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Category: emily

getting to know me: 20 things

Recently on Instagram a little game of “tag, you’re it!” was going around, where the person being tagged was challenged to post 20 facts about themselves. I have really, really loved getting to know my friends in the online sewing community a little better (I had no idea my sew sister, Brittany, was a certified pharmacy tech!), but until today I hadn’t joined the fun. I’ve been tagged a number of times, but I thought it was a great idea to post these fun facts here on the blog instead. A lot of new readers (hey, y’all!) have found this little blog of mine in the past few weeks, so this is a great way for you to learn a little more about me.

#1. My favorite decade for fashion is the 1950s. I’m not a stickler for an authentic vintage look and I don’t like looking like I’m wearing a costume in my daily life (no gloves and old shoes for me, thanks), but full skirts and ladylike dresses will always be two of my favorite things. I’m also very interested in fashion from the 1940s. I got a great book, Fashion on the Ration, from Churchill’s War Room & Museum in London last year, and it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I love to read.

#2. I like being busy. I enjoy projects and tasks and doing things, so even when we’re just sitting on the couch at night watching TV, I’m usually doing something else at the same time like hand sewing or writing. I’m also a big multi-tasker. So, if I have 20 minutes to fill while something is in the oven, I will throw in a load of laundry or respond to an email. It’s hard for me to just sit around.

#3. I have a purple Schwinn hybrid bike that I ride 10-13 miles a day, five or six days a week. The hour I spend on that bike is, without question, a highlight of my day. I crave the solitude and the fresh air and the sunshine and the daily physical challenge of getting up the next hill. I love it.

#4. We have two Great Danes, Harrison and Olivia. We got both of them from rescue organizations here in Texas, and they are nothing short of magnificent.

#5. I had braces for four years.

#6. I am someone who needs a great deal of alone time. I’m also a homebody.

#7. I had skin cancer three years ago. I have a four inch scar at the base of my neck, which is why you rarely see me in low necklines. Or, when you do, I’m wearing a necklace. So that scar, coupled with the others on my back from additional biopsies, is the single biggest influence on what I wear and the projects I choose to make.

#8. My favorite food is Mexican. There are a ton of great restaurants in our neck of the woods (not surprising considering we live in Texas, after all), but I make it a lot at home too. A couple years ago, my brother recommended the America’s Test Kitchen Mexican Cookbook, and it has changed my life in terms of enjoying cooking and being semi-good at it. Every single recipe is fantastic, and now I actually look forward to making us yummy things to eat. I even make corn and flour tortillas from scratch using a cast iron tortilla press, a birthday present from my brother. (He’s an exceptionally great brother.) We eat a lot of tacos in this house, in addition to dishes like chilaquiles, pastel azteca, chicken adobo, enchiladas, tamales, and chicken tortilla soup.

#9. There aren’t any colors that I don’t like, but navy blue has my heart. I’m not sure what it is about navy, but I feel really, really good in that color. It’s so classic and flattering and pretty.

#10. I was born in North Carolina, and I have lived in five states: North Carolina, Iowa, Florida, Arizona, and Texas.

#11. I am older than my husband by one year and four months. We will celebrate 10 years of marriage in September. I think he’s pretty sensational.

#12. I like shoes, and my latest purchase is probably my favorite of all time. They’ll go with all my navy pieces and everything in between! I’m slowly getting rid of all the ridiculously high heels I have and replacing them with sensible flats, but I made an exception for these shoes. Now I want bumblebees on everything! (Side note: I waited for my size to go on sale. The regular price is a bit on the high side.)

#13. With the exception of a ginger ale every now and then, I never drink soda, and I always order water at restaurants.

#14. The easiest way to get me on the dance floor at a party is to play Michael Jackson. Anything by Bruno Mars usually does the trick too, but I’ll really lose my mind if “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake comes on. (And it usually does because I request it.)

#15. I’m a coffee drinker. It’s a must have every morning, believe me.

#16. I love stripes. I designed a striped skirt a few years ago, and I’m going to show you how to make it in an upcoming tutorial.

#17. I have a Bachelor’s in Apparel Design and Product Development. When I was in college Facebook was just becoming a thing, so the idea of using your education online via a blog or tutorials wasn’t something any of us really thought about. And look where we are now. Wild.

#18. I am very organized and neat. I don’t mind clutter here and there, but my house is never dirty.

#19. A few of my favorite shows are Friends, The Office, The Closer, Burn Notice, and Better Call Saul. I’ve also watched The Crown on Netflix, which is utterly magnificent.

#20. I love hats. I probably have 20 at this point, but I always have a “need” for another one. This one (in navy, obviously) is on my wish list.

Have a great week! Lots of tutorials coming this month!

onward

Happy New Year! We had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you did too. I always seem to forget how quickly the holiday season flies by, and I’m always so sad to see it end; when family goes back home, decorations are packed away, and life returns to normal. Then, all of a sudden, a new year is upon us and I’m not sad anymore–I’m inspired and happy to get back to my everyday routine. The truth is, every day and every moment is an opportunity for a fresh start, but there’s something about turning the calendar to a new year that brings extra excitement and inspiration. I can’t wait to get back in the studio and get started on all the plans I have for this year.

2016 was the best year of my life. After three years in a row of huge challenges of loss, health scares, and chapters ending, I was due for a good year. Ty and I finally got to go on a big overseas trip together, the stress and toxicity I was carrying around starting dissolving, and I got healthy again. 2016 was a rewarding and fulfilling year that brought me tremendous happiness.

I’m looking forward to 2017 with renewed sense of optimism and a sharper focus on what really matters. Beyond a handful of specific goals (20 pounds to go! new dresses! a new house!), my hope for 2017 is professional achievement. I studied fashion and design for a long time, and I’m hopeful I can find a way to use the skills I’ve worked so hard to hone in a meaningful, purposeful way. I started this blog as a way to document my own projects, but in the five short months I’ve been doing it I’ve realized there’s a great deal more potential here than just showing the world what I’ve made for myself. I have a chance to share my experiences with you, to help you in your own sewing and design journey. So, one of my main objectives for 2017 is to improve everything about this space: the content, the consistency, the photographs. I’m also excited to introduce video tutorials soon.

In looking back over 2016, a few projects stand out in my mind, but I’m most pleased with the overall progress I made in rebuilding my wardrobe with mostly handmade garments. I’m excited to continue this work into the new year.

Thank you all for following along so far, and I can’t wait to dive into new sewing projects soon. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!

rock the vote

It’s a chilly and rainy Saturday here which, I must admit, is a nice change from the unusually warm temperatures we’ve had recently. Even for Texas, things have been a bit too warm for too long. I’ve been in short sleeves for weeks! All of this to say I have a lengthy list of things I’m excited to work on, and this weather will make for a productive, cozy weekend inside.

Days like today are one of my favorite things. Having big blocks of time to spend in my studio where I can be creative is not only stimulating and rewarding, it’s also relaxing and comforting. In college, I spent many a long night in the sewing studio on campus, among my fellow students, sewing and sketching and problem solving and creating and . . . dreaming. To this day, the time I spent learning everything I could about what was quickly becoming my biggest passion alongside people who became lifelong friends is one of my most cherished memories. I remember the satisfaction that came from learning something new or using critical thinking skills to solve a tough patternmaking issue or seeing a concept come to life. The colors, the fabrics, the inspiration. Mostly, though, I see the image of us all sitting at our workstations, the low hum of our machines filling the room, the smell of coffee (there was always coffee) wafting around, the laughter, the shared goal of making it all happen and meeting the deadline.

My parents gave me a Brother sewing machine for Christmas one year when I was 12 or 13, and until I really got into fashion full steam I sewed on that machine on and off for a few years, getting the basics down. In college, our lab was equipped with Husqvarna Viking sewing machines, which wasn’t a brand I was familiar with or had ever used. It didn’t take too long to see how truly wonderful these machines are. After saving up, I bought one for myself and I have used it steadily for years, sewing everything you can imagine on it. That machine has been a constant companion, a reliable tool, an essential part of the design process.

Recently, the folks at Husqvarna announced a contest where one winner will get a brand new Designer Epic sewing machine, which is the most innovative and technologically advanced machine on the market. Naturally, I’ve loved it since it came out. The only thing this machine can’t do is make coffee. It’s magnificent. I submitted my entry yesterday, and now I need your help. The winner is determined by popular vote, so this is a call to rock the vote. And hey, while you’re at it, submit an entry! If videos aren’t your thing but you’re still in the market for a new machine, check out the product lineup. I know you won’t be disappointed if you invest in one of these machines. They’re magical, they really are.

I spent a few days really thinking about what to say on camera, and it was fun to shoot this video, even if it did take a few tries to get it right. Or maybe my perfectionist tendencies kicked in! Either way, it inspired me to jump into more video tutorials. It is quite alarming to hear your voice on camera though, I will say that. It’s wild!

To get right to the voting page, go here. (You’ll have to click on the “vote” tab.)

Thank you all in advance for your support. I appreciate it very much!

Happy Sewing!