Whether it's due to the influence of documentaries, events in the news or the buy-local movement, consumers seem to paying more attention to where their goods come from.
One North Shore entrepreneur is helping to give people the peace of mind of knowing exactly where their clothing is made. Christine Hambleton opened Made by Me Sewing Studio last month on West Third Street in North Vancouver, offering sewers and want-to-be sewers a space to create their own clothing, accessories and home decor.
"People are trying to buy local and organic when it comes to their food, and I think people are starting to think about that with their clothing too," Hambleton says, noting that she has seen a renewed interested in sewing in recent years.
People are starting to look at the big chain retailers differently, she says, plus, the popularity of reality TV shows that focus on the fashion industry, such as Project Runway, and the emergence of the website Pinterest, known for its do-it-yourself craft ideas, have inspired people to explore their creativity.
Hambleton worked as a paralegal at a law firm for several years, but says she always had an interest in fashion and sewing, so she went back to school and completed the Fashion Arts program at Vancouver Community College. She worked with local fashion designer Jason Matlo until last spring before deciding to start her own business.
Made by Me offers classes for a variety of abilities and ages - from tweens to adults - in addition to private birthday parties and day camps. Joining Hambleton as an instructor is West Vancouver secondary home economics teacher Alison Sawers. Classroom projects include making tote bags, infinity scarves, onesie pyjamas and photo pillows.
Meanwhile, more experienced sewers can rent studio time by the hour. "So if you don't have a machine at home or perhaps you've got a machine but you have to use your dining room table, you can come and use our studio," Hambleton says.
The space is equipped with six sewing machines, two sergers, one industrial straight stitch machine, two ironing stations, a large cutting table, plus cutting shears, pins and other basic sewing gear. There is also a library of reference books and a small selection of fabrics available for purchase.
Made by Me Sewing Studio is located at 108-949 West Third St., North Vancouver. For more information, or to register for classes, including upcoming Spring Break camps, visit madebyme.ca or phone 604-971-0940.