You鈥檙e never too young to make a fashion statement 鈥 at least, this is the style philosophy of Brooklyn-based fashion designer and author Lesley Ware. Lesley, who recently released her first book, Sew Fab: Sewing and Style for Young Fashionistas ($19), believes that 鈥渇ashion is fun鈥 and can be empowering as well. We鈥檙e huge proponents of brushing up on our sewing skills, so we chatted with Lesley to learn more about her style philosophy, her inspiration and more.

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Lesley sees fashion as a great unifier and a source of confidence. 鈥淔ashion should not revolve around materialism or divide girls into the 鈥榟aves and the have nots,鈥欌 she says. 鈥淚f girls can speak up with their fashion, they can find the confidence to speak up in other ways too.鈥 Lesley鈥檚 love affair with fashion began when she was four years old, helping her mother sew. Although she never formally studied design, her passion for fashion was always there. This drive eventually propelled Lesley to leave her full-time nonprofit job behind and start her own business, The Creative Cookie 鈥 a boutique sewing studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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鈥淲e specialize in classes that allow our students to design projects that are one of a kind, representing their true style. There鈥檚 no cookie-cutter approach,鈥 she says. 鈥淪tudents work on a range of projects they choose, from dresses to sleeping bags.鈥 In fact, Lesley鈥檚 young fashion students served as the inspiration for Sew Fab. 鈥淚 searched the shelves at bookstores for a modern sewing and style guide to use as a teaching reference with no luck,鈥 she says. 鈥淭his inspired me to begin the process of writing it. Sometimes you just have to DIY!鈥

The book features advice on finding the right fashion for you, ways to have fun with sewing and eight easy-to-make sewing projects.

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If you or the little fashionista in your life want to get serious about sewing, Lesley encourages you to give it a try. 鈥淢ake a small investment in supplies, be positive and most importantly, be open-minded!鈥 she says. 鈥淔ashion is a huge industry that goes beyond sewing patterns. Don鈥檛 be afraid to explore.鈥 Lesley suggests starting small by setting attainable goals each week.

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鈥淭his could simply involve visiting a fabric shop, hand-sewing a button or watching how-to videos on YouTube,鈥 she says. 鈥淒o it now. If you have a creative impulse, act on it. There鈥檚 no better time than the present. Don鈥檛 wait until you leave your day job to start building your dream job.鈥 And if you really want to become a professional seamstress, Lesley recommends moving out of your house or apartment and into a studio. 鈥淗aving a dedicated creative space is important for making the big leap from hobby to profession,鈥 she shares. 鈥淓ven if it鈥檚 just a conference room for business meetings, it shows people you鈥檙e serious about your craft.鈥

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As for her style philosophy, Lesley has some pretty simple advice: 鈥淔orget 鈥榩erfect.鈥 Limit looking to TV and magazines for what to wear. Also, your smile is an accessory that never goes out of style 鈥 it matches everything. Wear it!鈥 Lesley is planning to release her second book in February, and we can鈥檛 wait to get our hands on it.

Have you ever made your own clothes? Tell us about your experience in the comments!