My name is Maryanne Sakai-James. I’ve been sewing since I was about 15 years old. That’s a lot of years considering I am, at this writing, 70 years old!
I was one of those kids with a wonky body shape that nothing bought commercially would fit. My mother didn’t make clothes I liked. She also couldn’t teach me to sew.
Lucky for me! She ended up sending me to a wonderful Japanese lady in the neighborhood. Mrs. Numazawa not only taught me to sew but to draft my own patterns as well. That stroke of luck, her wonderful teaching skills… AND her demanding I produce only the very best workmanship I was capable of, held me in good stead later on in live.
I ended up being a single mother with three kids to support… in Hawaii… at that time the second most expensive place to live in the USA. My sewing abilities kept a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs and paid most of the bills for many years. It also allowed me to clothe not only my children and myself but to make the stage attire my then significant other wore in his work as a musician at hotels in the Lahaina area.
Quilting has not been an ongoing thing for me. I left it for many years in favor of the things mentioned above. But since I reacquainted myself with it, it has become a passion. I still make utilitarian and traditional quilts, but have also discovered a passion for art quilting.
It was in my explorations into art quilting that I got the idea to try using hemp. I had made t-shirts, blouses and even drapes out of it, but never really thought of it as a quilting fabric. One day it hit me: People want soft, comfy quilts that will last many, many years so they can be passed down in their families. Hemp not only fits those criteria but has the added characteristics of retaining its shape, not holding odours AND it accepts dyes just beautifully. So I gave it a try.
As the corny saying goes, the rest is history. I still use cotton, but whenever I can, the main material in my quilts is hemp. The new fabrics made from it are just amazing. It can be heavy like upholstery fabric or as light and airy as silk chameuse or muslin. It all depends on the fiber content the manufacturer uses and the manufacturer’s skill.
If you are a quilter… heck! no matter what sort of sewing you do!… you really should give hemp a try!
Commissions and Requests
I do accept requests for quilts both in traditional patterns and materials as well as in hemp. I also accept requests for wall hangings and art quilts. Please contact me directly via the Contact page in order to have access to examples of my work in the different areas.