Hot! Me at Big Omaha

Two weeks ago I gave a very personal speech in Omaha as part of the Big Omaha conference. Amongst a lot of other things, I talk about The Sew Weekly and why it’s so important to me. So, if you don’t have anything better to do, here’s that speech. Thanks to all the SW ladies who provided testimonials in the Circle!


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. That was really great, Mena. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What’d you think of the city?

  3. I’m sorry they didn’t include the Q&A session if there was one. BTW the funniest part was, “this is a 30’s dress.”

  4. OK, so first I cried with you, then I laughed with you and now I’m CHEERING for you. Hugs and Kisses, you pulled it off.

  5. Wish they’d let me drink wine during my presentations….we love you, honey. Hope you are hanging in there, and keep on getting out of bed. I love your Asperger’s dating tips– “This dress is from the ’30’s” hahahaha!

  6. Thanks for sharing Mena…being able to sew has made a big difference in my lift. I love being able to look at fabric and patterns and to actually make something that I or someone I love can actually wear. I visit the blog all the time and am truly inspired by you and all your contributors. (and I’m in the Bay Area)

  7. Mena, that was such an inspiring speech! It was heatrfelt and it was brave!! So very brave! As a fellow 34yr old I am awed by your accomplishments and the gumption it took to set goals and make them happen!

    I hope that you will continue to inspire and re-invent all things! :)

  8. Oh my goodness Mena (I promise I’m not going to be “too supportive” don’t you worry). How you’ve kept going is a marvel! Props! Holla! (I learn from the best). You are amazing and thank you so much for creating and enabling this community. I’ve had a shitty week (nothing like you’ve been through) and hadn’t done a stitch for Vegas week yet but this talk made me cry and laugh and more determined to plough on, fun with a purpose! This week’s whatever I concoct (don’t expect anything great) is for you. And I love the drinking wine on stage and not just that, but that it’s in a flask….and of course the 30s dress correction, you lovely dingbat. Big hugs xx

  9. Mena, you are beautiful and strong! I cried, I laughed, I empathized, and I learned. Thank you for sharing your personal life, I feel like I know you so much better now without even having met. Thank you for this presentation and a huge THANK YOU for using my quote. It meant so much to me. This is an excellent community we have that you created. XOXOXO

  10. I almost never click through to comment, but had to say thank you so much for sharing what’s been going on, Mena. It’s one of the hardest things ever, and I’m glad you have this community to cheer you on. Looking forward to meeting you at Sewing Summit this fall, and sending you a big hug until then.

  11. OMG! I’ve never actually said that before (I am from the UK after all)… appearances can be so deceptive. Hang on in there!

  12. This video isn’t available in Germany. :((( Is there any chance anyone is able to download the video and email it to me or send it to me via dropbox or whatever? I would soooo love to watch this video. Mena, just reading the description of it impresses me so much.

    • I’ve been trying to watch it too now that I’ve moved back to Germany… and I can’t get a proxy to work. :(

      • You need to watch it on youtube – the proxy will work then. Just search the video on youtube. That’s how I finally got to see it.

  13. *virtual clap clap clap*

    Although you may not have thought you could speak about fostering a business because your personal life was floundering, the parellels you drew were bang-on, and I bet no one will forget what you said.

  14. Mena,
    You did an excellent job with your speech. Thankyou for your kindness and sharing of sew weekly. I will forever be grateful to you for the sewing that you put in my life, and for the wonderful friendships that have become , because of Sew weekly. You not only provided the sewing challenges for us, but you gave of yourself, thankyou. I pray that this buisness will work for you.
    Thankyou so much, Sending prayers to you, Ben and Penelope. May God richly bless you all.

  15. Thank you for being brave and sharing this with us, Mena. I know we all truly value this place and what you’ve done for us.
    Also, I’m totally going to start doing the vino-in-flask trick from now on when I have to speak in public. Genius.

  16. What a brave speech. You are a wonderful person and you touch so many of our lives in a positive way. You are an inspiration but we will try not to be too supportive unless you want us to be there for you…..

    Thinking of you, Cxx

  17. You know, even though you hadn’t shared very much about what was going on in your personal life, somehow, and sometimes, I could read between the lines of your posts some personal challenges going on in your life. After listening to you share your sincerest experiences and feelings about being a woman with dreams and goals, about the personal struggles in relationships and business, I feel that you have touched many hearts. You have made many stop and think about our lives, what’s important, and why we come together. Many of us can relate personally to the same experiences that you are going through now and most of us will say that it will pass and you will find happiness in new loves, friends, interests, and dreams. I have no doubt that someone as talented or visionary as you will not be down for long.

  18. * ugh, typos!*I have no doubt that someone as talented and visionary as you will be down for long.

  19. Hi Mena, please keep getting out of bed! As a hard nosed Brit and a big believer in the English philosophy of the’stiff upper lip’ it takes a lot to make me feel emotional, but you had me totally choked. You also made me laugh out loud. I totally admire your attitude of accepting what has happened, feeling the pain, learning and moving on. You are an inspiration. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  20. Mena–you are so amazing. I feel so lucky to know you!! You are such an inspiration! The speech was really great and I am totally stealing the drinking wine out of a flask idea! Brilliant! I look forward to supporting the Sew Weekly and seeing where it goes next!

  21. Thank you for sharing your humour & bravery.
    I thought you might appreciate these lines from a Robert Bly poem:

    “We did not come to remain whole.
    We came to lose our leaves like the trees,
    The trees that are broken
    And start again, drawing up from the great roots”


  23. Dear Mena, thanks for sharing that. It very much goes to prove that vulnerable is the real strong. You’ve had more memorable sentences, more depth, more wisdom in that speech than any suave, polished, I’m on top of my game presentation could have contained. Keep to it.

    @ Djamila: Try hidemyass. Worked for me (from Germany as well).

  24. I cried too! Ive just left my long term relationship aswell (the cat and I are doing just fine on our own) I know 7 years isnt the same as 17 but I could identify with a lot of what you were saying. But the stuff you were saying about the sewweekly is what really choked me up.
    I dont sew every week and I dont contribute but I do read the sewweekly every weekday and it does inspire my own creativity and would miss it everyday if it wasnt here.

  25. I finally managed to get the video going thanks to a nifty proxy add-on. Mena, this was an incredible speech. I love the part where you talk about how people want women to become engineers but that maybe a better approach would be to see where women dominate and make sure these fields are respected more. Bravo!
    BTW when I lived in France for a while, I acted just like you when it came to dating. It happened to me several times that men asked me whether I have a cigarette or a light for them. I always just said: “I don’t smoke.” and thought “Gee, why don’t these smokers carry their own cigarettes and lighters around if they are such chain smoker that they have to beg women in the street…” It struck me MUCH later that this was a very common line to hit on a woman. German men aren’t that forward (i.e. just asking a stranger in the street – they just look and regret it later…) so I really wasn’t used to this.
    Oh, and I will need to get your advice on “girl-making”. I would say I am a rather goal-oriented person but my first child turned out to be a boy (which is totally fine now) but I really really need a little girl next so I can sew cute little dresses with ruffles and bows. Besides, my son wants to have a little sister, too, and one of my goals is not to diappoint my son. ;)

    • I would also like to know the “girl making” trick. We’re not on that path yet, but I’d like to have this info for future reference.

  26. I have just finished watching the video and I want to say that I really enjoyed getting to know you a little better through your speech. Sew Weekly has been a huge part of my life for the last couple of years, often with active participation, sometimes just for the familiar faces and kind words. I am fascinated with the idea of greater respect for different fields. It makes so much sense and doesn’t take anything away from any other fields or interests.

    Please keep getting out of bed – life is so much more creative and interesting when you do. Cheers from Me.

  27. I just adore you. Bravo for this brave and wonderful talk, and for being the amazing person you are!

  28. Oh Mena you made me cry at work. Thank you for being so brave and for just putting yourself out there. You know last year when I found SW I looked at you and and the other girls and said yep ‘that’s exactly want I’m going to do!’ Finally, a community where I can sew and blog and just be, ME. Thank you for that. Sew Weekly has made me a better person in so many ways, it’s a place where I can live out my sewing fantasies without judgement. What you have here is a wonderful, supportive community which is a sincere reflection of yourself. I hope that didn’t sound too supportive. You’re an angel xx

  29. As others have said above, I’m very sorry about the tumult you have been going through and my thoughts are with you as you move forward. I too loved the decade correction you gave your admirer. I would have done the same thing. :) I feel bad that we have all been getting joy from your creation here even as you have been struggling and I hope you know that we are all grateful for the time, energy, and love you put into this site.

  30. I think I’ve been a little bit in shock … I’ve been enjoying being a part of Sew Weekly for such a long time and also realised that life gets in the way sometimes for running a website like this. I really didn’t envisage just how much you were having to deal with and that is a credit to you. I hope you keep going and sharing as you have been doing. It’ll be a real strength for you.

  31. Mena, “stop being polite and let’s get real” – I love that. That is something I’ve been trying to do my whole adult life. Mairraige is really hard, my husband and I have had some doozey arguments. truly you are a visionary. I am so grateful for your courage and how you serve us in providing us with entertainment, connections, empowerment and inspiration. Thank you. Sending you love and praying big prayers for you. xx

  32. Mena, My heart goes out to you, but one thing that kept coming back to me as I watched your presentation, you are one strong lady! And damn if you don’t have such a strong desire/drive/passion overlaid on a vision complemented by left brain/right brain ability. I think you know the secret to getting through a hard time, putting your heart into what you really enjoy, which you do so well. Although I’m sitting on the sidelines this year I rejoice in you and all the Sew Weekly ladies. What a lovely community you have created!