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Needle and Thread

Sew Fine sewing expo to feature
keynote speaker, expert Rohlfing

Illinois native has a successful Internet-based business

CARROLLTON, Ky. (April 2015) – Londa Rohlfing has always been an innovator in the sewing world. An avid sewer since her early teens, she has continued to be driven by creativity to become a professional in the field and maintain a lucrative career at something she truly enjoys.
Taught by her mother how to sew, Rohlfing said she was put on a clothing allowance when she started high school. “I quickly realized I could only have the amount of clothing my heart desired if I made them myself.”

Londa Rohlfing

Rohlfing, originally from Champaign, Ill., went on to major in Home Economics at Illinois State University, transferring to the University of Illinois after getting married her sophomore year. After having a child, she sold fabrics from her home and took orders for custom dressmaking.
When her daughter was small, Rohlfing discovered heirloom sewing. This technique was “creative in new way-joining laces together to create fabric. It really set my creativity on fire,” said Rohlfing, 63.
Heirloom patterns feature lady-like, romantic looks once popular in the south, Rohlfing said. Clothing items such as christening gowns and smocked dresses for little girls are good examples of items that employ heirloom techniques. 
“I always had an entrepreneurial sprit, so I launched my own line of adult patterns (Londa’s Elegant Creations) featuring heirloom sewing back in the late ’80s.” That experience led to Rohlfing opening her own retail storefront and sewing machine dealership, which she closed in 2003 to go into Internet-based selling. From there Rohlfing began traveling to sewing exposes around the country where she now presents programs and hands-on workshops. 
“I am driven by an urge to be creative, to create one-of-a-kind clothing that fits,” said Rohlfing. “I love the opportunity to teach women the techniques and the basic design principles that will guide them in creating their own clothing.”
Rohlfing will be the keynote speaker for the 10th annual It’s Sew Fine Sewing Expo, set for April 13-15 at Gen. Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton, Ky. Rohlfing was suggested by volunteers, said Judy Hetterman, Owen County Cooperative Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences.
Hetterman, who helps organize the sewing expo, said “all the programs are different from what has been offered in the past.” Classes include quilting, home décor and personal garment sewing; Rohlfing will teach a class on embellishing a neckline knit top; “Sewing Our Selvages” will be led by Jennifer Klee of Versailles, Ky.; Pam Damour from Champlain, N.Y. (known as the Decorating Diva) will teach a class on “Sewing a Perfect Pillow.” Damour was the 2011 keynote speaker.
Quilting classes include “Indigo Stars” by professional quilter Sheila Reinke of Omaha, Neb., and a large latticed tote bag class led by University of Kentucky professor Marjorie Baker. Two new classes have been added this year on needle felting, which has become a popular trend, according to Hetterman.
On Monday evening, April 13, a choice of two simple classes will be offered: Make an Iron Tote Caddy or Quilted Make-up Bag. Classes begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 14, and end with a banquet featuring Rohlfing at 6 p.m. Classes will resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 15. The expo will end at 5 p.m.
Hetterman said there will be approximately 100 people participating in the sewing expo this year. “We have a lot of people interested in the expo; people who are learning to sew and people who want to learn new things and get information on new techniques and ideas.”
The It’s Sew Fine Sewing Expo is sponsored by the University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University and the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Services. Registration for the 2015 event has ended.
The keynote speaker for the 2016 It’s Sew Fine Sewing Expo will be Nancy Zieman of public TV’s “Sewing with Nancy.” She is an author, sewing professional and owner of Nancy’s Notions in Beaver Dam, Wisc.

•  For more information, contact Judy Hetterman at (502) 484-5703.

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