With unbridled passion and contagious enthusiasm comes a desire to share—and this is what Helen Bartley brings first and foremost to her sewing lounge. It’s reflected in what and how she teaches, her deep dive into details and descriptions, and the way she interacts with students of all sewing experience levels.
Helen learned sewing at her mother’s knee at a tender age, and has pursued this early and impressionable love in lifelong practice. She studied textiles, fashion design and clothing construction at Eastern Washington University (she also taught at the campus’s sewing lab). As a Palmer/Pletsch Certified Sewing Instructor she’s taught pants, knits and fit workshops, and served as technical editor on Knits for Real People and contributed to The Palmer/Pletsch Complete Guide to Fitting.
Seam Divas beamed brightly into existence in 2008, and Helen has now made it her full-time pursuit, having jettisoned traditional office life in 2016. She’s taught hundreds of students, and has also shared her craft and inspired with her knowledge at numerous workshops and classes across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
A Rising National Star, an Appreciation
by Pati Palmer, President/Owner, Palmer/Pletsch Publishing
I have worked with Helen for 15 years. She is a rising national star for teaching fashion sewing and fitting. Six years ago, Marta Alto and I decided to mentor her to follow in our footsteps, assuring our workshops will continue in Portland. By assisting us she has developed the skills needed to be a fit expert. She is now the lead instructor in our Portland, Oregon, workshop location.
I love her attention to detail. Everything needs to be first class and professional, whether it’s the venue where she teaches, her sewing, the samples she presents to students or her beautifully done instructional slide presentations.
She is thorough, making sure every detail is handled before a workshop or class takes place. Students love her and her caring, you-can-do-it attitude. She is also very innovative. She loves making jeans and has taken what Marta and I have created way beyond where we left off. She will be writing a jeans fit and sew book for Palmer/Pletsch and is teaching our jeans workshop using many fitting and sewing techniques for the look of well-fitted designer jeans.
“Helen has all the qualities that make a great teacher including knowledge, patience, and professionalism.”
“I would highly recommend Helen to anyone from beginner to advanced sewing skills!”
“Helen has taught me a new life skill that I will be able to pass down to my daughter one day!”