Twenty Questions with Erin McKean

If you look up the word "logophile" in the dictionary, you're going to find a photo of Ms. Erin Mckean. See also: "ornatusphile" — a clumsy word that I just coined to also describe Erin. Combine her love for words and her love for dresses and you get her recently-released novel,  The Secret Lives of Dresses and her blog, A Dress A Day. While there are many more elegant words to describe Erin, I think that "passionate" sums her up quite nicely. Here, Erin, answers The Sew Weekly's 20 questions.

  1. Name: Erin McKean
  2. Location: SF Bay
  3. Pattern tracer or cutter? Cutter. Bold, decisive, imprudent cutter.
  4. Most exhilarating sewing step: The final pressing before putting it on!
  5. Most dreaded sewing step: Basting in an invisible zipper. Or doing the point of a gusset, but I don't do those any more, because of the dread.
  6. Favorite pattern at the moment: I never get tired of McCall's 8858 
  7. Favorite decade to sew:  I like living and sewing in the 2010s but making patterns from the 1950s. :-)
  8. Pattern weights or pins?  Pins. The ones with the colored glass heads, always.
  9. Favorite style icon of all time:  Doris Day!
  10. Fabric before pattern or pattern before fabric? Hmm. I think I have more fabric I'm trying to find the right pattern for than patterns. I'm trying to find the right fabric for. So: Fabric First, is my motto.
  11. Sewing room: messy or clean? Let's be generous and say "untidy". :-)
  12. Biggest sewing splurge: I got a fancy new iron for Christmas … does that count?
  13. Biggest sewing success: The Tetris Dress, for sure.
  14. Biggest sewing failure: There are at least TWO coats cut out and waiting for me to put them together. One is older than my son. They will be waiting for me to finish them for a loooong time.
  15. Hats? Yay or Nay? Yay on other people, nay for me except for cold-weather purposes. (I love the Kangol Deeto, though …)
  16. Favorite season to sew for: Spring heading into summer. Target date: June 1.
  17. Seam Finishing: Pinked, French, stitched or serged? Zig-zag overcast: fast, simple, doesn't require threading loopers …
  18. Favorite skirt: A-Line, Pleated or Circle? Depends on the fabric: A-line for border prints, pleated for plaids and stripes, and circle for camouflage.
  19. Style kindred spirit: Ginger or Mary-Ann? I'm a Mary-Ann who likes to dress up as Ginger from time to time.
  20. And just for Erin: Favorite word associated with sewing: Ooh — the British word (tradename, really) for serged finishes: merrow. It's just a pretty word.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. Whoa! That Tetris dress is amazing!

  2. Lovely interview!!

  3. McCall’s 8858 Awesome.