Hello dear readers! Today I have the special honour of introducing to you Cynthia from the blog The Sewing Dork. I began reading Cynthia’s blog last winter and was hooked almost immediately by her charm and wit. She has oodles of great step by step tutorials in which she shows her readers how to make projects ranging from a women’s halter top to children’s bibs, soakers, skirts and bloomers to reusable shopping bags and even an aromatherapy hot bag to relieve your back pain after a gruelling day of sewing.
Now without further ado ...
Lydia: Hello Cynthia! I was so pleased when you agreed to do this interview as I truly enjoy reading your blog, it is always full of wit and your tutorials are great.
What prompted you to start your blog?
Cynthia: Last year I googled "how to sew _____..." and someone's blog came up with a free tutorial. I thought, "Hey, that's cool!" I read various crafty blogs for a couple of months then decided that I had something to share too.
L:You have really built quite a following online as the “Sewing Dork” - How did you choose the name for your blog and why?
C: You know how some good sewers are math nerds? I'm the opposite, so Sewing Dork seemed fitting.
L: When did you first start sewing?
C: There are some embarrassing family photos of me with my sewing projects around the age of six. My Barbies were dressed in some pretty interesting homemade stuff. Since we always had a sewing machine in the house growing up, I was able to stick with it.
L: What type of machine do you use for your projects?
C: Funny you ask that. I don't remember any of the women in my family ever having a new machine. We all sewed on these big antique clunkers, or the heavy metal portable ones. All the machines did was straight stitch, and if you were lucky, zigzag. When I was 24 I bought myself a brand spanking new Elna. I've never heard of that brand since, but I was sewing on that same machine until this spring when Mr. Dork bought me a new one from the local quilt shop. I also bought my first ever serger one year ago. It's a Janome and the well-meaning lady at the shop assured me it was the easiest of the monsters to thread. After several years of post secondary education, I was mortified that I couldn't thread the damned thing. It took me a week to get the hang of it. I didn't know this until I bought the serger - a serger serges , but it can't straight stitch and top stitch, so a serger is not a replacement for your regular machine.
L: What made you decide to begin making clothing for your family? Had you been doing this consistently prior to your blog or did that end up spurring you on further?
C: I should be ashamed to admit this: when I was a teenager, I used to take perfectly good clothes and "modify" them to fit tighter or look more like the clothes I saw in movies. I also used to sew questionable "creative" pieces and talk my good friends into wearing them to school. By the time my first child came along, I was hooked on making little dresses. I have been sewing on and off all my life, but the blogging has certainly motivated me to sew more.
L: On your blog you talk about living a simpler lifestyle: growing a garden, knitting, sewing, using up old scraps, being more in touch with the earth, losing the TV (you don’t own one as I understand), socializing with neighbours etc. Do you do all of these things and do you find that the Internet in anyway has helped you to connect more with people who share your views?
C: I can't say enough good things about the resources on the Internet... I can Google anything and connect with ideas from all over the world, and I am grateful for that, however I am an old-fashioned people person. I don't own a cellphone because if I want to talk to someone, I'll go knock on their door kind of thing. I think that our modern lifestyle is totally disconnected from Mother Nature in a detrimental way. I'm not a saint or a fanatic, but as much as is possible in a big city I choose to live close to the earth.
L: You mention on your blog that you will not go anywhere that you can’t walk, can you expand on this?
C: Er, I misled people there. I do own a car, but I bike/stroll or walk everywhere I can and take a commuter train to work. I dislike squishing an unwilling toddler into a car seat, and I detest sitting in traffic. We live near the children's school, shopping, a zillion parks, etc. so I only drive when it's really freaking cold or when I am visiting some place not transit friendly.
L: What inspires you?
C: Making people happy.
L:What or who would you say is your greatest influence?
C: Women of the past. I'm intrigued how ingenious pioneer women were at keeping the family fed, clothed and happy without all of the resources we have today.
L: What is your favourite or one of your favourite projects that you have made?
C: Do I have to pick just one?
L: On that same note, do you have any funny stories about a project gone wrong?
C: Have you got time for a novel? The funny thing about blogging is that you the writer can choose to showcase only your good creations, when in reality there are likely many crafts-gone-wrong that will never see the lens of your camera.
L: What are your hopes for the future of your blog/business?
C: As long as I can keep figuring out how to make things, I'm happy to keep sharing.
L: Do you have any advice for people just starting out with blogging or their own businesses?
C: Yikes, I am a terrible business person. I like to give stuff away. It is inspiring and motivating to post something you've made and have all kinds of people you've never met write nice comments about it. That's what's nice about blogging.
L: Is there anything else that you would like to share with everyone?
C: Um, a giveaway?
L: Thank you so much Cynthia for participating in this interview! It was a pleasure hearing about why you sew and what inspired you to begin.
And now for the GIVEAWAY!
Cynthia created these gorgeous reusable ribbon tie gift bags for you - my readers. These Eco-friendly bags can be used time and time again to wrap gifts or store personal items. Each comes with a matching handmade mini card. The Eco theme of the bags is carried on in the fabrics that Cynthia chose - trees and peace symbols!
Here are a couple of nice closeups of the bags - super cute aren't they? I adore the patterns on the fabrics.
A close up of one of the mini cards reveals the word recycle has been sewn on. What a cute way to remind people to be sustainable!
HOW THE GIVEAWAY WORKS:
To Enter: This Giveaway is open to EVERYONE (yes- worldwide!).
Simply leave a comment after this post and make sure you include your email address so Cynthia can contact you if you are the winner. The winner will be chosen via Random.org.
Followers: to thank you for following me you may enter TWICE. Simply add a second comment stating that you follow my blog. I wish all of you luck!
The Giveaway will close on July 14th. You may enter until I have marked "CLOSED" on the posts title. Good Luck !