Today on the blog I am featuring Amy of Wally and Grace in the fifth interview in the series!
Amy of Wally and Grace is a pretty versatile sewist who sews for herself and her children. She is way more stylish than I’ll ever be, and the outfits she’s sewn herself look pretty fantastic. I mean, the Evergreen Jacket by Hey June that she made looks amazing! I also ♥ the Kitschy Coo Lady Skater she made. If you enjoy sewing clothing for yourself and want to be inspired, you really need to check out her blog. AND, in addition to sewing eye candy, some of her most popular posts are sewing tips: How to Sew a Flatlock Stitch on your Serger and How to Stabilize Shoulder Seams with Clear Elastic! Fantastic sewist and a helpful person! A great combo
Read on to learn more about Amy!
Tell us a little about yourself and where you live.
I’m Amy from Wally and Grace, where I like to talk all about sewing. I am to a wife to a great guy and Mom to two amazing kids. I have a degree in Engineering, and worked in that field for a while until the kids came along and I became a stay-at-home mom. I now teach part time at a preschool with lots of precious children.
As for where I live, well, I grew up in Kentucky, and mostly that is where I consider “home,” but have been on the move since then. When I married my husband a little over ten years ago, he was an officer in the U.S. Navy. For several years, we moved around, living in various places on the East Coast(U.S). He recently completed his commitment with the Navy and took a civilian job so we hope to settle down for a little while.
Is there one place (landmark, shop, restaurant, etc) or activity in your town/city that you always recommend to new visitors?
I will speak to Kentucky as home on this one. There are three things Kentucky does really well – Horses, basketball, and bourbon.
If you get the opportunity to be there the first week in May, the Kentucky Derby and its accompanying festivities in Louisville are not to be missed. Keeneland race track in Lexington runs horse races in April and October and other events throughout the year. The Kentucky Horse Park and museum is just outside of Lexington and has lots of shows and exhibits dedicated to all things horse-related.
If you can manage to get tickets, a basketball game at the University of Kentucky’s home court in Rupp Arena is awesome.
There are also a lot of tourist attractions surrounding the bourbon industry. Bourbon is a variety of whiskey unique to America and most of it is made right there in Kentucky. Check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail for distillery tours, bourbon tastings, and related attractions throughout the state. If you are staying in Louisville, the Urban Bourbon Trail includes some of the best restaurants and bars in the city, all of which, of course, offer bourbon.
Where do you find your inspiration? Who or what inspires you?
What I love about creating is that you can draw inspiration from anywhere. I make clothes for me and my family, so my creations are driven primarily by what we want to wear. I try to make things that are practical and comfortable for everyday wear, in colors and designs that we love and feel good in. I tend to look at clothes everywhere I go. I look for clothes I like on the street, in the store or catalogs, and on Pinterest. I also love to read other sewing blogs to check out what others have made. Sewing for myself gives me the freedom to make (nearly) anything I want. I can incorporate details that I am drawn to from other sources or recreate an outfit I liked, even if it was originally worn by a toddler!
How long have you been sewing and how did you first become interested in this craft?
My Mom tried to teach me to sew growing up and I wish I had paid more attention! I remember her teaching me to make scrunchies when I was 11 (I’m dating myself here.) And in high school she taught me to hem pants by hand. But it wasn’t until later that I really became interested. For some reason, when I got married I decided I wanted to sew. It seemed like it would be a valuable skill and a good domestic chore that I could help with. I asked for a sewing machine for Christmas one year and my friends thought I was crazy. But I found it was worth it when I could hem all my pants myself instead of paying the tailor. (I’m 5’2, so all my pants needed hemming, and at $10-$15 for every pair of pants and every dress and skirt, it adds up.)
Then, as I went shopping, I kept thinking to myself, “I really like this shirt if only it was a little longer,” or “if only this dress was a different color” or “if only it fit a little better here.” I began to try making some things myself. It was a while before I made anything I could actually wear, but eventually I got there.
Name your three favorite books or resources related to your sewing
I’ve listed a few sewing books that I think are great resources, but there are many more out there.
(*These are Amy’s affiliate links)
The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction* by Christine Haynes is a thorough guide to all things related to sewing garments and is great for beginners or more advanced students. It includes lots of photos, and classic, fashionable designs.
The Shirtmaking Workbook: Pattern, Design, and Construction Resources – More than 100 Pattern Downloads for Collars, Cuffs & Plackets* by David Coffin is, of course, focused on shirt making, but includes many great details that can be translated to any garment.
How to Make Sewing Patterns* by Donald McCunn is an older book and doesn’t have all the modern photos and fashionable designs, but if you can get through all the text, this book will teach you all about drafting, altering, and fitting patterns.
Craftsy has many classes and sew-alongs that you can view right from home or check your local sewing shops for information about available classes.
Do you remember the first thing you ever created? Pictures?
Besides the scrunchies I helped my Mom sew back in the day, the first real useful thing I created from scratch on my own was our Christmas tree skirt. Honestly, I am not sure how it came out so well. I borrowed a McCalls pattern from a friend (If you are interested find it here) and it took me months to finish. I started in November and finally had a Christmas tree skirt by April! We still use it around our tree every year and I’m still pretty proud of it.
Many of my early projects did not turn out this well, especially when I ventured into sewing clothing. I threw away most of the clothing I made in the beginning, but every project taught me new skills and eventually got me to where I am. I would encourage those who are learning to keep trying and keep acquiring new skills.
Describe your workspace
In short, it’s a mess! In my world, that’s what it takes to be creative! Seeing my fabrics all around helps give me inspiration. And when I am in the middle of creating, I don’t want to stop to clean up! I am usually in the middle of at least three or four projects at any given time.
I am lucky to have a sewing room off the kitchen that houses all my fabrics, supplies, and my sewing machines. I have now taken over the seldom used table in the formal dining room as well for my cutting and ironing table. I’m sure my family is waiting to see which room I am going to try to take over next!
Why did you decide to start a blog? For the sense of community? The fame? The free fabric?
In the beginning, I started the blog just to document things that I had made. I wanted a place where I could keep pictures of all the things I was sewing that were special to me. Putting the pictures up on a blog allowed me to show my Mom and other friends and family what I was up to and what I was making.
Eventually, I began to find community in it, too. I don’t have any local friends that sew, so blogging allows me to share my passion with others all around the world. I love that I can share my creations with people who understand the work that went into it. I have gained so much inspiration and knowledge from other blogs, I hope that I can share some of that through my blog.