I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Stephanie at an ASDP-Oregon Chapter seminar recently. After months of limited contact with the outside world, attending this seminar made two things clear to me. One, being in a group of people feels strange-are we sitting far enough apart and what will they think if I sneeze? Two, being with my ASDP friends always makes me feel connected to a tribe.
I encourage you all to get connected with other ASDP members, even if you never get to meet in person, we are here to support you and welcome you into the tribe!
Stephanie, tell us about your business?
I opened Love, Stephanie in 2010 and am located in Lake Oswego, Oregon. I offer custom sewing services including Bridal and Costuming, as well as general and formalwear alterations.
How did you decide what your business niche would be?
By doing research and finding out what people in my community are looking for in a seamstress whether that be custom work, alterations, image consulting, and also where my personal sewing interest and skill could take me.
What makes your business unique?
I love fashion and beautiful, creative things and want to share that with others to help make them feel beautiful and look their best.
What kind of sewing education/training do you have?
I’ve gained my skills in a variety of ways. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design with a minor in Art History from the University of Rhode Island. While I was at URI, I had the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad at London College of Fashion. I also completed the Fashion Forward program at Portland Fashion Institute.
I always strive to be learning and developing myself. I take advantage of ways to continue to teach myself through reading books and blogs, watching online tutorials and connecting with other sewing professionals.
If you could learn from a sewlebrity (dead or alive) and time and money were no object, who would it be and what would you learn?
Susan Khalje, to learn bridal and couture sewing techniques from her. Also, Christian Siriano to learn how to listen and learn from others and take your skill to the top of your game. Ann Lowe, the black designer who made Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding gown, to learn how she dealt with the immense racism and discrimination while designing beautiful gowns for wealthy and famous white women in the 1940's, 50's and 60's.
What is your favorite task to do in your business?
Planning out the next project, sketching, fabric shopping and seeing it all start to come together into a lovely finished project.
What is something you absolutely hate about what you do?
I don't hate any of it, however I don't usually like the cutting out of a new pattern. It takes a lot of time and attention, and I just want to get to the sewing. Also, I do not like bookkeeping, I definitely lack in that department.
How did you develop the layout of your workspace?
I developed the work areas by what made sense in how I move around; the machines and tools I need easy access to, what storage space is available. Also, how it looks when a client comes over for a consultation or fitting. I want my clients to feel welcome, comfortable and special there, see the garments that I have made, and have confidence in my work. I like to have the room clean and neat while having examples of my work on display whenever a client comes over, so my dress forms and mannequins are a part of the space as well. I want it to be an inspirational and creative space that is functional too.
What goals do you have for your business in the next 5 years?
To have regular clients, to have a steady flow of customers, to design a small collection and sell it, to level-up my client projects and do custom work with fine fabrics and trims, have a separate studio or shop outside of my home.
What project is your absolute proudest moment?
Having a blouse that I made featured in Threads magazine (issue #174 September 2014), and making my wedding gown.
What is your favorite part about being an ASDP member?
All of the members, the shared skills, knowledge and experience, and belonging to a community who shares my interests.
You can visit Stephanie's website at lovestephanieapparel.com or read her blog at odetosew.com.
Follow Stephanie on Facebook LoveStephanieMendes and Instagram love.stephanie
Today we talk with Madeline Stage, owner of Goheen LLC, about her business, workspace and makes.
Madeline, tell us about your sewing/design business.
I am a Sewing Pattern Designer and my business Goheen LLC sells patterns, DIY kits, accessories and home decor.
I have a focus on intentional and sustainable making. For example, all of the products that I sew and sell are created using at least one secondhand material. I also offer a line of DIY kits that feature discarded fabrics saved from going to a landfill. My patterns offer an inclusive size range (up to a 54" bust), single layer cutting layouts to help reduce material waste, and patterns that fill multiple needs in your wardrobe, like the Huxley Bag, which can convert between a backpack, a bike bag, and a cross body bag.
I've mostly let my niche come about organically, just paying attention to what aspects of my business I'm most passionate about, and leaning into those.
A view toward sustainable making has lead to the following tenets for my business:
Rescue “Graveyard Goods” (unwanted/abandoned materials).
Make beautiful and functional awesomeness out of it.
Inspire other people to do the same.
Have fun while doing it!!
I know that you recently relocated to the Chicago area, what can you tell us about your new workspace?
Since I just moved, the layout of the space is a work in progress. I've been thinking about what my ideal setup would be for each section of my work (cutting, ironing, pattern drafting, computer work, etc.) and then trying to find a way to fit it all together so that it works with the space. For me, that will mean having furniture that can multitask. I'm hoping to build myself a custom table that will be able to fill a lot of those needs.
One of my favorite things about my new workspace is that it has a door! For the first time ever I now have a completely separate space for my work. No more sharing space with the living room or my son's bedroom!
You share many of your makes on Instagram. What project is your absolute proudest moment?
My proudest moment has to be winning one of the categories at last year's Threads Challenge. I put so much of myself into my coat-bag, and it felt so gratifying to be recognized.
The community. I love feeling like I'm a part of a group, even if I'm at home working alone all day.
Welcome to "A Stitch n' Time". Let us ‘sew’ into your life! "A Stitch n' Time", a licensed, taxable business venue, officially opened its doors on November 5, 2013. My name is Andrea Hoover, the Sole owner, and happy worker bee of this company. I cannot wait to announce our 5-year anniversary this year, then maybe the 10-year anniversary and eventually... announce the 50th anniversary at some time down the road.
A Stitch n' Time is a professional service/trade that can alter, tailor, repair, remake, design, custom build and instruct its customers on ready-to-wear, custom made garments and household goods. In a nutshell, I sew, repair or recreate ready-to wear clothing, teach the public how to use and troubleshoot their own sewing machines, and design and build whatever dream floats through my customer's heads. I am only able to accomplish what I do at my job because of the degree, a BFA in Theatre Production with an emphasis in Costume Design and Construction, I received at Pennsylvania State University in 1999 and God's good Grace. Currently, A Stitch n' Time has run out of room at our little cottage. My sewing room runs the length of the back of our rental house, the fitting room doubles as our laundry room, the kitchen table doubles as my cutting table and wedding prep table, the guest bedroom recently housed 12 wedding gowns and a portion of the living room has become the office. I currently have 1 apprentice and 1 full-time employee.
As for ASDP… let’s start at the very beginning, it is an integral part of my business. I searched high and low to find a professional organization in which I could stay abreast of the current trends in alteration techniques and sewing. I found ASDP, 4 years ago, through the Threads Magazine, contacted the ASDP website and started going to Chapter meetings in Baltimore. I cannot say enough about how beneficial the membership, the learning and the comradery has been for my business and I. Currently, I am the Baltimore Chapter’s secretary. Also, through ASDP, I acquired a Dress Maker I certificate and attended my first conference in Florida with one of my apprentices. This year I was awarded a scholarship toward an MAS. I plan on starting my MAS this August and look forward to all the continued learning. ASDP has saved me from construction problems, helped me find resources and even helped me fend off potential business scammers. I just cannot say enough about its benefits.
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