My first interest in sewing began while watching my mother make my clothes. When I was 11, my mother returned to full-time work and I started making my own clothes. I taught myself the basics, by observation, reading and experimentation. I made clothes for my sisters, brothers, friends and parents. I learned about grading sizes while sewing for my large-sized sister. I sewed quilts from faded jeans and sheets. My favorite pastime was producing appliqués from scraps. I would come home after school to sew and design, then do my homework! I dreamed of a time when creativity would dominate my work.
In my junior year of High School, a representative of The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) visited my sewing class and sparked an interest in studying design. I started at their San Francisco campus, and finished my A.A. degree in Los Angeles. The L.A. area is perfect for people watching. The year-round mild temperatures allow for many opportunities to observe and inspire design.
I worked in the garment industry for over 20 years, beginning at a small company, making patterns. One of the great advantages of small businesses is that you get to learn a variety of jobs, in a short amount of time. My other responsibilities soon included trim buyer, design director, production liaison, sample room supervisor, grader and costing manager. I met and married my husband here, and suddenly we left the South Bay for Salt Lake City, Utah, and law school, for my husband. We spent 3 years there, including a summer in San Francisco and 4 1/2 months in London. Taking advantage of any opportunity, I worked in sales at Nordstrom and helped in the art department of an elementary school, in London. I learned a lot about customer service, while at Nordstrom. Customers can be external, like shoppers, or internal, like other colleagues. Learning this inspired me to always be helpful to others, because you never know when you may need help, too.
After graduation from law school, we relocated to San Francisco. On a tip from a friend, I was hired at Gap, Inc. It was another eye-opening experience in corporate culture. I learned all my computer skills while there. My first position was an assistant to 2 patternmakers. After 3 months I was promoted to a Pattern Technician – a hybrid position combining patterns, specifications and fitting. We communicated to the overseas offices daily. Upon my suggestion, I was able to travel to Hong Kong and give a seminar for over 60 factory representatives. At the same time, my husband’s job took us back to L.A. I was able to do freelance work, for Baby Guess, while pursuing a permanent position at the Walt Disney Company. Here I started a whole technical department from scratch! Many hours of research went into sizing and setting standards for Disney worldwide. I traveled routinely to Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Manila, Tokyo, and even London, Istanbul and Egypt.
In 2005, I attended a quilting workshop at Asilomar, CA., and met a talented quilting teacher named Mary Lou Weidman. Mary Lou and I became fast friends as we began to collaborate with writing and quilt design ideas. In 2011, my first book (with Mary Lou) will be published, “Out of the Box With Easy Blocks,” a colorful, artsy manual for making fun “off the bed” quilts.
When I am not sewing or creating, I like to bake, read fiction and humorous stories, ride my bike and walk along the Strand at the beach. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my knowledge of sewing and design with you. It is a very passionate experience, creating artful quilts and well-engineered design. My personal motto is: “Treat people how you would like to be treated.” My favorite quote is from Winston Spencer Churchill, Prime Minister of England, 1940 – 1955: “Never, never, never, never give up!”