Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara
Brett in her sewing room
The One-Hour Skirt Project
Baby Quilt Project
Stitched Bowls Project
Stitched Bowls Project
Brett Bara, the host of Knit & Crochet on PBS, is well known in the yarn world, however her newest crafty adventures have involved sewing. Her first solo book called Sewing in a Straight Line (Potter Craft) debuts TODAY! Here we have an exclusive interview with Brett all about her and Sewing in a Straight Line. For more on Brett, check out her website where she writes about her crafty adventures in Brooklyn.
And as an added bonus, we even have a video on how to create the super-cute One-hour Skirt shown at left. For the video, scroll to the bottom of the post. And if you still can't get enough of Sewing in a Straight Line, check back this Friday for our Freebie Friday Post, where we will be giving away five copies of this great book.
SewDaily: When did you first start sewing?
Brett Bara: I learned to sew when I was really young, probably around age 5 – from my mom. She's a big sewer and I have very early memories of the dresses she'd make for me. I LOVED going to the fabric store to flip through the big pattern books and pick out fabric for my clothes… and I can remember sitting at the sewing machine and learning to sew seams when I was really little. I made my first top (with her help) and wore it to show-and-tell in second grade, and by middle school I was making some clothes and starting to experiment with quilts.
SD: What made you first want to write a sewing book?
BB: My background professionally is in the yarn world (I was Editor in Chief of Crochet Today magazine for five years, and I'm the host of Knit & Crochet Now on PBS) – but I decided to switch over and write a sewing book because I wanted my career to reflect all the crafts I love to do. I still love knitting and crochet, but I really wanted to incorporate sewing into my work world. Plus, I saw that sewing was becoming more and more popular out in the world, and I noticed that lots of people kept telling me that they wanted to learn to sew but didn't know where to start. I knew that sewing seemed intimidating to people but that it didn't actually have to be fancy and complicated, that there are lots of great things you can make even with simple skills. So that's what inspired me to make a book of cool-looking projects that are easy to accomplish.
SD: How did you go about designing the projects in the book?
BB: My straight-line-only concept was the driving force behind all of the designs. I sat down and thought about what could be made with straight lines, and how they could be made so that they wouldn't look too rudimentary. (I definitely didn't want a book of boxy, blechy projects.) So I thought a lot about fabric choices and special techniques, like shirring, to come up with designs I hope will really surprise readers when they see they are made with straight lines only. I also wanted the projects to teach readers and help them build their skills – so my hope is that once readers are comfortable sewing straight seams, they will naturally ease into some of the more difficult projects which will teach them lots of techniques like installing zippers, making a waistband, binding a quilt, working with vinyl, and more.
SD: Do you have a favorite project in the book?
BB: That's like asking a mother to choose a favorite child! Let's see… I love the Wonky Diamonds On Point Quilt, and the Magic Sewing Kit, and the Heavy Metal Bag. Mister Bunny and Miss Kitty are pretty near to my heart, too.
SD: What are your favorite things to sew?
BB: Home decor is my favorite thing to sew, because I'm really a home design fiend. I can literally spend hours daydreaming about decor, and sewing is a way that I can execute some of my ideas without spending big bucks. And I love to make quilts, although I never seem to have as much time as I'd like to work on them. Baby quilts are always fun because they're a little quicker to complete.
SD: Why do you sew?
BB: I sew because I love the process of getting an idea in my mind, and being able to execute it just the way I want. It's just not possible to find the perfect thing in a store, but if you sew it yourself, you can create it just the way you want it. I also sew because I love the experience of being at my machine, working with fabric — it just gives me such a great feeling. And, I love love love fabric and textiles, and sewing (obviously) gives me a way to bring them into my life. Also, I hate to shop. So if I need a gift for someone, you better believe I'd rather spend a day sewing it than spend a day schlepping around the stores looking for just the right thing!
SD: What's next for Brett Bara?
BB: I just moved to a new apartment, so the next big thing for me is getting my new sewing room all set up (yaaay! finally! a sewing room!). Now that I'll have more space (and maybe be more organized?) I'd like to spend more time teaching myself to become more skilled at sewing garments, and I'd like to make more quilts. I'm also looking forward to blogging more at my new web site about my sewing projects and other craft projects. Aside from sewing I'm also really into food and desserts, and I'm working on a dessert-related work project that I hope to be sharing with the world soon.