Colorful spools of thread, two sewing machines, pieces of cloth in different patterns and textures, beads in reused jars — these were what greeted me one humid August afternoon when I went to Shaira's house. "Sorry for the mess," she said and I didn't mind. It was her version of the "creative mess" that every artist and creator is familiar with.  

I've known Shaira for a long time. We don't even count the years we've been friends anymore. Way back in high school, she used to sketch a lot in the back pages of her notebook. She even sketched a few of the characters from short stories I wrote. For a school project one time, she made a replica of The Colosseum in Rome with paper-mâché. 

I will always remember her as the girl who never fails to push her creativity as far as she can. And her latest creative projects proves just that. I've sat down with her to talk about her craft which she turned into a business and she was more than glad to share her thoughts:

How did your passion for designing and tailoring start?

My great-grandmother used to sew pajamas and other outfits for us when my sisters and I were still kids. It really amazed me watching her sew using her treadle sewing machine. She inspired me to try sewing myself. 

I started sewing outfits by hand for my dolls. It wasn't until my junior year in college have I dared to learn using a sewing machine. I started with altering ready-to-wear clothes. I explored pattern-making and eventually, I learned how to make clothes from scratch.

What or who inspires you to continue your passion?

The endless possibilities you can incorporate and do with sewing, that's what pumps me up. Making new things that can make others smile keeps me going.

How did Glaze: Cut & Sew start?

It was actually unplanned. Last summer, my sisters kept asking me to make swimwear for them. They’re the sporty-type of girls. They’re totally not into the sexy and daring swimwear available in the market. So I made it based on how they wanted them to be. 

They posted photos of them wearing the swimwear I made online. Their friends got curious where they got it and I had been receiving requests since then. From then, I decided to put up a Facebook page and that's when Glaze: Cut & Sew was born.

Out of all your work so far, which piece is your favorite?

The first top I made for myself! I've been sewing day-and-night yet I barely have time to sew for myself so it was a big reward haha!

As an artist, what is your greatest motivation to keep creating?

It's having people who appreciate what I do, especially knowing my clients are pleased with the items I make for them. Getting good feedback from them makes me feel so happy and proud of myself. It pushes me to learn new techniques to improve my craft.

Was there a time in your life when you felt you wanted to give up your craft?

There were a lot of times especially when I decided to turn my hobby into a business. I'm often caught in a situation where I can't seem to handle the pressure I'm getting from the orders I'm getting at once. 

It's not the same as before when I can take all my time making something. Now, I have deadlines to meet. It's actually a big shock for me. I felt I'm not good enough and I don't make enough from what I do. The pressure and stress I've been going through are too much to the point that I wanted to give up.

What projects are you currently working on?

I'm currently working on making costumes made out of recyclable materials for my friends. I believe an event will be held showcasing them so I'm doing my best to make them presentable as possible. And I do still make swimwear and other beachwear. 

What next for Glaze?

I'm planning to work on outfits for corporate or office work. You know, those tailored trousers and blazers. I'm also developing new patterns so I can sell them on my Etsy shop soon. 


Photos and interview by Pearl Aton.  Pearl is a freelance creative from the Philippines. She posts her work and thoughts over on her website,   

To see Shaira's work and to order custom-made swimwear and clothes, check out her Facebook page

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