Hi there! I’m Erin Van Handel, and I like to make stuff with my sewing machine.
Thanks so much for visiting my corner of the internet. My goal for Sie macht is to chronicle my sewing makes, stitching skills, creative inspiration, smarty-pants hacks, and occasional deep thoughts.
I’ve been sewing for about 10 years, and I consider myself an intermediate sewist. My relationship with sewing, however, did not start well. My first experience with a sewing machine was in junior high home ec. Students received sheets of paper with “paths” we were to follow with an unthreaded needle. For me, each puncture strayed farther from the path. I recall my teacher sighing heavily as she reviewed my wayward stitching. I earned a C. I was mortified and dismissed sewing as not my thing.
Fast forward to the mid-2000s, and I looked at sewing as a super-cool skill that I wished I possessed. (Making your own clothes? How cool would that be?!?) There was only one way to get good at sewing; Practice sewing.
I ordered a low-end sewing machine on eBay; I think it cost me 70-some bucks for the Kenmore model. I made some pajama pants for my husband, Mark, and a blouse for myself. I discovered sewing blogs and indie patterns. I started collecting sewing books. I was hooked.
These days, my favorite thing in the world, aside from adventuring with my family, is turning on a podcast or sweet jams and getting busy on a sewing project.
Should you be interested, here’s some more info on yours truly, shared Q&A style:
Q. Do you have a job? Where do you live? Who are you married to? You know, life stuff, blah, blah, blah.
A. I am the primary caregiver for my sons, Paul (born in 2011) and John (born in 2015). I left a marketing consulting job in spring 2016 to spend more time with my family. My boys and I, including my husband, Mark (above; he’s a babe), live in Greendale, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you’re interested in more of my work history, you can check out my LinkedIn profile.
In a nutshell, I’m a journalist turned marketer turned stay-at-home momma with a sewing blog.
Q. What does “Sie macht” mean?
A. Sie macht is “she makes” in German. I studied German in junior high, high school, and college. Say it with me — zee mahkt! Perfekt! Wünderschön!
Q. It looks like you used to blog about cooking, too? What happened? And why did you stop blogging for four years? And why did you start again?
A. Glad ya asked! When I first started Sie macht in 2009, I blogged about making stuff, period — all kinds of stuff, from food to garments to home improvements. Any sort of making was blog fodder. I was really into cooking back then, and it was easy to blog about, because a girl’s got to eat.
I stopped blogging in 2012 because I was feeling burned out on it. I was working on my M.B.A. part time and taking care of a baby full time. I still wanted to keep making (and especially sewing), and I chose to make stuff and gave up blogging about making stuff.
I started blogging again in spring 2016 because I wanted a creative outlet. I felt a strong drive to take my sewing to the next level. Over my four-year hiatus, I learned a lot about content marketing, search engine optimization, and design, and I wanted to apply this knowledge to my own blog.
Q. How much time do you spend blogging?
A. I try to blog and sew when my youngest naps in the afternoon and after both kiddos go to bed. Some days are more productive than others.
I get in at least 15-20 minutes of blogging/social media or sewing every day, and most days it’s more than that — about two hours. I want Sie macht to shift into a job for me, so I am disciplined about growing my sewing skills, blog quality, and audience.
Q. What kind of sewing machine do you have?
A. I sew on a Baby Lock Elizabeth from the A-Line Series (Model BL200A). It’s a good machine with a lot of functions.
Q. Do you have any TNT patterns?
A. I love Sewaholic’s Renfrew, and I’ve made that more than any other pattern. It sews up fairly fast, and you’re rewarded with a better-than-basic knit top. Is there anything easier to wear?
Q. What’s your biggest sewing challenge?
A. Slowing down. I rush and end up with less-than-awesome results. I’ve gotten MUCH better at walking away when I get frustrated. When I force myself to take a break, my brain often comes up with a simple, elegant solution during the downtime.
This is kinda goony, but I also want to get to the point as a sewist where I don’t have to consult a book or tutorial every time I install a zipper. And that just takes practice. #goals
Q. What advanced sewing project would you eventually like to try?
A. There are so many! I’d like to make more quilts. I’d like to make a coat (I’m crushing on Closet Case File’s Clare and Sewaholic’s Minoru). I’d like to make a pair of jeans. I will get to all these pieces, someday!
Q. What other hobbies to you have?
A. I love working out. I’m a runner and yogi. I’m into Tony Horton workouts via Beachbody and yoga practices from Yoga with Adriene and Yogadownload.com. I also love reading — books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, you name it.
Q. I left a comment and now it’s gone. What’s up?
A. I delete spam with extreme prejudice. Also: I have thick skin, but I will not tolerate hateful comments that detract from thoughtful and civilized discourse.
Q. Are you on social media?
A. Oh yeah! Check me out:
Q. Do you accept advertising or do sponsored posts?
A. I don’t have the audience for ads or sponsorships — yet. I’m willing to consider any revenue stream that I think matches the Sie macht brand and would be valuable to readers. Please email me at erin (at) siemachtsewingblog (dot) com to start the conversation.
I earn money as a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to siemachtsewingblog.com (yep, that’s boilerplate from Amazon). In other words, I get commissions (at no cost to readers) for purchases made through Amazon Associates links to amazon.com. I also earn money as a member of the eBay Partner Network. When you click on links to various merchants on siemachtsewnigblog.com and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network (boilerplate from eBay).
Also Good to Know: Your Personal Data and Marketing Messages
Guys, as an ex-journalist, I am crazy about transparency. With that in mind, here’s a bit of info about my compliance with GDPR, the European legislation to ensure you only receive the marketing messages you want!
I have a monthly email newsletter. I think it’s pretty rad. Here’s boilerplate copy from MailChimp, my email provider, about your personal data:
Sie macht will use the information you provide on email forms to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at email@example.com. I will treat your information with respect. And there’s no hard feelings if you want to bail or want me to delete your data (which only is your name and email address). I don’t want to fill your inbox with stuff you don’t want. No bueno!
Oh, I would NEVER EVER EVER in a gazillion years spam you. Ew, gross.