Mary's Sewing Very Successful  

'This is not your grandmother's kind of sewing machine.'

Written by Linda Tyssen:
Staff writer for Mesabi Daily News.

AURORA - Mary Mulari's career started small, when she sewed doll clothes in the Loon Lake 4-H club.

It has grown into a successful business that even involves a contract with Viking Sewing Machines Inc., Swedish manufacturer of the Husqvarna Viking sewing machines. Mulari has designed an applique/embroidery card to be used with two computerized sewing machines.

The programs the Husqvarna Viking No. 1 and Rose allow machines to stitch hearts, flowers, flags, women's accessories, puzzle pieces, and 30 other designs. Mulari drew the designs, sent them to Sweden, and they were accepted.

"This is not your grandmother's kind of sewing machine," Mulari said as she demonstrated in the sewing room of her home in Aurora. "You can do so much with them." Decorating ready-made apparel has become popular, she said.

"Mine is the first card that does applique," she said. A design can be embroidered onto a piece of material, then cut and sewed, or appliqued, onto another fabric. "This is a sewing skill that takes some practice if it's not automatic," she said, turning out a blue heart on gold fabric. With modern sewing machines, "you don't even have to press a pressure foot to do it. It's a toy now more than a machine of necessity."

Mulari has several machines in her shop, where she freelances as Mary's Productions. She doesn't stop at sewing -- she shares her knowledge with others through the books she has in print.

Her business began in 1982 when she started teaching classes on sweatshirt decorating through community education. She formerly taught English. "I don't have a formal home economics background," she said and at first some questioned "what business did I have teaching sewing." Now, she said, people pay to attend the seminars she gives. "It's really fun to be teaching." Her seminar schedule has taken her to Washington, Florida, Tennessee, Nevada, Arkansas, New York, and other places.

She's glad she lives where she does. "People think you have to live in a big city so you have contacts in high places. You can develop that and still live in a small town," Mulari said.

"I'm having fun," she said, adding that it's a direction she never would have dreamed of.

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