MD Sewist Spotlight: Jen Carlton Bailly

Every other week, we’ll be profiling one of our customers to find out a little bit about their sewing life. This week the MD Sewist Spotlight is on Jen Carlton Bailly.

How long have you been sewing?

My best friend taught me how to sew a straight line about 10 years ago. That lasted for a few days until I got frustrated. About four years ago I bought an old 1972 Husqvarna Viking. Got frustrated. Then I learned that I was putting the bobbin in wrong. Who knew! Well, I guess I could have read the manual.

At any rate, I really didn’t start really sewing until about 2 years ago. My daughter had received a quilt while in the NICU. I loved it so much and was so touched I wanted to make one (some) to donate back. I Googled “quilts” and my entire life changed. For days I was plotting and planning. Then, I read about a “fabric stash” and how everyone must have one! I had a little one, but I NEEDED quilting fabrics! So I started fabric shopping… and well now, I have a whole room dedicated to sewing.

I sew every single day. If I don’t sew, I get cranky.

Tell us about a favorite recent sewing project.

Well, it’s just before Christmas as I write this so it’s been a whirlwind of sewing. I just finished a craft bazaar where I was selling embroidered towels, large zipper wristlet bags, and some pretty kick butt tote bags. But today, today was a good productive day-PJ’s for both kids (Amelia-5 and Zeke-3), a quick and easy skirt and a very PINK robe for Amelia, and finished the day with a cute little zipper bag for my friend. Oh and I laid out my BeeTweet quilt!


What is your favorite sewing tip/tool?

I have recently learned most of my sewing tips from Amy Alan. I like to just stand by her and eavesdrop as she talks to people!

My favorite tip however for people that are just starting out with making items from patterns: READ THE DIRECTIONS. No I mean read, don’t skim, don’t read it while watching TV, really read it. If you don’t understand a word, look it up (or ask on Twitter)!

The tool I can’t live without, Best Press. I really like nice crisp seams with I am piecing quilts, Best Press smells nice and works perfectly!


Where do you sew?

As mentioned above, I have a room in my house dedicated to sewing. It’s just a small bedroom, but my husband totally pimped it out for me with some Ikea Kitchen Cabinets, Shelves and a big butcher block in the center for cutting. He worked hard and fast and built me something awesome. (As mentioned above, I get a little cranky when I can’t sew!)


What sewing project(s) do you plan to tackle next? 

Next year will bring a better understanding of garment sewing I’m sure! I’ve been working hard and figuring out pattern adjustments and reading and re-reading the directions.

I also would like to keep my Etsy shop full of my new tote bags and wristlets. Oh and of course, there will be a dozen or so quilts in there too! One day I plan to have one for every holiday.


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