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, 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.”


  1. http://Caroline%20Booth says

    Reen is definitely a Design Star! Her designs are innovative and fun! She’s also a fabulous teacher!! Love her!!

  2. Wow! Great post! We love Reen! She is a great lady! Her designs are as amazing as her energy and customer support.

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