The Resurgence of Garment Construction
Camden, Maine, August 25, 2017—Coastal Quilters will launch its new season on Saturday, September 9, with a program by Leah Ondra about the recent renewed interest in garment sewing. The program, postponed from March, will begin at 10:00 a.m. at the Camden Lions Club and is free and open to the public. Ms. Ondra will give a talk and will bring garments she has made, as well as samples of the wide variety of apparel fabrics that is available now. Ms. Ondra enjoys inspiring sewers to add a modern take on traditional skills, and she is particularly fond of vintage dresses and deliciously juicy color combinations. A “welcome back” potluck will follow the meeting.
Ms. Ondra will discuss how home garment sewing began in this country as the most economical way to provide clothing, but then lost favor as consumers bought “fast fashion” that was manufactured inexpensively overseas. Today more and more people want clothing that is unique, fits, and is well made, and they are beginning to sew again. Thanks to sewing blogs, YouTube, Pinterest, and social media, new and returning sewers can take advantage of an inspiring and supportive online sewing community offering unlimited ideas for things to make and instructional tutorials and videos. Fabric companies and individual designers began to pick up on this trend, producing apparel fabrics in addition to popular quilting cottons, and creating a new diversity of patterns with instructions that are written in plain English.
Ms. Ondra is proprietress of Clementine in downtown Rockland, which focuses on design, apparel fabrics, sewing haberdashery, and independent garment patterns. A crafter since a young age, she grew up in Monroe and studied fashion and costume design at Bennington College in Vermont. After working in retail and doing custom sewing work in San Francisco, Ms. Ondra moved back to Maine, where she opened a handmade gifts boutique in Bar Harbor and then helped to establish and manage Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast. Feeling the itch to return to garment construction but loving her day job helping others with sewing projects, Ms. Ondra opened Clementine in 2014. She and her husband live in a restored 1887 farmhouse in Rockland.
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Photos by Leah Ondra: