Meet Gretta Marlene Hurst

Hello, and welcome to Patches Sewing Studio!

Want to sew do you? Oh Good! Because I love to teach sewing skills !

So, let me tell my story of why you would want me to share this knowledge and skill with you .

Our father was a Master Carpenter as was his father before him.

My mother's drive was from Necessity rather than pleasure when she made me a little red corduroy dress to have my picture taken in, up-cycling as we say today from a coat of hers.

From my fathers mother, my Grandmother , came the genetics of loving to sew and knit, truly a gift.

Today we have returned to sewing for different reasons, like lockdowns and stay at home orders, retirement plans because we were too busy for a hobby, raising a family and stretching time and money. But the foremost reason we need, let me repeat, we need, we crave to create and make with our hands useful and beautiful things.

For me , it has always been the love of fabric, needle, thread and color that has attracted me.

In High School I had the privilege to go to trade school for half a day and learning how to take a length of flat yardage and make it fit the Human form…

I was smitten and made my first pair of jeans! I was happy just to learn a new technique. Not even always finishing the project before a new art form would come across my view and bam! I was off and running.

I was a grown woman and married when I went to work for a true Seamstress here in the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia and North Carolina. There I learned to hone my sewing skills to a whole new level, remaking a garment so that it fit the needs and body style… or lack there of… and try to make it look like I hade never taken a seam ripper to it. Talk about a learning curve!

Unfortunately it was not the only learning curve going on in my life…. But I took these new precious skills and struck out on my own. I was able to sew a reputation of my own that afforded me a roof over my head and food on my table for me and my beloved Great Dane, Ms. Ellie. We went to our shop each day and she greeted customers and judged them accordingly and I sewed my little heart out , To my surprise, my clientele became much more than customers but real and caring people in my life. My regular peeps taught me so much about quality clothing and I became fearless even in the face of a $200 ticket price of the garment. I had a shop in town and then later out of my home. Having given my heart to a family life again , I made cute outfits for my stepdaughter…Puff Paints and Iron on Daisy Kingdom prints were the rage. Then I Slowed way down after the birth of my own daughter and tried to sew for a local Wedding Gown boutique … 3 gowns to alter at once that suddenly need to be done at the same time. That broke me for a while from sewing on a deadline! Thus enters my love of Lace!

Heirloom Sewing called : French Hand Sewing on the Machine…. Be still my heart! Thanks to my wonderful Instructor Maxine Ramey , so patient! I went on to teach Smocking

At one time making a beautiful dress for a young girl who was going in for heart surgery.

I will never forget you

So, once again I was swamped with alterations and custom clothes and a living room full of clients waiting to be fitted and my 2 year old daughter riding on my back, much to everyone’s delight!…enter the second child.

By then Homeschool was my focus for many years. I was able to share my love of the sewing arts with our homeschool group as we made our projects.

Well, as you know, change is the name of the game. As homeschool was ending and the first child flew the nest,

I had a spare bedroom, and well, it became my sewing room! Happy Dance ! I did alterations and custom clothes at this time.

I Chose the name Patches from a dress I designed for the mother of the groom . A wedding with a 1920’s theme. Just as I was finishing and pressing …through a pressing cloth…the unimaginable happened! The lace melted… with the brave input from my client, through my tears, I patched it…You could not see the damage or the patch…we were both ecstatic to say the least! Yep! Named that dress Patches!

But I was really hungry for a big change. I wanted to teach. I had dabbled at teaching sewing at Maxine’s fabric shop ..she had closed the first shop for a few years then reopened. This allowed me to teach, sewing Amy Butlers then popular purses and bag making and we had an Apron making club! I also used Amy Butler’s then popular Clothing patterns to teach sewing to Teenagers…some loved it and were terrible at it, some were great at it and hated it! Go figure! Then at home I had a small group making simple quilts that they tied or did Stitch in the Ditch. One went on to make one out of her son’s outgrown suits! Adding buttons from these as well. It was a treasure.

But life never ceases to change and throw huge curve balls…..Our mother unexpectedly passed away…I waded through the stress of being an unwilling Executer of her estate. I tell this very personal part because after the closing of the estate I took my inheritance and yet again Increased my knowledge and skills. She knew I was on the brink of another huge life change two days before she fell critically Ill. “ She believed I could So I did”.

New sewing machines, a new Studio in Town, a series of online courses with the Heirloom Sewest, and instructor, Martha Pullen University. I became a certified instructor in Beginning Sewing I and II and Serger III.

Then yet another move , and second child flies away…. leaving my beloved Red Rose Farm behind with memories of the Red Horse, Rosie, a herd of milk goats, cheese making and a rabbit or two…. to a house in town with a dedicated studio.

Most of my students by then were kids and I loved them all. As well as working at A Stitch in Time , under the new owner, Lynn Kline …teaching and selling the latest fabrics designed by the many young and up coming designers including Maxine’s daughter Bonnie Christine. We were All having such a good time , and interaction with clients and students alike.

Enter Covid 19 and a another simultaneous heart break in my home life. And I am here with you now…having made my share of sacrifices and emergency speed facemask making like everyone else… Add to that a badly Injured back..T11 and T10 non healing fractures….I believe I will teach from my new home, Cheerfully Called the “She Shed”. No class room teaching with new challenges, no teaching in person as I deal with physical limitations.

But the fire burns bright! I continued to add new an exciting skills to my repertoire . Big Stitch, Sashiko , Boro, Serger Skills galore. But how to reach you and let you know I want to share it all?

Enter, stage left... my cousin an Entrepreneur extraordinaire! Market UP LLC. What can you do for an old seamstress? And here we are !

Patches Sewing Studio online….at, Heartpatches on Instagram, Patches Sewing Studio on Facebook , Patches Pattern and Pieces where we will play with our Vintage Featherweight sewing machines and vintage sewing patterns available for you to purchase.

Come join the productive fun we will have no matter the season or challenge you are facing. Sewing makes it all better!

PS : watch for the Stitchy Bee updates!