Destiny, Admiration, Confidence and a Love of Sewing


This dress is about destiny, admiration, confidence and the love of sewing. Several months ago, I heard about this upcoming Lily Pulitzer craze at Target. My fingers quickly tapped the keyboards to Google what the buzz was about. My discovery left me stunned. Target stores were jammed and sold out of this special line within hours for simple dresses in bold, colorful prints. Sold out dresses were being sold on eBay at jacked-up prices. One of my specialties is creating garment knockoffs, so I set out to make a Lily look-alike dress at a fraction of the cost and a better, custom fit. 


The print had to be bold just like a Lily original and what better place to search and buy a bold fabric than the most awesome place to work in the Poconos. I call it the "Disney World of Sewing". I have the best bosses, managers and coworkers. Everyday, I learn something new and am lucky to be inspired by my colleagues, our customers and sewing machine educators and representatives. I feel like it was destiny to work at Pocono Sew & Vac. Everything I've ever done with sewing and educating just kind of fell into place when I started working at the store. For well over three decades, Pocono Sew & Vac has been my favorite dealer and I was dedicated to them. Having responded to a holiday email almost two years ago, I got a fabulous job in which I draw on my extensive sewing experience and college degrees in education and technology. Shortly after starting my job at the store, I traded in my Elna eXcellence 740 for the eXcellence 760, which is my go-to sewing machine of choice. My embroidery knowledge suddently exploded with the Monthly Embroidery Club that meets at our store. The Embroidery Club instructor is amazing and my embroidery skills advanced by leaps and bounds. I pulled out my underused Janome 300E and have used it more this past year than I have in the previous 10 years. All of the embroidery on the dress was done on my trusty 300E, which stitches just as well now as the day I bought it. 


The dress required several pattern alterations to achieve the perfect fit. Fitting is a skill I learned primarily from sewing and fitting two gurus: Shannon Gifford and Jean Haas. I always say there is a little bit of Shannon in everything I make. She was giving of her time and talent and believed in me when I first began my quest for the perfect fit. It was at a time when it felt like I'd never get the hang of fitting, draping and flat pattern alterations. She encouraged me to continue, to keep going and I'm forever thankful to her for it. She died of cancer several years ago at a young age, far too early, but she lives on in her class transcripts and books. Her impact on me improving my sewing via the art of fitting was profound. I admire Shannon and miss her greatly. It is because of my admiration for her that my quest for fitting knowledge continues and what she taught me will be passed on to others through me. Shannon was exceptionally gifted at sharing her knowledge and that is what I try to do at my job. 


Shannon Gifford taught me to believe in my ability to fit, which would ultimately enhance what I was already good at - garment sewing. It's really about confidence and that is what I want other sewists to do: believe in themselves and their abilities. A confident sewist is one who can make a garment that looks and fits great, create a terrific home decor item, make a beautiful accessory or assemble a heirloom quilt. When I wear this dress, I truly feel confident about my sewing ability and fitting knowledge. It reminds me of the long road I have traveled, how lucky I am today and it keeps me looking forward to the technological advancements in the sewing industry. 

Love of Sewing:

It's no surprise that I love to sew. It is in my blood and has been my mission for the past decade to share that love of sewing. Whether I am trying to inspire people to learn the art, improve their skills, buy a machine or teach sewing or machine education classes, it is always a gift. I sew for the love of it! It makes me happy and it makes the recipients of my projects happy as well. My goal is to encourage a new generation to discover this love of stitching. In order to foster a positive attitude, a quality sewing machine can make a tremendous difference. It has been over 12 years since I upgraded to a Janome machine and I've never looked back. The ease and depenability greatly increased the quality of my work and my love of sewing. 

Kathleen Klapatch
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
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