Oh hello there! My name is Amy – middle name Nicole – and I am a seamstress, tailor, pattern maker, DIY lover, vintage enthusiast, hater of waste, hyper-organized, fresh air addict, eco-concious, sweet tooth victim, bookworm, and all-around creative junkie. When I’m not actively being all of the above, I run a BBQ Restaurant with my husband (hereafter to be known as the Gentleman) in a teeny tiny town in central Texas.
Amy Nicole Studio is my creative home on the web. Here, you will find an inside look at my process as a seamstress, tutorials that will help to improve your own sewing skills, free sewing-related printables, and projects you can re-create. From time to time I may also share articles of interest related to the sewing and fashion world, as well as collaborations with fellow sewing bloggers.
I grew up in the suburban town of Pearland, Texas. From the very beginning I was a performer. I was constantly starring in one-woman spectaculars on the living room fireplace, singing and dancing my little heart out. My enthusiasm for performance carried into high school and then college, when I attended the University of Houston and got my BA in Theatre. As part of my program at UH we were required to log hours in different areas of the department, and I found myself repeatedly signing up to work in the costume shop. I had so much fun ripping apart seams, tacking up hems, and perusing the immense costume collection that I went out, bought a sewing machine on layaway, and began experimenting on my own.
After I graduated, I spent about 9 months working and saving money before I took the big leap, packed my bags and moved to New York City. I had no apartment, no job, just huge dreams (and a cousin with a double bed on the upper east side). I had wanted to live in NYC since I was a little girl, but in my childhood dreams I was always doing theatre. After a few months of waking up before dawn to attend auditions and spending hours online looking at casting calls, I was loosing my spark. I also had to learned something about myself in the process – I really
hated loathed auditioning, and to be honest I wasn’t very good at it either. I’d sit in the waiting room surrounded by hundreds of other hopefuls who looked exactly the same as me and realized I just didn’t want it that badly.
Accepting that your big, sparkling dream is no longer what you want and moving on from it is a hard …it’s OK.
Luckily, I was in the perfect place to move forward with my new dream (which at this point had become an obsession. I began taking classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology that fall, and graduated with an Associates in Fashion Design two years later. My time at FIT was invaluable. I perfected my sewing skills, gained a better understanding of how garments are constructed and are meant to fit the body, and had first hand insight into the ins and outs of Fashion as an industry. I spent my time after school interning with several designers, and apprenticing with both a pattern maker and a tailor. It’s safe to say that at this point I was hooked, and I was becoming quite good at my craft. I should also mention that shortly after I arrived in NY is when I met the Gentleman, whose encouragement and support played a huge part in my accomplishments.
Everything changed in November of 2013, when my favorite person in the world, my rock, my inspiration, my mom lost her 2 year struggle with a very rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer. I lost so much when I lost my mom, and New York City just didn’t sparkle the way it used to. The Gentleman and I had been talking about the future and living a simpler life, and when an opportunity arose to take over a restaurant in Texas – out in the country and thousands of miles closer to my family – we jumped on it.
That brings us where we are today. I went from creating things in a shoebox of an apartment (no seriously – it was like 12×6!) to having my own studio space. I can write blog posts on my front porch, and we have a veggie garden in the backyard. When I’m not clocking hours at the restaurant, I’m working on personal projects, taking in tailoring and alterations clients, and doing other freelance work in my studio. Life is simpler and slower. Sometimes I miss the hustle of the big city (especially my 16 block distance from the infamous garment district), but mostly I’m happy to be living a quieter life and having more time to work on what I love.
Why I Sew
Sewing is so much more than just making clothes – for me, it is an art form. The art of sewing has a history and story all its own. One of my favorite things about the sewing community is that our stories of why we sew and how we got started are all so different.
I sew because I love to create. Creating something enjoyable to look at is wonderful. But creating something you can actually use on a day to day basis brings such an immense amount of pride and satisfaction to your life. Supplying yourself with a basic need (clothing), and having endless possibilities of ways to do so is an incredible thrill.
Creating a garment all on my own from sketch to stitch brings me such indescribable feelings of joy an accomplishment, I can’t imagine doing anything else.
I sew because I care about where my clothes come from on an ethical level. When I worked in the New York fashion industry I was lucky enough to work with designers and makers who cared about quality and ethical production. Everyone I worked for had their clothes made right there in the New York garment district. Fast fashion is growing so quickly among unknowing consumers, and being a maker really clues you in to how harmful these trends can be on our earth, it’s inhabitants and it’s economies. In the past year especially, I’ve challenged myself to very rarely, if ever purchase new off-the-rack clothing. Most of whats in my closet is vintage, second-hand, or handmade.
I sew because it helps me to make better choices and put more thought into building a wardrobe. Knowing the time and effort it takes to complete a garment really causes you to consider what your making and how it will compliment your existing pieces. My goal is to have a carefully curated closet, without a single “meh” item.
I sew because, honestly, it’s addicting. The hum of the machine, the crisp sound of scissors snipping through layer of fabric, the wearable finished product, the compliments, the “oohs” and “aaahs” of onlookers when they find out you MADE that cute top or streamlined blazer. Each of these things just leaves you wanting more and more.