Go Sew Yourself.

When I was little I used to sew. My mom helped me and before I could sew she made me things. Dresses and blankets and little dolls that were made to resemble me and my best friend, Sophie. I loved the sewing machine. I loved the way it hummed. I loved how crisp two new pieces of fabric looked after being sewn and ironed. I would think of little projects and sew sew sew until the sewing machine jammed. Then I'd stop. For weeks or months. I was that kind of kid. I would get lost in projects until something jammed, then I'd stop right in the middle and leave it for weeks. months. years. I went to college and wrote. Wrote, wrote, wrote. I never thought about sewing. I took a lot of feminist theory courses where women didn't sew. I went to law school where women really didn't sew.

Then, a few years ago, I found a beautiful singer featherweight sewing machine in an antique store. I didn't buy it. I left the store and couldn't stop thinking about it. So I went back. I bought it. I started new sewing projects. I sat in the sewing section of book stores. I was filled with images and ideas. It felt like Christmas lights inside of my chest. Idea, idea, idea, excitement. I started going to fabric stores. I went in the middle of the day when my old job stressed me out. The fabric made me sigh. It lowered my blood pressure. At home my machine made a beautiful humming sound. It felt like drinking cream instead of skim milk. It was so rewarding. It jammed and instead of abandoning it, I fixed it. I read the manual. I felt ridiculously proud of myself.

So now I sew, as much as I can. I make things for friends and friends of friends. I make things and they turn into piles of things made, which I think someday I'll give away or use to start my own store. For now I just sew. And since I've been sending out little batches of pictures of things that I make, I thought I should just make a blog so I can post and you can see and everything stays contained and woven together. A virtual quilt.

I'm naming this blog Sophie & Eleanor, which are my grandmother's names. I think they are beautiful names and they are beautiful women. I have come across my grandma Sophie's typed letters and my Grandma Ellie's paintings hang on my walls. Spending time with them made me want to soak in their early years. Like most grandkids, I didn't ask enough or enough of the right questions. But the things I have of theirs I love. Rather than keeping them boxed, I wanted to try to assimilate what I know, especially of their words and aesthetics into who I am now. We'll see.

Also, I love ampersands. Everyone in my family loves ampersands. How could you not?

Someday, you can visit me in my perfect little studio. Until now, there is this blog, and a picture of my old, perfectly cleaned sewing room. I think it's magic.


  1. Did you clean that room for this picture?

  2. Oh my gosh, yes. It rarely looks like that and I'm not living there now, so Drew correctly said that I should give the accurate picture of our kitchen table with piles of my stuff Casey sleeping next to it.

    But this photo inspires me! Someday, I'll really sew like that!

  3. Amen, Emily! You are inspiring, and I can't wait to follow your sewing adventures.

  4. I love this story and that you named your blogs after your grandmothers.

    Your story reminds me of mine and how I was introduced to sewing first by my godmother and later by my grandmother through quilting. I look forward to checking in and seeing your projects!

  5. Thank you! That is such a sweet story to share back. This project is made entirely rewarding by being able to connect and reconnect with people. Sewing can be a lonely sport ...yet so fabulously warm when you can share it.