Are you ready to meet our 2020 September Spotlight Member? I’m very excited to introduce you to her because she reminds me a lot of myself when I first learned to sew. If you don’t already have your drink of choice and yummy snacks, stop reading and go get them. Make yourself cozy and enjoy meeting this amazing sew sister. I have to tell you that writing these Spotlight posts, where I get to share other sewists in our community, brings me great satisfaction. These are my favorite posts so far.

When I first learned to sew, I picked up on the craft very quickly and wanted to sew everything. There was no fear about what I didn’t know. I placed no limits on my ability to learn. In no time, I became an Advanced Beginner. Our 2020 September Spotlight Member is also an Advanced Beginner who has taken off like a skyrocket, finding great joy in garment sewing.

Meet Shannon Laster

2020 September Spotlight Member

Shannon and her husband have been married for 5 years and live just outside Dallas, TX. Between the two of them, they have four amazing, adult sons. Her husband is a retired Army veteran and Shannon is a substitute teacher for middle and high school. She also teaches Children at her church.

Shannon and her husband
Shannon and her son
Shannon’s husband and his three sons

She began her sewing journey in January of this year. In 2013, her husband purchased her a Singer Athena sewing machine for Christmas. He’d heard her talk about altering her clothes to give them more pizzaz because she wanted to make them her own. She even expressed a desire to redesign the women’s uniforms when she served as a Specialist (E4) in the Army from 1989 – 1995. She thought the uniforms needed a little nip and tuck for better fit. Shannon says she’s quite the designer in her mind. Yes! I love a confident sewist.

2020 September Spotlight Member
Shannon wearing her Army uniform
2020 September Spotlight Member
Shannon with her sewing machine. Look at that smile.

Shannon sews in her game room, and the ping pong table serves as a perfect place for cutting out her patterns. Don’t you just love how resourceful we can be when it comes to sewing? The first item Shannon made in 2013 was a set of pillows and she says they were perfect. I agree. Then something horrible happened that brought her sewing journey to a screeching halt.

Shannon’s amazing pillows she made as a new beginner

After using her new machine only a few times, the threads started bunching underneath the fabric whenever she attempted to sew anything. She searched desperately on YouTube and Google for a solution and learned that it was probably a bobbin or tension issue. The problem was she knew very little about the bobbin or tension. She became so frustrated that she developed a tension headache and stored the machine away in a closet, never to be seen again until seven years later.

Beautiful shower curtain Shannon made for her bathroom with matching towel ties. But look at the shoe on the picture above the towels. She bedazzled the shoe to bring in the colors from her curtain and towels. Top level creativity!

In January of 2020, Shannon came across the photo of a lady on Instagram who seemed to share the same taste in fashion as she did, so she saved the picture. Shortly thereafter, another photo of the same lady appeared. This time Shannon read the post and learned that the woman had actually made the clothes she was wearing. She also discovered that the lady had a YouTube channel. Shannon’s response was, “WHOA!, I’m all in!”

She even attached braided trim to her shower curtain.

Shannon found the Anita by Design YouTube channel, and she says her entire life changed after that. She started watching the videos and sharing the excitement with her sister. While the videos brought great enthusiasm, Shannon felt like she was losing her mind because she couldn’t sew. Shortly afterwards, her sister allowed her to use her machine and that’s when her garment sewing journey took off.

2020 September Spotlight Member
Shannon looks amazing in her New Look R10535 Top (Out-of-Print)

Shannon read the instruction booklet that came with her sister’s machine, and that’s what ultimately helped her to troubleshoot and fix her own sewing machine. She says it’s been smooth sailing with Anita by Design ever since that moment.

2020 September Spotlight Member
Here’s another version of R10535 (Out-of-print)

Shannon says Anita by Design provides sewing instructions in a manner that accommodates her learning style. She’s a visual learner and appreciates the close-up views in the videos which help her to see exactly what’s being demonstrated.

2020 September Spotlight Member
Shannon’s beautiful caftan created by following this SEW-ALONG on YouTube.

She had always dreamt of making her own clothing and home decor items. According to Shannon, her sewing journey had been long overdue. “Clothing stores today”, she says, “just don’t seem to have exactly what my life requires.” She feels that there are often missing elements. Something always needs to be added or taken away from most of the clothing she purchases. She says that, back in the day, Casual Corner had perfect dresses that were designed for her body type. And she finds it very difficult to find sexy, yet sophisticated, dresses since they closed. Oh my goodness! I used to love Casual Corner. Who remembers that store?

2020 September Spotlight Member
Looking fabulous in Simplicity 8640

Her greatest challenge with sewing, so far, is fabric choice. She hasn’t learned how to pair appropriate fabrics with garment type. There have been many occasions when Shannon has gone into a store looking for fabric and left with more patterns, but no fabric. I’m pretty sure she’s not the only one who struggles with fabric choice.

When asked to describe her wardrobe style, Shannon says her style is very laid back. She enjoys loose-fitting, elegant garments constructed of linen or rayon fabrics. Pencil skirts and pant suits styled with a pair of Weitzman heels are among her favorite looks. Super fun and cute athletic attire are also on her list of stylish wears.

2020 September Spotlight Member
Looking casual and comfy in Simplicity 8296

I asked Shannon to share her favorite thing to do when she’s not sewing and here’s what she had to say. “Lately, I’ve been really focused on fitness because the amount of weight I’ve put on is disturbing to me.” Shannon’s not only working on her weight and fitness, but she’s also working on herself as a person overall. For Shannon, that means trying to make sure that her entire life is centered on God because He’s the reason why she has life and she’s grateful for that.

2020 September Spotlight Member
She followed the SEW-ALONG for McCalls 7812 to make this gorgeous top.

Shannon says that she’s a huge supporter Anita by Design because my life is also centered on God. She’s grateful that she received help to find her way back to sewing. Even though we’ve never met in person, she feels like she has a beautiful friend with a God-like spirit. If you asked her husband, he would tell you that Shannon talks like she and I hang out together. Hahaha! I love it! Shannon, the feeling is absolutely mutual. You are my new online sew buddy and I’m grateful that God allowed our paths to cross.

2020 September Spotlight Member
She did a beautiful job on Simplicity 8982. So very classy!

Shannon says that if she could give every woman in her life one gift, it would be HOPE. She wants to encourage every woman not to give up on their dreams. He says hope is believing! Oh my heart! Thank you for that, Shannon.

When I asked Shannon to name one thing she absolutely could not live without, she said, at this time in her life, it would be her little sewing machine.

2020 September Spotlight Member
Rocking Simplicity 8912 with a bit a sassy

If you are new to sewing, Shannon would like to close this blog post with a bit of advice. Here’s what she says: “For someone who wants to learn how to sew, I would ask them to be patient. As I have told so many others, watch Anita by Design videos on YouTube because her teaching style is calm, patient, and hands-on. I don’t know Anita personally, but I think that she believes in treating others the way she likes to be treated (that’s the vibe she gives). Don’t give up!”

2020 September Spotlight Member
Shannon even followed my PATTERN HACK VIDEO to create this gorgeous Caftan.

If you are on Instagram and want to follow Shannon’s sewing journey, you will find her @millionbucksmile. Throughout the month of September, I will be highlighting her in my IG stories.

I’m so in love with this top Shannon created with New Look 6517. Beautiful styling too.

Shannon, it has been my pleasure getting to know you through our conversations. Thank you for accepting the invitation to be our 2020 September Spotlight Member. I am so happy to have you in my Private Email Community and really look forward to following your sewing journey. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

Please give Shannon a SHOUT OUT in the comments section below. She is doing a great job and I would love for us to celebrate her.

Watch my Latest Interview on YouTube HERE

This Post Has 117 Comments

  1. Carla

    Congrats Shannon!

    inspiring story and talent.

    1. Shannon

      Thank you so much Carla! I am honored!❤❤

  2. Arletha Sabur

    Wow Congratulations Shannon! I can see you’ve always been very talented. Awesome!

    1. Shannon

      Arletha, thank you! ❤ I’ve always had my own style for sure and I do what I can to create the look I desire. It’s just the way I’m designed. Lol

    2. Shannon

      Thank you so much, Arletha! I do stand apart somewhat.???? I was that kid who ALWAYS saw things differently.

  3. Demples

    You have always been a classy sassy lady! Congratulations, you are awesome!

    1. Shannon

      Thank you Demples!
      It takes a classy, sassy lady to know one! Lol. Love you, sis. ❤?

  4. Shannon

    All the love I’m being shown is tugging on my heartstrings. ❤ I thank each one of you for your effort in helping Anita celebrate me. Anita’s such a phenomenal woman and she is such a blessing to my life. God sends us what we need exactly when we need it. Thank you all so much and thank you, Anita for listening to God’s voice. You have helped so many of us find our way to creating things we can actually wear outside the house….. that’s major! ❤

    1. Anita Morris

      Shannon, you are a beautiful gift. Thank you for your support. I love you.

      1. Shannon

        Thank you, Anita! I love you too! My new Sew Sister❤

  5. Yvette

    Hi Shannon,
    It’s so nice to meet you and to see your great work!! Your sewing projects are beautiful and you wear them well! 🙂
    Keep that beautiful smile and keep up the great work!
    Congratulations on being Anita’s September “Spotlight Pick”

    1. Shannon

      Yvette, thank you so much! I am truly enjoying myself!❤

  6. Ramona Thomas

    Hello Shannon,
    It’s nice to meet you. You have done a phenomenal job! Keep up the good work.

    1. Shannon

      Ramona, thank you so very much!❤

  7. Noelle

    Shannon I’m so proud of you for never stop believing in yourself. You are awesome!

    1. Shannon

      Awwww…thank you so much, Noelle! ❤

  8. Marie Faubell

    Welcome Shannon: You cannot ask for a better connection to the world than sewing. And, Anita is such an inspiration. Sewing is how I reconnect with my Moma Bear, who passed away in 2006. I miss her very much. She started me sewing before I started school. Anita brought me back to it after some personal setbacks. You rock everything you are wearing so you are doing very well. Take care, and keep sewing.

    1. Shannon

      Marie, what a nice story! Thank for the encouragement!❤

  9. Nancy Barbata

    Wow! What a treat to see your amazing style & talent, Shannon! As I read Anita’s story, I kept smiling bigger and bigger as each garment, each outfit was revealed! I love getting to know you and learning about your sewing joruney. xo

    1. Shannon

      Awwww…. I can imagine that big smile because it sounds like the same one I sport. ❤ Thank you so much for your compliment! I am sew excited about what next.

  10. Shannon

    Nancy, the support is beyond belief! I love it and because of it, I can and will sew forever.
    Thanks for your kind words and I look forward to sewing with you.❤

  11. Shannon

    I am so very glad that my story gave you hope! ? You can do anything under the sun with just a little hope. ❤ Let’s Win!!

  12. Denetra Sanders

    Congratulations Shannon!! Reading your story gives me Hope to keep pushing. Thanks Anita for putting a spot light on her. Her story warmed my heart. #nevergiveup

    1. Shannon

      I am so very glad that my story gave you hope! ? You can do anything under the sun with just a little hope. ❤ Let’s Win!!

  13. TroyJennene Gibbs

    So nice to hear Shannon’s story. Shannon – > Sewing is a great way to connect plus the confidence you feel from making clothing and designs is exciting. You look great in your garments. Choosing fabrics to pair with your patterns may take time but seems as though you are well on your way to a “fashion forward” closet. There are plenty of resources out there for sewing your way to a full wardrobe , so take your time & enjoy the journey. One of the best sewing tip I pass on to new sewers/makers is try classes, retreats and meet-ups to help you on your journey, so much fun with a sewing buddy, (s) or a group of fashionista’s that can offer good tips and tricks to up your sewing game. Once social contact is safe to do so, take a pattern drafting class, or a sew-along with others, it is so much fun. Best wishes on your sewing adventure & keep going & sew-on!

    1. Shannon

      Great suggestions! I’ll be sure to indulge…thank you so very much!❤

  14. Sheila

    I love this series you’ve started Anita. And I loved meeting Shannon. Her sewing journey has inspired me to continue on my journey as well.

    1. Shannon

      Thank you sew much! Me being an inspiration is everything! I’m excited about this sewing journey that we’re on.??

    2. Anita Morris

      I’m so glad to hear that you like the new Blog Feature, Sheila.

  15. Darcey Cobbs-Lomax

    Hi Shannon –
    I love your sewing story! 🙂 We have a few things in common –
    1. Once upon a time I too shopped at Casual Corner!
    2. I also have a singer sewing machine!
    3. We both love Anita by Design!
    4. We both re-started sewing in January of this year
    5. We both have been in the member spotlight!
    I was SO excited to see your feature this month and loved reading about your sewing journey. Everything that you are wearing looks amazing especially the Caftan. You and Anita are both inspiring me to give it a try!
    Keep up the great sewing progress and I will “see” you on IG
    Thanks for sharing and thanks Anita for the spotlight on Shannon this month!

    1. Shannon

      Hello Darcy! Our paths have crossed once again! Our commonalities are many and having Anita in common is my favorite one.?. Thank you so very much for your kind words – I am grateful. I can’t wait to see your next creation. Thanks for the inspiration, Darcey. ❤

    2. Anita Morris

      Darcey!!! It’s true. You two have a lot in common. Thank you so much for celebrating Darcey.

  16. Shannon

    Thank you so much and please remain encouraged. ❤

  17. Judy

    Wow, Shannon does a beautiful job of sewing. LOVE her wardrobe. And her “attitude and style”. An inspiring lady with a handsome family. I had to look real hard to figure out which one was old enough to be the Dad. ?
    I agree about the selection of fabrics. My Midwest area is mostly Quilting fabrics. I prefer fashion sewing. It is frustrating finding good fashion fabrics in pretty colors and textures.
    Casual Corner was my favorite shopping place back in the day too. They didn’t close because of lack of business from me. ?
    Really enjoying your sewist spotlights. Please keep them coming.

    1. Shannon

      Thank you ❤

  18. Sherry Perry

    Keep having fun and I enjoyed your highlight article!!!

    1. Shannon

      Thank you ❤

  19. Cris Longacre

    What an inspiring story. Amazing woman with such talent and a wonderful family. Its so refreshing to see happy successful women in these times. I love all the things she sewed and they looks so perfect for her too. I love sewing my own clothes too as I can’t find what I like to wear in the stores anymore and with Covid don’t go out shopping either. Anita you always find a way to get me excited about sewing. Thanks for sharing such good wholesome content and letting us see some amazing women out there.

    1. Shannon

      Thank you so very much!❤

    2. Anita Morris

      You’re welcome, Cris. I’m really glad you’re enjoying the content.

  20. Devoria Hall

    Shannon, you are doing a FANTASTIC job!!

    1. Shannon

      Thank you so much!

  21. Trish

    Shannon, I love your story and your sewing journey thus far. I also miss shopping at Casual Corner. Congratulations on your journey this far and cannot wait to see what you create in the future.
    Anita, thank you for incorporating other sewers on your blog.

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Trish! Thank you so much for celebrating Shannon with me.

      1. Shannon

        Anita is definitely a jewel in HIS crown ❤

    2. Shannon

      Thank you so much!❤

  22. allison

    So proud of you Shannon! I would say your style is simply elegant down to the smallest detail. I have enjoyed seeing you finished pieces. Can you say “calling”? Enjoy!

    1. Anita Morris

      Allison, I agree with EVERY word you have spoken here. She is only just beginning. Thank you so much for celebrating Shannon.

    2. Shannon

      Thank you so very much!❤

  23. Martha Ann Murray

    What a great post! Shannon, kudos to you and what you have done in your sewing journey – the photos say “you’ve got it girl!” I love the styles and fabrics!

    1. Anita Morris

      Yeeesm Martha! She’s GOT it! Thank you for celebrating Shannon!

    2. Shannon

      Thank you so very much!❤

  24. Dara

    This IS just what I needed Today! Thank you Anita and Shannon for Such a Heartwarming and Encouraging post. You Both are Beautiful Inside and Out. God Bless Both of you and your families! Happy Sewtember!

    1. Anita Morris

      You’re very welcome, Dara!

    2. Shannon

      Thank you and you’re so very welcome!❤ My pleasure!!

  25. Oneika Brown

    Hello Anita! Great September spotlight! Hello Shannon! Great story. Oh my goodness you are a natural!! I absolutely LOVE, LOVE that shower curtain. I never even thought to make one, but you have inspired me! And that green and white polka dot top… Gorgeous!!!

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much for celebrating Shannon with us today, Oneika! Yes, she’s a natural to the bone.

    2. Shannon

      Thank you so much! Sometimes, in order to get exactly what you want, you have to sew it. ❤❤?


    I read the blog on Shannon…her work is amazing…she gives me hope and I don’t want to give up; sewing is very tranquil for and I too would like to enhance my skills even further. Anita I have indicated to you prior you are very detailed and I love that about you. I’m a member of Mimigstyle sewing courses …I and several others are struggling with drafting the basic bodice is there any reference on your YouTube that might help me & the rest of my sew sisters on the specifics…there quite a few of us that have given up…don’t get me wrong we all enjoy the assignment courses; it’s just this particular course assignment that leaving us a tad dismayed…Do you think there’s a way you can add some assistance to the basic bodice for large bust women? Thanking you in advance.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Theresa. I’m so glad that you found encouragement from Shannon.

      I don’t have any tutorials on pattern drafting on my YouTube channel yet, as I’m learning myself. After I have learned the skill and put it to the test, I’m definitely gonna share my knowledge.

      I would definitely encourage you ladies to reach out to Mimi though if you’re not understanding. I’m sure she would want to help you. Please don’t give up without seeking help from your instructor first.

    2. Shannon

      Thank you so much and please remain encouraged. ❤

  27. Doris Mays

    Shannon your work is wonderful. You look so good in your outfits. I see you take pride in them. Sewing is a great art and I love watching the work to who appreciates it. Look like you have made it girlfriend.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you for celebrating Shannon with us today, Doris! She definitely has much to be proud of.

    2. Shannon

      Thank you so very much!❤ I am absolutely having a ball while I learn.

  28. Cindee Howard

    Shannon, thank you so much for sharing your sewing journey with us…You look beautiful in every garment that you made. You have given me more inspiration to continue to sew….Thank you.

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Cindee, thank you so much for celebrating Shannon with us today. I’m so glad to hear that she has inspired you.

    2. Shannon

      Thank you so very much! You have no idea how good it is to hear that I have inspired you. I am grateful!

  29. Deborah Hill

    Welcome Sew Sista Shannon

    1. Anita Morris

      Awww, thank you for welcoming our sew sister.

    2. Shannon

      Thank you!❤❤

  30. Vera

    Beautiful simply beautiful