I was so excited to hear of Deborah Moebe's new book, Stitch by Stitch. It is a wonderfully laid out book that teaches you to sew one project at a time and comes with a CD of patterns. Deborah owns a fabulous fabric shop and sewing lounge down in Atlanta called Whipstitch. And I'm not ashamed to admit I drooled a bit when I saw the photos.
Deborah: My mom taught me and my sister to sew when we were young, and we'd use hand-sewing needles to make outfits for our dolls or bags to carry our treasures in. I dabbled a bit in high school, but didn't really get enthusiastic until I was in college and worked in the School of Theatre costume shop--seeing the artistry and the excitement in that room made me re-think sewing and what it could represent. I went from seeing it as something utilitarian and practical to something creative and inspiring.
Deborah:The shop started as an outgrowth of my children's clothing line (which I've since retired). I sold my overstock fabrics on a whim, and it took off--I quickly realized that selling fabric gave me the chance to indulge my fabric greed, and it's been a whirlwind ride ever since! The bricks-and-mortar version opened in May of 2009 and moved to a larger location this March--we were overflowing with classes and students, and I needed more room to accommodate the numbers of folks who are learning to love sewing and want to practice their skills. We offer everything from the very basics of sewing all the way through advanced techniques like patternmaking and fabric design. I think what sets Whipstitch apart from other shops is the focus on community and building relationships through sewing--it matters to me very deeply that I not only share my love of the practice of sewing, but that I pass on the way sewing can teach you about yourself and open you up to connection with others. I want the shop to really be a hub for all that, and have been so excited to see it spread and grow!
Deborah: I love sewing books, and collect them with a passion. I also get frustrated when suggesting titles to new stitchers, because there are so many amazing project books out there and so few that give the bare-bones basics about sewing to get someone started! I wanted this book to do that, to give a new stitcher the tools to see their ideas become real. I wanted to avoid having it be just a collection of skills, so it's designed to be done in sequence, with each project leading to the next and each skill building on the one before. That way, you learn each technique in context, and you know where and when to apply the ideas as you move along.
Deborah: Writing the book was really a ton of fun--it was so exciting to plan out each section and imagine how a reader would see the material, then figure out ways to phrase it all and lay it out to make it the most useful. I love planning things and sketching them out, so that was like playtime for me. The loooong nights were pretty tough, though, especially toward the end when it was really crunch time. And it was hard to let go and accept that at some point, my part was done and it was time to let the book go out into the world--that was scary. But I loved, loved the experience overall and am already hoping I get the chance to do it over again!
Deborah: Some days, not very well! I really, really love what I do, and am grateful every morning that I'm able to wake up one more day and get another chance to do it. My family, though, is the most important thing to me, and in the end, the only thing that's real in this world. So I try to live my work in the sense that I do the things I was going to do anyway--sew for myself and my home and my kids--and translate that into the blog and the book and the shop when I can, and always stay willing to cry uncle and ask for help whenever that work interferes with my family. This past year has been totally insane in terms of the number of opportunities and experiences that have come my way, and I'm learning how to say no more and be patient more and forgive myself more for taking time out to be with my kids and husband with no worries or expectations for work. I'm looking forward to next year being a little slower, but I'm enjoying the ride now while I can!