A visit to Bitter Betty Blogs always makes you smile. Bethany’s blog is full of everything from her New Vintage Wardrobe project to fun photo shoots, amazing sewing skills and the latest episodes of sewing wisdom from Sally Stitch. If you’re new to Bitter Betty Blogs and all things Bethany you’re in for a treat. If you already know all about her work you’ll understand why we’re excited she’s on the SMS Board. Welcome, Bethany!

SMS: How long have you been sewing?
Bethany: I started sewing when I was pretty young. 11 or 12, I think. Mostly highly supervised gift making. Nothing too hard, but we did make a shirt for my dad. I did the long straight stuff. Mom did the placates and the tricky stuff. My mom was always sewing clothes, dolls, quilts, everything!

I got a sewing machine of my own when I was about 19. I did quite a bit of home décor sewing, curtains, lots of pillows, and slipcovers. I made my first “from scratch garment for myself” about 13 months ago and since then I have made 19 different pieces of clothing for me and a few gifts and repeats!

SMS: What do you enjoy about sewing?

B: I like that it is technical and a little intuitive too. I love how different an item can look from the flat fabric. I love finishing something well. No raw edges, no hanging threads; all finished, inside and out. It’s just so much a skill set. Like cooking. You learn what you are doing by following the recipes, following the instructions, then you can start trying some really exciting improvising. I always have wanted to be the kind of woman who designs her own clothes. That to me is the absolute epitome of style.

SMS: What are your favorite things to make?
B: I love making all sorts of things. I really like making toys and clothes, but making nice things for the house is fulfilling too… That is a ridiculous answer isn’t it? I do talk to my toys while I’m making them so maybe I bond most with the toys.

SMS: How do you find time to fit creativity (sewing and any other creative loves) into your life?

B: I just am not a very good housekeeper. I could be. I was a maid before, and I did some catering.. I know what to do. I just would rather make stuff. I keep the vacuum out all the time, to make it look like I’m trying. I have been known to serve fish sticks or canned soup for dinner if I have a project that has captured my attention. But I do have it easy. I am a SAHM with a ridiculously tiny crafty business and a 12 year old. I’m really lucky these days. But I sewed before too, when I was working and commuting 12 hours a day, back then I just gave up sleep to sew or craft, and I often embroidered on my coffee break. Must Craft!

SMS: Do you have a favorite sewing tip or skill that’s made things work better for you?
B: Hmmm….baste, baste, baste, baste. And Iron. A lot. Press it all. Press it twice. My seam ripper is my best friend.

I love old sewing books (and new ones) … I get lots of tips and tricks from them.

SMS: What’s a favorite thing you’ve made lately?
B: I am just finishing a dress I will wear to my 13th Wedding Anniversary dinner. Why? I made out of vintage material. It has tons of skirt, it is blue and yellow and olive green. It fits me like it was made for me… Oh yeah, because it was! And I am really excited to sew a dress for my 40th birthday party. I want to look like Auntie Mame!

SMS: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
B: I am compulsively creative. I have rarely met a craft I didn’t take up, at least for awhile. I love vintage patterns and modern décor, I am crazy about my 12 year old son and my husband and my cat Milo. I live in a funny little cabin in a really small town outside of Santa Cruz. I have a garden that has been neglected since I started sewing more. These days I am doing some freelance styling… and I am about to have my first project published in a book or two this summer!

Bethany’s modeling a vintage smock in this second photo and has designed a pattern based on the top. It will be a free and fun project for us all as a part of Women’s Clothing Month in May!