By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Patty Burggraff, Royalton, loves to sew. She has always loved to sew. She learned she had the talent during home economics classes at Little Falls Schools and has turned this passion into a small, home-based business, Patty’s House of Sewing.
“I am a hands-on person and need to be doing something,” she said. “When my children left home, I wondered what I was going to do to keep occupied. Roger (her husband) farms and works out. He is gone all day and into the evening.”
Burggraff’s sister, Anna Hunstad, owns the Shanty in Pillager. She asked Burggraff if she would sew for her shop. Jordie’s Trailside Cafe in Bowlus asked the same. She had plenty to do, sewing for them.
Patty’s House of Sewing took hold about two years ago at the Burggraff farm. She started prior to that helping friends and family with their sewing projects. She even taught some the basics of sewing, such as reading a pattern, cutting and more.
“From that, I learned I could give of myself and help others,” Burggraff said. “I get satisfaction seeing the joy on the faces of those who have accomplished a project. It’s inspiring.”
The groups she had come into her home grew to include friends of friends, and friends of family. Her guests began spending the night.
“My husband Roger was skeptical at first, having strangers spend the night. But as it grew, he, along with friends and my entire family, became a huge support,” she said. “Roger now joins us for occasional meals.”
Burggraff admits she does not know everything about the world of sewing. She said she has learned many new techniques and has gotten ideas for future projects from her guests.
Each retreat weekend, which runs from 3 p.m. Thursday through 3 p.m. Saturday, has an optional project the sewers may try. Burggraff explains the project and hands out detailed instructions with pictures. Others may work on their own project, uninterrupted by life’s little bothers.
“The retreat is what each person wants it to be,” she said. “I am there to offer encouragement, suggestions, help. I give my guests the time to work on whatever they want.”
Some of Burggraff’s seamstresses come for a day, some spend the night. She can sleep six people comfortably in her spacious home.
Her guests may not know each other when they arrive, but they can be the best of friends when they leave. They come away with not just a sewing retreat, but a weekend of fellowship.
“It’s a step of faith to come into my home for the first time,” she said. “I thank each one for that step.”
Burggraff’s guests work at cutting or sewing tables set up in the sun room, the kitchen and the living room. She can accommodate up to 10 people. Many bring their own material and tools, but Burggraff can supply irons, scissors, rotary cutters and more. She even has a few sewing machines to use if necessary.
“God gave me the gift of sewing and I want to share it with others,” she said. “There are two important days in people’s lives. One is the day you are born and the other is the day you figure out why.”
Burggraff also teaches several projects through Royalton Community Education classes. Her Feb. 8 class will be about how to make mittens from old sweaters.
For more information on Patty’s House of Sewing, go to www.pattyshouseofsewing.webs.com, or call her at (320) 360-3143.