Monday, February 23, 2009

Mad Sewing Skills Can Get You Work Now*

Can you fix hems, adjust a waist in a pair of pants? Offer to work at a local tailor shop or do some work in your home. My grandmother had a sewing business in her basement. She fixed clothes like everybody's business in the basement of her Westchester, Ill. house. As a little kid, I remember a table perpetually piled with clothes waiting to be mended. My mother says she was turned off by sewing for many years by that mountain. Later on, though, when she was married and working on growing her brood, the sewing gene kicked in and she cranked out dresses, mommy-and-me bathing suits, plaid ties, hand-sewn quilts. I know it's infinitely more fun to make a dress from scratch than to take a seam ripper to a waistband, but when there's money to be made, why not? You can do it while watching Dancing with the Stars.

Small pop-and-mom textile shops need sewing operators. Solid Stone Fabrics President and CEO David Stone actually sees a return to "Made in the U.S.A" garments as Americans count their nickels and dimes figuring that what's made locally is a better deal than something from overseas. If you see a Singer or a Juki in operation anywhere in your town, chances are there are jobs.

If you can teach, head on over to Jo-Ann Fabrics, where beginning sewing classes are in demand. I'm an instructor at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston. Who would have thought that how-to classes for pajama pants would be sew (sic) popular? They are at Jo-Ann Fabrics in Schaumburg. No mammoth craft store in your 'hood? Start your own sewing tutor business.

Even better: if you can repair a sewing machine, forget the Golden Ticket, you are the ticket. People are resurrecting decades-old machines from their garages so they can do their own fixing. Even guys are getting in on the act. One man discovered a machine used for stitching sails, now he wants to use it to make awnings for his house, according to my student Laura Proudfoot, who works at a Jo-Ann Superstore. Smart guy. You too be equally clever!

Tell me what other stitchable ways you've heard or have employed to make money now.
* I found the above image by way of The Glasgow Story. As the article says, "The man appears to be either bored or comatose, and has made a poor job of buttoning the fly on his trousers!"

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