Mickey & Minnie’s Inn co-owner is in her “Happy Place,” her sewing room in Galloway
“My Happy Place” is a weekly series in which local notables take us on a tour of a favorite spot in their home.
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Most people would not make the connection, but sewing has a great deal in common with being a chef, according to Dottie Garbutt, co-owner of Mickey & Minnie’s Inn in the Cologne neighborhood.
“Using patterns instead of recipes, using scissors and rotary cutters instead of knives. Being creative in the sewing room is like the kitchen, creating different desserts, soups and dishes in the restaurant,” Garbutt said.
Garbutt’s “Happy Place” is her sewing / quilting room inside her 2,000-square-foot house on 5.2 acres that she has lived in for the past 32 years.
Garbutt’s mother taught her how to sew, and both of her grandmothers did embroidery handiwork.
I just think how beautiful their handiwork was, and they didn’t have all the gadgets and computers to assist,” Garbutt said. “Also, I learned 4-H as a child. Now, I belong to Lafayette Quilt Guild in Egg Harbor, and I am very lucky to share tips and ideas with a great group of talented people.”
Garbutt started quilting after she visited Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when she was 19. She was mesmerized by the quilts and told her husband she would learn how to make a quilt.
“In the beginning, I cut with scissors, templates made from cardboard or cereal boxes. Now, I have acrylic rulers, rotary cutters to make things easier, quicker and more accurate. In the beginning of my quilting, you had to hand stitch the quilt, which took endless hours. Now, quilting can be computer generated and done by machine,” Garbutt said.
Garbutt’s sewing room is decorated with fabric, thread, handmade items, an antique sewing machine from her grandmother and all the notions, patterns, scissors, thread and rulers that she needs.
Furniture for the sewing room was purchased in Lancaster made by the Amish. A computer and an office are located in the area of the sewing room.
Garbutt loves to sew by hand or by machine.
“I try to find 10 minutes in the morning to sew before I head to work. I love making quilts for my grandchildren and embroidering items for them. I usually set a timer, so I stop to go to work,” Garbutt said.
Since Garbutt was 16, she has worked at Mickey and Minnie’s, a family-owned business that was purchased in 1938 by her husband’s grandfather.
Garbutt said quilting has catchy terms that refer to food including: layer cake, which is a collection of 10-inch squares; honey bun, a collection of 1 1/2 inch strips of fabric; and jelly rolls, a collection of 2 1/2 inch strips of fabric.
Cutting up fabric into lots of little pieces and sewing them back together accurately into a design is a challenge at times, Garbutt said.
“The math keeps the mind sharp, and I am still learning. The seam ripper is always my friend. I want the quilt block to be accurate, just like working in the kitchen, just like working in the kitchen. If it’s not done correctly, it’s a do-over,” Garbutt said.
PHOTOS of Dottie Garbutt of Mickey & Minnie’s Inn at her Galloway Township home