Wednesday, September 28, 2016

What Sewing Means to Me - Part Two

I'm so glad you enjoyed the thoughts of our fellow International Sewists! They are an awesome group of women making amazing garments.

This next group of sewists inspire me with their creativity and are all US based. When I was thinking of how to break these posts down and share them, I thought of several ways but ended up using global destinations so that ALL of them would shine.

Obviously I admire how they work, what inspires them and the final garments that they share with us on social media.  My hope is that you will learn something new about them and/or meet them for the first time!

This group of sewists starts with ~

Andrea who has a quite a list of social media links that will be at the end of her quote ~

"Sewing to me represents FREEDOM.  The freedom to create my own look, when I want it irrespective of all fashion fads, trends, expectations and commonalities. The freedom to be myself, inside as well as outside...the freedom to wear what I like and not be concerned about limitations or expectations.  Sewing means PEACE. The peace of mind you get from being in your own space mentally.  This is my world and I control this part of my universe.  To me sewing gives me that which no human can give nor take away."

Follow Andrea on her blogInstagramYouTubeFacebookPeriscope

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Anita was another find on Instagram.  Here are her thoughts ~

"Sewing is my THING!  After putting it aside for many years to raise my children, I have returned and it has become more than I ever imagined.  I get so much satisfaction from going into my studio and creating something to wear for a special occasion.  Whenever my husband says we're going on this date or that getaway, I get so excited because, first of all, I love dating him, AND I get to make a new outfit. I also find sewing to be very therapeutic for me, because it helps me to refocus when I'm sad or hurt, or just not in the best mood. These are the times when my creative juices just take over and usher me into a different place, a place of peace and calm.  Finally, sewing presents me with so many opportunities to reach out and encourage other women.  I am so in awe at how God is using this beautiful gift of sewing to open up a dialog between women, creating bonds and an amazing sisterhood.  Meeting so many women through this sewing community is really the BEST part of being a seamstress."

Anita's social media links are her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest

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Bianca who blogs at Thanks I made them! with an Instagram account of the same name says ~

"Growing up sewing was always a necessary presence in my life. My mother sewed most of our clothes especially school uniforms.  Sewing was always utilitarian, and not necessarily a fun or creative outlet.  In college and after, I made what I needed, not what I wanted.  When I had my first child, sewing became a way to be creative and have fun dressing my mini-me. It was a way to reconnect with sewing and develop my passion with my mother.  In the years since her sudden passing, sewing has become my grief therapy.  I sew her wonderful vintage patterns, use her vibrant stash and practice her precision with her sewing tools and notions.  Sewing is the link to my mother and a foundation of creativity."

I don't know about you but that answer touched me soooooo much!

* * * * * * * * * *

Claudine who blogs at Rolling In the Cloth and whose Instagram account is the same name answers the question this way ~

"For me, sewing started out being about the stuff, but now it's more about the community. Stuff being, the clothes I wanted but I could not afford. When I started sewing, before the Internet, I had no idea that there might be OTHER PEOPLE out there who do this kind of thing for fun. Then in the 1990s, I found, which was my introduction to this wonderful community of which Carolyn, you and me are all a part. When I talk to other sewists in person or online, I feel like I'm with people who GET me in ways that the general population does not. And for that I'm grateful."

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If you're on Instagram, you know Deborah as debek301, Design Development Director at Simplicity Pattern Company. Here are Deb's thoughts ~

"Sewing is my multi tasker. The creative process and results are part of a much larger equation. I have been lucky to build a career around this passion and I am rewarded by it everyday in many ways.  But at the heart of my love of this craft is my need for the doing - it is my meditation, my recharge, my quiet time. All the 'stuff' of it adds to the feeding of my senses - a swish of charmeuse, a touch of a textured damask, a perfectly sewn French seam. Sewing = energy = peace. Sewing feeds my soul. And in a more down to earth way, fills my closet with clothing that is unique and well made."

* * * * * * * * * * 

Instagram is my social media of choice and I found Eryn there. I love her style and her helpful blog posts. Eryn says ~

"Sewing means more to me than stitching fabric together.  Sewing is about carving out time for my self-care where I am not a mother, wife, worker bee, or any of the many hats I wear on a daily basis. I love carving out time to do something that is solely for me that feeds my creativity, gives me space to just 'be with myself' and makes me feel great. The bonus is that I get some unique and amazing clothing for myself!"

Check Eryn out on these social sites ~ blogInstagramFacebook

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I've been following Faye's sewing for here's what Faye has to say ~

"God created us in his own image; He created us as co-creators. I use to think that I wasn't a creative person AT ALL; but finally realized that sewing IS my creative force; it's my creative outlet. I can't sing, I can't draw, but I can sew. Sewing is my passion, my relaxation mechanism, and it calms me after a stressful day. I simply must create, therefore I sew!"

Follow Faye on these sites, her blogInstagram and Pinterest.

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I watched in awe as this next sewist won the "Rippin' Ain't Easy" contest last year. I've been following her ever since because her sewing is so inspiring - it's Michelle of That Black Chic!

"Sewing is art and art is freedom, so freedom is what sewing means to me.  Freedom to create things with my own bare hands.  Freedom to take a piece of fabric, mold it, cut it, twist it, color it, weave it and stitch it into whatever I want it to be. Yup that's what sewing means to me and I love sharing my freedom!"

Michelle's social links are blog, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter

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I've started following Robin when I found her on an internet sewing board. Here are Robin's thoughts ~

"In a practical sense, sewing means freedom - to wear the colors I like and the styles I prefer, and made in the fabrics that suit me best. Sewing affects my lifestyle, too.  Many years ago, my primary creative outlet was playing music. But as I got older and my responsibilities grew, I no longer wanted to be out of the house on weekend nights to play music.  How wonderful it was to realize that I could get the same 'creative fix' from a sewing project. 

Then there are the social aspects of sewing. By seeking out other sewing enthusiasts, I have also found friendship.  Lastly, there is contentment. Sewing soothes me. There is nothing better than ducking into the sewing room to lose myself in the process of cutting, pinning, stitching and pressing each seam. I am so lucky to have such a multi-purpose hobby."

Robin's social media links are blogInstagram and Pinterest.

* * * * * * * * * * 

There were several words that stuck out to me from the quotes above, "freedom, contentment, creativity, and fun." Aren't those words that most of us would use to describe this craft we love so much?!

I have one final post and it's my sewing friends words on "What Sewing Means to Me!" I'm thrilled to call all of these women friend because they mean so much to me.

Lastly, there are only 2 more days left in September.  If you haven't already taken advantage of the discounts that were offered this month, here they are again.

Simplicity Patterns ~
20% off your total order from Simplicity patterns using the code "FANATIC16"

The Dutch Label Shop ~
15% off your order at The Dutch Label Shop using the code "carolyn". I know that a few of you have already received your labels. If you could leave a link in the comments, sharing a pic of your new labels that would be great! 

Style Maker Fabrics ~
10% off your order plus $5 shipping ($5 off International orders) from Style Maker Fabrics using the code "SEWSEPT". I also know that some of you have already used the discount, so please share pics of your new fabrics by leaving a link in the comments section! Also, don't forget the Style Maker Fabrics Fall Style Blog Tour that is still in effect.

I don't know about you but it seems as if this month has flown by...just one more post to celebrate National Sewing Month... always more later!

Monday, September 26, 2016

What Sewing Means to Me - Part One

For years sewists my age, sewed in isolation. Yes, there were neighborhood sewing groups like ASG, local fabric stores, and television shows but we predominantly sewed alone.  With the birth of the internet and sewing moving to many social platforms, we can see what our sewing sisters and brothers are doing around the world at any time. We carry it on our phones ~ in our pockets and purses ~ on our tablets, laptops and computers.

We can access sewing inspiration via Google, Blogs, Periscope, Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook.  You need an inspirational lift, an image, fabric choice, or just a dose of sewing, you can now get it 24/7 via the Internet.

I wanted to ask sewists that I admire what sewing means to them.  So I made a list of sewists I admire, sewists that inspire me and sewists whose blog posts and Instagram pics I eagerly anticipate. There are some popular sewing bloggers included in the next couple of posts but there are some sewists that aren't as well known also! 

I will admit that most of my sewing friends played along, thank you, thank you! However, my list is purely personal. This is what floats my boat sewing-wise AND I asked quite a few sewists with some choosing to opt out. So know that even though this process will include quite a few sewists not everyone I admire is included in these posts.

I thought it was fitting to start with some of my international sewing friends and asking them, "What Sewing Means to Me?"  Because even though we all love this craft, we all have specific reasons that drive us to create. This series of posts is starting with their thoughts, so grab a drink and settle in because this post is quite long! 

Let's see what these amazing sewists have to say ~

Top Row: Rachel of House of Pinheiro, Liz from SewBusyLizzy, Manju from SewManju
Middle Row: Carolyn-Handmade by Carolyn, Meg-Cookin' & Craftin', Sasha-Secondo Piano
Bottom Row: Lara of Thornberry, Barbara of sewing on the edge, Tany of Couture et Tricot

Starting with my Canadian Neighbor ~ Barbara Emodi who blogs at Sewing on the Edge and via her Instagram Account

"Sewing is my core activity and has been since I was eight. It is closer to who I am than anything but maybe being a mother, and even then it's pretty close and probably sort of mixed up as one identity. If you know me, you know I sew. When life gets tricky I sew so I can feel like myself again.  When life gets lucky I sew because usually you need something new to wear for that. I can sew in my sleep and it always feels new to me. I don't really know why I sew and I don't need to figure that out. I just know I will never stop sewing."

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Moving across the ocean let's hear what Rachel Pinheiro from London has to say.  She blogs at House of Pinhero, Instagram: houseofpinheiro and her Twitter account is: HouseOFpinheiro. Here's what Rachel has to say ~

"A creative outlet. I'm a creative and energetic person by nature.  Sewing is an outlet that found its way into my life by chance. I always loved fashion but discovered sewing later in life. I feel inspired mainly from my own closet and lifestyle. I have an appreciation for interesting cuts and designs and to have the ability to create whatever comes to my mind is super empowering."

* * * * * * * * * *

Another sewist from England is Manju. She blogs at SewManju and here is her Instagram account, sewmanju. Her thoughts are ~

"I left a busy career in the pharmaceutical field to become a stay at home mum 4 years ago. Since then, sewing has challenged me mentally, given me something to focus on aside from my family and home life, given me goals and aspirations and helped me develop my own sense of style and fashion in a way simply buying RTW never could. As a woman with curves, sewing has empowered me to make clothes that I like to wear that fit me the way that I would like them to. Additionally, I have met so many wonderful people through reading (and writing my own) sewing blogs, social media and even in real life. I feel very fortunate to have discovered and developed a passion for this wonderful hobby!"

* * * * * * * * * *

From Portugal, we have Teresa Leite who blogs at Couture et Tricot.  Since we all know her as Tany, here are her thoughts ~

This is the first word that comes to mind when I think about sewing: I love making my own garments; it's something that makes me whole and defines my being. When I talk about sewing my eyes sparkle and my face opens up.

Personal Growth: 

I started sewing when I was eleven, and my sewing skills have grown along with me and have accompanied me throughout all stages of my life; sewing has become a huge part of my identity and contributes to my awareness, besides giving me an enormous sense of achievement.


Sewing gives me a purpose when defining my own goals and then setting a clear path towards them; I enjoy every step of the way.


It wasn't until I started blogging and connecting with like-minded people from all over the world that I felt that I really belonged. Some of those friendships have made me expand my knowledge and also have made me a better person.


I really believe that knowledge should be available to anyone who seeks it. I love sharing what I do and when someone reaches out and says I've inspired her or him to sew and/or improve their sewing abilities, it makes my heart sing.

Tany's social media spots are: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and her second blog, Tany et La Mode.

* * * * * * * * * *

Moving further along the European continent to Italy specifically, we have Sasha Werner. Sasha is a new find but an exciting sewist to follow and she says ~

"For me sewing is the expression of a maker attitude of mind. There is no better feeling than the rush of joy and pride making something with your own two hands gives you; realising you do not feel mystified and thwarted by your own possessions. And if fashion shouldn't be a tool for conformity but a means to challenge the status quo, what better way than by making your own fashion, your own clothes. Besides it's creative and fun!"

Sasha's social media spots are her blog, Secondo Piano and Instagram.

The last few bloggers are from Australia and Southeast Asia.

First up is Lara Finlayson from Australia and this is what Lara feels ~

"It means colour, creativity, community, sanity, a sense of achievement, and a measurable result for my efforts. It means clothes that fit me, in styles that I like. It means smiles from my daughters when I sew them the perfect dress. It means time to decompress, to relax, to learn, to apply my knowledge, and to just be me. It also means a very large sewing stash!"

Lara can be found here at her blog, Thornberry.  She does have an Instagram account but it's private, so you have to make a request to see her pics. Search @thornberrylara on Instagram if you're interested.

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My sewing sister in craft and name is next ~ Carolyn Smith from Handmade by Carolyn, tells us what it means to her:

"I've been sewing my own clothes for over 40 years and nowadays I no longer wear any ready to wear clothing at all, so, obviously sewing has become a huge and very important part of my life! I now make everything: sewing all of my clothing, underwear and tights; knitting my own socks, scarves, gloves and sweaters, and just this year I started making shoes too. Now I'm undergoing a personal experiment of 1 year of wearing only things that are 100% handmade by me, and excluding anything not made by myself.  It's been pretty challenging! However, sewing is my number one love!  For the technical and detail-oriented amongst us; it satisfies the need to solve a puzzle, requiring patience and attention to precision...for lovers of fashion; it's the quickest and easiest and most fun way to express your personality, your individuality and your creativity as a form of artistic self-expression."

You can see Carolyn's makes on her blog and her Instagram account.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Also from Australia, Liz from SewBusyLizzy says ~

"As my sewing journey continues, what 'sewing means to me' shifts and changes with my growing skills - and the endless evolving juggle of work, family life and being passionate about my hobby.

Initially, sewing was about the joy in creating garments I could wear. However what I love most now is when I sew all the things that compete for my physical time and 'head space', simply fall away.

The creativity, problem solving and physical work of sewing take over and the 'busyness' of my life falls away.  There is just me, fabric, thread and a sewing machine.

And for me that's the magic of sewing, the 'space' it provides me to create outside the worries of the world."

Liz's social media sites are Twitter, Instagram and her Blog.

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The last international blogger I want to feature is new to me but I love, love, love the garments she's been creating and sharing on Instagram. It's Meg McCarthy who blogs at Cookin' and Craftin'.  Here are Meg's thoughts ~

"To me, sewing is fulfilling, freeing and fun.  I love that satisfying feeling I get when I've made something both beautiful and useful.  Wearing things I've sewn for myself and seeing loved ones wearing garments I've made for them is delightfully rewarding.  I also love the freedom sewing gives me: the freedom to make whatever I dream up and have it be in my size, my colors, my style.  I'm no longer limited to wearing what's available in stores...But most importantly, sewing is fun!!!"

Meg's social connects are her blog and an Instagram account.

Finally, I know this was a long post and if you made it to the end I appreciate it. There will be two more posts of sewists saying "What sewing means to them." Please feel free to leave your own comments here and on future posts, I will be featuring a few of them on my final post for National Sewing Month!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Don't Forget the Discounts for National Sewing Month!

There's another 7 days left in September and ALL of the discount codes are still in effect!  

Simplicity Patterns ~
20% off your total order from Simplicity patterns using the code "FANATIC16"

The Dutch Label Shop ~
15% off your order at The Dutch Label Shop using the code "carolyn". I know that a few of you have already received your labels. If you could leave a link in the comments, sharing a pic of your new labels that would be great! 

Style Maker Fabrics ~
10% off your order plus $5 shipping ($5 off International orders) from Style Maker Fabrics using the code "SEWSEPT". I also know that some of you have already used the discount, so please share pics of your new fabrics by leaving a link in the comments section!

Also, don't forget the Style Maker Fabrics Fall Style Blog Tour ~ follow along to see some amazing outfits from Style Maker Fabrics by some fantastic sewing bloggers:

There are a few more posts coming up to celebrate National Sewing Month and they are themed, "What Does Sewing Mean to Me?" These posts will highlight thoughts from some amazing sewists from the global sewing community.

Happy National Sewing Month! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Gaylen Boards the Style Maker Fabrics Train

I met Gaylen years ago on a sewing board that has evolved into Artisans Square.  We talked on and off online for years before she visited NYC. We've become great friends bonding over our love of fabric and her gifts to me of knitted socks. BTW, when are my next pairs coming?! *LOL* I knew that she loved Style Maker Fabrics but hadn't really showcased them on her I asked her to join the Style Maker Fabrics Train.  

Here's her blog post ~

As so many of my recent sewing projects have been decided, this one started the same...with an email from Carolyn.  It said, "Do you want to buy that Rifle Floral to make a garment and then blog it?"  Do I?  Of course!

I started drooling over the lovely Rifle Paper Les Fluers as soon as I saw them hitting Instagram However, I am not buying fabric right now, and Carolyn is acting as my personal Susie Orman as she has been denying all of my purchase requests.  In fact, she had denied this when I first ran it past her (I'll provide the background in the next week or so). 
So - when Carolyn emailed and asked if I wanted to buy it - I was all over it.   This was my first order with Stylemaker fabrics and hope there are more 'approvals' in my future.  

The site was easy to navigate and I really appreciate that Michelle sells her fabric in full yards as many small online only shops seem to sell in half yards.

Once the fabric was in my hot little hands, it went straight into the washer and dryer.  I have 3 dogs and I need easy care clothing.  Then I spent 3 days trying to figure out the perfect garment.  I was torn between a Southport and a shirtdress.  

So, based on an email with Mary of IdleFancy, I made the Southport/Shirtdress hack.

First - I took new measurements and re-traced my pattern (and this, my friends, is why I don't cut my PDFs!).  I think this time I cut a straight 16 - I can see it needs a full bust adjustment in the future - but honestly I'm fine with how it appears now because it doesn't pull at the center front buttons.
When I traced the skirt - I added the same amount of width at the center front as the bodice for button bands.  I used the maxi skirt pieces and added 5" at the lengthen/shorten line and called it good.  Everything else I did the same.

I fully lined the bodice with white batiste, but not the skirt.  To do this, I sewed both bodices together at the shoulder seams, then put them right sides together and sewed up the neckline and armholes, turned the bodice rights side out, sewed up the side seams and serged the center front edges. Interfacing was added to the button bands before finishing that front edge. Interfacing was added to the center front of the skirt, then it was folded under and topstitched just like the bodice.

To highlight the pale pink in the fabric - I used a pink ribbon at the waist and pale pink buttons.  I also added some buttons to the waist tie (which is way too long and needs to be shortened by about 12" on each side). Working with this fabric was a dream!

I loved working with Michelle to figure out this order. Most important to any online order ~ the shipping was prompt. I will definitely be doing it again!  I think this is fastest turn around in fabric history for me - it was sewn within a week and has been hanging out waiting for it's photo shoot! Carolyn - thanks for "Approving" this purchase!

No problem my friend and I'm glad that you had a great experience and got such a pretty dress out of the deal! Also, you and Jay took some great photos!

Everyone, don't forget that Michelle is offering a 10% discount off your total order using the code SEWSEPT plus $5 shipping NOW through the end of the month! I really hope that you'll surf on over and check the site out. I guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised but don't blame me if your credit card gets a work out!!!

National Sewing Month continues with more posts!      

Monday, September 19, 2016

Check out Lori's Garments made from StyleMaker Fabrics

I thought it would be appropriate to have a few sewists who have sewn with the fabrics from StyleMaker Fabrics, share some of their garments and interactions with us.  When I think of sewists using Stylemaker Fabrics - Lori from Girls in the Garden leapt to my mind. So I asked Lori if she would share some of her garments with us. 
So here's Lori's experience ~
We are so fortunate to have so many online fabric shops available to purchase amazing fabrics. Today, I want to talk about one in particular Style Maker Fabrics, which is a great source for fabulous fabrics.

Michelle, the owner of Style Maker Fabrics, does an incredible job of selecting high-quality fabrics that are also current with what you see in RTW. I love her customer service, just a quick email or Instagram Direct Message, and I have the perfect fabric for a certain pattern.

Take this one for instance, my Jasper Sweater:

I emailed Michelle with the pattern and told her the idea in my head.  She sent me pictures of some options, including fabrics that were on the way to her. When I saw the French Terry, I knew I had a great stripe knit to go with it. Here's all of the French Terry selection.  

Putting this blog post together, one of the things I thought about was how I found Style Maker Fabrics. It was in an earlier issue of Seamwork Magazine and the site was listed in the resources page.  A new fabric site?  I had to go check it out and was so happy I did.  I love the way the fabric is categorized...

Latest Type
Fabric Type
Garment Type
Shop by Color

Talk about helpful, I use the garment type quite often, it really makes a difference when you can't touch the fabric.  But if you do need to touch the fabric, just order a swatch. 

For the sweater below, I bought this knit from Style Maker Fabrics, one of many great jersey knits available.

I've had the pleasure of working with Michelle on a couple of blog tours and she is wonderfully organized for these events.

Sweater Knits here

Follow Michelle's blog for even more ideas on how to use the fabric and to see her beautiful creations. Then if you still need more inspiration, head on over to her Pinterest Boards, where ideas abound. From Style Maker Fabrics new spring/summer offerings, I ordered several pieces of fabric and did a good job sewing them up. 

Below is a couple of collages of my outfits, including one for my daughter.
 All details here on these garments

Lori thanks for your perspective on dealing with Michelle and using the fabrics from Style Maker Fabrics.  Because as you can see, Lori has made some A-M-A-Z-I-N-G garments with Stylemaker Fabrics. I hope that you'll surf on over to Michelle's site to check out the new fall fabric collection. Don't forget the discount is in effect until September 30th.

National Sewing Month continues with another blog post later this week!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Pattern Winners for National Sewing Month Are...

*drum roll please*

*stepping up to the mike*

*taking out the Accountant Tallied Envelope listing the winners*

I'd like to make a few announcements prior to announcing the winners.  

  • First, the winners were chosen by using the Random Generator.  
  • Second all entries that did not follow the contest rules were deleted.
  • Third all duplicate entries were deleted.
  • Fourth any entries that were left on the final giveaway post were deleted.

...and finally if you entered all of the giveaways (which was fine) you were only allowed to win one of them.

The Winners Are ~

First up - the winners of the MimiG Jeans Pattern by Simplicity are:
The winner of the size 6-14 is #32 - Ann's Fashion Studio...and
The winner of the size 14-22 is #40 - Cynthiacc

The second pattern giveaway is for the Concord T from Cashmerette:
The winner is #28 - Anne

The third pattern giveaway is for a pdf copy of either the Morgan Jeans or the Carolyn Pajamas from Closet Case Files:
The winner is #155 - Ellen Meyer

The fourth pattern giveaway is for any pdf pattern from the Blue Dot Pattern Collection:
The winner is #2 - Molybden

The fifth and final pattern giveaway is for any pdf pattern from SBCC Pattern Company:
The winner is #21 - Love Purses

Congratulations to ALL of the winners and thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaways!

Winners, please contact me at cnorman underscore 98 at yahoo dot com by Wednesday, September 21st. If you do not contact me by that time, I will choose new winners on Thursday, September 22nd. 

For the Simplicity Pattern winners please include your home address in your email. I will send your pattern to you as quickly as I can.  For the winners of the pdf patterns, please send me an email (at the email address above) and I will send you the code to access your free pattern.

A Reminder ~
All of the discount codes are still in effect!  

  • 20% off your total order from Simplicity patterns using the code "FANATIC16" 
  • 15% off your order at The Dutch Label Shop using the code "carolyn"  
  • 10% off your order plus $5 shipping ($5 off International orders) from Style Maker Fabrics using the code "SEWSEPT"

Next week there will be guest blogger posts from a few of my sewing friends that will feature garments made from Style Maker Fabrics. I hope you'll come by and read about their experiences and see what they've sewn. Hopefully it will inspire you to purchase a yard or two also...

Happy National Sewing Month!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Meet Michelle ~ Owner of Style Maker Fabrics

I know that I talk a lot about buying fabric from one or two specific online fabric spots but I love finding new sources to purchase fabric online. I'd heard about Style Maker Fabrics, prior to Michelle asking me to participate in the Spring Canvas Blog Tour, from Lori of Girls in the Garden

I had such a positive experience working with Michelle that I knew I wanted to partner with her for National Sewing Month.  However, before we get to the discount let's learn a little about Michelle and how Style Maker Fabrics came to be!

Introduction ~
Hi! I’m Michelle, founder of Style Maker Fabrics, lover of fabric and all-around seamstress. I grew up in and around the fabric industry and made my dream come true in late 2014 when I launched my own fashion fabrics website. Not only does it let me play with incredible fabrics daily, it also lets me share my knowledge, passion and inspiration with other sewers all over the world. Sewing isn’t just part of my job, it is also my hobby and creative outlet that lets me show off my style and make things that are totally unique and just for me. When I’m not sewing, I am an avid gardener and reader that loves to travel!

I had a few questions for Michelle. So let's start with your background in sewing ~
How long have you been sewing?
20+ years - I started sewing when I was 7/8 years old.

How did you learn to sew?
I learned to sew on my mom’s Pfaff with her help and a kids sewing book from Palmer/Pletsch. I started with these fun worksheets that you stitched on the paper with just the needle, no thread. Later I took a few kids quilting classes at the local fabric store.

Do you have a dedicated sewing room?
Lucky for me the answer is yes! Right now I am still running my business out of my home, the basement to be exact. So half of the basement is “warehouse” and the other half is my studio and office.

What type of sewing machine/serger do you use?
I have always sewn on a Pfaff. Over the past couple of years I added a Baby Lock serger and cover stitch. 

What types of garments do you like to sew?
I love making tops- blouses, shirts, sweatshirts, etc. They are usually pretty quick, easy and pair great with jeans (which I live in!). I do like to challenge myself a bit with more complex patterns like pants, a coat or pajamas when I have more time to focus and really pay attention to each step.

Moving on, let's discuss why you decided to start an online fabric store...
I lost my job in early 2014 due to a restructuring and that set the ball in motion. I had dreamed of having my own business for a few years but never had the guts to pull the trigger. Looking for a new path, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to start my own business. While my goal was to have my own brick and mortar store, starting online was a better option for the time being.

Can you discuss your goals for running this business?
My goals for my business were to offer a variety of stylish fabrics not currently available and to give seamstresses a new way to shop for garment fabrics. Many of the other shops (both physical and online) strive to have anything and everything. When shopping for fabric you might not know what you are looking for and searching can seem like looking for a needle in a haystack.

With Style Maker Fabrics, I set out to present fabric and other sewing favorites in a new way, merchandised and organized the way people want to shop! Our curated selection of fabrics are presented by fashion trend, fabric type, garment type or color so no matter how you want to shop on a particular visit you can hopefully find exactly what you are looking for. My goal is to not only help seamstresses find just what they are looking for but to also inspire them and maybe help them discover something they weren’t expecting.  

So did you have a mentor to go to for assistance with starting and running the business?  
My mother has been my mentor, partner and support through this whole process (well, really my whole life!). She continues to assist with buying decisions, business planning and helping cut and pack customer orders. We make a great team and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without her.

What have you learned about running an online fabric store?
Two things come to mind. First, there is no predicting what people will like or buy. We can go a whole week and not cut the same fabric twice. Crazy, right?Second, we can’t have everything! And we don’t want to! It's better for us to look at the bigger picture of how our fabrics work together and really refine what we have to offer. That lets us offer the best quality of some really amazing fabrics at the best prices!

What have you learned about yourself?
I love what I do! I love working with the customers, I love playing with fabrics on a daily basis and I love building something for myself. I work really hard and I have learned to admit when I have hit my limits. I have also accepted that it is not a failure when I have to cut back on some of my plans; it’s just an opportunity to grow and build on them in the future.

So a few more questions about the business...

What's a typical day like for you running the fabric store?
Typically we fill orders throughout the day, making a trip to the post office in the afternoon. I fit in emails, social media and planning as needed. On less hectic days I might get some sewing in, a blog post or some research for future projects.

Is it important to have an international as well as domestic shipping ability?
Yes, we have a few regular customers from Australia, Europe and Canada that continue to tell us that we offer fabrics that they can’t find where they live. While shipping costs from the US are high, the higher prices of yardage overseas make shopping with us worth it.

Why has fabric shopping become such an important online shopping experience?
Shopping online brings your favorite fabric store into your home and lets you shop on your schedule. It also fits nicely with the online sewing community and ties into your favorite social media channels. See something you love on Instagram? In a few clicks, it can be yours.

What do you do to ease the fears of first time online fabric shoppers?
First and foremost, we work tirelessly to make sure all of our images are true to the real thing. We love hearing from customers that their fabrics are exactly what they were expecting. We also only buy the best quality fabrics. Years of experience have taught us what to look for, both good and bad.

Also, I am here ready to help all of our customers. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask! Aren’t sure if a fabric would suit your pattern or if there is something that will coordinate perfectly? I am happy to take a look, shoot some comparison photos or whatever is needed to make sure you have found the right fit. Still in doubt? Order a swatch (approx. 6” square), they are inexpensive and shipping is free!

Finally, can we get a sneak peek into the future of Style Maker Fabrics

What are your hopes for the future of your fabric store?
My goal is to still one day have a brick and mortar store; a place where the sewing community can come meet in person, be inspired and find their perfect fabrics.

What is the greatest thing you've learned about running the online fabric store that you didn't expect to happen?
I never expected to build so many friendships and relationships with people in the sewing community. Our customers are amazing and I love learning more about them, working with them on their projects and seeing their amazing creations.

Are you moving in the same direction as other online fabric stores by having bloggers blog for you? Or are you looking at other avenues to drive business?
We are not currently looking to have a “staff” of bloggers like some of the other stores. Twice a year we do organize a Style Blog Tour where participants receive showcase our newest fabric collection for the season.

Other than that, we are building relationships with customers, bloggers and pattern designers more organically. We don’t pay for the feedback that people provide about our customer service or our products making it more genuine and sincere.

Michelle and I wanted you to know that the Style Maker Fabrics Fall Blog Tour starts September 21st ~ see the line up of bloggers here.

Now I know this is the part you've all been waiting for ~ the discount! 
Michelle is generously offering 10% off your order PLUS a $5 shipping fee. This discount starts today and runs through September 30th. Please use the code "SEWSEPT" when you check out to receive the discount. International sewists will receive the 10% off your order PLUS $5 off your shipping fee!  

I really hope that you'll spend some quality time on Style Maker Fabrics checking out the goods...and that you enjoyed getting to know Michelle better! Next up on the blog are two posts by guest bloggers sharing some of the garments that they've made using Style Maker Fabrics.

So stay tuned for more celebrating!  
Happy National Sewing Month!


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