Martha Campbell Pullen didn’t invent heirloom sewing – the art of joining laces to create fabric has survived for centuries – but she and her fabulous staff can take much of the credit for turning this age-old art into a popular hobby.
Today, she fronts an heirloom sewing business, which grew out of a tiny shop in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1981, two months after opening that shop, she began importing laces and fabrics to sell mail-order, both wholesale and retail. Next, came Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion, which now attracts more than 600 women to Huntsville twice a year. The school’s success prompted Martha to venture out of her local market, conducting full-scale Martha Pullen schools in Australia, England, Sweden, Canada and New Zealand. She has also held mini-schools in 43 states.
In 2004, when Martha Pullen Company became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Birmingham-based Hoffman Media, LLC, the merger freed Martha’s time to focus on a career-long dream – sharing her extensive collection of heirloom garments with the world. The Vintage Collection of Martha Pullen series of books debuted with its first two volumes both published in 2005. The collector series is a photographic and editorial account highlighting the beauty and construction details of individual vintage pieces in her collection. As Martha’s focus has always been to mesh heirloom techniques with modern technology, she’s also made available machine embroidery design CDs corresponding to each volume, which feature machine reproductions of century’s old handwork.
In February 2012, The Martha Pullen Company was acquired by F+W Media, Inc. F+W Media is a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services for enthusiasts. For nearly a Century, F+W has offered a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, ecommerce, education, video, and more.
One of the projects of which she is most proud, is Sew Beautiful, a magazine she founded and began publishing in 1987. She began sharing her love of heirloom sewing with public television audiences around the United States and Canada through her Martha’s Sewing Room series, which airs in 73 percent of American PBS stations. An accomplished author, she also has more than 50 books to her credit.
Martha who was born in Morristown, New Jersey, grew up in Scottsboro, Alabama. After graduating with a degree in speech and English from the University of Alabama, she taught those subjects at almost every level of middle school and high school. Later, her studies led to a Ph.D. in educational administration and management from the University of Alabama. In 2005, Martha was inducted into the American Sewing Guild Hall of Fame for her many contributions to the sewing industry. She was named a national Daughter of Distinction of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the ninth person to receive this honor, which she shares with Elizabeth Dole and Janet Reno. She was named Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce Executive of the Year, the second woman in the history of the organization to receive this award. She has been a nominee for Inc. magazine’s executive of the year. She is a member of Rotary International and the Optimist Club. Martha was presented with the Golden Needle Award from the Schmetz Needle Company of Germany and Euro-notions.
She is the wife of Joe Ross Pullen, a retired implant dentist, mother of five and grandmother to 19. An active member of her church, she has volunteered with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board in Africa, Jamaica, and Brazil. A devoted Christian, Martha gives the credit for this business to God.
To serve the sewing public in such a gracious manner that it brings glory to God, profit to the business, respect and admiration to Martha Pullen Company and joy and enthusiasm to those who participate.