17 January 2010

Sew Exciting




I’m not talented as a seamstress, but I can sew a bit. I come from a family of very talented seamstresses. My grandmother sewed regularly. For many years my aunt worked for Bernina USA and all my aunt’s on my dad’s side are talented seamstresses. Both an aunt and my mom taught home ec in public schools. My mother made all our special dresses growing up. I have a fabulous collection of photos of me, my sister and my mom posing on holidays in our matching dresses. I will post one someday.

I started sewing by hand when I was in grade school designing Barbie clothes. In junior high I took home ec. and learned that threading a sewing machine was not so horrible once I was a bit older. In high school I made my first blouse, although I’m not sure I ever wore it and in the following years I only touched a machine to do simple repairs. In 2001 I had the inspiration to begin designing and selling my own handbags. I purchased an old Bernina classic on eBay and started sewing.

For several years sewing handbags, totes and toiletries bags was my main income and I had a very adventurous time trying to make it in L.A. At some point the idea of having a regular 9-5 job, corporate health insurance and paid vacations lured me back into the corporate marketing world. But I still sew regularly. Recently I have repaired an aviator tote, sewed a mountain of toiletries bags and I have a pile of fun fabric to make some dresses with soon.

My friend Abby is an amazing seamstress and she often brings finished projects and new books into the office to share with me.  She is a great inspiration and has made the most gorgeous baby quilts, handbags and dolls in the past couple of months. If you don’t sew yet, classes are offered at many fabric stores, adult education and community colleges all over the country and great new and used sewing machines are available all over the place – try eBayonline classified ads, and community bulletin boards at local fabric stores.

Here are some of my new favorite sewing books to inspire you to pull the sewing machine out of the closet and make something yummy. {all photos via}



Appliqué Your Way by Katy Terry – I can’t tell you how much I love appliqué and how often I dream about making basic clothing items totally my own by appliquéing something fun on them. The photography is absolutely charming, the book comes with templates and patterns and there are some fun projects here!

 Perfectly Fitted by Lynne Garner – I love this book. My long arms and torso never saw a shirt that fit to my wrists and down to my waist until shops started carrying women’s tall clothing – which you pay extra for.  I have been making my own skirts for years and am continually dreaming of what more I can do. There are some great basic dress patterns too.



Bend-the-rules Sewing by Amy Karol – Thirty great projects and a lot of great instruction on fabrics, technique and basic sewing skills. Karol’s unique approach helps the reader know what will be easy, what is difficult, what you don’t need to be too picky about and what you do.



The Best of Sew Simple Magazine – Sixty great projects, some great gift ideas, basic sewing instruction and inspiration.

Happy Sewing!

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