Admin Bio – Angie

A native from southern Louisiana, I was born and grew up in a small town very south in Louisiana.  I moved to Baton Rouge in 1987 with my husband, not knowing that a city girl was trapped in a small town, naïve girl’s mind and body.  Baton Rouge had doors to rooms of creative expression I was never exposed to in my little home town, which include (to name just a few): museums, thriving artists, craft and fabric stores, huge libraries, quilt guilds and crafty classes….I was overwhelmed and excited!

For many years, I worked as a legal assistant in various sized private law firms specializing in criminal, real estate, family, insurance defense and medical malpractice law. At 38 years old, I found myself continuing to down a long road of recuperation from bi-lateral carpel tunnel release surgery, and in the beginning of a turbulent divorce.  I knew I needed to make some serious changes in my life and decided to chase a life-long dream of a college education. During this time, I learned how to become extremely thrifty, wise, self-controlled, and highly organized with two middle-school kids at my feet.

After four years, I graduated from Our Lady of the Lake College in Baton Rouge (in 2006) with an Associate Degree in Emergency Health Science (to become a paramedic).  After completing my degree, I worked as a Cardiology Nuclear Stress Technician in five southern states, with a mobile unit administering nuclear stress tests in cardiac clinics.

In 2012 I graduate from the same college with a B.S. Degree in Health Science Degree (with the intention of going on the become a physician assistant). I become burned out from too much work, too much school, and just too much. I now work at a large and prestigious law firm.  I become a designer by mere accident and it is a passion/hobby.  

The Sewing Pattern Testers Group was born from the necessity to test my first pattern because I was unable to find local testers, nor was I able to find testers on the web.  I had no idea so many people would be interested in gathering in one place to test patterns.  

Sewing has always been part of me, even before my birth.  My great grandmother and her five sisters sewed men’s suits, women’s dresses, home goods (sheets, curtains, pillows, etc.) to provide for themselves.  This was in the early 1900s, so the fashions were lacy, silky, upscale and usually sewn before electricity was available or affordable to all. They designed dresses and suits from scratch or by disassembling ready-wear, as patterns were difficult to acquire.  I remember visiting these elderly great aunts—they still had a sewing room full of fabulous sewing machines on display.  A note of interest:  only my great grandmother married—the other ladies purchased a home together and worked together to support one another. There was a team philosophy in the maintenance of the home, each member of the family, and the financial well-being of one another.

From an early age, I was taught to reuse, repurpose, and recycle old clothes, fabrics, buttons, zippers, etc.  I spent most of my time with the elderly population of my family, and because these people lived through the war eras, the depression and several recessions, this was a lifestyle—not a trendy thing to do.  For me, it is became a habit.

My formal sewing education consisted of one section of sewing in  9th grade year in Home Ed (a small segment of sewing skills); many Saturday mornings sitting in front of the TV watching Nancy Ziemann on LPB (Louisiana Public Broadcast); sitting on the floor of the library surrounded by books, studying techniques, and hauling books home by the bags-full; and by trial and error.  I gained a solid sewing foundation pre-internet.  Although I still have a lot to learn, I gravitate back to the basics for everything.

Sewing, for me is more than just finishing a project.  It is teaching a mom the joy of sewing a dress for her daughter; giving someone the educational tools to earning additional income from a fun craft that does not feel like work, or teaching a student to sew and watching that student earn a successful living from home while getting a college education.  It is also the pure joy of a relaxing hobby and making personalized gifts for family and friends. There is an intrinsic connection  to the act of sewing and designing, and I truly feel it is genetic.

I have formed many friendships through teaching classes, attending quilting/sewing retreats, sewing for charity, and connecting with other quilters/sewing enthusiasts through personal friends who sew.  The networking possibilities are endless.  I have learned new techniques (English Paper Piecing and Paper Piecing, most recently) from those friends, techniques I would never have sought on my own.

In short, I am basically a self-taught seamstress/sewist, have taught sewing to beginners and intermediates (from Girl Scouts troops to Leisure Arts Classes, encompassing ages 9—65 years old), am a pattern designer (mostly bags and luggage), and enjoy sewing other designers’ patterns. Other hobbies and interests include reading Historical Fiction, Crime Fiction, Romance and other genres, bird watching, modern calligraphy, watching classic movies, and playing cards with friends. I also volunteer (when I can) with animal rescue groups, and grew up in a family who had many, many pets. I also enjoy rescuing vintage sewing machines.  I presently have 9 sewing machines (which includes a serger I’ve been using for 23 years).


I have two grown children, a daughter Molly (married to Nicholi) and one grandson (Sean), and one son Joey.  I live with an Australian Silky (Murphy), and two calico Maine Coons (Sasha and Lilly).  Sasha is an older rescue who was a multi-failed adoptee. I adopted her because no one else wanted her—she is the love of my life.


Introducing Pins + Needles

Brittany from Pins+Needles Kits is a supplier member in our group. Pins+Needles is a monthly subscription-based crafting/sewing company based in Texas.  The company is the brainchild of Brittany and co-founder, Kellie. Kellie is a sewing teacher and very experienced and savvy sewing lady, and Brittany was a sewing enthusiast with no sewing experience who became quickly frustrated with ambitious projects.

With the help of Kellie, Brittany learned that by completing smaller projects she not only felt a sense of accomplishment for finishing them, but also still became more excited about sewing while improving her skills at the same time.

That’s when Pins + Needles Kits was born: the creation of two women with a passion to create and a desire to make sewing and crafting projects easier for all ages and all levels of  sewing experience.

Brittany and Kellie envisioned an easy way for customers to purchase sewing projects online that can be delivered straight to your doorstep. We love happy mail, right?

They combined monthly deliveries of fully curated projects that are easy, simple, and fun.  A monthly delivery that is a handcrafted surprise by you!  Happy Mail always welcomed!

If you are interested in a sewing subscription box, please visit the Pins + Needles website where you can sign up. Every month your kit will include a complete project that includes pattern, fabrics to complete the pattern, thread and any extra notion required of the pattern.

Monthly Subscription prices:

* 12-Months: $21.95
* 6-Months: $24.95
* 3-Months: $27.95
* Month-to-Month: $29.95

There is a $5 per month flat fee shipping & handling.  You know exactly what you are charged each month.  No surprises there!  Awesome.

If you are interested in subscribing, visit the Pins+Needles Website.  You can begin receiving your monthly happy mail soon!

We would like to thank Pins+Needles for providing two kits for our “Finish It Friday” contest and an additional kit for one of our admin to test and review on an upcoming blog post.

Add Lace Embellishment to a Knit Hemline

We have a new tutorial for you this week!  Cassy from Pear Berry Lane is here to share a quick method for attaching lace to the hemline of a shirt.  Cassy is a wife, mother, teacher, and sewing enthusiast.  Visit her blog, Pear Berry Lane, to learn more about her and her sewing journey.

How to Add a Lace Embellishment to the Hemline of a Knit Top

Hi there! It’s Cassy from Pear Berry Lane Blog. I’m here today sharing a quick tutorial on how to add a bit of lace the hemline of your shirt. I actually made a shirt like this and then went shopping and found an almost identical shirt for my daughter. I guess I must be fashionable. You can be fashionable too, so let’s get too it. Continue reading

Admin Bio – Jenn

Hi, I am Jenn!

How best to describe me….hmmmm

Mommy, Sewcialist, budding entrepreneur, avid reader, designer, teacher, #critches, proud Texan.

I am a 35 year old, full time single mom of a very feisty threenager. Each and every day is a new challenge as we discover new adventures in the life of an immunocompromised child. One who shows me daily how to live life to its fullest and never take anything for granted.


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2017 Calendar of Events

January–Group sew along hosted by Amy Betts using the Maggie Top, Tunic & Dress Pattern by Bella Sunshine Designs

February–I Image result for heart clipart Sewing Swap

March–Finish It Fridays

April–Group Special Handbag Design/pdf pattern

May–Sewing Machine Drawing/Contest

June–“June Cleaver” apron sewing (for craft booths, crafters, artists, sewing room, or children)

(Photo and sewing credit:  Betty-Ann Chambers, Member and Tester)

Make Your Own Piping

Hello!  We have a lovely new tutorial for you today written by Suzanna McKeon of Hold It Right There Bags.  Suzanna creates meticulously designed PDF sewing patterns for bags an accessories.  Her patterns include the best features of manufactured patterns with the unique qualities an independent designer can offer.

Suzanna’s patterns include printable pieces for each piece of fabric and interfacing; cutting charts; detailed, tutorial-style instructions; pattern layout illustrations; and seam allowances indicated on each pattern piece.

In addition Suzanna’s patterns are put through trials with a team of testers, thoroughly vetting each pattern, and a Facebook pattern group to celebrate sewists’ Hold It Right There creations, answer questions, and offer input to others.

Continue reading

Tester Spotlight Interview – Rachel Reece


What prompted your interest in sewing? I always had an interest in sewing since I was little, but what rekindled it was having my girls.

Who taught you how to sew? My mother taught me how to sew the basics when I was 8, then self-taught the rest of the years.

Why do you choose to test sewing patterns? It’s fun socially and to help the designers get that perfect fit that they are looking for.

What kind of sewing machine do you use?  Did you purchase it, or was it handed down to you by a family member? I own a shark euro pro, I actually bought it for my sister, but then she later gave it to me because I was using it a lot.

Do other members of your family sew?  My mother and grandmother sew, and also my in-laws sew. Calling on everyone if I have any questions is fun.

Tell us about you: I am a cosmetologist by trade and living the country life. Now a stay at home mom to my two little girls. Love my new job!! I just love to do anything that I can create with my hands.

What special sewing skill do you have and how did you discover it? I don’t know if I have a special skill yet.

What is your favorite kind of things to sew? I love making dresses. It’s my goal this year to make more dresses, too.

What other hobbies do you enjoy? I refinish furniture, cook, paint, and do photography. I think I enjoy almost everything.

What other hobbies would you like to learn? I’m still learning photography, and probably actually building furniture (I have tons of ideas in my head.)

*Rachel is a top-notch sewing pattern tester. We are thrilled to have her in our circle of testers!  Thank you Rachel, for sharing your love of sewing and your talent with us.