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...

March 26, 2016

WALKING IN HER DREAM... quote the famous motivational speaker Les Brown,
"In order to live your dream, you have to WAKE UP!  Most people are sleep-walking through life, and never become aware of why they are here and what they are supposed to do.  WAKE UP to your dream!" 

Adrienne M. Nixon LLC has done just that -  she has realized her purpose, she's doing what she loves  and is now daily walking in her dream.   

What things excite and inspire you in your sewing and the designs that you create?
ADRIENNE:  I am inspired by so many different things. I'll have to be honest and say that inspiration often comes from my shoes FIRST. Walking over to my shoe wall, I'll pick a shoe that I want to wear THEN go find fabric, THEN I decide what I want it to become lol.

I’ve read about your fabric shopping excursions with your Mother so I know that she sews.  Did she teach you to sew? what was your learning process?
ADRIENNE:  My mom tried to teach me to sew when I was about 8 or 9 years old. She bought me this tiny purple "toy" Singer and a bunny pillow pattern lol. I cut those things out and TRIED to sew them. They came out in a circle shape and I didn't try to sew them again. I wonder what ever happened to that little purple sewing machine?  

My mom purchased a sewing machine for me for Christmas when I was in my 20's. At the time I was heavy into scrap booking so I would sew on my layouts. Little did I know I was learning to control the machine. A few years later I used that same machine to make some pillows for my sofa (because I wanted a new sofa and couldn't afford to buy one lol). I figured if I could make pillows I could make pants, and I did just that. They didn't fit but they were almost perfect. I signed up for a sewing class at my local Hancock and the rest is history. I think I made a lime green linen tunic in that class. The rest I learned from trial and error and the internet/books. 

What are your favorite items to sew for yourself?
 ADRIENNE:  I LOVE sewing dresses and skirts for myself. Every now and then I'll make pants or jackets but skirts and dresses are my thing. 

And For Clients?
ADRIENNE:  I really love sewing all things for my clients, because they are all shaped so differently I learn something with each garment that I sew.

What garment or project has presented the biggest challenge to you?
 ADRIENNE:  My biggest challenge I think was working on the dance girl uniforms for AAMU (Alabama A&M University). It was more time consuming than a challenge. I was working with sequin and there is a whole lot of prep work that goes into that.

What garment(s) to date would you call your masterpiece?
ADRIENNE:  Hmmm I don't know if I have a PERSONAL masterpiece. I think my FAVORITE project was the silver dance uniforms for Alabama A&M University lol.

What are your favorite fabric sources?
ADRIENNE:   I got that fabric from Spandex House in New York. It is my FAVORITE place for spandex and that type of sequin. I have a great working relationship with them so I can call and tell them what I'm looking for and they will send me swatches. 

Where in the world were you able to find enough of the beautiful fabric you used to dress ALL THOSE Alabama A&M Dancing Divas? What fabric did you use for that project?

ADRIENNE:  For that project I used metallic spandex and a stretch sequin. Here is a link to that blog post:

Do you ever shop for fabric online?
ADRIENNE:  Sometimes. If I do I LOVE and

Are there any sewing techniques that you have not mastered yet, but plan to work on?
 ADRIENNE:  I have NOT mastered welt pockets. I'm TERRIFIED of them. Thankfully I haven't had a client that wanted them lol. There is something about cutting a HOLE in a perfectly good piece of fabric that just terrifies me.

Can you tell us a little about the equipment (sewing arsenal - machines, sergers, etc.) you use?
 ADRIENNE:  What machinery do you use to create your beautiful custom garments? I have one industrial machine and a couple of Singers. I have a blind hem machine that I purchased last year and I STILL haven't used it. I promised my mom I would learn to use it before summer lol.

If you could only have five (5) patterns, which five would that be and why?
ADRIENNE:  I don't have five but I DO have two lol. Butterick 6203: I HAVE MADE THIS DRESS 3 times and I LOVE It. It's an instant classic and so feminine. New Look 6723. I have about 8 of these dresses. They are so versatile.

 It has been so exciting reading your blog over the years.  We have actually seen your children grow up!  But watching you start and grow your business has been very interesting.  Do you have any tips and/or advice for those of us who aspire to have sewing related businesses but may feel a little intimidated by the process?

 ADRIENNE:  Take your time and learn. If you have someone you can go to and ask questions, ask them and most importantly learn from your mistakes. 

Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5 years?
ADRIENNE:   Ahhhh I have big plans and HUGE goals. I can't talk about them JUST yet, just know that God has truly given me a God size vision :)

We can watch Adrienne as she continues to grow her business and wow us with the beautiful garments she makes at Adrienne M. Nixon, LLC, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest...

Paying Homage to Black Pattern Designers...

...for years February has been set aside as a special time to learn about and recognize accomplishments of African Americans and other peopl...