Meet the Maker: Teri Gerber Dodds
by Kollabora Follow

posted 4 years ago

My name is Teri, but you maybe know me as @teridodds1 on Instagram or from my blog Fa Sew La, and my DIY weapons of choice are my rotary cutter and my sewing machine.

When I am looking for inspiration I start scrolling through my Instagram feed. I can lose large chunks of time looking at what people have made!

After a long day of making things I like to relax with a cup of tea, some dark chocolate, and watch a TV show or part of a movie with my husband.

I got started making when I was a kid. I remember my mom giving me a sheet of notebook paper so I could practice sewing straight lines with the machine unthreaded. By the time I got to Home Ec class in middle school I already knew how to sew and I helped my friends with their zippered pencil cases and pillows.

The one thing that drives my creativity is the thrill of putting in the final stitches and seeing how a piece of cloth and some thread have been transformed into something amazing.

When I think about starting a new project I research patterns on sewing blogs, Instagram, and Kollabora. I start pulling fabrics from my stash and make all sorts of piles on my dining room table, where I do my cutting. There is always a huge amount of clutter inspiration until we are having guests and I am forced to clean off the table.

If I wasn’t a stay at home mom I would love to be a cake baker. I love to bake almost as much as I love to sew. I think it would be fun to have a little business making cakes and cookies for parties and other events.

The first thing I do when I wake up is try to get a few minutes to myself before my three kids wake up. Some days I exercise right away and others I try to get in a few minutes of sewing before the chaos of the day overtakes me.

My favorite place to buy supplies is from online fabric shops. I don’t have many options for garment fabrics near where I live so I get most of my supplies online. I order from Indiesew, Imagine Gnats,, Amazon, and various small fabric shops on Etsy.

The movie that can cheer me out of any bad mood is anything from Christopher Guest or Wes Anderson. Best in Show and The Royal Tenenbaums are two of my favorites.

My favorite word is macaron.

My least favorite word is irregardless.

Making makes me feel like I’m keeping myself mentally sharp. There is a lot of problem solving that goes into making clothing that fits me well. I love the challenge of working through issues and all of the learning that happens each time I make a new garment.

I get out of a creative rut by sewing something quick and easy. A tried and true t-shirt or new pair of shorts can usually get my juices flowing again.

I most relate to that saying that cleaning with a toddler around is like brushing your teeth when you are eating Oreos.

My favorite designers are Rae from Made by Rae, Jen from Grainline Studio, Heather from Closet Case Files, and Kelli from True Bias.

My favorite thing about making is having an excuse to buy fabric!

To me, DIY means loving the process from start to finish. It’s not always the fastest or easiest to make your own clothes but it’s so rewarding when you love the process.

The first thing I made was probably doll clothes. I can’t actually remember much of what I made before I got to Home Ec in 6th grade.

The most influential people in my life are my parents. I aspire to be as generous with my time and resources as they are with theirs. They help us out with the kids each week and without their help I wouldn’t have time to sew or keep the household running somewhat smoothly.

My favorite thing to do on the weekend is sew! It’s my favorite thing to do any day of the week.

I can’t get enough of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. Listening to it is always a highlight of my week.

Three words that describe me are productive, introverted, and conscientious.

Three words that describe my work are casual, comfortable, and (usually) colorful.

Best creative advice I ever received is to not be afraid of sewing anything. Every sewing project is just a series of steps to be taken one by one.

My go-to karaoke song is Dr. Worm by They Might Be Giants. I’ve never actually done karaoke because I really can’t sing, but I love to belt out this song. It usually gets a good laugh and some interesting questions from my kids.

I never leave the house without my phone and lip balm.

If I could live in any other city it would be Prague. I was completely taken with it when I visited there years ago.

The best spots in my city are the lake, the library (for keeping my kids entertained and checking out sewing books!), and this little café/bakery that is technically in a neighboring town. It’s called Whisk Café and it’s in Wauconda, Illinois. If you ever find yourself in the far reaches of Chicago’s northwest suburbs it’s totally worth checking out!

One fact about me that’s embarrassingly awesome is I am addicted to Hallmark movies. My husband and I struggle to find things to watch together and always get excited when there are new movies on the Hallmark channel. Even though they are all made from the same basic formula (the meet cute, the moment of doubt, the final resolution) I can’t get enough!

My DIY secret weapon is my glue stick. I use it to assemble PDF patterns, to position patch pockets, to keep seam allowances turned under when flat felling a seam, and when installing an exposed zipper.

The biggest DIY mistake I ever made was sewing through my finger! I did it this week for the first time. Thankfully only a little bit of skin was pierced but now my fingernail has a hole in it!

My next project is probably going to be pants or jeans. I have everything I need to make a pair of Morgan jeans or a pair of Chi-Town chinos. I just need to decide which to tackle first!

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