Dear ASDP Board
This month we visit with the delightful Terri Tipps. Terri has been a member for 21 years and is always ready to lend a helping hand. She has served as the VP of Membership, served on multiple various committees, and most recently served as our Secretary from 2016-2020.
Where is the business located?
I started my business in Chattanooga, TN in 1989. My business has been in multiple locations over the years, and I have recently moved and am working on getting my business settled in Greenville, South Carolina.
What kind of business do you do?
Bridal, Costuming, Custom Sewing, Formalwear and General Alterations, plus occasional teaching.
What professional title do you use?
I prefer Dressmaker. I really don’t like being called a Tailor. This tells me that they don’t understand the difference and I highly respect what it takes to be a true Tailor.
How long have you been sewing professionally?
How did you decide what your business niche would be?
I like variety which can be a detriment or a plus. I’ve been able to help many customers and I’ve learned a lot about many areas that need sewing in their work or helping clients
What makes your business unique?
ME!! I care about people and I invest, even for a short time, in their lives to hopefully make it better. Proper fit of a garment or covering a wagon cushion so a child can ride in a passed down Red Rider, creating a design from a parent for their disabled child is always a major accomplishment for me. I’m bring to life what someone feels is necessary for their continued living today. It really means a lot to people when you deliver their ideas in something tangible. I strive to give each client my very best.
What kind of sewing education/training do you have?
Self-taught, Learned from family member, pursued degree, classes or conferences, reading books, online tutorials.
What is something that you have always wanted to learn?
I’ve come to realize that my hand sewing could be cleaner and have less of a “home sewn” look. I’d like to make beautiful buttonholes and not spend all day doing it!
What is your favorite task to do in your business?
Working with my clients and finding solutions.
What is something you absolutely hate about what you do?
Bookkeeping and charging. I wish I had someone who would go to the client and present the bill and take payment. I know I’m worth it and I do want to be paid, but I don’t enjoy this part.
What is one of your favorite things about your work space?
My workspace had changed over the years as I have moved, but I always enjoyed my children coming into my space one at a time and telling me about their day.
How did you develop the layout of your workspace?
Necessity is the mother of invention. I’ve had so many different layouts and even now I’m discovering new ways to organize my inventory and notions to effectively create for my clients.
What is the first thing clients notice about your space?
Hopefully...Professional. I try to have my consult/fitting space clear of clutter and welcoming to clients.
What is your favorite part about being an ASDP member?
The members!! Definitely! The networking and friendships have been wonderful. I believe members need to get involved with the association to get the most out of membership. Even short assignments or committee work helps everyone to know you and you them. My first conference was in 2000 and I helped to set up the fabric tour in St Louis; I have been involved ever since in some way or another.
What goals do you have for your business (or yourself professionally) in the next 5 years?
If you could learn from any sewlebrity (dead or alive) and time and money were no object, who would it be and what would you learn?
This is really hard. I think of sewists that weren’t famous until after their death that I would love to see how they worked with the little they had (we have sooo much today). I think of people I have met and how I’d love to spend time with them and see how they work in their spaces (many of our members so I won’t single out anyone naming those I admire most).
What would I learn? Learning is having an open mind to receive information and them making it your own. Some information doesn’t work with me, my personality, etc so I try to use what i can and continue to work at implementing new information into my work habits. Granted, I’m not successful a lot of the time but it does keep me moving forward to learn.
What are your favorite resources and/or authors from whom you have learned the most?
ASDP members! I value our body of knowledge and skills. I’m always amazed at those in the field that feel like they have nothing to offer to others or that our association couldn’t benefit them.
My favorites have changed with the changes in my business and locations. Clients are different and so my business needs are different. I'm so very thankful for those in our field willing to share their knowledge and expertise with me.
What is the craziest request you have ever had from a client?
I had a bride ask, “Can you move my boob into the right position?” Sorry, dear, no.
I’ve been asked to make a thong with removable crotch using hooks...that didn’t go well.
Designers- “Can you make this?” No visible means of getting in the garment and they have no idea where this would be done on the garment...where’s my emoji of the hand hitting my forehead?
What project is your absolute proudest moment?
Being recognized by my peers... Audience Choice Award 2018 Threads Challenge
Facebook Couture by Terri Tipps
Wedding Wire Couture by Terri Tipps
The Knot Couture by Terri Tipps
Today we chat with Colorado Chapter President Anne Kuehn.
Anne, tell us about your business?
I opened Design To Fashion LLC in 2016. Located in Broomfield, Colorado offering Manufacturing, Pattern Making, and Product Development.
I usually start with Patternmaker
Getting the fit right from the start is what I care about most. And, I love seeing other designers’ ideas come to life.
I am not afraid of complicated patterns. I will grade folded origami styles if asked. Those are some of my favorite projects.
What is the worst thing about being in business?
Clients who don't realize how much work and time goes into developing garments. People forget that between sample and production there is grading, sourcing, yardage calculation, sewing workflows, and more.
It is nice to have most of the basement to myself.
Tetris - how to squeeze one more thing in.
I think people are often surprised how much the basement looks like an office/workshop.
Keeping small businesses going is all about connections. The more we work together the more we gain.
There are plans for new pattern making software in the works. Also, I can see my current small batch production potentially expanding into a local factory.
Shingo Sato - His creative pattern making always inspires me.
I will read any pattern making books I find. Especially, old ones from 100+ years ago. There is a lot to be learned about the technique from those who make patterns before sizing charts were created.
Six stiff satin helmets that had wooden doorknobs on top.
Grading for this white jacket, the curves in the layers are all bezier curves, and each size bases those curves on the same body positions.
What else should we know about you or your business?
I have recently acquired a wide-format printer and will be offering full sheet pattern printing. I will also print specific layers from PDFs if requested.
You can Anne online on her website designtofashion.com and
Advisory Cloud @Anne-Kuehn
Today we get a chance to talk with Helen Haughey. Helen has taught at multiple conferences, served as a VP of Conference Planning, and has served as our Threads Challenge Coordinator since 2018. If you have questions about the upcoming Threads Selvage/Salvage Challenge, she’s your gal!
Helen, tell us about your business.
I opened Helen Haughey Designs in 2006, which I operate now in Celebration, Florida. I am an author and educator and I offer custom sewing services.
I have been sewing professionally for the last 10-15 years and I saw a need for custom sewing of high quality and excellent fit.
Since moving to Florida I have been developing more independent classes and my uniqueness in this area is an innate ability to teach and encourage my students. I have also been enjoying doing a number of private lessons. It is important to bring to this all the skills I have acquired over the years, not just the techniques required to create a well-fitting and pleasing garment. Things like the best colors for any particular pupil or balance to the rest of the body through the use of a particular neckline.
A professionally finished hand worked buttonhole and I am still working on this!
Complete a project, especially one in which I have struggled to develop/tweak the design.
Keeping up with the bookkeeping.
Many years of tweaking my work space. I am about to build out a new space so I have been reflecting on what are the essentials in my workspace that encourage my best work, apart from the obvious of good tools and good lighting. In the same way a good layout in your kitchen facilitates efficiency and hopefully great meals, so in the designers workspace a great layout does not detract from the flow of the creative juices!
The friendships I have made over the years and the stimulation of sharing new ideas and techniques.
I hope to return to in person classes and private lessons as soon as possible and plan to lead a fashion, food and fabric tour to Italy as soon as this is safe.
I would like to achieve a better balance of work and grandmother duties and to gracefully achieve retirement in about 4 years time.
Ralph Rucci: I would like to to learn from him two things in particular:
1. Construction of an Infanta (ball) gown
2. Finishing with unusual seam construction and embellishment
Susan Khalje introduced me to the world of couture sewing and it was eye opening in terms of bringing my enjoyment of mathematics, desire for control and excellence into alignment.
Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga.
To make a Santa Claus suit. I am quite capable of doing this but have no interest whatsoever in making costumes (especially for adults).
I have recently learned ironwork.
This last February I team taught with Mary Funt (new member) the first French Jacket class in Florida and we have had many requests to repeat this class and will schedule more classes as soon as it is safe to do so.
I have been offering a new product in my Etsy store which I call a shoulder ham (reviewed by Threads issue #209, along with the sleeve board I have for sale (also reviewed by Threads issue #206). The sale of these products have sustained my business in this very strange year.
More about Helen and her business on her website HelenHaugheyDesigns.com.
Follow Helen on Facebook and IG @HelenHaugheyDesigns
You can find Helen's products in her Etsy store.
Today we get the opportunity to talk with Barbie McCormick who recently received “Most Innovative Construction” in the 2020 Threads Elements Challenge (Threads issue #213) for her dress Smoking Hot Pink.
Barbie, tell me about your sewing business, or should I say businesses?
I’m the owner of Sew Good, which I opened in 1994 where I do all aspects- design, patterning, construction, fitting in Nampa, Idaho. And I am co-owner of Love Couture Sewing, which was started with Linda Homan in 2019. Love Couture Sewing offers specialty and couture sewing workshops in different locations including Palm Springs, CA.
What kind of business do you do, and what makes your business unique?
I have been sewing full-time for 20+ years working in all aspects of sewing-design, patterning, construction, fitting. At Sew Good, I offer Bridal, Custom Sewing, Education, Formalwear Alterations, Pattern Making, and also Technical Editing and development of prototypes.
I feel that word-of-mouth led me to specialty sewing and couture workshops with Love Couture Sewing. Linda and I have also developed personalized couture lessons available through Zoom while everyone is dealing with Covid related restrictions.
Similar to many others I have gained skills through self learning and reading books, received on the job training, and pursued classes and conferences. I have also made the investment in my business to complete the MSDP certification program, to demonstrate Master Level techniques in the areas of Business Practices, Fabric Knowledge, Fashion Illustration, Fashion Design, Fitting, Pattern Development, and Garment Construction.
I really like whatever I'm working on- when I'm applying lace to a bodice, I think "Wow! I LOVE sewing lace!", then, when I'm doing hand tailoring on a Harris Tweed coat front, I think "Wow! I LOVE tailoring!", and when I'm doing patternwork, I think "Wow! I LOVE patternwork!"
What is something you absolutely hate about what you do? or What is the worst thing about being in business?
I don't think I absolutely HATE anything, but I dislike mending, customers who ask me to do something that I JUST told them is not possible, and that email that asks "How much will it cost to alter my dress?" with NO details.
In my original area, I started with my main table facing the window, so I could see outside, then filled in everything else as it would fit.
16 years ago I added on to my workspace and put in a separate entrance, a fitting space, a library with sofa, and a drafting/cutting table. When I added that space, I started with the floor plan and drew in what I wanted where. I took the time to figure out how many shelves would fit, how to situate the library in the corner, etc.
My extensive fabric stash. The "walls" of the fitting area are shelves full of fabric, and that is one of my favorite things-to be able to shop at home, from a selection of fabric that I've ALREADY picked out because I love it!
Networking and Education. Getting to meet and learn from Susan Khalje, Claire Shaeffer, Bobbie Carr, Kenneth King, both at conferences, and in subsequent workshops.
When I first started, I used the Singer Sewing Reference library, which I still think is very good for most levels. Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture was the first book to open my eyes to a new way. Claire Shaeffer- I use a lot of her books, but probably Fabric Sewing Guide most of all. But I would say Claire's collection of Haute Couture garments has probably been the most educational- being able to see inside, look and feel, and do some patterning from them, has increased my couture knowledge by leaps and bounds.
I don't know that I've had crazy. Lots of unusual things, like tactical belts, stripper thongs, covered wagon tarps, that sort of thing.
I have 2- I made my older daughter's wedding gown from many, many yards of lavender silk chiffon- she got married this year, just everything was getting shut down. And I made a dress that walked down the Red Carpet for the Oscars! For Heather Rae, up for best new producer, she's photographed with Melissa Leo, who was her lead, up for Best Actress 2009.
Well, once the airports and states open back up, Love Couture Sewing will be looking at more and different workshops.
Barbie McCormick can be found online at www.BarbieMcCormick.com and www.LoveCoutureSewing.com and as sewgood_barbie on Instagram.
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.
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.
I love fashion and beautiful, creative things and want to share that with others to help make them feel beautiful and look their best.
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.
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.
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.
Having a blouse that I made featured in Threads magazine (issue #174 September 2014), and making my wedding gown.
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.
2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303