Where are you from and where do you live? What do you do other than sewing?
I am from the east coast of the United States — Virginia, specifically. I moved to the West Coast almost ten years ago and now reside in San Francisco. I love it out here, but Virginia will always hold a special place in my heart.
A young ahearta
If we were to come to your town, where would you take us?
There’s so much to do in San Francisco. Most of my sight seeing has been done on foot at a run. My favorite run through the city covers about 20 miles round trip. The run starts in Golden Gate Park in front of the Conservatory of Flowers. It winds through the park, past museums and buffalo and an old windmill. Just past the windmill it hits the beach. Sand and surf abound. Then, it climbs up past the Cliff House. Next, is my favorite part: Lands End Trail. This trail runs along a cliff over the ocean. On a misty morning, it’s absolutely magical. It truly feels like the end of the world. It’s hard to believe you’re only moments away from a bustling city. This trail also provides the first glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge, possibly the most notable landmark in the city. After the trail, the run passes through a neighborhood of gigantic, unobtainable houses before entering the Presidio, an old army post. Finally, the run crosses the Golden Gate Bridge for a quick stop in Marin to look back at the city. If you weren’t up for strapping on your running shoes, I’d likely show you bits and pieces of the run by car anyway. It really is absolutely fabulous.
Tell us about your sewing journey.
I inherited a vintage Singer sewing machine from my grandmother many years ago. I didn’t have room for it in my apartment, so I stored it in the basement of my apartment complex. When I moved into a bigger apartment, I couldn’t find it in the basement. The stool that went to its table was there, but the machine and the machine’s table were gone. Even though I had never used it, I missed it dearly. My parents bought me a new machine for a subsequent Christmas, and I haven’t looked back since.
During my first year of sewing, I sewed every now and then, but only lightly. I hadn’t yet discovered the online sewing community. Once I was introduced to sewing blogs and BurdaStyle, my sewing really picked up. It was such a boon to my creativity to find others to sew with, even if only virtually.
I think the main reasons I sew are for the creativity and the community. It’s wonderful to be able to take a beautiful fabric and transform it into a flattering garment. Science may also afford me an outlet for my creativity, but it moves much more slowly and isn’t quite so colorful. The online sewing community is incredibly inspiring and wonderfully nice. I am still very new to sewing, but I’ve learned so much more this past year of sewing with the online community than I did in my previous year of sewing with only pattern instructions and library books.
I am proud of all that I have accomplished with my sewing to date, but I think my greatest sewing achievements are still to come.
Do you have a style icon who inspires your sewing projects? Where do you go to get inspired?
I don’t really have a style icon. I’m still figuring a lot of that out right now. Also, I don’t like picking favorites, but for the sake of this interview, I’ll admit that I have a crush on Zooey Deschanel’s style. To me, she embodies feminine in a practical, I-could-actually-pull-that-off way.
For inspiration I often go to Pinterest. It’s like a constantly shifting mood board. I also love being inspired by other home sewers. Sewing blogs have been revolutionary for me.
What’s your sewing secret weapon?
I don’t think I have a sewing secret weapon yet; no tried-and-true technique or tool that takes my sewing to the next level. Since I’m still just a beginner, I take my time with all of my sewing projects, practicing the mantra of slow sewing. I measure twice so that I only cut once. Still, sometimes I still find that I should have measured three times! I rip out a seam rather than making do with something less than stellar. I use my iron often. I finish all of my seams since I want to make pieces that I can enjoy for a long time.
I do have a fondness for nice fabrics, and think they make a world of difference in how much I love a finished project. Since I’m new to sewing, I don’t have a stash. I buy fabrics for specific projects and really cherish every inch, even saving the tiny scraps to pack into stuffed children’s toys. I hope that by limiting my waste and striving to make lifetime pieces, I’m being a conscientious seamstress.
What’s your sewing experience like?
I sew mostly in the evenings, after I’ve finished my work for the day and eaten dinner with my husband. We live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, so my sewing machine resides on a filing cabinet in the corner of the area that would probably be considered the dining room. Fortunately, this little area also has an ironing board built into the wall, and enough space on the floor for laying out fabrics to cut, so it’s really all the space I need. I don’t tend to listen to music while I sew. Instead, my husband and I have conversations amidst the cutting and pinning and stitching and ironing since he’s often at the dining room table doing work. It’s quite nice.
What is your dream sewing project?
Oh my. I’m not sure I have one right now. My next sewing project, perhaps? Right now I really just want to be creative and develop my sewing skills. My goals for the year include building a versatile, handmade wardrobe that includes pants. I also want to make my mom a French-style jacket and matching dress. I think it’ll be a fun challenge. I already have the fabric and patterns, now all I need is to find time to fit my mom. It’s hard right now because we’re currently 3,000 miles away from each other.
How long have you been a member of BurdaStyle, and what keeps you coming back?
I’ve been a member of BurdaStyle since March 5, 2011. My username, ahearta, was a carryover from Etsy and Twitter. It’s also now my go-to username for the many online sewing communities that I’ve found this past year. Since there are so many Amy’s out there, I have half a mind to start commenting on blog posts as ahearta as well, but for now I’m still just Amy out there and ahearta here.
I love that BurdaStyle brings together people passionate about sewing from all around the world. Each person gets their fifteen minutes of fame while their most recent project is at the top of the project page. Budding pattern-makers can share their newest designs. I visit the main page a few times a week to see what projects and patterns are highlighted, and I scan through the projects as often as I can, though these days that’s not as often as I’d like.
What is the most frustrating thing about sewing for you? What is the most rewarding?
The most frustrating thing about sewing for me is being a novice. There’s so much I don’t know and so many techniques to master. Researching the right way to do this or that takes time. With a full time job and lots of responsibilities, though, my time is really limited.
The most rewarding thing about sewing is the creativity. It’s amazing to see clothes take shape from a beautiful piece of fabric. It feels great to put something on that fits really well and that was made by my own hands. It’s also fun to watch people’s faces light up when they realize I made what I’m wearing.
Discover ahearta’s top ten favorite member projects!