From Rural Mexico to a Rental with Style: In the Studio with Sew Liberated's Meg McElwee

12 Dec 2009

Until July 2008, Meg McElwee was a Montessori teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Mexico. McElwee launched her sewing line, Sew Liberated, while living in Mexico and she now lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband and son, Finn. She writes about her adventures with fabric, thread, and motherhood at and is the author of the new book by the same name, Sew Liberated: 20 Stylish Projects for the Modern Sewist (Interweave, Dec. 2009). This fantastic sewing book is hitting bookstores this month and we're excited to introduce Meg as today's guest blogger. Meg's studio tour is the third stop on her two-week blog tour with fellow Interweave author Rashida Coleman-Hale, author of I Love Patchwork. You can follow along their blog stops for the next few weeks (click here to see the schedule). Now heeerrre's Meg... give her a big "Studios" welcome! --Cate

Like most crafters, I had dreamed about the ideal studio long before it became a reality. Unlike most crafters, I did most of my pining for a beautiful sewing space while I was living in an adobe house in the mountains of rural northern Mexico. I spent three years living there while teaching three to six year-olds in a one room Montessori schoolhouse. I shared my sewing space (a small table) with my husband's office, which happened to double as our bedroom. It was tight!

As soon as we moved back to the U.S., we looked for a rental that would have enough space to house my creative exploits. I moved in my humble piles of quilting cotton, got myself a “real” sewing machine and serger (I have Berninas – an Aurora 430 and a 1300 MDC), rolled up my sleeves and painted the spare bedroom a bright and sunny aqua color (Sweet Rhapsody by Behr – the go-to color for studios, I tell you!)

The highlight of my space is the 9 foot-long table which we found while thrifting – my dear husband sanded it down and painted it white. The red cube storage on top of the table we finished ourselves after purchasing in on the cheap from a local unfinished furnishings store. The cubes hold my quilting cottons, organized by color.  

This battered bucket is the diamond in the rough – my great grandmother used it to store her buttons, as I do now.

Finally, no studio tour would be complete without a nod to these two felines who love the view from the window (our neighbors have several bird feeders in their backyard). They love fabric just as much, if not more, than I do! They quickly take up residence on any stray piece of fabric – especially what I'm sewing right now!



****************************************** ~ sewing patterns for women and children ~ Sew Liberated (the book) published by Interweave ~ blog

Featured Products

Sew Liberated 20 Stylish Projects for the Modern Sewist

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Sew Liberated is the first how-to book of its kind to resurrect the art of appliqué for today's generation of sewists looking to imbue their work with creative style.


I Love Patchwork! 21 Irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew

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Create sophisticated patchwork projects in the popular Japanese zakka style of the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane by combining linen and print fabrics using simple quilting techniques.


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on 27 Jun 2010 8:57 AM

I loved reading your bio:) You are a very cool lady