Monday, January 30, 2012

Lylal Messinger Profile

I SOOO LOVE IT WHEN PEOPLE PLAY MY BLOGGING GAME...To thank the 8 members of the IPCA for bringing their exciting "Midnight Magic" event to Sew Expo this year -- I have been "profiling" the IPCA members on this blog. I asked her to tell the Sew Expo audience something they might not know about her -- and Lyla Messinger sent picture of herself and her husband -- Zip Lining in Costa Rica!!

She also sent this:

Lyla Messinger is the owner of L.J. Designs, of Reno, NV. She started her business in 1994. She is the author of Ordinary to Extraordinary: Terrific Treatments for Garment Sewing. She has also written numerous booklets and written articles for the major magazines. She is currently working on an article on Sewing Sheer Fabrics with Sew Stylish magazine.

Lyla’s three children are Westie Terriers! They are her sewing buddies and can usually be found in their beds in the studio while she creates!

Lyla Jean hails from Washington. She was named after her father, Lyle and her Mother, Jean. She used her initials L.J. in the name of her business to honor her parents, who always supported her sewing efforts! She grew up in Everett, WA and enjoys visiting each year for expo. Lyla started sewing around age 10. She noticed her Mom sewing doll clothes for the three family Toni dolls on a Graybar cast iron sewing machine! Her Dad took her to the store and she picked out red fabric for a vest and royal blue for a skirt. She followed the pattern instructions and proudly wore her creation. That was the beginning. She has sewn avidly since. When the sun would shine, she would move a card table and her machine to the back yard, and sew in her bathing suit. Washingtonians know you don’t pass up sun time! She made her sister’s wedding dress and all the bridesmaids dresses between grades 8 and 9. Lyla had to have 4 teeth removed before she got her braces on. When she woke up from the surgery, her Dad took her to the Singer store, where he had purchased a brand new portable Singer machine with decorative cams for her. She thinks it was less expensive for him to do that than buy a wedding dress & bridesmaids dresses! She had an awesome home economics teacher in 8th grade, who encouraged her. Her 9th grade home ec teacher was the opposite, and discouraged her from taking any more home ec classes until she went to college. She was graded down from adding eyelet lace to a small print fabric….Lyla has a rebel inside! No creativity allowed = no more home ec classes! That didn’t stop her from sewing, however. She won second place in the tailoring category in the Make It Yourself with Wool contest in 1965. That was pretty exciting considering she had never had any formal training in tailoring. The thing she remembers most about that beyond the green suit with brown trim, it the hat her Mom and Dad bought her to complete the outfit!

Lyla studied the binary system in junior high school, in a room all by herself. She loved it! Math was always a strong suit. She started out her college studies in computer programming. After spending a year punching cards to write programs, and staring at a computer that filled a room, she decided she needed a people job! She walked the campus, from department to department and ended up in the Home- ec Department, teaching knit sewing techniques. She graduated with her degree in Home-ec/Math Education.

Lyla moved to Reno in the fall of 1974. She was sought out by a professor at the University to work on a fellowship and earn her Master’s degree in Clothing and Textiles. When that was complete, she started teaching home-ec and math. She did that for 10 years, and decided she needed to move on. (She had always promised herself if she started in any way to resemble that 9th grade home ec teacher she had, she would move on!) She retired from teaching to open a Bernina dealership. She had fabrics, notions and a sewing school. In 1990, she entered the Bernina fashion show and won Best of Show for her original jacket. That would have to be at the top of the list of favorite garments sewn! She took solid color fabrics and added detail to each section with decorative techniques she could do on her Bernina machine. She spent a week by herself at her Dad’s beach house, went out for breakfast and dinner every day, and sewed the rest of the time….heaven! She met so many wonderful people through her business experience, like Marci Tilton and Gale Grigg Hazen, that she started traveling to The Sewing Workshop in San Francisco and The Sewing Place in San Jose to teach on the weekends. That is when she started to see all the possibilities in the sewing industry.

One of her favorite stories is how she met Marci. A Bernina dealer from Half Moon Bay, CA, told Lyla she needed to meet Marci, because they had so much in common. One day, a personal style consultant friend of Lyla’s asked her if she wanted to go to a consultants meeting in California. Lyla decided she could always learn something she could use, so she went. Lunchtime came and she walked in to a room with round tables. She picked a spot, didn’t see her friend, and decided to stay there. The meeting started, and Marci Tilton was called to the podium to speak. The person sitting next to Lyla was Marci herself, and they had been having a great discussion through lunch. Lyla didn’t connect the two until afterwards, when she found out that this Marci owned the Sewing Workshop and was in the sewing industry! Small world!

Her first time to Sew Expo, she shared a booth with Gale Grigg Hazen of The Sewing Place, and had only a couple of patterns. She sold her business at the end of 1993 and founded L.J. Designs in 1994. Her business has grown beyond what she envisioned when she started. Sew Expo was a place to meet people with a like love of sewing and the sewing industry. Karen from Karen’s Kreations (who has since retired) produced wonderful boiled wool. When Lyla worked on the first piece of boiled wool she got the idea to try the same techniques on fleece. She loves fleece!

Linda Kubik’s beautiful handwoven fabrics inspired Lyla to use fringed trim and embellishment on one of the jackets featured in her book….way back when. There are so many people she has met at Sew Expo, it is impossible to list them all!

Lyla has had the good fortune of traveling to Switzerland twice to see the Bernina factory. The trips were nearly 20 years apart, and everything has changed so much! She was fortunate to be able to add to the “what do you want your ideal sewing machine to have” meeting with the engineers, as they worked on the design of the new 830 machine (Lyla’s first Bernina was the “old” 830!)

Here comes Sew Expo 2012! Lyla is teaching a class called “Hourglass Accessories”. (#1067 B&D) She will show accessories and gifts you can make in an hour or less. She has been having so much fun with the development of this class that you will see some really great techniques and ideas you can tweak to make your own. You will see re-makes of existing items, fabric take on a new life, scarves, necklaces, belts, bracelets and so much more! She has used a lot of things from her stash… a side bonus! We all need those easy projects when we want to be creative, but are too tired or stressed to work on something critical, like fitting or sewing a garment. You will have plenty of ideas after this. Lyla’s creativity is contagious, so don’t miss this class!

She is also teaching a brand new class called “Fashionable, Functional Fleece.” (#1066 A & C) Lyla loves to play with fleece. It has so much potential beyond sportswear and super casual. Fleece can look sophisticated with a little bit of this and that. See new fabric combinations, 3 dimensional techniques, and joining and edging options. Find out how to take your fleece garments to the next level. As usual, this will be an idea packed, fast paced class with lots of inspiration to take home to your own projects. Fleece is so easy to sew with, and has qualities that make it a blank canvas. Open your mind to the possibilities as Lyla guides you through these techniques.

Get lots of new ideas in this NEW class! No reveals…….you need to see the whole enchilada in person….

Lyla’s Three Needle class called “Twist Me Softly Vest” is sold out. Sorry about that. (WHAT A NICE PROBLEM, EH?) You can request that she teach it again next year on your evaluation sheet! Participants with take a Pashmina shawl and make it into an interesting vest in just 2-1/2 hours! Visit her booth 523-525 to see samples. There is also a pattern available for purchase.


1 comment:

  1. What a lovely write up. No wonder I love her designs so- Westie moms seem to bond without words ;)