Tools of the Trade: Sewing

Contributor post by: Shauna Alterio

Katie Kukulka
Northern California
Darlingtonia Moccasin Company

SA: When did you begin sewing?

KK: When I was a young child my mother showed me how to hand stitch & then later how to use her sewing machine. It wasn't until my middle school Home Ec. class that I really became interested in sewing. When I would come home I would use my mother's old sewing machine to make things for class. I think that old machine was probably my first sewing tool.

SA: What do you make with your sewing machine(s)?
KK I sew moccasins & leather accessories. But, I will sew up just about anything I can think of from lingerie & knitwear to leather tote bags & gloves. I love a challenge so anytime I get the urge to try something out I go for it. Most of the time it takes quite a bit of trial & error, but eventually I end up with the result I was after.

SA: What machine(s) are you currently using? What are the brands you love and the features you can't live without.
KK: My current sewing arsenal includes a Bernina 1300DC serger, a little Janome Sewist 625E & my very favorite, an antique cast iron Singer 29k which I operate using a foot treadle & hand wheel.

SA: What's tools are on your wish list? 

KK: My Janome is an excellent little machine but it just can't handle all of my various projects. I really need something that can sew everything from fine silk to layers of canvas. So, I plan on upgrading my trio to include an old all metal tabletop Bernina. No bells, no whistles, no plastic whatsoever, just a good old reliable machine with muscle. Though I do have one more requirement, a knee lever pressure foot lift! Once I've found my all around workhorse I plan on hunting down the machine I've always wanted, an antique singer foot treadle sewing machine in perfect condition still in it's cabinet, basically a mini version of my 29k.

SA: Tell us about someone else working with similar tools that inspires you.

KK: When it comes to inspiration I seriously cant get enough, everywhere I turn I find a new artisan to admire. To name just one, I have to say I am in love with Katie Henry's bags & embroidery art.

(photo credit: katie henry)

Check back all week to learn about more sewing tools used by: Ashley Anna Brown, Alice Saunders, Sue Eggen, Rachel Denbow and Casey Brown.


Shauna Alterio is a designer and one half of Something's Hiding in Here. Together with her partner Stephen, she can be found dabbling with all sorts of tools and techniques from letterpress printing to sewing. The duo added haberdashers to their list of titles this year when they created FORAGE, a line of bow ties made from vintage fabrics in limited editions.

blog: somethingshidinginhere

shop: FORAGE.bigcartel

Jan Halvarson


Melissa Righero said...

I Katie's blog. She's such an inspiration of DISCIPLINE, when it come to working at home. I wish I was that organized and focused.

Unknown said...

Love, love, love that antique cast iron Singer 29k... just beautiful!

Moondoonie said...

I wish I had the patience for sewing. I intend to learn one day soon but until then, I will savor the creations of others & buy them too! ;-)

Get Campie! said...

I wish for a Bernina someday....

Johanna said...

This Tools of the Trade series is so great! Katie is one of my favorites. She seems very passionate and knowledgeable about her craft and I love the peaks into her daily life that she shares on her blog.

shauna said...

thanks so much katie! i'm so glad we had the chance to meet in SF this past year. i love when amazing talented people are also so sweet and kind.