From billfolds and bibs to slippers and satchels, Patty Bittner’s Bitts of Treasure are heartfelt, handmade and heirloom quality. “It’s my passion, sort of an addiction,” she says of sewing slips of fabric into functional favorites. Bittner learned to sew as a child, in an era when turning eight really meant something. For her, it meant she was big enough to walk to the mall and old enough to enroll in Singer Sewing Classes.
“I was fascinated with the machines, and I liked the idea of making my own clothes,” she says. The delight of cutting and sewing her first pair of pants stuck with her. Over the years, she sewed very special clothing items. But her real delight came in sewing gifts. These days, Bittner sews gifts for the fun of it, and for the delight of watching people invest in a treasure that she’s created. Whether she works from a pattern or a picture in her mind, every one of her Bitts of Treasure is individual. “I may cut out ten or twenty pair of baby shoes at once,” she says. The assembly line cutting makes it easier to enjoy that part of the process, which can be tedious and tiring. Even though they’re cut at once, Bittner points out that “No two pair will be alike.”
And in all likelihood, they won’t all be sewn at the same time. Bittner looks at that as an investment in the future. She says, “I have boxes and bags of projects to get into later.”
Bittner’s signature owl bags are one of a kind from the get-go. They’re created one at a time.
“I make them from old suit jackets,” she says. “The pockets are always different, so not one of them is the same.” And yes. You can provide her with a suit of special meaning, and Bittner will transform it into a personable owl haversack. When you get ready to settle in to your own owl, you’ll find a coin purse tucked inside. It’s not just the owls that Bittner gives people a choice on. She welcomes folks to pick out their favorite fabrics, or give her a design theme. Even more important, she listens to what people say, and adapts. “When my nieces had babies, they told me ‘Please don’t do snaps, I have two seconds’,” she said. “So I use velcrose.” She’s also somewhat of a zipper fanatic. Zipper pockets are tucked into diaper clutches, coin purses and tissue holders.
She says, “People like to safely carry cash, credit cards and a key in them.” The aprons Bittner creates function differently. “I hated that tie on the back of your neck,” she says. “Mine has one big long string that goes around your neck and ties in the back, so the apron can slide up and down.” Thus, a Bitts apron can carry a child from two to ten. You’ll find Bitts of Treasure, priced from $4 to $40, at city festivals, craft shows; on Etsy and Facebook, or email PatriciaBittner@yahoo.com.