Whimsy Week Day 2 – An Interview with Kari Mecca (plus another great GIVEAWAY!)

Welcome to Day 2 of Whimsy Week, where we will be celebrating the release of designer Kari Mecca’s newest book, More Sewing with Whimsy! Join us every day this week as we share behind-the-scenes videos, excerpts and previews of the book, a special interview with Kari, and best of all – GREAT giveaway opportunities every day! We will announce a selection of different special “Whimsy” prizes each day this week. Reply to the posts of the giveaway(s) you would like to win and we will announce the winners next Monday, August 16, 2010.

Today’s giveaway is a complete kit for the Sassafrass dress from More Sewing with Whimsy! (Dress kit makes sizes 2–8; pictured below) Head to the end of this post for more information and to enter.
On this second day of Whimsy Week, we are thrilled to bring you an insider’s interview with Kari Mecca, the amazingly talented and creative designer behind More Sewing with Whimsy. Enjoy!

SB: Kari, thanks for taking a few minutes to answer some of our burning questions! We are thrilled to be celebrating the release of your new book, More Sewing with Whimsy. Let’s start out with the basics; tell us a little bit about the book.
Kari: A second installment in my Whimsy Series, the book is once again is based on 3 basic patterns and unique embellishing techniques. Each Chapter focuses on a pattern, with 3 to 4 different projects with basic sewing and embellishing changes to create uniquely different projects. I am also happy to introduce my new “Whimsy Sticks” and “Going in Circles” tools. Using these tools, I have developed easy and original ways to make trims, flowers and quick flounces. The patterns included are: a square yoke, a round yoke and bottoms in 4 lengths. What’s really great is that the patterns are very easy to sew and both the square and round yokes are simple pull-over-the-head styles. No need to sew on buttons, buttonholes or plackets.

SB: How does this book differ from your first book Sewing with Whimsy? Tell us a little bit about your favorite features.
Kari: One of the biggest differences is that More Sewing with Whimsy is 1-1/2 times larger, a full 136 color pages! The yoke patterns have both top and dress lengths, the bottoms (pants) are in 4 lengths and there are several pocket styles. But my favorite new features are the “Change It Up” and “Flip Side” views. These are actual samples of projects showing how to make minor changes for yet another look to projects.

SB: From where would you say you get your inspiration for your sewing projects and designs?
Kari: It’s funny you should ask, the first chapter begins with just this question. The answer is really very simple, there is inspiration in everything, you just have to look for it! And remember, it may not be a chilling goosebump kind of a thought, it may just be a small detail that sticks in your mind. I suggest you make a creative file or box to keep clipped pictures, sketched ideas and notes. Then pull out your file or box when planning a new project.

SB: Hand-in-hand with inspiration goes motivation; as creative types, sometimes even though we have plenty of inspiration, we can’t seem to motivate ourselves to actually keep creating! How do you combat this struggle?
Kari: Creating is a type of therapy, you have to make time for it because you’re worth it! Crazy as it may sound, because I make time, I am happier and more energetic, therefore I can accomplish more! Positive energy is positively energetic!

SB: You have had your business Kari Me Away for quite some time; how did it all start for you?
Kari: I can honestly say I have been “in a business” since middle school! Whatever crafty endeavor I was engrossed in, I had my Mom pedaling to her friends and co-workers. After having kids, I did some custom sewing and then stumbled across smocking stitches in a book. I was hooked. I found a local smocking shop, took classes and found Sew Beautiful magazine. In one of the issues, Martha Pullen had a sewing contest for “The Most Beautiful Clothes in the World”. Well, up for any challenge, I entered and won 1st place for Girls Heirloom Sewing. After that I started contributing articles, started Kari Me Away and began publishing embroidery plates, patterns and books.

SB: Let’s talk favorites. What is your favorite article, pattern and garment from your books?
Kari: It’s hard to pick a single one but here are a few and why they standout for me. Sew Beautiful Article; I would say issue #100, a milestone issue that I was proud to have my pattern Sarah featured on the cover (this was also the first feature with rickrack flowers). As for my patterns; I would have to say Lauren’s Fairy Dress, it’s named for my daughter and because what girl doesn’t love fairies! As for garments in the Whimsy books: Rainbow Sherbet in Sewing with Whimsy – it was the dress that sparked the idea of using a basic pattern to empower sewers to not only create, but be creative. In More Sewing with Whimsy; If I had to pick just one, my favorite outfit is Flirty Girl! The girly flounces, fun print fabric, unique sleeves and “Heirloom Cargo” capris make it an all around winner for me.

SB: More Sewing with Whimsy features new tools called “Whimsy Sticks” and “Going in Circles”. What exactly are these and how will it change flower and trim making?
Kari: Whimsy Sticks are a set of tools to make quick and easy looped trims in a variety of sizes. These trims can then be added to collars, hems, yokes, appliqués and more. You can also use the trim to make an endless variety of flowers and flower centers. Loops and be single or double layer and when paired with pretty ribbons and spaghetti trims, the results are astounding. They are the tool that takes the hand rolled rose to the sewing machine!

The Going in Circles tools are clever and easy circle and scallop drawing tools. Precise, quick and fun to use, you will never have to search the house for a perfect size plate, bowl or glass to trace around. Use to make flounce ruffles, swirl flowers, and scallop hems. Also handy for scrapbooking, school projects and drawing targets on pictures of anyone who uses fabric scissors to cut paper!

SB: What are some of your favorite go-to sewing tools?
Kari: In More Sewing with Whimsy I have actually listed my “Favorite 8” tools. They are: Whimsy Sticks, Going In Circles tools, basting glue, fray stop glue, monofilament thread, beading thread, and a ruffler foot.

SB: With the publication of More Sewing with Whimsy behind you, what’s in the works next for Kari Me Away?
Kari: Look for my Bullion Whimsies DVD, appearances on Martha’s Sewing Room for PBS, new Whimsy Tools, new classes, a More Sewing with Whimsy DVD, and new patterns.

SB: What would your advice be for a true beginner of sewing?
Kari: Start with a simple pattern, read the instructions from start to finish before you begin and then “just go for it!” Also try embellishing a readymade item or start by taking a class – it’s always nice to make new friends with similar interests.

SB: Any last words of advice for our readers?
Kari: Simply….Live, Love & Sew!

We hope you enjoyed our interview with Kari! Be sure to check in with Kari on her blog this week as well, where she is celebrating Whimsy Week with a variety of sneak peaks and free downloads. By this Friday, you will have been completely showered in whimsy!

Today’s giveaway is one complete kit for the Sassafrass dress in pink from More Sewing with Whimsy (sizes 2–8) to give away! To enter, reply below with your name and email address. We will announce the winner of this and the rest of our Whimsy Week giveaway prizes next Monday, August 16th. Entries will remain open until then!

Check back every day this week for more fun Whimsy Week posts and giveaways!


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