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 Jennifer Schramm.
How long have you been sewing?
I’ve been sewing off and on since I was a kid. I guess I first used a machine in 8th grade in Home Economics to make what I would now consider a pretty ugly 80’s style sweatshirt. After that, I used (and probably broke) my mom’s machine many times making my own Halloween costumes. When I got married, my mom bought me my own machine (“You have to have a sewing machine if you’re going to get married”), which I used initially to make curtains and cushions for our new house. When my first daughter was born I made some cute outfits, but I never really had all that much confidence since I was pretty much learning from books like the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (which I still have and still use). Last year, I started taking classes at MD because I wanted to make my third child a quilt. I loved it! I’ve taken many classes now and what it’s really done for me is given me the confidence to use the skills I apparently already have and take on new challenges.
Tell us about a favorite recent sewing project.
This summer was great for me. I had many fun projects including clothes for me and my kids, bonnets, hats, bags, and quilts.
My favorite was the completion of a really nice quilt using Moda’s “It’s a Hoot” line. The pattern was Grandma Mary’s Five Patch Quilt from Sweet Jane’s Quilting and Design on Etsy. It was supposed to be a wedding gift, but I had a hard time giving this one away (and my husband wouldn’t let me), so now it resides in my living room.
As with many of my quilts these days, I almost like the back more than the front.
I also had a chance to work on a project for my kids’ elementary school. Vernon elementary is right down the street from MD and their mascot is the owls. One of the parents wanted to have an adult-sized owl costume to wear for school events and I volunteered to make it. I can’t say this was my favorite project, but it certainly was a challenge and turned out quite well. Meet “Vern” the Vernon owl, who now even has his own school ID and a spot in the yearbook I hear! I don’t know if I ever would have been able to complete this project without Erica and Lupine’s help with sizing and trouble shooting!
What is your favorite sewing tip/tool?
This is a tough one! There are so many! I can’t say enough about Swedish tracing paper, but Autumn covered that one! I think I’m going to talk a bit about making nice seams when piecing quilt tops though. The best tool for this is the 1/4″ foot that has a nice guide on it. the guide keeps your seams straight and at a perfect distance from the edge that is essential for quilting. In my many quilting classes at MD, Elizabeth has stressed the importance of ironing those 1/4″ seams open, so I’ve overcome my disgust of ironing and now consider my iron one of my most important tools! One day, when my current iron dies, I plan to get the fancy robot iron that I get to use when I’m at MD!
Where do you sew?
My sewing room recently moved from a dark and dreary basement to our bedroom as my husband has begun finishing off his “man cave.” Where, you may ask, is the “woman cave?” He tells me that will be the laundry room! Anyway, my new space has better light than the basement, and some more space to spread out. The only downside is that I can’t sew after my husband goes to bed!
What sewing project do you plan to tackle next?
This weekend, I’m taking Elizabeth’s Quilt Block class on Dresden plates (it looks like there are still spots if you want to join me!). Other than that, I have tons of projects in the works! The holidays are coming and we are planning a “do-it-yourself” handmade Christmas this year. I can’t really talk about those projects, but I can show you what I currently have on the cutting table.
On the left is the beginning of a quilt for a soon-to-be-born baby girl using charm squares from Moda’s Sugar Pop line. On the top right is the yet-uncut fabric to make a pair of matching Little Woo cardigans (Patterns by Figgys) for my girls (nice bamboo knit in navy from Bolt and white with flowers trim). On bottom right is the completed quilt top for a Snapshots quilt (see Elizabeth’s The Practical Guide to Patchwork). I haven’t finished this yet because I’m still toying with the idea of adding a border. Now that my schedule is clearing up a bit, I’ve also been hoping that MD offers their Treasure Pocket Pants and the girl’s smocked holiday dress classes again! I definitely get things done faster (and have more fun) when I get to take a class rather than doing it on my own!