Our Super Online Sewing Match judge introductions continue with the super-talented Andrea from four square walls. Andrea has an incredible wardrobe of garments, sewn to suit her signature style. Just look at this project gallery, and then check out her recent Me Made May posts (weeks one, two, three and four, oh my gosh!). Visit four square walls and drop your jaw in awe as you peruse her sewing projects. Andrea will be a fantastic judge and we’re excited to have her in on the fun!

We’re asking all of our judges to share a little about themselves as we enter Round One of the contest. Enjoy!

Sew Mama Sew: How did you get started sewing?
Andrea: When I was about 10, I started taking group sewing lessons in the basement of a neighbor’s house. Maybe it was my mom’s original idea, but I did enjoy it because it reminded me of piecing together a puzzle; throughout my childhood and adolescence, my dad and I would spend long hours working on jigsaw puzzles together. I’m not sure if there is a “puzzle gene” that is passed through generations, but the required patience, extreme attention to detail, trial and error, and organizational skills obviously translate well to sewing. I was gifted my first sewing machine in college, but it wasn’t until I moved into my first roommate-less apartment that I began using it for more than just hemming skirts. I discovered apparel sewing blogs and once I got started on my own, sewing suddenly became something I couldn’t live without.


SMS: What is one bit of advice you’d give to someone trying to advance their sewing skills?
Andrea: Try a pattern from an independent pattern company that is slightly above your perceived skill level. I know that many sewing bloggers sing wild praises over independent patterns, but there is definitely something to be said for those companies that really focus on the details that make for a superior learning and sewing experience. I see it all the time-– the confidence boost that sewists get when they insert their first zipper on the Colette Hazel sundress, or make their first welt pockets with the Sewaholic Thurlow trouser pattern. And because these patterns are so widely used in the online sewing community, there is a wealth of inspiration and information that accompanies each one. Many of the designers now host sew-alongs on their blogs, so the step-by-step photo tutorials can be extremely helpful for someone who is trying something new. And you can always e-mail the patternmaker directly to get a thorough response. Try that with McCall’s!

SMS: Was there a project you finished that made you realize you were sewing on a whole new level?
Andrea: Yes, the first jacket I made, using the Sewaholic Minoru pattern. It looks more complicated than it actually is to make, but even though it had its problems, it felt like such an accomplishment to finish a fully-lined wool jacket. Before that, most of the garments I made were poor fabric choices or just weren’t up-to-snuff for my daily wardrobe. That jacket though I wore every day, weather permitting. (Sadly, I’ve since lost it).


SMS: Do you have a favorite, recent item you’ve sewn?
Andrea: I’m quite proud of the sundress I made for Project Sewn. I dreamed up that original design idea for the pintucked sweetheart bodice, and I was pleased that I figured out how to do it. Plus I always love the garments I make from vintage fabrics; it feels like there’s more of a story or authenticity to them somehow.

SMS: What’s next for you?
Andrea: I don’t see my sewing and blogging hobby really becoming more than just a hobby. I’m happiest when I’m not sewing under pressure or trying to achieve perfection and meet someone else’s standards. I have a full-time job that is completely unrelated to sewing, and while I think I will always prefer to be in the sewing room than any office, it seems best for me to keep my creative outlet separate from my professional life. I just hope to keep on sewing for fun and sharing my creations with fellow enthusiasts– the blogosphere provides the best form of encouragement.