We’ve been big fans of Rae Hoekstra’s work and Made By Rae blog for years. Last year she did the ever-popular Spring Ruffle Top Tutorial for us and we love her Spring Top Weeks. This summer we’re thrilled to have Rae on our Sew,Mama,Sew! Editorial Board, helping us plan Back to School and beyond! Enjoy Rae’s interview below, and look for more from Rae here in the coming months.

Sew,Mama,Sew!: How long have you been sewing?
Rae: I was pretty small, maybe 8 or 9 years old when my mom taught me to sew with a machine. My earliest sewing memory is of hand-sewing patchwork squares together while listening to a Sesame Street record.

SMS: What do you enjoy about sewing? What are your favorite things to make?
Rae: I enjoy sewing because it can be completely mindless, mind-bendingly complicated, or something in between (most of the time). I find that therapeutic especially since I deal with small children all day. My favorite things to make are clothes for myself. Right now I can’t stop obsessing over a dress I saw on another blog the other day… I find myself sitting by the sandbox thinking about how to make it fit! just! right! And then, what FABRIC to use? Sewing for me also produces items that can be worn for a longer period of time, I love sewing for my kids but once it’s outgrown or stained upon, it’s dead to me.

SMS: How do you find time to fit creativity (sewing and any other creative loves) into your life?
Rae: Sometimes I just don’t have time to sew. I also have times when I ignore the messes around the house and the stuff I’m supposed to do and sit at my machine. I have a very patient husband who cooks so I don’t have to think about dinner when the kids are napping, I can sew instead. If I have energy I sew at night. I also have a friend or babysitter watch my kids so I can sew and work on the blog and patterns at least once a week if possible.

SMS: Do you have a favorite sewing tip or skill that’s made things work better for you?
Rae: Cleaning my machine and changing my needle often. I know no one likes to clean their machine, but I do it anyway, and I have lots less swears since I started.

SMS: What’s a favorite thing you’ve made lately? Why?
Rae: I made a bonnet for my baby daughter (she’s almost one) that has piping, and I really love it. It gets used almost every day!

SMS: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Rae: I live in southeast Michigan with my husband and kids (3 year old son and 1 year old girl). I taught science and math to middle and high-schoolers for seven years before taking time off to take care of my kids and sew. I started a business this past year selling digital sewing patterns from my blog. I play violin, piano, and organ.