Why Sew? - How sewing became a big part of this maker’s “Why”
Energy is defined as “the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.” But in Falls Church Virginia energy can be defined in just two words: Van Nguyen. Baby Lock sat down with Van to find out what drives her gives her joy and how sewing plays an important role in her busy successful life.
Born in San Diego California to Vietnamese refugee parents Van adopted her parent’s work ethic and the passion to make the most of the opportunities they provided for her.
A self-described eternal optimist Van is a lawyer by profession a mom a baker a crafter and a military spouse married for over 16 years to her high school sweetheart an active-duty Naval officer.
Two awesome kids and multiple moves later Van was searching for personal growth and a new creative outlet. Already a paper crafter she wanted something that would personally challenge her and give her something to call her own. She found her answer in the next step of her creative journey– sewing.
Although she owned a basic sewing machine in law school and watched her mother sew her clothes growing up Van didn’t really know “how” to sew. Thinking with passion and determination she decided to go all in and start from the top and figure it out from there. So true to her “go big or go home” personality after much research and debate she purchased the “Mac Book of sewing machines” the Baby Lock Solaris.
By watching Baby Lock how-to videos taking a few of our classes receiving invaluable help from her Baby Lock dealer and then simply letting the intuitive Solaris be her teacher Van found that intimidation quickly changed into satisfaction and success.
Being a project driven person she thrives on having plenty of little projects going on simultaneously with a long-term project. Van started with in-the-hoop embroidery projects and little by little branched out into Halloween costumes for her kids. After creating the perfect Hamilton jacket for her daughter she was overjoyed and driven to push herself even further.
Creating projects for teachers family and friends gave Van the purpose that she was looking for…bringing happiness and love to others through something that brought her joy as well. These handmade gifts that she lovingly sewed and spent her precious time crafting gave true meaning to the word “gift”. The zippered pouches with gift cards inside for teachers mug rugs masks the special curtains she embroidered for her mom and the Star Wars quilt she is making for her son - she affectionately refers to these personal gifts as a “handmade-hugs”. Gifts that show she values them loves them that they have a place and a purpose in her life. Each one has a piece of her heart stitched inside.
Van is currently the primary parent to her eleven-year-old daughter nine-year-old son and mini golden doodle puppy in their home outside of Washington DC. Her active-duty military husband is currently living on their sailboat in Norfolk Virginia. So to make his temporary living quarters feel more like home Van reupholstered all the boat cushions the wheel cover and storage bags with brand new thick weather resistant fabric that proved to be no challenge for the Solaris. But and no surprise here she didn’t stop there. She designed a logo for the boat named Epiphany and embroidered the filament lightbulb emblem on all the items and then some to personalize the space.
Van knew that sewing was more than a hobby. She found her creative outlet. She converted half of her home office into a sewing space that accommodates her machines (the Solaris and a Baby Lock Imagine serger) her fabrics and tools. The combined space allows her to take advantage of down time at work or let the amazing Solaris do its thing while she attends to other tasks. Her creativity along with her ambition is always growing. She often looks to social media and her retailer Sew Magarbo in Asburn VA for inspiration. She tells us that she is in awe of other’s abilities and doesn’t try to compete but instead celebrates her own creativity and the joy and satisfaction that it brings to her life.
Van oozes with enthusiasm when she professes her love for sewing Baby Lock and the Solaris. When asked her what advice she would give to novice sewers with her usual zest she blurts out “Just do it! Enjoy the process and let it be whatever you want it to be.” She is now a part of the sewing community and wants newcomers to know that is warm and welcoming and filled with some of the most genuine people that you will ever meet.
But what has sewing brought to this already successful lawyer mother and military wife? Each morning Van makes a list of the six things that she is grateful for and the five things that she aspires to be. On both lists you will always find sewing. Sewing has become an integral part of her “why”.
Van tells us that sewing gives her purpose it helps her continue to improve and grow it is her calm and it enables her to show her love for others through personalized gifting. Then she simply states that she aspires to be a prolific maker.
Well guess what Van? You inspire us at Baby Lock! Your infectious optimism your passion for improving yourself every day and your fierce love of family sewing and of course Baby Lock! You are “why” we do what we do.
We will definitely be following Van to see where her passion for sewing and in her zest for life takes her next.
“The fuel behind what I do is the love and dedication I have for my family my friends and my community.”
Van's daughter proudly modeling her Hamilton inspired jacket.