Dear ASDP Board

2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Sandra Betzina

06/02/2015 9:29 AM | Anonymous

Sandra Betzina, 2015 LAA

It always amazes me when one simple encounter has a profound effect. When I was starting my alterations and custom sewing business nearly 25 years ago, I hesitated because my sewing skills were almost completely self-taught, with a few lessons from middleschool home-ec class and time spent sewing with my aunt. I had some books in my reference library: the Singer Sewing Reference Library, the Reader’s Digest Complete Sewing Book, and several Palmer Pletsch paperbacks. I resolved to take every class I could manage in order to advance my skills.

After joining PACC (as ASDP was known then) as a charter member, one of the first well-known sewing celebrity lectures I attended was with Sandra Betzina. Her enthusiasm for garment sewing was, and is, infectious. What keeps her teaching today is her drive to help sewists learn to create garments that look wonderful and fit beautifully, while truly enjoying the process of sewing.

Sandra’s path to teaching sewing also began from an encounter. She always loved to sew, but meeting a neighbor who’d worked in a couture house is what led her to teach others. She felt that other sewists would want to know the techniques her friend shared with her, to make their sewing more rewarding. That led to her decision to open her sewing school (with detours and side trips along the way), to write a sewing column for the newspaper; and to host a weekly segment on a TV news magazine. She has longrunning television shows on two different networks to her credit as well as almost 200 online sewing classes through her Power Sewing website. Five of Sandra’s books are on my shelf now, and several of them are probably on most of yours as well.

Sharing the joy she takes in sewing is what keeps her traveling, teaching groups around the country and beyond - I caught up with her by phone while she was in Calgary, BC for a seminar. Her favorite way to teach is to spend several days with her students, so she continues to offer week-long seminars for small groups at her space in San Francisco, seven or eight times a year. She laughingly told me that she was slowing down a bit, at age 71 - but from the schedule she’s keeping, I can only hope I’ll have the same kind of stamina. The message Sandra would like to pass along to those of us who spend so much timesewing for others is this: take time to make yourself something special every year - it doesn’t have to be fancy, doesn’t have to be special, but it’s a way to remind yourself why you love to sew. Sew for yourself and sew with joy!

Our website describes the Lifetime Achievement Award in this way:

“The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Lifetime Achievement Award is given annually to a person, organization, or business that has made a profound contribution to the goals that ASDP promotes: sewing, fashion, pattern making, writing, and/or education in the field of sewing and design.”

During my years as a member of the association, I’ve been privileged to meet so many of our past awardees, and to count them among the teachers who helped me along the way. I was very pleased when Debra Utberg informed me Sandra Betzina had been chosen by the board as the recipient of the 2015 ASDP Lifetime Achievement Award, because of my nomination. Sandra is thrilled to be receiving this honor, and true to her constant desire to learn, she can’t wait to hear what classes we are offering at this year’s conference. I look forward to seeing her in Minneapolis this October.

Written by Janee Connor, ASDP member

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