Dear ASDP Board
SARAH VEBLEN CLOTHING ORIGINALS
Where is your business located? In Sparks, Maryland which is about a half-hour drive north of Baltimore. Do you work out of a home studio or do you have a brick and mortar location? I have a home-based business. I live in a townhouse and have dedicated my lower level to my business. As my three girls each left home, I’ve also taken over more of the house. When I hold classes here, I rearrange my living room to accommodate work tables and we use the living level as well as the studio level.
What kind of work do you specialize in? The majority of my time is now spent teaching, whether on-line for Pattern Review, private instruction, here in my home, or in venues across the country where I’m invited to teach.I still do a little custom sewing, which I enjoy a great deal.
It’s mostly daywear – pants, skirts, dresses, blouses, jackets – although I’m happy to do special occasion work when I’m asked. Do you work alone or do you share the space with others? For the most part I work alone. I have an office assistant who works for me 25 to 30 hours per week. She is usually here one day a week and then the rest of the time she works from her home. When the majority of my business was custom clothing, I had at least one person sew for me part time; most of their work was done on their own and occasionally in my studio.
What's the first thing that clients notice about your space? The most frequent comment I hear when people go down the stairs and turn to walk down the hall to my studio is simply “wow!” I think that’s because they immediately see that my studio is a busy place with lots of creative things happening.
Tell me a little about your favorite part of your sewing space. Even though my studio is in my lower level, I have a sliding glass door that goes out onto my lower deck and small back garden. I’m a morning person and I love that I get morning light and that my studio is bright and cheerful. While my sewing space is indeed important to me, so is my desk area, since I now spend a huge amount of time writing, working on class-related things, and running my business. A few years ago, I splurged on a beautiful desk system that was so worth the cost – it has allowed me to get much more organized and it’s an extremely pleasant place to work
How did you develop your layout? The sliding glass door in my studio influenced how I organized. I wanted as much light as possible in the area where I sew and I wanted my ironing station right next to my machines. As a result, I get to enjoy looking outside every time I press at the ironing board. My cutting table needed to be sturdy and inexpensive when I had it built almost 23 years ago. It’s a hollow-core door on top of braced 2 x 4s with storage underneath. It has worked so well, I’ve never even thought about changing it. Having a cutting table I can walk around is extremely important to me. Storage – can you ever have enough? I have lots of cabinets with drawers for smaller items and a wardrobe for fabric in my studio. I’m very fortunate to have a second room for storage on the same level as my studio
What makes your sewing space unique? I have a lot of pictures and drawings for inspiration. And because I often have to “live with” a fabric before I’m ready to cut into it, there’s often fabric draped on a dress form or stacked on the side table. It’s definitely a working studio!
ASDP volunteers Carol Kimball, Carol Phillips, and Pat Bornman have been responsible for passing on a generous donation by Richard Murray. The fabric had been collected by his late wife Naomi; he had kept it for twelve years before he was willing to part with it. Murray lives in Parker, CO, 25 miles southeast of metro Denver. The two Carols are from central and southeast Denver and Pat drove down from Boulder.
Family members had winnowed the stash down over the winter, but more than 50 boxes remained. These contained uncut fabric lengths of a decades-gone quality from the U.S. and Asia, dating largely from the 1970-80s:
The three women had been part of the Colorado Chapter's field trip to the Avenir Gallery in Fort Collins the previous month, and were delighted to see "Mr. Blackwell" on some of the packaging.
Dr. Murray drove from his assisted living apartment to his home, but as the storage was down a flight he stayed in his vehicle. He does not have email and has been pleased and touched by the handwritten thank-you notes he has been receiving.
Kimball, the initial contact, preempted what could be made into pajama pants for the kids at The Oglala Lakota Reservation at Pine Ridge, South Dakota and took wovens for the sewing program run by Jerome and Theresa High Horse (who retired back to the reservation and channel many resources into the badlands). Kimball also grabbed half a dozen lengths for personal use.
After Phillips and Bornman earmarked their preferences, everything needed to be hauled out and the bulk of the original stash distributed. Fortunately there was a chair lift that could take four boxes at a whack.
About 10 boxes were reviewed in early May at the ASDP couture class at the Career Education Center, a division of the Denver Public Schools. Individual class participants made their choices, and the rest was left there with Katherine McMann for use by her students.
Phillips is further distributing the wealth by ferrying boxes to chapter meetings as well as letting members visit the mother lode in her sewing area. Whatever is not selected over the summer will be delivered to CEC once school resumes in late Aug early Sept.
Anything left in Kimball's studio after she and her intern have gotten at it will be donated to ARC (a Colorado organization similar to Goodwill). All of us have felt honored to share in this tremendous resource and are grateful to put to beneficial use as much fabric as possible.
If you have a similar opportunity, we have these suggestions:
The NJ Chapter has been enjoying a busy, productive year. Our new retreat was a huge success! Joined by some former members, other colleagues, and friends, we spent a wonderful weekend pursuing personal sewing goals, exchanging ideas, and sharing expertise. Our fitting and alterations skills were once again called into play at our local Cinderella's Closet charity prom boutique, an annual event that helps area teens in need. Other meetings featured tools, techniques, and tips from home decor boot camp, and a fun and informative sharing of our members' very favorite sewing notions and tools. We've also had the pleasure of sharing events with members of other ASDP chapters!
NEW JERSEY CHAPTER CHALLENGE, 2015
What are the results when several people sew a garment from the same fabric? That is what our chapter decided to find out when we won 7 yards of fabric, along with some other items, at the 2014 ASDP National Conference in Philadelphia. Since we won the fabric as a chapter, it was decided to divide up the fabric among the conference attendees willing to participate in a sewing and design challenge. Each participant was to sew a garment in the fabric incorporating a technique learned during the conference. The submissions were judged on how well this technique was incorporated into the garment, as well as fit, creativity, coordination of other fabrics and execution. The fabric was a lace mesh with lycra; the colors were dark and light brown on an ecru back ground. Each participant got 1-1/3 yards. In the end, two garments made it to the November meeting for evaluation and judging. Lois Anderson constructed a top with the lace fabric overlaying a blue sparkly knit. Wendy Cettina sewed a skirt using the lace as an underskirt/petticoat with a brown herringbone with a gold pinstripe as the main skirt. In the end (drum roll please…) Lois won, with Wendy a close second. It was a fun challenge and interesting to see the results using the same fabrics. Specifics on each garment follow.
When Lois looked at the fabric she immediately knew she wanted to make a top with the lace overlaid on another fabric. She had purchased the croquis set from Carol Kimball (didn’t take the fashion illustration class) and used those to sketch some ideas. While shopping for fabric, she was enthralled with the change in color depending on what base color when beneath it; she chose light blue because she like the lavender shades it created. Lois fussy cut the sleeves to get matching sleeves with a centered medallion and the darker color on the back and across the front. Two patterns were combined for the top, Simplicity and Pamela Leggett’s t-shirt pattern. She used two techniques from the conference, narrow hems from Robin Bolton’s class on industrial shortcuts and, from a beading class, beading along the edges and a little fob in front. Since the lace is so springy, she thought the beads would give it some weight.
The lace fabric was not something Wendy would have typically chosen so, she knew she would be making something that used the lace as an accent and not the main fabric. She decided to make a skirt using the lace as an underlay peeking out below. Placing the lace near other fabrics in her studio, she liked it with the brown wool blend. The brown toned down the colors of the lace. After beginning then abandoning the idea of making a gored skirt and matching all those pinstripes, she decided make a dirndl skirt and used Style Arc’s Margo skirt pattern. After it was finished it needed something a little extra so she added a fabric flower at the waist.
It was a fun project and all the attendees at the meeting enjoyed seeing how different each person’s vision was!
This year, many members of the Baltimore Chapter are participating in the chapter’s evaluation program that was developed in 2001. There are 5 levels, 3 of which members are currently working towards: Dressmaker I and II, and Master Dressmaker. Consequently, most of the year’s programs are related to the requirements needed to successfully complete each level. A number of our members shared their expertise and tips for such topics as seam techniques, thread carriers, darts and gathers, invisible zippers, collars, cuffs and plackets, and hems. It seems like no matter how much experience we have, there are always some new tips to learn to make constructing these things easier, faster, and better!
Our May meeting had a little different format. One of our members, Kathy Sack, has been making skating costumes for the last several years and gave us lots of good info about the process and the differences between sewing these and regular clothing. The members in attendance don’t have much experience with this type of work, so it was all new to us! Keeping with the costume theme, Andrea Hoover, who got her costuming degree from Penn State University, presented the second half of the program on how to build the costumes for a theater production and all the people involved in the process. Using some Elizabethan sleeves as an example, she explained all the steps from going through the design stage through the pattern-making to the muslin to the finished garment. Then we got to have an up-close look at Debby Spence’s winning (Most Successful Application) Challenge garment as she explained how she put it all together. Susan Khalje, who judged the Challenge, was at the meeting and it was interesting to hear a judge’s perspective of the garment.
A highlight of our year was an all-day workshop to learn Sashiko stitching, lead by Nancy Long, from Lancaster, PA. She has extensive knowledge of the art form and of Japanese textiles, so she had lots to teach us. It was a fun day, and greatly enhanced by the presence of some members of the NJ chapter who drove several hours to take the workshop!
We have had a busy Winter/Spring. February found us learning how and when to fix our furs, led by our own Dot Treece. In March we started to learn some basics of fashion sketching with Carol Kimball. Our chapter also hosted a three Saturday workshop with Clara Dittli on the fine art of the couture skirt. In the workshop we had two snow storms and one rainy day, but we didn’t let a little spring snow get in our way.
Clara taught us how to draft our own pattern, how to mark our fabric with our seam allowances, thread marking, basting, underlining, lining, zipper, waistband and hem techniques. Clara apprenticed in a Haute Couture Atelier where she learned couture sewing, pattern drafting, draping and fashion illustration. Clara continued her career as a fashion designer and consultant in some of Zurich’s finest houses. In 1985, she moved to Denver and established her own couture Studio.
For our March meeting, we saw the exhibit Nebraska: State of Fashion at the Hillestad Textile Gallery on the campus of the University of Nebraska. Fashions from the wardrobes of three Nebraska families dating 1920 – 1990 were on display. We also saw the exhibits at the International Quilt Study Center. We also attended the spring runway show of Omaha Fashion Week. This event has really grown since we first started attending it.
We met at a local sewing machine dealership for our April meeting. The owner did a presentation on sewing machine maintenance and repair. He also shared a lot of information of comparison of features and of the different brands of machines they sell.
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come" - Victor Hugo
This year ASDP celebrates its 25th anniversary. In that time we have experienced the ups and downs of economy, world politics, and market trends while we sought to find our place in a world dominated by high tech and fast fashion. At this year’s strategic planning meeting, the board of directors crafted a vision statement that supports our mission and our guiding principles. This vision statement is a picture of our preferred future; i.e. it describes how the future will look if we achieve our ultimate aims.
Our Vision: A recognized global trade association for all sewing and design disciplines.
In creating this vision statement, we brainstormed what that preferred future would look like. We saw a future where the plumber, electrician, and dressmaker commanded comparable hourly rates and generated similar annual incomes. Then we imagined a future where our influence was so far reaching that seamstresses around the world had safe working conditions and a wage similar to other tradesmen in their area. Admittedly, this future is a long ways off as consumer and cultural attitudes would need to dramatically change, but it can start with our vision.
Vision and Mission statements along with Guiding Principles/Values in Action help define an organization and how the world is better because it exists. We have long had a mission statement and guiding principles. A Mission statement is a statement of the overall purpose of an organization. It describes what we do, for whom we do it, and the benefit. On our “About Us” page we read “Our mission is to support individuals engaged in sewing and design related businesses, in both commercial and home-based settings.” How this support manifests itself is found in our tag line: Education, Networking, and Referrals for Sewing and Design Professionals.
Guiding Principles/Values in Action are defined as general guidelines which set the foundation for how an organization will operate. Our Code of Ethics serves as our guiding principles and values in action. When I first read our Code of Ethics, I found them burdensome. After rereading them and with the help of others, I saw their benefit and more properly understood them. While they may seem overly demanding and exacting of our members, they provide tremendous clarity for what we mean by “professional.” You may not be as intimidated by our Code of Ethics as I was, nevertheless, in future newsletters officers and members will write about and explain a proper understanding of the various articles and sections of our Code of Ethics.
For our organization, as in life, there is more to be done than can ever be done. With our Mission and Code of Ethics, our Vision gives us tools with which to measure every opportunity according to its ability to propel us toward our preferred future – A globally recognized trade association for all sewing and design disciplines. Truly, an idea whose time has come.
Written by Debra Utberg, President
This is the first in a series of articles written by your ASDP Board of Directors concerning the ASDP Code of Ethics. You can find the Code of Ethics in its entirety on the ASDP website here.
The ASDP Code of Ethics applies to all categories of membership and is a guide for members in the ethical conduct of business. ASDP is a trade organization and our reputation depends on every person in the Association. The code is divided into 4 sections:
Starting with our responsibility to the public the code states: “Members shall comply with all existing laws, regulations and codes governing business practices established by the federal government, state, community or other governing body where they conduct business.”
This means ASDP members must:
As stated in the official copy of our Code of Ethics, “The Code of Ethics expresses a commonly held set of values that clearly differentiates us from those who do not have the benefits of membership. In other words, our Code of Ethics is one of our member benefits.
Written by Linda Stewart, President-Elect
The Wisconsin chapter hosted their annual Professional Development Retreat January 22-25 near Whitewater, WI. Major kudos to Sue Tenney, for masterfully out-maneuvering the ice dams along the Rock River (which forced a cancellation at the original location) by securing new venue, Kettle Moraine Retreat, just a few days before the retreat! The two ‘rules’ for this annual event: no client sewing and have fun! Projects included sewing gifts for family members, brushing up on various skills, muslins, and various garments for personal use. And food…there was lot of food, too ;)
In January, the Heartland chapter enjoyed a wonderful weekend in Nashville, IN during their first annual chapter retreat. Many garments were sewn, much food was eaten, and many wonderful memories were made. In February, the chapter enjoyed a wonderful afternoon at artist Sylvia Gray’s studio in Westfield, IN learning the art of Shibori Dyeing. Each member was able to dye yardage of silk to take home. It was extremely educational and the take-away will be very beneficial to our businesses. Coming up, the Heartland chapter will be hosting a bias class by author and teacher, Julianne Bramson. It will be July 14-15, 2016 in the Indianapolis area. While it is open first to chapter members, the remaining spots will be made available to ASDP members in March. Please contact Joyce Hittesdorf if you are interested.
We met at Do Space in Omaha NE. This is a new community technology library with digital workshops. This just opened in November and the only facility of its kind in the US. This facility is funded by private donations thru a nonprofit organization and use of everything and all classes at Do Space are free. We are especially excited that Do Space has 3D printers, a 3D scanner, a laser cutter and large format printer. Our heads were just spinning thinking about things to do with the 3D printer and laser cutter. The only cost for any of this is the cost of supplies. Many of the computer classes and workshops they offer will be great chapter programs. I know, this sounds unbelievable, but this place is amazing. It has over 200 computers for use by the public. Their website is dospace.org if you are interested is checking it our.
The Colorado chapter welcomed a New President and a new member at large to our board. January, Clara Dittli showed the members how to measure a body for a skirt and then how to draft out are own personal pattern. February we explored the Denver Art Museum. We also headed for the Mountains for our 14th Annual Sewing retreat. In March, Dot Treece, will demonstrate how she repairs fur coats. April meeting Carol Kimball will be introducing the members to the art of fashion sketching. Also in April Clara Dittli will be leading our Spring workshop, The Couture Skirt.
Our January meeting began with our semi-annual election of Chapter officers, and thankful recognition of out-going officers. Here is our new slate of officers: Robin Bolton, President; Michelle Davis and Elizabeth Miles, Co-First VP for General Meetings; Suzanne Olson and Jennifer Phillips, Co-Second VP for Website/Communication; Tania Naef, Secretary; Judi McKamey, Treasurer; Krysti Emerson and Marsha McClintock, Co-Membership Chairs; Tricia Crockett, Education Chair. Tricia would love to share the Education Chair job; any volunteers? The educational content of our meeting focused on setting goals and refining vision. It was offered by Brandon Cordell, a chapter student member currently working on his MBA in entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon. Here are a few practical comments he made about goals, based on his studies and his military experience:
The chapter started the year off with our annual holiday gathering in January – held post holidays to avoid conflicting with other festivities. Donna Fortier and Janee Connor hosted a tea at Janee's home – complete with cream scones, clotted cream, lemon curd, and raspberry jam among many other yummy goodies; with a vast variety of teas served in Donna's collection of china teacups. 12 chapter members enjoyed the afternoon, touring Janee's studio and looking at her current projects, and swapping fabric gifts from our stashes. The discussion was casual but really lively, with the topic of how we set our pricing rate front and center. This set the stage for February's meeting, a program on Alterations Pricing presented by Janee Connor. Held at the Charleton Sewing Center and open to non-members as well, the presentation included a review of the $NAP Tool for Alterations Pricing from JSM Tailoring tools, along with an overview of methods for estimating pricing for custom garments. The chapter's April meeting will feature Gail Yellen in her only Boston area appearance this Spring. The program entitled "It's all about embellishment... I know how to do it, but where do I put it?", will take place on Sunday, April 24th and is open to all ASDP members and the public. Attendees will learn some of the techniques Gail uses on her amazing garments, come away with suggestions for beautiful designs, and be more confident in deciding what will or won't work on a garment. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for registration information.
A. MADDEN TAILORING, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Where is your business located? Do you work out of a home studio or do you have a brick and mortar location?
My business is located in Gowanus area of Brooklyn, NY. The neighborhood used to be pretty industrial, but right now it is one of the most up and coming areas in NYC. I have two shop spaces on the same street (about two doors apart). In one space we do the majority of the work. In the other, we receive customers, but I also have a fully functional sewing room there as well. One block away there is a bridal salon and across the street from that another bridal designer has just opened up. We also have a wedding cake designer and florist right here so we are working on building a new "Bridal District".
What kind of work do you specialize in?
I specialize in bridal alterations, but we offer all types of alterations as well as custom monogramming and embroidery.
Tell me a little about your favorite part of your sewing space.
Right now my space is still fairly new so it's a work in progress. It is extremely functional and I have plenty of space, but I am looking forward to having it completed. We are adding new lighting soon as possible and a few space savers and details. I have a local artist adding an art installation in the front of the shop in the next few weeks and we are really excited about that. I also have a number of posters and pictures that inspire me that I am waiting to get hung up. I have a Cyndi Lauper poster from when I was a teenager, a Tank Girl Poster, a Pretty in Pink poster, a picture of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, one of Amy Poehler with a quote from her, and a poster of the Ms. magazine Wonder Woman cover from a while back. Most importantly, I have photos of my great aunt, great grandmother and grandmother when you first walk into the shop. They are such a part of this shop for me. I light a candle and greet them every morning.
Do you work alone or do you share the space with others?
Right now, I have a great assistant (Stephanie) who handles appointments, phone calls, emails, errands, and greeting clients. She is a god-send because I am the only tailor. I have tried hiring someone to help with the sewing, but have yet to find a qualified candidate.
How did you develop your layout?
Trial and error!!! Still trying out new things and then trying something different. We have a lot of space but we also have a lot of equipment and a LOT of wedding dresses. Maybe we'll find the magic combo or maybe I'll keep rearranging forever!
What's the first thing that clients notice about your space?
The one thing clients always first comment on when they come into our shop is how peaceful it is. I worked hard to make sure that a strong sense of calm comes over anyone who comes in and so far it has worked great! People love being in my shop. It makes them feel relaxed, gives them a time out from the insanity of wedding planning, and instills a sense of confidence that they have made the right choice for their alterations. I find that clients will sometimes hang around a bit after their appointment just to enjoy a peaceful moment in the wedding planning process. I have also noticed that my brides are starting to chat with each other while waiting and it's becoming a social place, which is what I wanted. I keep saying that I am going to pitch a class in creating a sense of calm in brides (and their families) for conference one year, but I have yet to get a proposal in.
What makes your sewing space unique?
Honestly, my first response to that is this: It's mine, and I am unique! But that is probably not what you are looking for. I guess the first time I ever thought about owning a shop was when I saw "The Color Purple". When Celie is in her own tiny shop, "Folkspants", I loved it. In the movie, it represented an independence and freedom that she had never known before. She was happy and at peace and her own woman. That little shop was one of my first inspirations. I also loved the early 20th century idea of people having a true neighborhood tailor and that was something I wanted to bring back. The front of the shop has an easy chair and a love seat and encourages people to make themselves comfortable, have a cup of tea, and stay for a while.
2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303