Meet a Member​​

Meet Treasurer,
Suzy Baker-Bachman

​All of the women in my family sewed and did every form of needle work. So many of my very early memories are of sewing and being in the midst of those women, hearing their conversations and watching them design and create beautiful things.

My mother gave me a child’s Singer sewing machine that had a hand crank and attached it to a table with a C-clamp at the end of her sewing machine table. I would “sew” while she sewed. My first project was sewing squares together to make a doll blanket.

The first garment that I made, and actually wore, was the summer before fourth grade. It was a top that consisted of a front and back and elastic waist shorts. I wore that outfit out that summer. By fifth grade I advanced to making a dress with sleeves, a collar, and a zipper. By that time I had really caught the sewing fever and my passion for all things sewing has never diminished.

I took sewing in Home Economics in high school and while everyone else made an A-line skirt I made a plaid, dropped
waist, boxed pleat skirt with a waist band. What was I thinking! The musical my senior year in high school was Hello Dolly. I made 52 costumes for that play. Oh, to be young again with that much energy!

In my early twenties I had an opportunity to apprentice with a woman who made draperies, window coverings, bedspreads,
and all home décor. That was an amazing experience and has saved me a lot of money and provided me a cottage industry for a while when my kids were little.

In the early 1970s I was sent to Eugene, Oregon and became a Stretch and Sew Instructor. That was a wonderful time to be
involved in sewing and to learn all about knits. I still love working with knits, especially the new fibers and expanded types of knit.

I am from the South. So, I was exposed extensively to heirloom sewing, French hand and machine sewing, and English

I moved to Illinois in 1976 and in the early 1980s I opened a small boutique sewing shop that featured English Smocking,
Heirloom sewing, and French hand and machine sewing. While I knew my craft, I was not skilled in running a business and didn’t realize my niche market was too small to support the business long term. But I loved it while I did it!

I actually worked in higher education for 25 years of my career at Bradley University and Illinois State University. However,
my undergraduate degree is in Family and Consumer Sciences, Teacher Education. While I am certified to teach Family & Consumer Sciences, I did not stay at the secondary level. I liked college-aged students better than high school-aged students.

Since retiring from ISU, I have become a Sulky Instructor. I have taught classes through local quilt and sewing stores and at ICC.

The bottom line for me is I love sewing. The whole process from conceptualizing an idea to the design process to
construction is a joy for me. Sewing is my therapy and my creative outlet. I have met the most wonderful people through sewing and their creativity is infectious.