Dear ASDP Board

2021 Instructor Bios

(Alphabetical by Last Name)

Megan Avery

Megan Avery is a sewing and creative arts business expert. She has over 16 years of experience running her own highly profitable sewing studio. There's nothing she loves more than teaching people of all ages how to sew and be creative with their hands. She's also passionate about passing along her vast knowledge and experience doing this work to other people like you who are pursuing your dreams of starting and growing your own sewing schools and creative arts businesses. Megan created Hipstitch Academy because she discovered her sewing classes and workshops, as well as her business & marketing practices could be taught to people, like you, who have a passion for sewing. She knows with some guidance you too can facilitate successful sewing classes and create a profitable business doing it. And the icing on the cake is that ultimately more people learn how to sew. Through this work Megan has also seen these same sewing business principles and marketing strategies easily applied to other class-based businesses with the same success. So whether you're here because you want to teach sewing or maybe your passion is in teaching something else like art or karate or dance or guitar, Hipstitch Academy and Megan's training is relevant. At the end of the day the Hipstitch Academy mission is to utilize Megan's expertise to help you turn your hobbies and passions into profitable business opportunities to support yourself and your family.

Brenda Breitenmoser

Brenda has been a professional in her field for over 30 years. She has done everything from working on furs to wedding gowns. She loves to work on garments that are a challenge to alter and having the client leave with a smile. Brenda was the first graduate of the Master of Sewing & Design Professional Certification by the Association of Sewing & Design Professionals. She has been a member of ASDP since 2006 and a founding member of ASDP of BC. Brenda continues to improve and hone her skills by attending Master Classes at annual ASDP Conferences as well as travelling to workshops abroad. Brenda taught last year at the ASDP conference and enjoys sharing her knowledge.

Bonny Carmicino

Bonny has a degree in Fashion Design, a certificate in Ladies Tailoring, and additional training in personal fit, all from FIT, along with fitting classes from Joyce Simmons Murphy, Peggy Sagers, Kenneth King, and others. Bonny has also done independent research on garment fit, has written an academic paper on the subject of fitting pants, and is a patented inventor who created the original fit prediction algorithms on which True Fit is based. Bonny has over 200 hours of training in couture methods with Susan Khalje. Bonny currently teaches sewing to rave reviews at Beetle and Fred in Beacon, NY.

Kandi Christian

Kandi L. Christian, MBA is a well-known instructor of classes both in the US and England. She is an author of 16 books on sewing and the business of sewing and teaching. She frequently writes articles for major sewing and embroidery magazines. She had been a featured speaker and many sewing events throughout the US. She was also tapped by the BBC to be their expert seamstress for their TV show “While You Were Out.” She is the owner of Sew Timeless, an on-line store specializing in machine embroidery and embellishments. She is a licensed Martha Pullen instructor and has been a freelance educator for various sewing machine companies.

Roxie Couture

The fashion industry, like the bridal industry, is big business! For many contemporary designers success is measured more by market value and name recognition than by craftsmanship. Still, the penultimate of every major designer runway show is the wedding gown. My passion for haute couture has always directed me toward the detail driven aesthetic of design, and away from the commerce driven aspect. Instead of amassing clientele to elevate my own notoriety, I amassed the skills that would make me a master of my craft recognizable to a select group of individuals: the perfectionist bride. Not all brides are obsessed about the minute details of perfect fit and flawless craftsmanship, but for those who are, I feel a symbiotic kinship: my unrelenting passion for perfection matches theirs, so in their presence I am in my element, and we both shine. Working with brides, I am in a unique position to share the wonder of unparalleled craftsmanship and flawless fit - the signature qualities of haute couture - with young people who may otherwise not directly benefit from the art, but certainly will never forget the experience of it woven into the very fiber of the most significant garment they will ever wear. On every level, this is my ultimate reward.

Tricia Crockett

Tricia has taught in the Portland, Oregon area for 35 years. She taught at the Palmer/Pletsch International Sewing School at Fabric Depot for 26 years until it closed in 2018. She currently teaches at Mill End Store. She retired 6 years ago from the Art Institute of Portland's Apparel Design Program where she taught all levels of sewing construction, tailoring, and patternmaking for 14 years. She has a B. S. in Clothing and Textiles from the University of Montana and a Master's in Education. Prior to the Art Institute of Portland, Tricia had a successful custom clothing business. She is a founding member of Custom Sewing Guild of Oregon which was a precursor to ASDP.

Krista Gorrell

In addition to earning a BFA in fashion design and running a tailoring business based in Jackson Hole, WY, Krista is a 300hr certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher, a Zumba instructor, a seasoned MELT method practitioner and a certified Health Coach with an emphasis in holistic nutrition.

Julie Hansberry

Personal Summary: I'm a wife of a corporate executive for 30 years, and we have two grown sons and one Maltese dog. We have moved 13 times during our marriage; all over the US and 3 times in Asia, and currently reside in Redmond, WA. In addition to my businesses, I also enjoy cooking, reading, and playing tennis. My husband and I were both born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and left shortly after we were married in 1989. Because of all of our moving, I have a very unique perspective to the world, and this has been a real benefit to me in my personal and business life. It consistently enables me to ""think outside the box"" for solutions and be open to new approaches and perspectives to everything. As a ""stay at home mom and following spouse"", I served in many volunteer roles and leadership positions, both at my sons' schools and other charity organizations. Professional Summary: Before we started a family in 1994, I was the acting HR Director and Executive Administrative Assistant for a Substance Abuse Facility in Denver, CO. Just over 12 years ago I ""returned to the work force"" by starting a home-based business, which led me to my current ""day job"". For the last 9+ years I have built a business as a Relationship Marketing Strategist. I teach and coach small & medium sized business owners, and sales professionals, the philosophies of Relationship & Appreciation Marketing, and assist them with developing and implementing such a system to help them build and grow their business. My tag line is ""Helping YOU stay Top-of-mind, with those that GROW your bottom line."" I also teach, coach and support a team of others in my business, and have been recognized several times by the company I represent, for both production and leadership efforts. As I built this business, I've learned a lot about marketing in general, to not only better serve my clients, but to continue to build my own business. This includes various forms of Social Media and understanding the basics of each of those platforms, and how to incorporate them into a general marketing plan. I'm excited to apply this acquired skill set to building my own (and new) personal sewing business, and look forward to being able to share my knowledge with my fellow sewing entrepreneurs as well, to help them grow their businesses!

Karen Hanson

For the past 15 years, Karen Hanson has developed and ran Quilt Expressions, the largest quilt store in Idaho. Learn how she grew a business from her garage to a company with annual sales over $1 million. She has created an extensive line of patterns for both retail and wholesale sales, and is a contributing bi-monthly columnist for FabShop News, a publication geared to the retail quilt industry. Prior to her retail experience, she created and ran a marketing company where she honed her skills in business development, creating business models, and pricing creative services. She is a past lecturer for SCORE (Service Corp of Retired Executives). Her sense of humor and presentation style will keep you entertained while you learn.

April Jackson

April Jackson is the founder of the Jackson Sewing Academy, and the author and presenter of all our Alteration Specialist courses. April begun to sew when she was 19 years old and immediately loved it! She learned to follow dress patterns to make her high school graduation dress and clothes for friends but wanted to learn more. Aged just 20, April walked into one of the two tailoring businesses in downtown Wallaceburg, Ontario, and asked if they needed help. By sheer chance, the owner wanted to retire, and had no one to hand the business to. April was his full-time apprentice for the next 9 months, and then bought the shop with money that was lent to her by her grandfather, at the age of just 21. After 10 years of shop ownership, April decided to work for other businesses that required sewers including; 9 years part-time at a drapery shop, 2 years at a shop that made custom formal wear from scratch, Professional sewing and fitting for two bridal shops, and an alterations and repairs chain store. This adds up to over 30 years of professional, hands-on experience in the clothing alterations and repairs trade. What makes our courses unique is that April shares with Jackson Sewing Academy students all her ‘insider’ tips, tricks, shortcuts and unusual fixes she has learnt and used to custom-fit repair and alter almost any kind of garment. The Jackson Sewing Academy is a new initiative created by Master Alterations Specialist April Jackson. The Academy was founded to teach the skills required for a career in professional alterations, repairs and custom fitting of ready-made garments. Her solution was to create a series of specialist alterations courses online, showing students like you the specific methods, techniques and skills required to work in alterations as a trade, not as a hobby.

Barbie McCormick

Barbie has had her professional sewing business, Sew Good, in Nampa, Idaho, since 1994. She has been doing professional alterations since 1991, and specializes in formal and couture sewing for both men and women. Barbie has been a member of ASDP since 1996 and earned her Master Sewing and Design Professional (MSDP) Certification. Barbie has been teaching intermediate and advanced sewing classes since 2000, and teaches Couture Workshops in Palm Springs, Ca.

Elizabeth Miles

Elizabeth learned to sew at age 11, and quickly she began sewing outfits for herself and others. After a liberal arts education, she discovered she preferred sewing to office work and began taking sewing jobs. She sought a sewing community of advanced sewers who valued continuing education and was thrilled to discover what has become ASDP. She has been a member since 1991 and has served in a variety of leadership roles in her local chapter ever since. She fulfilled a long-term goal when she pursued and was awarded the MSDP certificate in 2018. Besides teaching, Elizabeth specializes in quality alterations and custom garments for women who value the impact of clothes that fit. She believes fitting is like sculpture: removing excess to reveal a form, make a statement, and maximize utility.

Elizabeth currently teaches sewing to people age 7 and up. She uses a curriculum she designed with projects suited to a wide variety of ages and abilities. Since 2000 her Summer Fun Sewing Camps for tweens and teens, featuring projects for four skill levels, have been extremely popular. Adults come to her for pattern fitting and private lessons as well. Elizabeth draws upon a wealth of experience including teaching adult sewing classes several nights a week at a high end fabric store for ten years, teaching sewing for several years at George Fox University, and contracting to teach sewing in a local high school costume shop. She has learned to vary her teaching methods for many situations.

Ellen Miller

Ellen W. Miller loves to sew elegant clothing, from the simple to the ornate. Ellen also loves to teach. She is fascinated by how students learn: some need to read a hand out, some need to see a demonstration, some need to do the project themselves. The moment when an idea or concept suddenly makes sense to a students-the aha!- moment is joyous. It might be a small moment: a button needs a shank so it stands above the thickness of the around the buttonhole, or it might be a big moment: clothing alterations are like draping but on a real person. When the student understands the lesson, that’s the reward for a teacher.

Ellen’s book, Creating Couture Embellishments is a 400-page, abundantly illustrated, how-to book with 3 sections: basic tools and techniques, fabric manipulation, and embellishments and trimmings. Within the 3 sections are 23 chapters covering 174 techniques including quilting, ruffles and flounces, passementerie, beads and sequins.

Before writing Creating Couture Embellishments, Ellen taught at the School of Fashion Design for 10 years and worked in professional theatre in Boston.

Nancy Nix-Rice

Nancy Nix-Rice literally wrote the book on style, color and wardrobe development. Her book – LOOKING GOOD Every Day (Palmer/Pletsch) – is enjoyed by countless every-day women as well as being the textbook for wardrobe consultants at FIT in New York and City College of San Francisco. Her video class – Sew Your Best Wardrobe – is a top-selling title on BluPrint (Craftsy) and Threads Magazine has recently featured her advice on selecting flattering prints and sewing with ponte knit. She blogs about style and wardrobe development on her website, In her 25+ year career, Nancy was among the first to earn Certified Image Professional designation from the Association of Image Consultants International … and has served on that organization’s board as VP Communications, VP Conference and Image Update magazine editor. She travels extensively, presenting all-day workshop on wardrobe development for ASG national conferences, Sew EXPO in Puyallup, ASG chapters and women’s groups around the country. Her background in the home sewing industry provides nuts-and-bolts knowledge of fabric quality, construction standards, fit fundamentals and alterations options. Nancy’s career experience includes retail management, buying and personal shopping; teaching tailoring, fit and alterations in her own sewing school; managing the corporate training department at Baby Lock/Tacony Corp; and working as Image Manager for a major hospitality company.

Erin Retelle

Erin has been sewing more or less all her life. She began designing and sewing clothing for her dolls as a child, and then moved on to full-sized fashions after learning to use a sewing machine. Erin relocated to Boise in 2004, where she picked up some more advanced design and construction techniques from local instructors and fell into helping design and build costumes for the ballroom dance community she is a part of. She and partner Frank, who is also an avid sewer, launched Oversway Originals, a custom ballroom dance costume company. In 2010, Erin joined the Association of Design and Sewing Professionals (ASDP) and began participating in the organization's annual educational conference where she continues to expand her sewing and design skill set, improve her teaching techniques, and share her work. Her garment was chosen as a finalist and was awarded the prize for "Best Color and Shape Shift" in the 2019 Threads Challenge, put on each year for members of ASDP by Threads Magazine. After her original field was hit hard by a recession, Erin made sewing her next career, first as the director of a sewing school within a local fine fabric store, then by launching sewBoise in 2011. Now as sewBoise's owner and director, Erin and her team of 6 offer sewing classes and lessons at all levels, do custom sewing from dog toys and curtains to bridal gowns and 3-piece suits, and are a full-service alterations shop. Erin comes from a family of educators, and is no exception, many have described her as an exceptional teacher. She thoroughly enjoys teaching, learning, and sharing sewing tricks with others. Being an engaged business owner and asset to her community is central to Erin's plans. She graduated from the Executive MBA program at BSU in May of 2018 and was one of the Idaho Business Review's honorees for the Accomplished Under 40 Award in 2016.

Claire Shaeffer

An independent researcher, Claire Shaeffer is an internationally known and respected designer, teacher, and author of more than 20 books. Her books include: Couture Sewing Techniques, Sewing for the Apparel Industry, Tailoring Techniques, The Couture Cardigan Jacket, and Making Designer Trims. She designs Claire Shaeffer’s Custom Couture Collection for Vogue Patterns and writes regularly for several magazines. She was awarded the Professional Association of Custom Clothiers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and the American Sewing Guild’s Hall of Fame Award in 2012 for her contributions to fashion sewing. She has traveled the world to research haute couture and ready-to-wear techniques in museum collections, couture ateliers, and factories. She frequently uses her personal collection of more than 2000 vintage garments and 5000 twentieth century fashion and sewing books to further her research.

Catherine Stephenson

Catherine Stephenson is a founding member of ASDP(1984) and helped form the National organization (PACC).  She has served on the National Board, including President from 1998-2000.  She headed the committee to write ASDP´s Standards for Quality, helped with the formation and curriculum development for MSDP/MAS Certification program and currently is their Board Chair.  She owned and operated a Couture Dressmaking business in Portland, Oregon for 34 years.  She also was an adjunct professor in Apparel Design for 17 years at the Art Institute of Portland.

She has acquired a BS. Degree in Textiles and Clothing and a MS. Degree in Instructional Leadership.  She has attended many Educational Conferences and taught numerous classes for ASDP in the past years.  She is retired and living in Ajijic, Mexico, where she continues to design and make a local collection of women’s clothing called Ajijic Chic.

The class will finish up with a discussion of the new Eco-friendly fibers and fabrics in the market and a discussion of the sustainability of fibers in use today.

Abby Stroot

Abby is a 3rd generation seamstress working as a sewist in Las Vegas. Her background is in Theatrical Costumes, receiving her Bachelors in Theatre from Wichita State University, after graduating she worked professionally as a Wardrobe Technician for various entertainment companies. When she moved to Las Vegas, she began working for Cirque du Soleil, a little over 5 years she decided to leave show business and open her own sewing shop. Pincushion is a sewing shop that offers Alterations, Custom Sewing, Classes, and Retail. At the time that this bio was written, Pincushion is in the process of opening a new facility.

Kendra Symbal

Kendra Symbal is The Stitch Witch of Marquette, Michigan located in the heart of the Upper Peninsula. This is her third alterations sewing business, her professional sewing career began 21 years ago when her mother, a retired Home Ec teacher who was operating a drapery shop, asked her to do a few hems "here and there" when they came in. It blossomed quite quickly. Kendra is a 5th generation seamstress, her Great Great Grandmother had a Millinery shop, her Grandmother Upholstered Boat cushions for her Grandfather’s Custom boat building business. Her Aunts and Mom each specializing in their own areas, doing alterations, custom clothing, leather work, and drapery sewing. Kendra was drawn to Alterations tailoring knowing her first trade had a saturated market and her skill of sewing had a much greater need in her area due to the lack of skilled labor. Kendra began her first sewing business, Sew Fun! in 1998 while  she was in her last semester of Cosmetology school. Her most recent business The Stitch Witch opened in Ashland, WI in 2008 on Halloween and in 2010 moved to Marquette MI. Kendra is many things other than a sewist, she is an entrepreneur, an artist, a mother, partner, Township Trustee, Advocate for women and empowerment of young ladies. Kendra recently mapped out her next set of goals for the growth of her business and is laying the groundwork for her next enterprise.

Monica Walker

Monica Walker specializes in teaching, fitting and patternmaking. She’s certified to teach and fit the Fit For Art Eureka! Pants that Fit pattern. After decades of studying fitting and patternmaking, Monica finds happiness introducing sewers of all sizes to proper fit for flattery. A member of ASDP and ASG, her business WalkerWear is headquartered in Northern Virginia.

2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303

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