I have been sewing for 50 years now, I started in 9th grade Home Economics with a brightly colored mod pattern of very large circles. I wonder if I matched them since it was a sleeveless culotte dress with center front and center back seams. I worked on the assembly line, in tailor shops (as a stitcher and a manager) I started my own sewing shop in the 1980’s called ‘Halle’s in the Alley’. Costuming came early in my career at Norcostco, Inc., then the Guthrie Theater costume room, and five shows at Interact Center for the Performing Arts. I am now open for sewing lessons, sewing salons, custom sewing gigs, alterations, and repairs.
As a teaching artist, I am particularly interested in youth sewing classes. I love working with sewers of all skill levels too. I have developed curriculum around the letter ‘Q’ for quilting, using poetry and visual art.
My most prolific art form is quilting. This came about after seeing the ‘Quilts of Gee’s Bend’ in Milwaukee, WI in 2003. It took me a good ten years to integrate quilting into my art form. This became more of a reflection of me being an artist not just a stitcher. So I feel a lot like the women of Gee’s Bend in that I do not have training as an artist but I am creative and work by intuition. I’m in the zone in producing works of art using fabric.
I made a memory quilt for a high school pal. Her father had just passed. As I worked cutting his clothes and bed sheets up for the quilt, I inhaled his scent and felt his essence. This was part of the richness of this project.
Quilt Restoration & Memorabilia
I can restore heirloom quilts and I complete unfinished quilts. I was brought a quilt top that was 80 years old, I repaired some tears with vintage 50 year old fabrics. This was then passed down to the great-granddaughter of the original quilter.
T-shirts memorabilia! What to do with t-shirts? I was commissioned by the Ordway to make a quilt for the retiring president. They gave me t-shirts from the years she had been involved with the Flint Hills Children’s Festival. This was a great challenge for me. I am not a t-shirt fan. I hate them actually. I hardly ever wear them. So this gave me an opportunity to cut them to pieces and make a dance come to life combining machine and hand quilting. I was able to use fabrics in my stock, which gave me great pleasure.
Dr. Seuss’s Mexican Embroidery Dance – this quilted wall hanging was made up of pieces of one of the first quilts I made for myself following a Martha Stewart pattern from her magazine and remnants of other quilt projects. I used a heavily embroidered vest and played with shapes from Dr. Seuss’s characters.
Abstract log cabin in reds and greens – this quilt was originally constructed with four perfect log cabin patches. It needed a change I started to cut it in half, subtracted here, divided there and added a few more colors. The divisions and subtractions of working in the Gee’s Bend style of quilting versus the addition and multiplication of Eastern European Quilting.
Sensory Quilts – I have been experimenting with 3 dimensional quilts for blind and visually impaired. I exhibited this at Vision Loss Resources in Minneapolis. One of these pieces was ready for construction the morning I heard the news of Philandro Castile’s murder in Falcon Heights. I dedicated this work to him and his family.
Mixing histories – My very first quilt was made for one of my nephews 35 years ago. Somehow it made its way back to my studio. I have made twin mirrored quilts using new fresh fabrics with his quilt for his two nieces. These quilts were the nemesis for an art exhibition, a solo show last spring.
Mixing ethnicities – I used a Folkware pattern 109, Moroccan Djellaba with Eastern European and Gee’s Bend quilting patterns for a young one of Moroccan and English/Dutch descent.
I have been commissioned by a local papermaker to construct her yardage into garments.
To make an appointment for alterations, upscaling of garments or to create a one-of-a-kind a memorial quilt please contact me via the form below.
Meanwhile, feel free to follow me on my Facebook page: Halle O’Falvey.