It is no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine. It works for about 15 minutes, I touch it wrong, and it tangles beyond immediate repair. I’m sure its all my fault since machines don’t hold grudges right? RIGHT?!
Because of this, I hold people that can use sewing machines in very high regard. The sewing machine whisperer I admire most is my dear friend, Kelly McCants (aka Modern June, aka Oilcloth Addict). Not only can she sew, but she creates patterns and projects that beautifully capture a retro-modern cool. I have a bit of a craft crush on her. So when I heard that she was doing a blog tour for her second book At Home with Modern June, I jumped at the chance to write about it. After reading through the book I’m even more enamored and actually feel like I could accomplish the projects.
As long as Chompy the sewing machine cooperates.
While I love a good craft book, I also love knowing more about the author behind it. For some reason it’s always surprising that they are real people just like you and me. Here’s a little bit of my interview with Kelly:
Who were your craft mentors?
The most influential crafter for me has to be Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets’ Cozy
. She’s the one blogging crafter that I have consistently kept up with for the last 7 years. It’s been great to follow her progress over all that time. It’s nice to see her grow and change, and she seems to have a very well balanced life! I wonder what she’d say to that?
It’s the little things she shares with us that I connect to. I remember when Alicia closed her cute little brick and mortar in Portland. I remember her talking about changing her business model from sewing to pattern making when her hands/wrists couldn’t sew everything any longer. These things she’s shared with us have stayed with me, and have given me the confidence to fix what’s challenging in my own business and life. More importantly, she’s reminded me that things always change, and that’s ok–that I’m not alone!
Did you have specific experiences in education or previous work that gave you that push to own/run your own business?
When I declared myself as a theatre major in college, I intended to be an actress. But when the faculty learned that I knew how to sew, I was “locked” up in the costume shop. Thankfully, I ended up getting a degree in Technical Theatre/Costuming. I was a freelance costumer for film and theatre for nearly 10 years following graduation before I became an at-home-mom and eventual business owner.
After being an at-home-mom in my children’s early years, my love of period costuming and all things kitsch and homemaking intermingled and grew into Modern June. As a mom with young kids, I was very interested in creating a line of housewares that would make my busy life both pretty and practical. It’s been a wild ride ever since.
What was the spark/inspiration that made this book come about?
In August, 2011 Hurricane Irene blew through our town and dropped a 100 year old tree on my house. During the next 7 months, while our home was repaired, it dawned on me that this was a gift of sorts. New walls and ceilings means new paint, new paint means make over! Thus the idea for my book, At Home with Modern June, was sparked.
What about the projects that were cut from the book?
Well… One is posted on Sew Mama Sew (sewmamasew.com
) as a free tutorial. Another pattern was just too long and complicated to put into the book. That project is still in development though–it’s one of those that needs to sit on the shelf ’till one day it solves itself and makes sense! A third pattern turned out to be just wrong in the end, and didn’t work, though with a few changes it’ll become the basis for a different type of project later.
Other end of the process I can say that there are no failed projects. I learned and grew from each attempt. At the time though, I was frustrated and scared about deadlines and polished projects.
What’s next for you?
While working away at Modern June, the Oilcloth Addict, I’ll be working on digital patterns to sell on my new website, www.modernjune.com
. And next month I’ll be meeting up with my publisher to work out my next book’s concept, and hopefully, the whole crazy cycle will start all over again.
The book is lovingly laid out with explanations of terms, tools, tips, and tricks. Every bit is dripping with gorgeous photos and clear illustrations to help guide you along. It feels like Kelly is right there cheering you on. I wish I could share every little detail about it but you’ll just have to grab one for yourself!
As a small peek into the book, I’ve picked an intro-level project that is slightly out of my craft wheelhouse but still seems achievable – Candy Knot Guest Towels. Also, I needed new guest towels so this was the perfect excuse. It’s been a few (20+) years since I’ve attempted french knots so the included illustration of how to do it was quite helpful. Don’t tell my mom that I forgot everything she taught me except cross stitch. Kelly even included a time estimate for completing each towel band – very helpful for knowing which TV show to stream.
I gathered my materials and since I had most of the supplies, I only spent $4 on a new guest towel. If I were to buy the 4 thread colors, needles, etc it would cost under $10 to complete and you’d have leftover materials.
The instructions were clear and simple to follow. In about an hour and a half I had a new guest towel and a new love of French Knots. I swear they weren’t that simple when I was a kid.
Finished product awaiting guests.
And yes, I have a 1950s pink bathroom. Be jealous. Be very jealous.
I hope you join along with the rest of the blog tour, pick up a book, and get to making pretty and functional goodies.