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 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 with a private contract company. We contracted with cardiologists, clinics and in five southern states, using mobile equipment to administer nuclear stress tests on site.
In 2012, I graduate from the same college with a B.S. in Health Science (with the intention of going on the become a physician assistant). I became 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, and was unable to find testers on the Internet. I had no idea so many people would be interested in gathering in one place to test patterns.
Sewing has always been an important part of who I am, 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 and expensive 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 has become a lifestyle.
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; hauling library books home by the bags-full; and by sewing 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, accessories 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 8 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.