her with a sewing problem. Bless her heart. I bought her coffee one afternoon last week and asked her a couple of questions about her life. Regardless of the language barrier, she was able to comprehend what I was asking and as always, her answers were thorough.
I was born in Colombia (South America) and I learned how to sew there. My mom sewed a lot and when I was fourteen, she passed on what she knew – her skills – to me. She gave me the first steps and then I went to school, not design school, to learn the basics. Schools in Columbia when I was young taught girls how to sew. Then I continued to do it by myself and the experience, the years, the time gave me the skills.
I came to America in 1979 and worked for a wedding designer named Alfred Angelo in Boca Raton (Florida). I worked there for 16 years, from 1979-1995, and then I moved to New York to work for Jones. I worked there until 2010.
Here, they’re fast! When I worked in Columbia, the people like everything to look nice and neat on the inside and out and they like this because how it a garment looked from the exterior and interior determined its price.
I love sewing wedding gowns, extravaganza, costumes. Beautiful extravaganzas- I love it!
Use the hands, not the machine. If you learn to use your hands, everything comes together beautifully. This is a very important detail – handling the fabric and the garment as it’s being made. You have to treat fabric like special chiffon and silk like it’s a baby in your hands. Press carefully, carry it from the sewing table to the ironing board with delicacy, and always touch the fabric lightly. If you do this, at the end, the garment will look nice and neat and not overworked.