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Here at Sewing by Carolyn, we have seen just about every type of clothing for repairs or alterations in the last 30+ years. We are committed to continuing to provide services, but also teaching what we know to fellow sewists (hence the website url "Project Sewing Vault").
Most anything can be either altered or repaired, however, with fast fashion dominating the market, regular clothing items can often be bought new for less money than the cost of our labor to fix the item.
Whether it's regular clothes or formalwear, we make it a priority to discuss budget with a customer whether or not the cost is worth it to them (and we won't be offended if you decide not to fix an item).
It is so disheartening to get measured and spend a couple hundred dollars on formalwear, only to have it WILDLY not fit when it arrives. Why in the world is this our reality?!
The shortest answer? Because of the fast fashion industry. The designing is done in a smaller size and then they add length and width to all the pattern pieces to create the other sizes (which is NOT how bodies grow!).
Then, in women's clothing, they don't change the bust shape from size to size. Consumers are believing they are misshapen when in fact the shape of the garment is NOT SHAPED LIKE HUMANS! People ask why alterations are necessary, or why they cost as much as the purchase of some dresses, well this is why!
(the short version)
Carolyn grew up in the Post-war Era before fast fashion changed our market. Coming from a farm family meant knowing how to sew because store bought clothing wasn't affordable.
During the rise of fast fashion in the 1980's and 1990's, Carolyn began sewing professionally after a back injury ended her Nursing career. I (Kristen) joined the business in 2010 (read more of my story on the About Kristen page).
In the last 5-6 years, our city has seen 10-15 Sewists move into retirement while only a couple younger folks have stepped into this career path.
The end result is that there's so much work to be done that it has become imperative for us to keep reservation lists or we would never sleep!
Sewing by Carolyn has been a successful business for more than 30 years, and in this digital age of having websites for your business, we're finally catching up. We have transitioned to our reservation lists being online to help manage the work load and the amount of phone calls!
Special shout out to Lindsie Rank of the Sew Busty Blog for the use of her images on the "full bust adjustment" pattern alteration. Thanks, friend!
Click the images below for more information.
We have quickly realized that we must teach what we do since there is no formal way to get a degree in being a Specialist in Alterations.
Coming Soon: Apprenticeship Opportunities and employment opportunities. Stay tuned for details!