We had decided what we didn’t want in a sew shop for our clothing line. Now it was time to find a manufacturer who met our criteria: made in America, workers paid a living wage, and pleasant working conditions as defined by us, not a checklist that doesn’t reflect the actual working conditions.
We knew what we were looking for in a sew shop- but did it exist?
I started googling for an ethical sew shop in America! I found a few- The Good Clothing Company on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, near my hometown. It seemed like the ideal solution, except that it was no longer close. Massachusetts is 3000 miles away from where we are now. CoSewn was closer- in Colorado. I figured we’d reach out to them if we couldn’t find a place closer.
Searching late at night for how other sustainable fashion designers made it to American Made, by Martha Stewart, I stumbled upon a mention of a sew shop in Northern California called Left in Stitches. With no other online mentions and a bare-bones website to look at, we called them up.
Melina went up north to visit them (helpful that she used to live up there). Immediately different vibe. Open space, lots of light, living wages, care and craftsmanship.
It was love.
The windows had light pouring in, the seamstresses were smiling (okay, they were content), and everyone was making a living wage. It was exactly the place we had been searching for. The owner helped us revamp our patterns to ones suitable for manufacturing. We also simplified them a bit, so we could really reuse existing garments as our source material. She was also so enamored by our upcycling approach that she was willing to work with us- even though our garments were not made cookie-cutter style from a bolt of fabric. Could this be the beginning of a beautiful and meaningful relationship?!
After a year and a half in business, we finally made a true win.
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