Team Tillie: Meet Jozel Watson

by | Aug 25, 2015 | Matilda's Journal, Team Tillie | 4 comments

Before any Matilda’s Closet or AptOne8 pattern is presented to the public, it is tested by Team Tillie, our fabulous team of volunteers.  

Today meet Jozel Watson, one of those talented testers…

Please tell us a little about yourself …

I live in Miami, Florida, where I have enjoyed the heat and NO SNOW for the past 10 years. Previously, I lived in Milwaukee, WI, where there is a lot of snow and cold weather!! I love to sew, read, listen to music, play on my computer and, did I say read?? I did and do have an outside “real” job in that I am a nurse and have been since 1974. I love nursing and wish I could still be that active, but due to some injuries and health issues, I am currently on restricted work hours. Oh well, life goes on! At least I am able to support myself and my fabric/pattern habit!


When and how did you learn how to sew?

I have been sewing since I was 12 years old – learned on Barbie clothes as so many of us did. Funny, they didn’t seem so small then. That year I had Home Ec – aced the cooking (I had been cooking for a family of 5 for several years!) but almost flunked sewing. We had to make this straight shift with a high yoke, sleeveless and with a long zipper. It took me the entire semester! LOL But I persevered and got better and kept on sewing! I sewed clothes for myself and my children for years. When my daughter was about 8 or so, I found out about the American Girl dolls – there were only 3 of them and they were all historicals. My daughter wanted Molly and I got Samantha and that was the start of something that has grown huge! We had to hunt for patterns and invent our own because NO ONE made patterns for AG – look at the difference now!!

What do you do with the items you create during the testing process once testing is complete?

We do one big craft fair a year, so I try to sell as much as I can then, otherwise, I give them away to friends, family and charity. One of my favorite charities is the Congregational Health Department at the hospital – they donate blankets and pillowcases to abandoned and abused kids and besides sewing for them (the blankets and pillowcases), I give them AG clothes to sell as a fundraiser.

What kind of sewing machine do you use? What do you like most about it?

I have two Pfaff 7570s. It was my first embroidery machine (17 years ago) and while I now prefer my Brother embroidery machines, my Pfaff is my “baby” and a true workhorse. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

Are there any tricks or other tools you use to make it easier to sew doll-sized clothing?

I use surgical hemostats all the time – they are the best for turning things and just pulling them through. Started using them after I first saw them at work and sure wish I’d thought to bring them out as a sewing tool. Tape measure, hem gauge, seam ripper – these are all tools that I can’t do without! And cutting implements – love my rotary cutters, but have a love affair going on with scissors – straight, curved, applique, pinking shears, scalloping shears in three sizes, big ones, little ones and tiny ones… you get the picture!

When you’re not sewing, what other hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing?

I love to read and devour books. A lot of fantasy/sci-fi, some classics. I like to surf on my computer and find new places I really should stay away from as I DO NOT need any more fabric, trims or gadgets… really I don’t! I listen to a lot of music, usually as background for whatever else I am doing. And I do sew – a lot – sometimes in spurts and sometimes in dribbles, but there is always a project in some stage of completion.

Which is your favorite Matilda’s Closet or AptOne8 pattern and why?

I think I would have said the Drop-Waisted Shortalls before this last batch of testing. Now I am in love with the new Class Act: Cropped Top Collection. It is so versatile and easy. There are five different tops, and yes, they really are different. The lining is a simple front and back instead of needing to cut all the little pieces and assemble them when you don’t see the lining anyway. Since it is easily reversible, you can pick two different views to make and end up with a reversible top! Brilliant ideas in motion!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our blog readers?

Just keep watching Matilda’s Closet for newer and better patterns. Having worked with the past creations, I know the future ones will be even better!

UPDATE: We were saddened to hear of the passing of Jozel in November 2020. Our hearts go out to her family and friends and we will be forever grateful for the contributions made to Matilda Jo Originals and the doll sewing community.

Find more photos of outfits made using our patterns in the Team Tillie Idea Gallery!


  1. Darlene Harper

    Kristin, What does it take to become a tester? and do you need more people to sew as tester? I may be interested in doing this.

    • Kristin Rutten

      Thanks for your interest Darlene. Testing is entirely voluntary with a few perks, which are agreed to beforehand. Testers can also be from a variety of experience levels, provided they have access to the materials and tools needed and ideally time to test on a regular basis. I have all the testers I need right now, but if I find that I need more, I’ll most likely put out a call via my Inner Circle newsletter. (Subscribe here:

  2. Dana Ronevich

    Great way to get to know your testers! What a nice feature to what goes on behind the scenes!

    • Kristin Rutten

      Thanks Dana!! We couldn’t do it without our wonderful testers, so I’m happy to help others get to know them. 🙂

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