If you are looking for sewing inspiration you won’t be disappointed today!
In our Sewing Inspiration Spotlight series, we chat with different sewists about their businesses and how they found a way to blend sewing into work that they love. Learn about their inspirations, insights and more.
Today it’s all about Beth Smith, the maker and creative mind behind Beth Smith Textiles. Beth is an author, fabric artist and statement skirt connoisseur. She specializes in made-to-order skirts and custom sewing for special occasion in addition to everyday wear.
The thing that stands out most about Beth’s business is her attention to custom fit. She shows you how the right fit and style can completely transform your look and boost your confidence (and comfort) at the same time.
If you are interested in sewing and/or fashion then you already know clothes affect how you feel. Beth’s understanding of this shines through in every piece – her skirts elevate your look, from the beautiful fabric to the way it flows on the body. She’s got a sweet spot for eye-catching fabrics that are sure to turn heads when you walk in the room! Read on to learn more about Beth, her approach and her business.
How did you first gets started sewing?
I have been sewing since I was a little girl. My mother was a dressmaker all of my life and my grandmother was a pattern maker in a dress factory so I came by it naturally.
I stopped sewing for a while because I bought a shop that sold spinning wheels and weaving equipment so I was teaching spinning. I wrote 2 books about spinning and have lots of articles in spinning magazines about spinning. But a few years ago I began spinning yarn and weaving it into cloth. I now have three handspun/handwoven skirts and a dress that I made the same way.
When I did that I realized how much I missed sewing.
What was the path to creating your business?
In 2019 I was at a crossroads. I was trying to decide what to do with my life going forward. I was sewing and spinning and writing all at the same time but I wanted to find a clear purpose because I felt like things had gotten a little muddy. So in January of 2020 I was leaning heavily toward making skirts and selling them online but I wasn’t sure how exactly to go about it. And then in March everything shut down and I knew that teaching spinning would be out for a while so I just decided to go for it and move forward with the business.
At first I was making skirts in many colors and sizes and listing them but most of my orders were for custom skirts so in January of this year I decided to go fully with custom and made to order skirts. I also do dresses for people who live close enough to me to come for fittings. I’m trying to work out how to make a well fitting dress bodice for people who aren’t local to me.
Where do you look for sewing inspiration?
I’m a big fan of retro styles, particularly late 40s and 50s with the cinched waists and fitted bodices. I also love Ankara Fabrics with the big bold prints and bright colors. When I began putting those two things together I just knew that was the style I wanted to focus on. Of course I make skirts that are a little less attention grabbing for people who aren’t so interested in standing out but I really do love sewing for women who just want to go for it.
What is your advice to a beginner sewist?
I’m a big fan of taking classes from experts. Now there are so many options for online classes if you aren’t close to an in-person option. I know that sometimes it can feel expensive but fabric and patterns are also expensive and if you spend some money to learn how to do it right you won’t be wasting expensive materials because of mistakes or things that don’t fit well.
I also think that there is no substitute for a great pair of scissors and good pins. I still have a pair of Ginghers that I bought over 30 years ago. Good scissors are worth the investment.
What is your favorite thing to sew/make?
Skirts for sure. I have so many and I wear them all. I also love a dress with a basic fitted bodice. If you can get the bodice to fit well and comfortably you can make that same bodice over and over again using different fabrics. Just change the skirt style and you have a whole new dress style.
More About Beth:
Beth Smith is a dressmaker who loves to make eye catching skirts for women who don’t mind getting noticed. She works out of her home in Howell, MI where she lives with her husband and son. Beth is the mother of 4 kids and grandmother of 5. She has been a maker all of her life and can’t seem to stop filling her own closet.
Thanks so much for stopping by and learning more about Beth, her fabulous skirt and her journey. For more sewing inspiration, feel free to swing by Beth’s site or read more Sewing Inspiration Spotlights here with Arlington Sew.