New Storefront

Introducing: Made Sewing Studio

The new Greenwood shop could be your first step toward Project Runway, or a pair of DIY pajama pants.

By Laura Cassidy November 29, 2011


Home-canned food, handlebar mustaches, urban horticulture, grandma’s sewing machine put to good to use. They’re all part and parcel of this Americana life. As far as trends go, it’s a darn good one.

Earlier this month Carisa Brunner opened Made Sewing Studio on Greenwood Ave, seemingly oblivious to any hipster takeover of ye olde ways. Nah, she’s just doing what she loves—and helping others find their love of it, too.

We know because we asked her.

WWW: How did you get started with sewing and how have your skills progressed? What’s your favorite thing to make?
Brunner: I started sewing when I was eight. I used to take everything in the house apart; toys, doorknobs, you name it. If I didn’t know how it worked and no one could show me, it was up for dismantlement. I’m not sure whose patience wore thin first, my mom or my gran, but they decided that perhaps teaching me how to put things together would make me stop taking everything apart. Lucky for them, they were right.

Over the years they taught me as much as they could, the rest can be attributed to the school of hard knocks. In 2004 I decided that retail management was for the birds, and moved to London to pursue a graduate degree from the London College of Fashion, concentrating in costume construction. After that I worked at the Seattle Repertory Theater in their costume and craft department. Don’t worry though, old habits die hard, I still take apart garments to see how they work. Shuush, don’t tell my mom.

What’s a reasonable thing for a new Made Sewing Studio sewer to tackle? A skirt? A shirt? A pillow?
Humm, I know the usual answer here is a pair of pajama pants, but personally, I think the best way to learn is to tackle something moderate, where you have lots of room to grow and learn but aren’t overwhelmed. I’m a firm believer in project-based learning, developing a well-designed project where students encounter a multitude of processes and skills, not just one or two. For instance if I was teaching someone how to sew a bag, it wouldn’t be a simple grocery tote. It would have several types of pockets, buttons, zippers, facing, a lining, maybe even some piping and accent bias tape… endless possibilities. It’s a simple item, but with lots of learning involved. Spice it up a bit and jump in!

Can Made Sewing Studio customers expect help on their projects? Will you be giving advice or demo’ing certain techniques? Will there be room for cutting pattern pieces and all that?
Of course! I have a Master of Education, and if there is one thing I have come away with from that experience (aside from a mountain of loans I will probably never pay off) is that basic education is how we plant the seed of enjoyment and curiosity. I don’t want someone to pay for that feeling. I want people to come to the store and get help when they need it, and while they are there they can ask us whatever they want.

So yes, you pay hourly to use the space and equipment, but any help you get while there is free. We will also have a free sewing nook full of fun books and sewing DVDs for sewing enjoyment. Stop in, and hang out in our lounge and do some research. As for space, you will not want for more, there is plenty of space on our huge cutting tables for people to spread out. We also know, some skills are better taught in a class, so we will have lots of classes for students to take! Every month we will have new classes that are unique to our store and that really help hone sewing skills for all ages and levels.

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