Monthly Archives: September 2011

Guest blogger: Linda Podietz of

It is no secret that I love fabric, and that I love petting fabric of all types. I have a rather sizable <aka totally GI-normous-out-of-control) fabric stash that I have accumulated over the years from a variety of sources.  I do regular damage at my two beautiful local fabric stores, AND I also buy fabric online. I know, I know – some of you have resisted buying online – but I heartily endorse it.  I think one of the main reasons I fell in love with online fabric shopping is because of Linda Podietz, owner of She stocks the most gorgeous collection of fabric, and most importantly, offers screamingly awesome customer service. She’ll send you swatches, includes Pantone numbers for all her fabrics, offers garment suggestions, responds to email inquiries, and her packaging makes me feel like I just received a little Christmas present! So if you haven’t taken the online purchasing plunge, or haven’t heard about, I present to you today a guest post from Linda herself <swoon!!>.

Linda Podietz, owner of











Linda, tell us a bit about your sewing business, and also a bit about yourself. 
           I sell high quality fashion fabrics, and my market is mostly home sewists, dressmakers, designers, people who have custom clothes made, etc. We have customers all over the world, and I try to find fabrics that are beautiful, unusual, inspiring, and not readily available. I’ve been in the fabric-selling business for about 11 years, and I hope to continue for a long time!  The name of the company originates from my first business, a line of “upscale” childrens clothing, and it combines the names of my two (now grown) children, Emma and Aaron (AKA “One Sock” when he was a baby).  When I started selling fabric, I couldn’t bear to part with the name, so it has stuck all these years.  In a “former life”, I was classical musician, and have Bachelor and Masters degrees in piano performance.  I am finally getting back into playing again, now that my husband and I are new empty-nesters!  I am excited to revisit several dormant interests (music, art, sewing of course, gardening, cooking, etc) now that both kids are “launched”.  

Linda, what gets you excited about your business? Is there one thing that makes you jump out of bed every morning?
          Well…I guess my morning coffee gets me out of bed… ha ha… I love fabric, and I love owning my own business, so my work is mostly very enjoyable.  We do work long hours and it can sometimes be exhausting, but overall I feel very lucky to have a job that I like! It has been gratifying to watch the business grow over the years, and we have interesting, appreciative and loyal customers, many of whom I’ve gotten to know a bit through email exchanges.  My husband and I both are entrepreneurial types, so this business suits us very well, and luckily it has been successful (knock on wood!).

What is the next big thing you want to do with your business?
          The business has been growing organically, little by little each year, and I think that’s the best way to grow for any business.  Greed and overreaching are what makes businesses fail.  So, we have no big plans, just a long list of little improvements that will continue to make the buying experience more and more enjoyable for our customers.

Please complete the sentence, “If I had to do it all over again, I would……” 
          …not do anything differently!  Well, perhaps I would have listened to my husband’s advice and hired an assistant a lot sooner than 10 years into the business.  That would have allowed me more time for my kids as they were growing up. I was working about 14 hours a day for several years, but now I’m down to about 10-12.  I have always worked out of a home studio so it’s really not as bad as it sounds. Work has always mixed with life around here, and that seems to suit us.  I’m a bit of a control freak so it took a long time for me to allow an employee into the “circle of trust”, if I may quote a line from a funny movie! 

Please complete the sentence, “I wish I had more time to…..
          Sew, travel, play piano, garden, cook….. do artwork… read… meditate…. exercise… spend time with my family!

THANK YOU so much Linda, for sharing yourself and your story about If you want to know more about EmmaOneSock, check out I encourage you to bookmark the Daily Update on the homepage and join the mailing list so you can find out about special promotions and new fabrics.  Or you could just be like me and browse (and swoon!) thru her new fabric offerings every day at !

PR day coming to Seattle

Pattern Review is celebrating 10 years of online existence this year, and is sponsoring one of many gatherings in Seattle on November 19th. Are you coming? I really dig – I think it is a wonderful resource and I am super excited to participate in the Seattle “meetup”.  The tentative plan is to meet at Nancy’s Sewing Basket, shop and chat, have lunch somewhere, and then head to Seattle Fabrics and Pacific Fabrics (Northgate) for more shopping. A day spent with fellow sewing geeks, petting and purchasing fabric – what’s not to love? 🙂

I used to spend hours browsing thru the review gallery on to see what other sewists were making, adding some of my reviews, and posting comments on message boards too. I have not been as active as I was once, but I still recommend this site to everyone. Deepika is a lovely young woman, and has created a wonderful resource for sewists. Check it out, and join us on November 19th!

Happy Sewing!

Maris Olsen

Keep your eye on this little fashion designer

Working on baby dress

 I think some people are  just destined to be great at what they enjoy, even at a very young age. I am lucky to be teaching a really special young lady how to sew, and is she ever a natural. Malia is only 10 years old, but her attention to detail and concentration belie her years. She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up, and IMHO you should keep an eye on her. A close eye. I’m pretty darn sure she’s got the stuff!

Her latest project was a baby dress for her newest cousin, born in September. We decided that she ought to use French seams to make the inside of the dress as soft and smooth as possible for the baby. That’s right, my 10 year old student who has only been sewing a few months made a dress with French seams!  

French Seams - Baby Dress 

Malia’s sewing machine that her awesome parents bought for her has loads of embroidery stitches, and she wanted to embellish the hem of her dress with this sweet little stitch. We made a sample using white thread, and 2 different shades of pink. I love the one she picked – adorable!

Embroidered Hem - Baby Dress

 Well, all I can say is I am super proud of Malia. And I think  Bert, Anya, and Joshua should be worried! I’m betting Malia is going to kick their design booties in a few years!

Proud Designer

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen


Increasing my sewing “Master-y”











It was very quiet on the blog last week, because I was attending the first ever sewing “Masters class” at Lake Washington Technical College. Swoon! Seriously, how many people do you know that get excited about learning that thread should take up no more than 50% of the eye of a needle? When you reach that level of sewing knowedge, you are most assuredly totally geeked out. 🙂 











We learned about needles. Metallic, titanium, microtex, jersey, stretch, and more. We examined thread samples. We ran stitch samples using a variety of threads and needles on a range of fabrics. We measured our bodies. We learned where on our bodies to hold the measuring tapes. (Try using the metric system when measuring – there is less value judgement about the number. 🙂 )We discussed dart options. We threw darts. Not at the wall, but on pattern samples. And when we were threw with the throwing, we swung some, too. And we laughed at how totally geek-y we were about things that almost no one in the universe cares about. But we care, because we were all interested in stretching our skills and knowledge about sewing. And it was a treat to spend 3 days together talking and learning about very technical details that matter, at least to us.









Thank you, Jacque. The intensive sewing Master’s class was a real treat!


Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Try block fusing your interfacing

I think my current interest in interfacing fusing techniques is probably a whole new level of sewing-nerdiness. But just in case you might have a smidge of interest in this too, let me elaborate. 🙂

There are 3 ways I know of to apply fusible interfacing:

  1. Cut out the fashion fabric, cut out the interfacing, and fuse the two pieces together. Try not to get interfacing glued on your iron or ironing board cover.
  2. “Block” fuse interfacing to a section of your fabric, and then cut out the pattern pieces requiring interfacing from this stabilized fabric.
  3. Spot fuse a section of interfacing to your fabric, and then cut out all the pattern pieces requiring interfacing. Complete the final fusing after the cutting is complete. Check out Pam Erny’s tutorial about this method.

I decided I would give the block fusing method a try on a pair of pants I am making for my youngest DD. Here is a rough idea of how it goes, I will try to post a “real” tutorial on this later this week. 

Start by “rough cutting” a piece of fabric big enough for all the pattern pieces that require interfacing. The squiggly line is chalk because I needed to allow enough space for another set of the back waistband. It would be so like me to eyeball the amount and come up 1/2 inch too short!


Next I cut some tricot fusible interfacing to fit just a bit inside the fabric edges. I took this over to my ironing board, and smoothed all the wrinkles out so both layers were as smooth as possible. The potential danger with this method is getting the interfacing off grain, and introducing wrinkles/bubbles in the fabric, so be careful. Notice there is tissue sandwiched under the fabric/interfacing, as well as on top. Call it insurance. 🙂 Remember that you need heat (iron), steam (iron),and pressure (you!) to properly fuse interfacing.  This is not exactly a cardio workout, but it’s not for sissies either. PRESS your iron down on the fabric/interfacing and hold it in place, steaming the whole time, for 10-12 seconds. Then LIFT and repeat the same process again in a new spot. Do not play reggae music and start dancing! Pay attention to your task or you will have a hot mess when you launder your garment. Bubbles, wrinkles, limp fabric, etc.   


Here it is – a nicely fused piece of fabric ready for cutting. It even has an “bonus” scrap of interfacing adhered to the  right side of the fabric! Luckily I can cut around this one, but it is really easy to get those pesky bits of interfacing glued somewhere you don’t want them. 



To my mind, this method is less “fiddly” than cutting each pattern piece and interfacing piece separately and then fusing individually. It is definitely suggested when you are working with a slippery or very loosely woven fabric, which makes perfect sense to help control the fabric so the pattern pieces can be cut accurately. 

I think I just may try this method again on the next set of shirts for my DH with the Pro-woven Shirt Crisp interfacing I bought from Fashion Sewing Supply a while back.

What about you? Have you ever tried stabilizing your fabric using the block fusing method? Tell me how it worked out, I’d love to hear about your experiences!


Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

How many coats does a girl need?



I think I mentioned yesterday I am itching to make coats this fall, and Vogue 1137 is another one that has tickled my fancy. Really, in rainy, windy Seattle do I need TWO coats that do not button and are  designed to be made out of something other than wool melton? LOL, the practicle answer is “of course not”, but I am still very attracted to this design at the moment. I could actually see making both of these garments and continuing my JackiO obsession at the same time. The coat is reversible, so maybe one side in a lightweight wool, and the other in silk taffeta? (Right, because I need TWO new silk dresses in one season!)  Maybe I could make the dress and one side of the coat out of lightweight solid wool, and another side of black and white houndstooth wool plaid. So very au courant! And I could at least pretend it had some practicle value if it was all wool.

Between teaching sewing lessons the next few days, and a fun class tomorrow night learning to make (better) fascinators, I am likely to not get much sewing done for myself this week. And next week I am taking a 3-day “masters” sewing class. Finally, I will get to be a master at something! 

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Channeling Jackie Kennedy, perhaps?

I have been a little obsessed with Jackie Kennedy and her iconic fashion style lately, and am thinking about ways to increase the JackieO-ness of my wardrobe.  (Or Michelle Obama – she definitely rocks the fashion style world, too.) When I was at Goodwill a few weeks back thrifting for vintage patterns, I found one I think is reminiscent of Jackie’s lovely style, McCall’s 4394. Classic lines on the sheath dress, and a simple coordinating coat. Perfect and timeless for dinner out, theater dates, or weddings.

McCalls 4394

I think to make this dress “really Jackie” I need to add a bow – either to the coat or the dress.  I like the slit on the front of the top, tho, and will likely use it on my version of the dress. I was going to head to the Pacific Fabrics Labor Day Sale yesterday to see if I could find any dreamy fabric, but instead I “shopped my stash” first. I LOVE it when I can find the perfect fabric in my over-abundant stash! I feel like I am saving money, even tho…well, never mind. 🙂 Check out this gorgeous navy silk faille. I bought this in Shanghai ages ago, and I like both the shiny (right) side and the matte (left) side of this fabric. The “embossed” design in the weave kicks it up a notch, don’t you think? Amazingly enough, I must have had a coat + dress in mind when I bought it, because I have 6 1/2 yards of it – plenty! 

Shiny and matte closeup of navy silk faille  

Anyway, I did head off to Pacific Fabrics, but only to buy lining and some grey fabric for pants for DD #2. I LOVE chartreuse, but absolutely cannot wear it next to my face. Bleah, sallow, washed out, awful-looking on me. But it is a perfect color for the coat lining – so fresh and bright. Love, love, love that citrus-y pop of color next to the navy, and inside the coat it will not have any negative impact on my complexion. Win!! Of course, it was silk charmeuse so I probably spent more on the lining than I did on the navy silk, but whatever. I am going to love it. 

JackieO inspiration

As for timing on the construction….TBD. It is not the next thing on my “sewing to-do” list, but it sure is the one that I am most excited about. What is on your sewing list these days?

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Goofy giraffes for a new baby

You may have noticed that I have not been posting recently about my projects. Honestly, I was sewing like crazy in July and August, but much of it was for my yet-to-be-born, darling GD. Since I was hosting a baby shower for the darling GD’s mommy (my eldest DD!), and I wanted her gifts to be a surprise, and I know my DD reads my blog religiously…well, you get the picture. 😉

Have I mentioned before I am not a quilter? As in, I have started more than one quilt, but I think my completion rate has been a consistent zero. Until I found out I was going to be a GM. I think you must go thru another hormone change when you find out you are going to be a GM – the kind that causes you to do crazy things you would never otherwise consider. Like quilting, for example. I saw an adorable quilt hanging on the wall of a local quilt store. This same quilt store carries a fantastic selection of hard-to-find-thread, which explains what I was doing in the store in the first place. 🙂 ANYWAY, I was mesmerized by this quilt, and decided my first GD had to have it.  

Giraffe quilt  










Here it is, finally a quilt completed by moi. I seriously have to bow to all quilters out there – this was hard work. All I could think of while I was working on it was how much easier it is to make garments. First off, the paper piecing kicked my butt. I kept having trouble getting the chunks of fabric the correct shape to cover the intended shape on the template. If you don’t know what I mean by paper piecing, ask someone who actually knows something about quilting. Believe me when I say that it is kind of like rubbing your stomach and patting your head, upside down. Not so fun. Then, let’s talk about how crappy the directions were. Three of the four templates in the pattern included the seam allowance, but for some insane reason one did not. Of course, I did not notice this significant detail until 4 of the 5 giraffe necks were completed. Yeah. Get a copy editor, fools. And a pattern tester would be a good idea too!

Sigh. It was really hard, and I was insanely frustrated more than once during the construction phase. But I finished it before the baby shower, and I bet when I see that darling little bundle of cuteness that is my GD sitting on it, I won’t remember my tribulations for a second.


Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Labor Day sale alert!

Provided you are not camping for Labor Day weekend, you can hit a couple of good fabric store sales in the Seattle area over the next few days.

Jo-ann Fabric and Crafts – September 2-5 you will find 50% off  all notions, McCall’s patterns for 99¢, Vogue patterns for $3.99, and Olfa cutting mats and tools for 40% off. Lots more deals, but those were the things that caught my eye. Stock up!

Pacific Fabrics – September 5th only, details to be posted on their web site on Saturday afternoon. If I was a betting kind of gal, I’d bet on 20% off all fabric, but I have no inside information on this one. Check it out!

Nancy’s Sewing Basket – is hosting their anniversary sale this year from September 6 -18, and offering 25% off all fabric and patterns. Score!!!


Happy sewing (and shopping!)

Maris Olsen

Show some handmade love

Tired of crappy clothes, toys, and other household items made in developing countries by poorly paid workers? I am, and I know many others in the same boat. Maybe I can’t change everything about our global economic system, but one thing I CAN do is change my personal buying habits. Voting with your wallet, as it is known, definitely produces results. Why do you think Wal-Mart is now the largest buyer of organic food in the U.S? Certainly not because the board of directors decided organic food would be good for our diets. 😉

 I found a new website today titled I took the pledge, and I encourage you to think about doing it as well. I am not going to make my own shoes or weave my own fabric (yet, anyway!), but I am going to make a make an even more concerted effort to only give handmade items to those I love. I believe that honoring the creativity, time, and effort of others is worthwhile. In this techno-obsessed era, “personal” is starting to gain recognition as a necessary component of our lives and relationships. 

How about you? Are you interested in trying to up the percentage of handmade gifts you make or buy for others? I’m in!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen