As you may or may not know the rotary cutter was invented in 1979 and modernized the fabric and textile industry. The new cutter proved to reduce cutting time by half, or even more. It’s demonstrated capability to cut multiple layers of fabric – both heavy and lightweight – quickly and easily without pulling or distorting fabrics or pattern lines, excelled this tool’s popularity. Moreover, the OLFA rotary cutter helps to reduce on-the-job hand and wrist fatigue, important to many textile professionals who spend many hours cutter and trimming. No one knows this better than Jessica Lawson aka the Hollywood Seamstress.
In February of this year we attended Quiltcon in Pasadena, CA and met Jessica Lawson along with other fellow seamstresses. OLFA is their tool of choice! Jessica is a twenty-something year-old union seamstress living in Los Angeles, CA. She works in the film industry doing anything from making superhero costumes to hemming pants.
What are you most well-known for, or what do you consider your area of expertise?
The last few years I’ve been working on Netflix’s Glow making lots and lots of leotards. I’ve gotten pretty good at working with stretch fabrics!
Who or what inspired you to get into the type of work you do (how did you get started)?
I’ve sewn since I was a little girl—sitting on the floor of my grandmother’s sewing room, pulling bright colored buttons and threads from her sewing kit. Most of my childhood was spent with a needle in hand until I finally convinced my parents to buy me a sewing machine for my twelfth birthday. With the speed and ease of a sewing machine my passion took full flight. I started making costumes for myself as a cosplayer through grade school, then studied costume design and construction at California Institute of the Arts. After graduation, I joined Local 705 Motion Picture Costumers Union while working with Bill Hargate Costumes in Hollywood. I was lucky enough to work with an amazing group of pattern makers and seamstresses there.
How do you describe or categorize yourself?
I’m a pattern maker and seamstress, specializing in one-of-a-kind costumes.
From where, or whom, do you draw inspiration?
Instagram is very inspiring as a sewist, a word I love because it combines sew and artist. I follow quilters, costume designers, cosplayers, independent sewing pattern designers and other costume makers all around the world. It’s fun to scroll through my feed and see what everyone is making, I mostly work by myself so it’s great to be part of a community.
What are the OLFA tools that you use for your craft?
What is your favorite OLFA tool and why?
When do you do your most creative work?
I’m a morning person. I like to start the day with a fresh cup of coffee in my sewing studio, taking a moment to plan out my day.
What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?
I almost never have time to sew for myself!
What is your favorite project or piece of work you are most proud of?
I’m really proud of my work on Glow. The costume designer Beth Morgan makes it so fun, I can go from sketch to finished leotard in a day or two depending on how complicated the design is.
What other hobbies do you enjoy?
Gardening is the big one, I spend most weekends out in my garden weeding and planting away. I also knit, crochet, embroider and draw.
Be sure to check out more of Jessica’s work online:
FACEBOOK: Hollywood Seamstress