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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.



January 28, 2015


It’s a Bow Tie World.

At least once a week, we turn our love and attention to Mill City Fineries, a growing force in the high-standards menswear market. These folks crank out a vast array of limited-run bow ties, neck ties, and pocket squares; essentials for the “modern gentlemen,” made of top quality fabrics and stitched in Minnesota by top quality hands.

cutting out bow ties


Those top quality hands, in this case, are down in the aletheia Workshop. And it’s a pleasure.

Mill City Fineries is in good company; it seems that the local – meticulous – menswear segment is on the rise. If you want proof, visit the Askov Finlayson, Leatherworks MN, or William Rogue stores. Or watch this. Believe it! US made – and even MN made – is becoming a real value, and we are cheering it on.

Check the MCF shop for their forthcoming spring line, and think of us.



Going industrial

January 24, 2015


foam padded canvas totes

polyethylene foam padded inserts                       Down in the bowels of the aletheia workshop, we are most accustomed to dainty work. Volume is normal – once we produced 150 houndstooth bowties in the span of 8 days – but most of our projects fit nicely on the somewhat limited workspaces of an efficient shop (let’s say efficient and not cramped, if only to keep the worker happy). This week, instead of baby Tees or pocket squares, we’ve tackled an unusual order for a kitchens design firm in Colorado: large, padded, partitioned tote bags for cabinet doors. This project has included lots of repetition (there are 20 of bags, each with two partitions) and a bit of sewing from inside the bag. Use your imagination for that.foam padded canvas totes Also in latest news, aletheia design + sewing service now has the ability to TEXT. Welcome to 2001!!

Sewing for brides

January 18, 2015


circle veil with silk rosettes

Most experienced sewers will tell you never to work in bridal – not because the sewing is awful, which it sometimes is, but because brides are crazed maniacs. Also, if you forget to wash your hands or prick your finger and bleed, it’s all over.

I’m happy to say that every bride I’ve worked with so far has been a doll. Thanks, ladies, I know how hard it is.

circle veil with silk rosettes

This week I’m sewing rosettes for J. Many years to you and your R!

circle veil with silk rosettes

The Big Reveal

March 28, 2014


2T set

2T set

Here’s a little sampling of the first ever aletheia Junkyard collection – handmade streetwear constructed entirely of recycled, salvaged, and otherwise rescued materials. It’s wash-and-wearable, locally sourced, sweatshop- and transport ship-free, super-ethical and chock full of sass. The Hired Hands and I (I pay them in apples and PB) are starting with just Tees, but we’re hoping to expand into shorts and a nice narrow unisex pant as we solve some more creative problems.

This is the real deal. We’ve got labels, hang tags, 2 sergers, a zig-zag, and an aspiring coverstitch, we’ve got freelance graphic artists to pay, it’s serious business.

I’d like to share some more of the vision with you, and work through the raison d’etre of the brand, but for now, just have a look and say what you think. As a work-at-home Mom, I’m sure you can guess how I’m dying for feedback.


March 11, 2014


upcycled streetwear for baby and toddler
upcycled streetwear for baby and toddler

Michael wears metal

upcycled metallica baby tee

upcycled metallica tee

Michael demonstrates a metal-head-inspired look, size 12M.

Working on my prototype line for aletheia Junkyard – it seems like a pretty simple process, but I’m running into lots of problems to solve. First of all, can you get it over a baby head?? Can the graphic be read? Are the sleeves a perfect fit?

Not to mention the construction details – snap placket or no snap placket? Clean finish techniques? and how to construct them in enough time that I won’t have to charge $50 for a recycled T shirt?!

Stay tuned, I guess.