The needle is her paintbrush


Candid Closet: Faith Brooks Evans, of Northwest Baltimore, pours all her creative passion into sewing.

May 20, 1999|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Some write, some paint. Faith Brooks Evans sews. Since high school, Brooks has been captivated by the creative possibilities of designing and making clothing.

While a student at Morgan State in the 1970s, she staged fashion shows featuring her handiwork and later studied couture at the Paris Fashion Institute. Brooks, a special education teacher at Mergenthaler Vocational Technical High School, also teaches sewing in her home, makes outfits for her two daughters, designs costumes for school plays and has completed a cloak for her pastor, the Rev. Harold Carter of New Shiloh Baptist. Evans, who lives in Northwest Baltimore, also does custom work for proms and special events and creates spectacular teddy bears found at Garland's Gardens.

How did sewing become a passion?

I just caught on to sewing. My mother used to make ensembles for Easter and graduation for my sister and me. I inherited her talent, plus my father was a carpenter who works well with his hands. My grandfather also has carpentry and photography skills.

Why don't you teach sewing in school?

They phased out home economics back when I was teaching at Edmondson Senior High in 1985. I was lucky enough to have certification in special ed, so I stayed on at Edmondson. I did teach needle trades at Carver Vocational Tech for five years. I'm still able to share some of my skills in sewing with my students. For this past Mother's Day, they made roses out of fabric for their moms.

Describe the cape you made for Pastor Carter.

It was made out of black wool crepe fabric with silver lame pinstripes. I took it to the garment district in New York City and matched it with Gianni Versace buttons and got his initials monogrammed inside.

What did you learn in Paris?

I learned how to do a line of clothes from 20 yards of the same fabric that you could mix and match. And I learned how to sketch properly.

Do you still design?

I design for fashion shows, like the Echo House event at Martin's West on Mother's Day. I would love to sell my designs and get with a manufacturing company.

What are your designs like?

My clothes are on the line of clothing you would see at Cross Keys. My little girls' clothes are just like what you would see at the Pied Piper.

You design menswear as well.

Yes. At fashion shows, that's how I can get the women to react. Last year, I did a see-through animal print lounge-wear set for men. It tore the audience up. I even got my father to model a paisley cotton bathrobe set I made for him. It was beautiful.

Would you wear all of your designs?

I'm a little bit more conservative than what I design. Halter tops and shorts: I don't wear those.

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

Pub Date: 5/20/99

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