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.
Deb Atchison is an experienced educator, international technology consultant, and quilter that enjoys leading students of all ages through the process of creating beautiful works of art with fabric! Teaching is her lifelong career and quilting is her passion. Combining them both...her dream job! Deb has many years of training students of all ages including adult learners. As a technology education expert, Deb has taught numerous workshops virtually as well as face-to-face! She is certified in Scrappy Applique, and is a Legit Kits Ambassador and Educator and enjoys teaching quilters of all experience levels how to make beautiful works of art with Legit Kits! Deb enjoys sharing her love of applique using embroidery machines as well.
Melissa Bryan Designs / Big Bee Applique
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Melissa is an embroidery designer, digitizer and owner of Melissa Bryan Designs. She has been a sewer and lover of all things handmade for over 30 years. She enjoys teaching others how to use machine embroidery designs to incorporate with sewing machine projects, such as table runners, quilts, placemats, and pillows, to create their own masterpieces. Her designs have been featured in Creative Machine Embroidery and she is a writer for an online sewing publication. She has been an educator at numerous shows, teaching both embroidery and quilting techniques.
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Nick Coman has been teaching garment and quilt construction and design for almost 20 years. He has a degree in fashion design from FIDM in Los Angeles, and has written numerous articles for sewing publications and has a book on surface design. In addition to a private clientele, Nick is owns a retreat center in southwest Colorado that specializes in retreats for Fiber artists of all types.
Port Charlotte, FL
Sulky of America
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Eric has been in the industry over 40 years. Free-motion artistry has been his life-long passion. 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 since the beginning, 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, Sewing and Quilting Guilds and on many PBS shows.
San Juan Baurista, CA
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Deborah has been quilting for about 40 years, and sewing all of her life. She did a number of paper piecing projects and loved the precision but not so much the process. She owns a textile printing company, so in 2009 she merged her love of sewing/quilting with the printing business. She developed leave-in foundations and has designed and currently manufacture over 300 different patterns and blocks.
Two Crafty Mooses
Certified Instructor, Studio 180 Designs
Kelly discovered a love for sewing in her junior high school home economics class. After marriage and children, a sewing machine caught her eye in a department store – and the realization that sewing would be a great escape! After winning a battle with lung cancer, Kelly was forced into retirement. The silver lining was that she could return to her first love – sewing – and discovered a new love of QUILTING! She ended up not only diving headfirst into creating quilts, but also teaching quilting along with sewing and machine embroidery.
Kelly's quest for a simpler way of making quilt blocks led her to discover Deb Tucker and her company, Studio 180 Designs. The tools and techniques are based around a simple concept – if you make a block a little bit bigger than what you need, you can trim it down to perfect! No more dog ears, fudging in the seam allowance, or those horrible flying geese if you don't cut and sew EXACTLY correct. What a perfect idea! Kelly became certified by Deb Tucker herself in February 2020.
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.
Joyce Keske Design
Joyce started her sewing career in her early 20s making leather jackets. She started her own bridal business, which led to working for David’s Bridal where she was named “Alteration Manager of the Year” for the entire United States. Later she became a Baby Lock Ambassador where she discovered her passion for teaching. She now travels the country teaching for her company, Joyce Keske Design.
Bay Village, OH
The past 12 years Marsha has been a national educator for SVP worldwide. She is greatly loved for her enthusiasm and lively presentations while sharing masterful technical skills or the inspiration that sewers take away from her events. Using her education background she imparts an empowering "can do" attitude, opening up doors to creativity, and fun ways to embellish projects with exciting results. Student smiles at the end of her events are her reward. Marsha enjoys creating and designing garments, purses and home decor projects which incorporate a creative touch, especially through embellishment. She has had publications in Design in Machine Embroidery and Classic Sewing magazines and had appeared with Sue Hausmann on PBS and Behind the Seams, an internet sewing show through SVP.
Owings Mills, MD
Heather Kojan Quilts
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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.
Off The Wall Quilt
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Following a nearly 20 year career as a business manager and tax professional while raising three kids with her husband in the Pacific Northwest, Julie retired to become a full time quilter and vendor at quilt shows. Now residing in Florida, Julie teaches, lectures and creates new quilt designs and templates. Her quirky humor and relaxed attitude are reflected in her presentations and not quite perfect quilts.
Colorado Springs, CO
Jill McCloy Designs
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. She has over 50 patterns and recently had a truly beautiful line of fabric come out with Northcott fabrics.
Martha Pullen Company
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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.
New York, NY
Free Motion Mastery in a Month/RaNae Merrill Quilt Design
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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.
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Rhonda Pierce has a dream job. . . teaching sewing enthusiasts about the hardest working 2” piece of steel in the sewing machine – the SCHMETZ needle. After presenting 200+ virtual classes, she is happy to meet stitch fans in-person. Rhonda created and published 100 issues of SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW. She publishes the must read SCHMETZneedles monthly newsletter. She is a certificated FitNice System Instructor. Her quilt, Color Splash, hung at three International Quilt Festivals. Rhonda’s personal blog is www.SewMoreStitches.com. With quilt shop, wholesale management experience, and the love of sewing, Rhonda delivers a unique perspective as VP Marketing Director of Euro-notions, and Spokesperson for SCHMETZneedles.com North America.
Sew Steady Education Ambassador and Westalee Design Acredited Teacher
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Kate's fascination with quilting began when she received a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt as a wedding present in 1991. She made her first quilt to celebrate the birth of her first child and has loved quilting ever since. Kate loves all styles and types of quilts from art to modern and traditional pieced to applique, and how quilting is a connection through the ages and across generations.
Originally a native of California, Kate graduated from West Point in 1991 and served in the Army with her husband Patrick. She left the service in 1998 to be at home with the couple's five children. For the next two decades, quilting
became the bridge that helped her to build relationships in each new community as she moved more than twenty times during her family's military service.
After their last move, Kate began working and teaching at local shops and guilds on a consistent basis. In
2016, she became a professional longarm quilter, opening FabriKated Quilts. When she was first introduced to Westalee Design’s Quilting Rulers and Templates she was instantly hooked! Rulerwork tools have helped Kate advance her quilting skills more than she ever dreamt possible. The freedom and creativity generated by these tools is so satisfying, and Kate wants to give that power to quilters everywhere. She loves sharing her passion for quilting and art, passing on a centuries old tradition, and creating beautiful items of comfort.
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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.
Dianne Springer Designs
Dianne loves every aspect of craft and art she has attempted, inluding sewing, painting, glass blowing, sculpture and knitting. She acquired a Master's of Fine Arts degree in 1998 and after teaching in the Talented Visual Arts program for 25 years in the public school system, she began a new phase of art...quilting. In addition to teaching various aspects of quilting, Dianne designs fabrics and products, vends at quilting events and is the author of "Scrap-O-Later Quilts and More".
French European Dress Forms
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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.