Meet the Makers
The Member-Owners, from top left: Tanya King (Studio Manager & Board Vice-President), Erin Crowley (Financial Officer & Board Treasurer), Rhonda Hart (Shop Assistant & Board Secretary), Kat Camfield (General Manager & Board Member at large), and Chris Bowen (Teacher/Community Outreach & Board President)
Chris Bowen - Staff Teacher, Member-Owner, Board President, Investor
Grew up: South Georgia, U.S.A.
Age started sewing: I started hand sewing at age 10 (I had to make do and mend), machine sewing at 30 (which was the first time I could afford to buy a machine).
First sewing teacher: I watched all of the powerful southern women in my family quilt and the highly celebrated Nancy Crow.
First sewing memory: On one of my week-long visits to my grandparents, I forgot to pack my pajamas. I believe I was six years old. My grandmother Mamie, being a proper southern lady and the grand dame of a large farming family, thought nothing of it and made me a matching top and bottom pair of pajamas out of white and red flannel on her treadle Singer. She did this between supper and bedtime on the day of my arrival.
Sewing machines I use: Janome, Bernina, 1945 Singer Featherweight
Favorite thing to sew: Quilts. I am now learning to sew garments.
Sewing confession: No patterns, no rulers in quilting!
Other hobbies: Going to the gym daily. My career as a kindergarten teacher is also my hobby and my passion.
Interesting facts: I was once a member of the Walt Disney World entertainment cast. I "dated" a rock icon in my late twenties.
Kat Camfield - General Manager, Member-Owner, Board Member-At-Large
Three generations of sewers: Kat (age 4?), her mum, and her grandmum
Where you grew up: Ottawa, Ontario
Age you started sewing: I think I was about 5
First sewing teacher: My mum
First sewing memory: Making a yellow plaid pillow for a stuffy
What sewing machine do you use at home? I mostly use a 1982 Pfaff 1222E and a 1980s Kenmore serger. I also use a 1972 Kenmore 1040 3/4 size machine (while I love - its case is covered in roses - super cute!) and a Janome HD-5000.
Favourite thing to sew: Right now, it's quilted bags to use up all my leftover fabrics from quilted jacket projects!
Guilty or not-so-guilty sewing confession: I never use pattern weights when tracing out patterns. I just use my 6 x 24" quilting ruler to trace straight line and to hold everything down!
Fun or interesting fact about yourself: I used to be a social worker! Although the work could be intense at times, I loved working with Deaf immigrants. I'm fluent in American Sign Language.
Erin Crowley - Financial Officer, Member-Owner, Board Treasurer
Rhonda Hart - Store Assistant, Member-Owner, Board Secretary
Where you grew up: Gimli, Manitoba, family owned a motel on the lake, grew up swimming in the lake, playing in the snow
Age you started sewing: I think about 7 or 8, we started hand stitching and doing small embroidery projects my mom would iron on crisp white cotton for us.
First sewing teacher: I don’t remember, I am almost 60 you know!
First sewing memory: I made a wrap skirt in home-economics; I guess that’s why I love to sew anything wrapped!
What sewing machine do you use at home? I got my “very own" Babylock a number of years ago, and I have an Elna serger that sometimes doesn’t work-however, usually it’s cause I’ve messed it up or I don’t take the time to re-thread it!
Favourite sewing hack/tip: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but learn the pattern first before hacking. I’ve got several projects hidden away in boxes that may not see the light of day that went terribly wrong! Tip: know how you learn. For me, it’s either in person (thank you Tanya!) or all the generous sewers on YouTube.
Favourite thing to make: Raglan shirts/sweatshirts.
Guilty or not-so-guilty sewing confession: Guilty, I’m a collector, not a hoarder of fabrics right?
Other hobbies: Knitting, running, watercolour painting, gardening, and “learning” to play cello.
Fun or interesting fact about yourself: I’m a total “cat lady”. We have two cats that completely run the house.
Alice Hawes - Staff Teacher
Tanya King - Studio Manager, Staff Teacher, Member-Owner, Board Vice-President
Jess K. - Staff Teacher
Nicknames: Zigzag - from my high school coxswain days...and I’m STILL takin the long way round!
Where you grew up: Ottawa in my early days, but Victoria has been home for almost 35 years.
Age you started sewing: I hand sewed my first nine patch in grade 3!
First sewing teacher: My sweet sister Karen was my sewing inspiration; she made my flower girl dress for her wedding. I remember she gave me a hand made shirt for my eighth or ninth birthday and I couldn’t bring myself to wear it. I could only admire how perfect and straight every stitch was - it was a work of art!
First sewing memory: I remember hand stitching that first nine patch in school and thinking there had to be a better way. I started sewing on my mom’s vintage Singer shortly after...
What sewing machine do you use at home? I have a sturdy Kenmore that my mom bought me from Sears when I moved out on my own. I still have it and Bill (Murray -The Sewing Machine Guy) only just replaced the motor for me this past summer. In fear of having to go without a machine for any length of time Bill also set me up with a Janome School Mate as my spare which I really like.
Favourite sewing hack/tip: Stitch Ripping is part of the process! Thanks to Jenny and Tanya for inspiring me to embrace and accept his painful truth!
Favourite thing to make: I would ALWAYS rather be quilting!...AND I will also learn to love garment making...I’m certain of it!
Guilty or not-so-guilty sewing confession: I recently moved and was confronted with the full extent of my fabric stash - it’s shocking-ly something!
Other hobbies: HGTV is my reality TV and I love to make my spaces cozy, comfy, soft places to land. I also love to walk, ride and row and am crazy for canines!
Fun or interesting fact about yourself: I may or may not have at one time voluntarily-ish jumped out of a plane!
Heather Newton - Staff Teacher
Where you grew up: The small wine town of Beamsville, Ontario.
Age you started sewing: I probably started hand sewing around 6 or 7 years old, and later started using a machine occasionally a few years later. I really started to sew consistently once I got into lessons around 13-14 years old. I took lessons for 7 years and haven't stopped sewing since!
First sewing teacher: First person to show me sewing was my gramma, but my first professional teacher was Stephanie of Sewing with Stephanie.
First sewing memory: I remember hand sewing little cushions and pillows for my dolls while raiding my grammas sewing supplies in her basement. I remember that I used to take a spool of thread and unroll a length as long as the basement floor and use that length to hand sew my projects together so I wouldn't have to thread the needle as often but ending up with a tangled mess instead.
What sewing machine do you use at home? I currently have a Singer Heavy Duty, though I have used a few different types of machines as I have sewn on the machines my sewing instructor had, my mom's machine and my grammas machine.
Favourite sewing hack/tip: Batching tasks! If there's several pattern pieces that need something similar done to them (like stay stitching or gathering) do all of those steps first even if it comes later in the instructions so you don't have to keep remembering to change around the stitch set up in your machine.
Favourite thing to make: Octopi, Quilts, Clothes, honestly anything!
Guilty or not-so-guilty sewing confession: Guilty of - Not reading pattern instructions, not using interfacing when the pattern calls for it. No-sew-guilty - measure twice cut once, trying to keep my fabric stash at a manageable size.
Other hobbies: Crocheting, drawing/painting, gaming, Dungeons and Dragons, hiking, reading, and watching movies.
Fun or interesting fact about yourself: I have met the man who won an Oscar for the soundtrack of The Life of Pi.