What I Learned From Mie

Mie of Sewing Like Mad is a tremendous source of information and inspiration for the sewing community.  A group of us decided to show her just how much we have learned from her by putting together a little video and blog posts in her honor.  Check out the video below to see just a small sampling of the seamstresses whom she has taught and inspired.

What I learnt From Mie from Celina Bailey on Vimeo.

Being able to bounce ideas off of and learn from the sewing community has been so crucial for me since I am self/internet-taught.  I originally started with the most basic items like burp cloths, pillows, changing pads, and other things that mostly consisted of sewing straight lines.


My first attempt at clothing from a pattern was three years ago with this dress for Hannah when I helped test the pattern. (Actually, it was exactly three years ago yesterday according to Timehop!)

Flaws and all I loved this dress and was so proud of myself for pulling it off! I purchased a few patterns from some very talented indie pattern designers and continued to add to Hannah’s wardrobe and my very limited sewing knowledge.

Indie pattern designers have come to be known for teaching some sewing skills within their patterns, which is not the case with many store bought patterns.  Instead of saying, “install an invisible zipper,” they walk you through how to install an invisible zipper, step by step, and include pictures!  It’s fantastic for people like myself who require a little hand holding to get the job done.  Or, sometimes, hand holding from multiple people.

The first time that I ever encountered Mie’s teaching was when I was struggling with a girl’s pattern that was lined and used an invisible zipper.  Even with the pattern’s instructions I was lost.  A quick search on Google brought me to this tutorial, which helped me finish the garment perfectly.  I quickly became a fan, and I started clicking around her blog looking for other helpful posts.

Have you ever met someone who is just so in their element in their particular trade?  They have good reasons for doing things the way that they do, their end result seems flawless, and they have been in their trade for years and in a professional capacity.  Even if you disagree with their methods you recognize they at least deserve consideration and respect because they have put their time in.  Also they just flat out know more than you. 🙂

That’s Mie.

I will admit that on more than one occasion I have been reading through something that Mie is explaining to another seamstress on instagram or a blog comment, and I took a screen picture to remember what she was saying for the future.   She is full of good advice.

However, for me, what stands out the most with Mie is her commitment to not cutting corners, figuratively, and to doing things right.  The more that I sew, the more obvious it has become that (as in many other areas of life) the little things actually are the big things.  Even though Mie is full of excellent advice on a variety of complex sewing tasks, every time that I put one of these small “Mie rules” into play I’m more proud of my work and genuinely think to myself, “Mie would be so happy with this!” 🙂

Here are my three “Mie would be patting me on the back if she was sitting here” rules.

1.) Match your stripes.

Slouchy Linden by Erin Always 10Charlie Dress 8

This is an easy rule for me to follow given my perfectionist tendencies.  But really, matching up stripes is my favorite way to be OCD when sewing.  It is just so satisfying to see them line up just right.  And when you can play with them to make little triangles across your shoulder or to intersect in other places on your garment…sigh.

Liberty Desert Rose Dress 1All Striped Twisted Tank at Our Family Four 16

They don’t always turn out 100% perfect, but 100% perfect is still worth striving for.

Grandpa Cardigan 1Kudzu Cargos 1

 2.) Color block.

WIP 10Pink Debbie Dress 20

Will it seem crazy if I admit that I actually prefer to not have enough fabric to finish a project?  Little (or big) strips of unexpected patterns or color are some of the most fun things to play with when sewing.  Mie takes on color blocking with lots of gusto, like here.  I have not quite progressed to her level of risk taking, but I am always inspired by her combinations.

Orangeger 5Cuffed and Color Blocked Sunday Picnic Dress at Our Family Four 16Syrah Skirt at Our Family Four 1
Reversible Autumn Coat 6

3.) Do it right.

I know that there are a few rules that would have been drilled into my head if I was a student in a sewing class that was taught by a seasoned teacher.  This is one disadvantage of learning through patterns.  They may teach you some new sewing skills, but they  assume a basic sewing skill set that I did not have.  I’ve had to mentally slot in these good practices with each new project that I take on, and I’ve never regretted the extra time that it takes to just do it the right way the first time.

Check your pattern pieces and make sure that everything lines up.  Use notches to match up your pattern pieces.  Match your thread to your garment.  Iron out your seams.  Top stitch slowly and carefully.  Make a muslin.

It’s all good advice, basic but solid, and it has made such a difference in my finished product.

Autumn Mix and Match Crop Top Set by Erin Always 17

Have you not encountered Mie before?  Here are a few times where she was my favorite, all pinnable for you to save later.

THIS DRESS killed me.  I was an instant fan.

I bought this pattern as soon as I saw her versions.  Then I read through her post knowing that she would make a note of important things like if the pattern pieces fit together well, if she constructed it as the tutorial suggested, and if/how she modified it so that I could take that into consideration when I was making my own.

Since I love color blocking I was blown away by this incredible creation, which really took things to a whole new level.

This pattern will be the next one that I buy because of her, even though I already have two store-bought sweaters like it. 🙂

And as soon as it’s coat weather again, this one.

Or to keep up to date every day, she’s as addicted to Instagram as the rest of us, and kindly accessible for feedback if need be.

Mie, thanks for all of the encouragement, not treating our questions like dumb questions, and continuing to spit out a crazy amount of sewing knowledge and inspiration.  You rock. 🙂


These wonderful ladies were a part of the video or have posts dedicated to Mie today.  Click over to see what everyone is saying about our dear friend and sewing mentor. 🙂

Celina . Petit à Petit and Family, Abby . Sew Much Ado, Rita . Conversas de Hermanas, Heidi . Handmade Frenzy, Olu . Needle and Ted, An . StraightGrain, Jenya . While she was sleeping, Trine . Groovy Baby and Mama, Andreia . In a Manner of Sewing, Jess . Sewing Rabbit, Hayley . Welcome to the Mouse House, Marta . Do Guincho, Maria . My Cozy Co, Natalie . La Gang à Nat, Holli . Hello Holli, Erin . Erin Always, Olga . Coffee and Thread, Delia . Delia Creates, Alida . Alida Makes, Gabriela . Chalk and Notch, Victoria . As it Seams, Rachel . Stitched Together, Chelise . Chelise Patternson, Emi . Just Add Fabric, Annika . Näh Connection, Inês . La Folie

3 thoughts on “What I Learned From Mie

  1. Oh my gosh Erin…I don’t think my head can get any bigger now! Talk about making a girl blush (and I also wish that I had matched my stripes up a bit better in my latest posts LOL). Ahhhhh, thank you seriously so much!! I’m so so happy and proud and just plain overwhelmed! <3

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