About Me

Hi, I’m Aly Marie, and I have quite a story behind how I became a crafter extraordinaire and sewing and embroidery enthusiast!

When I was 17, my first job ever was at M.D. Anderson running lots of PCR for my boss who was looking for biomarkers. 

My next job was in college researching metabolic engineering while I was getting my biomedical engineering degree. All I have to show for that are some papers that probably only my mom has read and two patents that I’m a co-author on that are about to expire because it’s almost been 20 years since we published that research. 

One more job after college was writing MATLAB programs and running experiments related to eye movements while I worked on becoming an eye doc. I only stopped at getting a dual PhD because I met a boy (more on that later.)

All of this while graduating summa cum laude from my undergrad and doctoral programs. 

The takeaway here: I wasted a lot of my younger years overachieving, I was usually way too stressed trying to be the best at EVERYTHING, and I really, really needed a hobby.  

So, I took up sewing in college as that hobby and loved it! 

You see, I come from generations of sewing lovers. 

My grandmother was a high school homemaking teacher, and my mom was a math teacher who stayed at home while I was growing up. I spent countless hours watching them sew and learning to sew from them. 

My grandmother first taught me to sew by hand one summer, and my mom later introduced me to sewing with a machine.

Here’s her old, trusty Singer TouchTronic 2001 sewing machine:

singer touchtronic sewing machine

Now, back to my life story.

While I was sewing my own clothes and home decor projects during college and grad school, I also met a guy, we got married, and after a couple of years, we decided life was getting a little boring. So, we thought…let’s have kids! 

Once my two amazing daughters were born, I then did something I never, ever, ever thought I’d do as the world’s most neurotic career-focused overachiever: I put my career on a pretty big pause to stay at home and raise them.

And suddenly I had TONS of time to fill with sewing and machine embroidering during naptimes. I spent hours sewing clothes for my girls, monogramming everything, and learning everything I could about sewing, embroidering, and quilting. 

I now work a few days here and there still to keep my doctoring skills for when my girls are older and I’ll (probably) work more, but my joy and passion in life now revolve around creating new things and crafting! (And my husband and children, of course. My daughters are hardcore crafters, too.) 

my daughter using the cs7000x
My 4-year-old sewing!

So, thanks to my amazing husband for supporting my crafty ventures, helping me realize there’s so much more to life than accomplishments, and allowing me to live the good life and be around when my girls grow up! 

The Why Behind This Blog

I’ve been sewing as a hobby for over 20 years now and embroidering for close to 8, and I want to share my love for all things sewing and embroidering with you. I love how creative I can be and how I’m always learning new techniques. The possibilities are endless!

And my girls love that I can sew or embroider them whatever they want. 

On this website, I provide sewing and embroidery tutorials and guides, project ideas, and even reviews of some of the machines I’ve purchased and used. I especially love to refashion, repurpose, and upcycle items of clothing and other household items into new masterpieces.

I’m also super detail-oriented so you’ll find lots of specifics in everything I write. 

All the Machines I’ve Owned Over the Years

I was an engineer before a doctor, so like a true engineer, I just love most machines, technology, and new things. 

Thus, I own and have owned a LOT of sewing and embroidery machines. I started small and have slowly been trading up and adding more to my collection over the years.

I also own way more sewing supplies than your average sewing enthusiast. Hoarding sewing accessories is an exhilarating (but very costly) pastime.

Here are my machine purchases over the last 10+ years:

CS6000i sewing machine

Over a decade ago, I began doing my everyday sewing on the Brother CS6000i. I loved it so much better than the bottom-of-the-line Singer I had been using before that (not picturing it, because I really hated it, and it’s now gone forever)! 

Years later, I then started learning embroidery with our library’s Janome embroidery machine. I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, so I didn’t initially invest in my own and instead drove to the library when I wanted to monogram or embroider something. We were also dirt poor because I quit my job to stay home with our girls, and my husband and I still had tons of school loans to pay off. 

My Brother SE625 embroidery machine

Then, when we finally got out from underneath our mountain of debt, I bought my own Brother SE625 sewing and embroidery machine, which had a lot smaller hoop than the library’s machine but was my very own!

I realized that embroidery allows me to create goodies for my girls and make groovy gifts for friends and family. I loved how creating designs with embroidery software involves engineer-like thinking. 

brother se1900 review

I loved embroidery so much and felt constrained by the 4″x4″ workspace that I eventually traded in my Brother SE625 and upgraded to the Brother SE1900 combination sewing and embroidery machine.  It’s pretty rocking awesome and I now embroider all. the. things.  

Once I got the significantly more expensive SE1900, I decided I probably didn’t need my CS6000i anymore, so it found a new home with some nice owners from Craigslist. 

singer 4423

I then decided to venture into more sewing, so I bought a heavy-duty sewing machine so I didn’t have to test the limits of my SE1900’s sewing abilities. Here’s my Singer 4423 heavy-duty sewing machine!

singer 4452

And then one day while shopping, I came across a great deal on a Singer 4452 that I couldn’t pass up! 

I added it to my collection and found new owners for the Singer 4423 on Ebay. The 4452 came with more stitches and accessories, which is why I’m keeping it. As much as I’d like to keep two heavy-duty sewing machines around, there’s not much use for them both!

Brother 1034D vs. 1034DX fb

Somewhere along the way, I also cleared out space in my craft room for my very own Brother 1034D serger.

It has been SO nice having this serger, and it was well worth the purchase. I also brought the 1034DX. One stays threaded with white thread, the other with black. (I admit this is the height of laziness.)

brother 2340cv

As a loyal Brother machine lover, I also purchased a Brother 2340CV coverstitch machine during the early months of 2020. I’m slowly learning to like this machine (read more in my Brother 2340cv review).

I really wanted more professional hem finishes and bindings and to have the option of a three-thread coverstitch for athletic wear. That’s why I bought the coverstitch machine.

But, this machine is just so darn finicky that it can be a hassle and a time drain to use. I hope I’ll overcome the beginner coverstitch learning curve soon and learn to love it, though!

janome coverpro

Update: I never could get used to it, so I saved my moolah and splurged on the Janome CoverPro 3000, which is much easier to use, but I still really hate binding with my coverstitch and kind of stink at it.  

Brother CS7000X review

I also have a Brother 7000X that I purchased in September of 2020 when it came onto the market. 

I use it mostly for tutorials now since it’s considerably less advanced than my SE1900. My older daughter likes to “sew” doll clothes on it also, and I don’t feel as anxious helping her learn on a machine that was 1/5th of what my SE1900 cost!

brother luminaire xp2

Y’all, I can’t stop with the machines. I also finally bought a Brother Luminaire XP2 and now I can embroider anything and everything I want. I even shelled out to upgrade it to an XP3. 

doll quilt

The reason I bought the Luminaire was so I could embroider the Anita Goodesign Doll House quilt. 

I started quilting 8 years ago when my first daughter was born and have since made more quilts than I know what to do with.

juki mo-3000qvp overlocker

Almost done: one day I decided I wanted an air-threading serger and one with automatic tensions, so I sold my Brother 1034DX (kept the 1034D) and bought my first Juki machine ever, the Juki MO-3000QVP. Worth every penny!

my awesome cricut maker

Lastly, I’m a huge Cricut fan, and I purchased the original Cricut Maker on Black Friday many years ago to help cut smaller pieces of fabric more accurately. (Well, actually it was because I love vinyl crafts and iron-on crafts and any type of crafts really except for crocheting. Years of playing cello KILLED my joints.) 

There it is in all its glory! (Yes, that’s my younger daughter’s bouncer in the background. We used to smile at each other while I crafted and she ate snacks. We both enjoyed that short amount of time. Now she’s much older and doesn’t sit still for a minute.)

brother sdx330d scanncut

I also have a Brother ScanNCut SDX330D that came with my Luminaire. I like my Cricut more and am more familiar with it, so I use that more often. But, the Brother does some cool stuff. 

Oh, and I can’t forget my AccuQuilt Go!, Silhouette Cameo 4, and Sizzix Big Shot Plus that reside in my craft room. I spend WAY too much time in there!

silhouette cameo 4

sizzix vs accuquilt dimensions

Anyway, I hope you will come to love sewing and embroidering as much as I do.

Stick around and learn more about sewing and embroidery machines and how to use them like a pro! 

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