What do you enjoy most about working at RP?
All of the patterns are amazing, of course, but I think my favorite thing is getting to interact with people from such diverse backgrounds. I learn something new every day about what life is like in different places around the world. I also really appreciate RP’s mission to make the group an encouraging and safe place for everyone to share their love of sewing.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into your line of work that lead you to RP?
I am a high school English teacher by trade, but have stepped out of that role to homeschool my own children. I have sewn since I was little, but have sometimes felt that sewing tends to be a solitary art. I was drawn to Rebecca Page because I love seeing everyone share what they are making with like-minded friends, and I was drawn in by the encouraging comments and helpful advice that people share freely in the group. I am honoured to help make RP the welcoming place I have found it to be.
What qualifications do you have/ courses completed?
I have a masters’ in Education and a credential to teach secondary students.
What is your favourite RP pattern?
The Andie Anorak will always hold a special place in my heart, because it’s the first pattern I made that I remember consciously adjusting for height in addition to grading between sizes. It is amazing how much better garments fit when you do this!! The one I have made the most is probably the Bralette and Tank. I wear tanks under everything, so I use this a lot.
Describe a typical day in your life.
I wake up, check my email and read my Bible, and hope that my children have made themselves something to eat for breakfast. If they haven’t I will make them oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or pancakes. We try to start our school day by 9am, so on an ideal day I will turn our “starting song” on and the my six kids will rush to the table with their school things and be there by the time the song ends. (They know that if they aren’t there, they don’t get a Vitamin-C Gummy, and that is motivating for them for some reason). We begin the day by reading together and discussing whatever we’re learning about that day. Then we move on to our math and grammar. At noon, the kids get a break, and I often come down to my sewing room to check the Facebook group, sew something quick, or write a little on my blog. From 1 to 3-ish, we finish up our school work, focusing on memory work, literature reading, writing, and “subject” areas like history or science. I usually have a couple more hours in the afternoon to either work on sewing or do household tasks. I have to say that sewing usually wins, and as a result, my house has never been 100% clean! My husband comes home around six, and one of us cooks for the family. We eat, have some family time, and then send the kids to bed. My older three have started to spend a lot of time listening to audio books in their room. And I get some more “me time” to work on a project. Often I stay up way too late, and then the cycle continues…(disclaimer: this is an “ideal” day. With 6 kids, the unexpected happens often, and there are always fights to mediate, questions to answer, “owies” to tend, and faces to wipe…all sorts of interruptions are the norm for sure).
Tell us a bit about your style.
Since I am home almost all the time, the clothes that I wear are fairly casual. I care more about being comfortable than fancy, so I usually won’t sew something that requires spike heels or a lot of time spent on my hair and make-up. About half of my sewing is for my kiddos, and they love the fact that they can request almost anything they want (sometimes I wish they would request something with just one color or one fabric, though…)
Where are you from? And where do you currently live?
I currently live in Walla Walla, Washington in the U.S. My family moved here from Idaho when I was thirteen, and I attended high school here, then moved to California, where I attended Stanford University and then married and started a family. We moved back to Walla Walla after our third boy was born, and we have had two more boys and a girl since moving here eight years ago. Our youngest two are B/G twins, so that is a lot of fun!
How long have you been sewing and how did you start?
I began sewing with doll clothes when I was ten or twelve. I remember buying the pattern set that went with my “American Girl” doll and sewing dresses for “Kirsten,” the immigrant doll who was a pioneer. I modified one of those dress patterns to make a “Romeo and Juliet” dress to talk about Shakespearean costuming for a school presentation in high school. I have always called myself a fabric or textile crafter, since I love to do all things with fabric, thread, or yarn, to differentiate myself from my mother and sister, who are exceptional artists with paper, pens and pencils, and paint.
Sewing was a hobby that I kept coming back to…I sewed my eighth-grade graduation dress…I always made things around Christmas for the house and tree…I worked on things for costumes at Halloween, etc. When my oldest son was born, I developed an interest in upcycling clothing (it really is amazing how many items you can make for a baby out of an adult t-shirt or sweatshirt!), and made a number of things for my first few children. This was when I first began to sew with knit fabric, and I had a book published by Kwik-Sew that told me all about it.
I wasn’t introduced to PDF patterns until a few years ago, but they have been a real game-changer for me. Prior to that I was a pattern-collector…I would buy a bunch of patterns that looked interesting when they were on sale for 99 cents each, but then I would never make them, because I didn’t enjoy unfolding/ refolding the super-thin paper they were printed on. I didn’t know anything about pattern-grading or adjusting a pattern to your specific body. All of these things, I learned from PDF patterns and RP patterns in-particular. (My first RP pattern was the felt dragon mask, which I found in a google search around Halloween one year). My husband bought me a coverstitch machine so the clothing I made for the kids would look like “real” clothing. I signed up for RP’s pattern subscription and began ordering mystery boxes of fabric. I learned that it was important to base the size you make on the size chart in the pattern. I began grading between sizes and adjusting for height. I began pattern testing and loved it for its “community” aspect, as well as how much it grew my skills. The first pattern I tested for RP was the Patsy Party Dress (jumpsuit edition for my daughter). Then I tested the Relaxation Robe and Lab Coat. And it was off to the races from there. I tested and made as many patterns as I had time for. I joined the Brand Ambassador group at RP. And then I was asked to be an admin.
If you had one wish (not necessarily sewing related) what would it be?
I wish for my children to grow up in integrity, to love God with their whole hearts, and to love others more than themselves. I wish for them to seek the truth in all circumstances, promoting the “good,” rather than the “easy.” I wish for them to understand the things they encounter and have the tools to find information they don’t know, so they will be able to be active citizens of the world, pursuing their interests and dreams.
What’s your super power?
What’s the super power you really want?
I really want to be able to wave a magic wand and have the house clean or dinner prepared!
Can you please share some go-to fail-safe tips for beginner sewistas?
Look at the size chart. Grade between sizes. Adjust for your own body shape. Use the correct type of fabric. And ask questions anytime you don’t understand. We are here to help!
Describe your perfect Sunday.
In my perfect Sunday, the house would already be clean from the night before. Everyone’s church clothes (including the shoes and socks) would already be picked out, and they would have bathed on Saturday. We would be able to join our church community in worship. We would not need to wear masks. We would be able to sing out fully. My children would all listen to their grandfather preach quietly and attentively. Then we would stay and talk to our friends for a bit. Another family would come back to our house for lunch, and we would just talk. When they left, I would have some uninterrupted time in my sewing room to work on a project. And I would have or make a plan for the meals and schooling that week.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which historical figure would you want with you, and why?
Susanna Wesley comes to mind. She had a large number of children, and found time to pray in the midst of the chaos of her life. She ran her household well, and her children went on to make a positive difference in the world. I would ask her how she did it all.
What’s the sound of your favourite colour?
Soft, inviting violins.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Probably sew. Or read.
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
Procrastinating household tasks!
What do you wish you knew more about?
I plan to study Latin this summer, so I can help my children when they are learning it. I want to read more biographies for myself. I spend time teaching my children about historical figures (I really love studying history), but most of the things I am reading are at a third-grade reading level.
You can find Jenni’s blog here: SEWING AND THE TRIVIUM