I’m excited to kick off Deborah Moebes’ blog tour for her new book, Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew One Project at a Time. You can read more about the book in my earlier post here. I decided to ask her some random questions which she kindly answered below. In addition to writing the book, Deborah Moebes is a sewing teacher and owner of Whipstitch Fabrics. There she is in her shop with her adorable new baby girl.
What do you hope people will come away with after reading this book?
It is totally my mission in life to lead people to passionately love sewing, and I sincerely hope the book will do that for everyone who reads it. I want for anyone who picks it up to feel confident at the machine, empowered to create, and guided in their practice and discovery of sewing. I think sewing is about so much more than making stuff–it’s about the satisfaction of creation, the joy of exploring our artistic sides, the community of working with others and exchanging ideas, and even the therapeutic effects of taking the time to build something by hand (and learn about ourselves as we do that). I see so many positive things come out of the process of learning to sew that don’t really get talked about, and if someone interacts with my book and gets even a little taste of that, I’m thrilled.
Do you enjoy sewing for the process or the end result?
There are few things that I love more than admiring a finished product, but I think that the biggest thrill I get out of sewing is in the challenge of it. I love trying something new and seeing how it all comes together, even if that means that some of the experiments don’t really pan out. I love the planning part of each project, and envisioning all the different ways it could go together, usually for wayyy too long before actually cutting anything out and putting needle and thread through fabric. Once I get started, though, it’s a little bit of a sewing blitzkrieg, and I usually power through until I hit a roadblock or finish–it’s so exciting to see the whole thing evolve right in front of me!
I never got to meet Sandra, but she’s become a mixture of sewing muse, shop mascot and icon. I’ve shared her story with so many people, and the more I learn about her the more she inspires me and the more grateful I am for the random things that happen in our lives, things we never could’ve planned, that lead to huge places for us. ”Meeting” Sandra was one of those events, and it put my feet on a path that I wouldn’t have chosen for myself because each of us can only see so far ahead–I would never have guessed that the satisfaction and the joy and the wholeness that I have in my life now would come to me because I bought a used sewing machine on eBay, but in a funny way, that’s exactly what happened. I’ve never been so grateful to someone who I never saw in real life before, but I sure feel as though I owe Sandra a lot!
Since you did all three in one year, which was harder — having a baby, opening a fabric shop or writing a book?
Yeesh, I have to pick one?!? They were all happening at the same time, so I think a lot of it blended together. My dad asked me the other day if I felt overwhelmed, and I told him if I really believed that any of this is happening for real I probably would, but a big part of me still thinks this year is all a big dream! Our new baby is #4, and my husband is an amazing father, so were seasoned parents at this point and I’m lucky that I have a lot of help with her. At the shop, I have an incredible staff who are all indispensable, and make it possible for me to get all the zillion things done that need to be done each day–I’m so grateful to have these talented women who love the store so much and work so hard to keep it running day in and day out. The book, though, might’ve been the hardest of the three, because even though I have an awesome editor and a very supportive publisher, ultimately the content of the book was all my work, and required a lot of hours and research and editing and anxiety and trial-and-error. I’ve also never written a book before (unless you count my Master’s thesis, which is 127 scholarly pages about acorns, and just as exciting as it sounds), and being in new territory with all the uncertainty that comes with doing something you’ve never done before is always tough. I’m enormously proud of all three and feel so delighted and happy when I see each of them, but I’d have to say the book was the greatest challenge I’ve had to meet this past year.
Are you watching Project Runway this season? If so, who’s your favorite?
Totally hooked! I am very, very fond of Mondo, which is kinda odd because I don’t think I could pull off a single one of his looks, and I generally gravitate toward a much more subdued color palette. But I’m really into how his pieces seem so disparate and yet they make a really cool whole. And I dig that he has such a clear vision but he’s still very humble and doesn’t seem to be out for blood or have a grudge–some of the other designers this season have this wild, angry, competitive energy that overshadows their actual work, which is a shame. I also like Christopher quite a bit, and think his style is very clean and under-the-radar–he’s one to watch.
To see the full list of blog tour stops, click here. And Whipstitch is hosting an all-night sew-a-thon in just a few weeks, so if you live in Atlanta, get ready to sew until you drop for a chance to win a spot at Deborah’s mountain sewing retreat.