Leigh-Ann: Sewing since 1993, Self Taught, Hobby Sew-er.
1. How did you learn to sew?
In middle school, I took Home Ec with Ms. Starkell for a few months and learned the basics (how to: thread a machine, not sew your finger, a few projects & how to make boxer shorts you’ll wear out as shorts– because it was the 90’s). I’d always admired my mom’s sewing skills and was thrilled to be in a sewing class. Once I took Home Ec, it was like I had my license and Momma let me use her machine. I practiced and practiced, played with different types of fabric, taught myself to slip cover couches, made pajamas and I designed some fun accessories.
Once I had my own house, I was on a tight budget and needed to make curtains. I borrowed my friends Pfaff machine (which was in a sweet hot pink luggage case) and sewed curtains for all 9 windows in my new home. I was hooked again! I love the unlimited potential of fabric + sewing machine!
2. Why do you love to sew?
I have a few reasons…
- I love working with fabrics! Mixing color and pattern is one of my biggest joys in life and textiles are one of the best mediums for doing that!
- I love figuring stuff out! When I made the ‘Hanging Shoe Organizer’ for Home Ec… I didn’t know how to make the dimensional pockets yet but I knew it was possible. I tried a few ways and when I got it right, I squealed! I felt so excited to learn something new and use it in my home (plus teach others).
- It’s a hobby & skill that can translate into any purpose; it’s relevant and really applicable… decor, wardrobe & fashion, repair, accessories, children & toys, art and of course, it’s fun!
- I find it so relaxing… you can see your idea/project produced so much faster (with the machine) than any other craft but it’s still hands on and totally fulfilling.
- I love making a finished product that looks bought but totally custom to my style.
3. Favorite thing you’ve ever made?
Many Monday’s, my mom takes her grandchildren/my nieces Olivia and Kennedy to the library — it’s their special thing and all three of them love it equally! In November, I made O & K “Library Bags” for their birthday (with a tiny pocket inside for their library cards) and the girls quickly filled them with books. At Christmas, I made my Mom one… and it sent her to giggles & tears, she could now match her grand daughters on their dates!
I love how committed they are to the library bag trio, Mom makes sure of it!
4. What is your favorite technique?
I’m pretty addicted to joining fabrics to create stripes. I wanna do it to everything!
5. What excites you about Home Ec?
I’m most excited for each student to feel empowered & thrilled as they discover the seamstress hidden inside of them! Rachel, Courtney and I put a lot of thought into the skills and projects being useful, progressive and extensive… once you complete Home Ec, your sewing machine will never gather dust again! Your life will change!
xo, Leigh-Ann McLaughlin