paper pony + amy butler

by Grace Bonney

i’m woefully behind on my daily reading of raya carlisle’s beautiful blog, paper pony. raya is due to have her first baby soon so i was excited to see she’s still posting and crafting from her lovely california home. raya recently posted these beautiful apron and napkin projects from amy butler’s “in stitches” book. i’m still deciding whether or not to invest in a sewing machine (or a used one) but fun things like this make me think it would be worth the investment. click here to view more of raya’s beautiful photography and here for more sewing projects from amy butler.


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  • Well it’s not surprising that she’s still crafting, in your last trimester of pregnancy you are in the nesting phase and are busy preparing for baby.

  • Recently, I was inspired to start sewing again by a handbag pattern I ordered from The Curiosity Shoppe – the pattern is a cinch, and I’ve already made 2! My machine is a Kenmore from 1974 that belonged to my grandmother…it doesn’t do anything too fancy, but it sure is dependable.

    I would recommend looking at older machines. I find they’re easier to maintain than newer ones, and seem to last much, much longer. Here in Boston, I can find them in thrift stores for $20 – $30…TOTALLY worth it!

  • Yes! Get a sewing machine, but as Carrie S. suggested, an older one would be a better choice to buy used. Stay away from the computerized ones! A nightmare to fix, and they beep at you a lot. My one caution: Beware the giant piles of fabric you will accrue once you begin sewing! You’ll be unable to resist the temptation when you know you can make something amazing out of it. This is not popular with boyfriends…

  • I recently had to replace an older Necchi machine after numerous attempts at repair. It cost quite a bit more to try to repair the machine than it did to buy the thing in the first place. I finally gave up and asked the shop to recommend a machine (not computerized) that would do all the basic stuff and would not need repair for several years at least. I bought an Elna Gallery 3210. It’s reliable, sews through heavy fabrics, and is pretty much great. And, yes, watch out for the piles of fabric.

  • Aw, thanks Grace : ) Yes I am in full nesting mode and it’s like all I want to do is clean and decorate and sew. Somehow I fit work in there too. Sewing machines are so fun to have and I have to say my new one has made all the difference. It’s a Brother XR-7700. My husband bought it at Costco and I think it was pretty inexpensive, plus it’s light weight so you can store it away and bring it out when you want to use it.

  • oh Grace,
    it’s so much fun to have a sewing machine. I got a used Bernina on Ebay and it’s the best thing I ever bought. You can get a simple used one that is inexpensive.

  • Do look into a sturdy machine at the thrift shops. You can buy one for about 25$ and have it service for another 20$. It will be much more reliable than any plastic entry level machine… and much more environmentally friendly, not to mention you’ll save yourself at least a 100$.
    Happy stitches!

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