Dear ASDP Board
Sewing and handcrafts have been a part of my life since age 7. I earned a B.S. in Home Economics from Seton Hill College (now University) in Greensburg, PA, where I focused on merchandising. Early in my career, I managed both a JoAnn fabrics and a Piece Goods Shop. After moving to Augusta, GA in 1983, as a newlywed, I was delighted to see children in beautiful hand smocked clothes. I took a class, made a nightgown for myself and continued learning. This new skill launched a sewing business when I was pregnant with my daughter. “Suit Yourself” was chosen, as I love tailoring and helping professional women find nice suits. After recognizing the South’s penchant for dances, formals were added to my business.
Once my daughter was born, the smocking creativity exploded- Meghan was the best dressed girl! We relocated to Frederick, MD where I had my twin boys, bringing a new opportunity for smocked boys’ clothes. All of the children’s heirloom clothing is saved for the next generation. I taught sewing and smocking lessons at a local fabric shop, also doing ordering and merchandising for the owners. The popularity of American Girl dolls amongst my daughters’ friends launched a new business, “Sew Special,” with a friend, concentrating on new ideas and classic baby hats. Once my children were grown, I went on to work in sales in the arts and crafts world. As online merchandisers changed the business, I refocused on my true passion of heirloom children’s clothing and launched a new business, Custom Creative LLC.
My love for smocking is a part of my work days now. I was looking for a professional organization to brainstorm with other creative people. I found ASDP and it has been the right fit. The Baltimore chapter is active and has interesting programs and meetings. I look forward to learning and growing as part of this wonderful group.
In 1987 I was 20 years old and trying to decide what to do for a living. I knew I liked to sew but how would I go about learning this skill? What type of work would there be for someone with sewing skills? It was suggested to me to speak with one of the tailors working in the town where I lived and see if they would be willing to have me apprentice with them to learn their trade. At this time, I was unaware that people actually paid other people to sew their clothes for them! I did find a tailor who took me on as an apprentice at that time. After one full year of apprenticeship, fifteen years of self-employment, two years in a custom dress shop, 9 years in a draperies establishment, 4 years at an alterations store and one year at a bridal shop I have all the knowledge and skills of a Master Alterations Specialist.
There was no condensed, direct route that taught all the alterations and repairs you would need to know to be and Alterations Specialist. Years of apprenticeship, training and on-the-job experience was how one would acquire skills in the sewing trade.
Currently I am living in London, Ontario with my husband, Scott and I have two children, Michael (20) and Rose (18). I own a sewing business, Jackson Sewing and Academy, but my career “baby” is my sewing school, Jackson Sewing Academy. With my online sewing school, I am creating an extensive, customizable course so you can learn the skills needed to become an Alterations Specialist. Included are step-by-step, easy to follow video demonstrating every alteration and/or repair one would need to know to work in this field, along with printable, easy to understand text and images covering many other topics beneficial to this trade. Individuals can learn at their own pace, they can learn everything there is to know to run their own full-service alterations business or just the skills needed to work in a specific area of retail clothing.
I had decided to join the ASDP because of the certification programs. Students who complete my course can acquire certification and thus recognition for their skills.
Creating a course like this has been a dream of mine for 25 years and I am thrilled to finally see it come to life!
An acrobat in her youth, Claire enrolled in the circus curriculum at Florida State University but left with a "MRS" degree. Though quite thin, she had developed broad shoulders through acrobatics — a factor that ultimately steered her life in another direction. Finding it difficult to find clothes that fit, she turned to sewing her own wardrobe, but wanted more than commercial patterns offered. “I went back to school to learn how to make my own patterns,” she says. "I was under the misconception that once I had a basic block I could make patterns with few, if any, fitting problems."
She studied professional construction techniques which included those used in haute couture as well as inexpensive mass production. Along the way, she developed a passion for collecting and amassed an impressive collection of designer clothes which she uses for research. Although the focus of the collection has always been construction, a few garments have been loaned for museum exhibitions.
Claire taught a variety of beginning and advanced construction courses at College of the Desert for 22 years. As a classroom instructor, she learned what frustrated students most, what they really wanted to learn, and how to help them solve problems on their own. Even simple problems such as how the sewing machine works and how to solve stitching problems had not been addressed in the mid-seventies.
The author of more than 20 books and videos including “Couture Sewing Techniques” and the Couture Sewing Series of books with videos which focus on Chanel techniques, Claire designs the Custom Couture Collection for Vogue Patterns and is a frequent contributor to Vogue Pattern Magazine and Threads. She is currently writing a college textbook on Couture Tailoring for Laurence King Publication.
Claire has written extensively about Chanel and the Chanel garments. Even though she has never visited the Chanel ateliers, her examination of the designs and knowledge of haute couture construction have uncovered several Chanel secrets. One of the first was that Chanel used a faux bound buttonhole under the thread buttonhole instead of a real bound buttonhole which is much more difficult to sew.
Surrounded by family who loved to sew and were professionals in the field, it is not surprising the business, Custom Alterations was born. Addie’s mother, Betty is a very processioned quilter and her Grandmother, Mildred, now deceased, was a sewing instructor for Sears Roebuck in Cincinnati, Ohio for over 25 years. Many of Addie’s sewing skills were formed from these two ladies and over time she developed many of her own skills in the alterations field.
Custom Alterations started in the mid 80’s by appointment only. Over time as the business grew, a walk in establishment was formed, around 17 years ago, and is in place today. Custom Alterations preforms many different tasks from coat zipper replacements, blue jean alterations, hems, gown and men’s suit alterations to name a few. Other unusual jobs have been 6 foot zippers in cello cases, re construction on antique tractor umbrellas and the occasional horse blanket repairs. For the most part you name it we have most likely preformed the task.
Custom embroidery was introduced into the shop about 8 years ago. We Target the small business sector and individual orders that many of the larger embroidery establishments just do not want or cannot handle.
Married with 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren, she stays busy outside of the business. Her family runs and operates The Ro-La-Sue Dairy Farms in Wayne Country, Wooster, Ohio, milking between 250 and 265 cows using Lely Robotic Systems. Addie still heads down to the barn almost every morning to chase cows between 4 and 4:30 a.m. Then returns home, takes a small break and gets ready to open her business.
Addie is a member of the Association of Sewing Design Professionals (ASDP), The American Sewing Guild (ASG) and The Wayne County Fiber Arts Guild of Wooster. She holds a recently acquired Certificate of Completion for custom skirt pattern drafting and is currently enrolled in a custom slacks drafting course.
Addie also holds a degree from the Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute in Marketing Management Technologies and Floral Design. She is a published author of Floral Inspirations, Inspiration durch Blumen, and holds a National Certified Floral Designer Certificate from The Ohio and Michigan Floral Association. She is also a member of OFAA and CFAA Associations.
After moving to Boise in 2004, she picked up some more advanced design and construction techniques from local instructors, one of whom was Barbie McCormick, another career sewist and ASDP member.
Over the next several years, Erin had fallen into helping design and build costumes for the ballroom dance community she is a part of. She worked mainly for the joy of seeing her creations on the dance floor, as well as a few dinners and bottles of wine. When the economy crashed in 2008, and she was laid off from the engineering firm where she was working as geologist, Erin pivoted to an entirely new career in sewing. With Barbie’s help and mentorship and the encouragement of the dance community, Erin began teaching sewing classes, making dance costumes she was paid actual money for, and doing alterations. sewBoise was born!
Since that time, sewBoise has expanded twice and Erin now employs 9 people in her Boise shop.
Erin comes from a family of educators, and is no exception, many have described her as an exceptional teacher. She thoroughly enjoys teaching, learning and sharing sewing tricks with others.
In 2010, Erin joined the Association of Design and Sewing Professionals and began participating in the organization's annual educational conference where she continues to expand her sewing and design skill set, improve her teaching techniques and share her work.
Being an engaged business owner and asset to her community is central to Erin's plans. She is pursuing the Executive MBA degree at Boise State University, graduating in spring of 2018, and was one of the Idaho Business Review's honorees for the Accomplished Under 40 Award in 2016 (see page 31).
Erin teaches beginning through intermediate-plus students, including teens and pre-teens. Although she only speaks English herself, she is comfortable teaching those whose primary language it isn't. Erin is sewBoise's resident knit and serger expert. She works extensively with the Moulage as well as with commercial patterns, and is always up for a rework of a pattern or existing garment.
Read more about Erin in the press, schedule a private lesson with her, or send her an e-mail.
I am new to ASDP and am so very glad I joined this Association! I was introduced to ASDP via Rhonda Buss’ blog. I enrolled in my first conference held in Orlando within days of becoming a member. This group is an over-the-top group of lovely, talented ladies that share the same passion as I – my inspiration was on overload when I returned home from conference. My take-away from this conference was “work smarter, not harder” (thanks to Barbie McCormick) and that there are so many members able and willing to help you perfect your talent, become an expert in your field and become successful in your business.
I am currently the Deputy Director for the Office of State Lands & Investments for the State of Wyoming and still work full time. However, I will be retiring in December, 2018 and plan to begin the next chapter of my life with a custom sewing and alteration business on January 1, 2019 – new year, new chapter. I anticipate that my business will consist of primarily alterations, but am hopeful that I will have custom sewing and design opportunities as well – all options are on the table.
My Mother and Grandmother sewed for me for as long as I can remember. I started sewing at age eight under their tutelage and have continued to “up my game” over the past 50 plus years. Thanks to my Mother and Grandmother, I am obsessed with fit and try to challenge myself with new techniques and complex projects whenever possible. Because I still work full time, I am more of a weekend warrior but do try to incorporate at least one or two “sewcations” each year. I try my best to spend at least 30 minutes a day in my sewing room, be it sewing in a zipper or a couple of seams, cutting out or drafting a pattern or just cleaning up after a weekend project. I find that if I allot myself a minimum of 30 minutes per day I don’t feel too deprived of my passion.
There is absolutely no doubt that I will continue my membership and I am looking forward to future conferences and becoming more involved in ASDP and its mission. I plan to take advantage of the opportunities ASDP provides and enroll in as many conference classes as time will allow. I want further my education and expertise in alteration and sewing techniques, fitting and operating a successful business. I sincerely believe I have found my “peeps” and am looking forward to working with each and every one of you.
I started sewing as a teenager, learning from family members and making everything from quilts to clothing for myself. I attended Iowa State University and graduated with degrees in Marketing and Apparel Merchandising Design and Production. Most of my career to date has been in the insurance industry with my sewing being done on the side for myself, my husband and other family members.
It wasn’t until June 2017 that I started sewing as a business. I actually got into alterations on a whim. I was in my sister’s wedding and needed to get my dress altered so I went to a local seamstress and we started talking about sewing and the business. I have been incredibly fortunate as the conversation with this seamstress ultimately led to an apprenticeship and the creation of my alterations business, Pin Works.
I joined ASDP shortly after starting my business to expand my knowledge by attending conferences and meet others in the business to learn from them. I would highly recommend this organization to others, especially those just starting out as there is so much information to be gained from fellow ASDP members!
Currently I operate Pin Works on nights and weekends while continuing my full-time work in operations at an Insurance agency. I’m not sure what the future holds for me but I look forward to growing my skills in alterations and expanding my clientele.
Teri’s Unique Stitching, LLC
Freelance Costume Stitcher, Costumes, Custom Dressmaking, Alterations, General Sewing, and Instruction
I started sewing at the age of eight using my great grandma’s treadle sewing machine. Living on a dairy farm I belonged to the 4H club and we were to submit something we sewed for the county fair in Wisconsin. My mother decided that my first project would be a plaid lined jumper. Oh, did I cry over that and I didn’t sew again with plaid fabric till 2011 when I started stitching as a Costume Shop Assistant for a local dinner theatre. But the good news is I got a blue ribbon that I treasure to this day.
During the late 80’s and early 90’s I was a sewing assistant for L. Karen Odam, Dos De Tejas where I tested her patterns, proof read and edited the instructions, created samples for shows and pattern photos. In 1996, Karen and Dos De Tejas patterns were selected for the National New Home Institute Fashion Show and I got to sew all the clothes for this using their machines. Also in the 80’s and 90’s I was a DecoArt Helping Artist, teaching decorative painters how to use DecoArt products as well as teaching silk painting classes including a basic one-time class on TV.
In 1995 after moving from Texas to PA I started a home-based alterations and custom dressmaking. In 2010, I moved back to my home town in WI started my business there and then my life changed.
Welcome to my crazy life. Really, it’s crazy as a Freelance Costume Stitcher, I usually work away from home 6 days a week, 10 hours a day minimum and anywhere from two days to weeks/months. I get to travel around the United States and internationally having sewn in Canada, Poland and China. I am blessed to have sewn costumes for Disney On Ice, Disney Live, Marvel Universe Live, Sesame Street, Radio City Rockettes, Hamilton the Broadway Musical and the very last Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, to name a few. In 2015, I spent time in NYC sewing costumes for Madonna’s Living for Love Music Video, her costumes for her Rebel Heart tour as the head seamstress and went on tour with her for three cities.
When I am at home I sew costumes for the Fireside Theatre, work at a local quilt shop teaching classes and make cosplay costumes for Comic Con (this picture is my Bioshock Infinite cosplay costumes on stage for judging at the 2016 Wizard World Chicago Comic Con).
I have been a member of ASDP since 2008 though I had one year off. I came back because I missed the comradery of the members and all the information that is shared to help us become better in our field
Angela Wolf is the anchor of the PBS series It’s Sew Easy, Author of How to Start a Home-based Fashion Design Business, founder of Angela Wolf Pattern CollectionTM, hosts a Facebook live show Behind the Scenes, and YouTube series Entrepreneur Insight. She is a frequent contributor to both Threads and SewStylish magazines, blogger, and brand ambassador for Brother International and Daylight Company. Angela has been a member of ASDP since 2008, a board member for MSDP, and brand ambassador for Brother International and Daylight Company.
Angela started sewing at a young age and continued to design women’s apparel all through college. With an entrepreneurial spirit and passion for fashion and sewing, she launched and ran a successful custom apparel and alteration business for over 18 years. With the success of It’s Sew Easy tv, Angela changed her business focus toward the home sewer and now spends much of her time consulting, speaking, and teaching all over the country. She is the winner of 2008 Passion for Fashion, 2012 American Sewing Expo’s teacher of year, and in 2016 received the Outstanding Industry Contribution award. When she is not sewing, you will find her fishing on Lake Michigan or in the Florida Keys with her husband Winn, on the Win-n-Angel!
"I have been a member of ASDP since 2008 and find this group to be such an asset. I would recommend to anyone able to attend a conference, GO! After attending the annual conference in Illinois 2 years in a row, it was amazing to connect with fellow designers, patternmakers, and sewing experts. Not only do you leave the conference with new friends, you have had the opportunity to polish your skills and discuss business with others in the same field. The best part is that you leave with a renewed energy and increased confidence to run and grow your business! Thanks ASDP for everything you offer!" -- Angela
Lynne Williams is a native Californian with 30 years of professional sewing and design experience. She is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, majoring in Fashion Design. While in college Lynne worked with in the Fashion industry for American Trim, designing embroidery and appliqué patterns for various fashion houses assisting and overseeing production.
Upon graduation in 1981 she moved into Hollywood and focused her career in Costumes for Theatre and Film where she had the privilege of contributing to: Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Honey I blew up the Kids, and a Lionel Riche video “Dancing on the Ceiling” to name a few. Lynne also gained experience at this time in clothing and covering animatronics, working with fur and leather, developing “Walk Arounds” for various productions, all this while running a successful porcelain doll clothing business known as “H.H. Pinafore”. with her partner Sue Hammerschmidt. This dynamic team created beautiful reproduction and original clothes for porcelain dolls, developing a line of doll patterns known for their accuracy and detailed instructions.
Since moving to Wisconsin in 1991 her love of horses has inspired her to hone her tailoring skills in the form of traditional riding apparel along with some fun costume pieces.
Diversity has always been Lynne’s forte creating wedding garments to window treatments for her private clientele in Wisconsin. Additionally she provides sample prototypes for DC Comics popular line of Action Figures.
Currently Lynne has joined forces with her husband, former staff sculptor at Disney, Chuck Williams. Together they create replica costumes from the Batman and Wonder Woman tv show for fans, collectors and cosplay enthusiasts. under the Williams Studio 2 banner. They have established a vibrant and successful online business selling to clients all over the world from their cabin in the woods.
Lynne also enjoys teaching beginning to advanced sewing skills through Nicolet College in their continuing education division and out of her private studio.
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