Friends of TFS


Sara Abusheikh

17—April 2024

Read our chat with former TFS team member, Sara Abusheikh, who worked with us back when we had a store in Los Angeles! We caught up with Sara to chat about where sewing and creativity has taken her since.

Apr 17 2024

Meet Sara, talented creative, passionate sewist and a former team member of our TFS LA store back in 2017. Sara has turned her love for creating, instilled in her by her creative parents, into a career as a tailor working for private clients and powerhouses, including Nordstrom and Nike. She also makes some very special ready-to-wear pieces and accessories that she sells on her website

Hello, please give a brief introduction of yourself to our readers!

Hi, I’m Sara. I’m obsessed with garment construction and with my cat, Pizza! I was born in Saudi Arabia, where I was raised by two profoundly artistic Palestinian refugees. Today, I live in Los Angeles, in an apartment that’s mostly a sewing studio.

What led you to sewing, and how long have you been sewing for?

It’s likely that the seed of sewing curiosity was planted before I could remember. A sort of handwork wizardry ran in my family: the women before me were taught Tatreez, a traditional Palestinian embroidery. In memory, my mom is always pouring her hands into embroidery and some other meticulous art.

Regularly, my parents would wrangle the six of us and take us to markets east of our hometown, and because they were, themselves, artists, we would, every time, end up in a family-owned fabric shop or in a conversation with a tailor or at a place that sold beads and hooks and eyes. I said I wanted to be a designer, but I had no idea that people did that. Then, I turned eighteen, moved to the United States and, by some strange synchronicity, ended up enrolling in Apparel Design at the University of Texas. As it turned out, I did not have the natural affinity for stitching that my mother or grandmother had.

"I found it BRUTAL to sew! I mean, I threw away every garment I made for years. Yet, precisely because it was so difficult, I became enamoured by it. I built my whole adult life around the craft. That was 15 years ago. I feel extremely lucky to say that, today, I make my living as a tailor!"
Sara Abusheikh Lace
Describe the space you use for sewing in 5 words... "The place I find direction."
Tell us the story of your favourite wardrobe item

I’m torn between two items: my kufiya, the classic black and white scarf that symbolizes the “unwavering spirit of the Palestinian people,” and my black taffeta gown. It took so much fitting, patience, and trust, and I feel regal when I wear it!

Sara Abusheikh
What are you sewing or working on at the moment?

Like every other seamstress on God’s green earth, I have a never-ending (or, more accurately, ever-growing) list of things I’d like to make. Today, I’m hoping to draft a well-fit trouser block, which I hope will become either a horseshoe jean (that I would like to wash and distress at home) or a leather pant. Wish me luck!

Share with us what you learnt from your biggest sewing success.

For my anxious girlies: nervous system regulation can determine outcomes. We all have technical and creative blind spots. We all make mistakes… like, often. So, take a deep breath! You got this.

Sara Abusheikh 5
Sara pleats
Share with us what you learnt from your biggest sewing flop

In retrospect, it’s the same as above! It may sound obscure, but trauma recovery and building self-worth have made a world of difference in my performance and career. Our ability to navigate technical challenges can be so, so harmed if we become flooded with fear or shame when they arise. On the other hand, when we are on our own side, those very roadblocks can push us to new heights!

Do you have any secret sewing tips you’d like to share?

Ahhh, so fun! I wouldn’t say they’re secrets, but… if you’re making a lined garment, it is always worth taking the time to slightly trim the lining’s outside edges. More broadly, the things it’s a bit of a pain to take the time to do… do them! They make the biggest difference. Other than that: practice, research, and if you see a garment you really like, turn it inside out and see how it’s made!

Sara Abusheikh 7
What are your top 5 sewing must-have tools?

First and foremost: there is no sewing without an iron. Secondly, I was too scared to invest in a Juki for years, and now I have no idea how I ever lived without one! Tiny, sharp scissors to trim threads. The right rulers. A point turner.

Are there any favourite books, podcasts or blogs that you love?

I know it seems unrelated to sewing, but I’m passionate about trauma and justice. While these subjects can be difficult to broach, I feel connected to parts of myself and to others when I learn about them. And I try to fold that into the clothes I make! A couple books I’ve recently read are Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson or The Myth of Normal by Gabor Maté.

What and/or who motivates and inspires you?

Honestly, the people of Gaza. Here is a video about an atelier in the besieged strip from 2019.

Any future projects that you are excited about?

I’m going to a friend’s wedding in May, and I’m hoping to make a really sweet, springtime dress. Designs tend to change during the process, but right now, I’m seeing ribbons, pleats, and baby pink Crepe de Chine! Fingers crossed!

Tell us what your top 5 favourite fabrics are from our Online Store and why?

When I think about The Fabric Store, I think about Organic Linen! The color Daffodil is so sweet, although Bone and Black are classic. TFS’s linens are magical – they’re potato-chip crispy, and yet, soften beautifully. Shimmer Stripe Muslin in Strawberry Milk looks delicious. I think it could make the prettiest dress, and I love that it’s deadstock! I’m currently frothing for stripes, so I’m extra curious about the Lightweight Hairline Stripe Suiting in Dark Grey. I have to mention Liberty Tana Lawn in Floral Thyme – both because of Liberty’s second-to-none butteryness, and because something about this print is powerful. Finally, I am totally enamored by this Organic Cotton Poplin in White. It can be especially difficult to find a papery, high-quality white cotton. I cannot wait to get my hands on some!

Sara Stack Selects SQ
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