When I headed off to college in 1998, I certainly had no idea that my career path would one day involve a sewing machine. I graduated with a BS in finance and a BA in accounting from William Jewell College, a liberal arts college in Missouri in 2002. When I became pregnant with my twins in 2005 and left my job as a financial analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank, I knew accounting was no longer a field I wanted to pursue. It wasn’t until I couldn’t find gender neutral bedding that I discovered sewing. Armed with a sewing machine from Costco and my mother’s limited sewing knowledge, we managed to create two bedskirts, two quilts, two bumpers and a valance. It was then that my passion for sewing was ignited.
From that point on I read and absorbed all the sewing information I could gather. It was at this time that I began accepting home décor sewing jobs from friends and family. When my husband was relocated to the Indianapolis area in 2011, I was yearning to explore garment construction, primarily because I am a very difficult to-fit body type. It was then that I signed up for a class at my local fabric shop and met fellow ASDP member Joyce Hittesdorf who took me under her wing after our first class. From there, I apprenticed with Joyce until the sale of her business in the fall of 2013. I continued to work with the new proprietor, Sarah Knochel, and upped my ASDP membership from friend to Intern. It was also at this time that I felt confident enough to begin offering alterations and custom construction to clients on my own. In 2014, I set up TomKat Stitchery, changed my ASDP membership to formal, and began working from my basement. In 2015, with help from my family, we turned our basement into a professional studio where I continue to work.
I continue to take classes both in person and online to further my education and my skill level. I am very hopeful that the MSDP program will serve as a compass to help me achieve my goal of excellence in this field about which I am so passionate. I can assure you that sewing is not a passing fad or interest for me, but a skill commitment I hope to pursue for the rest of my life. I thank you again for your time and consideration of my application for this scholarship.
Written by Whitney Luckenbill