March 29, 2016


would you like to meet my biggest cheerleader (next to my Mom that is)?  Besides my Mom, this blogger is always the first person to chime in when I'm in the deep throes of tailoring a coat or working on some other hard project.  Other than being my cheerleader, Kyle is wonderful with garment construction, owns a phenomenal sewing machine arsenal and authors a wonderful blog called Vacuuming the Lawn.  Vacuuming the Lawn!? You can find out more about the name of her blog here, but in the meantime let's peek in to Kyle's sewing world.  In the words of William Shakespeare, "though she be but little, she is fierce!".

What things excite and inspire you in your sewing and the designs that you create?
KYLE:  Inspiration comes from many sources:  patterns, fabric, sewing blogs, the Pattern Review gallery, and Instagram--especially the hashtag challenges.

Have you had formal training or are you self-taught?
KYLE:  My mom, who disliked sewing, showed me how to use her sewing machine when I was around 12 years old and I taught myself the rest.  It wasn’t until 2010 when I started going to sewing conferences and expos that I began taking hands-on classes.  I’ve also learned a lot from Craftsy and Pattern Review online classes as well as blog tutorials.

What are your favorite items to sew?
KYLE:  Dresses, bags, skirts and shrugs. 

What garment or project has presented the biggest challenge to you?
KYLE:  Hands-down, it’s the process of fitting pants that is so challenging and frustrating.   I cried over my jeans muslin in 2012 and seriously thought about quitting sewing forever over many muslin iterations in 2013.   

What garment to date would you call your masterpiece?
KYLE:  Simplicity 2154, the #epicskirt I just sewed is my current masterpiece.  I had to learn a lot of new-to-me things:  how to work with wool, how to work with slippery rayon bemberg lining, and how to sew a lining to a kick pleat.   I really took my time with it and enjoyed the process. The result is my best-sewn garment to date. 
My best sewn bag is Butterick 6072, which I sewed last year.  The best and funniest comment I received about that bag was from a non-sewing friend who asked, “Are you sure you didn’t buy this?”

What are your favorite fabric sources? 
KYLE:  In person, my favorite fabric stores are Metro Textiles (Kashi has great prices on a range of fabrics and ships what I buy at a reasonable rate) and Paron (well-curated, well-organized, with fabric content and prices on every roll and mirrors for “trying on” fabric) in NYC.  My favorite notions shops are Pacific Trimming (for an amazing selection of elastic and hardware), SIL Thread (for invisible zippers, jean zippers that I use for zipper pouches and Clover notions), and Botani (for high-end custom-made zippers with decorative pulls for my bags) in NYC. 
Do you ever shop for fabric online?
KYLE:  I generally only shop online if I can get a swatch first because I’ve been unpleasantly surprised too many times.

Are there any sewing techniques that you have not mastered yet, but plan to work on?
KYLE:  I learn techniques as I need to for whatever project I’m working on, as I did for my #epicskirt.  I don’t have a long range plan of techniques I want to learn but it would be fun to make several of the same thing, one-after-the-other, to get those techniques down.  For example, sewing a bunch of lined pencil skirts with kick pleats, one after the other.  As it is now, I generally sew one pattern and then move on to a totally different pattern….

If you could only have five (5) patterns, which five would that be and why? 

KYLE:  My very favorite is New Look 6483, view D/E, an A-line skirt which I’ve made at least 8 times.  It is hard to find modern skirt patterns that hit at the waist.  I love this one!

Jalie 3246 for the shrug (I actually don’t like maxi dresses.)  I’ve made that shrug 9 times.  It goes great with my sleeveless dresses.

Simplicity 1283 for both the shirt and the pants.  The shirt, which I lengthened, fits so well.  And after my previous pants experience, these pants fit quite well out of the envelope—just took 5” out at the knee, changed the waistband to a decorative elastic one, and that was it.

New Look 6071—I made my favorite knit dress from this pattern, and used it for frankenpatterning another.

Vogue 1351—I sewed my favorite woven dress out of this pattern.

Other than garment sewing are there other crafts that you enjoy?
KYLE:  Besides stitching bags, I’ve recently started doing a lot of hand stitching.  In the last 18 months I started stitching Japanese embroidery called sashiko.  Nine months ago, I started hand stitching little embroidery hoop kits and small softies like those from Heidi Boyd Crafts and Mollie Makes magazine.  I enjoy these little projects that I can stitch anywhere and stitch a little bit at a time.   Even if I stitch just a row, I still feel like I was creative that day.  If I make a mistake it’s not a big deal to unstitch or recut a piece, whereas in garment sewing a mistake can sometimes mean starting from scratch.  There are no issues with fit either!

Can you tell us a little about your sewing machine fleet?
KYLE:  I have 5 machines but mainly use two of them right now:  my BabyLock Soprano sewing machine and my BabyLock Enlighten serger.   My dad generously bought them for me in 2015 and 2014 respectively, and I highly recommend each.  Both have lots of power for sewing or serging through pretty much anything.  The Enlighten threads its own upper and lower loopers and adjusts its own tension, which means more time for sewing and less frustration.  I also need to give a shout-out to my Elna Press, which has made the process of interfacing and pressing so much easier!  Just lower the lid and wait for the beep.

Do you have a favorite sewing or crafting tip to share with us?
KYLE:  Yes!  As I cut pattern pieces out, I pin both the pattern piece and the cut fabric piece to my dressform.  It helps prevent pieces from getting lost, and also prevents me from cutting smaller pieces out of an already-cut larger piece.   I even do that for bags!

KYLE:  Faye, thank you so much for your support of my blog over the years, from your kind comments left on my blog to interviewing me on your blog!  I am honored and flattered!

 I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Kyle and her gorgeous blog as much as I have.  For epic garment construction information be sure to visit her blog at Vacuuming The Lawn.  She's also found on Instagram as vacuumingthelawn...


  1. Great interview. .. Kyle's love, enthusiam & fierceness for sewing is evident. Awesome blog.

    1. Thank you Sheila!, and I agree about Kyle.

    2. Awww, thanks Sheila! I enjoy your blog too!

  2. Kyle is my cheerleader too! She always leaves an encouraging comment on my blog posts. I have the privilege of being friends with Kyle and can say that she has a strong creative energy. Her backpacks are simply amazing. Besides that, she is also a very kind and good-hearted person. Fun interview Faye - thanks!

    1. Thank you Tomasa!

    2. Awww, thanks so much for your kind words Tomasa!

  3. Another great interview Faye!! I love Kyle's honesty in her sewing challenges (heaven knows we all have them!). I love, love, love her machine arsenal too! Thanks for sharing with us Kyle!

    1. Thank you Myra! Sewing can be so difficult, frustrating, challenging and rewarding!

  4. Thank you Myra. I'm in love with her machines too!

  5. Love Kyles blog - it's one of the first ones I found when I got back into garment sewing . She is so inspirational !!! Great interview

    1. I love Kyle's blog too. She's one of my biggest supporters. Thank you for reading Mary Ellen!

  6. Hi Faye, my first time here. What a wonderful interview with Kyle! Her sense of fun and enthusiasm for sewing really shine!! :)

    1. O.Jolly, Welcome to my blog and sewing life. I'm so glad you enjoyed Kyle's interview. Please come back often. I started following you on Bloglovin several months ago.

    2. Thanks O Jolly! :)

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  8. Hi Faye! I began following your blog through Kyle. I really enjoyed this interview and found it to be an honest look at a great blog. Thank you for the effort you put into your blog for the rest of us to enjoy!

    1. Anna Christina thank you so much for your comment and I'm so glad that Kyle helped you find me!!! So very glad you enjoy reading here!!!

    2. Thanks Anna Christina! I appreciate your kind words. :)

  9. Great interview. I love how kind and optimistic Kyle always is and a pleasant word for my sewing too. I LOVE her backpacks and bags too.

    1. It's real easy to like Kyle. She is a GREAT bag maker to top it off!

    2. Thanks Summer Flies!! I enjoy reading your blog too!

  10. That skirt IS a masterpiece. I'll have to check out some of the online resources especially for zippers. Quite a crafty lady and your very own cheerleader! Great interview.

    1. Thank you Terri! That is a wonderful skirt. I always have problems with lining a kick pleat.

    2. Thanks Terri for your kind words!

  11. Great interview Kyle! Your bags do look very RTW!

    1. Thanks Lisa! I'm going to start another bag in the next two weeks or so...stay tuned!




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