Laurel Hewitt – Moore’s Mission Viejo
Laurel is an icon in education at Moore’s. She’s been teaching here for – nearly 25 years! She teaches machine guide classes for Pfaff and Janome machines and all sergers, and Pfaff 6D and Brother software, but has led clubs and teaches specialty classes in quilting, machine embroidery, garment making, and more. It’s hard to find something sewing she doesn’t know (a lot) about!
Like many, she began sewing when young, focusing on clothing construction. Quilting followed in the 70’s, and she began designing and selling her quilts. We’re fortunate that her passion for sewing and love for teaching led her to Moore’s! When we asked what she enjoys sewing the most, quilting still comes through as an important component of her sewing pleasure – noting landscape and art quilts as styles she enjoys. But she’s also participated in some quilt challenges – 30 days to get it done!
Here’s her quilt from the Cherrywood Fabric challenge “I get by with a little help from my friends” – you just can’t help but sing along!
(Is it any coincidence she says she likes all music – but rock and roll reigns in her house?)
In the last couple years though, she’s circled back to garment making — and garments are among the sewing projects she’s most proud of . To explore tailoring she jumped right in by making a jacket — for her husband! “It was a compendium of many things learned over the years.” It fit, and looks great!
(We’re still waiting for the REAL pic Laurel!)
When she’s not sewing for him, she’s hanging out with him in her off time – going to movies, checking out new restaurants, and traveling. But she gets in a lot of reading too!
A dress made from a challenging Vogue pattern in her earlier sewing days gets recognition as another project that she’s proud of. She noted some tricky corner piece inserts – we bet she could show you how to do those off the top of her head now! But the one sewing item she notes she can’t live without is still – a seam ripper.
And finally – the Stitcher’s Garden Quilt. This piece is one of special pride. Not only is it a beautiful quilt, Laurel teaches this class at Mission Viejo – it’s a new block with new techniques each month for 12 months. And it’s a source of pride because of the satisfaction she gets watching people over a yearlong period, some starting as novices, accomplishing so much when they get their 12 blocks done. Who’s more proud, Laurel or her students?
What does she consider a challenge? Interpreting other writers’ instructions, persevering and finding creativity in new projects – not just following instructions and putting together seams – but finding your own approach to the project.
Does she still love teaching? Yes! Because there are always new ideas, new machines that can do new things to teach, but Laurel also points out that she always learns something new from people in her class. Laurel originally joined Moore’s because she wanted to learn more about sewing, checked into opportunities for teaching sewing and software, and the rest is history. She again emphasizes how much she has learned from teaching and the people she’s taught.
We can all probably remember an “aha!” moment when we realized something that helped or changed our sewing for the better – for good. Laurel’s came about while working for Moore’s — “This was something I learned by working at Moore’s. I never tested stitches or how a needle/thread combo might work on my fabric prior to starting a project. It resulted in many projects not coming out well or having to rip and re-stitch. Learning to stop and test before starting a project made my sewing sooo much better!” (…a good lesson for us all!)
Laurel’s seen a lot of changes over the many years, in sewing techniques, interests, products and technology. She’s enjoyed watching how George has taken the company from two to six retail stores plus an outlet center, but along with such growth has stayed customer oriented.
We welcome those new or returning to sewing to our stores, classes and events, and strive to make their experience a good one, their sewing results successful (or to at least learn from the “so many little disasters” Laurel noted when we asked if there was a particular big one that stands out in her mind!) Since she’s taught countless new and veteran sewers, we asked what she recommends for turning someone new to sewing into a sewing enthusiast:
1) Start with something simple in an area that ‘s of interest – then take a class;
2) Get into a hands on in person class – where they have the flexibility to ask questions on the spot, show the instructor what they’ve done, and get immediate feedback;
3) Make sure they have a reliable, good working sewing machine and encourage them by showing interest, accompanying them to the fabric store, etc.
We can all mentor someone new with these simple tips!
Thank you Laurel, for all your years of teaching and wisdom!