Our Instructors

Jo Carter


Operations Manager. Jo owned and operated for 14 years Physical Element boutique in Portland's Pearl District. Before that she was marketing manager for Jantzen. She has a bachelors and masters from UNC in apparel design and textile products marketing. She is on point for creating new products & services for you.
apparel draping instructor adam andreas at portland fashion institute

Classes: Flats & Techs, Advanced Specs. Adam Andreas graduated with honors from Art Institutes' apparel design program. After winning raves for his first menswear collection, he went to work in product development for Leslie Jordan sportswear then as a senior product developer for Columbia Sportswear.

Alyson freelance patternmaker and technical designer of fashion apparel

Class: How to Work with Production. Alyson is an in-demand freelance pattern maker and technical designer. She started her own business in 2014 after working many years as a product developer for Amer Sports/Wilson Tennis and Nike. She has her own line of curvy girl fashions called Clair Vintage Inspired.



Classes:  Patternmaking.  After years of sewing as a hobby, Anne discovered patternmaking and fell in love. She won a garment design contest while completing her Apparel Design certificate at Portland Fashion Institute.  This led to a patternmaking internship with Sharon Blair. She has been teaching patternmaking at PFI and has done freelance patternmaking since 2017.
britta hellquist couture dress fashion design instructor

Classes: Couture Techniques, Couture Dress, Drapin. Along with a BFA in Apparel Design, Britta has pursued her interests in historical costuming and fine sewing in many forms and has worked as a costumer in theater and film. She has also worked with many local designers, helping them to bring their creations to life
instructor cathy libnic graphic design at portland fashion institute

Classes: Graphic Design, Computer Print Design. Cathy Libnic started her own brand of hand illustrated women's and children's apparel in Los Angeles. Her products were sold in Fred Segal, Neiman Marcus, and specialty boutiques from NYC to Honolulu.She also worked in Los Angeles for several surf wear brands. In 1995 she became a senior graphic designer for Nike, working on men’s, women's and youth apparel. Cathy has been freelancing since 2012 for brands such as Columbia Sportswear, Fred Meyer, Wilson Sporting Goods, Basin + Range and Barre 3.

Colton Helfrecht


Classes: Industrial Machine Sewing, Leatherworking. Helfrecht graduated with a bachelors in apparel design from Art Institute of Portland. He developed products for Spooltown and Bespoke Accessories Group. He created his own line, ColtyPDX, a gender-neutral leather lifestyle brand centered around accessories and small leather goods such as wallets, portfolios, totes and backpacks. In 2017, he founded CH Design & Manufacturing.
celeste sipes fashion instructor on working with boutiques

Class: Working with Boutiques. Celeste Sipes owns Radish Underground, a boutique at 414 SW 10th "in the heart of Portland's trendy West End." When she opened Radish in 2008, "we set out to be detectives, finding independent lines you can feel good about supporting: designers/companies who give a damn about the world we live in and the people in it."


Classes: History of Fashion, inside the Fashion Industry, Overseas Production. Dana Ditto has more than 20 years of apparel industry experience across Sourcing, Costing, Planning, Merchandising and Sales. After graduating with a bachelor of science in Apparel and Merchandising from Colorado State University, Dana has grown her career with companies such as Limited, Harold’s Stores, GAP and Nike. She currently works at Nike in Global Sourcing and Manufacturing.

debra bruneaux fashion and costume design instructor

Classes: Corsets, Petticoats, Costume, Textile Design. Debra Bruneaux has been a theatrical costumer for many years, working primarily on the West Coast for theaters such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Old Globe Theater in San Diego, Center Theater Group in Los Angeles, Berkeley Repertory Theater and currently is the cutter/draper for Portland Opera. Her expertise in corsets and petticoats reflects historical fashions on which period costume design is based.
elizabeth mollo instructor of fashion event production

Class: Fashion Event Production. Elizabeth Mollo got her start producing fashion shows in 2004 with the first Doom Town Rock and Roll Fashion Show, where she participated as one of the designers and helped to coordinate the show. Since then she has helped produce FashioNXT, Open Season, Alley 33, The Portland Sewing Fashion Forward Show, and many other shows and events including Fade to Light, which she conceived and produces.
eden dawn instructor of fashion design pr techniques

Classes: PR Techniques, Fashion Styling Eden Dawn (yes, that is her real name) spends her life submerged in fashion as a stylist, writer, and tastemaker and fashion editor for Portland Monthly. Born and raised in Oregon, she began her style career while still a child, by cheerfully violating numerous dress codes at her private school before turning that troublemaking into her trademark as one of Oregon’s top fashion experts.


emily weltman instructor of fashion history at portland fashion institute

Class: History of Fashion. Emily Weltman received her BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology. After graduation, Emily worked as a designer and director for the Gap, Old Navy, Puma and Nike. After receiving her Masters in Art Education at PSU, began work as a design manager for Wieden+Kennedy.


Class: Industrial Machine Sewing. Florencia Pacheco was born in Argentina. There she began her studies of pattern making and sewing.  After moving to Portland she completed the Apparel Design Program at the Portland Fashion Institute.  She now works as a product developer for Kroger after working at Creative Capital Design and Portland Garment Factory.
jason clageron instructor apparel marketing and trade shows

Class: Truth about trade shows. Designer: West Daily, J.Calderon Apparel. Designs, patterns, and constructs garments for sampling, industry shows, and retail sales. Responsible for branding, promotions, direct marketing, and relationship building .


jennifer bynum fashion illustration instructor at portland fashion institute

Class: Fashion Illustration Intensives. Jennifer Baggett Bynum received a scholarship to the Art Institute of Portland based off a collection of fashion illustrations she designed. After graduating, she began a career in product development and is now the senior art director for private label product for Kroger & Fred Meyer.

koko wright industrial machine sewing and patternmaking instructor

Classes: Industrial Machine Sewing, Outerwear, Shoemaking. Since completing her bachelors in fine arts in apparel design, KoKo Wright has worked as a patternmaker for Pendleton, and as head product developer for snowboard brand Airblaster. Now KoKo is currently Lead Soft Goods Developer for Sigma Designs, an engineering and design firm, building the future.

Classes: Look Books & Line Sheets. Raddatz graduated from Otis College of Art and Design with a bachelors in Graphic Design, Advertising and Illustration.  She has since worked for Mattel, Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, Burton Snowboards, Wieden + Kennedy and Nike.  She has helped develop high level creative strategy, brand guidelines, and retail and advertising campaigns, that have helped many of these brands continue to elevate and evolve rapidly to remain industry leaders in their respective categories.


Classes: Adobe Illustrator for Fashion Design. Busse is a product developer for Columbia Sportswear where she has worked for since 2015. She has worked for Hybrid, Pacific Sunwear and Oceandless in California. She graduated with a bachelors in apparel design from Art Institute of Portland.

Classes:  Visual Merchandising.  Linda Cahan is an internationally known retail design expert specializing in visual merchandising and store design.  Linda consults, trains, gives seminars worldwide, has authored three books on retail display and design.

Class:  Innovative Design.  In 2001 Liza Rietz made her first footprint in the land of apparel by creating fresh new designs. Many personalities come to her for their wardrobes. She shows her work in magazines, television and independent fashion shows.  Her clothes appear in boutiques around the country and in her own store in LoBu Portland.

lisa silveria apparel construction and sewing class instructor

Classes: Apparel Construction, Intermediate Sewing, Special Classes. One of Lisa Silveira's greatest passions is travel, from which she draws much inspiration. In 2005 she spent 4 months in Florence, Italy studying silk painting, batik, jewelry design, oil painting, and the ways of Italian fashion and “La Bella Figura”, a way of life emphasizing beauty, good image, aesthetics and proper behavior.

Lynn Weglarz


Classes: Kids & Teens, Beginning Sewing Weglarz is one of Portland’s most popular kids & teens sewing teachers. She authored the book "I Can Sew" and several articles for national publications. She has taught sewing for more than 20 years and served as ASG Oregon Chapter president.
nancy mitchell instructor of fashion design accounting basics

Class: Accounting Basics. Nancy Mitchell earned her bachelors in accounting at San Jose State University in 1983. Nancy has worked in the accounting arena in various corporate roles from accountant to Chief Financial Officer. In 1999, she began Option-E with her partner providing CFO and Human Resource consulting to small businesses.


owen schmidt instructor of contracting basics for apparel designers

Class: Contracting Basics for Apparel Designers. Owen Schmidt has worked more than 32 years as an attorney. He has served as Senior Counsel with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the General Counsel in Portland, Ore. He was a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Oregon.  Schmidt received his J.D. from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College.  


Classes: Weaving. Sara Poly studied Textile Arts and Art History at Kent State University. Her apparel industry experience started in 2001 at Pendleton Woolen Mills. She has expertise in textile design and is passionate about all fiber art. Sara currently works in trim development at Columbia Sportswear.

Class: Textiles Donofrio began her career studying fashion design at George Brown College in Toronto. During school, she apprenticed at established labels and textile agencies where she learned the business side of fashion. After working as a product developer, buyer and designer she started her own label, One Imaginary Girl in Portland. She appeared on Project Runway, season 17.


Class:  Intellectual Property. Susan joined Chernoff Vilhauer in 2004 and became a partner in 2008. She has experience advising clients in matters involving a broad range of technologies, including consumer products and manufacturing protocols. Susan has substantial litigation experience and has represented clients in trials in both state and federal courts in Oregon and Washington, and at appeals to the Ninth Circuit and the Federal Circuit.
instructor suzi gurney who teaches beginning sewing

Classes: Beginning Sewing, Kids & Teens. Suzi Gurney is passionate about fashion and sewing. She's worked behind the scenes in the fashion industry for over 30 years, first as operations manager at Mercantile and now as the FIDM Fashion Club advisor for CHS. She creates beautiful clothing under SG Custom Clothing and won first place professional at Modified Style 2018.
portland fashion institute patternmaker instructor valerie furcron

Classes: Fit and Pattern Alteration. Valerie Furcron has more than 35 years of experience in the apparel industry primarily as a pattern maker both in Los Angeles and in Portland for Jantzen, Hanna Andersson and Pendleton. She currently works at Columbia Sportswear as an apparel fit engineer.