Tag Archives: sew

Virginia Made: Sew Brave Designs

Meet May Gonzalez

Written by Faith Jones of Hill City Handmade

“April showers bring May flowers.” How often have we heard this old adage quoted? Every April, as we experience rainy days more often than not, we try to look on the bright side. We think about the reward and beauty the gloomy days will bring. That philosophy can be applied to May Gonzalez and the inspiring purpose that was birthed from her storm. 

Born in the Bronx and experiencing foster care in Texas, May eventually found her way to Richmond, VA. She jokes, “Oh boy, I have a Lifetime story, I’ve seen a lot in my 31 years.” In April 2012, May and her husband lost their first child to Trisomy 13, a genetic disorder which is considered incompatible with life. After receiving the news at 19 weeks, they made the difficult decision to go through with the pregnancy. Caleb was born “sleeping” at 32 weeks. Amidst the devastation and loss, May turned to sewing to deal with the grief. What began as hand sewing personalized pillows and baby moccasins soon manifested into much more.  

With her passion ignited, May began to focus on what she really loved, bags. Armed with a sewing machine (gifted from her mother-in-law), a few lessons from her husband’s aunt and plenty of YouTube videos, Sew Brave Designs was born. The name for the business came to her in a dream. “It was pretty clear from God. I wanted to combine my experience in life with my passion. I love sewing and I wanted to remind people that they too can be brave no matter what they face.”  

The handmade bags feature bold flowered fabrics combined with leather and are not only beautiful but make a difference. A portion of the proceeds for each one is donated to Noah’s Children in Richmond. The Bon Secours organization provides for the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families. Each donation is made in memory of Caleb and he lives on each time May sees someone carrying one of her creations. 

Though faced with the showers of life, May Gonzalez has found her flowers. She and her husband have since been blessed with two fun-loving boys, ages five and seven months. Life is not always easy but they face it together. Assuming there isn’t a Golden Girls marathon on, you might find May enjoying a date night involving tacos and movies or just hanging out and laughing with the family. Wherever she is, whatever she’s doing, you can be sure that May is counting her blessings and enjoying the flowers after the storm. 


Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer.  Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.” www.thehillcityhandmade.com

Sew Quick, Sew Cute Giveaway

sew quick sew cute wrap skirtIf you want to learn how to sew without taking expensive sewing classes, pick up a copy of Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble.  This book teaches you the basics of sewing with a machine and by hand. It also shows you the basic tools and materials that you will need and how to use them.

It’s thirty projects start from the basics and work up, for you to practice you’re new sewing skills.  The projects include a pincushion, Christmas stockings, an apron, a child’s sundress, and more! They yield cute and practical objects that you will want to show off to all of your friends.
The instructions are comprehensive but easy to understand, and the illustrations and pictures help you visually match what you are doing.  The book comes with sewing templates that you need to scan and blow up in some cases to make the correctly sized items.

This book is great for anyone just learning to sew, wanting to learn to sew, or even a pro.  With adult help and supervision, this book is great to teach kids how to sew as well.

If you want to learn a new skill, and impress your friends with all of the awesome things you can make, pick up a copy of Sew Quick, Sew Cute today. Or enter our Facebook contest to win a free copy.


Written by Krista Knauer