il_570xN.331880214

Sewing Interview: Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

We have another fantastic sewing interview today! More questions answered, and most importantly… another spotlight of a fantastic blogger, in case you’ve been missing out!  Rachel blogs at Maybe Matilda, and her sight is beautiful and exciting!  I first stumbled on her post about growing out a pixie cut (I’m not ready to grow mine out yet, but I was curious).  When I started meandering through her projects and musings, I realized that our pixie cuts were the least of our similarities!  She’s a girl of my own heart, this one!

NAME: Rachel

WEBSITE: Maybe Matilda

_________________________________________________________________________________________

HOW DID YOU LEARN TO SEW?

My mom taught me the basics when I was a kid, but you know how it is to learn from your mom . . . I always ended up frustrated and in tears, and ended up deciding that I hated sewing. It wasn’t until I was out on my own, married and working and looking for a new hobby to fill my free time, that I decided to give sewing another chance. I bought my own machine, called my mom for help when I needed it, and turned to youtube and blog tutorials to fill in the rest!

WHAT KIND OF SEWING MACHINE DO YOU USE? WHAT FEATURES DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A SEWING MACHINE?

I’m a lucky (read: spoiled) girl–my dad bought me a Bernina for Christmas last year! It is amazing and wonderful and the stuff dreams are made of, but certainly not necessary for a beginning sewer. I started out with a Singer Simple machine from Walmart, and it served me very well for a few years before my dad upgraded me to my precious Bernina!

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IT FOR A BEGINNER?

If you’ve got money just burning a hole in your pocket, sure. You’ll never regret purchasing a Bernina and it will last a lifetime. But they are very pricey machines (I would probably never have splurged on one for myself!), and if you’re just starting out with sewing, I think you’d be perfectly happy with something a little more humble like a basic Brother or Singer model.

WHAT IS YOUR SEWING SETUP LIKE?

We are lucky enough to have a spare, unused bedroom right now, so I moved in and took over and turned it into my craft room! It would be fun if it were a cute, creative room, but it usually looks like a bomb went off–I’m sorry to admit that I’m a very messy crafter. I’ve got my Bernina set up on a table with a nice cushy chair, and I love heading in there, ignoring the mess, and sewing!

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT SEWING?

I love the accomplishment of seeing something I love but either can’t afford or don’t like the details of, and recreating myself. It’s so fun to be able to make something that I otherwise couldn’t/wouldn’t buy, or refashion something that is being ignored in a closet and turn it into something I love to wear!

TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR SEWING FAILS.

Oh, there are so many. The one that immediately comes to mind is when I thought it would be a good idea to sew some throw pillows for my couch. I didn’t know much about sewing at the time, and hadn’t really developed much of my own style yet. I wasn’t willing to spend much on fabric, so I used bits and pieces I had lying around, sewed them into embarrassingly small pillows, and did a horrible job stuffing them, so they were all lumps and bumps. They truly looked awful, and I can hardly believe now that I had the confidence to display them on my sofa for months!

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST SEWING SUCCESS?

It’s a goal of mine to make a quilt for each of my children–I treasure the quilt my mom made for me when I was a child–so I think my favorite project so far is the quilt I sewed for my son. It was a true labor of love to make that while I was pregnant with him . . . I spent weeks searching for the perfect quilt pattern, shopping for the perfect fabrics/colors, and putting it all together. I hope that he loves it as much as I loved making it.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Is she not great?! Seriously, what are you still doing here? GO. HANG OUT AT MAYBE MATILDA! You’ll fall in love with everything she does.

And thank you, Rachel, for taking the time to tell us your sewing story!

cintia @ my poppet

Sewing Interview: Cinti @ My Poppet

When I started putting this site together, my goal was to create a place where someone can learn to sew.  Periodically, I’ll be posting Sewing Interviews with bloggers that I follow and admire.  First up, Cinti, from My Poppet.  Have you been to her site?  It’s absolutely awe-inspiring.  Everything she presents is done with class and style!  Oh, and p.s. she’s insanely sweet!

NAME: Cintia

WEBSITE: www.mypoppet.blogspot.com

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HOW DID YOU LEARN TO SEW?

I was never formally trained, but learnt from watching my mother make and sew. I would often help her pick and trace patterns from Burda magazines, they only came in german back then with an english supplement, and I remember spending hours looking through them. My sister and I were always allowed to use the sewing machine, and I learnt to thread it and clean out the bobbin casing at quite an early age. I consider myself a general and improvisational sewer, dabbling in a little of everything, but probably not really an expert in anything.

WHAT KIND OF SEWING MACHINE DO YOU USE? WHAT FEATURES DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A SEWING MACHINE?

I have recently upgraded my machine to an Elna Q7200 which is an electronic machine with a squillion stitches (which I rarely use), but chose it because it has a few extra features which were frustrating me with my basic model.
I really love the knee lifter, which means I don’t have to take my hands off the project to turn corners and other fiddly things.
It also has a speed adjuster which means I can sew really fast. I found my other machine a little to slow for production work.
And the automatic thread cutter is a god send.
I also have a Babylock overlocker (serger), which is a dream to use and has automatic threading and tension control. I use it just as much as my sewing machine.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IT FOR A BEGINNER?

Both machines are at the top end of the price range, and I bought them with the proceeds of my little handmade business.  As a beginner, a basic model will still do nearly everything you need to get a good finish.
For many years I used a very cheap Toyota machine, the cheapest on the market at the time. Straight stitch, zig zag and a manual button hole is all i really used, and it did a reasonably decent job.
Machines are like cars, all will get you from A to B, but the fancier ones make the ride more comfortable.

WHAT IS YOUR SEWING SETUP LIKE?

I’m very lucky to have a dedicated sewing space, a small sun room which was originally a balcony.
I have an old door on trestle legs as a cutting table, and both my machine and overlocker set up permanently on a table.
Lots of open shelving for my vintage fabrics and an ironing board permanently set up for pressing.
It’s all a bit squeezy but I manage.
You can see more photos here

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT SEWING?

I love my sewing room space on a sunny day, it’s my happy place. I go there for some quiet time when I need time out from being a mum.
Sewing itself is a wonderfully empowering skill to have, I enjoy the freedom of being able to make clothing for Emma or thing for my home, just to my taste.
I really don’t like the idea of consuming needlessly, so refashioning garments or using reclaimed textiles for my sewing, makes me feel a little better when I do have to go shopping.

TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR SEWING FAILS.

Usually they happen when I try to sew for myself. The last garment I attempted, a smock top, ended up on the scrap heap. Looking back I chose a fabric too heavy for the pattern style, so rather than draping over my shoulders, it looked like I was wearing giant shoulder pads!
It happens to every one.
I will probably refashion it into a dress for Emma next autumn.

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST SEWING SUCCESS?

Every time I make something that gets used, for me is a success. But I would have to say personally my two biggest successes are a dress I made for myself, which looks great on me, and I love. It was the first time I made a collar and it turned out pretty cute.
The other is a quilt from only fabric scraps, it was not difficult, but took me a really long time.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I wish that I could visit with her in person, curl up in THIS chair, or maybe THIS one, swapping creative ideas and happy stories.  But, I suppose that’s what the internet is for!  I have so much to learn from Cinti, she’s been inspiring my creativity since the day I discovered her beautiful blog.  Thanks for sharing your story, Cinti.  And as for the rest of you, don’t forget to explore, My Poppet.  Just make sure you clear your schedule for a bit first, because you’ll get hooked.

cork pendant

everything you need to know about me and my sewing machine

When people know that I sew, I tend to get  questions from them, periodically.  This is sort of an informal FAQ to give you any answers to questions you might have about sewing.  Especially if you’re hesitant.

IMG_3061

HOW DID YOU LEARN TO SEW?
I was introduced to sewing in junior high when I was required to take a class. When I showed an interest, my mom started teaching me the basics. By high school I was experimenting with clothing alteration (just buying stuff at thrift stores and altering them to fit). I went on to get a BS degree in FCS Education, and worked as a seamstress all through college.

They say ‘practice makes perfect’, but there’s not much in this world that truly is perfect.  Don’t the Amish add intentional imperfections to their quilts?  I think I heard that once, and I hope it’s true.  The fact of the matter is, practice makes better, and sometimes our mistakes add character to our work.

WHAT KIND OF SEWING MACHINE DO YOU USE?
Kenmore 19233

I really just use the basics: straight stitch and zigzag, but my machine has a buttonhole foot and an automatic buttonhole stitch, which is really, really wonderful.

sewing machine

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IT FOR A BEGINNER?
Absolutely. It’s a simple machine, and I’ve never had any issues with it.

WHAT IS YOUR SEWING SETUP LIKE?
A lot of people hesitate to learn to sew, because they don’t think they have a place to do it.  All you really need is a corner of the table you can clear off when you want to sew.  This past Christmas my husband made me a table for my sewing machine.  It’s set up in the family room, and I use filing crates to organize my fabric, patterns, and supplies.

IMG_1091

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT SEWING?
I love the sense of accomplishment. Seeing a project go from scraps to something is really rewarding.  I also have a great appreciation for self-sufficiency, and sewing is a huge way that I can provide for my family.

TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR SEWING FAILS.
Besides my “squashed banana hand mittens” from seventh grade, my most embarrassing sewing experience happened when applying for a seamstress position in college.  As part of my application I had to put in a zipper, which was all good and dandy, but it was the written exam that had me sweating.  One of the questions asked was “what is interfacing, and when would you use it?”  My mind went blank… so my answer was something like,

“interfacing makes fabric stiff and durable, you would use it on a piece you don’t want to tear out, like the crotch.”

If you know anything about interfacing, or pant construction, I hope you’re laughing.  I can just image someone walking around penguin style because there’s no give in the crotch of their pants… lovely.  I’m sure my boss had a giggle fit when she read that (oops, spoiler alert!)  The thing was, I was mostly self-taught by then, so I didn’t know much about the technical stuff.  Lucky for me, the dance department had a desperate deadline, and I got the job anyway!  My boss keeps everyone’s application exams in a file, and it’s taken all of the self-control I possess over the years NOT to shred mine to save face.  But now I’ve written the story out for the whole blogging world to see, so I suppose it’s just as well.

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST SEWING SUCCESSES?
Probably my sewing e-courses here at yellow spool.  It’s not each individual lesson or pattern, but having put together 20 lessons that people can turn to as they’re learning to sew, that feels like a huge achievement.  I know what a huge blessing sewing has been in my life, and I love seeing other people gain the skill and excitement for it as well.

Does that about cover it?