A! Magazine for the Arts

This dress won the 2016 Threads Challenge for most unusal use of fabric. (Photo courtesy of Threads Magazine)

This dress won the 2016 Threads Challenge for most unusal use of fabric. (Photo courtesy of Threads Magazine)

Stewart wins awards and educates home and professional sewers

November 29, 2017

When she isn't designing wedding or prom gowns, Linda Stewart teaches alterations at the professional and home sewing levels, and wins awards.

She has written three books on CDs on alterations. "Alterations for the Home Sewer" is filled with color photos, illustrations and step-by-step instructions for basic alterations and clothing repair. "Alterations for Professionals: Bridal and Formalwear" teaches techniques for working on wedding, prom and evening gowns. A business section includes pricing, client relations, sourcing and more. "Alterations for Professionals" is illustrated with photos and drawings in an easy-to-follow book.

In addition to her books, she teaches workshops and trains people to become alterations specialists.

"I especially like training women (almost all women, although a few men) to become alterations specialists. It is a challenging profession, but it helps put women to work in a field where they can support themselves. In my case I was able to work at home and be there for my daughters when they came home from school. I have also worked with the state of Georgia in their re-training program which is very successful," Stewart says.

Stewart holds the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals' Master of Sewing and Design Certification and their Master Alterations Specialist Certification. She is the only person to hold both designations and serves as president of the ASDP board of governance

She has twice been chosen as a Bernina Fashion Designer (Bernina is a sewing machine manufacturer). In 2005 she was one of only eight selected throughout the United States. She was chosen again in 2006. In 2004, she was selected best construction and audience choice at the Threads Challenge held in conjunction with ASDP.

She was selected a Threads Challenge winner in 2016 for the most unusual use of fabric. The challenge is sponsored by Thread Magazine and is only open to members of ASDP. The 2016 challenge was to incorporate quilting into a garment or major piece of an ensemble. Twenty-five members from across the U.S. and Canada accepted the challenge.

"I found this to be a real challenge because I am not a quilter, I am a garment designer," Stewart says. "I consider myself first and foremost an artist. My canvas just happens to be fabric.I took the challenge with that in mind. I had a general idea of what I wanted to do. But when I saw the silk roving (the strands of twisted and drawn-out fibers of silk, etc. from which yarn ismade), the colors reminded me of water flowing. I decided to make the roving the centerpiece of the garment. I made a party dress with the name "Silk Splash.'

"A quilt has three layers: the backing, the batting and the top. Usually the top is where all the interest is, but in this case, I wanted the batting, or the silk roving to be the interest. So I chose crinoline netting for the base, the roving for the batting and iridescent tulle for the top. This allowed the roving to show through. To quilt the bodice I followed the direction of the roving which was placed in a swirl patternbetween the two layers of net. I used six different colors in various weights of thread and hand quilted the layers together. The skirt is made of silk dupioni, which had been baby blue, but I dyed to a deep plum. I used the same silk to bind the edges of the neckline, armscye and edge of the peplum.

Although the dress looks highly structured, it is as light as a feather," she says.

For more information about Stewart or her classes and books, visit www.lindastewartcouturedesigns.com.

THERE'S MORE: "Dressed by Design' is on exhibit at William King Museum