Category Archives: Uncategorized

Memorial Day Thoughts

Today I am thinking about all the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, and especially about those who have lost their lives during their tour of service.

I am one of the lucky ones. My immediate family has not suffered the loss of loved one to a war. Other families have not been so blessed. And even if their soldier came home, many families have lost the life-they-once-had with their soldier because of the toll of his/her service.

My husband and I took a trip thru Normandy a few years back, and seeing the loss of so many young lives firsthand was very moving, and at times overwhelming. Thank you, to all the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. Thank you to their families who sacrificed as well.


SALE Alert!

Lots of fabric stores (Mood,, Elliott Berman Textiles, etc) are having Independence Day sales, including our local Pacific Fabrics with 20% off all fabric. Celebrate our freedom by buying more fabric? Well, happy birthday America, and celebrate however you see fit, fellow sewists!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Adding more to my stash

Not fabric this time, but notions and supplies. As a teacher, I can really churn thru thread, Steam-a-Seam, and iron cleaner working with students. I made a brief stop at my least-favorite sewing store yesterday to stock up during their 60% off notions. The best part of the trip was running into one of my ASG sewing sisters, and the second best part was saving more money than I spent. Weirdly cool, right?


What about you? Did you grab any sale items yesterday? What is your favorite thing to buy on sale? (Duh, fabric!)

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Is it sewing weather?


Some of you might say ANY weather is sewing weather, but some of us Seattle-ites like to take advantage of every sunny moment to get outside. Do you check the weather forecast to decide which days or time of day you sew? I do! I can’t always time it perfectly, but I at least consider weather when planning my sewing week.

Enter Mr. Weather on Capital Hill. If there is one thing I can really appreciate it, it is a geek. And Mr. Weather is a TOTAL weather geek. In the best possible way of course. 😉

SewMaris: Mr. Weather, what made you first get interested in weather?
Mr. Weather: I worked in chemical sales for nearly 40 years, and I flew around the country on a weekly basis. Since I traveled so much, I was always interested in what the weather was going to be like at my destinations.

SewMaris: I didn’t even know a regular type citizen could evenbuy a weather station! I thought they were only for TV and radio stations.
Mr. Weather: No, not at all. You can buy a very basic station that just gives you the the temperature and wind speed, and that was the first kind of weather station I had when we lived in Illinois. Then in 2010 my wife bought me a new system which is WAY cooler, very small (see pix above!), and transmits all the data wirelessly directly to my computer.

SewMaris: Wow. Too cool! What do you like most about weather and your station?
Mr. Weather: I love the technology of it. I guess I am kind of geeky, because I love linking the station to my computer.  (yep, that counts as high-geek-dom, Mr. Weather. 🙂 )

SewMaris: Well, what’s next for the Mr. Weather station on Capital Hill?
Mr. Weather: The next step is to add an outdoor webcam, and then a live webcam. That will be REALLY cool!

There you have it, dear readers. Mr. Weather is as geeky about weather as I am about sewing. And I check his update every day while drinking my morning coffee. From one geek to another, thanks for sharing, Mr. Weather!

Happy sewing!
Maris Olsen

Time warp at SewMaris

Where did this week go?

  1. I have not quit blogging.
  2. I am not sick.
  3. No one in my family has died.
  4. I have not worn myself down to a nub gardening (thanks only to the PNW Rain God).
  5. I have been teaching (lots!).
  6. I have been sewing (lots!).
  7. And no, the christening dress is not *quite* done.

I have just been a little too busy around here! It certainly can’t be my diminishing ability to juggle the number of things I take on, now could it? Next week I should be back to my semi-regular blogging rhythm. Anyway, today is the real “finish the christening dress” day. Yesterday was the practice one. 😉

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Oscar night

I really don’t care a whit who gets the Oscar for any category most years, but I do like watching the red carpet.  This year I even managed to get a huge load of ironing done while viewing – bonus!

My favorite look for the evening was Penelope Cruz. I thought she completely captured the iconic elegance of Grace Kelly, and I loved, loved, loved her ensemble.


A close second favorite was Tina Fey. A girl after my own heart (often seen in black), I thought her custom Carolina Herrera black peplum gown was another stunner. Though I am not sure anything will ever top the short black lace Oscar de la Renta dress she wore to the Mark Twain award ceremony in my book….just saying.


What did you think? Any new favorites last night? I probably should have been sewing instead of viewing, but I am going to finish those jeans I never entered into the PatternReview contest TODAY. I will!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Sewing focus for 2012

I decided not to make a list of resolutions (sewing or otherwise!) this year, but the nagging thought about “what do I want to focus on next” has been swirling around in my head for weeks now. And by George, I think I’ve finally got it!  In a word, excellence. I need some more of it, and I want to give more of it to my students. I want to “re-learn” the Japanese tailoring techniques taught to me by Judy Barlup. I want to perfect my skills at making jeans – both fitting and construction. I want to try my hand at making men’s dress slacks. I want to enter some contests. I want some of my students to enter design programs, and win competitions, and sew things they never dreamed they were capable of. I want 2012 to be the year of “go big or go home”.

So let’s do it! What do you want to rock in your sewing studio this year?


Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

Advancing sewing as an art and life skill….

…is what the American Sewing Guild (ASG) is all about. I completely double-♥ this wonderful organization, and am so glad to be associated with it. I think I have been a member for at least 10 years, but my memory is not super reliable with those kind of details. Too many children – destroyed some of those brain cells, you know. 😉

There are so many great benefits to belonging to ASG. I have met some of my favorite people thru this organization, taken classes sponsored by my chapter and others nearby, improved my sewing skills by quantum leaps, and enjoyed endless camraderie and laughter with my sewing sisters. And there is some goodness-mojo too. Every year a new charitable project is selected by the national organization, and members spend many hours each year sewing for good causes. In addition, individual chapters, neighborhood groups, or individuals can (and do!) contribute their time and creativity to any needy organizations that they have a heart for. Anyone who loves to sew is welcome as an ASG member, and if you haven’t joined yet, I hope you will soon.

Ooops! I better sign off. I need to finish packing for my annual fall retreat with my sewing sisters. Wish you were coming along!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

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

Sew it up in September

September is National Sewing month! Whatever you think of Reagan’s politics, he proclaimed September as National Sewing month in 1982,  “In recognition of the importance of home sewing to our Nation.”

I don’t know if any of my sewing is very important to our country, but I do have some reasons why sewing is important to me. Namely:

  1.  I make cool stuff with pretty fabric.
  2. I continually grow and improve my skills.
  3. I get pleasure from wearing things I have made with my own two hands, and seeing my friends and family enjoy and use things I have made.
  4. I practice patience and perseverance working on complex projects (and sometimes I practice creative language skills too 🙂 ).
  5. I get practice shooting baskets when I throw a “wadder” into the trashcan across the room. 🙂 
  6. I feel connected to a larger community of sewists, including my mom, grandmothers, aunts, and many, many good friends.
  7. I love the art and craft of sewing. I just plain love it, and it is one of the few things I want to do it nearly every day.

National Sewing Month is sponsored by the Sewing Craft Alliance, in partnership with the American Sewing Guild. As part of the fun, they are also sponsoring a sewing contest. How fun is that? All you have to do is submit pictures of your project no later than September 30, 2011, and include a  in a visible location. What do you think? A fun challenge, or too much stress?

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen