Michelle Paganini has been a student in the Cañada fashion department for several years, and you may have read about her on this blog before. But it’s been a while, and we wondered what Michelle, an upcycling artist and pattern designer, was up to now. Here’s what’s been going on with her lately:

“While I was at PIQF (the Pacific International Quilt Festival), I was invited to do three segments for It’s Sew Easy,” Michelle announces proudly. It’s Sew Easy is a television show filmed in Cleveland and aired on PBS stations around the country as well as online. “The show is a ½ hour long with two segments per show between 10-12 minutes,” she explains. “You submit a proposal for what you might like to do. You set up the day before and lay everything out ahead of time—all the steps, like a cooking show.” One of her segments was about reverse appliqué; the other on how to sew a double collar. They are both set to air sometime in June.

Michelle Paganini on the set of television show It’s Sew Easy.

“One thing I’ve learned after the past couple of years: Every event is an opportunity for marketing, even if you don’t sell a lot.” Having done shows before, Michelle has a booth set-up ready to go, including banners, displays, etc. “It’s still a lot of work, including being on your feet for four days,” she confides. “I love it, but it’s exhausting at the same time.” Still she urges others: “Don’t turn down any opportunities.”

Another tip: “I had developed a lot of designs, but I realized I wasn’t looking enough at what people really wanted. There’s market research to be done as well as marketing.” How did she do it? “I had sample garments out that I didn’t yet have patterns for. I asked people to cast a vote on a piece of paper.” The results of her informal poll guided the release of her Rebecca dress. “People said they wanted patterns that were simple.”

So what’s in the future for Michelle? “I did a class with PenWAG (the Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild) and three for ASG (American Sewing Guild). I would love to do online video teaching too.”

In the more immediate future, she has a big trip to look forward to. Michelle can’t hold back her enthusiasm when she announces, “I’m going to Italy with Ronda!” Specifically she is anticipating that the trip will be an opportunity “to renew my creativity, network with other ladies who are going, and be inspired.”

Find Michelle’s patterns here.