I began my clothing design career more than 25 years ago after completing a 4-year certificate program in pattern making at a privately owned design school in Michigan. The small school was owned and operated by two European women who were couturiers in their respective France and Italy for many years. This was the only school of its’ kind in my area and I consider myself very fortunate to have been exposed to such expertise and knowledge. I felt that I had found my calling. It wasn’t that I picked up the art of pattern making so quickly as much as it was the enthusiasm I felt inside for what I was learning. I still feel that same enthusiasm today.
My mother, an Italian couture dressmaker taught me how to sew. Her patience and experience was my next guiding hand after I graduated from school. At 25 I became partners with her and expanded her couture dressmaking business where I spent several years sewing and honing the design and pattern making skills I learned in school. This experience brought theory and application together.
On holiday in California during the early 1980’s I noticed a trend in dressing that I had yet to see in my hometown. A fabric that I had only seen used in exercise garments being manufactured into ready-to-wear clothing. A cotton/LYCRA knit fabric that used shape and design as its only attributes! Details were scarce. After years of detailed, exacting, by-hand couture sewing, I was ready for a change and this fabric was my vehicle for change.
I spent many years designing and producing my own label of ready-to-wear clothing for the wholesale market designing exclusively with this cotton/LYCRA knit fabric. It was this wonderful knit fabric and its qualities that allowed me to design and perfect sewing techniques that have translated to my pattern company today.
After 12 years in the wholesale market I opened a retail store in my hometown selling my own label ready-to-wear designs and offering couture dressmaking to a select few. It was a “home sewing” friend who suggested that I offer my patterns to home sewers. She knew we produced our own clothing and was intrigued that our garments did not look “home made”. She felt that women sewing at home could benefit from our production sewing techniques. Honestly, the thought never entered my mind. Sell my patterns? Well, several years later I can say it was an excellent idea! To be able to take my years of experience and translate it into a new business that brings me in touch with others that love to sew and appreciate what I do is very gratifying!
Who am I?
I am a girl who loves to sew! It is really just as simple as that. Sewing is an excellent creative outlet for me that is non-competitive and personally gratifying. The best part for me is completing my garment, seeing my idea come to fruition gives me a great sense of accomplishment that few other things do.
I am a nature girl who loves to walk in the woods, fish, and build a campfire. I also like to knit and cook and I love my animals! I have two female Stafforshire Bull Terriers named Edie and Ella and a Maine Coon Cat named Sara.
Being able to spend my time doing what I love is motivation enough for me. Two days at work are never the same for me and I am able to control my schedule completely. When I was a young girl wondering what my adult life would be like, I imagined and hoped that it would be much the way I find it today. I have had so many wonderful people support my business and me over these 25 years that I would be remiss to say that they aren’t my motivation. Their belief in me and hope for me to succeed continues to inspire me. Beginning with my mother and father, my husband, past and present employees, and many, many friends along the way.
My area of expertise today is my experience. Experience gives me something special to offer others. My sewing experience encompasses many things. For the home sewing market I offer years of design and production sewing experience. One of my favorite aspects of the production sewing business is figuring out the easiest way to get from point A to point B with the fewest sewing mistakes possible. This translates perfectly into my patterns. I believe that sewing should be fun and easy. That is not to say that working on a wonderful tailored jacket is not fun, but it is not what I choose to offer. Teaching others to make wise choices when pairing pattern and fabric is both challenging and rewarding.
During the design and production years of my career I learned to streamline my pattern making and sewing to eliminate as many mistakes at the end of the day as possible. When there are many people sewing production garments all day long I could not end the day with a basket full of sewing mistakes and there was very little ripping out allowed. I also learned to design and size my patterns to fit a variety of body types and personalities.
My patterns are tried and trued. Every little detail has been perfected over hundreds of samples and the instructions are as clear and simple as possible. I want sewers to succeed and continue to sew and enjoy the great of satisfaction that I enjoy everyday.
I spend a lot of time teaching how to work with stretch fabrics. Not only how to handle and sew with them but how to choose your size pattern based on the stretch and recovery of the fabric. Most of my patterns also translate perfectly for woven fabrics. I teach workshops in my studio that I just love. Spending time sharing my knowledge with other sewers is great. I teach simplified fitting techniques that combine draping and flat pattern alterations that are very easy and work! I have published a compendium of articles taken from 14 issues of CLOTHESLINE, the name of the publication is “The Little Black Dress” and Other Stories from past CLOTHESLINE issues!
I am looking forward to publishing more patterns and enjoying my life.