Team Tillie: Meet Lesley T.

Kristin Rutten

Team Tillie Tester Lesley

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 Lesley T., one of those talented testers…

Please tell us a little about yourself …

My husband and I have two girls, one boy and a dog. We live in a rural community in the mid-west. I am a stay-at-home mom, but keep busy with kids, school activities and volunteering at my church.

When and how did you learn how to sew?

Lesley's projects made using patterns by Matilda Jo OriginalsI first learned to sew when I was 16 in home economics. I remember making some very interesting “Mc Hammer” pants in a nice navy blue knit! =) I did not sew much after that, until right after I had gotten married. The front door on our house needed a curtain of some sort and I figured I could make one. Then I made a few other odds and ends around the house, until I discovered quilting.

My sister-in-law gave me a beginning quilting book that year for Christmas. With that book, combined with help from a small local quilt shop, I began sewing and have been on a roll ever since. I have only been sewing doll clothes for the past few years and have discovered… the more you sew, the more you learn!

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

I either give the items to my daughters or their friends for birthdays and such. Eventually, I would love to sell some of the things I make and have my own shop.

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

I use three different machines on a regular basis. I have your general entry level Singer that I purchased at a discount store. It zigzags and has a nice regulated stitch, although it is a bit loud. I have two vintages machines: “Susie” Singer, a nice 15-91, and also a Singer Featherweight. Both my vintage machines are straight stitch only, but they are fun to sew on and sew beautifully. I love how quiet they are, which is why I love sewing on them.

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

I recently splurged on a 1/4-inch sewing foot for my machines. It is so nice to help keep that small seam allowance consistent. The other tool I have is sort of a corner pusher. It is a plastic tool that is flat and white. It has one rounded end and one pointed end. I love how it helps me get the seams in order and corners pushed out when I am turning something inside out. Embarrassingly enough, I do not remember the actual name for it, as I threw the package away after I received it as a gift.

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

I love tinkering around with my sewing machines. I have two treadles that I am planning on restoring when I have the time. I love reading, cooking for my family and watching classic television shows with my kids. The Brady Bunch is currently our favorite.

Lesley's projects made using patterns by Matilda Jo Originals

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

That is a very hard question, since there is usually something really neat just around the corner for us to test! At this time, I would say my favorite AptOne8 pattern is the Convertible Bunk Bed. My girls and I made one set together and it was fun to take them to the hardware store to buy the supplies. We cleaned the pipe and assembled the beds one afternoon this summer. I loved spending the time with them and showing them that girls can build things too.

My favorite Matilda’s Closet pattern is the Class Act: Cropped Top with the Simple Skort. It was fun to put together and has so many different options. I was pleased with how my color combination turned out… and my girls both loved it.

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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