Instructor Bios

“Impressive” and “wide-ranging”—great words to describe the expertise that our instructors have to offer. Here’s a little snippet about each of our instructors for the up-coming term.

Pamela Leggett is the creator of Pamela's Patterns. Her patterns employ a unique approach with many fitting solutions and adjustments built-in. Pamela’s Patterns have been reviewed and featured in Threads and Sew News Magazines, Sawyer Brook Distinctive Fabrics,, Gorgeous Fabrics, and Nancy's Notions and Clotilde Catalogs. Pamela has also been a contributing writer for Threads Magazine, Creative Publishing and Janome and teaches for sewing guilds, stores and conferences. Pamela also heads up the Palmer/Pletsch East School of Sewing which is hosted here at Steve’s. Previously, she managed two different sewing stores and she’s been teaching, sewing, and serging since 1981.

Gina Shevchenko is a professional longarm quilter. She has a BFA from the University of the Arts, majoring in crafts. She also studied painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Prior to working at Steve's she taught sewing at The Agnes Irwin School for girls. In addition to teaching Longarm quilting at Steve's, Gina's bag making classes are very popular at Steve's.

Susan Shiveley
has developed some delightful quilt designs which she has been self publishing since 1999. She’s won several prizes for her quilts including one from the Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza; and she’s been featured in a one-woman quilt show at Latimer Quilt and Textile Center (OR 2001). Susan has taught quilt classes since 2000 for various fabric stores and has been engaged to do presentations for several quilt guilds.

Mindy Williams has designed and self published several patterns; and she is one of only two people licensed to sew sample pieces for Zebra Patterns. Mindy reports that, as a very small child, her grandmother would hold her in her lap and help guide her hands on her sewing machine. Her degree is in accounting but sewing and quilting has become her passion. She started teaching quilting at Steves in 1993 and loves sharing the knowledge and techniques she’s learned over the years.

Jody Beck has been a featured presenter and instructor in multiple states for over 11 years, teaching a variety of quilting techniques including a special stack-and-slash technique. She is designer and publisher of Jody’s Jems patterns, with 22 patterns currently available and sold across the country. She’s won awards for her quilts in several venues including the Iowa State Fair.

Phyllis Darrah has a BS Degree and an MS equivalency in Home Economics Education which included clothing and fashion. She started sewing when she was 5-years old, and has taught in Middle School, High School, and College. She’s taught private lessons and, of course, has taught extensively at Steves.

Lee Paylor has been a regular quilt instructor at numerous quilt guilds and quilt shops around PA and surrounding states for over 12 years. She’s won numerous awards for her quilts and her quilting efforts including Most Inspirational Survivor Award from Paoli Hospital Cancer Center. Shes a member of Calico Cutters Quilt Guild and Penn Oaks Quilt Guild.

Gail Greene grew up watching a master seamstress at work—her mother—and started sewing as a small child. The first quilt Gail worked on happened to be her mother’s last quilt. Gail served as President of Valley Forge Homestead Quilt Guild; and used to use her vacation time (from her Civil Engineering job) to help at Steves booth at quilt shows. Gail is now at Steves full time and teaches classes regularly. She has also been QVC’s “quilting expert” and appeared on air periodically to provide insights about quilts.

Ivette Velez-Grundy has been sewing since the age of 7.  She learned from her mother and aunt who worked as seamstresses in factories here and in Puerto Rico for over 50 years.  She loved to make all of her "dress" clothes, and frequently made things for others to use on special occasions.  After retiring from the Philadelphia Department of Welfare she wanted to get back into her favorite activity sewing.  She came to Steve's as a customer to buy her dream machine and was transformed into an employee and teacher.  She now does the B.B.&J. club once a monthe (Baby Lock, Bernina & Janome).  She is also doing mummers costumes for the Murray Comics Sometimes Mummers group for the past 3 years.  She enjoys sharing her knowledge of sewing and patterns with the customers, and especially the kids that are the future seamstresses.

Pat Hoffman started sewing in 9th grade Home Ec. class and has been avidly sewing ever since. She was founding secretary of Valley Forge Homestead Quilters (serving 10-years). She’s taken scores of classes, and has been teaching classes at Steves for over 15-years. She passed her love of sewing on to her daughter, who happens to be our own Liz Polley who was recently featured in Quilt Life magazine. (BTW, while Liz now lives in AZ, she’s still very much involved in our efforts here at Steves—and thankfully so.)

Shannon Strain has worked as an intensive-care nurse and became a Chiropractor, owning a full-time practice for 15 years. Now she spends only part of her time as a Chiropractor in private practice, and spends the rest of her time indulging her other passion—fiber arts and the related technology. She avidly attends all types of sewing classes and has taught a wide variety classes for many years. Shannon owns just about every kind of high-end sewing-related machine available, and she’s a consummate expert with each.

Janis Augsberger has been sewing since she was 12, and has been working professionally in sewing for 9 years. This has included garment, home-dec., and embroidery contract sewing. She’s taught scores of classes for kids, teens, and adults, and attended a variety of classes in venues such as Bernina University and Baby Lock Tech.

Christine Fackler started sewing 10 years ago when she received an embroidery machine for Christmas. This ignited a passion that motivated taking countless classes, collecting gobs of books and magazines, and gleefully experimenting with the technology. She’s worked and taught at Steves for 7 years.

Robert Cannell started sewing at age 5 when he made clothes for his stuffed panda bear. He has a BA in Industrial Arts, and most of his career has been spent in the printing industry. He also taught high school (print shop), and later taught quilting to various church groups. He’s been actively engaged in the sewing industry since 2006, repairing sewing machines and teaching classes at Steve's.

Kathy Wolper is the owner of Kitchen Wizards. Kathy has always had a passion for cooking and baking and her background is in teaching (certified elementary) and training (certified technical trainer designation). Kitchen Wizards has 10 instructors who teach cooking, baking, and candy making programs for children and adults in PA and NJ.

Maryann Zepp
is an experienced instructor in the kitchen and sewing room. She is a graduate of Drexel University in home economics education. She has also studied nutrition and the culinary arts at Immaculata Colllege, The Pennsylvania State University and Johnson and Wales. A former high school teacher she has developed products and recipes for major food companies in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Washington. She is a published author, mother and grandmother.

Amanda Ferrara received her first sewing machine for her 16th birthday and has been sewing ever since.  She's always been drawn to garment construction and enjoys sewing for herself and her two young children.  Amanda was inspired to take her fitting and garment construction skills to the next level through work with Pamela Leggett and many others in Steve's wonderful sewing community.  She has degrees in both Music & Education and is now thrilled to teach her passion, sewing, at Steve's.