Laura earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Apparel Design from Oregon State University, concentrating her studies and training in vintage and historic garments. She received a summer research grant to study, reproduce, and then design a gown using the style and techniques of Madeleine Vionnet, who revolutionized fashion with her mastery of draping and the bias cut during the 1930's.
Laura began sewing at the age of 10, sewing her first bra at 12 and designing her mothers wedding gown at age 17. Laura began working with customers in 1988, sewing and designing special occasion clothing for clients local and across the country. In 2007 she published her first sewing pattern from the Gowns by Laura collection under the name Nostalgic, recently changed to Sew Chic>. She has also worked and volunteered in theater designing costumes for many productions including Magdalena, Dreams from a Summer House,Calisto 5, and Pygmalion.
Laura has received design awards for fashion design excellence from Fashion Group International, Oregon Consumer Science Business Professionals, and the editors of Threads Magazine, where her work has been featured. She has also received numerous awards for her "recycled" fashions.
Several of Laura's designs were created specifically for professional juried design shows where fashion is judged as an art form. For three years running, Laura's designs were accepted to the International Textile and Apparel Association. These include “Serenata” and “Victorian Vionnet” shown in New York City, August 2002, “Fifth Avenue” shown in Savanna, GA, November 2003, and "Ariel" shown in Portland, OR, November 2004. "Fifth Avenue in Gold" was accepted to the Sew with Doupioni Contest sponsored by Sew News Magazine, and "Noel" was admitted to the Inspired by Threads design challenge sponsored by Thread's Magazine. Both Designs were shown at the 2004 American Sewing Expo in Novi, MI. "Sahara" was the eveningwear design winner at this same show in 2005. In addition to these, Laura has been a regular participant in the Mom's weekend fashion show sponsored by her alma mater, Oregon State University. She also participated in Fall 2006 Portland Fashion Week and was featured on KPTV Good Day Oregon.
Other Interesting Facts
Laura's growing up years were spent moving and traveling around the country. Twice she's been to Mexico where her family camped along rivers as well as popular destinations like Puerto Vallarta. Because of this nomadic lifestyle, school attendence was inconsistent, but she did graduate from high school, where all of her elective credits were spent in sewing classes. Her mother's divorce lead to a return to church activity, and something akin to the traditional trappings of life, which was a welcome respite during those late teen years. After marriage and 4 wonderful children, she decided to enroll in college, filling many educational gaps. After 10 years in school, the goal was completed. Laura also learned calligraphy and taught card workshops with her wonderful mother-in-law, even before cardmaking was a popular trend. Now she collects vintage clothing, and has a personal collection of both modern and vintage hats numbering close to 50. She often wears hats, and adds them as an accessory to her clothing designs. She also loves jewelry, shoes, her husband and family, and especially her baby grandson, Jonas. (Photograph copyright 2008 by Missy Cochran)
Excitement of creating beautiful clothing that fits is what sewers love most. Laura has turned to patternmaking and teaching about fit and style as a way of sharing this excitement. Sew Chic Pattern Company is dedicated to making patterns that are simple, yet innovative. Classic, yet fashionable. Consistent, but never boring. Laura also continues to design for fun, looking for innovative ways to turn cloth into 3-D. She has a special interest in shape and form, and creating the "illusion" of an hour glass figure. Styles from the early 20th century are a definite influence in her design aesthetics. As a matter of principle, a commitment to modesty has become intrinsic to her designs. No matter the reason, there is value in leaving something to the imagination. “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” ~Thomas Jefferson