Hi there! I’m Erin Van Handel, and I like to make stuff with my sewing machine.
I want to help you sew clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident.
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 since the mid-2000s, and I consider myself an advanced 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 my 20s, 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. Sie Macht is my job! I design sewing patterns (one (Cass T-shirt) in the bag so far) and I write articles for this site. I have two sons, Paul (born in 2011) and John (born in 2015). 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 turned mostly self-taught sewing pattern designer and sewing blogger.
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. What kind of sewing machine do you have?
A. I primarily sew on a Baby Lock Elizabeth from the A-Line Series (Model BL200A). It’s a good machine with a lot of functions. I also have a Singer Fashion Mate 248 (circa late ’70s; a mechanical machine), a Baby Lock Imagine serger, and a Pfaff Coverlock 4862 (a combo coverstitch-serger; I use it for coverstitching). FYI, the Singer and Fashion Mate were Facebook Marketplace finds!
Q. Do you have any TNT patterns?
A. Megan Nielsen’s Briar T and Darling Ranges dress are faves. Also the Seamwork Olso. I also have made the Closet Core Ginger jeans a number of times now. And, of course, the Cass T-shirt (a Sie Macht joint) is a tried-and-true pattern.
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.
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: If you prefer a vid Q&A, here ya go: Erin vs. The Seamstress Tag.
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 also send email when I think I have something to say that you might be interested in. 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. 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. Your privacy matters to Sie Macht, and your email is not for sale!