"Making something with your hands is esteem-building," Reinstein adds. "It means more than a trophy."
Reinstein herself was hooked at her first sewing class when she was thirteen. "I knew right away I was good at it," she says. She made her own dresses for school dances and culottes to wear to a high school basketball game. She took clothing and textiles courses at Michigan State while getting her degree in community services, and then spent a year working as a governess in Italy. When she returned to the States, she worked in various personnel and job-training programs, first in East Lansing and then in Ann Arbor. She moved here at age twenty-five, she says, because she "wanted to find a grad student to marry!"
She did find a U-M grad student--but at a Chicago wedding, where Mark Reinstein was a friend of the groom. "I noticed his wonderful mustache first," she smiles. "We kept sneaking glances at each other, and then at the reception he made his move." The only problem was that Mark was Jewish, and neither her parents nor his approved of the match. She says that after some "time to let it sink in," they all came around. "Acceptance grew to affection and I became [Mark's parents'] daughter."