Team Tillie: Meet Cindy Montano

Kristin Rutten

Team Tillie Tester Cindy Montano

Before any Matilda’s Closet or AptOne8 pattern is presented to the public, it is tested by Team Tillie, our fabulous team of volunteers.

Today meet Cindy Montano, one of those talented testers…

Please tell us a little about yourself …

I live in California, where I was born and raised. I married late in life so I have no children, but my husband, a widower, has a 45-year-old son. He and his wife have three children. I worked for over 30 years for a utility company before my department left the state of California in December 2006 and I lost my job.

When and how did you learn how to sew?

My grandmother (my father’s mother) taught me to sew when I was eight. I remember sewing my back-to-school clothes when I was in the third grade. My grandmother passed in 2007 and I still use the machine she and I used making those clothes.

Created by Team Tillie Tester Cindy Montano

What do you do with the items you create during the testing process once testing is complete?

I have several little girls to whom I give the clothes. Two of them are my great nieces and the other two are my friends’ granddaughters. I guess that is why when I test a pattern, I usually make several or all of the design options.

What kind of sewing machine do you use? What do you like most about it?

Created by Team Tillie Tester Cindy MontanoI use a Janome machine. I bought my first back in the early 90s and have used one ever since. I have three Janomes now – a 9000 that I purchased new back in 1995, a 6500 a friend gave to me in late 2013 and a 3160 that I bought from a friend last year.

If I get something better, I try to find someone that can use mine. The only other machine I have is the Singer Featherweight that I sewed on as a child.

Are there any tricks or other tools you use to make it easier to sew doll-sized clothing?

I have two go-to items that are fairly new to me ( I only started using them this year). One is a product called Wonder Tape and the other is something called a Purple Thang. The Wonder Tape is 1/4-inch wide and comes on a 10-yard roll. It is a sticky tape that comes out when wet. It helps me since I am not good at eyeballing a 1/4-inch seam. The Purple Thang looks like a long plastic needle that does have an eye for threading but it also is pointy on one end and the other has a 1/4-inch square on the end. I find it good for measuring and also for pushing out corners, collars, etc.

When you’re not sewing, what other hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing?

I like to read. I don’t find much time to do it, but sometimes during the holidays I get some reading in.

Which is your favorite Matilda’s Closet or AptOne8 pattern and why?

Created by Team Tillie Tester Cindy MontanoProbably my favorite AptOne8 pattern is the Basic Beach Chair. It was my first and there is always something special about your first.

As for Matilda’s Closet, I feel picking a favorite would be like having a favorite child and I couldn’t do that. I love them all… some for the design factor, some for the fabric selection and some for how good they look on the model.

Brilliant ideas in motion!

TeamTillieBadgeFind more photos of outfits made using our patterns in the Team Tillie Idea Gallery!

Scroll down for links to the patterns featured in this post…




About Kristin Rutten

Kristin Rutten is the creator, owner and operator of Matilda Jo Originals. Born and raised in Montana, she first learned to sew on her grandmother's antique Singer sewing machine by cutting out and stitching a simple nine-square pillow. Other projects soon followed and she has been crafting and sewing ever since. In addition to sewing and pattern design, she also enjoys crocheting, scrapbooking and designing WordPress websites, including sister company She makes her home in Central Montana with her husband and four children, ages 9 to 22.

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