When Pattie Geuy was growing up, she believed learning to sew was simply a physical milestone, like crawling or walking — a skill every child was expected to achieve.
“I learned to sew before I learned to write,” says Pattie. “My mother sewed, my two grandmothers sewed, even my aunt who taught home economics lived next door — I thought sewing was something everyone did.”
She first learned to hand sew by creating doll clothes, then moved on to crocheting and embroidering. When she was tall enough, she started using the sewing machine.
Pattie, who is a Pioneer member, now uses her talents and time to give back through quilting and donating some of those quilts to various disasters or causes.
When Pattie was younger, growing up in Fort Myers, Florida, she was often asked to assist with costumes for school plays and musicals.
“You simply apprenticed yourself to the different people you worked with,” says Pattie of her skill set.
Pattie attended college, where she continued to follow her love of dance and use her sewing skills. After college, she moved to Los Angeles, California. She joined the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company, helped with costumes, and began to learn choreography.
It wasn’t long after she moved to L.A. that it became vividly apparent that making costumes was much more lucrative than wearing them, so that’s where Pattie focused her attention.
After completing the 30 days required in the costume house and live television, she earned her union card. From that point forward, Pattie says she was fortunate that work remained steady for her.
She did projects for CBS from 1976 to 1977, including The Carol Burnett Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and The Young and the Restless; Universal Studios from 1977 to 1979, including The Blues Brothers and Coal Miner’s Daughter; Bob Mackie; and Paramount Pictures, including Happy Days, Cheers, Star Trek, and Top Gun.
“Experience matters a lot — you can watch how someone wants it done and replicate that, because if you don’t have the experience in your hands you could mess it up pretty quick,” says Pattie of her experience working in California.
After nearly 17 years in California, Pattie received a phone call from an old friend she’d met in Florida years before who had become a widower and had two young daughters. It wasn’t long after that call that Pattie relocated to Ohio in November 1989 and married “the one that got away.”
With no movie production agencies in rural Ohio, Pattie became a full-time mom and kept her hands busy and skills sharp by creating Easter dresses and prom dresses for her daughters from scratch. When her daughters had grown, a friend from church encouraged her to start quilting. And that’s just what she did.
She found thrift store shirts with interesting patterns or embroidery or cut up old denim jumpers that were no longer in style — Pattie let no fabric go to waste. In most cases, with the exception of the backing material, all of Pattie’s quilts are made from second-hand material.
Pattie’s love of sewing and her new hobby led to an abundance of quilts, many of which she’s donated to various causes in recent years.
“My father was a World War II vet, and when I was growing up, we were taught to respect the veterans, respect their service and what they give you — and it’s only right to give back,” says Pattie, “And then there are the tornado victims and I think, thank God it wasn’t me. You need to find ways to give back and help them.”
Pattie most recently donated 12 quilts to the Dayton VA as part of Pioneer’s employee-driven fundraising effort. She’s also donated to the victims of the Dayton Memorial Day tornados, flood victims in North Carolina, and the veteran’s hospice, just to name a few. Those she doesn’t donate, she gives as gifts. Pattie also previously sold her quilts in local shops, but due to closures, she is currently seeking a new place to sell her quilts.
“When you’re blessed with the time, use it and give back,” says Pattie.