This morning, Courtney Thompson, thirty-two, is finishing a second throw pillow in a red floral design. She says she couldn't imagine spending $100 and up for designer pillows, and having grown up with a mom who sewed, she figured she could learn to do it herself. Thompson says when she posted a picture of her first creation on Facebook, her friends were impressed--and surprised at her sudden passion for the domestic arts.
Reinstein says the TV show "Project Runway" rekindled interest in sewing, especially among kids, who "started to see themselves as creative in a way they may not have before." Ann Arbor's sewing goddess had her own brush with fame when MTV's "Made" featured her sewing school in a 2006 episode--"eight hours of filming for forty-two seconds on the air," she says. The clip featured a Huron High student who was attending Reinstein's classes to learn how to sew outfits for a school fashion show competition.
As the machines whir, Reinstein moves from station to station. Nine-year-old Arianelle Tiles, who dreams of being a fashion designer, is sewing a colorful fleece teddy bear. Her father, Rafael, waits at Reinstein's kitchen table. Since last fall they've been making the weekly drive from Bloomfield Hills. "It's all about the teacher," says Rafael. "Anne's teaching style is so relaxed. She's not concerned about making mistakes. She teaches that you learn from your mistakes." Arianelle made her father a hooded robe when they couldn't find what he wanted in the stores. "There is such value in making custom articles," he says.