I’ve been a professional tailor for over 10 years but I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember. My mother was a seamstress and taught me the skill and passion for tailoring at a young age. By the time I was in grade school, I was tracing out basic patterns and making dresses for myself and my friends.
As a professional tailor, I think I have a more difficult time finding clothes that “fit” because I am so particular about fit. But I know that most of the time, it just takes snipping in a little here and letting out a little there, to turn something blah into a great fitted piece. And I enjoy helping women with that. I like to think that, in my own small way, I am touching many women and making their day a little brighter.
I didn’t always know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never considered becoming a seamstress because I thought it was something that I did for fun, not something to make a career out of.
I’ve always been very detail oriented, so I pursued a degree in accounting. After my first accounting job, I quickly realized number-crunching wasn’t going to make me happy. I was young and needed money, so I was afraid to quit. A year later, the company ended up closing down and the head accountant suggested I come with her to another company. I was reluctant but I didn’t have a better option, so I went.
The new company was young and in it’s growth phase. They were quickly expanding and had a new production management program. I didn’t have any professional experience, just the little recreational sewing I had done with my mom - but I applied anyway. To my surprise, they accepted me and I spent the next 6 months learning in-depth technical sewing techniques and the intricacies of the clothing production process. I also trained on every machine in the factory and how to make minor repairs. As the company grew, my role evolved from seamstress to trainer. I managed all the new sewing room supervisors, then started managing the quality assurance team. These positions have given me a thorough understanding of each step in the production process.
After helping to technically design one of company’s collections, I remember feeling so proud of myself! I felt like I had officially left my accounting self behind and was officially a professional tailor.
Since those first years, I have focused on finding new ways to improve the fit and quality of every piece I work on.
At Rita Phil, I get to hone my craft every day. Each skirt we make is completely different because each customer is different. And even if we make two skirts for the same customer, those two styles require their own analysis. I’m happy to have found a career that appreciates attention-to-detail and analytical skills -- that doesn’t require staring at a spreadsheet all day. And at the same time, I’m seeing how I touch our customers. It makes my day when we receive feedback from our customers!
Making skirts for men - men’s bodies are definitely very different from women’s bodies! We had to rethink the way we applied proportions to the skirt, the darts, the waistband - essentially, it’s an entirely different process. And we found that fabric is less forgiving on the male form, so we are quite particular with fabric recommendations for our male clients.