For her outstanding body of work in the field of design, style, and color the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals has chosen Carla Mathis as the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
In 1994 Carla Mathis published, The Triumph of Individual Style, co-written with Helen Villa Connor. In this seminal text, Carla applied the universal language of art to the human body in a way that had never before been explored. For centuries works of art had been appraised using the design elements of line, shape, proportion, scale, color and texture, but for the first time, Carla and Helen identified a unique body’s design pattern for every individual. We are works of art! Carla and Helen showed us where to look on our bodies and how to appreciate how we are made in a new way. Their simple 3-step progression: 1. From art… 2. To our body… 3. To clothes and accessories transformed the image industry and introduced women and men everywhere a new level of self-acceptance and selectivity when getting dressed.
The Triumph of Individual Style is known as the "bible" of the image industry and used as a textbook at Cornell, the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, and design schools across the country. When ASDP wrote the requirements for the Design Module of the Master Sewing and Design Professional Certification Program, The Triumph of Individual Style was deemed so important the entire module was based on the text.
Carla states, “Connecting my personal history with the beauty of what makes each of us special is what I live for. We all need more encouragement than we receive from mom and dad. It’s a constant and pervasive need. We must be affirmed to become all we can be. We are relational creatures. Words of affirmation, and identifying what makes each of us unique, is a passion I carry with me everyday as a stylist, mentor, grandmother, mother, wife and friend. For God’s glory we have been made, for love we have been created.
Carla Mathis, AICI CIM, has been changing lives one body at a time for 30 years. By pioneering and teaching the use of design as a powerful therapeutic tool, Carla has helped thousands of people worldwide learn to appreciate their bodies and achieve new levels of self-acceptance.
Note: You may learn more about Carla Mathis by visiting her website at www.thestylecore.com
Carla was nominated for this award by long standing member Joyce Simons Murphy and we are happy to share with you the reason why Joyce nominated Carla.
Before I met Carla through reading her book the Triumph of Individual Style I knew how to sew. I made most of my clothes while in high school and college, but they didn’t always please me. I just didn’t know why. I didn’t understand that knowing how to sew without knowing how to design was risky business. This hit home when I began sewing for others!
I shed many a tear over my failed projects early on because the color was wrong, the fabric was not the best choice for the project, the garment didn’t fit properly, or the style was not flattering. The stakes became higher as I sewed more for others. There were so many ways to fail and only one way to succeed. And that way was to learn how to consider the person when designing for self or others.
“But wait a minute!” I said. “I can’t do that!!! My sister is the artist! Not me!!! I don’t know how to draw, and I know nothing about design.” I had it in my head that design talent is something you are born knowing. If you are artistic or talented in design, you automatically know how to draw things to make them appear beautiful. If you don’t have this talent, you can’t learn it. Or so I thought back then. FALSE
It turns out I was wrong. Carla Mathis set me straight. She showed me through her Triumph of Individual Style that every woman is beautiful (beauty comes from within) and that with practice I could learn how to bring out this beauty by paying attention to design when altering garments or making garments. Carla awakened my artistic side. I found out that design is a skill that can be studied and learned. Sewing and design go together. You can’t have one without the other.
But Carla didn’t leave us there in her “Triumph of Individual Style” book. Instead, she took us from A to Z through a 4-step process for dressmakers and sewing hobbyists from choosing the pattern to choosing the fabric to adjusting the pattern and applying the finishing touches all with our clients in mind.
Studying Triumph changed my approach to dressmaking and tailoring and gave me the confidence to practice design. So many members have told me her book empowered them by equipping them with personal design tools that they have used again and again in their businesses. Carla has truly had an impact on professionals who sew AND DESIGN for a living.
I nominated Carla because I wanted her to know that we look up to her and that we continue to use her teachings to guide us and to guide the next generation of dressmakers.
Joyce Simons Murphy
ASDP member Debby Spence was the ‘Best Overall’ winner of 2016 Threads/ASDP Quilted Garment Challenge
You know how you have fabric in your stash that is just too precious to use? Well, a number of years ago, I had bought two coordinating fabrics from Susan McCauley of Mekong River Textiles, one of which was a gorgeous Shibori-dyed silk dupioni; the other a solid that matched it. I had also acquired some silk charmeuse in a couple of colors that coordinated with the dyed piece, not really knowing exactly how I would use them. I could never quite put my finger on what this fabric should become, so when I heard what this challenge was, I knew this would be the perfect project for it. I had often pictured it as some sort of jacket, but it had not occurred to me to make a quilted one until this challenge came along.
I sketched a couple of ideas and finally settled on one I liked. I feel that garments that are not too boxy and are nipped in at the waist are most flattering for me, and I have a purchased jacket that has the lines that I really liked, so I used that as a basis for my jacket design. I had to scale it down a bit to fit my limited amount of fabric, but the scaled-down version ended up looking better too. Of course, you have to ‘fussy cut’ the pieces before you quilt, so it was a bit nerve-racking trying to figure out if I would have enough fabric to do what I wanted to. Because I wanted the jacket to have a lot of drape to it, I decided to line the garment with silk charmeuse and use a drapey polyester knit I had in my stash as the ‘batting’. I tailor-basted all three layers together so they would not slip around while I was doing the quilting.
You would think someone living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and being a sewer/designer who had made and sold patchwork clothing for 10 years would have done some quilting in her life, but the only quilting I ever did was just straight stitching to hold layers together on some of the patchwork garments. I had never hand quilted anything or done free motion quilting, so this was going to be a learning experience for sure. It helped that in April the Baltimore Chapter sponsored a workshop on Sashiko stitching. Sashiko is done only through one layer, though, so is not the same as quilting, but it is a similar technique to big stitch quilting. I looked at Youtube videos of people doing big stitch quilting and free motion quilting to get inspired. However, some of them were so amazing that I was almost too intimidated to even try! I also bought a book by one well-known free motion quilter that had lots of patterns and graphs, etc. included to help you plan your work. I researched thread and talked with some quilter friends about thread recommendations and decided on using Aurifil cotton thread in a couple of sizes and some silk thread for the free motion quilting. I chose colors that were close to the colors of my fabric because I didn’t want the quilting thread to obscure the dyed pattern of the silk.
After coming up with some quilting patterns that I liked, I drew the designs onto some tracing paper so I could lay it over a photo of the cut garment pieces to see how I liked it. Then I drew some of the major lines on the fabric with chalk and basted along those lines with a long running stitch so I would have a guideline for doing the big stitch quilting. I found the big stitch quilting that is done by hand to be very relaxing, sort of like knitting or crocheting is. I had originally thought I would do a lot of free motion quilting in between the rows of big stitch, but I really liked how drapey the pieces were with just the big stitch, so I decided to do just a bit of the machine sewing. (Plus, it took a lot less time!) In the shoulder area of the jacket, however, I did the free motion quilting a lot more densely to give it more support in that area.
From the videos I watched, I saw that there were some things I would need in order to do a respectable job of free motion quilting. There are special gloves you can buy that help you grip the fabric as you are sewing, but a quilter friend told me that gardening gloves (which are less expensive) can work just as well. Another piece of advice was to make a slippery work surface, so I found some kind of plastic that I think is used for stencils or something and cut a hole in the middle of it for the needle and put scotch tape donuts under it to make it stick to my machine. These things all seemed to work pretty well for me. The thing with free motion quilting is that you just have to practice and practice and practice. My sewing machine does not have a stitch regulator foot, so I knew it wouldn’t be perfect. It was really a lot of fun doing it, though, and unless you get up really close, you don’t notice the imperfections. With something like this, it’s the overall effect that matters. I ended up doing 4 different types of quilting stitches – the big stitch quilting, free motion, traditional hand quilting and regular machine sewing (with the presser foot down and feed dogs engaged.)
I considered a couple of ways of finishing off the inside of the jacket and decided to do a Hong Kong finish on the facing edges and the pressed-open shoulder seams and sleeve seams. I lined the side inset pieces so that they would have a bit more bulk and to hide the seams. Several years ago, I had also purchased a piece of hand-dyed silk kimono that coordinated nicely with my jacket fabric, so I used it for the binding around the edges. At one point, I had toyed with the idea of turning all the raw edges around the jacket in between the layers and then sewing those edges together, like on Kantha quilts. But this didn’t seem really feasible or all that easy to do. I really like the colors in the binding and how it all looked when it was finished.
I used the coordinating solid dupioni to make a pair of pants. I thought a slim-leg pant would look best with the jacket silhouette, and to visually tie the design together, I did some quilting on the contour waistband, the pocket edges and the hem. It’s pretty subtle since I used matching thread for the quilting, but I didn’t want it to stand out.
The design of the charmeuse top I made was inspired by a Style Arc pattern that I drafted using my sloper. I wanted to do some quilting on it too, but was worried about doing the free motion sewing on charmeuse as it had a tendency to pucker easily from not using the presser foot or feed dogs. I ended up taking a piece of medical exam paper and using it as a tear-away stabilizer which worked really great on the double layer of charmeuse.
I went into this challenge thinking that if nothing else, I would finally have an outfit from this fabric, so even if I didn’t win anything, I would be happy. Quilting this fabric was probably the best thing I could have done with it, and honestly, I probably would not have gone to all that trouble and work, or even had the idea, if it had not been for this challenge.
This is what the judges had to say about my entry –
Absolutely gorgeous on every level. Use of different versions of quilting on each piece was especially appreciated. The choice and handling of textiles is truly expert. Use of drapey knit as “batting” was a brilliant choice. Exceptional construction paired with masterful design—it’s so well-made that the jacket could almost be worn reversed. There is much happening in this ensemble, and yet it is perfectly harmonious—that’s a real accomplishment. We loved the artistry and skill displayed here.
[Added: This looked fantastic on the runway. What a flattering ensemble. Hope you get to wear it often.]
Artist statement: Excellent description and photography
In case you missed this book review when it was posted to the Discuss list and/or are looking for a new book to read. Thanks to member Abby Riba for bringing this review to our attention
'How To Read A Dress' Connects Centuries Of Women Through Fashion
How to Read a Dress
A Guide to Changing Fashion from the 16th to the 20th Century
by Lydia Edwards
Clothing is communication; it's a language we unconsciously absorb. And as with any language, the finer points bring the vocabulary together. When Janelle Monae walked the red carpet at the Oscars, we recognized the 18th-century influence in her dress. But that's not just for geometric effect. Wide French panniers indicated aristocracy; the neck ruff was an Elizabethan signal of leisure; the embroidered net suggests Empire gowns that ditched dress architecture in favor of gauzy embellishments. Through this lens, Monae's gown becomes a statement of luxury and celebration that deliberately reclaims and challenges a predominantly-white historical narrative and draws on three centuries of fashion history. It's just the sort of garment How to Read a Dress would love.
There are endless resources for costume historians, including Janet Arnold's exhaustively detailed Patterns of Fashion and Ingrid Mida and Alexandra Kim's The Dress Detective, which outlines academic methods for interpreting clothing as artifact. But those can be overwhelming to a novice — perhaps someone who has turned the TV to a period piece and seen something hilariously out of place, and just wants to know why it doesn't belong. For a knowledgeable introduction that has plenty of eye candy alongside its scholarship, Lydia Edwards' How to Read a Dress hits the spot.
A key word there is "introduction." Given that it covers nearly five centuries, the book makes quick work of some complex sartorial times. Edwards keeps a narrow focus on Western European styles and extant garments, and the overviews at the head of individual chapters — which cover anywhere from a decade to a century at a time — are brisk and brief. You'll likely be tempted to fill in the blanks with more research, such as when Edwards notes the significant shift from the relatively forgiving dresses of the 1830s to restrictive bodices and corsets in the 1840s, with only hints of what may have spurred such a dramatic change. (Maybe we're meant to end up dress detectives after all.)
But How to Read a Dress can't be an exhaustive history, and it's just as well it doesn't try. Instead, it neatly splits the difference between an art book and a glossary — a guided tour of a costume collection by a docent in the know. Each garment gets a page of point-by-point notes, with handy asides to show contemporary sketches of a pleating technique or give a closer look at the details of a print. And though few of the dresses perfectly conform to an ideal, the idiosyncrasies of style and construction in each gown end up being more interesting than textbook cases might be: they're reminders that while it works as historical artifact, a dress is also a reflection of something personal. A monochrome Victorian afternoon dress or a reworked bodice on an outdated Regency gown can hint at social class and regional differences, but they also tell us something about the women who wore them.
That sense of clothing as a living thing is at the heart of Edwards' work. The curated collection, featuring everything from funeral finery to department-store finds, offers an uneven but fascinating fashion primer that invites you to make connections across centuries, to wonder about the ways huge social shifts are reflected in everyday life, and tips you off about the placement of shoulder seams. Whether you're a costume nerd or just casually curious, How to Read a Dress will give you some insights into the language of dress. Period-piece TV will never look the same.
Excelsior Sewing – the parent company of LightHeart Gear is located in the beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. We have a “brick and mortar” factory of 2400 square feet, but we’re searching for a location with two to three times more room that we can purchase. I also have a wonderful sewing room/studio at home, but I almost never go there anymore. After 8 hours in the factory, I don’t want to sew at home. What I like the most about my home studio, is that when I turn off the light switch as I’m leaving the room – it turns off all the machines and the iron, so I never have to worry about having left the iron on.
Excelsior Sewing does small batch contract / production sewing, primarily outdoor gear, as well as all the manufacturing for LightHeart Gear, my own backpacking gear company. I personally do all the design and pattern work. I do all the cutting, and have several employees that do the sewing. We sew things such as ponchos, tarps, chair backs, bicycle bags, tents, and rain gear. Our goal in the contract sewing is to help other small businesses keep their products “Made in the USA”. Small batch production helps small business keep their revenue stream fluid.
The space works. What that means is that the organization and layout provides the right setting for the work that is done. And of course, I love all the different specialized machines. A funny story is that when I was in design school, thinking of going into business doing bridal, I had some of the top of the line home sewing machines (Bernina and Viking). I remember telling my instructor at school that I didn’t want to work on the industrial sewing machines they had – because I had fancy machines that could do everything. Now, I own about 15 or so industrial machines. Each does just one specific thing, but it does it perfectly. I do keep one of my old Berninas at the shop to repair window netting on the tents. I use the 3-step zigzag stitch as I don’t have an industrial zigzag machine.
I have several employees that do most of the sewing. My time is spent designing, cutting, planning, and running a business (QuickBooks is my nemesis) but not in that order. My attitude is that I work for my employees, so anything I can do to facilitate their work is my job. I do the little things to keep them sewing. I do pitch in on sewing when we are in a rush to get an order out, or when I decide to practice avoidance. It’s a real treat for me to get to sit at a sewing machine, but I find that if I’m spending a lot of time sewing, it’s probably time to hire a new employee.
Workflow is very important, and must go in an organized manner. Machines are grouped by task and frequency of use. We also have to have large work space/surface area around all of the machines because we often work on very large pieces of fabric. We have lots of tables between, and around all of the machines that can be shifted as needed for specific jobs. Each machine or station has its own small stack of drawers that contain all the different types and colors of thread, needles in several sizes, different presser feet for the machine, snips, screw drivers, labels, and any other items needed at that location. This duplication allows employees to move from station to station and not worry about bringing items with her/him. Problems with the set up only arise when we get in new equipment. Trying to figure out the best place to put it can entail shifting a bunch of heavy machines around. Most of the machines plug into outlets in the (high) ceiling, so moving machines means getting a big ladder out to unplug machines, hope that the cords reach from the new location, and shift again if they don’t. Floor space has become a premium as the shop gets more and more machines in.
My clients are usually companies looking to have items sewn for them. Often, they are surprised by how much we can produce with such a small staff. They may never have seen a sewing factory before, and are amazed at the different equipment. We occasionally get a customer for LightHeart Gear that comes to visit. They are usually amazed at just being in a sewing factory, the amount of specialized equipment, the piles of partially constructed items that are mounded in buckets and hampers. My space is not “pretty,” it’s industrial.
I don’t know that there is anything truly unique about Excelsior Sewing. We do have places in the shop to set up tents – Occasionally because we have customers interested in seeing and buying tents, but mostly because they have to be inspected, and seam sealed. The fabric we use cannot be ‘taped’ as the fabric has a silicone coating on it to make it waterproof. Seam sealing is done with a liquid silicone mixture. Each tent has to be individually set up to seam seal. Once the items for LightHeart Gear and finished and packed, they leave the shop and go to our distribution center (my basement at home). From there, they are packed and shipped to customers that order on our website www.lightheartgear.com.
It’s a valid question. I could have joined a number of other associations. In fact, it was easier to find those other associations in the first place! About two years after starting my business, I went looking for a sewing group to join. Of course, as a 26-year-old, the first thing I did was Google it. My search for “Indianapolis sewing group” led me to the American Sewing Guild. I went to my local chapter meeting, and realized that it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. ASG seemed to be more of a fun casual craft setting, but I wanted something that would talk about sewing as a business. That would have been the end of my search, had ASDP member Cathy Runion not introduced herself to me after the meeting, and told me about a few other sewing groups to try.
I took her advice, and the next sewing group that I visited started off better. They were even having a guest speaker who was talking about her sewing business! Perfect! But as we asked questions, I realized that this woman, who had been working on her business for years and years, did not actually pay herself for this work. Now, I definitely struggle with undervaluing my work, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. But even I could see that for the work this woman put into her business, it was really just a hobby in the end, because she never got paid for her time, and didn’t even expect to. I realized that if I’m going to succeed in my business, I need to surround myself with people who are going to really lift me up, and challenge me to ask for a fair wage for my work. So, I moved on to try out the third group. During the very first meeting I attended, I overheard one member telling another, “You need to charge more. Your work is worth more than that!” and I thought to myself: this is exactly the kind of kick in the butt I need to hear, from people who know and understand my profession. This is ASDP.
Thinking about my own journey to find ASDP has helped me to pinpoint what it is that I really want out of this organization. Realization #1: I want a sewing organization where I can meet real people in real life, in a local setting. Hence my Google searches for “Indiana Sewing Group”, which got me nowhere. Realization #2: I want a sewing group that focuses on sewing as a profession, unlike ASG. Realization #3 I want an organization that surrounds me with people who I aspire to be like, who can support me and help me to overcome my insecurities and challenges as a business owner in the sewing industry. That’s really it. In the end, it’s not about the discounts, or the helpful links (although I won’t ever turn those down!). What I really want is the business advice, the inspiration, the encouragement, a group of people who challenge me to be my best possible self, the open discussion, the friendship, the shared knowledge, and the education. And I think I’ve found it in ASDP. These are all things that I have glimpsed during my short time as a part of this organization. And I hope to see so much more of it. This group has an incredible amount of potential. There is so much that I don’t know about being a sewing and design professional, and there are so many opportunities for ASDP to evolve to help younger members like me learn all that we need to know. I would love to see live streams of the conference and more resources that encompass a wider range of professions within sewing and
designing. I would also like to see an easier way to find and participate in the discuss list, more ways to connect with other members, and a lot more focus on the business side of our industry. There is so much collective knowledge in our organization and I think we need a clearer way to share that knowledge with each other, especially new members. We have a good thing going here in our association, but a lot of what we have simply needs to be updated, organized, and simplified (the website in particular). But back to the original question: Why did I join ASDP? It’s a question that I think needs to be asked more often, and asked of more members. We each need to ask ourselves what it is that we individually want to get out of an association that we join. Without knowing this, how can we know if we are joining the right group? We need to ask each new member what it is they are looking for in ASDP. This would do three things: first, it would help us get to know the new members, second, it would help the new members to feel welcomed and included, and third, that new member could then be guided by a more senior member towards the tools and benefits of our association that would be most helpful to that individual. I also think that we must ask this question of our senior members as well. How can we grow and evolve as an association without knowing what our members value most? These answers could help guide us as an association, to become the best that we can be for each other.
One of the things I love the most about ASDP is the never-ending information sharing among our members. I recently received an email from a member who was curious about Fit for Art’s licensing seminar for Eureka! Pants that Fit. In my response, I was able to share with her how valuable this tool, created by three ASDP members (Rae Cumbie, Carrie Emerson, and Sarah Veblen), has been to my business and my skill set. And then I thought it might be helpful to reach out to some other licensees so we could share our experiences with the greater ASDP membership.
Unlike other pants patterns, the Eureka! pattern comes in a range of sizes AND has three different backs for each size. This starting point, with extensive horizontal balance lines (HBLs), allows each sewist to create a mock-up that that is the key to a great-fitting pant. At the licensing seminar, attendees have the opportunity to learn the ins-and-outs of fitting for themselves and for their clients of various shapes and sizes, “All on real bodies, [with] volunteers daily!” said licensee Cari Loschen of CariKim Couturier.
Barbie McCormick of Sew Good already had extensive experience with patterns and fitting before attending the Eureka! licensing seminar. But after spending five days with the Fit for Art team she, “learned SO much- So many nuances and tricks with adjusting and truing up pattern lines, as well as so many ‘Aha!’ moments with fitting different bodies, proper and improper pinning and pattern adjustments.” She went on to say, “The Eureka! pants fitting pattern has so many attributes that I have never seen before (And I've been to many other pants fitting classes, studied and used many pant drafting books) but make SO much sense! The seminar brought my understanding of pants and patterns to a whole new level!” I couldn’t agree more. I’d never been able to get my fit, “just right.” There just always seemed to be something I wasn’t happy with. Now, I not only have an excellent wardrobe of comfortable, flattering pants, in a variety of styles, but I’m also able to bring that to my clients.
Whether it’s a great fit in the crotch and hips (the key to the Eureka! method), selecting a waist treatment, or placing darts, this licensing seminar has you covered – all in a professional-but-fun environment. And speaking of the environment, Rae, Carrie, and Sarah always make sure the licensing seminar is held in a wonderful space. There’s plenty of room to work with lots of light. All meals are provided and there’s even an on-site housing option for attendees who come from out of town. Carrie aptly summed up this great opportunity saying, “Since attending the Eureka! Pants seminar, I finally wear pants that fit!! I've honed my pant fitting skills, but most importantly I've been able to bring an innovative pattern and fitting technique to my area.
Sign up. Go. Get fearless about pant fitting too! You'll be glad you did! It's a fantastic hands-on learning experience!” To learn more about Eureka! Pants that Fit and the licensing seminar that will be offered in September 2017, visit fitforartpatterns.com
The ASDP Charitable Foundation ended 2016 just shy of doubling the figure from the previous year. Both the number of member donors and the amount of donations increased by almost 50% over last year. Member support is a strong part of the equation looked at by potential industry donors, so we hope to make significant strides in this area during 2017. In keeping with this theme, we hope to end 2017 with a balance exceeding $25,000.
As you proceed through the new year, we ask that you keep the foundation in the front of your giving plans. Donations can be made at any time during the year through the ASDP website. Another way easy way to contribute is to do all of your Amazon shopping by participating in Amazon Smile.
Go to www. smile.amazon.com to sign up and then just start shopping. Amazon will do the rest. We appreciate your support and will continue to keep you informed of our progress throughout the year.
My name is Madeline Stage and my business, Goheen Designs is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. I work out of my one bedroom apartment in downtown Indy.
I specialize in digital sewing patterns, as well as creating accessories, home décor and sewing kits from rescued fabrics.
My favorite part of my sewing space is all of the sunlight! I’ve worked in places with no windows before, and I know just how much it can affect my work ethic and general happiness to be without fresh air and sunshine. Plus, the natural light is a big plus for taking photos.
I work alone, but I do share my sewing space with my husband, because my sewing “room” is actually just a part of the living room/dining room. But this is a huge improvement from our last apartment, where I had to keep my sewing desk in the bedroom. As an early riser, I like to be able to sew before my husband wakes up!
My layout is mostly dictated by what fits. I did make sure that I can reach all of my sewing machines by simply turning in a single chair and all of my sewing notions are kept on one shelf, right next to my desk. The patterns, products, and fabrics are more spread out around the apartment. I’ve learned to optimize every little space in our home. Under the bed, under the couch, and most of the walls, are all used as extra storage. I also have a folding table that only comes out when I need it. I try to keep things tidy, and use cute storage solutions, because there is no option to just close the door on my workspace if it looks like a disaster.
I don’t get many clients in my sewing space, but the ones who do see it always notice the wall of fabric. My dad built me a wooden rack that holds several rolls of fabric so that they can be within easy reach without taking up any floor space.
I’ve recently dedicated a section of my sewing space to be my recycling center. I have a series of baskets where I separate out large and small scraps in order to pass them along to other people like teachers and quilters. Whatever is leftover that can’t be used by other people has its own basket. I donate these scraps to Goodwill, who sends them on to a fabric recycler.
Members shall, at all times, consider the health, safety and welfare of the public in their conduct of business.
*Whether the area where you interact with customers (not necessarily your work space) is a room in your home or a brick and mortar shop, it should always be clean, well-lit, and comfortable. The area should not smell like your lunch. It is a good idea to have hand sanitizer and tissues available for public use.
*Be aware of any carpet that may be frayed or worn. If it cannot be replaced, tape it down to prevent someone from tripping.
*Be aware of possible allergies. The space should be as dust free as possible and be careful when using air fresheners.
*When the customer is changing clothes, their privacy is paramount. Always ask before you enter the dressing room to help them with a zipper or other closure.
*You, as the business owner, are liable if the customer were to fall, trip, or slip. In legal terms, your customers are invitees on your property, whether you operate in your home or rent a space. You are responsible for their well-being while they are in your studio. You should carry liability insurance to cover those potential mishaps.
*Customer garments are your responsibility also. They legally become your property when they are dropped off. This is called bailment. Those items must be secured, protected and kept clean while in your care. Any item, when returned to the customer, must be in as good if not better condition than when it was placed in your custody.
As part of our annual sewing workshop, we invited national fit expert/educator Sarah Veblen to teach her 2-day pants fitting class. Due to the small class size, we could observe each person’s fitting and ask a lot of questions! Our group includes some challenging body shapes and sizes, and everyone came out of class with a lot of new knowledge, a new master pants pattern, and a great fitting pair of pants! The rest of the 3-day workshop weekend, which was our 11th annual event, had its focus on Sewing, Sharing and Fun. The only rule was no client sewing. This concept came from the reality that we often have little to no time to sew for ourselves, and even less opportunity to have a professional fitting done on our own bodies. The workshop was originally called a retreat, but over time we changed it to “workshop” as so much knowledge was gained over the weekend together - a lot more learning occurred than expected. Those in attendance were WI members Katherine Merkel, Sue Tenney, Joan Kuhry, Linda McCoy, and Chris Kazmerzak, as well as other ASDP members Tina Colombo and Robin Kunzer.
Sarah Veblen fits Sue Tenney
Sarah Veblen fits Linda McCoy
Sarah Veblen fits Chris Kazmerzak
Photos by Katherine Merkel
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