Michael Portuesi is a mild-mannered software developer and author of this blog. His other hobbies include amateur astronomy, and it was the idea of producing a custom-made astronomical sketchpad that led him into the idea of sewing.

When a Brother sewing machine “magically appeared” for Christmas 2011, he took up sewing as a hobby and has been teaching himself ever since. His interests include cases, folios, home decorating, and men’s garment construction.

In 2017, Michael enrolled in the Fashion program at City College of San Francisco, and is nearing completion of certificates of accomplishment in Apparel Construction and Patternmaking.

When not working or sewing, Mike can probably be found looking through his telescope or riding a bicycle through the streets of San Francisco, where he lives with his partner and a herd of computers.

About the Name

The name of the blog, Line of Selvage, is a melding of 1) the “selvage”, or the strip of finish of the ends of the fabric as it comes off the bolt and 2) the “line of scrimmage”, a term for the point at which two teams meet on the field in a game of American football.  For Mike sometimes, the art of sewing seems like a faceoff between himself on one side, and the fabric, sewing machine, patterns and notions on the other.


Please write with any thoughts or comments you might have. You can send email directly to Mike’s gmail address, or you can use the form on the Contact page.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Josie Huber


    I just return from Hawaii. I was looking for sewing inspiration when I found your blog. I am a RN instructor who sews for charity and as a hobby.
    My husband has a room full of computer,, that was is business for a while. I have a sewing room. I want to learn how to make men shirts, and women shirts too. I just finished a t-shirt, my second one.
    I have several sewing machines, not a industrial. Not yet anyway.
    I like your own garment critique. I think sewing is addicting. Most of us look for perfection. I say, enjoy what you learn and move on.

    Thanks for sharing. Oh, Yeah. I love San Francisco. So many places like Rio de Janeiro.

    Thanks again

    1. mportuesisf Post author

      If you are interested in making men’s shirts, stick around! You can compare notes with me. Upcoming on my project docket are more men’s dress shirts, and I plan to make a polo sometime soon.

      Perfection is what I strive for, too! But I’m also an engineer, and we’re trained to accept “good enough”. The more I sew, the more I learn that both philosophies are important. You always want the best result you can, but if you can only accept perfection you are going to be an unhappy camper.

      I’m also sorry that Brian isn’t more active on his blog. He seems to have gone mostly radio silent after establishing his own sewing studio. I’m guessing that means the studio is keeping him busy, which is probably a good thing. He has been incredibly inspirational to me, and I’ve learned so much from his videos – so I hope to see more from him soon.

  2. Gillian

    Hi, I am also a software developer and have recently been bitten by the sewing bug. I’m sewing my very first shirt (for me). I’ve never had a sewing lesson and I’m learning totally from helpful blogs like yours and youtube. (Your photos are very helpful). It’s seems sewing a shirt is just like software development – I have a plan of how to do it, but I don’t always get it right first time (or second or third) and the bits that looked easy end up taking ages. I want to get to the stage where I can make properly tailored shirts for my son that actually fit properly and look handmade rather than home made. He’s a big guy, 6’4″ so very few shirts fit him well.

    1. mportuesi


      Thanks for writing, and I’m glad the photos are helpful!

      I think there’s several ways you can approach sewing – mine is somewhat technically oriented, but that’s because of my background. The design aspect is something I find challenging, yet awe-inspiring and enlightening.

      As for how to approach projects so they don’t come out “homemade”, one engineer to another: This sounds like an idea for a blog post.

  3. Marco

    Hi Michael,
    I, also come from an engineering background, but while exploring my more artistic side, learning to play a saxophone, at Los Angeles City College, and meeting performers playing jazz, I became interested in dressing well.
    Now, having asked a young lady, working at Joanns Fabrics, where one would obtain cobalt blue satin fabric, for a three-piece suit, that I had an image of David Bowie wearing, on my phone, I’ve taken “Sample Making And Design I”, at LA Trade Tech, and am attempting to construct a seersucker summer dress, through the help of a class I took at Mood Fabrics this summer. Worrying about ironing that seersucker fabric, was how I chanced upon your blog.
    So, now that I have decided to also, bring the fashion world to it’s knees, while I’m learning to sew a woman’s dress together, I’ve decided I need labels, for the clothing, and sewing tools I’m making.
    I saw, in one of your blogs, that *you’d* managed to have professional-looking labels for the garments you’ve made, and I was wondering how you’ve done that.
    I stopped at a company in the LA Fashion District, that is a label making company, and their receptionist told me their minimum order for one label color choice, and two embroidery thread colors, was 10,000 pieces, @ $400, or something like that, which is probably more than I should invest, right now, in my bid to overtake Ralph Lauren.
    I finally bought my own machine, for home, a ten-year-old, computerized, low mile, Bernina 630, with embridery plotter and capability. I wondered whether I might be able to knock out a couple of dozen, with it.
    – Thanks Michael, you’re an inspiration to me.
    – Marco

    1. mportuesisf Post author

      Hi Marco,

      I got my labels online from the Dutch Label Shop, which offers small orders for really reasonable prices. I got the basic woven label. There’s a browser app that lets you customize text, colors, fonts and icons, but it doesn’t for instance let you upload an image. You have to craft something with the tools they give you.

      Good luck with your fashion quest! You never know where it will take you. I can attest to that!


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