I am DeAnne and I have sewn all my life. I come from a family of San Francisco architects and firmly believe my passion for sewing stems from some genetic, architectural “predisposition” to design, engineer and create. I am a 5th generation San Franciscan. While none of my forbearers sewed, I was supported and encouraged by my parents, who provided the proper tools and lovely fabrics.

I have been teaching sewing for Palo Alto Adult School since 2005.  What an honor.  In this program twenty-five adults enroll each quarter and learn to sew, working on a project of choice. I have heard my instructions translated (by students) into Spanish, French, Hebrew and Chinese!  I demonstrate basic sewing techniques and then help students on their individual projects. I announce each student’s question to the class and invite them to come look, listen, and ask additional questions. This format allows a lot of techniques to be addressed in a timely fashion.

Until 2004 my sewing skills were self-taught. At this time I started taking classes in the Department of Fashion Design at Canada College (Redwood City). Here I learned so much.  Not least of which was that:

           • There was lots and lots to learn in the technical aspects of garment construction, pattern drafting and design, and fashion history, not to 

              mention the garment industry, in general, and

           • I entered to the program already knowing a lot!

I loved my time there and have completed (December 2012) two of the certificates the department awards: Custom Sewing and Theater Costuming. 

My interest in children goes way back. I earned a Masters in Child/Human Development from UC Davis. I find myself consistently applying this learning in the work I do with children and adults. Teaching sewing, whether in small groups, private or semi-private lessons, with adults or children, or with adults and children is when I am at my happiest. I am sharing my love of making, creating, and engineering with my love of sharing these passions with others! 

Between graduate school and teaching sewing, I was a technical writer and instructional designer in the banking and high tech industries in Silicon Valley. The skills honed here further support my ability to convey information clearly to students. It is easy for me to come up with yet “another way” to say “it” so the individual student understands; and I never tire of “saying ‘it’ again. It’s important to me that my students develop confidence, competency and independence with their sewing. I realize the importance learning styles play in the student’s understanding, and I, therefore, work to address these differences. I have developed approximately 50 handouts on a range of sewing techniques, as well as about 17 binders (tutorials) using real fabric, pins, zippers, etc. that show the steps for accomplishing a variety of techniques.

The Palo Alto Weekly interviewed and photographed me for their December 24, 2010 edition. To take a look click on or copy and paste the link, below. See page 30.


I have raised two daughters (presently in their late 20’s and early 30’s) in Palo Alto, where I live with my husband.

My SEWING perspective

Sewing is all-around good news! It inspires creativity and fosters skills that build confidence, competence, and self-esteem. It empowers the designer, architect, and engineer in each of us, while allowing us to be green in yet another aspect of our lives. I love designing and making clothing, quilts, home dec items, and accessories (purses and tote bags). I typically incorporate zippers, pockets, bows, tucks, cording and/or piping into my designs. I love figuring out how to engineer the results I am after.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning to sew, I hope you will contact me.

Thank you for your interest,

DeAnne Appleton

Textile Architect & Sewing Instructor  

Palo Alto, CA    

      AppletonSews • Since 2005     

      Sewing Instructor for Palo Alto Adult School, 2005 to present
      Custom Sewing & Theater Costuming Certificates, Canada College
      Master Degree in Child/Human Development, University of California, Davis
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