Sewing Tutorial #1 – Threading Your Machine

I’m excited about this tutorial by New Hope-based artist, MaryJo Rosania. In her video below, MaryJo takes us through our first lesson in sewing: threading your sewing machine. As someone who once cheated on a timed sewing test in Mrs.Weller’s 6th grade home economics class, I am relieved to find MaryJo’s tutorial easy to follow and much more pleasant to listen to than a lesson from Mrs. Weller. Continue reading after the video for my interview with MaryJo.

KH: What attracts you to your particular crafting method?

MR: My artistic path has been complicated and diverse—I have a bachelors in sculpture from Kutztown and for a long time worked very conceptually. I did  a lot of installation work with a variety of materials: fabric, plaster, found objects, drawing, etc. I have never been able to stick with one material very long. Although, I have always loved sewing and at one point thought about working with costume design. Then when I was getting my MFA I began to create conceptual garments that I used in performance videos. Creating these costumes really sealed my love of sewing and constructing something to be worn. What we wear says so much about who we are, or who we are trying to become. At the moment I am working on a second MFA in Fashion Design from Academy of Art University. I am not sure what will come of this leg of the journey, so to speak, but I am loving the classes so far and learning a lot.

KH: Who inspires you, professionally, personally or both?

MR: I am a high school art teacher, so I have to say, my students have inspired me a lot in my work. Literally through their fashion choices, but also, at my job I have taught ceramics, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, painting, photography. An art teacher has to be well versed in basically all modes of art making . . . so through this I have learned ways to use these materials for my own work. I also see my students create ways to express themselves . . . this is very inspiring!

KH: Do you have some advice for people who are just getting started with sewing?

MR: Be patient, read the directions (if you are using a pattern), PIN and IRON (very important . . . never underestimate the power of ironing!). Don’t cut corners at first. It’s like anything—learn the rules first—then you can break them when needed.

KH: What is one of your favorite pieces that you’ve made?

MR: That’s a hard one . . . there are a few: the fascinator for my wedding, this little felt bird book that I initially made for a small works show (and couldn’t part with it so I never entered the show) and my bottle gown (which doesn’t exist anymore—it was made from fabric, latex and beeswax— the latex and beeswax started to lose form after a few years). I also really like the most recent embroidery I am doing. The images below are for a book I am making for a friend’s new baby I am using simple materials—black thread on muslin—I like how it looks like a line drawing.

KH: What other types of crafting would you like to try?

MR: I would like to try silk screening and textile design. I also would love to quilt someday.

KH: Tell me one other person who is part of the Handmade Philly network of whom you are a fan and why.

MR: This is also a hard question—I admire everyone who has a shop and sells their work. I have an Etsy shop but at the moment it is not operating. I have trouble making enough of one thing to sell—but would love to do custom orders. I am a fan of Linda Johnson  of Little Flower Designs. I LOVE her pottery and have a few pieces that we received as wedding gifts (we registered with her!). Also, Jen McCleary—she just seems to be so motivated and  works so hard—always making new pieces! I love the layered quality of her work.

MaryJo Rosania lives in New Hope, PA with her husband and two cats, Neko and Nori. She is an art teacher and head of the art department at Voorhees High School in Glen Garder, NJ. Her website is

The post author is Kate Holeman, a Philadelphia-based artist and graphic designer. Her blog is and her graphic design site is

3 Responses to “Sewing Tutorial #1 – Threading Your Machine”

  1. gigglepotamus

    Nice job, Mary Jo & Katie! Being a self-taught sewist, I def could’ve used this a while back, so I’m sure you’re helping many others out there as well.

  2. MaryJo

    Hey everyone, please let me know what other tutorials you might like to see…I loved making the video and would gladly make more!

  3. lilithsapothecary

    This is EXACTLY what i needed! OMG! THe ONLY reason I haven’t gotten into sewing more is that i have no idea how to thread my moms machine and i’m sure this will help. Thank you so much from one DIY-er to another 🙂

Leave a Reply to lilithsapothecary Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s