2010 Here We Come!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Although 2009 has been a great year for SewMONI, we are looking forward to all that 2010 has in store!  In this coming year, which is only a day away, we will be starting a few new endeavors.

Ever had the craving to sew up something great out of that left over fabric, or make some new curtains for your naked windows? Well starting February 1st, the SEW Moni team will begin teaching sewing classes for beginners and intermediate sewers at our studio in Ft. Greene.

 From basic sewing and home decor, to beginning clothing construction and pattern making, we have affordable optiond for you to get a started!

Learn to create your own tote, apron, curtians, skirt, or dresses in a fun relaxed environment.  All of our classes are project based and the prices include the use of our sewing machines and basic supplies.

Want to know more? Check out SewMoni.com or email us at info@sewmoni.com.
Soon we will be launching our new spring line full of bright new fabrics and designs to put a smile on your face.  In the mean time, to make room for the new product, we are selling the former season's totes and cosmetic bags at a fabulous price.
Take a look and pick something up for yourself on our Etsy account.

 For those of you that have it in you to do-it-yourself, apron and tote patterns will be available for online purchase.  Fabric by the yard and fat quarters will also be available to supply any of of your sewing projects.

Once spring hits, get ready for our new product line, so stay tuned for the new and exciting developments at SEWMoni.com!

Sew on people!

Catch Up

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The month of December has flown by. No, wait; the whole year of 2009 has flown by and all I have to say is I LOVE YOU '09.

It's been a fantastic year for the sew MONI team. In only a short time we've grown from a team of 2 to a team of 5! And, we have met some of the most wonderful people in the process too.

Thank you for all your support and well wishes.

Happy Holiday!


Gifts & Galore + Cupakes

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Need I say more?


A SewMONI Update

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Some exciting things are going on at SewMONI this month!

This past weekend was incredibly successful as we participated in our first show of the season in Corpus Christi, Texas.  We sold out of all our aprons at the Peddler Show and we're looking forward to doing the same at our next craft show in Fredericksburg, Texas on November 27 through November 28.

SewMONI will also be making an appearance at the 3rd Ward/Brooklyn Base Handmade Holiday Craft Fair on December 12 in Brooklyn, New York.  Brooklyn Based is sponsoring the event which will include not only craft based vendors, but paper good and local food companies too!

Next week we are photographing our last round of still life images with Photographer  Winnie Au. Winnie is such a delight to work with and we wish her well as she travels to Paris for the next few weeks.

And, we are working on our very own fabric print designs, which look absolutely amazing in all their eclectic glory! It's wild to see creative inspiration take shape in such a short time.

All in all its been quite busy in our corner of Ft. Greene. When we are not completely consumed by work we seem to be by chocolate.  I think the cold rainy weather has brought on this chocolate craving, and it seems like hot chocolate is the only cure for the winter weather blues.  If in our neighborhood stop by Green Grape Provisions to get a pumpkin chocolate banana muffin. Better yet, sew with some chocolate thread and spare the calories!


Photo Collage: Take 1!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My installation shown lends somewhat of a taxidermy feel. It's a mesh of photographic landscapes, charms from my grandmother's travels, images of inspirational closeups and a single fabric swatch. All elements are adhered to the wall with delicate pearl drop pins reminding me of the places I've been, the people I've had the privilege of meeting, and the passions of my heart.  Every time my eyes wonder across the wall, I fell good and smile.
Here's how you can create the same feeling in your own unique way!

DIY Directions:


Photos: Choose your favorite photos and be sure to select a mix of 8x10 prints and/or 4x5s. Having a range of horizontal and vertical shots while paying attention to muted and bright color schemes is good to do to.  Also, if you want a more streamlined and sophisticated feel, stick with a color theme of just black and white.  Or selecting a certain subject matter, such as European bridges or romantic floral photos, would lend to refinement.

Pins: Pearl head pins, straight pins or T-pins work great.  The thicker the pin the better!

Pin-able Trinkets: Includes anything that is light enough to be pinned to a wall.  Ha! Stickers, patches, charms from a charm bracelet, feathers, paper, ticket stubs are all great options. Have fun with your selection and make it heart felt.
Completing the Collage
1) Arrange your goodies on a flat surface.  Make sure to balance close up shots with landscapes, horizontal and vertical pictures.  Be mindful of the colors and textures too.
2) Begin pinning the photos and keepsakes to the wall.  Center your pin in the picture so that it hangs straight, or you could anchor each corner with a pin instead.  I like the pictures to float a bit, so I chose to use one pin.  The pinning may take some time, and you may find that you need to reconfigure a few things once it's all up, but be patient and have a critical eye.  The wonderful thing is that changes are easy to make and since you're using pins instead of nails, the holes are almost unnoticeable if you have to move a picture.
3) Enjoy your work!

-Katie :)

Patternmaking & Pandora

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's a quiet, crisp, fall day. Or at least it would be quiet if I wasn't cranking up my favorite Pandora stations as usual. ;) Everyone at SewMoni knows my usual picks, M.I.A., MGMT, Balkan Beatbox, ridiculous 80's songs most people save for karaoke nights...

Even though it sounds like a crazy dance-party in my apartment, I'm all business, taking measurements of a tote bag and then transferring the results to the pattern I'm drafting on the computer.

I'm working from home today, developing a pattern and how-to instructions for one of our staple SewMoni totes. It's coming along well, there's still plenty to do, but it's getting there. Moni and I have been working on the patterns together for the past couple months. I'm excited because we're breaking out of the old traditional layouts that have been used for sewing patterns since the earley 1900's! I think the modern look will make our patterns very easy to read for today's sewers and aspiring sewers. Stay tuned!

Finding Fabric in NYC

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I LOVE fabric so today I'm excited to blog about excellent places to find great fabrics in New York City! :) There's nothing like walking into a fabric store and being able to browse through all the unique fabrics first-hand.  The first area I go to get inspired and gawk at gorgeous fabrics is the Garment District in Manhattan. I'll share two of my favorite spots there first, then a great place for bargain fabrics farther south by Canal Street in Chinatown, and then a hidden gem down in Brooklyn!

Let's start with Mood. This store is amazing! It's the biggest fabric store I've seen in the city. They have three levels, packed with great fabrics of every kind you can imagine. It can get a little pricey but if you're looking for a very specific kind of fabric they're bound to have it. And if you're shopping for fabric for a special occasion this is definitely the place for you. You'll find Mood at 225 West 37th Street on the third floor.
P.S. I just found out you can check out their floorplan on their website! Awesome!

After I hit Mood, B&J Fabrics is always my next stop. Located at 525 7th Ave this store is smaller but it still has a great selection and the prices are a little more affordable.

New York Fabric Warehouse, (also known as Long Island Fabrics) is the place to go for cheap fabric finds. You have to dig around a lot more at this place, but you just might get lucky and score a great deal! You can find it at 406 Broadway near Canal Street. I recommend walking west on Broadway a bit while you're there because there's a couple more bargain-priced fabrics stores nearby as well.

The Baltic Thrift Bazaar in at 141 Atlantic Ave. in Brooklyn Heights is a great second-hand shop with the best vintage fabric selection I've found anywhere, ever! :) A lot of their fabrics and notions are focused on upholstry and home decor which makes sense because they're nestled in with all the antique furniture shops on Atlantic Ave. This place is a must-see!


Project: Plates

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The blank chartreuse wall in my kitchen has been begging for some life since I moved in months ago.  It wasn't until today that I discovered the remedy for the boring lifeless walls.  Inspired by my mother, who hung a collection of blue and white porcelain plates in her yellow living room, I went shopping.  I went on a whim after work today, determined to find my own vintagy hodgepodge of plates.  To my wonderful advantage, I discovered six very different yet beautifully cohesive plates.  Some of them are reprints of classic patterns or inspired by vintage textile designs. My luck continued when I went to Target, who, being the amazing retailer that it is, had plate hangers in stock!

Once I got home, it was just a matter of stretching the plate hangers over the back of the plates (although I had more difficulty taking the things out of their packaging than completing the project itself), figuring out a harmonizing arrangement and hammering nails into the wall.  It made such a difference in my otherwise sterile Ikea kitchen. I love the depth and color the collection adds. It's just lovely.

I bought two blue and white plates in honor of my original source of inspiration, my mom, Laura. In fact, I feel a little more at home after it was all said and done.  Maybe because it reminds me of my parents home in Florida, or maybe it's because the plates' vintage designs carry such history and depth that it brings a little sense of history and depth to my new NY home.  Either way, I like the idea of both.

 You too can have your own wall o' plates, just follow these simple steps:

Pick your plates.
I picked mine up at Marshalls for four bucks each.  But Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Fishs Eddy, antique stores, or even stoop sales may have what you're looking for.  Mix up your colors, prints, and sizes for an eclectic look.  Or go for a color theme, like red and white, to have a more cohesive collection.  An odd number of plates is usually more asthetically pleasing.

Don't forget to get plate hangers, wall anchors, and nails.
I found some a local hardware store and Target.  Home Depot and Lowes should also have them.  Make sure the size of the plate hangers will fit your plates.


Plan your design.
Clear off your table or a space on your floor and lay your plates out.  Move them around into an eye pleasing form where color, silhouette, and size are balanced. I did 3 columns of 2, with the middle column offset.

Hang your plates.
Start with the center plate. Nail in the wall anchor and hang the first plate.  Then take a plate that was next to the middle plate, position on the wall and mark.  Nail in the anchor and hang the plate.  Continue until your design is complete.


Production Day

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"The sewing machine joins what the scissors have cut asunder, plus whatever else comes in its path."  -Mason Cooley

It's a calm, drizzly day in Brooklyn.  We sit above the street in a room of glowing lights with nothing but the sound of sewing machines and rolling tires sloshing across wet pavement to soothe our ears.  The pile of raw fabric cuts slowly dwindles as the pile of the stitched and turned grows in number.  It's a production day here at SewMoni.

Steph and I chit chat during our short lived breaks to pin or turn out the freshly sewn aprons.  Strangely enough, our middle school days come up in conversation amongst other, more serious topics like past Halloween costumes, fabric prints, and music.  It's enjoyable talking about nothing sometimes.  We pause for a drink.  Steph has her tea, and I stick to my heavily sugared coffee I bought at food cart parked outside the subway station.  The coffee is getting cold, but still carries a nice kick.

As we work with Moni's machines, it's like getting to know a new friend.  Figuring out how to wind the bobbin, changing stitch length, reversing the stitch, etc, your basic friend stuff.  I'm excited to see what more will come with the collaboration between Moni, Steph, and I.

Sew on people, sew on!

Cooking 36 at a Time

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our week closed with the welcome of sickness :( Boo, sniff, BOO!

Being sick in Brooklyn is rough. Our recent weather has been quite unpredictable. Random rain storms with afternoons of humidity and night breezes are why I am sick. I think it's secretly May.

However, aside from illness, there are many things to be excited about; more specifically, an invitation I received to participate in a recipe exchange this month! This may sound 1940's at first, but after a little thought, it's all to much and très generation-X. With one email sent by Drofa Speak, sew MONI will now be apart of a mini thread which will result in 36 NEW recipes!

This invite has entered my life at a great time because I was just thinking that my current food menus could use a make over. My staple baked chicken with asparagus and mashed potatoes has kissed my Anthropolgie faux china one too many times this month. Why not mix it up in the kitchen?!

That being said, please find Drofa Speak's email below for reference on how you may initiate a recipe exchange via your friends. Now, it's time to decide what to submit.



Position One: Email 1
Position Two: Your Email

Hello all!!

You have been invited to be a part of a recipe exchange. I hope you will participate. Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don't know them). It should be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is the one you know in your head and can type right now. Don't agonize over it; it is the one you make when you're short of time.

After you've sent your recipe to the person in position 1 (and only to that person), copy this letter into a new e-mail, move my name to the top and put your name in position 2. Only my name and your name should show when you send your e-mail. Send to 20 friends. If you cannot do this within 5 days, let me know so it will be fair to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It's fun to see where they come from! Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas. The turnaround is fast as there are only 2 names on the list. You only have to do this once.

Happy cooking!

Coughing Gets Old

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I already have a cold and I'm sick of it. My old time remedy of whiskey and tea is not working and the raspy-ness of my throat is loaded.

BUT, I am still sewing today in preparation for our next Peddler Craft Show in Corpus Christi Texas! Whoop!

Craft shows are my absolute favorite. I live for freshly popped popcorn and homemade hot fudge within arms reach. Scouring multitudes of booths to find that perfect gift is invigorating for me. Shows generate a buzz that is alive and happy, a break from our economic pot hole. And, random dialog between shoppers and vendors is a treat because your reminded that the world is not so big.

On that note, I've met so many local as well as national vendors who have been "peddling" around the world for 10, 20, and sometimes even 30 years. Some are wood workers while others are soap makers. Some make garments while others tan leather. As a whole, the majority will attest that there are fewer and fewer hand crafted items displayed each year. BUT, non will deny that peddling and homemade eats always equates to a welcoming environment.


*Pictured above are Japanese vegetable peddlers.

Seamstress Blues

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

After reading the "bust" on illegal immigrants working for American Apparel, I was upset. Here is a company who prides themselves on their American Made products while all the while employing illegal immigrants to get the job done. The shear knowledge of their labor force was unsettling to me for 3 few reasons:

A. Employing illegal workers only de-values and contributes to the [already set] low wage movement of workers and production within the crafting industry: carpentry, sewing, sculpting, etc.

B. Illegal immigrant employment does not allow for those who are legal to move forward.

C. Why aren't we spending money to teach sewing or crafting in primary education through home economics classes?

Sewing is dear to my heart and everything involving it's process is sincere. Sewing takes time, it's labor intensive and requires a keen eye. Taking pieces of fabric, cutting to speck and ultimately constructing something flat into form is magical.

I understand that at the end of the day a business has to make money. This is America and capitalism is the game. But at what cost and exploitation? If continually employing illegal immigrants becomes the standard, then we are only moving backwards.

I'm proud to note that our little company has legal workers. We are few but hope to be many. And while our business goals may be capitalist in nature, we are not in the market of exploitation.  Let us sew like the wind and build a thriving sewing circle to match!



Hello, Hello! :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Welcome to the SewMoni blog! I'm one of the new members of SewMoni and I'm happy to share with you a little bit about my background and why I'm excited be a part of SewMoni!

I came to New York originally to study Industrial Design because I wanted to find out how absolutely everything is made. I love creating objects by hand and being involved with the whole process. I feel attached to the objects that I make by hand and I think handmade pieces have a personal touch that is missing from mass produced products.

My mother taught me how to sew and crochet at a young age and I've been hooked ever since. I love making clothes, but my most favorite things to make are a little more utilitarian: bags, pillows, stuffed toys for children, and the list goes on.

I was thrilled when I stumbled across SewMoni online last month. I love the unique fabric choices and the feminine aesthetic. I also love that it's family-run. It's immediately apparent that every SewMoni piece is a quality labor of love. I'm so excited to be involved with SewMoni and making these kinds of beautiful, useful objects. I know that people will cherish them and they will be a part of their daily lives.

~Steph :)

A Bag full of Inspiration

Thursday, October 15, 2009

So these last couple of weeks have been incredibly exciting and exhausting.  Working part time at Gap, closing with them most nights, and working early mornings at SewMoni have left me a little drained.  But the other night, I got an email from Moni.  She told me this:

Tonight I saw a tote with the words: Dont give up.
I don't know about either of you, but the last few days at my "other jobs" have been tough.
Keep the above on the tip of your lips. Reading this phrase tonight (unexpectedly) actually made me feel motivated again & excited about endeavors to come--- if I just hold on and don't give up.

It was more than encouraging.  As all of us begin the building process at SewMoni, creating patterns, developing a new website, and pulling fabrics for next season, we're finding that the push and pull of our other supporting jobs seem to be pulling and pushing a little harder.  I like to call this resistance.  In the words of David Pressfield "It's a repelling force. It's negative.  Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work" (The War of Art).

It's with determination and encouraging words like "Don't Give Up" (that was written on a tote of all things) that we propel ourselves forward and push through the resistance.  To fight for your dream and your passion is probably one of the most noble acts you can do in your life.  So don't give up.  Press on.  It's what you were made to do.

Sew on people!

The Beauty of a Bag!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bags for the People from Michelle Brown on Vimeo.

I stumbled across an organization called Bags for the People, a non-profit organization that encourages the use of plastic bag alternatives by providing free bags they create from repurposed materials.  Anything from old t-shirts to fabric scraps get made into usable, functional bags at their "sweatshop socials" and their volunteer bag making workshops and programs.

I was really amazed, inspired, and impressed to find that a group of three people who worked in our very own Union Square Farmers Market in NYC put action to their eco beliefs.  The idea behind the organization is quite honorable and the system itself is brilliant in the least.  To think that the making of a couple of bags not only helps the environment but also brings people together, young and old, the skilled crafters and the creative novices... it truly is a beautiful thing.  Who knew you could sew AND save the world?

Get your sew on people!

As a new member...

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's with excitement and sheer giddiness that I'm writing to you as an new creative contributor of SewMoni.

As a fashion designer and recent college graduate, I moved from Florida to NY about 7 months ago in hopes of finding my fashion niche here in NY.  However, considering the economic foolishness that is going on, it's been a bit of a struggle to break into the fashion industry as companies can only afford one design assistant as opposed to three.

In my search I came across SewMoni.  I was immediately drawn in by the quirky, vintage aesthetic and its homegrown, crafting roots.  After speaking with Moni, the head designer and business owner, about the new vision for the growing company I couldn't wait to get started.

You see, I've been steeped in crafting and the arts my entire life and decided to hone my creativity in fashion.  I think if you exmined my heart closely, you would find that the muscle tissue is actually threads tightly woven together, that the heart beat is truthfully just music, and that it is really pumping creativity through my veins.  To find a company that shares the same passion for crafting, simple beauty, and design I was a little more than ecstatic.

As a new member I have to admit my excitement in being a part of the creative team here at SewMoni.


I'm Happy to be an American

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I was recently mugged and assaulted in Brooklyn, NY. I know. I felt violated, scared and the experience left me jaded for a few weeks. Also, it happened at 2:30pm in the afternoon, in broad daylight! Is that even allowed? Luckily, a few people witnessed, heard my screams and actually came to my rescue. They helped me, picked me up off the ground and took care of me till the police showed up.

Even though our economy stinks and I happened to be a victim of the increased crime rate due to the economic slump, I'm still happy to be living in the US. I'm so blessed that strangers were there for me and their efforts proved to me that city people are kind.

Coincidentally, much of my sewing inspiration is derived from America. The two horse prints above are Robert Kaufman fabrics and I LOVE them. Horses remind me of Texas and all things patriotic. And, the print with flags perfectly moving in sync while horses gallop in glory gives me a sense of comfort.

On a similar note, this week marks a huge gallop for sewMONI. We are bringing on 2-3 part time employees! It's important to me that our small company supports employment efforts in the USA. All of our goods are handmade in the USA one stitch at a time with much care. Our newest employees are quite talented and I am anxious to see what new things will be generated within the next few months.

Enjoy your weekend!


Photo Credit: Robert Kaufman

The King is Back in Fabric

Friday, September 18, 2009


Today I've been thinking about Elvis. Don't know why but I have!

My parents took me to see Graceland when I was about 10 years old. Exploring Elvis' mansion and witnessing multitudes of women cry as they strolled past his grave site left such an impression upon me. So when I Googled "Elvis fabric" and learned of its popularity, I had to post and write about my findings.

I'm not crazy about the prints I discovered but the idea of commemorating the King via fabric is stellar. Now if I can only find fabric with silhouettes of Edward Norton.


Photo Credit: Elvisly Yours & Etsy

Toile for You and I

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've always been a fan of Toile or fabrics that connotate history. Toile came to life in the 16th Century and is French for "web" or "cloth". It's quite popular within the home decor markets and among Provencial interior designers. I dig it's complicated and harmonious print scenes. 
My initial introduction to Toile was via my Mother and her many country Toile home decor projects. Toile prints from soft pink to primary black were always in the mix at my home in Texas. 
I've begun to incorporate Toile for sewMONI Spring 2010 in light pastels and steel grey colors. I love the way it makes me feel regal in taste. Also, having a bit of Toile around [in home decor or personal accessories] reminds me of time past and new adventures to come! 

Photo Credits:House Couturier & Pillow Outlet

2nd Wind

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I just returned from watching Julie & Julia and WOW! I'm literally speechless.

I left the theater genuinely inspired and happy.  I didn't for see my admiration at all nor did I expect to be so enthusiastic about a per se chick flick!  Even at my disgusting Bermese dinner before the film, I noted to myself that the movie would most likely be okay, and that there was a 90% chance I'd regret spending 12.50 USD to see it.  Plus, I knew we were going to a theater with uncomfortable seats which always lends to an off night at the movies. 

Boy was I wrong. [Wrong about the movie but right about the seats :)]

Julie & Julia was straight forward and a sincere delight. Julie's quest for vindication was real and corky. It made complete sense why she needed daily tasks and a final deadline to feel focused. I fight deadlines all the time and struggle with finding purpose in my every move. But after tonight's boost of energy I feel a 2nd wind.

I desire to create, eat, laugh, be romantic and live!

But first sleep.



Photo Credit: MovieBlog

Go To!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm always asked which web-sites I use to gather information about fabrics. Below are a few that I surf almost everyday or at least once a week!

Purl Soho
Handcock Fabrics
Always Mod

If you are looking for fabric shops in your area I suggest Googling Quilt Shop Locations. This may sound like a "no brainer" to sewing fanatics but to beginning sewers, maybe not. My absolute favorite quilting store is The Quilt Cottage located in Corpus Christi, Texas. They have an incredible selections of cotton fabrics. They also have a nifty online shop and online orders are shipped out rather quickly.


Photo Credit: Always Mod
Working at True Boutique today: www.betruenyc.com
Blogging via my iPhone. Super spiffy!

Sexy Sewing Goddess

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I grew up sewing since the age of 7. I don't quite remember my first sewing project or how it turned out. But I do remember many afternoons of watching my Grandmother sew. Her techniques of ironing fabric, stitching by hand and manning a sewing machine were magical.

My goal then was to sew in a straight line.

"If I can sew in a straight line then I might grow up to be a woman like her" was my frequent thought.

Now, I usually tell myself, "If I can spare enough time to just finish this sewing project then....". Not as idealistic of an initial aspiration but nonetheless personally motivating.

All this to say, I still love every minute of sewing, crafting and creating. Sewing gives me a sense of joy and genuine satisfaction. It makes me feel like a domestic goddess. Seriously.

Sewing even makes me feel dashing too.



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