Katrina Walker

Katrina WalkerKatrina Walker has earned a reputation in the sewing industry as an exceptional teacher with a keen eye for design. She travels all over the country, teaching classes at consumer sewing shows and events. She especially loves teaching online, and has classes with Taunton Workshops, BurdaStyle Academy, Craft Daily, and Craftsy. She says, “Coming from an isolated rural upbringing, it is especially meaningful to me to share the love of sewing in homes where they might not otherwise have access to sewing education. It’s amazing to have students all over the world.”

So, how does a little girl who grew up on a remote wheat farm, loving clothes and horses in equal measure — decide to become an investment banker? And after all that — how is it that she finds bliss making her living as a respected sewing professional?

What is Katrina sewing next?

What is Katrina sewing next?

Katrina says, “Nobody could be more surprised than me . . . “Sewing is part of my heritage; I guess you could say that sewing is in my blood. When I was young, I spent a lot of time watching my mother lay out fabric and put garments together. She wasn’t interested in formally teaching me but she certainly provided an excellent example. I grew up on our family wheat farm in eastern Washington State, where roads drifted shut during the winter. I never thought of sewing as a special activity; it was something you did to pass the time enjoyably during the long, dark, winters.”

Katrina calls herself a clotheshorse. As a child, she often got in trouble for running out to the corral to hug her pony, wearing her best dress (but always in cowboy boots!) There is a picture of Katrina, age two, wearing her first “little black dress.” Her Mom bought it at Macy’s during a trip to New York, and she found black patent shoes with trim that matched the dress. Katrina insisted to the photographer that those shoes must show in the portrait.

In the 80’s, stirrup pants and knit tunics were all the rage, so Katrina used her mother’s new serger to whip up all sorts of trendy, stretchy clothes. She also had to sew skirts and blouses for various choir commitments, so she got a well-rounded introduction to garment sewing and fitting.

Katrina was probably the only student at Wellesley College who brought a sewing machine on campus — but it was after graduation when her machine got a real work-out, and her sewing skills were raised to a new level.

Katrina made this silk dupioni zonal waist (vest), tucked linen blouse and silk dupioni hoop skirt from Godey’s Lady Book.

Katrina made this silk dupioni zonal waist (vest), tucked linen blouse and silk dupioni hoop skirt from Godey’s Lady Book.

After she moved to Washington D.C. to start a career in investment banking, she needed a high-end work wardrobe. But, even if she could afford to buy one, at 5’10”, it wasn’t easy to find clothes that fit. G Street Fabrics was nearby, so she found herself spending every weekend at her sewing machine, creating suits, blouses and cocktail dresses. This was the beginning of her love affair with beautiful silk and wool fabrics.

Katrina never, ever, would have guessed she’d end up in the sewing industry, but the one thing she knew for sure was that she had no interest in being an investment banker. In 1997, she moved back to Washington State and found a job managing the Jefferson County 4-H program. 4-H has always played a big role in Katrina’s life. She grew up in 4-H raising hogs and competing with horses. As an adult, she was the superintendent or assistant superintendent of the state livestock judging contest for nearly 20 years. She also served on the State 4-H Fair Board and as superintendent for the State 4-H Fashion Revue.

In 1998, she attended her first Sewing and Stitchery Expo in Puyallup, Washington. She learned about the Clothing and Textile Advisor program (CTA). She applied for training and graduated that year.

Her career path led from the 4-H program to teaching Family and Consumer Sciences, and then on to Nordstrom Product Group where she assisted in Technical Design and then worked as Raw Material Liaison. Throughout this time, she continued to volunteer as a CTA, little realizing how this involvement would change her life.

In 2003, Katrina entered the Make It with Wool competition. Much to her surprise — she won the state adult division. Then, she received a phone call telling her she had won the national adult competition.

Another unexpected phone call nudged her toward a future in the sewing industry. She received a call from Joanne Ross, the director of the Sewing and Stitchery Expo. Joanne knew Katrina as a CTA volunteer. “Katrina”, she said, “I need a model [for the style shows].”

The free style shows were always one of the highlights of Sew Expo, and Katrina knew they hired professional models to walk those shows. Katrina was flabbergasted by Joanne’s phone call, and responded that she did not have the necessary measurements for runway modeling.

Joanne said, “You’ll be fine.” Then, she told Katrina where and when she needed to arrive for fittings. It was clear that Joanne was not going to take no for an answer. Remembering that phone call, Joanne says, “I first met Katrina when she became a CTA volunteer. In 2004 we were short one model for our upstairs style shows. I knew Katrina was perfect for the position. She was tall and not only had the figure of a model, she had the swagger and personality. I was thrilled when she agreed to model because she added a whole new dimension to our fashion shows, and the sewing designers and celebrities loved working with her. She was as good as any professional model we ever hired.”

Because she was an exceptional seamstress with an excellent work ethic — she was soon also teaching classes for Sew Expo.

“I’ve watched Katrina blossom into an inspiring teacher, an author, and a textile artist. She is well known for her expertise and has written articles for many sewing publications. Most of all, Katrina is extremely creative and others are excited to learn from her.”

Katrina Walker's online classes: Threads/Taunton Workshops, BurdaStyle Academy, Craftsy.

Katrina’s online classes: Threads/Taunton Workshops, BurdaStyle Academy, Craftsy.

Katrina’s quite unexpected and improbable entry into modeling at Sew Expo would be her catalyst into the sewing industry. She modeled garments for the biggest names in the sewing world — McCall’s and Simplicity, Pati Palmer, Martha Pullen, Linda Lee, Eileen Roche, and Dana Bontrager, among many others. That first year, Katrina was also asked to make appearances in her winning Make It With Wool ensemble. The sewing professionals saw that she was a sewing enthusiast, as well as a model. Those first runway shows began professional relationships and mentorships that have lasted to this day.

As a result of those relationships, Katrina became a sewing educator for Quality Sewing and Vacuum, and was invited to attend conferences to represent “young sewing professionals.” Other opportunities followed, and she was asked to design projects and write articles for magazines, i.e., CraftStylish, Stitch, Sew News, Threads and Creative Machine Embroidery.

In 2011, Katrina and her husband, Scott, moved to a small ranch near Spokane, Washington. A guest house on the property became her beautiful new sewing studio. They have a flock of natural colored sheep that are watched over by a team of loving and dedicated Livestock Guardian Dogs. Barn cats, a couple of horses, and a small flock of chickens round out their menagerie. They recently launched their online yarn store, Spoiled Sheep Yarn. You can see photos of their adorable flock and purchase yarn from individual sheep. People are amazed that the colors aren’t dyed. www.spoiledsheep.com

Katrina says, “I’m definitely inspired by textiles. Textiles are truly my great love; this is why I mostly work with silks and wools. Being ‘animal’ fibers, they really seem to have their own life energy. I prefer designs that emphasize and highlight the beauty of the fabric, rather than the design itself. Life is too short and precious to sew boring fabric.”

A glimpse into Katrina Walker’s country studio.

A glimpse into Katrina’s country studio.

Her beautiful country studio is clearly Katrina’s happy place — sewing on her beloved Pfaff sewing machines, now as a Pfaff Brand Ambassador. She continues to design and write for magazines, and has been published over 40 times.

One of Katrina’s favorite quotes hangs in her studio: “Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” – Edna Woolman Chase (former Vogue editor).

Katrina believes everyone should find their own “style” and not worry about fashion. That’s not to say that fashion should be ignored. Rather, that it’s best to pick and choose which trends work for you, and ignore the rest.

Needle Anatomy

Design Stars – Angela Wolf

Design Stars

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

Early this year, we had visitors from the Industrial Division of SCHMETZ Germany. To help SCHMETZ executives better understand the consumer market, many activities were arranged. Yes, we had traditional meetings and visited retail shops, but we also toured Modern Quilt Studio with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr and ended the week with a star studded designer showcase with five designers from the Chicago area. Each designer presented their special niche in the marketplace. The result was aptly described by SCHMETZ as “astonishing!” The day was laced with energy, talent, savvy and a passion for creativity. These five business women demonstrated grit, talent, creativity and strategic work. With hard work, that never goes out of style, they make awesome contributions to the sewing industry that we love. Meet, or re-meet, because several ladies have already been featured in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW: Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Reen Wilcoxson, Frieda Anderson and Angela Wolf. Five shining stars that make sewing even more fun!


Angela Wolf

Angela Wolf was featured in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #29. With her sparkling personality, and reputation for creativity and hard work — she has become one of the brightest lights in the constellation of “stars” in the sewing industry. The anchor of the PBS series It’s Sew Easy, hosts a popular weekly Facebook Live show “Behind-the-Scenes,” and online instructor with over 140,000 students. She is a fashion and pattern designer, founder of ABO Apparel and Angela Wolf Pattern Collection, author of the book How To Start a Home Based Fashion Business, spokesperson, brand ambassador, blogger, and consultant.

Angela started sewing at a young age and continued to design women’s apparel all thru college. With an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for fashion and sewing, she launched and ran a successful custom apparel and alteration business for over 18 years. In 2008, Angela was a contestant in the “Passion For Fashion” contest at the American Sewing Expo (ASE) in Novi, Michigan. Similar to Project Runway, the contestants were issued a challenge and given a budget to shop for fabric on the show floor. They sewed their garments in an arena, while show attendees watched. Angela thrived in the competitive environment of sewing-as-entertainment.

The year after she won the Passion for Fashion contest, Angela mounted an exhibit of her garments for the ASE … and she became aware of something called the “home sewing industry.” Angela’s phone started ringing and the opportunities just kept coming. The home sewing industry welcomed Angela and her skills with open arms. At this point, Angela says her focus is on teaching and inspiring sewers and fashion designers of all ages; offering easy to follow patterns, online classes, and virtual classes for dealers, stores, and organizations. Angela has an active social media presence with free tutorials on her YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/aboapparel and Facebook Live Shows, particularly the popular show Behind the Scenes that airs every Wednesday at 1:30PM EST https://www.facebook.com/AngelaWolfCouture/ attracting thousands of viewers and fans.

Angela’s travel schedule is packed with dealer events, the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo, Quilt Festival, and taping new seasons of the PBS series It’s Sew Easy. You can find Angela’s activities or contact her at www.AngelaWolf.com.

Design Stars – Frieda Anderson

Design Stars

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

Early this year, we had visitors from the Industrial Division of SCHMETZ Germany. To help SCHMETZ executives better understand the consumer market, many activities were arranged. Yes, we had traditional meetings and visited retail shops, but we also toured Modern Quilt Studio with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr and ended the week with a star studded designer showcase with five designers from the Chicago area. Each designer presented their special niche in the marketplace. The result was aptly described by SCHMETZ as “astonishing!” The day was laced with energy, talent, savvy and a passion for creativity. These five business women demonstrated grit, talent, creativity and strategic work. With hard work, that never goes out of style, they make awesome contributions to the sewing industry that we love. Meet, or re-meet, because several ladies have already been featured in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW: Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Reen Wilcoxson, Frieda Anderson and Angela Wolf. Five shining stars that make sewing even more fun!


Frieda Anderson

Frieda Anderson is a self-employed quilt artist, who has earned just about every accolade and award the great big colorful world of quilting has to offer. (www.friestyle.com) Even though she has a degree in art history and an associate degree in fashion design, by 1992, she realized all she wanted to do was make quilts — and that’s been her focus ever since. Her one-of-a-kind art quilts are usually machine quilted and often inspired by nature. She hand dyes her own cotton, silk and linen fabrics, creating an intensity of color and texture which make her quilts unique and recognizable. Her quilts have been exhibited and won awards at the biggest quilt shows in the world.

Frieda designs her own art quilt patterns, and has written several books on the subject:

  • Art Quilter: Fusible Collage, Laura Wasilowski & Frieda Anderson with Nancy Zieman
  • Fabric to Dye For, C&T Publishing
  • Fun Fast Fusies, American Quilter’s Society
  • Frieda’s Fun Fast Free Motion Machine Quilting, Self-published

Frieda also teaches Craftsy classes, and sometimes vends at international shows selling her hand dyed fabrics and quilt patterns. Because she is one of the most popular speakers on the quilt guild/show/ event circuit, she travels extensively, teaching her techniques to quilters all over the world. She may be coming to a venue near you. Here’s her busy 2018 April schedule:

  • April 4-7 Original Sewing and Quilting Expo, Cleveland OH
  • April 10 – Heritage Quilt Guild, Lockport IL
  • April 12-14 International Quilt Festival, Chicago IL
  • April 24-28 American Quilt Society, Paducah KY

If you’d like to have Frieda visit and teach at your guild, contact her at: frieda@friestyle.com.

Design Stars – Reen Wilcoxson

Design Stars

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

Early this year, we had visitors from the Industrial Division of SCHMETZ Germany. To help SCHMETZ executives better understand the consumer market, many activities were arranged. Yes, we had traditional meetings and visited retail shops, but we also toured Modern Quilt Studio with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr and ended the week with a star studded designer showcase with five designers from the Chicago area. Each designer presented their special niche in the marketplace. The result was aptly described by SCHMETZ as “astonishing!” The day was laced with energy, talent, savvy and a passion for creativity. These five business women demonstrated grit, talent, creativity and strategic work. With hard work, that never goes out of style, they make awesome contributions to the sewing industry that we love. Meet, or re-meet, because several ladies have already been featured in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW: Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Reen Wilcoxson, Frieda Anderson and Angela Wolf. Five shining stars that make sewing even more fun!


Reen Wilcoxson

Reen Wilcoxson was featured in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #40. That issue was all about “In The Hoop” (ITH) embroidery designs, and Reen is considered ‘’the expert” in this exciting machine embroidery specialty. ITH designs are 3D items created in the machine embroidery hoop: purses, wallets, key rings, etc. Designs are created in steps with stops after each step. When the machine stops you add fabric, trim, manipulate fabrics, etc. When the design is finished it’s trimmed and turned to the right side as if you had sewn it using a sewing machine. Although nobody knows for sure who invented ITH, there is no doubt that Reen Wilcoxson is a pioneer in the field. She earned a reputation as a top notch designer of ITH designs, and is considered by many to be the premiere teacher of ITH techniques. Her projects are well designed, with easy to follow instructions, and her classes sell out quickly.

Like many women, Reen wanted to be home when her children were small. She always loved to sew and did craft shows for 25 years. She was very successful doing large juried shows. The first time she saw an embroidery machine (in 1997), she had to have it. At that time, there was very little information or support available for embroidery enthusiasts, so Reen taught herself how to digitize, and became active on the early Yahoo boards.

Reen’s first project completely designed in the hoop was a lollipop holder. She put two pieces of felt together and from that began creating fully lined purses with zippers and other innovative designs all stitched within the constraints of a hoop. Her teenage son built her first website, and she started to sell her embroidery designs in 2001. She has a Facebook page (with 82,000 followers), a Facebook group (with 45,000 members) and she posts on Instagram every other day.

She designs and sells “in the hoop” machine embroidery files online through her website, www.EmbroideryGarden.com. She does all the designing, digitizing, instructions, web page work and advertising herself. Like many entrepreneurs in the sewing industry, she does not have a staff — although, she does have many testers.

Reen says, “It’s important for me to have testers who stitch my designs and go over the instructions for accuracy. Their feedback is invaluable, because even though I always know where I’m headed with a new project, I need to be sure the directions are clear enough so that every home embroiderer will achieve the desired result.”