(Originally published in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW #85, January 2021. Written by Rita Farro.)
If the sewing industry had its own dictionary, when you looked up the word “multi-tasker,” you would see a picture of Sue O’Very-Pruitt. When asked to describe her business, Sue says, I am a BERNINA Ambassador, Aurifil thread designer, Daylight Company Ambassador, LAURASTAR Ambassador, Craftsy Instructor, Oliso partner, published author, notion junkie, sewing and In-the-Hoop pattern designer, teacher, YouTuber, blogger, and artist. So, how did this energetic young Floridian become such a busy sewing entrepreneur?
My Double Designer Dress form video from Sookie Sews.
Sue started sewing when she was six years old, and by the time she was in high school, she was sewing garments for the women at church. She graduated from college with a degree in fashion design and began her career as a costume designer at Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL. After working for six years as a costume designer (in the theme park and on cruise ships), she started working at a local quilt shop as a store manager, teacher, and salesperson. She discovered she enjoyed teaching. She began her first pattern line in 2004, under the original brand name, Sealed With A Stitch™. Her dad, who was a tech teacher, helped produce video instruction along with In-the-Hoop machine embroidery designs on DVDs. Nancy's Notions sold them through their catalog. In 2005, she landed a job as a designer in the leather industry. She was the Creative Director for a large leather manufacturer, managing a team in the US and in their China factory. In two years, I went to China 22 times. We designed all the cell phone cases for Verizon, small leather goods for Hartmann Luggage, Tumi, Nautica, and several other big names. It was the coolest job but the travel was brutal.
She left China to get back to her home in Florida, becoming a tech designer for VF Imagewear (now Fanatics). She was on the Harley Davidson ladieswear team. It was such fun and I made lifetime friendships with some talented designers, sewists, and many of my coworkers from that job are still some of my closest friends.
After Sue’s daughter Heidi was born in 2009, she left the corporate world to be a mom-preneur, a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur. She returned to her true passion, the home sewing industry, and re-started her business Sealed With A Stitch™. She began teaching locally and saw a need for In-the-Hoop embroidery designs with clear instruction. She soon became an expert in the field and was invited to write articles for Designs in Machine Embroidery, Creative Machine Embroidery, Sew News, and more. She traveled nationwide teaching, vending at shows, and focused on new ways to push the machine embroidery envelope. Click HERE to read the whole story of Sookie Sews.