Novi, MI

Meet the Teachers

 

We take the time to search out the best in the industry, introducing you to exceptional designers, best-selling authors, creative thinkers and visionaries. Taking classes at Original Sewing & Quilt Expo adds to a memorable and satisfying experience.

 

Pam Damour
Champlain, NY
The Decorating Diva

pamdamour.com
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Known as the "Decorating Diva" Pam learned early in life, while spending time on her grandparents’ farm, that making something from "scratch" was not only a way of life, but it was the better way of doing things. Holding on to those values she went from farm to fabric and has had a very successful 30+ year career as an interior designer and sewing professional. Pam offers professional drapery workroom training. As a seasoned career speaker, she travels internationally teaching her specialty techniques that have brought her years of continued business as the "Couture of Home Dec Sewing". She is the author of Pillow Talk, Cheaper by the Dozen, Got Quilts?, The Tangled Home, Hold Everything and producer of 12 Home Dec DVDs. She has designed many patterns, rulers, scissors and other sewing related notions. An interior designer by profession and a quilter by passion, Pam lives on the shore of Lake Champlain in a log home, nestled at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, where she teaches sewing retreats. Her down to earth nature, never forgetting her roots, combined with her professionalism creates a warm and creative experience.

 

Eric Drexler
Port Charlotte, FL
Sulky of America

sulky.com
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Free-motion artistry has been Eric's other life-long passion ever since he was inspired by Joyce when, at age 10, she first taught him the technique. He has made numerous large and small works of machine art, some of which have been featured in Sulky Books and at Trade and Consumer Shows all over the country. Through his association with Sulky of America during all the years of its existence, he has had the pleasure and honor of being inspired by some of the world's greatest creative sewers and quilters. Eric loves life and he loves to teach and share his exuberance for creative sewing. He is passionate about inspiring students of all ages so they can discover and enjoy a lifetime of creative fun. His infectious smile and warm humor puts everyone at ease and makes them ready and eager to learn. He is widely sought after to teach and share his contagious enthusiasm at Consumer shows, Sew Exciting Seminars, Guild Programs and, more recently, on PBS shows.

 

Tammie Gerke
Cincinnati, OH
Sew-phisticated by Tammie

tgquilting.com

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Tammie started sewing at the age of 8 and have been hooked ever since. She has been teaching at the college level for 18 years. During all of this time she has continued to sew mainly garments but during the last 4 years she has been focusing on quilting, embroidery and starting a longarm quilting business. She teaches garment construction, embroidery and digitizing software classes, and quilting classes at stores in her area. In addition she has taught basic sewing demonstrations at her university for faculty, staff, students, and the general public. Tammie is never happier than when she is teaching others how to sew, taking an image she has for a garment and seeing it come to life, and exploring unique ways to use the longarm to make fabric or how to enhance a garment she is making with embroidery designs.

 

Lorraine Henry

San Diego, CA
Lorraine Henry for Conselle

conselle.com

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Lorraine is a specialist in sewing, fitting and pattern alteration for Conselle Institute of Image Management. With a degree in Clothing and Textiles she has been a university instructor. Teaching pattern alteration and fit is her favorite thing to do. She has done this at international sewing shows for many years. Her Two Easy Measuring tape set has been an aid for achieving good fit for fashion sewers throughout the world. With 40+ years experience as a custom dressmaker/tailor/teacher, she has a wealth of knowledge to share with you about sewing and fit.


Heather Kojan
Owings Mills, MD
Heather Kojan Quilts

heatherkojan.com
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Heather has been sewing since her teens and quilting for more than 25 years. She considers herself a modern quilter, with traditional roots. Heather is the founder of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild and loves speaking to different groups and sharing the modern aesthetic. Foremost a teacher, she teaches modern quilting classes in local shops, guilds and shows across the country. Heather was a contributing author to the book Classic Modern Quilts and a featured quilter in The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood. You can also find her work in Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine and Modern Patchwork magazine.


Cindy Lohbeck
Scottsdale, AZ
Hands On Hand Dyes

handsonhanddyes.com
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Having worked in textiles and fabric dyeing for over 30 years, Cindy Lohbeck is truly a DYEHARD at heart! She started Hands On Hand Dyes in 2007, to share her love of textile arts through an extensive line of fabric dyeing kits. Believing in the right tools for the job, her helpful kits and classes are full of tools, tips and tricks, and have helped thousands of quilters and crafters share in the empowering experience of dyeing their own fabric. Humor, productivity and organization are key components to her fabric dyeing workshops, making them among the favorites at quilt shows, fabric shops, retreats and guild events, across the nation.


Kathy McMakin
Birmingham, AL
Martha Pullen Company

Classic Sewing

classicsewingmagazine.com
thesewingcollection.com

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Kathy McMakin is one of America’s foremost authorities in the field of heirloom sewing by machine and by serger. She teaches beginning and advanced sewers from every corner of the world and inspires a new level of confidence in her students. Kathy is the Director of Education for Martha Pullen Company and produces sewing and serging events held all across the United States. As the team leader and instructor for the Martha Pullen Teacher Licensing Program for both face-to-face and online curriculums, she can be found designing, serging, sewing and writing instructions on almost every day of the week.

She has been a guest instructor at events for every major sewing machine manufacturer in the world. She has authored several smocking, sewing and serging books and has produced and appeared in numerous sewing and serging videos. Her guest appearances on sewing television shows are many. Kathy is going on 30+ years with Martha Pullen Company and lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband. They have two grown children and three absolutely precious grandchildren.

 

RaNae Merrill

New York, NY

Free Motion Mastery in a Month/RaNae Merrill Quilt Design

ranaemerrillquilts.com

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RaNae Merrill is an award-winning quilter, author and teacher. She is known for the unique spiral quilt technique in her books Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts and Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts. Her newest book, Free-Motion Mastery in a Month applies her skills as a concert pianist to the process of learning free-motion quilting. RaNae found her calling as a professional quilter after previous careers as a pianist, a photographer and a travel writer. When she's not quilting and writing, you can find her outdoors hiking, kayaking and skiing, or at home in New York City playing the piano and cooking.

Barbara Moore
Senatobia, MS
SVP Sewing Ambassador

Barbara Moore has over 20 years experience teaching and selling Husqvarna Viking products, including time spent as a Husqvarna Viking dealer. She teaches classes and workshops in Sew What's New, Home Dec, Heirloom Sewing and Machine and Serger training. Barbara lives in North Mississippi and teaches locally as well as nationally.


Pattie Otto
Falling Waters, WV
Great Copy Patterns and Embroidery

greatcopy.com
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Pattie Otto, owner of Great Copy Patterns and Embroidery has a passion for everything sewing from garment design to machine embroidery and enthusiastically shares this during her classes both locally and across the country. In addition to designing her line of patterns, authoring books and magazine articles, she performs alterations on a variety of garments from prom, pageant and wedding attire to other garments such as skirts, pants, etc. Her home studio is well stocked with machines, fabric, thread and everything she needs to create beautiful garments and accessories.


Connie Palmer
Graniteville, SC

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What began as a simple interest in sewing 25 years ago has blossomed into an exciting adventure that Connie loves to share with her students. Her gifts for elegant design, fabulous color sense and exquisite craftsmanship has made her a highly sought-after teacher in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico. Connie is on the faculty of the Martha Pullen Licensing Program where she not only teaches but creates a great number of projects included each of those courses.

She has traveled and taught for Martha Pullen events and returns year after year as one of the favorite teachers at the School of Art Fashion. Her showcase of skills can often be seen on PBS television in Martha’s Sewing Room, America Sews with Sue Hausmann and Quilting with Shar. She has the privilege of having garment designs on the covers of five Martha Pullen books: Lovely Lingerie; Elegant Sewing for Baby; Contemporary Heirlooms for the Older Girl; Six Easy Patterns and Fabulous Fashions. Connie has authored numerous sewing videos on notions, garment construction, heirloom sewing, quilting and more.

 

Abby Riba
Safety Harbor, FL
ViviLux

harbor-sales.com
Abby has been sewing since her teens, and has over 40 years of experience both as a custom clothier and also in the home sewing industry. Her sewing business experience began with selling Leiter’s Fabrics, then to opening up her own home based businesses first in Madison, Wisconsin then in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, and most recently owning several national companies selling wholesale and retail in the sewing world.

Abby has first-hand knowledge of all facets of the sewing business. As a charter member of what is now the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals, Abby served in several officer positions, including a term as National President of the organization. Years of practical experience in fitting all body types have taught her how to fit quickly and accurately, and with over 40 years of business experience she helps those thinking of entering the field. Abby is a published author and her articles have appeared in various publications and books.

 

Kathy Ruddy
Mukilteo, WA
kathyruddy.com
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Kathy is an international sewing celebrity, educator, pattern designer, Serger and fitting expert. Active in the sewing industry since 1962, she is the star of 10 Serger and sewing videos and author of 12 Serger and sewing booklets and her new enhanced books on CD called Three ways to Learn CD'S. You can look at pictures of her projects from start to finish, read the words next to the pictures as you listen to Kathy impart her wisdom and experiences as she develops her projects. If you like a hard copy you can print off as many pages from the CD as you like. Her specialty is to show how to sew and serge fast and easy without sacrificing quality, fit or fashion details. Her fresh, fun classes are brimming with surprises and ideas.

 

Connie Spurlock
Coeur d’Alene, ID
Sew Wonderful Dreams

sewwonderfuldreams.com
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Connie Spurlock used her background in education to develop Sew Wonderful Dreams, a pattern design company in 1989. The company originally focused on craft patterns, while today the emphasis is on quilting and education. About her company, she says: "We believe the best marketing tool we have is to educate. Everyone can learn but the way we learn is variable. Our classes are designed to help you learn in away that will be most beneficial to you."

 

Jim Suzio

Pittsburgh, PA
jimsuzio.com
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Jim Suzio is an award winning artist, designer, digitizer and sewing instructor (including embroidery software, heirloom, fashion and serger sewing). A self taught sewer, Jim was inspired to try the craft after watching a neighbor's enthusiasm in the art. A new sales position at a machine dealer found him literally "thrown" on stage at an ASG convention where he was discovered by Sue Hausmann, host of the PBS series "America Sews with Sue Hausmann." Jim soon found himself teaching all over the US, Canada and Australia for Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff Sewing Machine Companies. His work has been featured in numerous books and magazines and several ads for Husqvarna Viking and the launch of Ty Pennington's new fabric line. he has been seen on several television programs here ("America Sews with Sue Hausmann,"and "It's Sew Easy") and in Canada ("the Big Breakfast Show").

 

Joe Vecchiarelli
Glendale, CA
French European Dress Forms

frencheuropeaninc.com

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Joe Vecchiarelli, founder and president of French European Inc., has worked in the fashion industry for over 40 years. During his college years, Joe worked in the family business, sharpening scissors for the industry's top designers. He later graduated from USC's business program and began to realize that opportunities in the apparel business were unlimited. Mr. Vecchiarelli's career took another fascinating turn when he made a foray into the entertainment business working in production with shows like Dancing with the Stars and The X Factor. A few years ago he was approached by NBC to help produce the competitive design talent show, Fashion Star. Presently Mr. Vecchiarelli is ever so busy maintaining his business and helping fashion students and enthusiasts grasp their dreams and become successful within the industry. 

 

Nelly Vileikis
Arrelas Quilts
Aurora, OH

artelasquilts.com
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Nelly's love affair with quilting started in 1985 while attending graduate school at the University of Montana. One day, while walking into the University Library, she saw the most beautiful landscape quilt hanging at the entrance. She said to herself, "I have to learn to do that". Three days later she was at Geneva Cheffy's home and her life changed forever. Geneva took Nelly under her wing and opened another world for her. For over fifteen years she has been sharing her knowledge as a freelance teacher. Nelly teaches quilt construction techniques and machine quilting. Since 2008 she has taught for Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, which takes her all over the US. She also teaches private workshops, gives lectures and does trunk shows. Nelly loves sharing her talent with her students and willingly encourages them to reach beyond what they consider their normal limits. She designs and publishes quilting patterns and when time permits, she works on other people's quilts using her long-arm machine. She has had numerous patterns published in several issues of Modern Patchwork Magazine. She continuously participates in International, National, regional and local quilt/art competitions and has won numerous awards. Most recently, her work has been included in many exhibits with The Textile Art Alliance of the Cleveland Museum of Art as well as her own solo exhibits. Nelly enjoys reading, traveling and outdoor activities. She lives with her husband in Aurora, Ohio.

 

Alicia Welcher
Heron, MT

Martha Pullen Company

Classic Sewing

aliciawelcher.com

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Alicia is a designer, author and sewing instructor who specializes in heirloom and serger sewing. She has appeared Martha's Sewing Room with Martha Pullen and has published countless projects under the Martha Pullen Company label. As a beginning and advanced instructor at the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion, Martha Pullen Teacher Licensings and events throughout the country, she has earned a following of devoted sewists. She is also the Assistant Editor of and a contributing designer for Classic Sewing magazine.

Thank you to these fine companies who provide continued support.