Meet The Designer – Amy Alan

Amy Alan Headshot Meet The Designer   Amy Alan

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Amy Alan. She can be seen on Sew It All TV  and her projects have been in Sew News and Sew It All magazines as well as many others. She has done almost all there is to do in sewing. From sewing ‘weird’ projects as a kid, to getting a degree in fashion design, working as a technical designer, alterations expert and a sewing educator. She espouses the all important principles of fit and precision to her students. You can see her knowledge of sewing, the art and science of it, in her thoughtful tutorials and instructions. Please be sure to check out Amy at her website Really Handmade for more on her classes, projects and tutorials. 

Please read a few questions we asked Amy about her sewing style, what she likes (and doesn’t like) and then answer the question at the end to be entered to win One Piece Wearables by Sheila Brennan and the 8th Avenue Skirt pattern from the Sewing Workshop.

prize 1311 200 Meet The Designer   Amy AlanWhat is your sewing pet peeve?

I’m not a fan of making blind hems on full circle skirts. They turn out beautifully, but all of the slight gathering and pressing is quite annoying!

Who taught you to sew?

My mother would thread a needle for me and knot the end of it, hand me an old pillowcase, and send me on my way after showing me how to make a stitch or two. Other than that, I would have to say that I didn’t really learn how to sew until I took my first apparel course in college.

What is your favorite way to embellish projects?

I love to embellish my projects with contrasting bias tapes and vintage buttons.

Who do you sew for most often?

Myself! For a long time I used all of my sewing time to make things for other people. Baby quilts, custom pieces and class samples were what I worked on a lot of the time. Then, whenever I needed a new shirt or dress, I wouldn’t have time to make anything for myself, so I’d have to buy something off the rack that didn’t fit quite right and wasn’t what I really wanted. I decided to take on less work so I could spend my time sewing for myself instead of shopping for mass-produced garments.

What’s the oldest piece of fabric in your stash?

It’s probably a cotton blend from the 1960s. It’s a crazy wild print, made up of mustard, red and a blue in a paisley design. I can never decide if it’s ugly or cute, but I don’t think I’ll be able to really decide that until I make something out of it.

What’s your best sewing tip?

Learn the difference between ironing, pressing and steaming. A well-pressed garment looks more professional and lays or drapes much better than one that was hastily ironed.

I am currently working on perfecting a knit pattern to serge my own cardigans out of sweater knit.

 What’s your favorite project to make?

I have a very easy woven tank top pattern that is a breeze to whip up. It’s a great project to get me back on track when I’m feel unmotivated or uninspired and I need to complete something to feel productive again.

What’s your favorite season to sew for?

Fall! I love bundling up in layers, so dreamy wools and soft jerseys mixed together always make me happy.

When shopping for sewing supplies, I always buy too much yardage. I get scared that I’ll need a bit more and there won’t be any left!

What inspires you to sew?

I am inspired by a lot of online friends. I’ve met many great sewists thru my blog (ReallyHandmade.com), and I enjoy talking to them thru emails and social media about their projects. It always makes me inspired to get into my studio.

What do you do when you get frustrated with a project?

When I get frustrated with a project, I walk away for a few days. I usually find a quick project that I can get done in a few hours time to clear my mind, or I’ll read a book outside. It’s usually when I forget about a project that a great solution for it pops into my mind!

 How about you? What is your favorite season to sew for? Are you like Amy and love fall for inspiration.

On October 8, we picked a winner – Kimberlee! Kimberlee was announced as the winner on Facebook. Thanks to everyone who entered and to Amy! We hope you check out here website and see what other great projects she is working on and her future plans. 

About Jill

I write for the Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery blogs. I love sewing, vintage and would love to get a comment from you!
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19 Responses to Meet The Designer – Amy Alan

  1. Maris Olsen says:

    I vote for fall as well! In the PNW, “fall” sewing really encompasses September thru June. :-) You need layers, including something waterproof, so you can increase or decrease the warmth factor. Summers are pretty short here, so you don’t get as much bang for your sewing buck.

  2. Vicki says:

    I love sewing for Christmas

  3. Sharon says:

    I like to sew in the winter when there is nothing else going on except cold and snow!

  4. Carol Krencik says:

    I prefer Fall because my favorite things to sew are jackets

  5. dara says:

    I must say summer is my favorite time to sew. so many quick projects to make.

  6. Suzie says:

    My favourite season to sew for is the summer, as I like using lighter more colourful fabrics :)

  7. Carol K E says:

    I sew mostly for our granddaughters who love summer dresses and swimsuit coverups.

  8. Cherie says:

    I love sewing for two seasons: fall and summer!

  9. Karen A says:

    I would pick winter because I love sewing with warm and cozy fabrics.

  10. Karen Tremonti says:

    I like to sew for the Christmas season. Each Christmas I make new stocking for my children and now for my grandchildren.

  11. Kimberlee says:

    I like to sew for any season! Birthdays especially. ;) Like Amy I am starting to sew for myself finally & I made clothes this summer, the end of the season so I have to wait till next year to wear the dress but I’m getting use of my top. I have another dress to make, but not sure if I’ll start now or next year.

  12. Shawn Bohall says:

    Spring and Summer–love all the cool, bright colors

  13. Beth Hinneberg says:

    I like sewing jackets for any season. Saves so much money doing the sewing myself.

  14. Katherine says:

    Although I always feel splendidly fresh and free in the Spring, Fall apparel flatters my mood and silhouette best. Our home decor reflects the Fall palette as well, and we always feel cozy here.

  15. Mary Angerer says:

    I love working with wool, so I love Fall and Winter sewing. But then–I love smocking and sewing for children with pretty lawns and batistes, so I guess Summer is another favorite season!

  16. Myrna Goddard says:

    Wow when don’t I like to sew but I agree with fall. I love the heavier fabrics. We don’t use a lot of wool in our area but we do wear a lot of jackets. Its lots of fun to make some lined light weight jackets and lined matching slacks.

  17. Evelyn says:

    I like sewing for spring the best. Spring colors are so fresh and pretty.

  18. Jennifer says:

    I love sewing for summer – anything from maxi dresses and shifts to tops, skirts, straight leg pants and wrap dresses. I just love the versatility of summer clothing.

  19. Dea says:

    I like to sew in the winter. When it’s cold and dreary outside, I am in my sewing room – busy as a bee in summer!

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