moms in the mommyhood - dana willard

we have a new "moms in the mommyhood"!

welcome dana willard from the blog "made"! the lovely, funny and super talented, dana has quickly become one of my fave pen pals after she posted her men's shirt to girl's dress post a few weeks ago. after chatting a few times by email, i didn't hesitate in approaching her to be the next mom in the mommyhood. her wonderful blog, super cute children and kick ass sewing and refashioning skills made me want to ask her so many questions, i had a problem cutting them back! it's been great fun getting to know dana, and hopefully it will be the same for you as you read the interview.

if you are new to the mommyhood, our "moms in the mommyhood" features a new mom monthly who currently has their own business (doesn't matter what kind). we try to sit down and have a virtual cup of coffee and ask them all the fun, little questions that we are dying to know. we also try to get a glimpse into their lives and what it's like to be have your own business and be the boss of your kids at the same time. we are always on the lookout for new moms to feature. if you know someone or would like to be featured in this spot, please send us an email at we can't wait to meet you!

now, let's get sipping our coffee, heck grab a yummy treat if you so desire, pull up a chair and let's get to know dana:

1. you mentioned that your grandma taught you to sew when you were 10 and that even though you always enjoyed it, you really found your love of sewing when you had kids. What was the first project you made after you had your kids that got you hooked?

i've always sewn here and there and even when working full-time, i often daydreamed about days when i could wake up and just sew instead of going to work. so the sewing bug has always been there, but i think it really caught on when a few things happened in my life:
a) i stopped working full-time and became a stay at home mom. the day-dreaming of sewing projects has become a reality (at least when the kids are sleeping)!
b) i signed up for wardrobe refashion . there were piles of "refashioning" items growing in my bedroom and once i committed to their 2-month challenge, i actually started tackling them and felt more confident with each project i worked on. that got my fire going. i started buying less and sewing more.
c) i started the blog "made". having an outlet to showcase my projects, share ideas, and get feedback from others is a great motivator. often times i want to sew something just so i can share it with everyone! maybe that's an ego booster? i hope not :) i find some great inspiration from other's ideas, so i love being able to share mine too.
d) i realized that sewing kid's clothes takes 1/2 the time, 1/2 the fabric and you don't have to fit it around a woman's bust and curves - so i started sewing for my kids. i honestly wish i could make their whole wardrobe, but since they'll outgrow it every 6 months that's totally unrealistic.

2. what is your most loved/hated thing to sew?

i love projects that i can get done in one nap-time period ( a couple of hours or so). a simple gathered skirt for my daughter or lounging pants for my little guy. of course i also love the harder projects know, the ones where i'm crossing my fingers the whole time, hoping it will turn out, and when it does - what a victory!

I HATE to sew buttonholes and buttons as well, anything by hand for that matter. i'm too impatient.

3. do you like to listen to music when sewing and if so, what is your favorite album to listen to?

when it was just me & my daughter i listened to music while i sewed and she napped, but now that she is 3 and doesn't nap, it doesn't always work out that way. i often give her "quiet time" in the other room while my son sleeps but i still keep the music off so i can hear if she needs something.

if i could listen to music though, it would be a random mix of...weezer, george michael, chris issak, amiee mann, bob marley, beck, madonna, u2, songs from movie soundtracks, pink martini, buena vista social club and more...

4. whose work as a designer (fabric/clothing) do you find inspirational?

definitely kate of the "katie did" blog. oh wow, i don't even know where to start...her color palettes, her design work, her amazingly cute daughters - i have serious envy for her work. is it wrong to say she is my sewing idol? that i almost want to be katie? okay, not really, but i just adore everything she touches.

5. when and why did you decide to start selling your handmade goods?

before i had kids i had the idea to start a small business sewing and selling simple throw blankets. it was going to be called "late joon". no reason for the name, other than i love the late june season and spelling joon with two o's was more aesthetically pleasing. because i didn't have kids, i'd never had an interest in sewing baby items, especially since i didn't know what mom's were really looking for in their baby gear, but once i had my daughter, i quickly caught on to what was out there & discovered what i felt was missing from the baby accessory world. i started sewing my own blankets, burp cloths, etc and opened an etsy shop. i named my little company "joon bug" (a mini version of late joon). most of my business has been word of mouth and friends, which has kept me plenty busy with my mom-schedule. which leads me to a big "made" announcement!.....

we are reopening the "joon bug" shop! so come stop by! browse around; enjoy yourself. you can find "joon bug" here.

6. which came first - the etsy store, your website or blog? which one has been the most successful at attracting new customers?

well, the etsy shop and the joon bug website came about at the same time. i could have just gone with the etsy shop but i wanted something stylized to my line of products. i decided to make the site through blogger, using funny loopholes to make it look more like a website rather than a blog. then i linked everything to my etsy shop so that all the purchasing goes through them.

the made blog came after that. it's currently my true love, and probably attracts the most readership. i'm not sure joon bug is my end goal. i really love sewing children's clothing more than baby gear. i hope to somehow marry the two sites/ideas together in the future.

7. what tips/advice do you have for other women looking to sell their handmade goods?

do it! but just know what you're getting into. it's a lot of work, which sounds like, "duh", but what i mean is that there are many steps that go into it. aside from actually just making or sewing the item, you have to package it in a cute/clever way, take nice pictures, upload the pictures, list the item, purchase packing supplies and then ship the item too! i get tired just thinking about it. but honestly, there is nothing more rewarding than knowing that someone loves what i created and that in a small way, i'm making their life a little happier. that is what i love about sewing/selling/gift giving.

8. i adored your men's shirt into a girl's dress tutorial, what do you have planned for your next refashioning project?

funny you should ask...i'm actually going to try YOUR tutorial for the dress-shirt sleeve pants! i am thinking of making mine shorts or knickers though. i always appreciate people taking the time to put tutorials together. having done one, i know they are time-consuming, but it's wonderful to share our ideas and little tricks with others. so thank you for putting yours together!

9. you have two gorgeous kids Lucy (3) and Owen (18 months) - that equals a busy household. when do you normally find the time to do all of your sewing?

busy indeed, i'll never know how my mom did it with 6! i guess the more kids you have, the more you prioritize what is most important to you and let the other things fall to the sideline for a later period in your life. right now i'm lucky to still manage a lot of sewing time while my son sleeps or when the kids are in bed at night. it's not always easy. lucy is awake during owen's nap time but she is a good player. she can easily entertain herself and doesn't seem to mind the sound of my sewing machine. my son however, is a different ball of energy, i can never sew with him around. maybe in the future....

10. if you could sew anything, unlimited time & budget, what would it be?

clothes for me. i rarely take time to sew for me because it takes longer to complete. if i had long stretches of interrupted time i might do more of it and still manage to get my other sewing in too. maybe i should make a future goal...more dana clothes.

11. which pattern do you find yourself using the most and why?

i don't like to sew with store bought patterns so i usually use whatever current shirt/skirt/dress are in the closet and use those as pattern guidelines. it's really not hard to do and i recommend it to others!

{image: corrie bond}

12. if you were an item of clothing, what would you be?

something very feminine. a simple shirt with girly sleeves and ruffles somewhere.

13. being a wife, mother, and having your own business is tough work, how do you balance it all?

it's hard when i'm 10 minutes away from finishing a project and i hear my son crying/waking from his nap, but i have to stop and remind myself that right now, i am a mom. i have a wonderful life with 2 kids and a great husband. they are my number one priority. one day in the future i will have so much free time that i'll wonder when the kids and grand kids are coming over for a visit. so get your sewing time in, but enjoy those sweet people around you.

thank you so much dana! it's been a lot of fun! dana also has a new flickr group for those of you interested in posting pictures of your creations, it's always so much fun to see what others are making! click here to join!

thanks for the coffee and we'll see you in the mommyhood!

p.s. dana has a post up today linking to the interview here, and wow, she just made my year! big hugs to you dana, you are so sweet, i am glad you like it here in "the mommyhood" because we love having you!

{all images: dana willard, unless stated otherwise}