Sew it All: When did you learn to sew? Who taught you?
Elizabeth: I learned to sew from my mom and great Home Economics teachers, my eighth-grade Home Ec teacher was especially influential. She let me sew whatever I wanted and didn’t give me a curriculum. It really inspired me to think outside the box with sewing.
Liz: My mom gave me a sewing machine shortly after I got married for Christmas. I thought it was the WORST gift ever and didn’t intend to use it. But a few years later she dragged me to a quilt block making class and I was hooked.
SIA: How long have you been blogging?
Elizabeth: Both Liz and I have been blogging for about 3 years.
SIA: What are your favorite project types?
Elizabeth: I really love to sew childrenswear.
Liz: I love sewing for my girls—especially skirts and dresses. (It’s my two favorite things combined into one—my kids and sewing!)
SIA: Who do you sew for?
Elizabeth: I mostly sew for my children, well, my daughter gets most of my sewing although the boys get a few occasional pieces. But girls clothes are just much more appreciated around my house!
Liz: I sew mostly for my girls but I also enjoy sewing for myself and working on projects like blankets and bags.
SIA: What inspires you?
Elizabeth: I get inspiration from lots of places. I love to look through vintage patterns and books, there is so much sewing inspiration there! I love to make very classic-looking pieces and then add a bit of a modern twist to them.
Liz: Colors, patterns, and textures—how they can be combined and how they will look, fit, and feel on the project I’m working on. I love those three things…I always have.
SIA: What is your sewing room like?
Elizabeth: I like to have my sewing supplies out whenever I get the itch to sew. I found an old kitchen table that I painted that fits both my sewing machines so they can stay out all the time. I have a painted peg board above my sewing table to keep a lot of my notions out of little hands but still accessible to me and I keep my fabric out and stacked in an open bookshelf so I can see all the lovely colors, prints and textures.
Liz: My sewing room is my family room—that way I can sew while the children play. It’s perfect! (Even the shelf in the family room is stocked with toys on the bottom shelves and sewing notions on the top shelves!) Someday I’d like an official sewing room but right now I like things just how they are.
SIA: What has been your greatest sewing success?
Elizabeth: I am not sure there is one great success, but there are lots of little ones. Like the first time I accomplished a zipper on the side of a skirt, or the first time I did a welt pocket or a zippered fly–I found out that I really could do it. They didn’t always look great but I knew that I had done it all on my own. Those are the successes I remember.
Liz: I feel most sucessful when I make something that both my girls and I are happy with.
SIA: What’s the story behind your blog name?
Liz: My oldest son is named Simon and when we named him my grandma kept telling us that everyone would call him “Simple Simon.” That same year I applied for a business licence under the name “Simple Simon” and started the blog for that business which eventually evolved into the blog it is today and is called “Simple Simon and Company.” It’s an applicable name though, most everything that Elizabeth and I post (from projects to tutorials) are what we would consider “simple” and that anyone could complete.
SIA: Do you have a sewing pet peeve?
Elizabeth: I would say running out of bobbin thread and not noticing at all
Liz: I don’t love cutting out patterns. Once I have an idea in my mind I want to just jump straight to the sewing.
SIA: Do you have any bad sewing habits?
Elizabeth: I tend to get going on a project and sew things backwards a lot! (Can I blame it on kid distractions or sewing at midnight?)
Liz: Lots—but the worst is probably that I really hate to measure anything so I eyeball and guess whenever I can get away with it.
SIA: What’s the best piece of sewing advice you ever got?
Elizabeth: To keep going. I remember the first dress I ever made for my daughter. It was a gathered skirt attached to a T-shirt and I didn’t realize that the woven material and the knit were very different materials to sew together without puckering. I got really frustrated….but my husband (who doesn’t sew at all) told me if it was something I wanted to do, to go buy another t-shirt and to start over. So, I did. I have to tell myself that often, when something isn’t working out, that it will eventually, even if it means buying new fabric and starting over!
Liz: I’m not sure it’s the “best piece of sewing advice” but it is definitely the most memorable—at a quilting class I was scolded by the instructor for holding pins in my mouth. After which she preceeded to tell me a long and incredibly gory story about her neighbor who swallowed a pin while doing the same thing that I had been doing and how it had to be extracted from her throat. I’ve never put a pin in my mouth since then. Not even for a second.
Thank you both, and congratulations on being chosen as a Casting Call finalist! We can’t wait to see you at the Sewing & Stitchery Expo!