about me

Well, hello there! I’m Melissa Q., the sewist and writer behind this bit of internet real estate.

A Happy Stitch is a blog about handmade clothes, home sewing, and crafting with kids. I also share whatever whimsical creative spirit whips by and happens to carry me with it. I am a sewing instructor, handmade clothing advocate, thrift store shopper, feminist, textile lover and creativity activist.

In 2015, I joined my love of sewing with my passion for social justice and launched the Nothing New Project, which counters the waste and conformity of fast fashion with the radically simple idea that I can make or thrift for all my clothes. The project aims to bring attention to the ecological damage and human cost of the fashion industry by not buying any new clothes. Since 2015, no new clothing has come into my closet and I’m happy to report from the trenches that it is not only damn easy to create a wardrobe of your own design but it’s also seriously fun.


A Happy Stitch Manifesto

  • I believe in the power of making. Within our two hands is the power to bring into the world whatever stunning, funky, lush, spare, devoted, or radical vision we might have and in doing so we make the world a richer place. If my humble stitches can make magic and comfort, encourage sustainability, decrease pollution and fight the exploitation of global workers then anything is possible.
  • I want to live in a world where beauty, humor and design meet courageous, creative hands and together they make beautiful babies.
  • I refuse to accept the rules written by the fashion world with its designated colors, sizes and shapes. I believe that armed with sewing machines and creative joy there is the potential to bust through into a glorious world of radical love. Love of ourselves, the planet and all the humans.


My Work

I’m proud to have my work published by Mollie Makes magazine and to work as an ongoing sample sewist for Cloud 9 Fabrics. I have taught sewing to students across New Jersey and have collaborated with a variety of sewing professionals including fabric companies, pattern designers and prominent bloggers including Michael Miller Fabrics, Betz White and Andrea’s Notebook.

Find me elsewhere

a happy stitch Promo from Courtney Koester on Vimeo.

I am available to teach classes in a variety of areas from garment sewing, beginner sewing classes, as well as hand-stamping and home decor. I am also available for pattern testing, book reviews and blog hops given they fit within the scope of this blog. Email ahappystitch{at}gmail{dot}com with any inquiries.


Background

I grew up in the heart of Minnesota surrounded by people who knew how to make just about everything. From art to food to furniture and even moonshine, the people around me were always using their hands to create. Nothing, however, was more prevalent in my world than sewing. All of the women I grew up around knew how to sew.

My grandma made most of my grandpa’s suits, almost all of them in plaid wool; my paternal grandparents had closets filled to the brim with quilts.

My mother was keen on holiday dresses including an uncomfortable red velvet Christmas dress I wore for a full day before we realized it still had a pin it. Traumatizing.
When I was twelve, my mother left an old Singer on a table in the basement and encouraged unsupervised experimentation. I don’t actually remember learning how to sew, it feels like it was just in the ether. I have been working a thread and needle ever since.

I have undergraduate degrees in Social Work and Economics from the University of Madison-Wisconsin and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Rutgers University. For several years, I worked as an anti-poverty researcher and argued for sensible policies to help low-income families. Even then, through college and office days, sewing was my respite. My way of making something tangible out of the unknown world of policy and parenting.

In 2011, while struggling to balance work and parenting two small kids, I discovered the uplifting, eye-opening and beautiful world of sewing blogs. Soon after, I started teaching sewing and have never looked back. With the launch of the Nothing New Project in 2015, my passion and reverence for the humble power of sewing has grown to breathtaking proportions.

Join me as I explore life as a parent, New Jersey resident, blogger, pattern designer, sewing instructor and a believer in the radical notion that I can sew a better world.


Be in touch

 It’s an honor to hear from people!  I really, truly love it.  Leave a comment on the blog, email me @ ahappystitch[at]gmail[dot]com or add yourself to my newsletter list!



Disclaimer

I am an Amazon.com affiliate, which means that when I link to something on Amazon if you click on it and buy something from Amazon, I get a few cents.  Really, a few cents.  So, if you want to do that it would be real nice. There is a little button on the sidebar for you to use!

I am also an affiliate for other companies I believe in including Craftsy and Creativebug.  On occasion I also discuss a book or fabric that is given to me free of charge. My philosophy is to not talk about something I would want for myself. In that regard, my opinions are always my own and I do my best to keep my review impartial. Thanks!

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