Story of Sandra Betzina. Sandra Betzina designs patterns for Vogue Patterns, wrote several sewing books, and hosted “Sew Perfect” on HGTV for 6 years.
Name Sandra Betzina
Sandra has been in the sewing business since 1972, when she started a sewing school in San Francisco, California.
Her Power Sewing is an educational website with books and video sewing lessons, which combine ready-to-wear and couture sewing techniques for beginning and advanced sewers. Sandra Betzina designs patterns for Vogue Patterns, wrote several sewing books, and hosted “Sew Perfect” on HGTV for 6 years.
What motivated you to start your own sewing business?
I had always loved to sew and so many wanted to learn. I first started teaching in my home in 1971 and then opened a sewing school at a good location in town.
Tell us more about your sewing studio and what sewing lessons you offer.
Since I was unable to spend a lot of money on newspaper advertising, I got the idea of writing a sewing column for my local newspaper, which I named Power Sewing, the name of my business. Within 2 years my column was syndicated all over the United States and Canada. I wrote once a week as a guest columnist. I did that for 7 years and wrote the column for 37 years.
At that time I had 2 children, one 10 years old and one a little more than a year old. The next year I had twins so I sold my sewing business. Within 3 months I was asked to be the spokesperson for the American Sewing Association, an association of fabric stores, sewing machine stores and pattern companies. I did that for 3 years when HGTV called and asked me if I wanted to host my own sewing program on their network.
Over the next 5 years I filmed 256 half hour shows called Sew Perfect. Since that time, I have traveled all over the United States and Canada teaching sewing in a lecture format. I have published 10 books and designed 165 patterns for Vogue Pattern Company under the Today’s Fit label. I also teach classes online at powersewing.com
What is your most effective way to get new students?
The most effective way to get customers is to offer to give a half hour talk on sewing to local groups such as schools and trade associations. Writing a column or blog is also another way to get customers. Appear on television if you can.
What were the biggest challenges you encountered by running your sewing classes?
The biggest challenge in the business is not to overwork so that you do not like it anymore. I still love it but I take blocks of time off. I always took the summers off to be with my children. I never regretted it. I also take the month of December off; no students want to take classes in December.
What do you love about teaching sewing?
What I love the most about sewing is the actual process of doing it. I love to find better and faster ways to do something and I like the challenge of writing instructions for the patterns I design for Vogue. Sewing is so rewarding. You are lighting the enthusiasm for something your students will enjoy their whole life.
What advice would you give to others who want to teach sewing?
Make all of your own clothes. Wear them always. You will get compliments; pass out your cards. Sell notions in your class to make money and save the students the extra trip to the store. Educate yourself by taking any related class you can. Craftsy.com is a great resource. I teach 4 classes on Craftsy but I take every sewing course they offer. You can always learn something.