By Cynthia Van Hazinga
This young designer balances schoolbooks and sewing.
Sara Trail, who lives with her family in northern California, is a lot like most high-school seniors. She enjoys school and hanging out with her friends; she’s planning for college and what to wear to the proms coming up. Except that Sara’s a sewer—she’ll design and sew her own prom dress; “Something fun . . . ” she schemes, “something short!” And maybe bright pink. It’s a sure thing that the dress will be a knockout. This girl’s got style.
Sara, just turning 17, is very probably the youngest fabric designer in the quilt marketplace. Her first collection, “Biology 101” is brand new from Fabri-Quilt. Sara’s own biology classes were “a definite inspiration,” she says, and the fabrics look something like microbes, plankton and other microscopic visions, in gorgeous blues, greens and purples. “Biology 101” has two colorways and six supporting fabrics.
A Born Entrepreneur
Not just fabrics, Sara designs clothing, quilts, home goods and accessories, including very cool bags. A few years ago she wrote a book about sewing, “Sew With Sara” (C&T Publishing, 2009), which is also a DVD, “Cool Stuff to Sew with Sara.” She has a line of sewing patterns through Simplicity as well: Designed with Love by Sara.
Early on, Sara realized that not only could she save money by sewing, she could also MAKE money. By the age of 14, she was designing and selling clothes and accessories to her friends, as well as encouraging them to give sewing a try. Her motto: “Don’t just Sew It, Sell It!”
Sara’s natural enthusiasm is contagious, and she’s truly idealistic. “I am all about being green, using recycled materials in my projects, and not letting scraps go to waste. If you think GREEN, you can make GREEN!” she says.
Sew, Sara, Sew!
It’s a good thing computers exist— it would be near impossible to track Sara with paper and pen. She is active in her church—where she teaches other kids how to sew—adores thrift stores, and loves to play the piano.
But most of all, Sara loves to sew. “I’ve been sewing since I was four,” she says, remembering the days when she camped out under her grandmother’s treadle machine, pumping with her hands and tugging the fabric under the needle. Sara is quick to credit her adult mentors, who include her highly supportive mother, Kay.
“I love quilt shows,” Sara says, “and I love traditional quilts, but now that I’m older, I’m more interested in art quilts.” One of her art quilts, “At the Feet of Jesus,” has won awards, and she’s working on another that takes off from the idea of a spreading tree, with detailed leaves. “The very best part is choosing the fabrics and the colors!” she says.