At 19, her sense of style is all sewn up Seamstress: Jamie Gill has been making many of her own clothes since learning from her mother at the age of 8.

Candid Closet

September 03, 1998|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Jamie Gill, 19, is one of those Maryland State Fair legends: she grew up in 4-H, is an accomplished seamstress, raises beef steers and heifers, and is a keen baker. She is also a sophomore and resident at Towson University where she is a double major in engineering and computer science. Gill's skill with a needle and thread have twice made her a finalist in the national "Make it with Wool" competition.

For her local victory in the contest sponsored by the Maryland Sheep Breeders Association, Gill was awarded a beautiful bolt of wool, from which she made this year's entry in the 4-H tailored wear category, a pants suit with navy blue slacks, and a Black Watch plaid jacket with navy blue collar, buttons and cuffs. Gill, who wears her creations to sorority and professional meetings, describes her style as "very classic and tailored. I kind of go for things that will flatter my figure."

How did you become such an accomplished seamstress?

When I was 8 years old, my mom taught a workshop for our 4-H Club. I made a little simple gathered skirt. I still have it. I have everything I ever made.

Did your mom continue to lead the club?

Each year, my mom taught a workshop. The next year, we did shorts, with little elastic waists. She tried to think of something a step harder, but something we all could do. As we got older, our pace changed, and we went our separate ways, but we all kept sewing. I'm best friends with two of the original club members.

How do you start a project?

I find the fabric first. I think, "Hmmmm, what am I going to do?" I look in magazines and see stuff, and think in my mind, "That's nice." Then I look at the price. The price of a nice wool suit is rather expensive. I think I could make something like that, and I go to the fabric store and look through patterns, and find the ones I could get the most use of.

What kind of creations do you see at the national "Make it with Wool" contest?

They have some pretty amazing stuff. Most of my stuff is more classic. I see some very showy entries that tend to win. It just depends on the judges sometimes.

What other fashion-related fair events do you participate in?

The Sheep Lead, which is an event where you show a sheep while you're modeling what you made out of wool. They look at the appearance of the sheep and at the garment and how it's constructed and how it fits you and how you handle the sheep.

Do you ever make things that aren't as labor intensive as a wool suit?

I made a simple dress last year in a day. It was really fun. I found some fabric I fell in love with and an easy pattern. It's a nice way to be creative. You always come up with something you want. Rather than if you buy a dress, the top may be what you like, but you don't like the way the bottom's cut.

What do you sew on?

I use the machine my mom got in seventh grade. It works great!

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 9/03/98

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