Category: Interview

Portrait of a Seamstress: Paige

Just outside Philadelphia, not too far north and west, is Bryn Mawr, Paoli, Narberth, Wynnewood, Haverford, Ardmore, Conshohocken and Merion. The entire area is known as The Main Line. It was the setting of the movie, The Philadelphia Story (gah! I love Katharine Hepburn!), and it has a much different vibe than Philly. To me, Philadelphia is like one borough of New York. It’s a little big city and reminds me of Brooklyn a little. The burbs, however, are picturesque. Very country club. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Since I moved here 6 years ago, I have seen a huge resurgence of sewing. Butcher’s Sew Shop and Made Studios are just two examples of sewing studios that continue to thrive. I haven’t seen that resurgence outside the city though. I might be wrong in that assumption. In any case, I believe there is both a need and a want for sewing in the suburbs. Indicative of this – open for just six weeks, Christine Shirley’s sewing classes are full. Booked solid. When Paige Sullivan first developed her business plan, she was very much at the center of it, but soon after opening, her plan shifted. Now, it’s less about reaping personal benefits, and more about providing a mentorship. A modern day girl’s club so to say. On the surface, she teaches sewing, but on another level, she is giving girls and women confidence and courage. Yeh girl!

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tags: Interview, philadelphia, portrait of a seamstress Comments: 7

Portrait of a Seamstress: Rebeca Imperiano

Simplicity is refreshing and if done right, hard to achieve. It’s easy to throw a bunch of elements next to elements, things next to things, baubles next to baubles, or whatever next to whatever and say that they “go together”. That’s called bohemian. Editing and refining on the other hand – not so easy. Narrowing down an idea, a design or whatever forces you to decipher the elements that work, and at the same time, define your point of view. As a fashion design student at Drexel University, Rebeca Imperiano spent 3 years doing just that – defining her POV. This is just my opinion, but how she defined her namesake line, was spot on.

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tags: Interview, portrait of a seamstress, the way sewing used to be Comments: 1

Portrait of A Seamstress + Illustrator: Chelsey

I commend women who not just know exactly what they want to do, but are doing it. Living and breathing their vision, whatever it may be. Too many wander, wondering what the hell they’re going to do with their lives. Some are brave to seek their future while others think their future will capture them. Chelsey Totten is a dear friend of mine. We work together, and started our careers around the same time. I began just 6 months before her. When it comes to travel, she for sure is a wanderer. Flying out west to Cali or jetting off to Asia to visit factories for work, she’s all over the place. For as free spirited as she is, she has been on a straight, set path since she was very young. Using her own words, she has always known what she wanted to do and there is has never been anything else she’s wanted to be.

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tags: Interview, personal, portrait of a seamstress Comments: 4

Portrait of a Seamstress: Jovan O’Connor

Sometimes, the reality of fashion doesn’t match up exactly with your dreams. I’ve been there – I’ve dreamt about what it would be like to show a collection – my collection – at fashion week. For one woman, Jovan O’Connor, that dream is becoming a reality. This week, she is showing at New York Fashion week. She received a B.S. in Fashion Design the same year I graduated high school – 2006. While I was just starting my career, she was designing for Patti LaBelle. No, I kid you not. It was during her senior year while studying abroad in Italy that Jovan was commissioned to design a gown for the Philly native. Talk about a tipping point, right? Since then, she’s been growing her brand the best way a designer can, at least in my opinion, by organically building her clientele. This week marks another tipping point for her. By showing at NYFW, she is taking one step closer to being a bonafide designer. TELL US YOUR STORY My name is Jovan O’Connor and I’m a local Philadelphian. I grew up in West Philly. I knew I wanted to be a designer from a very young age, but as far as sewing is concerned, I was disillusioned by the fact that designers should know how to sew. I thought that as a designer, I would mostly sketch, and could pass off my design to someone who could make it for me. So, I didn’t start sewing until I went to college at Philadelphia University. My grandmother was a part of Philadelphia’s once burgeoning manufacturing industry. She was a seamstress and worked for many designers. What’s interesting is that I never saw her sew – by the time I was born she was retired – but I feel as if sewing was passed…

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tags: Fashon, Interview, philadelphia, portrait of a seamstress Comments: 4

Little Yellow Couch Podcast: Listen Now!

Just a quick post today to let you know that I was recently featured on the blog Little Yellow Couch in their Style Matters podcast. In it, Zandra and Karen ask me loads of questions about my personal style – why I like fashion and why cultivating an unique look and vision is meaningful to me. They also asked me about my “why not” moments – the times when I decided to try something after letting go of any preconceived and self-imposed rules, norms or standards. That experience where I threw all caution to the wind and said, “hey, why not?” So, if you have a spare 20-minutes, hop on over to their site and listen! Side note – it is super weird to hear yourself talk?! Just saying.

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tags: Interview, personal Comments: 1

Register Now: Bra Making With Madalynne!

In February, I was thrilled to host my first bra making workshop (click here to see all the photos and fun we had!). It was an amazing day with a group of equally amazing women, and I can’t wait to do it again. Well, mark your calendars because that day is fast approaching. On June 27, August 22, and November 7, I’ll be hosting my second, third and fourth sessions! Let’s face it, bra making is intimating. I wanted to make a bra for so long, but hesitated because I didn’t know where or how to start. Just like sewing knits, once you get the hang of elastic, stretch fabrics, hooks and eyes, sewing bras will become super easy. I promise! In one day, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know so that you have the confidence and the knowledge to go home and make many, many more. Registration opens today and all the event details are below. Hopefully, I’ll be seeing you soon! Date & Time: Saturday, June 27 from 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM Saturday, August 22 from 10:00AM – 5:30PM Saturday, November 7 from 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM Location: Madalynne Studios 3245 Amber Street Philadelphia, PA 19134 Cost: $315 (installment payments available upon request) The details: The workshop is open to 6-8 students and you can sign up through Eventbrite. After 10 have signed up for each session, you will be put on a waiting list. Project: Students will make a full band, underwired bra. After registering, you’ll receive instructions on how to take your measurements so that on the day of the workshop, a pattern in your size will be ready for you. This workshop only covers construction. If you want help with fit and pattern corrections after the class, I am more than willing to…

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tags: bra making, Interview, lingerie, madalynne studios, philadelphia, teaching Comments: 4

Homemade: Emma One Sock

I believe that life experiences combine to create a set of skills that shape you into the person you’re meant to be. In my own life, I have a combination of photography, writing and sewing abilities that molded Madalynne into its current state. In Linda’s case, owning a children’s clothing line and being a musician made her a fruitful business owner. I first placed an order from her company, Emma One Sock, over the holidays. Ava Geraldine is a wool knit that came from their stock. When I clicked to follow EOS on Facebook, I discovered that their home base was near me – less than an hour away. We finally met on the last day of February, and during our two-hour talk, it was clear that Linda was the type who deeply cared about her business, even after 20 years. She has a passion. I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, and I was always interested in art, music and dance. I was an anomaly in my family, but my next door neighbors were a family of artists, musicians, poets, thinkers, and I probably spent most of my early childhood in their house. They were a big influence on me. I taught myself to play the piano at their house because we didn’t have one until I was 9 or 10-years-old. It was the most exciting day of my life when my parents purchased a baby grand piano to decorate our living room. To them, it was a piece of furniture, but to me, it was a turning point in my life. The piano became my instrument, and I went on to to get a BA and an MA in Music/Piano Performance. During and after college, I taught piano, ear-training and music theory, and did a lot of studio accompanying for voice teachers,…

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tags: homemade, Interview Comments: 38