For this Pop Quiz, we’re putting Montreal designer Yana Gorbulsky of Supayana to the test!
Tell us a little bit about you and your business!
My name is Yana Gorbulsky and I have a clothing line called Supayana. I started the line in 2003 in Brooklyn, NY. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 7 years already! When I started selling online there were only 5 handmade clothing sellers on eBay. I can’t believe how the movement has taken off since then. It’s really amazing to have such a huge community now.
My line consists of girly, vintage inspired clothing made from vintage, second-hand, recycled, or sometimes new materials. For my one of a kind pieces, the way I work is very organic… I usually just start cutting away at fabric, and whatever happens, happens. It’s really liberating that way!
What kind of sewing machine(s) do you use?
I have a 1970’s Singer home/industrial hybrid straight-stitch, a Janome home serger, and a Juki industrial serger. I borrow my studiomate Angie’s (from Norwegian Wood) industrial coverstitch machine when I want to professionally hem stretch fabrics.
How long have you been sewing and how did you learn to sew?
I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl. It started out with clothing for my stuffed animals and dolls, and eventually grew into clothing for myself, and then clothing for others!
What’s the last thing you sewed?
I sewed this dress a few days ago for my Etsy shop!
Do you have a favourite fabric that you like to sew with?
My favourite fabric used to be cotton jersey, but now I like woven cottons. I can’t believe I started out sewing with stretch fabrics …non-stretch is so much easier!
What is your sewing soundtrack?
Usually whatever my studiomates play. There’s a lot of Johnny Cash and 50’s music.
At Sewing School, we’re all about learning new things. What’s one technique or pattern you’d like to learn or try out?
I have a pattern for a really amazing vintage coat, but I’ve been so nervous to try it out! I feel like a coat is a big commitment… there are so many things that can go wrong… the collar… the lining… ahhh!!! I’m going to try it soon, I promise!
We know that you are a big fan of reusing and upcycling — any tips for buying vintage fabrics?
Salvation Armies, church sales and Value Villages usually have a great selection of vintage fabrics. I usually try to buy only natural fibers like cotton, silk, or rayon. I wouldn’t bother with polyester, but that’s just my personal opinion. Some people can tolerate wearing polyester but it makes me really itchy and hot! If you’re not familiar with different kinds of fabrics, it’s sometimes hard to tell what the fiber content is without a burn test. I think the best way to learn is by studying clothing that has content labels. Touching, feeling, sometimes even smelling! Another important tip for buying vintage fabric is to check the fabric for any stains or big holes. Most stains can come out, but if the fabric is really yellowed, it probably won’t come out.
Where can we see Supayana next?
I’ll be in the Burdastyle book next fall! They asked 20 designers to make a variation of one of their patterns. It was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see it in print.
A huge thanks to Yana for taking the time to chat about sewing with us. Check out Supayana on Etsy to see more of her super cute and eco-friendly clothing line!