Team Tillie: Meet Gerry Thompson

Kristin Rutten

Team Tillie Tester Gerry Thompson

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 Gerry Thompson, one of those talented testers…

Please tell us a little about yourself …

Photo by Team Tillie Tester Gerry ThompsonI am a native of Maine. My roots go to the original Mayflower Pilgrims on my mother’s side and Native Americans on my father’s. Both families are original settlers of the State.

My mother’s family were farmers, as I was, and all the women have been seamstresses, including me and my five sisters. My father’s family worked in the woolen mills, his mother was a weaver and his father a loom fixer and boss.

I have five children and two grandchildren. My husband and I are retired.

When and how did you learn how to sew?

My maternal grandmother got me started sewing when I was very young. I spent as much time with her as a could and we made hand-stitched bean bag animals from felt. I started using a sewing machine when I was 11. If I asked a question, my mother would say, “Read the directions.” By the time I was 13, I was sewing all my own clothes.

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

My granddaughter, age 11, loves all the doll items I send to her. She especially likes the canopy bed and bedding.

Photo by Team Tillie Tester Gerry Thompson

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

Photo by Team Tillie Tester Gerry ThompsonI have a Brother 1500D embroidery/sewing machine. It is very versatile. I like how I can wind bobbins on it while I sew, and of course, the needle threader.

I also have two Viking machines. One is one of the earliest computerized machines and the other is much older and both of those are work horses.

I also have a five-spool Brother serger which I do not use nearly enough.

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

My husband cuts all the PVC pipe and he recently purchased a scroll saw to cut the pieces with.

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

I love to cook and garden also. These hobbies go well together. During the growing season the have the freshest vegetables and I can as much as I am able so we know what is in our food.

Photo by Team Tillie Tester Gerry Thompson

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

I love the Base Layer Bodysuit and all the variations. It’s very simple and just the right garment to go with so many outfits.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our blog readers?

My advice is to try making everything. You never know what you will accomplish if you don’t try.

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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  1. Tari
    February 10, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Gerry’s advice of “just try everything” sounds great. So many times I find myself thinking “oh it looks too hard” or “but it doesn’t look like how I would normally make it” I could be missing out on some awesome outfits, thanks for some great food for thought, Gerry!

    • Kristin Rutten
      Kristin RuttenReply
      February 11, 2016 at 6:53 am

      I agree! 🙂

  2. Chelly Wood
    February 10, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I love that gorgeous canopy bed. Can you include a link to that pattern? Thanks!

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