Welcome to Somerville Clothing!

Hello!

I’m Joy, Welcome to my new design space! 

Joy Somerville

I’m new to the sewing to community, but not new to sewing.

A little about myself. I’ve been sewing forever, since I was eight to be exact. My earliest memory of sewing was watching my Grandma Rebecca sew. Grandma had a home sewing business in the small-town Santa Cruz, Laguna outside of Manila, Philippines. She raised her family of eight children as the town seamstress. She could look at a picture from a magazine and cut and sew the design without a pattern and just measurements. When she moved to the USA to help my parents and care for my sisters and I.  She shared our bedroom in a tiny two-bedroom house with my sisters and I with her industrial sewing machine, fabric, and notions.

Grandma Rebecca

She continued her sewing business and made everything from curtains to pants and to upcycling dresses she would find at a thrift store. She was ahead of her time! At 8 years old, I asked Grandma if I could make a quilt from scraps of fabric. I sewed 9 squares together, 3 rows x 3 columns. She was a perfectionist! I remember her scolding me because I had sewn a seam wrong, but she didn’t discourage me. (I think that's why I'm not a quilter!)

I was raised in a typical first-generation immigrant family, we had to bring home all A’s. The only acceptable creative hobby we could have was play an instrument. Even at an early age I was stubborn, playing the piano was not for me, instead I wanted to draw and paint which wasn’t entirely encouraged. Sewing became my creative outlet which was more acceptable because of my grandma.

My mom must have seen my potential because she encouraged my creativity by taking me often to JC Penney's or House of Fabrics, our local fabric stores. I loved spending time looking at all the sewing books and touching all the fabrics and deciding on what to make. I don’t know if I was fearless, but I made pillowcases to Christmas ornaments and soon more challenging projects.

By the time I was in middle school I was already sewing more complicated garments. Instead of the beginning sewing projects the other girls were making in home economics, my teacher allowed me to sew a dress and a blouse.

In high school I took advanced math classes over the summer at the local junior college and graduated high school early. I told my parents and counselors I wanted to major in fashion design instead of majoring in mathematics. Everyone was mad and thought I was wasting my talents. I was stubborn and had my grandma and mom’s support. I graduated with a fashion design degree for LATTC in 1986.

I’ve had a wonderful career in the fashion industry from pattern making to designing, but I found that pattern making was what I truly loved. Pattern making for me is a mix of engineering, geometry, and creativity. I can look a garment, sketch or photograph and see the shapes of the pattern pieces in my head before I even sit down to draft the pattern. In 1995 I went to work for a Gerber Technology, a computer aided design (CAD) software company specializing in the fashion industry.  I learned to draft patterns with the CAD system. This further enhanced my pattern making skills and I didn’t waste all the math classes I took in school!

In 2005 I began teaching at FIDM, a fashion design college in Los Angeles teaching pattern making on the Gerber Cad system. To keep my skills current, I freelance in the fashion industry as a CAD pattern maker specializing in Premium Demin with brands such as Jordache, Hudson, Proenza Schuler, and many others. I also help my daughter with her clothing line, Hella Good Babes.

Part of pattern making is engineering the sewing process. Understanding the machinery and the steps in order to complete the garment in the most efficient way. I work closely with skilled sewers in the factory in order to make the garment as the designer envisions. Through the years I have continued to sew, from quick fun projects to making my daughter’s wedding dress as well as her bridal party.

Left to Right: Megan, Loren, and Joy Somerville

Well that’s my sewing story in a nutshell. I hope to be able to write often about my sewing adventures and share the projects I’m working on.

Thank you for visiting! Happy sewing,

Joy

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1 comment

Maree Schlickenrieder

Joy!!!

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