Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Celebrating Me Made May with Blogger Tanya Maile

Tanya with her pup Rollie and Stonemountain buyers, Liz, Natalie, and Lauren
We recently had the pleasure of shopping with Tanya Maile, local sewing blogger and member of the Curvy Sewing Collective. We invited Tanya to come shop with us in preparation for Me Made May and as part of our blogger outreach program. This year, we are working with an amazing group of sewing bloggers to show you how they are using our fabrics, patterns, and notions in their own way.

For those of you who are new to Me Made May, it is a month long challenge designed by Zoe of the sewing blog So, Zo... What Do You Know? She describes it as a means to, "encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to actually wear and love them. They have been taking place for six years now and they work on both personal and community levels. The participants decide the specifics of their own challenge pledge, so that the month is appropriate and challenging for them. For example, a very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May. The participants can also choose to document their challenge with daily photos (though this is in no way compulsory for taking part) and share them with other participants." Read more about the challenge HERE.

Our staff has taken the pledge to wear as many self-made garments as we can this month and we've enlisted some awesome sewing ladies to post along with us. Our blogger round up includes Tanya, Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy, Sandi of Crafty Planner and Morgan of Thread Theory. This will be a great opportunity for all of us to learn about these bloggers, see how they sew, and gain inspiration for projects of our own. So stay tuned for more fun and don't forget to follow the Me Made May 2016 fun on our Instagram and Facebook and tag us in your posts!

In talking with Tanya about her sewing goals for the year, she mentioned that she has been wanting to try out the 1950s PB&J Skirt from Decades of Style. As a vintage enthusiast, Tanya is naturally a fan of everything Decades, and we don't blame her. She looks incredible in everything she's made from the indie pattern line. We loved the idea of pairing it with the one of the latest from Decades Everyday, the Buttons & Bows Blouse, and Tanya was pleased to have a top to wear with her skirt.

Decades of Style - 1950sPB&J Skirt


We had the chance to chat with Tanya as she shopped and learned about how she got started on her sewing adventure...

When did you start sewing?
Which Linen Mochi Dot to use for her PB&J Skirt?
I started sewing when I was 5 or 6.  My first projects were pillows and doll clothes.

What made you decide to blog about your sewing?
I started reading sewing blogs when I was planning for my wedding and sewing my wedding dress around 2009/2010.  After all of my wedding sewing (I also made most of my bridesmaids dresses), I decided to begin sewing more of my own wardrobe. I found the online sewing community to be so inspiring and welcoming that I wanted to also share what I had been sewing as well.  I started blogging in 2004 on another platform and had a large following, but retired from daily blogging when I started grad school. It seemed to like a natural progression to become a sewing blogger.  What I really love about the online sewing community is sharing our me-made garments and talking about sewing.  I've met so many wonderful people through this community as we all share the same passion for making things out of fabric.

What is your sewing space like?
I'm fortunate to have a large sewing space with a lot of light at the front of our house where I can look out at our front yard and watch our cats and the wildlife, along with cattle in an adjacent pasture.  In the center of the room I have a work table with my main sewing machine on it and a sewing desk with my serger and my other oft-used sewing machine in an L-layout.  Against one wall is my ironing board and cutting table.  The opposite wall has both my husband's desk and my computer desk.  I have a TV, my collection of vintage sewing machines, and my dolls which are adorned with couture fashions that my mother-in-law made.

What kind of machine do you use?
I sew most everything on my computerized Singer 160th Anniversary machine.  I also use a 1960's Pfaff 360 inherited from my grandma and a Janome 3434D serger.  I collect vintage sewing machines and have five in my sewing room, but most are just decorations, although I would like them all to be up and running at some point.  My current project is a 1904 Singer 27-4 treadle with Sphinx decals. I am really looking forward to sewing with the treadle as it doesn't use electricity and it's just really beautiful to look at.

Tanya's button choices for her coordinating blouse and skirt.

What are some of your favorite tools?
I couldn't live without my Clover bamboo seam ripper and my pressing ham. My Clover Nancy Zieman sliding seam gauge is also really handy while I'm sewing.  For scissors, I love my Singer razor sharp scissors as they glide through every fabric I've cut with them and never get dull.

How do you organize your fabric?
I store most of my fabrics in rubber bins that I keep in a closet in a spare bedroom.  I have a wooden cube organizer under my cutting table where I keep fabrics out that I plan on sewing soon.

What's your biggest sewing accomplishment?
I would say that it's my silk faille Sewaholic Robson trench coat that I lined with a polka dot rayon.  That coat was tedious to make and used a much different skill set than what I usually sew.

What is your favorite kind of fabric to work with?
I love cottons of all kinds, but especially lightweight silk/cotton blends.  Voiles, batistes, and lawns remain my favorites.

What is your least favorite fabric to work with?
Tulle is not much fun at all to work with, especially when you're gathering loads and loads of it.

What is your favorite section at Stonemountain?
The cottons of course!  Especially the Japanese cottons and the Alexander Henry prints.  I can spend quite a lot of time staring at the colorful bolts and vibrant prints.

What projects are on your sewing wishlist?
I would love to make an Edwardian ensemble with all of the undergarments and accouterments.  I've been collecting historical patterns for a while now, but haven't stepped in to start planning one yet.  I usually have a plan in mind of where I'm going to wear what I sew and I don't have one for an Edwardian outfit, so I guess that's why it still remains a dream.

What project are you working on right now?
I just cut out a blue gingham shirt dress (Butterick 6333) and a black double knit Cashmerette Concord T-Shirt.

Tell us about your first trip to a fabric store.  I'm not sure I can recall my first trip to a fabric store as I started fabric shopping with my mom and my grandma as a child.  I do remember shopping at the House of Fabrics with my mom to pick out a pattern and fabric for my first skirt that wasn't sewn from remnants.  We looked through the pattern book and picked out a pattern and then I went up and down the aisles until I found a burgundy lightweight faux suede to make my skirt with.  My mom helped me pick out a zipper and thread and I was so excited to go home and start sewing it.


Tanya went home with a beautiful kelly green silk/cotton blend for her top and our Linen Mochi Dot in black for her skirt. We cannot wait to see how this ensemble turns out!

Don't forget to follow along with the Me Made May 2016 fun on our Instagram and Facebook and tag us in your posts!


  1. Mrs. Hughes! I can't wait to see her in this outfit. I was in your store last fall for the first time as I live in North Carolina. If I lived in Berkeley (as I did in the 80s/early 90s) you would see me every week! I loved your fabrics -- and so many of them!!!! -- and I enjoy your blog.


    If someone told you that you could get self-help motivation that would last a lifetime, would you want it? You have probably read some of the popular motivational books, like Think and Grow Rich and Rich Dad Poor Dad. These are great books, but they don't really tell you what you can do to reach success.

  3. Thank you! It was a wonderful visit! I'm looking forward to sharing my outfit. :)

  4. FYI - link for Crafty Planner goes to Miss Crayola Creepy.

    Thanks for a few more bloggers to check out!