56.366 - Grandma Always Kicked My Ass at Scrabble

I was the Pattern Review Member in Focus in July 2010. This is my interview. A few things have changed since then, which I’ve noted in parentheses.

How did you learn to sew?
I learned the basics from my mother, who is a very skilled and creative seamstress. When I was younger, I spent a great deal of time daydreaming about all the wonderful things I would make, but when it came to cutting out fabric and sewing it together, I ended up in tears more often than not. Sewing was hard! Nothing ever turned out as nicely as I had hoped, and everything fell to pieces after a few trips through the wash.

My mother remained as calm as a saint when I threw temper tantrums over failed projects and tried to encourage me to work through the problems if only to learn, but it required more steadiness of spirit than my teenage self possessed.

I didn’t sew for decades.

Then, a few years ago, I took it into my head to sew a quilt for my son. I dusted off the crotchety machine I had in my closet and got to work. I surprised myself by having fun…that is, until the machine went and died on me. I invested in a really great machine and that made sewing even more fun.

Unlike my avid quilting friends, I do believe a person can have too many quilts, so I turned my attention to garment sewing and have been learning how to make nice clothes through reading, trial and error and repetition.

What aspect of sewing do you find most challenging?
The biggest hurdle for me is my fear of failure. I waste a lot of time worrying about that and would do much better to just get on with things and accept failures as part of the process. They’re great learning opportunities and make the successes even sweeter.

Which sewing book do you refer to most often?
Since I’ve been focusing on getting my garments to fit right during the past year or so, Fit for Real People has been really handy. For most other sewing questions, I turn to the Internet.

What are your sewing goals for this year?
I’m trying to focus on sewing clothes that are practical for my “Mom-on-the-go” lifestyle. As much as I adore sewing fancy dresses and suit jackets, I just won’t be wearing them very often. (This has changed since I went back to work…)

As for a technique, I’d like to conquer my fear of sewing welt pockets. (DONE!)

What are you sewing right now?
I’m working on a whole slew of things right now: a veil for my sister-in-law, a pair of Jalie trousers and a sun dress. (Another wrap dress and some more jeans…)

Pick your favorite pattern (only one please)?
I love the Jalie stretch jeans pattern. I’ve made three pairs and plan on making more. (This hasn’t changed. Still love the pattern)

What you love most about PatternReview?
What’s not to love? The camaraderie and inspiration are terrific and it’s wonderful to have so many experts on hand to steer you through tricky projects.

Any other hobbies?
I knit, bake, take photographs and read.

Your profession, where do you live, etc.
I used to be a paralegal, but now am lucky enough to stay home with the kids. I live in Seattle, Washington. (I’ve returned to work full-time as a paralegal. I’m still a mom to a couple of awesome kids and I haven’t moved.)