How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Sew

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My first sewing project was in Mrs. Peterich’s fifth grade class.  All I remember was being crippled by decision, forced to choose between five templates of holiday ornaments. I must have changed my mind twelve times that day. The deadline loomed, and other students finished their project before mine ever began.  Today, I’m still like that. I’ll waste my sewing time away, just standing in my sewing room, staring at my wall of fabric or an assortment of pattern pieces strewn across the floor. Brow furrowed, gaze intense, I’ll weigh every option, struggling to decide exactly which fabric is right for exactly which pattern.


Eight years later, I sewed for the second time.  I was in a summer production of Fiddler on the Roof, and they needed more help sewing costumes.  I got a crash course one Saturday morning, and then I was sent to the floor to pin large tissue paper patterns to ugly, scratchy fabric.  After serving my time cutting patterns, I proved my worth and was assigned a pile of apron pieces and a machine. My aprons may have been hideous, but my interest was piqued and I was gifted a sewing machine for my birthday.  My mother’s parents had owned a Ben Franklin when she was young and she bought me a Singer, adamant that I carry on the family tradition (don’t tell her my current lineup of machines consists of Brothers, Janome, and a sweet old Husqvarna Viking).


Over the next decade, I’d make a yearly pilgrimage to storage and haul out my machine to complete a random project (cowboy pajama pants, Dorothy Gale gingham skirt. . .).  When I started buying handmade cloth diapers for my second born, I was struck with the thought, “I can make that!”. In my search for the perfect diaper pattern, I stumbled into the rabbit hole of PDF designs and indie patterns.   Apparel sewing called to me and I never looked back (I never made those diapers either) . Suddenly, a mild interest turned into a part of my daily life. My husband says it’s the most intense hobby he’s ever seen, and I’ll admit, I’m more than a little obsessed (but, hey, so are a lot of you!).


Sewing came to me at just the right time.   I left my job as an admissions rep for the University of Wisconsin Colleges when my first son was born.  When my second son was born 16 months later, I was still feeling lost as a stay at home mom. I missed having meetings and deadlines, and walking confidently into a conference room, heels clicking, sure of myself.  But sewing excited me-- it sparked my creativity and made me feel confident in myself again. I credit this crazy, underground on-line sewing world with so much: friendships, inspiration, encouragement, and countless lessons in life and sewing.

Breakthrough Dress

I joined the G+G tester team almost two years ago.  “This lady is going somewhere,” I remember telling my husband when he wondered why I was so excited about testing.  I loved the fashion-forward designs and the excitement of making something fresh, new, and surprising (exactly how I still feel about G+G).  The Breakthrough (retired pattern alert!) was my first test here. I’ve learned so much through testing and have been lucky enough to test most patterns since then.

Most recent G+G Test: the Bonnaroo Bundle

When I’m not sewing I’m probably chasing a sticky toddler or driving the county roads listening to public radio.  I love yoga, black coffee, sweetened chai, historical fiction and long walks up to the mailbox by myself. My husband and I have three wild boys and an adorable Collie.  I’m a Wisconsin girl, and everything that stereotype implies: my front windows overlook a big red barn, I call drinking fountains “bubblers”, and I’ve been cheering for the Green Bay Packers for as long as I can remember.  You can follow me here at G+G or on my own blog, Middle River Studio. I’m thrilled to be on the G+G page and I can’t wait to share the excitement with you!


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  • Sharon on

    Looking for the bell jeans pant pattern, did I miss it? Has it been released / retired? Not being released just a tease for me?

    Thank you for your help


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