Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Welcome to Sewing-land: First Installment

Hey everyone!  Thanks for bearing with me while I got my self situated in New York.  I'm visiting family for a few weeks, so there was a long couple days of packing up, snuggling the serger up in some fabric, waking the kids at 2am, driving to the airport, spending an awful long delay sitting in LAX, and a very slow drive home due to lots of fog on the Palisades.

Anyways, we are all set up and settled.  I've got my serger and my mom's machine set up in the dining room (good thing there's no company here, or they'd cringe at my mild state of disaster!  I'm excited to have some time to relax and sew and maybe even get to check out some new fabric shopping spots.  Anyone in the area have any suggestions?

But, to the really exciting task at hand... I am SO excited for this post.  As in humming-while-I-type excited.  

So here is what you're going to see from me over the next week.  I reached out and asked some newbies to send me a message if they were willing to help me out with this.  The ones who messaged me, I sent an email to, with a list of questions and a request.  My request? Answer my silly questions, and send me a picture or two of something they made that they want to show me.  And to allow me to post responses here on my blog.

The intent, in case you missed the Introductory Post is to give a warm and friendly welcome to some amazing women who have decided to join our little crazy world.  They've made a choice to learn this craft, to challenge themselves, and to create things.  These are women we should celebrate and lift up.  And I wanted to show them off a bit, just so we all remember where we came from, and remember that for most of us, we didn't get her all on our own.  So let's reach out, celebrate these women, and welcome them to sewing.
 There are two questions that I've asked each new sewist that I am saving until the end of all of the introductions... they (and you) will see why when we get there... Those two questions are:
1. What technique scares you the most?
2. What designer/pattern do you really want to try?

First up is Kristie!
   "My name is Kristie, and I live on the beautiful Canadian West Coast. I’m mom to a little nut-job (I mean that as only a mother can) named Mckenzie. I sympathize with Alyssa fully, as I’m a prison guard, and well, when I’m sitting at work cutting out PDF patterns during a lull, I kind of getting funny looks (from guards and inmates alike!)"

Like most of us Kristie had her first intro to sewing in Home Ec class, but left it there.  Then a couple years ago, with a baby on the way, she decided it was time to try again.   When dreams of "nap time crafting" gave way to last minute panic sewing, Kristie started to feel a bit discouraged.  But two years later she discovered PDF patterns, and is now happily making her little one a fashionista.

Kristie's project is a diaper bag that she made using a free tutorial.
   "In telling hubby that the sewing machine was going to save us money, I needed something that looked pretty simply (clean lines, limited CLOSURES!), and was expensive in stores. So a diaper bag was perfect! They’re super pricey, I could pick some cute fabric, and it had function. Oh, and the tutorial was free"

What advice does Kristie have for other new sewists?
If there was advice I could give people who want to start, it would be to make darn sure you’re willing to spend the time learning. Utilize tutorials, youtube (omg greatest invention EVER), and the know-how of others. Also, make friends with advanced (or at the very least more advanced than you!) sewists. It can be online, or even better, a friend or family member.  Good friends, digital and in the here and now, are the answer to pretty much everything in life – including sewing.

Next we have Theresa!
  "My name is Teresa LaMora. I'm a 31 yr old mom of 2 (boy 3 yrs old and girl 20 months old) who lives just outside of St. Louis, MO. Grew up in Indianapolis, IN. I sew in my spare time when I'm not taking care of my home daycare children, lifeguarding, or training for triathlons."

Whens he was a little girl, Theresa helped out her mother who sewed formal dresses.  This past Christmas she finally got her own machine, and dove in head first.  Theresa and I were actually on a test together last month, and reading how recently she started sewing, I am seriously impressed with her skills!  She mostly sews for her family, but is looking forward to starting her own little sewing business in the future.  

For her first project, Theresa chose car seat ponchos for her kids.  She was tired of taking coats on and off to get her kiddos safely in the car.  When she saw these, she decided she could definitely make them... and a new sewist was born!
 What Advice does Theresa have for new sewists?
"Don't be afraid of asking questions and being honest. Practice a bit before deciding to open up a shop and start selling. I think that's where newbies get the most flack is when they post things like "I just got my sewing machine for Mother's day and I'm going to start selling xyz. What should I name my shop??" from veteran seamstresses who know just how difficult it all is. "



Next up is a really sweet and inspiring story from new sewist Cat!
"I'm Cat, and I live in Llandysul in West Wales in the UK.  I sew for my children, two boys (aged 7 and 5) and two girls (aged 3 and 1) but have never got round to sewing for me yet!  I dabbled a few years ago, and copied one of my daughter's wrap dresses and found that I enjoyed the experience, could make some simple dresses, but didn't have time for it.

Eight months ago, I had an accident and suffered a spinal cord injury and now have Cauda Equina Syndrome.  Even now, I'm only allowed to be upright for 10 minutes at a time, for a maximum of 3 hours a day (it actually hurts too much by the end of the day, so I usually achieve 2 and a half hours).  About 2 months after my injury, I happened upon a picture of a Candy Castle Peppermint Swirl, and decided that I would make both my daughters that dress for my cousin's wedding (April 2014, 6 months post-accident).  I spoke to my doctors and physios, and everyone agreed that sewing could be my rehab - something that motivated me to sit more during the day, as long as I strictly adhered to my 10 minute limit!"

 So for her project, Cat is showing us the Peppermint Swirl from Candy Castle Patterns.  Rebecca holds a special place in my heart, as she was the first designer who took a risk and let me test for her, so I am really excited to help Cat show off...  In addition to the dresses, she made the vests and ties for her sons!  All with her strict time limitations.  

 Gorgeous dresses! and gorgeous kiddos too!  Cat was able to work through sewing two flounces together in her 10 minute sewing time, and thus steadily worked her way through to creating these gorgeous dresses.  

What advice does Cat have for new sewists? 
"My advice to any new sewists would be to jump in with both feet, join a community of like-minded people and ask questions, and use YouTube (lots!!)  - what's the worst that can go wrong?!"

And last up for today, we have Ashley!
"My name is Ashley S. and I am from Katy, Tx. I am a mom of a 2 1/2 yr old girl and 6 month old boy. I love to craft! "  

Ashley got her sewing machine as a gift from her sister a couple years ago, but between life and babies, it just sat in the box until a couple of months ago.  Ashley grew up with a a mother that sewed, but until recently didn't have a lot of interest in it.  Ashley sews mostly for her daughter, but has sewn a couple things for herself as well (cheering for the self-care sewing!!)

For her early projects, Ashley found these skirt tutorials and decided they seemed easy enough to start with, so she went for it, and how gorgeous does her little look in them??
 What advice does Ashley have for new sewists?
"My advice would be to join a group that is informative and helpful so when you have questions you have people to ask. I was so lost a couple times because I didn't know who to ask on how to do something! Or it was to late in the evening to call my mom! :) "

Thanks for checking out our first set of new sewists.  I'd love it if you took a moment to welcome them, and please come back to check out the next two groups, AND the fun little surprise for them at the end!

Remember, creating things is amazing.  We should encourage everyone to do better, learn more, and above all enjoy themselves with this craft! 


  1. Way cool and amazing what they've done already in such a short time. Nice job, ladies and great blog, Alyssa!

  2. Welcome, welcome ladies! It's a great community you're joining!

  3. Thanks for this Alyssa! The sewing community can be a little intimidating at times, and it's such a relief knowing there are others out there just as new as well as those willing to help!!!

  4. Welcome to the sewing community! You will love it here and want to wrap yourself up in pdf patterns and piles of fabric! Don't give up and don't lose any sleep over mishaps. We all have them. Even the ones with decades of experience.

    1. Love to hear you say that DolloMalice. There have been many a night when I simply sigh sadly, and just walk away...lol

  5. Welcome ladies. Enjoy your own work. Sewing is fun and relaxing. Don't forget ;-)
    And Alyssa, great post.

  6. If this was Facebook this post would get a super like and 2 thumbs up. Great job gals! Keep it going.