This month’s featured maker, Howard Goldstein, has been sewing for over 60 years!
I got to know Howard through my YouTube-channel and he is still very much active in the sewing community. So I was really curious to learn more about his history and his reflections on sewing now and then.
Tell us about your background and how you got started sewing?
Ever since I was a youngster, I was interested in clothes and the way they were constructed. I would look at a garment & try to figure out how it was made. In the late ’50s my mother was working as a hairdresser in large salon & as the hemlines began to rise, I earned extra money by shortening dresses by hand, which lead to other alterations for which I needed a machine. Between the 12 hairdressers and all of the customers of the salon, I was kept very busy. I picked out a machine, which my parents bought, and I paid them back by earning the money doing alterations.
You’ve been sewing for over half a century. What are the biggest changes from when you started until now?
I find that the biggest changes have been not only in the machines but in the availability of supplies. With the coming of the internet, any supplies I need can be ordered and I have them within a few days…I no longer have to hunt around, and possibly settle for something I can not find on my own. Everything I need is always available online.
Sewing tool that you wouldn’t want to be without?
I have many tools that I wouldn’t want to be without. The number one is, of course, my sewing machine. Even in my small New York apartment, I have several setups for different applications. My industrial for pants, jackets and most straight sewing. My favourite Bernina 1008 for sewing knits, double-needle sewing, tacking and some fancy stitches, my Bernina serger which I love for finishing the inside of garments, and this is the best serger I have ever used. It was designed so well as not to get all clogged up with fuzz/lint even after sewing an entire garment. And lastly, my trusty Kenmore 1652 set up with the Singer Professional Buttonhole attachment which makes the best buttonholes ever. Those are all my favourite tools.
Your best advice to a beginner sewist?
I have been giving lessons to a 63-year-old lady that has never touched a sewing machine and right from the start I told her to take her time, relax, and enjoy the process. Learn good sewing habits, there are absolutely no short cuts-do it right the first time & you won’t have to do it again. The seam ripper is your friend, not your enemy. Sewing is an ongoing learning experience. With each new project, it’s fun to try a new technique, that’s how we learn & grow.
Do you still have a dream project on your bucket list? And if so, tell us about it?
Since I’ve been sewing so long, I really don’t have a dream project. I’ve made everything from boxer shorts to overcoats & pants suits to evening gowns and everything in between. Right now I’m sewing some holiday presents to use up some of my fabric stash.