Monday, March 14, 2022

Season 26 Meet the Designers: Emily from Emily Sews Stuff

About two weeks into kindergarten, I announced to my mom that I couldn't go to school anymore. She had sewn me a bunch of new dresses to start the school year and I had worn them all once, so clearly, I was done. So I guess I was hooked on handmade clothing at an early age. 

 Hi, my name is Emily Hartman. I live in Illinois with my husband, two daughters (14 and 7), two dogs and two cats. I've worked as a medical sonographer for 21 years. Although my mother sewed, she didn't teach me--I was more interested in wearing the clothes. I took home ec my freshman year of high school and learned, then didn't think much about it. Then when I was a single mother and wanted to make dresses for my three year old daughter, my grandma asked if I'd like to have her sewing machine.  A few years later I was married again, with another daughter, and while planning outfits for a Disney trip when I discovered the instant gratification of pdf patterns. I was hooked. The following year I started testing for a few designers. 

In November of last year, my mom was not feeling well. She was diagnosed with arthritis in her spine but it was clear something more was wrong. By Thanksgiving, she was hospitalized with advanced stage four pancreatic cancer. I spent hours every day at her hospital bedside with my laptop and phone--working remotely during the day, and just waiting the rest of the time. I vaguely remember "auditioning" for Project Run and Play during one of those long days. My mom passed just weeks later. A few days after, I was asked to join season 26. My immediate reaction was to say no--I was just too overwhelmed with grief to think. But then I got to thinking about how mad my mom would have been at me for turning it down. How she would have been asking telling everyone she knew to vote for me, trying to find ways to vote multiple times...and I knew I had to give it a try for my biggest cheerleader. We're all still adjusting to her absence, but a friend told me that when I miss my mom to look in the mirror and look at my kids; she lives on through us.  And so I am. The love of sewing she passed to me will live on. 

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