Evy Hawkins is the brains and braun behind A Bit of Stitch. Those of you who come to Zede’s Sewing Studio in Columbia, MO know that we love Evy and we love her designs! We use them for demonstrations and classes all the time, and our customers have fallen in love just like us!
Below is an interview that I think will be interesting to anyone who has every stitched out Evy’s designs. If you’ve never heard of Evy or “A Bit of Stitch”, check out her website and her designs- they are gorgeous!
How long have you been stitching? What techniques first got you interested in stitching?My first memory of sewing was actually losing a hand-sewing needle on my mother’s bed! I don’t know how old I was, but I was old enough to know that it was a bad thing! It was a long time before my mother let me have needles again so I made due with aluminum foil, paper, tape and glue. As you can imagine, my dolls had very “temporary” outfits.
What is your educational background? You have such a command of color and design, did you achieve it formally or through pursuing your hobbies? I was taught to sew by my Irish auntie, actually my great aunt. She spent part of every year with us and patiently taught me to make things for my dolls. We did all our sewing by hand at that time. We did have an old treadle and I have no idea why we didn’t use it as it did work. I think it was probably because my auntie thought that hand sewing was a master art and that I needed to learn that first. And she was right! We got a little Singer Dressmaker when I was in high school. By that time I had taken Home Economics and learned to use a sewing machine.
How did you get interested in machine embroidery? Well, I like to say that I was educated “by the seat of my pants” as far as sewing went. There’s nothing like making a mistake – you do it and then you say, “Ah-ha! Won’t do that again!” I did have the privilege of knowing lovely folks who shared their valuable skills and time with me while I was still a teenager. Besides my auntie I was privileged to have a home economics teacher who allowed me to spend my lunch hours in her room learning how to drape and draft patterns. I also had wonderful art teachers, one who had attended Parson’s School of Design and he gave me his old textbooks when I graduated. The last year in high school I managed to work my schedule so that it included three art periods and my teachers gave me free rein to do whatever took my fancy. It was awesome! I made my first dress for someone else while I was in high school and I wasn’t very long out of college (with a secretarial degree) that I found myself with more dressmaking work than I could handle. One thing led to another and eventually I ended up working as a designer for a tiny woman’s wear company. It was there that I was introduced to machine embroidery. That was before home machine embroidery. It was so incredible watching my artwork come to life in stitches! I learned what “manual punching” was and that’s how I digitize my designs still today. I guess I’d have to say that I started designing embroidery about 18 years ago, but it wasn’t until around 2004 that I introduced my A Bit of Stitch embroidery design line.
What is your favorite machine to stitch on? My favorite machines are Baby Locks. They are extremely user friendly and as a family run business, you can’t beat their customer service! Also, they make really cool machines like their new Sashiko and the Embellisher! I like Baby Lock’s Palette software too. My studio is filled with my “babies” and they all get along very nicely!
What is the most exciting project you worked on in 2011/2012? Baby Lock’s Sashiko machine has introduced me to a whole new world, so that is what I have been most fascinated with this past year. Right now I’ve discovered just how very fun it is to combine machine embroidery techniques with Sashiko techniques! As you probably can tell, I really love art to wear, but recently I have taken an interest in quilts. We’ll see what this year brings! Right now I am working on a dimensional Sashiko quilt, which incorporates machine embroidery techniques, and a Sashiko quilted and machine embroidered voile and tulle wedding dress. The dress is just for fun, just to see what it evolves into. That’s the biggest excitement in my studio right now!
Do you do anything else in your spare time besides sew? Is there life besides sewing? Ha! Well, actually one does have to eat and sleep but I have discovered that I can get by on a little of those. When actually forced not to work I like to read. Science fiction is my new favorite, which is strange for me, but I find I like the imagination in it and I especially like it when authors describe wardrobes of “out of this world quite literally” clothing! I have been known to watch movies with the sound off just so I could concentrate on the costumes, which drives my family crazy. There never will be enough time to do everything that is in my head, so I guess you could say that I never really have any spare time! That’s either really sad or a blessing!
Thank you, Evy!
You can find a wide selection of “A Bit of Stitch” embroidery designs at Zede’s Sewing Studio!