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Sewing has been a part of my life since high school when my mom pulled out her old sewing machine, took it to get serviced for me, and gave me free reign to spread fabric all over the dining and living rooms. With my new driver’s license, I drove myself to the only little fabric store I knew about in town and purchased supplies to make summer dresses, quilts and even made it down to the hill to the “big city” (I use that term loosely) fabric store for satin and chiffon I used to make my Junior year homecoming dress. Nothing I made fit perfectly but I was excited by the possibilities that making-it-yourself offered and I was dying to learn more.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to add various skills to my sewing repertoire. I earned my degree in Home Economics/Family & Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Clothing & Textiles. This allowed me to add proper technique to what I had learned through trial & error. I’ve worked for sewing machine companies and learned how to use the many functions of modern machines. I interned in college making costumes for the local ballet and was able to get some valuable feedback from a seamstress far above me in skill & experience. I worked in a quilt shop and learned about accurate cutting, piecing, quilting and long-arm quilting, binding, the use of a walking foot and was able to try my hand at teaching. I’ve worked in a bridal alteration room, where I learned industry techniques to speed up and simplify my sewing. I took apart wedding dresses and put them back together again and got to see how each one was made. In 2008, my son was born and I gained a new interest in baby and children’s sewn-items and opened my etsy shop.
However, with these various & wonderful experiences, I wasn’t sure where to land! I couldn’t decide what I loved to sew the most and I felt a little all over the place. What I was making in 2008 didn’t excite me, which is part of the reason why I went inactive for a few years. (Well that, and having children and working full time). 🙂 Now this may be a little dramatic, (although if you know me personally, that’s not too surprising) but all this seemed to change with the making of my first Maggie Mae.
Since I opened my shop in 2008 a wonderful slew of independent pattern designers have rushed in to fill, in my opinion, a huge gap in the sewing industry: Modern, well fitting, attractive and comfortable children’s clothing. Maggie Mae by ShwinDesigns is one example, but any of the patterns from Go To Patterns, Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop, Blank Slate Patterns (where I got the Coastal Cargos pattern), See Kate Sew and other smaller designers on Etsy are offering beautiful patterns that fit the bill.
Maggie Mae inspires me because I am not a super frilly girl myself and I like that Maggie Mae communicates a similar style. She’s fun, stylish and practical, easy-going and comfortable, simple and modern. Every cute fabric I see I think immediately – that would make an adorable Maggie Mae. I can see it done in formal wear (think flower girl) in satin and sheers with a more gathered skirt and, of course, keeping the pockets. Maggie Mae can be made in denim & print, solids and florals, festive holiday prints, as a dress and as a tunic. I plan to experiment with long sleeves in the near future & who knows what else will come to mind! But one thing I know, this little pattern excites me – I could make it day and night and pull it off the ironing board every time and adore it’s cuteness.
So if you see my shop filling up with variations of Maggie Mae, now you know why. I absolutely love it and all it’s possibilities. And don’t worry – I’ll try out some other patterns to see if they capture my heart like this one did, but this time around, I’ll only keep making what I really love and hope you love it too.