|In this edition, Patty Burris is “Behind the Stitches.”
When did you learn how to sew, and then embroider?
I learned to sew pretty late in life compared to most and learned on my own. I have been sewing for about 15 yrs.
That’s very interesting. Many get the sewing and needlework bug as kids. What captured your interest?
It started with wanting to make clothes for myself. I bought a $50 Kenmore sewing machine. The enjoyment of sewing then turned into wanting to quilt. I have been an avid quilter for 10 yrs. I learned to embroider 5 yrs ago.
Is there anyone in your family who enjoyed sewing and/or other needlecrafts?
I never had a strong female role model in my life. The importance of crafting was never emphasized or encouraged. Although my mother sewed for others, she never taught me how to sew.
As you evolved into the embroidery enthusiast and business owner that you are today, what kinds of things did you enjoy?
It wasn't until I was in my early 20's that I discovered crafts. I started with cross stitch, plastic canvas and crochet. I would see projects that I knew a friend or family member would enjoy. I would buy the project supplies and run home to figure it all out. And now, thanks to the internet, I have met so many wonderful people. It is like have 3000 plus adopted moms :)
Did you join any clubs and/or take any classes?
I joined the American Sewing Guild to learn more about sewing in general. I knew there was so much I was missing since I was self taught and had never taken a class. I learned new and better techniques through listening and watching others. It gave me the confidence to try projects that I had previously looked at and thought “I can't do that.”
What was it about sewing and related needlecrafts that resonated with you?
I love seeing a project come together and take shape. Cutting apart perfectly good fabric and making it into a project may be insanity to some. To me, the thought of starting a new project has always been exciting. It is kind of like working a puzzle, but you don't really know what challenges you will have. The sense of accomplishment when a project is done is the best feeling.
What led you to machine embroidery?
I went into a sewing store to look at a new sewing machine and saw an embroidery machine in action. I was fascinated that a machine could stitch so much detail. I just knew I could incorporate the embroidery into my quilts. I have since dabbled in hand embroidery stitches for a crazy quilt, but love the instant results a machine can provide.
When did you start using an embroidery machine?
I started embroidering 5 yrs ago. I had never even seen an embroidery machine other than the one time I was in the sewing store. I went home from the store and started researching. I spent a month narrowing down what I needed and wanted in a machine. I bought a Brother ULT2003D. When it arrived, I opened the box and jumped right in. I never had a lesson on the machine and really had no clue what I was doing. That didn’t stop me. I fired it up and stitched a Minnie Mouse on a tote. I was hooked. I think that first week I stitched on every blank t-shirt and towel in the house.
Oh we can all relate to that – and so can our family and friends! There is so much to like about embroidery machines but what did you find particularly captivating?
I am somewhat of a techno geek. I was amazed at the capabilities of the machine. I wanted to know everything that it could do. That is why I learned to digitize. I wanted to understand how designs were created from start to finish.
Did you get the urge to dabble in free-motion embroidery with your regular machine?
When I discovered embroidery, machines were already pretty sophisticated. Having learned to digitize, I haven't had the push to try free motion. I admire those who have the discipline to sit and learn.