I run, I craft, I write, and I make your favorite clothes.

I have written books about sewing for children and adults and I'm the indie designer’s patternmaking secret weapon. I've taught video and in-person classes to anyone who would listen since 2008. I believe that sewing clothes is a radical act of self-love that increases your sense of self-worth. I'm basically your sewing fairy godmother.

Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You: 2014

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There seems to be a synchronicity of bravery and inspiration this January….in fact, it’s one of the few years where I’ve felt lifted up at the beginning of a new year, despite the Flu and Polar Vortex coinciding over the holiday break here.  In fact, there’s just so much goodness floating around the blogosphere and internet in general, I know I’m not the only one feeling this.  If you read the blogs or follow on Instagram my friends Rachel, Jenelle, Jenny (and so many others I’m catching up with today) you’ll see evidence of this exquisite stirring to create something more magnificent in 2014.


I test my patterns by sleeping in garments created from them. No, seriously, if it’s not comfortable enough to sleep in, it’s not comfortable enough for my bold brilliant beautiful new project. And yes, my sheets are the same shade of purple as my hair.

For my part, I’ll have some more new sewing patterns coming out, both with Monaluna and on my own, including a plus-sized extension to my infinity sweater and a full range of sizes on my newest favorite dress (currently in development: see above).  I have some projects being published in my favorite sewing magazine (Spring, Summer, and a special Downton Abbey issue – so far). I’m contributing to a book I believe in, and I have my very own, very personal project that has been incubating for the past few months. I’m building it with my whole heart, and I cannot wait to share it with you.  I hope it will change the way you look at your clothes, and help you learn more than your grandmother ever taught you about caring for what you already own.  I hope you’ll join me in taking care to choose what’s worth having.  There’s so much more coming, but I wanted to share my joy in participating in #boldbrilliantbeautiful .

What I’m not doing is letting myself become overwhelmed.  I’m not taking on any work “for the money,” despite moving Ella to a private school to better encourage and help her along her educational journey. I’m not going to let that pervasive negative self-talk hold any sway.  It’s the year to start again, to live my life, and to share what needs sharing.


About the Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You. project:

Throughout the year, I’m joining forces with some of my blogging friends to motivate and encourage ourselves and others to be bold and step out from behind the lens, projects, and mama status to show ourselves. That’s right, we’re doing something just for us.

And we’re inviting you to join us! Each of us has something bold, brilliant and beautiful inside—whether it’s a dream to ask for a promotion, wear those sparkly shoes in the back of our closet, or start a non-profit. The #boldbrilliantbeautiful project is a support group for all of us seeking to be real and vulnerable. No judging, no questions, just support and words of encouragement.

Be a part of the project by using #boldbrilliantbeautiful on Instagram and Twitter to find other women like you, who are looking to make 2014 their best, most authentic year yet!

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Leave a Comment

  • Jenelle January 12, 2014, 3:09 pm

    Yes means no to something else. 2014 is going to be an utterly amazing year for you Karen! You know exactly where you belong and have the support around you to help you not only succeed but thrive. It takes a certain type of person to muster up the courage to say (this is not what I want. this is not okay.) but takes an incredibly brave one to say Thanks but no thanks world. I’ve got one better.

    You radiate with kindness, beauty, and exquisite talent. Bold in so many more ways than the MLP inspired hair. Brilliant in every aspect of the word. Yes dear friend 2014 will be MAGNIFICENT.

    • Karen January 13, 2014, 10:05 am

      Thanks, but no thanks, world WE have one better….and more. I couldn’t do it without your love and kindness, Jenelle.

  • Carla January 12, 2014, 4:49 pm

    That’s a whole lot of awesome planned for this year! So exciting! I also love your refusal to be overwhelmed, I need to work on the power of no. Here’s to a bold brilliant beautiful new year!

    • Karen January 13, 2014, 10:02 am

      Thank you, Carla! The refusal to be overwhelmed is a DAILY project, but one worth doing.

  • Jessika Hepburn January 12, 2014, 7:40 pm

    Whhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaat? Where the heck have I been to miss #boldbrilliantbeautiful? I love it!

    I am so proud of & honoured to know both you and Jenelle-you are both so filled with bold, beautiful, brillantness that it shines out of you both. 2014 is going to be magnificent for you and your work in so many ways but also for the people whose lives you touch and lift up along the way. I am so ridiculously lucky I am one of them already and I am better for knowing you.

    Karen I am sure you know by now that I am here to support you however I can in all you do-especially in saying no to that negative self-talk. If you need help taking those mean voices out into the backyard with our combat boots to teach them who is boss or inviting them to a gentle tea where we set the boundaries with cookies…whatever works, I’m game ;) You are awesome & deserve to hear it all the time-especially from yourself.

    Here is to taking care to choose what matters + friends to remind us just what that means when we falter.

    PS: I love you & this project and will definitely be joining in!

    • Karen January 13, 2014, 10:01 am

      Girl, I barely mentioned the BIGGEST projects of all – Hollyhock with you, and our awesome collaboration….all in due time. I’m so grateful to have you with me. I’m also so tremendously happy to have you join in. I know this project was MADE for you.

  • Karen Jansen January 12, 2014, 9:53 pm

    Your words, plans and spirit are wonderful and so is this project. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

    • Karen January 13, 2014, 10:00 am

      Thank you for coming to say so, Karen! I am so happy to have stumbled upon this project on the cusp of an enormous year!

  • Jenn January 13, 2014, 1:34 am

    Karen, this is a fork in the road! It is such a huge step to be able to see- what we want, what we need, and what has no room in our lives. Part of my FOCUS(haha!) is saying no and reframing that negativity- which is only just one side of anything.

    Its going to be an amazing year, lady! Big, bold, and definitely beautiful. :)

    • Karen January 13, 2014, 9:59 am

      So true, Jenn. I also am reminded by my son (!) that we cannot have light without the dark, so embracing all of it, for what it’s worth, is that way to move forward.

  • Alison @ The Petit Cadeau Blog January 13, 2014, 8:23 am

    Hi Karen,

    This is so wonderful and inspiring! I would love to participate – will you be blogging along with this journey as well?

    • Karen January 13, 2014, 9:58 am

      Oh Indeed – with so much goodness in store, I’ll burst if I don’t share it!! And please, please join us!

  • stacy January 13, 2014, 8:57 am

    I like you already :) I knew that I would but reading this post just confirms it for me. I like your spunk and your way with words and your outlook on life. I can’t wait to hold hands and job off this proverbial cliff together towards a magnificent year …. P.S. I’m so excited about all the goodness floating around on the internet … great things are coming, I can feel it.

    • Karen January 13, 2014, 9:57 am

      Thank you, Stacy, the feeling’s mutual!

    • Karen January 13, 2014, 10:03 am

      Great things are being MADE and we’re doing it, Stacy! Thank you for coming by to cheer me on.

  • Stephanie January 14, 2014, 9:27 pm

    Wow! Such an exciting year coming up for you- for us all! I’m so glad to have been introduced to your blog through this amazing project and look forward to what 2014 has in store for you!

  • Delia January 14, 2014, 10:43 pm

    I’m so excited to see your close to the vest projects. Thank you for being such an inspiration. I too have been feeling like I need to simplify a little more and try to focus my energies on a few great projects, rather than a lot of okay or good ones.

  • Racquel January 25, 2014, 2:24 am

    Great post! Looking forward to a bold brilliant beautiful us this year! :)


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