I decided to do my first blog interview with someone I know pretty well…my sister Kate. Kate is one busy lady! Not only is she the mother of 12 of my nieces and nephews but she also homeschools them all…oh, AND finds time to run her sewing business called Seven to Seven Seamstress. How does she do it? Why does she do it? And hey, what”s that name all about? Read on to find the answers and get to know a few things about Kate Sieracki you may not have known before.
So Kate, first of all thanks for agreeing to be my first interviewee. I totally appreciate it! Let”s start by telling me a little about yourself.
Well, I am a wife and the mother of twelve children which has got to be the reason I was put on this earth. I am a graduate of a licensed practical nursing program and Rasmussen College with an associate’s degree in Health Information Technology. I don’t use either of those because I have chosen to stay at home and raise my children; I will fall back on those one day should the need arise. I also am a seamstress. This is something that has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. It seems like I am always sewing one thing or another. I have been sewing piece work for four years for profit and now have just opened my Artfire studio to sell my work and offer my sewing service.
You definately have your hands full! Opening your own business…that sounds really exciting! How long have you been in the sewing business?
I have been sewing for 30 years. I started with a 4-H program sewing notebook paper with an empty needle. I sewed for the fair a few years and then started making my own clothes for school. After that, it was prom dresses for my friends in high school, weddings after that and I started a sewing and alteration business. That didn”t last long, probably because I was young and inexperienced…and frankly a little surprised that no one liked to pay me what I knew my work was worth. I wasn’t the most confident business woman at the time, but now, after 20 more years of sewing I know how to best offer quality, custom clothing at a reasonable price.
Yeah, I remember borrowing some of those clothes you made for school when we were kids! You did awesome work even back then! What do you think it is that drives your passion for sewing?
I have no idea. It is just something I do like having coffee in the morning or eating three meals a day. It is just something I do day in and day out. I can’t explain why. I just like it.
I”m curious…how did your on-line shop “Seven to Seven Seamstress” get it’s start?
My daughters Anne and Margaret said one morning while I was making bread that I should have a café called Seven to Seven Diner so I would only have to cook from 7am to 7pm. I told them that to have a diner that opened at 7am you needed to start cooking much earlier than 7am. So, I ditched the diner idea. I had been working during the night on my sewing while everyone was asleep and my work time always fell between the hours of 7pm and 7am so I decided to call my business Seven to Seven Seamstress to use the name the girls suggested, give it a little authenticity and have people say, “I wonder what that means.” During the night I create all my embroidered items because the raucous from the pitter patter of little feet makes the machine “skip a beat” you might say. The cutting out of the girls’ dresses and purses takes place then too so I don’t get confused as to what size pieces go with what. My girls love to model the pretty dresses and show off the purses when I need new pictures. It is fast becoming the family business I have dreamed about.
That”s a really cool story! The diner idea made me hungry though. Oh well…back to the interview. who would you say inspired you to take up sewing?
I wouldn’t say it was a who. I would say it was a need that I had to try it, and once I tried it I couldn’t let it go. I would see sewing at the fair and I would want to go home and make whatever I saw. I remember hating what we had to wear to school and wanting to wear my own clothes, ones that I made or even designed. I do believe that this kind of trait or talent is inherent. If you have ever heard, “Oh my aunt was a seamstress and her father was a tailor and his mother and father had an alteration and sewing business…” it isn’t because it was the family business…not everyone can stick to it…it is just inherent…”in the genes” you might say.
Interesting! Why do you feel it is important for you to pass your craft onto your children?
It is important for me to teach whoever wants to learn to hone their inherent skills and make them tools for their later lives. Margaret and Anne have taken to the machines, not afraid to use them, not afraid to try new things. Matt and Ted have very little patience for it but can use the machines. I don’t see them persevering. We have, however, gotten each of them their own machine through freebies and ebay so at least they have the opportunity to develop the talent if it is there. There are so many things you can do with sewing and I want them all to be aware and have an idea of what is possible when you take your time and do something well.
Of all the things you’ve created over the years, what would you say is the pinnacle kasyna of your career?
I would have to say that my wedding dress and the dresses for the wedding party was my greatest work.
The story behind this wedding all had to do with the show “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” airing back in the 1990″s. I always said I should have been born 100 years ago. So, with that, I lived vicariously in the 1800″s and wanted my bridal party to look like they were from that era also. Here is a link to the picture that I used for my dress…and I taped the wedding episode also so I could sketch from that…stop, go, stop, go…poor VCR.
I added lace at the shoulders and a collar, still in line with the period, for modesty; we were in a church after all, not the wild wild west, and it had three bustles in the back with satin ruffles trimming the train. The 3/4 length sleeves were almost identical to the TV dress. I had some old wedding gowns that people had given me over the years and I took all the lace and trims off of those, used some of the skirts to make differing textured bustles in the back and spent $30 on buttons and satin for the rest. My husband still laughs about my “expensive” wedding gown.
The bridesmaids dresses were really a skirt and a blouse. I designed the skirt to have a bustle and a train in the back. It was made out of a brocade that was absolutely gorgeous to work with…something I NEVER say but really, no other way to describe it. I covered big buttons to go up the sides of the dress at the bustle to look like they were holding it up. I covered buttons in the same fabric for the ivory satin blouses for a nice contrast. Each blouse and skirt were custom made and fitted to each bridesmaid. The flower girl”s dress was a one piece dress with a cummerbund-like waistline and ruffles around the skirt hem to match my dress. My husband wore a cravat to carry over the “theme” (another word I don”t like to use in reference to weddings) but it is what it is. We had a theme.
I remember those dresses…as I was your matron of honor! Wow, what a reception that was! Remember when Dad…oh, wait we”re doing an interview! We”ll catch up on old times later.
Last, but not least, what is one piece of advice you could give to someone who is either a novice seamstress or is just toying with the idea of learning to sew?
Oh, I would say LEARN TO SEW! But the first piece of advice I would give them is learn the fundamentals and learn them well. The second would be to start with a small project, gain confidence going forward and little by little you will be sewing your own wedding! Last but certainly not least is persevere…rip out your mistakes and make your project better. In life there aren’t many areas where we can just rip out and sew it again…make this one of those areas.
That”s a great point! Thanks so much again for sharing your story with us.
A link to Kate”s on-line store Seven to Seven Seamstress can be found on my homepage under “My Faves”. All of us have a story, something that makes us who we are. I am looking forward to featuring more of your stories here on my blog. Thanks for stopping by!
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