Our Back to School line-up for August (plus all of the fun for September and October) is due in no small part to the genius of our newest Board Members! First off we want to welcome Shelly Figueroa from Patterns by Figgy’s to the Sew,Mama,Sew! Editorial Board. Shelly recently did a great post for us, Tips for Embellishing Knits + Knit Appliqué Tutorial, with her business partner and co-designer Karen LePage. Check out their new fall patterns, plus the Beach Bum Hoodie Back to School favorite for boys (you can still comment to win that pattern all week, by the way). Enjoy our interview with Shelly today!

Sew,Mama,Sew!: How long have you been sewing?
Shelly: My mother started to teach me how to sew around the age of 5 but I don’t think my passion for sewing began until I joined the 4-H club when I was 8. I suppose I have to reveal my age now… I’ve been sewing for roughly 28 years.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What do you enjoy about sewing? What are your favorite things to make?
Shelly: What I most enjoy about sewing is seeing the finished product. I love to snip off all the little strings, hang the garment on my wall hook and just stare at it. You’ll probably hear me say, ahhhh. There is also a meditative feeling I get when I’m sewing. It’s my Calgon.

My favorite things to make are gifts for loved ones and friends. The gifts I like to give are the “For No Reason” gifts. Especially for my mom. She seems to always get the shaft because I know she loves me no matter what so when I sew something for her, I get so excited.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: How do you find time to fit creativity (sewing and any other creative loves) into your life?
Shelly: Before I began my business I never had to “fit it in” because it was just something I did everyday. It was like getting dressed in the morning, I would never forget that! Now life is a little different. I have a demand I must meet, deadlines, children, husband, teaching… The list really does go on. I have two calenders: One huge one that lives above my desk that has all of my deadlines and an “At A Glance” that is with me at all times for all events I need to schedule. Everything is scheduled to the minute. I am extremely structured but I do understand when things don’t go as planned. Some days the answer to that question is, I have no idea.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Do you have a favorite sewing tip or skill that’s made things work better for you?
Shelly: 1) Your seamripper is not your enemy, it is your best friend; 2) If I’m making multiples of something I always cut everything at once. Cutting is the most annoying part of creating for me so I like to get it out of the way first; 3) Double-sided water soluable tape. My business partner Karen introduced me to this magic tape and I am forever thankful.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: What’s a favorite thing you’ve made lately? Why?
Shelly: Before releasing a pattern you have to run 1000 tests and most recently we tested our Raglan Tee. The boys were getting new T-shirts everyday until the pattern was perfected. I thought I was finally finished sewing T-shirts for the next year until your shop posted some new knits by Patty Young and so I had to make just one more. I LOVE HER KNITS.

Simple & cute = a happy child & a happy mommy. Thanks to Patty I’ll be making another years worth of tees.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Shelly: I moved to Oregon a little over a year ago and I believe it’s the best move my family has ever made. My boys (husband included) are the most important people in my life, oh and my mom & dad (incredible people). I am sarcastic, straight forward, silly & focused. A perfect day for me would be to have a picnic on the beach with my boys and dance around, finish an entire wardrobe for myself, make all my “for no reason at all” gifts for the year, go to the movies, go to the spa, ship 1000 patterns, learn how to quilt, eat pancakes & take a bath. Is that too much in one day? I don’t think my “At A Glance” has that much room in it! I’ll start with the picnic.