When this totally unexpected bomb cyclone struck the Eastern Seaboard on Jan. 3/4th my mind was turned to bundling up with knitting and all my friends who may be affected. One of those friends is Carly, a knitter and sewer I met on Instagram, who lives in my favorite State… Maine!! Listening to the wind howl viciously and watching the trees bend nearly to the point of snapping, an idea popped into mind that I ran with in an effort to beat the arctic blast… a Bomb Cyclone KAL. I messaged Carly with the idea and she kindly donated a prize for all of you to fight, erg, I mean knit for. So grab your WIPs, a cozy blanket, cup of something toasty, and let’s learn about the generous project bag sewer extraordinaire behind Aubrey Ann Sewing Co!
Q1. Where do you find your inspiration? Is it fabric driven or do you begin with an idea and seek a fabric that fits the vision?
I find most of my inspiration from the fabric itself. I try to use fabrics that kind of fit the season so I’ve been using more cozy flannels lately and darker colors. If I’m really on top of it I’ll have bags in the shop a little ahead of the season but that’s something I’m still working on! Sometimes I just see some beautiful fabric and I have to turn it into sometime right away because I love seeing the end result from just a piece of fabric.
Q2. Aubrey Ann Sewing Co. I love the chic vibe that business name evokes! What’s the story behind this name?
Oh thank you! It took me a little while to finally come up with a name for my business and also finding what was available through Etsy and I went through a few different ideas before I came to Aubrey Ann Sewing Co. Aubrey is my husband’s middle name and because I loved it so much it is also our daughters middle name as well and Ann is my middle name (and my mother’s middle name too) and Sewing Co obviously because I sew and adding that Co on the end seemed cool. I wanted to have some sort of personal connection to my business name whether it be our names or something to do with where we live, but I’m really happy with the name and it leaves me the freedom to sell anything that I sew and still make sense.
Q3. Do you employ any eco-principles in your business?
I love using organic fabric and they use low acid dyes and organic cotton is grown without pesticides. I think most sewers are eco in the way we use our fabric as well. We try to use every little scrap and my scrap bin has started to overflow so it’s time to sort through all that and probably have some smaller bags and patchwork bags as well. It’s kind of fun to revisit all those fabrics again that I’ve been sewing over the last year. I’ve toyed with the idea of using organic fabric exclusively so that may be something I lean more towards in the future.
Q4. What fabric fibers you use? From clicking on different ones in your shop I saw cotton often, so it is always cotton or others as well and why?
Pretty much all the fabric I use is 100% cotton or organic cotton. Its a quilting weight cotton and it’s perfect for bag making because its soft but it’s also sturdy and durable. I also have some cotton and linen blend that’s closer to a canvas weight and that makes great bags as well that are bit more sturdy than the regular quilting cotton. I have this extra piece of faux Sherpa I’ve been toying with the idea of turning into a bag. Are people into faux Sherpa bags? Is that a thing? I also have a lovely piece of wool fabric that I’m excited to use for bags too.
Q5. On your Etsy profile it shows you’re new to the indie small business. How has starting Aubrey Ann Sewing Co allowed you to fulfill both dreams of stay-at-home mom and contributor to the family financials?
I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom when the time came but I also knew that I wanted to have some sort of small business to help contribute. My daughter is 2 1/2 so I don’t get a whole lot of sewing time during the week, but I get a few hours on the weekend while my husband is home to spend up in my sewing room and that allows me to get a lot more done. He also does bath time at night which gives me a little chunk of time at night to do some sewing and just that little bit has helped me out a lot and I feel like I’m able to get more work done. This little schedule of ours has allowed me to run my small business and to be able to help contribute, but I’m still able to stay home with my daughter and she doesn’t have to go to day care.
Q6. Any exciting plans or sneak peeks – here’s the place to let the cat out of the bag ?.
I always have so many new ideas for bags running in my head but I only have so much time! I’ve tried to keep things simple with my bag designs because of the small amount of time I have to sew since it might take me a couple weeks to figure out a new design if I have an idea I want to try. BUT I am planning some pretty patchwork bags soon to use up my scrap pile and I have some cozy flannel and some wool I’m planning to sew up soon as well. Also possible a redesign on my clutch to make it a little more knitting friendly!
Puddles species to species question. You mentioned that in addition to your little girl, Lillian, you share your home with a furry four legged cutie. What’s his name and role does he play in Aubrey Ann Sewing Co?
Puddles, our little (and I mean little) furry friend is Donna and she is a Yorkie mix. She is tiny and very sweet and unlike most small dogs basically never barks. She is all black so she looks like a black Yorkie and since she has hair instead of fur she starts to look pretty shaggy come the end of winter! She came from a friend of mine I worked with that was moving to Arizona and couldn’t take all the dogs with her (there were three of them including Donna) so I agreed to take Donna to give her a new home. Sometimes Donna will come up to my sewing room while I’m up there to give her opinion on my designs. So far she’s been pleased with everything!