Friday, March 16, 2012

The Sewing Circle: Jessica from A Little Gray

I've been sitting on this latest interview of The Sewing Circle for a week now. Bad me! And it's a good one! Meet Jessica from the blog A Little Gray. I've enjoyed Jessica's blog for quite some time. Her projects are always flawless, but she comes across are totally mortal; not like some sewing bloggers I read and think they must have bobbins for fingers or something. Her voice is friendly and funny, and she's got a great eye for fabric. She makes a little of everything, from kids' clothes to bright, modern quilts. She's a rising star, too; Jessica is participating in Project Run and Play (a blog version of Project Runway for kids' clothes) this session. She also routinely hosts sew-alongs, including an ongoing one now through the book Little Things to Sew (which is now on hold due to her Project Run and Play.) Thanks to that sew-along, I was inspired to complete my puppet theatre in time for Christmas. So I owe her!

Read more about Jessica on her About page, and find her Tutorials here. 

Now, onto the interview. I've created a set of questions now that I'm going to use for all Sewing Circle interviews moving forward. Here she is! 

How old are you? 29 (No really.)

Where do you live? Cincinnati, OH

Do you have kids?
If so, how many? 2 kids- Hendrix, nearly three. Elsie, nearly one.

How long have you been blogging? About 2 and 1/2 years, I think.

How long have you been sewing? Almost 4 years.

I love this simple, colorful baby bibs. Found here!
Who taught you how to sew?  My mom showed me how to use the machine. From there it was just me and the internet. I also recently took a quilting class, which was great. If you've never taken a local sewing class, I'd highly recommend it.

What kind of sewing machine do you use? I use a Brother Project Runway PC-420. I won it in Prudent Baby's potholder contest last year!

I love the colors in this mini-quilt. Isn't this gorg? Found here!
What kind of things do you sew? Probably too many kinds of things. I have become a full-on obsessive quilter in the last 9 months. But I still love sewing things like bags, gifts, home decor, and especially clothes for my kids. This summer I'd really like to spend some time sewing clothes for me, which I've always been a little scared of.

How often do you find the time to sew (or do other creative pursuits?) I usually sew at least a little every day. Sometimes naps will align for this to happen, but mostly it's after bedtime. My husband is a restaurant manager and works most nights, so I have that time all to myself. 

Do you have a dedicated space in your home for sewing? If so, tell us about it! Yes, I am very lucky to have a sewing room set up (also a guest room, but mostly a sewing room.) I definitely do not have one of those beautiful organized spaces you see on the pretty blogs. I can't operate that way. My creating is very messy by necessity. I try to clean up occasionally, but that doesn't even last until lunch.

Do you have an out-of-the-house job? Tell us about that if you can.  I actually work in a fantastically adorable local fabric shop called Sewn Studio. It's perfect. Close enough for me to walk there, very flexible schedule, fun and creative co-workers, and 25% off all my favorite fabrics.

This is that first quilt she made. Found here!
What's your favorite thing you've ever made? Definitely the first quilt I ever made, last July. I used all bright solids and did heavy straight-line quilting. It's on my son's bed, but sometimes I'm tempted to steal it for myself.

OK, now what was the most disastrous thing, and why? One time I tried to refashion one of my shirts with a yellow ruffle. It was the saddest ruffle you've ever seen. Also, I cannot pull off ruffles. Lose-lose.

Do you most often sew for yourself (whether to wear or keep for your home, etc) or for others (your kids, gifts, etc)? The items are for others. But the act of sewing is really all about me- I'm sure you can relate!

A pair of pants from Sewing for Boys. Adorable.
What are some of your favorite sewing books? Right now I'm leading a sew-along thru Leisl Gibson's Little Things to Sew. I think I've made eight of the projects now and I love them all! I've also been making a lot of things from Sewing For Boys.

What's your favorite sewing tool, aside from your sewing machine? My Havel's Snip-Ease clippers. Cannot live without them!

Where do you most often find your inspiration? Well, blogs and flickr of course. I'm trying to limit my internet inspiration consumption though. (For example, I'm stubbornly refusing to get on Pinterest. It's silly, I know. But I'm steadfast!) Not that I don't love all the inspiration from my internet friends, but I want to give myself room to also look to things like nature, the city, and my family and kids for inspiration. 

A hand-embroidered potholder, which won her a new sewing machine from Prudent Baby.
What's your favorite place to buy fabric? Well, Sewn Studio obviously. But if I buy online, my favorites are Hawthorne Threads and an Etsy shop called Fresh Modern Fabric.

Do you have a favorite fabric designer or line or fabric? If so, do tell. :) I can't help but love everything Anna Maria Horner does, and Innocent Crush is one of my all-time favorites. But lately Lizzy House has become a tie for favorite. I'm working on a quilt for my bed using all her fabrics right now.

Do you pick the fabric after you know what project you're working on or do your more often just buy to build a stash and then pick from it when you find a project you want to do? For a while there when I first began working in a fabric store I went a little crazy building my stash. Since the new year though, I've really tried to focus on using that up now and hold off on buying unless it's something basic like solids or linen. I've kind of realized that I don't really need to buy every new line of fabric that I love because I just love it all! So when the time comes that I do need something for a project, there will be new fabric to love then too. I think it's all about balance with this issue, and being able to get to work whenever inspiration strikes.

Airplane applique available through free download free.
If you could meet one other sewing blogger, who would you want to meet? There are SO many cool people I've met through blogging and getting to actually hang out with them would be one of the coolest things in the world. My real-life friends like to give me a hard time about my "virtual friends." Psh. They just don't know! This summer I will have at least one opportunity to meet up with a group of these friends for a sewing weekend- maybe two. I'm so excited about it! But anyway, since those people are way too many to list (including Krista!) I will just tell you the person who I might consider a sewing-blogger crush. I'm so struck with her talent that I never even comment on her blog or flickr photos, just admire them from afar. (Isn't that silly?!) It's Amy of Badskirt. She's got the best eye for fabric, she's always trying something new, she's hilarious, she's thoughtful about sewing, and she's just plain bad-ass. And I would totally be embarrassed if she ever saw this.

What's on your sewing to-do list now? Most urgently, I need to finish a mini quilt for a flickr swap I'm in, and a charity quilt for a flickr bee I'm in. (If you aren't familiar, the quilting world on flickr is... well, cultish.) I also really need to start thinking Easter clothes for the kids. Oh! And I have one more (HUGE! GIANT! EXCITING!) project coming up that I can't tell you about just yet- check my blog Monday if you are curious!  (Ed note: this is the Project Run and Play announcement. Congrats, Jessica!)

Thanks so much to Jessica! Sorry it took so long to get this up. Life is crazy right now! If you'd like to be featured in the Sewing Circle, or have another sewing blogger to suggest, drop me an email at To read more Sewing Circle Interviews, just click here!

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