My name is Harikleia Sirmans. I created this website out of love for fabrics and sewing. I take a piece of plain fabric and I create something out of nothing. My passion for sewing began at a young age in Greece, when I learned how to embroider, crochet, and knit. I loved to play with my dolls and used fabric scraps to make them into clothes.
My parents recognized my talent, and they asked Mrs. Zaharou, a local seamstress, to teach me how to sew. I spent three whole summers with her and she told me I was the best student she ever had.
She taught me how to cut straight on the fabric by measuring the client’s body and transferring those measurements on the fabric. I did not know of sewing patterns back then. She taught me how to fit the garment on the body and make adjustments until it was just right. Her sewing machine did only straight stitches, which meant that I had to sew all other stitches by hand: blind hem for hemming, whip stitch to prevent seams from fraying, buttonhole stitch, basting stitch, and other hand stitches necessary to finish a garment.
At 17 years of age, when I felt I had mastered the craft, I opened my atelier, and I started sewing like a maniac! I started with my grandmother’s Singer sewing machine, which I had to turn the wheel with my right hand and hold the fabric to stitch it with my left. It was very difficult to maneuver the fabric while turning the wheel. Later, I bought a treadle Singer sewing machine and both my hands were free to maneuver the fabric. My sewing machine would do only straight stitches and zig zags. After a few years, I finally bought an electric Singer sewing machine with more features and stitches.
When I started sewing on my own, I bought several Burda magazines that included clothes designs with patterns and I taught myself how to read, cut, and alter these patterns. When I lived in London, I took two pattern cutting courses from the London Centre for Fashion Studies. I really enjoyed that and my professor complimented me on my pining method: “You put the pins like the Chinese. All in order, facing one direction.” My dream was to attend a fashion school, but my life took a different turn, and so I satisfied my curiosity with books on fashion design, pattern cutting, quilting, sewing and anything else I could find and learn from on the trade.
I have sewn from scratch custom garments for women, men, and children (skirts, dresses, blouses, shirts, pants, suits, jackets, evening wear, costumes, uniforms, cloth diapers); home accessories (curtains, drapes, valances, pillowcases, pillows, linens, embroidered tablecloths and doilies, duvet covers); accessories (handbags, men’s ties, scarves); pet accessories; alterations—you name it—even covers for my car seats! I am also hooked on crocheting afghans, shawls, totes, and small items for family members and close friends.
I am very picky when I shop for ready-to-wear clothes because I cannot find the styles and fabrics I like. Or the clothes may be too expensive to buy. Ready-to-wear clothes are ill-fitted and poorly constructed. For me, sewing is frugal, relaxing, satisfying, and creative. It saves me money and my wardrobe is unique.
Unfortunately, years of this tedious and repetitive work with my fingers has caused me tendonitis that prevents me from sewing as much as I would have liked to. Today, I sew as my hand pain permits.
In 2020, I discovered the company Red Stone Glenn Fiber Arts Center, and I joined their book discussion group. The books I read were so engaging that they sparked my interest in writing about fiber arts, and they generated endless ideas for articles. Some articles I published in The Medium. I sent several submissions to sewing magazines, and in September 2022, I had an acceptance from Piecework magazine. I have posted every article I wrote so far on My Articles page.
In my website, you can see photos of my sewing creations, get inspiration for your own projects, and purchase items from my Etsy shop.