Happy Holidays: Southern Style

Sunday, December 26, 2010


I'm writing this blog from my hometown of Tallahassee, FL. I have to say, I've missed a few of the holiday southern comforts.

A pitcher of sweet iced tea was such a welcome sight on the dinner table. 
Here's an easy recipe for this southern staple.

3 Family Size Tea Bags (or 6 One Serving Tea Bags) - Lipton tea works best
2 Cups Sugar
6 Cups Water
4 Cups Ice
Mint Sprigs

Place tea bags into a gallon pitcher. Bring water to a boil and pour into pitcher. Let the tea steep for 3 minutes. Dip tea bags in and out of pitcher while it is steeping to help bring out the flavor. Remove tea bags. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in ice and stir to cool. To serve, pour sweet tea over ice and add a sprig of mint for garnish.

 I also had a craving for pecan pie (pronounced "pea-can pie") and made a one at my family's request. The recipe is below. Happy baking!
1 Frozen Pre-made Pie Crust
5 Table Spoons Butter
1 Cup Light or Dark Packed Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Light or Dark Corn Syrup
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Chopped Pecans

Pre-bake the thawed pie crust at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.
In a medium saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring ingredients to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together. Stir in eggs, vanilla, and chopped pecans to the cooked mixture. Place pie crust on a baking sheet and pour mixture into the pie crust.
Place pie in 350 degree oven on the lower rack and bake for 40-45 minutes. Edges should be golden and the middle should be slightly loose when fully baked. Let cool to room temperature and serve.

Enjoy your sweet iced tea and happy new year!


Just finished this Apron for my roommates niece. It is so cute!

It's Tiny!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our first 1 year old apron. Super cute :)

SEW Moni Time Out NY Press!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's always fun to have local press publish something about SEW Moni or our wares. Thanks to Time Out New York, we have another press notch added to our belt as well as smiles to our faces. 

Happy Holidays!


Tiny Apron Pattern

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Making a baby apron! Don't you just love little pattern pieces!

IPhone poltergeist... Dun dun duuuuun! We experienced a few technical/paranormal difficulties while trying to upload a video to the SEW Moni facebook.  Lunches are always fun. Always.

A little sparkle never hurts! I love the Holidays and the life it brings to the neighborhoods, stores, and streets. Here's to Sunset Park for adding a little more happiness to my morning!

Monday Monday

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Mondays guys and gals!

Just wanted to let you in on some exciting things that will be taking place this month.

Moni and I will be back at the Astoria Market next Sunday (November 21st) at Bohemian Hall.  We enjoyed getting to know the Queens neighborhood and loved showcasing our new line of sewing patterns. This coming Sunday, we will have plenty of items to stock up for your next craft project including fat quarters, patterns, vintage buttons and trims. We will also have some great gift items too! Come pick out a handmade apron, tote, cosmetic bag, lovely skirts, reworked vintage jewelry, or a hand-poured soy candle. Enjoy next Sunday with us and other crafty vendors at Bohemian Hall 12pm-5pm; it's off of the NQ Astoria Boulevard stop.

In other news, we are proud to announce that the SEW Moni store front will be up and running come December! Get ready to sew and craft as we will be offering more classes, great sewing notions and tools, as well as handpicked fabrics. Stay tuned for more updates for the next few weeks!

Yours truly,


SEW Moni has made it to the Astoria Market today! Drop by and pick up a sewing pattern (hot off the press), vintage notions, handmade soy candles, or some jewelry!  The Astoria Market is located at the Bohemian Hall in Astoria Queens off of the 7 train. Stop by between 11am-5pm.

Fall is here!

Katie just assembled our sewing desks! They look sweet---and ready for serious creative work.
My latest gig for Lucky Magazine was so much fun! Thanks Mom & Dad for supporting me.

November's Sewing Talk with Erin Hefner!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This month's SEW Moni's Sewing Talk is written by a wonderful student, Erin Hefner, who has not only grown in the craft of sewing, but design too! We are happy to share her story with you and hope that it encourages you to craft. Thank you Erin for being so kind in your words. Your dedication to learning is inspiring. Sew On! Moni + Katie

SEW Moni's Sewing Talk : Erin Hefner
I decided to learn to sew last fall.  2009 was winding down, and it had been a very turbulent year for me personally.  Professionally, I manage in an extremely fast-paced, dynamic and high-pressure environment.  Considering both aspects of my life at that time, I knew I was in need of a creative outlet and I was ready to try something new that would take complete focus and bring new energy into my life.  I even had in mind ideas for some things I could sew as a small side business if it turned out to be something I enjoyed and was good at. 

My mother sewed some of my childhood clothes and I would help her by cutting out the pattern pieces, pinning them to the fabric and cutting out the pieces. I never did any of the actual sewing, but I was always intrigued by the color and texture of the fabric as well as the interesting tools like pinking shears and tomato shaped pincushions.  My mother sewed all of the curtains and some of the throw pillows for our house, which were usually out of rich colors and bold patterns. Probably because of this, I grew up with a strong love of interior decorating which has grown stronger throughout adulthood and has turned into something of a hobby.  I decided I’d like to be able to sew curtains and throw pillows just like my mom did.

I took a beginner class at an established spot in Manhattan.  While I enjoyed it and it was a good place to start, I never felt like anyone was invested in my learning.  All work was completed in class so I wasn’t able to retain the knowledge and I didn’t really continue to sew on my own after the sessions ended.  I was left without enough skill or confidence to continue. 

I had known Moni for a while and as soon as I learned she was teaching, I was excited to sign up for her beginner class where we would complete a tote bag. We learned to thread a machine as well as the basics of fabric, cutting and basic zipper installation. Moni gave us small homework assignments each week to practice techniques such as sewing straight lines and curves, which allowed me to sew on my own and progress between sessions.  I could ask questions the next week about anything I needed help with or didn’t fully understand.  She also taught us how to adjust tension and stitch length in relationship to different fabrics as well as what to look for in a stitch that has been properly sewn.  I ended up with a lined tote bag with an interior pocket that I took to work and bragged about. The fabric pattern is perfectly lined up on the sides, and despite this being a total accident that I didn’t notice until Moni and my classmate pointed it out in amazement, I still allow people to be utterly impressed that I accomplished this in Beginner Sewing.  


    By now I was hooked and convinced that I could satisfy my desire to design if I continued to learn. I asked Moni if she would focus some sessions on home d├ęcor.  In these classes I learned ruffles, pleating and hidden zipper installation for pillows as well as pleats, tabs and hemming for curtains.  Most importantly, I learned how to cut and measure with seam allowance to end up with a pillow cover or curtain to fit particular dimensions. 

At this point, I was ready to go all in and challenge myself with actual product development.  I met with Moni to discuss what I was interested in designing and creating.  I completed six sessions with Katie where I went from sketches and fabric swatches to an actual pattern to a working sample of something I had designed!  Katie really invested in my learning and helped me bring my vision to life. 

I’m so glad that I discovered Sew Moni!  Sewing has brought me a sense of accomplishment and has allowed me to explore my creative side with a level of focus that brings a sense of calm to my hectic New York City life.  Moni and Katie were able to balance guiding me with how much I needed to be challenged to figure things out on my own which is exactly the teaching style I needed.  Their investment in my learning and direction with my projects has given me confidence as well as building my skill set with sewing. 

I can’t wait for my next project!
Erin Hefner

2 Videos. 2 Ladies.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am in Corpus Christi Texas this week after taking time to work for Lucky Magazine in Houston this past Saturday. Katie manned NYC while I was away, busy preparing our shop for it's opening in November!

Little by little our DIY efforts are taking shape and we can't stop smiling.

October Sewing Classes!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fall has arrived and we've opened up registration for October sewing classes! 

Part of the exciting fall line-up is our new sewing studio in Manhattan. So get ready city-dwellers, we'll be hosting classes out of our city-space right next to Bryant Park! Check out Beginning Sewing and Beginning Dress Construction available on Monday and Wednesday nights.

Also stay tuned for our quilting and knitting courses coming up in November!

For more information regarding classes or registration click here, or email katie@sewmoni.com.

Happy Monday!

Sewing Table Talk with Student Profile: Amy Le Clair

Sunday, August 15, 2010

During the fall of 2010 I am happy to introduce our SEW Moni's Sewing Talk. What is this you ask? It's our monthly, blog post by our own student(s)! This month, we were happy to have Amy Le Clair write and share her sewing journey. Watching Amy learn, as well as share in her excitement for sewing has been wonderful and we are happy that she is pressing on and sewing up a storm! XO Moni

Sewing Talk with Amy Le Clair
I’m finishing my PhD in sociology at New York University and work part time at an HIV research center. I’ve always loved to do creative things in my spare time – crafting, cooking, baking, shopping, decorating – but I’ve never considered myself a particularly artistic person.
I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, and my grandmother used to do little craft and sewing projects with my sister and me when we were little. We made little dolls out of baby socks, Christmas ornaments out of old fashioned wooden clothes pins, and funny faces out of old hosiery. After she passed away at the golden age of 95, we found love notes from my grandfather tucked into the different nooks and crannies of her sewing machine. 
I didn’t decide to take sewing classes until more than a year later. My friend Brooke and I were at a craft fair at the Brooklyn Lyceum in March, and she signed us up for the SewMoni mailing list. I learned how to embroider over the winter and thought sewing would be a great compliment. We signed up for Beginning Sewing at SEW Moni with Taru (Sewing Instructor).
In class we learned the basics – the anatomy of the machine, tension and stitch length, edges and seams. Sewing in a straight line was a much harder task than I’d imagined! Taru was great, though, and very patient (even when I broke two machine needles in one class – oops!). At the end of the four weeks I had one small and two large totes completed, with several more planned in my head. I got so excited by all the fabrics and possible color and print combinations! I added an outside pocket to one bag and divided the inside pocket into two on another to fit a cell phone. I was kind of a one-trick-pony, however, and wanted to branch out. 
Katie’s (SEW Moni Designer / Sewing Instructor) blog post with the instructions for the apron came at exactly the right time. One of my closest friends from grad school was moving to Philadelphia to start a new job. We both love to cook, so an apron seemed like the perfect going away/housewarming gift. She had showed me the color scheme she wanted her place, so I picked out corresponding fabrics. To create the curved edge I used Katie’s tip and traced an inverted pie plate. I added a pocket to the front (just because I love pockets) and also played with zig zag stitching. 

I was so proud of the finished product! I successfully executed pleats and a curved seam. My friend loved it, and I cannot wait to make more. I have one of my grandmother’s old aprons, and I think she’d be proud of me as well. I have so much more confidence now that I’ve completed my first solo project. I even made two zippered pillow covers from the lining/pocket fabric of the apron for my friend’s apartment. I’m hoping to combine my new sewing skills with my embroidering to make some personalized wedding presents.
I’m so excited for Beginning Clothing Construction with Katie. Living in New York City I’m constantly inspired by the clothing and designs I see around me, and these classes are giving me the skills to sew and create in so many new ways.  In the next year I’m hoping to add quilting and knitting to my repertoire. Oh, and finish my PhD. 

Amy Le Clair


Monday, August 2, 2010

Of all the people I found to be my first design assistant I'd never guess that she'd be from Florida. Nor, did I think that our next team member, coming in 2 months, would be from Florida too!

Here is a shout out to Florida and all it's glory.

To the Sheets!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We just finished our July sewing classes and are getting started to move forward with August which means a few things:

1. New Students!
2. New Classes

When I brain storm for new class ideas I often consider the weather. Sounds like a cliche, but it's true. And with fall approaching soon, its definitely time to get to quilting!

In order to quilt its very important to:
1. Research
2. Decide voice of Quilt
3. Consider Colors
4. Define design & Dimension

I intend to go over each steps within the next weeks and to also expand upon where and how to get the quilting resources you need!

In regard to my first step, above is an image I pulled from DesignFreebuies.org for quilt inspiration. I'm also going to go to the MoMA museum today to see what else might influence our fall quilt blocks. Last, I'll more than likely research the idea of "early fall quilts". Was or is this a movement? What is early fall?

Such efforts are my prep or "scout" work, my most favorite part of the quilt design process. Scouting forces me to visit museums, attend events and read books for inspirational purposes---as well as take in dinners with fellow crafters to collaborate!

 It takes me at least 2 - 3 weeks of scouting for each quilt I make. Why so long? Quilts are built upon the foundation of not only sewing and craftsmanship, but story telling. Having a clear and thoughtful story to accompany the long hours of needle work is always nicer :) Also, creating quilts is completely different than clothing construction. The process is quite geometrical and requires one to be excited about details!!
All that to say, I am ready to quilt and expect such to be involved with our Sept. class and you one blog at a time!


New Logo! New Moves!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's always exciting when new things happen, especially for my little business. On that note, we welcome our new logo to the mix of SEW Moni.

Thanks Jacky Myint for being our Creative Director on this latest project!



The Apron: A Step-by-Step Guide

Friday, July 23, 2010

What you'll need:
 * 1/2 yard of lining fabric
* 1 yard of face fabric
* Coordinating thread
* Scissors
* Measuring tape
* Straight pins
*Pencil or water-soluble pen
* Sewing machine
* Iron

Taking Measurements

Apron Panel Width
1) Measure the width of your hips. If you're wearing pants or a skirt you can use the side seams of the garment as a guide
2) Add 5 inches to this measurement to account for tucks and seam allowance. This measurement will become the width of the apron panel.
3) Divide this number in half to use for drafting the apron panel. We will call this half-width.

Apron Panel Length
1) Decide on the length of the apron panel. Measure from the waist down to the desired length.
2) Add 1 inch to account for seam allowance.

Apron Tie
1) Measure around your waist.
2) Add 32 inches to this length to account for a bow

Cutting the Apron Panels and Apron Tie
Drafting the Apron Panel Pattern onto the Lining Fabric:
1) Fold fabric in half a little more than the half-width of the apron panel.
2) Using the tape measure and pin, measure down the fold of the fabric to the apron panel length and make a small mark.

3) At this mark, measure across the width of the fabric, making a mark at the half-width.
4) Connect the two points together with a straight line.
5) From the end of this line draw a perpendicular line measuring the apron panel length.
6) The measurements and lines will form a rectangular shape.
7) To make the curved edge, use a cup or plate as a guide to draw the curve.

Cutting the Apron Panel from the Lining Fabric:
1) Cut out apron Panel along the guide lines that you have drawn.

Cutting the Apron Panel from Face Fabric
1) Fold face fabric to appropriate width.
2) Pin previously cut lining fabric on top, lining up the folded edges.
3) Cut out.

Cutting the Apron Tie
1) Cut apron tie 5 inches wide, using the calculated length.
**If your fabric is not long enough to accommodate the tie length, simply cut enough piece to add up to the calculated length.  Sew these pieces together to create one tie.**

After the previous steps, you should have cut 1 apron panel from the face fabric, 1 apron panel from the lining fabric, and 1 apron tie.

Sewing the Apron Panel

Joining Apron Panels:
1) Place apron panels on top of each other, right sides together.
2) Pin in place.
3) Starting in the right hand corner, sew down and around the curved edges.  End in the left hand corner, leaving the top straight edge of the piece un-sewn.

Notching Apron Panel:
1) Notch apron panel curves by cutting triangles into the seam allowance. This will make it easier when turning the piece right side out.
**Be careful not to cut into the sewn seam**

Turning Apron Panel:
1) Turn apron right side out.
2) Push the corners out so that they lay flat and smooth.
3) Iron entire panel flat.

Top Stitch Apron Panel:
1) Top stitch around all edges of the apron panel 1/8 inch from the edge.
** Top stitch the opening as well in preparation for the tucks**

Adding Tucks to the Apron Panel

Measuring Tuck Placement:
1) Measure 3 inches in frorm the side and place a pin.
2) From that mark measure 1 1/2 inches in and place a pin.
3) Continue this process until you have 3 to 4 pins in place. These pins will determine the placement of the tucks.
4) Repeat these steps on the other side of the apron.

Forming the Tucks:
1) Taking one at a time, fold the apron panel in half (face fabric together) where the pin in placed.
2) Pin this fold together
3) Sew next to this fold 1/4 inch from the fold.  Sew 1 1/2 inches down and backstitch.
4) Repeat these steps until all pin markers have been formed into tucks.

Ironing the Tucks:
1) Iron all tucks in one direction so that the folded edges of the tucks face inward.

Sewing the Apron Tie

Ironing the Apron Tie:
1) Iron the raw edges of the apron tie in 1/2 inch.
2) Iron the ends of the apron tie in 1/2 inch.

 3) Fold apron tie in half, matching up the folded edges and iron flat.

Attaching Apron Tie to Apron Panel:
1) Lay out the apron tie and open it so that the pressed in seam allowance in exsposed.
2) Line up the raw edge of the apron panel with the raw edge of the apron tie seam allowance.
3) Fold the apron tie back over so that the fold lines meet up.
4) Pin in place.

Top Stitch Apron Tie:
1) Now that everything is pinned together, top stitch the entire apron tie.
2) Start on the apron tie side where the folded edges meet. Sew 1/8 inch from the edge.

Finishing Touches:
1) Iron one last time and then bake some cookies!!!

Happy Sewing!

New York's gone Mad!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The new season premiere of MadMen is upon us!  For those of you who don't watch the show, MadMen is an AMC Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series. The provocative drama takes place in the 1960s in NYC following the lives of men and women in the cut throat advertising business on Madison Avenue.

MadMen is sexy, witty, and highly addictive.  Not to mention, the costumes are incredible.

Filled to the brim with sharp suits, quips, and banter, the show has inspired the present world of fashion.  Banana Republic recently jumped on board to recreate the show's style in it's own Mad Men clothing line.

The premiere is this Sunday!  You can go watch the screening July 25th at 10pm in Times Square.  Dress to impress in your 60s attire for the pre-screening costume contest at 7pm.  You can trust i'll be there.

Alix :)


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