Cincinnati, OH

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!

 

Karen Benke

Medina, OH
Little Red Quilt House

Karen has 45 years of sewing experience that she loves to share in a patient, informal atmosphere.She continues to stay current in the quilting world, learning and teaching techniques and new tools. Karen is owner of Little Red Quilt House in Medina, Ohio and lives her dream of sharing quilting with others on a daily basis. littleredquilthouse.com

 

Nancy Brandt

Edwardsville, IL

Juki Educator

Nancy has had a love of textiles and sewing since her grandmother taught her to darn socks and let her thread needles under the quilt frame for the church ladies before the age of 6. She attended Fashion Merchandising business college after high school, and went on to own a ladies ready-to-wear shoppe. Collecting antique quilts started her down the path of quilt making. Her passion is recreating timeless quilts using the beautiful reproduction fabric of today. Nancy teaches all types of classes, and her favorite is beginning piecing/quilting.She loves the eagerness of beginners and the joy they get when everything falls in place. Especially the a-ha moments. juki.com

 

Barb Callahan

Oxford, CT
Barb Originals

Barb designed and constructed one-of-a-kind garments using her labefl Barb Originals and sold them at art shows for almost 25 years, alongside her antique linens, buttons and trimmings. After years of hearing customer requests for patterns and instructions for these very wearable items, she decided to accommodate them. Today Barb travels the U.S. sharing her expertise in using vintage linens, buttons, hankies, trimmings and more to create stylish, flattering and easy-to-make clothing and accessories. She holds a bachelors degree in education and a masters degree in administration and counseling, and has also attended classes at FIT in New York. Her articles have appeared in Threads, Sew Beautiful and her company’s newsletter. barboriginals.com

 

Nick Coman
Los Angeles, CA

Dragonfly Dyeworks

Nick has been a lifelong sewer. His passion for sewing has carried him into his career as a Surface designer and Professional pattern maker. Nick has a degree in Fashion Design from FIDM in Los Angeles California and is the owner of Dragonfly Threads, a private studio for custom clothing. Nick has been the in-house costume designer for many Hollywood area event companies. He also keeps a busy schedule traveling to shows, teaching pattern making, fitting and surface design along with business partner, Chase Wong of Dragonfly Dyeworks. Nick has been published in Sew News, Threads Magazine, Machine Quilting unlimited, and one of his gowns appeared in a special article in Brides Magazine. Nick is also the co-author of a book about using discharge paste as a surface design tool. Nick has a pattern line and clothing blanks made for art to wear coming this fall. Nick lives in Los Angeles, CA with his 4 cats - Squeek, Tiger, Max and Kink

 

Rae Cumbie
Baltimore, MD
Fit For Art Patterns

Rae Cumbie is Creative Director at Fit for Art Patterns which offers three core patterns for one great wardrobe that focus on fit and artful design. Her coaching, blog posts, for Threads and Curve Appeal fit column in Sew News encourages stitchers to sew successfully: adding fun, comfortable, creative additions to their wardrobe. Catch her blog, Sew! Let's Get Dressed at fitforartpatterns.com for everything from basic sewing to artful inspiration.

 

Eric Drexler
Port Charlotte, FL
Sulky of America

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. sulky.com

 

Tammie Gerke

Cincinnati, OH

Gerke Enterprises LLC 

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. tgquilting.com

 

Lorraine Henry

San Diego, CA
Lorraine Henry for Conselle

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. conselle.com

 

Marsha Kirsch
Bay Village, OH
Marsha has always enjoyed the creative aspect of design and embellishments. Her early experiences in 4-H, and working as a designer in a flower shop helped enhance and encourage her creative endeavors. A degree in elementary education enabled Marsha to stretch her imagination to help students be successful. She used her creativity to start ‘The Painted Picket”, a craft business that started with wood and has expanded into fabric, designs and patterns. Marsha was also a guest on Behind the Seams, an internet sewing program and America Sews with Sue Hausmann, and has contributed several articles to the magazine, Designs in Machine Embroidery Throughout all these endeavors the greatest enjoyment derives from interacting with the other consumers to share her enthusiasm for creativity.

 

Heather Kojan

Owings Mills, MD

Heather Kojan Quilts

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. heatherkojan.com

 

Kaye Koler
Amherst, OH 
Sew Happy Quilting

Kaye began sewing at age eight with the encouragement of her sister, making doll clothes and purses on her grandmother’s old Singer sewing machine. From there it was on to garments, enrolling every sewing class she could in junior high and high school to improve her grade average. (the A’s in sewing made the C’s and D’s look a little better to her mom!) She always loved everything fabric-y and crafty especially if was small! That lead her to teddy bears in miniature and then naturally to quilts in miniature when there was little room left for big quilts! She discovered foundation/paper-piecing was the way to go for precision and machine quilting for speed. She enjoys sharing her knowledge, is dedicated to positive and patient instruction to help develop new skills in each student ! Kaye has won awards for her miniature quilt “Home At Last” in Ireland, Houston, Paducah, NQA in Columbus, OH and at Indiana Heritage Quilt festival. sew-happy-quilting.blogspot.com


Cindy Losekamp
Cedar Grove, IN
Sew Artfully Yours

Cindy is a fun and enlightening teacher known for her incredible amount of samples and ingenious way of creating. She has been a guest on many TV shows and has traveled extensively...nationally as well as internationally, inspiring people to draw on their own creativity. She has been teaching for over 30 years and her students love her patient and understandable style. Cindy began her business Sew Artfully Yours, Inc. in 1998. In the sixteen years since, she has authored 100s of patterns, design disks and books, always designing new and interesting ways to push the limits of creating with fabric and thread. You will enjoy learning from this exciting and empowering sewing personality. sewingart.com

 

Donelle McAdams

Marion, IN

Representing Sew Steady

Donelle McAdams is the owner of SEW BIZ, Marion, Indiana. Donelle is the designer of Quick Easy Mitered Binding and Border Tools and is also a pattern designer. Previously a Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, she has been a quilt store owner for 35 years. She has taught a variety of SchoolHouse and Take & Teach classes and Business Management Seminars at industry seminars and conventions. She writes a column for FabShop News, an industry magazine. As a Promoted Educator for Westalee/Sew Steady, Donelle teaches Westalee Ruler Work classes internationally. Her love and enthusiasm for sewing and quilting is infectious. Taking a class with Donelle is guaranteed to be information-packed, inspirational and FUN! sewsteady.com   sewbizmarion.com

 

Jill McCloy
Colorado Springs, CO

Jill's sewing career started at an early age – she received her first sewing machine for Christmas just after her fourth birthday. In high school, she did custom sewing and taught at fabric and sewing machine shops using original patterns. In 1992 Jill was hired by Viking Sewing Machines, Inc. as a national educator designing projects for the Viking Club and teaching at Viking World Conventions. She then became an independent educator working with many brands of sewing machines. Jill was featured in the Threads magazine design challenge in 2000, wrote for McCall’s and Threads magazines, designed embroideries for Cactus Punch and taught at many Expo events. Her specialties are machine knowledge and creating original designs.


Kathy McMakin
Huntsville, AL
Martha Pullen Company

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 32 years with Martha Pullen Company and now lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband. They have two grown children and three absolutely precious grandchildren.

 

Betty Mitchell
Union, KY

Betty Mitchell began her love affair with the sewing machine at the age of eight and it has grown ever since. She spent 30 years in Rhode Island teaching Family and Consumer Sciences and ‘retired’ to work for sewing machine dealers in southwest Florida for eight years. During that time she not only sold machines and taught classes, she also spent three years as a store manager for one of the largest dealers in the country. At the same time she began teaching at national dealer conventions, various sewing and quilting shows as well as local and regional sewing guilds. Seven years ago she re-retired to her Grandchildren in Kentucky. She still teaches at a couple of local stores and has launched a line of patterns. Originally a garment sewer, she now concentrates more on Home Décor, embroidery, accessories and sergers. Her classes are meant to be informative and relaxing. Betty says, “In the end it’s just a bunch of thread and fiber to have fun with! If there’s a sewing tool or fabric that I haven’t met it’s not because I haven’t tried. I firmly believe that I’ll never have enough fabric and I certainly deserve the best tools.”

 

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.


Diane Murphy
Wilmington, OH

Diane Murphy has enjoyed sharing her passion for sewing with others for over 40 years. After completing her degree in fashion merchandising she began her own business sewing for others, owned and operated a bridal fabric mail order business, opened a bridal store with fabric and custom design gowns. Currently Diane creates fashion for the home in her studio in southern Ohio and enjoys teaching both there and beyond.


Pattie Otto
Falling Waters, WV
Great Copy Patterns

Pattie Otto, owner and designer of Great Copy Patterns has a passion for everything sewing from garment design to machine embroidery. You will find her techniques and detailed instructions contain the short cuts, tricks and information that is so often lacking. Author of Quilting with Fleece, Embellishing with the Edge Perfect Blade™ and Ultimate Polarfleece® Pizzazz, her goal is to help you obtain a professional finish every time while elimination common pitfalls. She has a real passion for teaching and also keeps busy designing patterns, writing and digitizing her line of machine embroidery. greatcopy.com

 

Connie Palmer
Graniteville, SC
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.

 

Rhonda Pierce

Willowbrook, IL

Schmetz Needles
Rhonda Pierce has a dream job. . . teaching sewing enthusiasts about the most important 2” piece of steel in the sewing machine – the SCHMETZ needle. During Rhonda’s classes students respond with “a ha” moments and giggles as they learn needle facts. Rhonda enjoys sharing needle knowledge in classrooms and sewing shows throughout North America. She travels with the SCHMETZ “Super” Needle – it’s 17” tall – and always asks “What’s Your Favorite SCHMETZ Needle?” She is delighted with the ingenuity and remarkable creations that sewing enthusiasts share. She publishes the monthly SCHMETZ newsletter and the inspirational e-zine, SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW. Rhonda is Marketing Director of Euro-notions and Spokesperson for SCHMETZneedles.com North America. SCHMETZneedles.com


Kathy Ruddy
Mukilteo, WA
kathyruddy.com

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. kathyruddy.com

 

Cheryl Sleboda

Plainfield, IL

Muppin Inc
Texture. Textiles. Technology. Teacher. These things sum up award winning fiber artist Cheryl Sleboda, whose work encompasses both heirloom sewing techniques and eTextile technologies. Cheryl spent 20 years in the comic book industry but now pursues cosplay, fiber art, and teaching full time. She’s the author of the Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today’s Quilter DVD and has appeared numerous times on Quilting Arts TV and It’s Sew Easy TV. muppin.com

 

Connie Spurlock
Coeur d’Alene, ID
Sew Wonderful Dreams

Although she didn’t even learn to sew until she was over 30 years old, Connie used her background in marketing and 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 a way that will be most beneficial to you.” sewwonderfuldreams.com

 

Jim Suzio

Pittsburgh, PA

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"). Jim took a break from his extensive teaching and traveling schedule after moving with his daughter Meri back to the family home outside of Pittsburgh. Now that Meri is a senior (and a student in cosmetology) he's back! www.jimsuzio.com

 

Michelle Umlauf
Sabillasville, MD
Sulky of America

Michelle Umlauf is a National Educator representing Sulky of America and the creative entrepreneur of Sewing Machine Artistry. As a freelance sewing educator, she also represents Clover Needlecraft and Baby Lock USA. Michelle enjoys sharing her passion and knowledge with others. She enjoys all types of sewing and likes to challenge herself by incorporating new techniques in her projects. She particularly enjoys free-motion sewing and machine embroidery. Michelle lives in Maryland with her husband, two dogs and two rescue cats. You can visit her website at SewingMachineArtistry.com and look for her on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, under the same name.

 

Joe Vecchiarelli
Glendale, CA
French European Dress Forms

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. 

 

Helene Weber
Navarre, OH
Helene's passion has always been art in any form, but she has truly fallen in love with fiber art. Her background is in fine art: drawing, painting and sculpture, and she uses this experience in creating her quilts. Although she has always viewed quilts as art, it wasn’t until recently that she discovered the blending of traditional art mediums – colored pencil, paints and inks – with quilting. Helene loves painting and working with fabric because of the versatility it lends to the artist and she likes using a variety of art mediums, along with longarm quilting, on her art quilts.

 

Alicia Welcher
Heron, MT

Martha Pullen Company
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. aliciawelcher.com

 

Alicia Werner

Fort Collins, CO

The Zipper Lady

The Zipper Lady came into being in 1994 when I needed zippers for the bottom of duvet covers in my own sewing business. I love to sew anything: sails, quilts, patio cushions, ski pants, tents, heirloom baby gowns, purses & pouches, but my greatest sewing love is slipcovers. Degree in Textiles from CSU, Design at Parsons, MBA from CalPoly SLO. TheZipperLady.com

 

Thank you to these fine companies who provide continued support.