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San Antonio’s Best Kept Seamstress Secret. Do you know Staci Rizner?

Behind the scenes footage of the appliqué placement for Burgundy’s 2017 San Antonio Fashion Awards gown.

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One of the top talents in town is so shy about her work that we consider this interview a big-win for Style Lush TV! For years, this woman has been such a best-kept-secret, that we bet you have seen her seamstress art on some of the most influential community members in town and you didn’t even know it. Now though, we are excited to introduce this humble talent, as we sit down and finally interview this incredible lady. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our pleasure to share with you, Ms. Staci Rizner.

Photo sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: Hi Staci.We are big fans. My gosh, where to begin… How long have you been sewing?
SR: (She smiles) Thank you so much for the kind words. I began to see the elements and engineering of garments early. By middle school I was churning out crude prototypes of things that I *Thought* were cool.

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Some of Staci’s tools.
Photos sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: What is your strongest memory about the very first thing you sewed?
SR: I made a doll sized quilt. It was made from my dads old shirts, some stained dish towels, and the backing from a rug. It was a mess but my family was proud and encouraging.

Photos sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: What inspires you?
SR: I love history and how styles call back. They are remembered. They are forgotten. They are revisited in different ways, interpreted by the social climate of the time. I also love to learn new skills that have been forgotten or fallen out of favor because new technology, tools and techniques came to replace and change the production of garments. I have a great collection of archaic tools and books on sewing. But, thank Goodness for progress in technical fabrics like Spandex, and The Zipper!

Photos sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: Did you always want to sew for a living?
SR: Yes I remember in the fourth grade we had an assignment– we proposed a subject for a book we would write. Shyly I suggested a book about sewing. And my teacher said no one would read that.

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SLTV: How crazy! Not only would we read your book, we would pay for a subscription to the Staci Rizner YouTube Channel, lol… How would you describe the bulk of your work? Costume? Custom?
SR: It varies, some years I have tons of bridal, other times lots of theatrical productions, of course Halloween projects and I love to mend and repurpose loved garments. Many orders are in production a year in advance. Others come together in a few hours.

Example of Costume Work

Bridal work in progress
Photos sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: No joke! You really came to my aid at the last minute for the 2017 San Antonio Fashion Awards! But we will touch on that a bit later.
If you could tell your younger self some sewing tips based off your experience now, what would they be?
SR: Try something you are sure you are incapable of. Mess it up, and try again. This is how we grow.

Photos sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: That’s a really good one. I couldn’t agree more. As I grow older and look back on my career, I realize my mistakes were my greatest moments. I value them because they sharpened my sword and I use those skills to this very day. So Staci, in your opinion, does a professional sewing machine really make a difference?
SR: The best sewing machine is the one that you USE. But I will say the possibilities grow with a durable and dependable machine that doesn’t have to be used delicately.

Photos sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: You are so right. There is nothing more frustrating than having to constantly pull tangles out of your feed dogs. I used to have a sewing machine that constantly broke needles of all weights if you sewed anything thicker than cotton. It definitely did not motivate me to sew. While we are on the subject of quality, share your thoughts on using inexpensive textiles Vs. quality textiles? I apologize, I’m asking so many questions, but i’m just so excited to have access to your mind right now. lol
SR: haha… not a problem at all. To be completely honest, I have made and seen examples of amazing garments constructed with humble fabrics, and lesser flattering items made with fine fabrics. Magic lies in the middle of skill and quality.

Photos sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: Wow. I love that answer. So, let’s go back to my gown for the San Antonio Fashion Awards. I found this lovely number at my local Goodwill for $12.99 but found the lavender color block on the right side incredibly distracting. I thought it would be interesting to use a nude lace on top to tone down that drama. You came to my aid at the very last minute and the outcome was breathtaking! What were some of the techniques you used?
SR: For your gown, I used appliqué lace on net. I started in the center and worked outward. I kind of got in a zone and then let the lace tell me where it felt best to go.

SLTV: You are such an artist and have some very elite clients. What is it like to see your work on some of the most influential personalities in the city?
SR: It is such an honor!!! I love working with San Antonio clients to make their dream outfits become a reality.

Photos sourced at @RiznerCostume on Instagram

SLTV: What are your hopes for the San Antonio’s evolving Fashion Community?
SR: We are so rich here with burgeoning talent, I would love to see more vocational education in the formative stages of fashion curriculum, An Actionable Program that allows for hands on instruction and mistakes, a bridge from ideas and sketches to the skills needed to execute a finished garment. We have so much talent here!!!

SLTV: I would love that! Sign me up!


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Next: FGI San Antonio announces new board members for 2018!