Meet the Expert! Q&A with Sulky® Educator Ellen Osten

The lovely Ellen Osten is one of the fantastic instructors featured in the Sulky Certified Teacher Training Course Magical Thread Art and More. The course offers a great opportunity to stretch your sewing skills, learn how to do and teach the most popular creative machine art techniques and find out how to use the latest products.

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Joyce Drexler (Sulky Creative Director, left) and Ellen Osten (right) on the video set!

Ellen is a wonderful teacher who has been with Sulky since 1992 as a Sulky National Educator and is now the Sulky Director of Education. She travels throughout the country giving lectures, demos and hands-on classes. Ellen has also appeared on Sew it All TV and written fun articles in our print magazines. She took a moment to chat with us about her sewing background, where she finds inspiration and what it’s like to stitch on camera. Plus, check out the beautiful projects below that she’s teaching in the Magical Thread Art and More Course!

Sew News: How and when did you start sewing?

Ellen: I have been sewing most of my life. By the time I was in high school, I was making most of my wardrobe. A friend told me she counted 31 days before she saw me wear the same outfit twice! I turned my gift into a custom sewing, fitting, bridal and tailoring business. I took my very first Free-Motion Embroidery class in 1977 and knew I found my passion. I used this skill to make clothing and suits extra special with applique, cutwork and embroidery. I began teaching as more and more people asked how to do it. A local shop owner beg me to teach at her shop. She planted the seed and helped build my confidence to begin.

SN: Where do you find inspiration for your projects?

E: Inspiration for me comes from everywhere. Truly. A post card, TV commercial, a comment from a friend, a scrap of fabric.   If you look hard enough, inspiration is all around.

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Ellen Osten, Joyce Drexler and Carol Ingraham on set with samples of some of the beautiful projects from the course

SN: What are your favorite materials to work with (types of fabric, thread, embellishments, etc.)?  

E: My favorite fabrics are silk dupioni and Ultrasuede. My youngest son is a Army Captain and I have a lot of his old camouflage. It’s so much fun figuring out what to use it for. I see purses and tote bags in the future. Right now I am working on a vintage jacket inspired by a bag stuffed full with lace scraps from my grandma. And I love computerized embroidery. I have a Spoolie (SulkyEmbroidery Club) patchwork jacket almost completed.  Needless to say, all my Sulky threads and stabilizers help my creations come to life.

SN: What’s your favorite sewing advice that you give to your sewing students?

E: You can do it! When my students start complaining and saying “It’s not good enough,” I say “Stop that! Look at where you began this morning!” And by the evening when class is over, they can’t believe how much improved they are.

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The Stars of Sulky Magical Thread Art and More (Carol Ingraham, Joyce Drexler and Ellen Osten) on-set with the video crew!

SN: What’s the best and worst part of sewing on camera?  

E: The very best is when everything goes right. It just feels so good when we get the message across: See, I am doing this and so can you! The worst part is keeping my hand out of the way of the camera. And the needle breaking or the thread breaking. It just shows that “stuff” happens to us too!

SN: Why would you recommend the Sulky Certified Teacher Training Course?

E: This is very important. So many women and men say they would give anything to be able to do this. The Sulky Training is a fantastic platform to help you get started. We are sharing over a hundred years of experience combined with our students. I am so glad to be part of this program. When I was wishing for help, a program like this would have been a true blessing. The Sulky Teacher Certification Online program has almost everything to help with the best support possible. And the support does not stop at the end of the course. All of the videos are forever! We are here to support and share.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Ellen! Check out these amazing projects that Ellen will be teaching in the Sulky Certified Teacher Training Course:

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Penny Rug Candle Mat

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Sun’s Up Place Mat

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Serenity Duck Staggered Bargello Wallhanging

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3-D Sunflower in an Edible Garden

There’s still time to sign up for Sulky Certified Teacher Training, but class is starting soon! Read all about the course, watch preview videos, view the beautiful projects you’ll create and find out how to register here. You’ll be amazed at the wonderful things you’ll learn and create!


 Meet the Expert! Q&A with Sulky® Educator Ellen Osten
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5 Responses to Meet the Expert! Q&A with Sulky® Educator Ellen Osten

  1. Pingback: Meet the Expert! Q&A with Sulky® Educator Carol Ingraham | Sew News

  2. ellen osten says:

    @Betty, how blessed are you? A lot! All that Sulky embroidery thread. Good News! As long as the threads have been stored properly – away from heat, sun, no dust, etc; it will have a long life. Our threads are wonderful for embroidery, by machine and by hand, applique, quilting, all sorts of embellishment. I use for top stitching and buttonholes to give that silk look. has even more info for you. I think your daughter will be very happy.
    Sunshine & Smiles, ellen o.

  3. ellen osten says:

    @Mary, I am so pleased that you are enrolled in Sulky TC Online. We’re going to have so much fun. Please go to There are quite a few things for class that may be very helpful to you. Sunshine & Smiles, ellen o.

  4. Mary Everett says:

    I am taking the course in September and was wondering if there are kits we can buy for each project? That would make it easier than trying to find everything seperately! Thank you!

  5. Betty meeks says:

    This may be one of your dumber questions…are sulky threads used mostly for machine embroidery? I inherited a large collection of sulky.. And one of my daughters just got an embroidery machine. So. Does this mean I can clear one more box from my sewing room? Thanks