About Past Patterns


Saundra Altman, our founder, has dedicated this website to the memory of her maternal grandparents, Genevieve Ross, born Jenny Viola Smith, and Miguel Gabro Ros.

About Miguel

Miguel was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1890. Miguel’s formal education was begun at the age of five, when he was apprenticed to a carpenter in Barcelona.

His first project was making toys. At age eighteen he knew how to build a house.

In 1908 he worked his way though Brazil, Peru and Panama, building railroads financed in South America by Great Britain.

Miguel entered New Orleans, illegally under another man’s passport around 1914.

About Genevieve

Miguel met Jenny Viola Smith shortly after, in Birmingham, Alabama during a Labor Day celebration.

She had been voted queen of the Labor Day Parade and in the leading float. He followed her float to the fairground where she sold charity kisses for $1.00 each.

They were married one year later and moved to Miami, Florida.

In Miami Miguel opened Ross Furniture Studio.

Miguel’s Studio was Saundra’s playground from infancy through adolescence. It was here that Miguel taught Saundra how to saw, drive a nail, upholster antique furniture and sew on an industrial sewing machine.

By example he taught Saundra how he managed his small business.

Miguel’s favorite working outfit was a white T-shirt, brown trowsers, a carpenter’s apron and a handkerchief tied loosely around his neck, to catch the sweat as it trickled down his face in the humid Florida weather.

Saundra’s grandmother was a flurry of fine silks and delicate lace that were discreetly scented with either Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue or Madras de Oriente.

Between them, Saundra learned the difference between good, tight construction and poor, shoddy construction and how hard one had to work to construct things well.
In April 2022, Shawn Pursley became Manager of Past Patterns and Saundra moved from handling all aspects of the business to Creative Director. From the Creative Director position, Saundra continues to develop and edit new and existing clothing patterns, review and update historical content and respond to client issues and questions.

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