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Thursday April 24, 2014
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Sewing Goddess

 

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side, the fifth of eight children in the Italian Catholic Casazza family. Relaxed and talkative, she seems like everyone's favorite neighbor lady.

Emma Chang, age thirteen, has been coming to Reinstein's All Sewn Up! sewing school since she was invited to a birthday party here five years ago. Today she's finishing up a fashionable backpack based on a complicated pattern and several months in the making. "Yes! Yes!" Chang says, smiling and jumping up and down as she holds up the finished product. Her mother, Louise Chang, says even though her daughter squeezes the sewing class into a very busy schedule, it's a must. "She needs to see her Anne!"

Reinstein turned to teaching in 2005 after running a home-based sewing and tailoring business. (In addition to her own school, she teaches at WCC.) She runs as many as eight All Sewn Up! classes a week during the school year, and half-day camps during summers and school breaks. (Classes are $50 a month for four one-hour meetings, camps $170 for five three-hour sessions.)

Until the last century, most people sewed because homemade was cheaper than store bought. But that changed when cheap manufactured clothing flooded the market. Some of Reinstein's students just want to master the basics, like hemming or sewing on buttons. Others, like Emma Chang, love creating something uniquely their own. Although most students are female, "we've had lots of boys," Reinstein says. "They've made jammies, pants, ties, stuffed animals. A lot of them are interested in the mechanics of the machine."

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