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2019 Presenter Bios

(Alphabetical by Last Name)

Robin Bolton


Often referred to as the Zen Sewing Instructor for her peaceful and simple approach to teaching, Award winning instructor, Robin Bolton delivers a strong message of technique, couture style and especially, the joy of doing. A graduate of Northern Illinois University, majoring in Fashion Merchandising, Robin is an alterations expert with over 40 years of experience in the Fashion/Sewing Industry. She is a Certified Islander Sewing Systems Instructor.


Brenda Breitenmoser


Brenda has been a professional in her field for 30 years providing service to many clients per year. She has done everything from working on furs to wedding gowns. She loves to work on garments that are a challenge to alter and having the client leave with a smile. Brenda was the first graduate of the Master of Sewing & Design Professional Certification by the Association of Sewing & Design Professionals. She has been a member of ASDP since 2006 and a founding member of ASDP of BC. Brenda continues to improve and hone her skills by attending Master Classes at annual ASDP Conferences as well as traveling to workshops abroad. Brenda loves to teach and share her knowledge. 


Bonny Carmicino


Bonny Carmicino has a degree in Fashion Design summa cum laude from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and also a certificate in Ladies Tailoring and additional training in personal fit from FIT. She has over 200 hours of training in couture methods with Susan Khalje and has taken fitting classes from Joyce Simmons Murphy (Pants Fitting for Professionals), Peggy Sagers (SPIFFY Training), Kenneth King, and others.

She has also done independent research on garment fit. She has written an academic paper on the subject of fitting pants and presented it at the 2011 World Conference on Mass Customization, Personalization and Co-Creation. She is a patented inventor who created the original fit prediction algorithms on which True Fit is based.

Prior to pursuing her passion in the sewing and design field, Bonny earned a bachelor’s degree from MIT and a law degree from NYU. Bonny has worked on Wall Street in information services and as a NYC Corporate Attorney. Bonny has been sewing since she was four and sewing professionally since she was 15.

Bonny has been a member of ASDP/PACC for over 20 years. Bonny is a four-time finalist in the ASDP/Threads Challenge, and was the winner of the Most Successful Use of Hand Quilting in the 2016 ASDP/Threads Challenge.

Bonny’s sewing specialties include fitting, tailoring, couture methods in general, and couture lace work. She also designs custom knitwear patterns. She currently teaches to rave reviews at Beetle and Fred in Beacon, NY (an adorable indi fabric shop in the NYC metro area). Bonny lives in Cold Spring, NY with her husband and three teenage kids. Check Bonny out on Instagram @bonnycarmicino.


Rae Cumbie


Rae Cumbie is Creative Director at Fit for Art Patterns whose three core patterns yield one great wardrobe! Her coaching, blog posts, Threads articles and Sew News fitting column encourages stitchers to sew successfully: adding fun, comfortable, fabulously fitting, artful and creative additions to their wardrobe. Catch her blog, Sew! Let’s Get Dressed at fitforartpatterns.com for everything from basic sewing to artful inspiration. She is a longstanding member of ASDP serving the Baltimore Chapter in every board position, serving nationally as the VP for Chapter Relations and President and is a founding member and former president of the ASDP Charitable Foundation.


Julie Hansberry


For the last 8+ years I have built a business as a Relationship Marketing Strategist. I teach and coach small & medium sized business owners, and sales professionals, the philosophies of Relationship & Appreciation Marketing, and assist them with developing and implementing such a system to help them build and grow their business. My tag line is "Helping YOU stay Top-of-mind, with those that GROW your bottom line."

I also teach, coach and support a team of others in my business, and have been recognized several times by the company I represent, for both production and leadership efforts.

As I built this business, I've learned a lot about marketing in general, to not only better serve my clients, but to continue to build my own business. This includes various forms of Social Media and understanding the basics of each of those platforms, and how to incorporate them into a general marketing plan.

I'm excited to apply this acquired skill set to building my own (and new) personal sewing business, and look forward to being able to share my knowledge with my fellow sewing entrepreneurs as well, to help them grow their businesses!


Helen Haughey


Helen Haughey has been sewing since the age of 10 when her Mother taught her to sew. There were 2 rules enforced: 1. if you make a mistake you must fix it and 2. if you intend to wear what you have made, it should exhibit sufficient quality that it could be worn inside out! Helen remembers redoing one zipper five times until her mother was satisfied!

During the years of study at Pharmacy college, immigrating to the US from New Zealand and caring for her four children while her husband began a busy surgical practice, there was little time for sewing. When her children began heading to college, Helen began to teach others fairly intensively. In 2001, Helen made her older daughter’s wedding dress while attending a Susan Khalje week long sewing course. Helen fell in love with couture techniques and has been using them ever since.

In 2006, she opened her custom sewing business in St Louis, Missouri where her business flourished by word of mouth for 10 years. In 2012 Helen completed her MSDP certification and has benefited from all she learned during the rigorous certificate course. During 2012-2014 Helen was VP of planning for the annual ASDP conference. 

In 2016, Helen moved to Florida and closed her business in St Louis, Missouri. Since then she has been busy sewing for family and a handful of clients/friends. Additionally, she has expanded her teaching classes to Orlando, New Orleans, Chicago and in the coming year will offer courses in Tampa and Boston.


Amanda Joyner


Chef Bizzaro Millinery is the creation of Amanda G. Joyner. Starting off as a Pastry Chef Amanda decided one day to put down her whisk for her love of hats. In 2011 she studied with Joy Scott in Chicago, who taught Amanda the basics of hat making. Since then she has been self teaching herself the art of millinery and infusing it with her quirky designs. As well as sending her hats to clients around the world they have also been seen at the Grammy’s, the New York Fashion Runway, Disney, on the hit TV show The Carrie Diaries, and in major publications.

Going on 10 years of creating hats, Amanda finally has a brick and mortar shop and is now a certified milliner. From crazy to couture let Amanda make a hat perfect for your special event!



John Koch


A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, former owner of a custom millinery salon on Chicago’s North side, John Koch has a solid background in design and construction of fashion accessories. For nearly forty years he has taught glovemaking, millinery, handbag construction as well as corsetry and box-making. In his Chicago studio he fashioned jewelry by a centuries-old process of creating beads from molten glass, called lampworking, using techniques similar to those of the glass artisans of Venice. For years members of the Parkways Foundation and The Service Club of Chicago have commissioned him to create eye-catching millinery to be worn at their annual fund-raising events. He has been a guest lecturer at the Haute Couture Club of Chicago and has had his work featured in Threads Magazine. In 2011 he created headpieces for the Ladies of the Court of the Texas Rose Festival, an annual event held for over 85 years. He is currently in the process of writing a second book on glove making.


Miranda Levy

*Keynote Speaker*


Levy's story begins in the tiny town of Wilton, Wisconsin where she was the daughter of an Army soldier and the oldest of three children. Following in her father's footsteps, her work was defined by the eight years she spent in the U.S. Army as a construction equipment mechanic, a path she chose due to their reluctance to hire a woman for the position. After active duty, Levy returned to Wisconsin to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she earned a BFA in Fibers.

Levy’s early work explores her own experiences in the military, questions the effects that camouflage has when applied to the human form, and investigates the role that the uniform plays. Levy’s uniform like designs have been the highlight of several fashion shows including Run Up to the Runway at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Return to the Runway, and Contemporary Threads. Her designs have been featured in several editorials including M magazine, INFO magazine, Marie Claire, and Country Woman magazine. In 2013, Levy was featured as a contestant for television's Lifetime Series, Project Runway, season 12, an experience that has launched her career to higher levels.

While design ultimately plays a leading role in Levy’s life she is most thankful for the opportunity to teach and share what she learns with others. Her husband jokingly refers to her as the world's youngest grandmother which she holds as her highest compliment. Thankfully, Levy’s career has allowed her the opportunity to mentor and teach students at the Milwaukee Public School’s Bay View High School, Art Institute of Wisconsin, The Jewish Museum, Vogue Fabrics, and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

With her life as the mother of a four year old as new inspiration, Miranda joined the Florence Eiseman family in 2018 and is excited to share her creative ideas as part of the iconic children’s clothing company. As a Purchasing and Production Manager, Miranda is building relationships with textile professionals around the world and gaining first hand experience walking a design from the child-size dress form to the retailer’s shelves.


Leslie Littell


BS Fashion Design, University of Cincinnati; MA History, Rutgers University. After a stint in the NYC garment industry Leslie segued over to the theatre world where she has spent the past 30 years teaching and designing.  With over 100 theatre shows to her credit and dozens of professional dance productions, she has also worked on historical reenactment and commercial costumes for the Detroit Pistons mascot. 


Barbie McCormick


Barbie has been sewing professionally for more than 25 years. She does all sorts of sewing, but she specializes in formal, bridal, and couture clothing for both men and women. She loves all aspects of the process- from design, to patternwork, to fitting, construction, and the final details. She is truly a Jack of all Trades in sewing, and has completed her Master Sewing and Design Professional Certification.


Ellen Miller


Ellen W. Miller loves to sew elegant clothing, from the simple to the ornate. She is an accomplished professional couture seamstress, having designed and made custom couture clothing. Ellen loves teaching sewing. She is fascinated by how students learn: some need to read a hand out, some need to see a demonstration, some need to do the project themselves. The moment when an idea or concept suddenly makes sense to a student - the aha! moment - is joyous. It might be a small moment: a button needs a shank so it stands above thicknesses of the cloth around the buttonhole, or it might big a moment: clothing alterations are like draping but on a real person. When a student understands the lesson- that’s the reward for a teacher.


Ellen’s book, Creating Couture Embellishments is a 400-page, abundantly illustrated, how-to book with 3 sections: basic tools and techniques, fabric manipulation, and embellishments and trimmings. Within the 3 sections are 23 chapters covering 174 techniques including quilting, ruffles and flounces, passementerie, beads and sequins.


Before writing Creating Couture Embellishments, Ellen taught at the School of Fashion Design for 10 years and worked in professional theatre in Boston.



Becka Rahn


Becka Rahn is a digital fabric designer, specializing in complex textured designs from cut paper illustrations using recycled papers and engineered photographic prints. She is the co-author of The Spoonflower Handbook, a how-to guide to designing your own fabrics. She has received grants from Jerome Foundation and the MN State Arts Board for her work and was recognized with an emerging artist award by Fiber Art Now magazine in 2018. Becka has taught workshops and seminars at national conferences including Surface Design Association, Midwest Weavers Guild and Handweavers Guild of America, as well as Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts. Becka has served on the international Etsy Sellers Advisory Board, representing niche craft business owners and is a member of the board of directors at the Weavers Guild of MN and Hennepin History Museum. She is an active teaching artist in her community, working with local museums, art centers and schools. Becka lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two black labs. She spends a lot of time thinking about pixels. You can see more about her work at www.beckarahn.com.


Erin Retelle


Erin has been sewing more or less all her life. She began designing and sewing clothing for her dolls as a child, and then moved on to full-sized fashions after learning to use a sewing machine. After moving to Boise, Idaho, in 2004 for a job in geology, she picked up more advanced design and construction techniques from local sewing instructors and fell into helping design and build costumes for the ballroom dance community she is a part of. She and partner Frank, also an avid sewer, launched Oversway Originals, a custom ballroom dance costume company. A few years later, after having been laid off from her geology job, Erin made sewing her next career, first as the director of a sewing school within a local fine fabric store, then by launching sewBoise in 2011. Now as sewBoise's owner and director, Erin and her team of 4 sewists, 2 assistants, 1 apprentice, and several sewing teachers, offer sewing classes and lessons at all levels, do custom sewing from dog toys and curtains to bridal gowns and prototyping, and are a full-service alterations shop for men and women. She graduated in May of 2018 from Boise State University's Executive MBA Program, which ignited her passion for business and leadership.


Abby Riba


Abby Riba is a charter member of ASDP and former president. After closing her custom sewing business, Abby along with her husband formed Kandi Corp developing an entire new product line of hot fix crystals and applicators for the sewing and quilting market. Selling that business in 2014, Abby and Dave began developing and selling LED and Lasers for the sewing market.


Debby Spence


Debby Spence is a custom dressmaker from Lancaster PA and a charter member of ASDP. After graduating in 1974 from the University of Delaware with a degree in Clothing and Textiles in Business and Industry, she developed a line of patchwork clothing for women that was sold in stores up and down the East Coast. For 3 years in the mid-1980’s, Debby and a partner designed and manufactured clothes they sold in a small boutique in downtown Lancaster called ‘o.t.e’. Since 1988, she has been constructing custom clothing for private clients, restyling garments, doing alterations and creating Threads/ASDP design challenges. All nine of the garments she has submitted for the Challenges have been finalists, with two awards for Best Overall, and 3 other awards. Debby also served as a judge for two Challenges.


Terri Tipps


My business just celebrated 31 years in business and 18 years in PACC/ASDP. Graduated from Tennessee Temple University majoring in Education in '84. My sewing began at an early age of 5 with hand making Barbie clothes. By the age of 8 I finally convinced my mother to let me use the Singer sewing machine. Sewing through the years and making garments for myself but decided to try making a dress with covered buttons and belt for my mother. It turned out beautifully and she wore it many years. Married after college and decided to stay home when we added to our family. Bored but loved being home with my children so I helped a colleague with her sewing business. Loved it and it fit my schedule. Began my business but missed teaching so through the years I've donated my time to churches and schools teaching sewing and talking about having a business. Since moving to Dallas, TX I accepted the opportunity to teach at JoAnns. While it wasn't financially profitable it was enjoyable teaching again. My business consists of custom, alterations, industrial projects and working with entrepreneurs.



Alicia Werner


I can't remember a time when I wasn't sewing. My grandmother was a huge quilter & she helped me make my first quilt by the time I was 6. Then she taught me saddle repair, 4-H sewing, Make It With Wool, tatting, knitting. She was just trying to get me to sit still! She gave me my first Bernina when I graduated from high school and she set my path.

My education: Textiles at Colorado State U., Design at Parsons, International Farm Marketing MBA at Cal Poly San Luis (but I really went to Cal Poly to learn to weave & spin), School of Hard Knocks learning to run a sewing business.

In 1976, I started making slipcovers, draperies, cushions. I became the Zipper Lady because I couldn't find zippers for my sewing business in 1994. Now we stock over a million yards of zipper in 7 different gauges plus separating zippers for jackets, bags, marine applications.


Sarah Veblen


Sarah Veblen is a custom fashion designer who specializes in fit, innovative pattern design, and quality garment construction. Dedicated to promoting the craft of garment-making, Sarah now concentrates on teaching sewing, fitting, design, and patternmaking at all levels. Her years of experience in fitting led to her book, The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting, and the collaboration with Fit for Art to develop the Eureka! Pants that Fit pattern. She teaches from her studio in Maryland, as a guest lecturer and at conferences across the country, and online at PatternReview.com. She has more than two dozen articles with Threads Magazine and other sewing publications, and has a series of video classes for Threads Magazine/Taunton Press.


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