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The factory

September 23, 2018


panorama shop

Yes, the factory.

It was time to get out of the basement long ago but the stars were lining up on their own time. I’m proud to give you a short, short introduction to my fashion factory, right at the heart of the NE arts district – though, truth be told, it’s a “garden studio”, so a little lower than the heart, maybe liver might be a more accurate metaphor.

I am setting the workshop up as the ultimate lean factory floor. No unnecessary tool will occupy a square inch of space here. Every useful corner will be utilized. I purchased exactly the equipment I will need to cut and sew for fashion and spared the expense on unnecessary luxuries.

garden studio

The view from the Juki 6500

Necessary luxuries, however, are another story. Though we are in the basement, this garden studio has lots of natural light – and curtains make it optional. Plants freshen the air when we close up the windows for winter. I have a sink adjacent to my steam iron so I can save the 20 paces when it comes time to refill the water reservoir. And there’s a mini-fridge.

Sewing machine lineup

Union Special, Rimoldi, Juki, Singer.

A few new finds are in the machinery lineup – and I must admit, I’ve never had such a buyer’s high as when I brought home my new-to-me Singer bar tack machine. It’s a joy and a thrill to operate, especially when the thread trimmer automatically finishes off the job. I now have one good machine for whatever type of clothing job may arise – so keep ’em coming.

I’m ready to show the place off. Come visit!

At Last

June 23, 2015





It’s finally here!unilook collage


I’ve had lots of conversations about baby pants. People find out that I design childrenswear and, if they want to voice an opinion at all, it’s about the fit and fabrication of kids’ pants. It’s no wonder, too, since a well-fitting pant is the shining achievement of almost any successful design house – it’s the hardest basic garment to achieve a perfect fit since its measurements go up, down, around, through, and over. A carefully designed, well-fitting pant can keep a company in business and provide the technical basis for many more styles with the same signature fit. Patternmaking aside, good pants have special fabric needs too – “bottomweight” fabrics need to have enough strength and structure to withstand stretching, kneeling, running, tripping, and in our case, crawling, while still offering a bit of flexibility and comfort.

Anyway, it’s a finnicky garment to design for function, and then you have to add good looks to the equation; maybe that’s why the Uni-Look Pant took so long to produce. So sorry, if you’ve been waiting.

Recycled cotton leggings for boy or girl

We’ve been dreaming, prototyping, fitting, and tweaking the perfect ecological, uni-sex legging for months, and are happy to reveal a slim pant that not only decreases the amount of waste in the workshop, but also looks pretty sweet on boys and girls. It features a generous fit in the bum to accommodate bulky diapers, a slim (but not tight) line to the ankle, and a knee patch for extra strength and cushion where kids need it the most.

Pair it with an aletheia Junkyard t-shirt for an entirely eco-friendly, street worthy look, or get eclectic and match it with your baby’s best vintage button-up. Find the Uni-Look Pant for sizes 6MO, 12MO, and 2T at our shop for a mere $22.


It Was a Lovely Time

May 22, 2015


sale in the salonAs you may have heard, Aletheia Soft Goods and Aletheia Junkyard hit the market last weekend at the Heart-A-Whirl Arts and Crafts sale last weekend. Many thanks to those who came by – what an honor it was to see you on the most jam-packed day of the year in NE Minneapolis.

If you couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed: a handmade, reclaimed-material display!! Oh, and some great one-of-a-kind garments for baby.

setup for craft fair

Pop-ups and craft fairs are just as much about meeting people and sharing ideas as they are about sales. Selling clothes in a retail spot saves hours of preparation – not to mention the hours spent at the booth on the day of the sale – but the human element is missing. At the pop-up, we can meet each other, and you can say exactly what you think of our offerings (even if it’s offensive)! Feedback is always the best way to improve what we are doing. So come by next time and speak your mind, we couldn’t be more grateful.

Less Talk, More Baby Tee Making

April 29, 2015


Aletheia Junkyard upcycled T shirts

What a thrill to have a new batch of Tees ready to go for Aletheia Junkyard!! We have some really great offerings this time around – imagine Harleys, Hellenists, peeping toms, Team Business, and of course lots of good colorblocking. Look for them on our website this coming weekend and at Art-A-Whirl on May 16th (more details to follow, bring your sense of humor). If all goes well, they will be artfully paired with a unisex legging for a complete look that’s completely innocent.

Some new offerings for Aletheia Soft Goods are also on the way. They wait in bundles for a caring hand to come along and sew them up.

It’s a Label!

April 21, 2015


woven labelYes! We have labels and it’s very exciting. These little guys may not mean much to your munchkin, but for Aletheia Design + Sewing Service, they are essential. Fun Fact About Clothing Labels: it’s illegal not to have them. Our labels contain all the information you need to make a good purchase – the size, where it was made, what it is made of, and how to take care of it – so you know it will fit your child and your lifestyle. Later, they remind the laundry maid (is that you?) that gentle care is best, and help to extend the new life we give to these materials. You can also find a web address on the underside of the woven labels, in case you’ve forgotten where to get more and more great styles for Little Baby.

We were glad to work with a local partner, Allen at Midwest Labels, to have these made. In previous label-making experiences, it was a nail-biting process of submitting an image and waiting to see how it was interpreted at a loom in a state far away. This time, Allen was careful to confirm every detail so that we knew exactly what to expect when the labels came. All in all, we like it! His hot-stamp printed label is so classic, it feels almost vintage.

hot stamp printed label

Spring Style

April 12, 2015



Esther has instinctively accessorized the “Nan” dress with some stunning beads – looking fresh and springy in these lovely 60 degrees.

Minnesotans Go North – or – Taking a Break

March 31, 2015


cabinning with kiddos

Winters are very long in Minnesota. As tough and weathered as we Minnesotans seem to be, there is a moment – okay, weeks at a time – every winter when my whole being wants to escape the cold and gray, and go cook in the Florida sun.
Well, I’ve learned that Florida not meant to be, and the only way to silence the call of the tropics is to run the other way. Which way is that? North, of course, just about as far North as a traveler can go before she finds herself beyond civilization, or worse, in Canada (note to Canadians: I like Canada, but I probably left my passport at home and don’t wish to be eternally separated from home and kin). When perplexed, dismayed, overstimulated, or out of touch, Minnesotans go North, find a cabin to occupy, and see stars, animal tracks, and isolated communities.
kids in cabin
Something about Northern MN feels like the end of the world: There is the Great Lake, which, with a little imagination, creates a visceral sense of the end of human reach. There are towns with only one road going in or out (Babbitt), towns that are disputably the coldest in the continental USA (Embarrass), towns that consist only of a bar and snowmobile gas pump (Junction), and towns that have completely disappeared off the map, leaving behind a solitary onion-domed church as the sole reminder of a failed farming community (Bramble). Then, of course, there are the expansive regions that are NOT towns: the BWCA, Superior National Forest, and scenic routes that seem to go on and on while you watch your gas meter dip a little further beyond empty.
Visited some MN towns
We spent some time exploring Grand Marais, Ely, Grand Rapids, and eventually my hometown of Brainerd, which seemed awfully cosmopolitan in comparison to the wild north.

Growth Chart

March 22, 2015


pattern grade

Kids grow so fast, and our size offerings are growing with them. For those of you waiting patiently for our S/S 2015 childrenswear collections while your little ones get relentlessly bigger, TAKE HEART! Introducing a 3T size for both Aletheia Junkyard and Aletheia Soft Goods, in addition to our 6MO, 12MO, and 2T sizes. Now in paper pattern form, very soon to be stitched in reclaimed cottons and found in Baby’s very select and discriminating wardrobe (a three-year-old is still “Baby,” right?).

Finally, Some Light

March 6, 2015


garden level sewing studio

So pleased to share a glimpse into the increasingly well-lit micro-studio! We installed some long awaited track lighting this week, and the question is, as always, why did this not happen sooner?

retro basement

stage zero

Also, a reminder of how far the space has come since November 2013. In case there are any doubters, this is the exact same shot, taken only 16 months ago.

Good Days for Grading

February 20, 2015


It’s the dead of winter and there is nothing better to do when it’s 5 below than make larger and smaller sizes out of your master patterns. We start with a size 12 MO, then work down to a 6 MO, then up to a 2T and 3T. On repurposed paper, of course.

.hand graded patterns

Grading is an intimidating endeavor to start, but once you get the hang of the movements it becomes more of a waiting game than an intense challenge. It’s almost an out-of-body experience, as I watch myself finish the job from above, repeating minute adjustments, wondering why it’s taking so long.

Oh well, much better to be slow and sure, because nothing is more important in the development process than fit. A shopper who buys a garment because of great design or great fabric will have to put it on a body sometime. If the garment has a poor fit, it won’t be worn, and then the clothing label loses out on a repeat customer and a good reputation. So, Happy Grading; no pressure or anything.