Sewing, a passion that doesn’t fit in Fátima Palma’s heart

It was of her own free will that she began to learn to sew.

“I love it, I like it, I like creating! I like it, I like it, I like it!”, says seamstress Fátima with the measuring tape around her neck, between smiles.

Fátima Palma is 63 years old and lives in Gambelas, in the parish of Montenegro, in Faro. Since a young age, she has felt passionate about what she does, having started working as a seamstress 40 years ago.

“We have a piece, I create it and, at the end of the work, I see the result of what I created, with my creativity”.

Fátima knows how to make everything that involves sewing, from quilts, sheets, curtains, pillows, men's, women's and children's suits, among others.



In your case, it is not a family vocation, passed down from generation to generation. In his family, there was no one who did sewing, it was his free will to follow that path.

“I didn't take any courses, because, when I went into sewing, there were no courses in the Algarve. We went to the seamstresses, the tailors and learned to work with them.”

Over the years, seamstress Fátima has experienced some funny stories that remain engraved in her memory.

“There was a lady for whom I didn't have time to finish the coat, even though she wanted to wear it to go to a ball. But even though it wasn't finished, she wanted to take the coat. In the end, she was dancing and her sleeves came off because they came unsewn. As she wanted the coat, it was her responsibility,” she said, with a smile.




He also remembers another story that didn’t happen to him, but “to the master where I was working. She wore a hearing aid and in the past people had a wire attached to their hearing aids. But she was cutting a neckline and also cut the wire of the device.”

The master was talking to the client, but as the wire to her device was cut, she couldn't hear and the conversation between them made no sense.

When it comes to customers, things are different now, explains Fátima. “In the past, we worked mainly twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, which was when people had money and bought fabrics to make new pieces. Often, they were already made clothes, to be taken apart and reformed.

Nowadays, he emphasizes, “I have a greater variety of clients”.



Current customers look to seamstress Fátima for clothing transformations, mending, but also for creations from scratch. Everything imaginable in the world of sewing passes through her hands.

After years of acquiring knowledge from all the tailors and seamstresses she visited, in 2004, she opened her own work space, located at Rua das Violetas, Lote P, Loja A, in Gambelas.

Fátima does not give training, but if there is anyone interested in learning, she is available to teach.

“I don’t give training because it’s too complex! To provide proper training, you have to start by learning how to use the machine and how to make the stitches. Anyone who wants to come and learn how to sew thinks that this is instantaneous, that they will immediately make a piece without knowing it and it can't be. I don’t give training like that!”



However, there is a young apprentice called Mara Gonçalves, who is his niece, and who is curious and passionate about sewing. She usually appears in Fátima Palma's space so that she can pass on her knowledge to you.

“I really like the way she explains it! She understands herself well!”, guarantees Mara, about her teacher-aunt.

Fátima considers that her profession is very important, even though people don't even realize it. “People go to the store, buy a piece and say: Oh, it doesn't look good on me or I don't like it and they leave it aside. No! You can use this piece to do something else or adapt it more to your taste and body”, she highlights.

His passion for this world is visible even to the most distracted. After a long learning path to this day, he has no regrets about the fact that sewing was his choice. "I like everything! I really have a passion for sewing!”, he guarantees enthusiastically.



Text and photos by Sofia Orvalho, carried out as part of the 22|24 Professional Photography course at ETIC_Algarve, School of Technologies, Innovation and Creation of the Algarve.


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