There was a lot to celebrate in September, which seems miraculous with all the rocky seas this work has entailed. We were finally able to get out and celebrate Sarah Malone, our first sewing apprentice’s 80 hours of training (which she completed earlier in the summer). We had a blast celebrating all her hard work and taking some time to unwind together at a favorite local restaurant – The Railyard. Sarah got to wear her custom Boss Blouse that we made the pattern for and Sarah completed as part of her training.

We also began the very satisfying process of getting the Founder’s Circle yokes embroidered at the local embroidery shop partner – Wearhouse Clothing Co. We have selected a beautiful burgundy thread for the embroidery. The embroidery work took some trial and error as we found that the blouse yokes were too narrow to come out consistently in the embroidery frames – (see photo) so we had to adjust our process to mark out the yokes but wait to cut them until the embroidery was finished so they could fit in the frame.

Another exciting update – our Juki machines are set up in the smaller workshop space – that I’ve dubbed the Tokyo workshop space – while the rest of the workshop is being worked on. This was another wild ride. Lisa (our instructor), the apprentices and myself were getting ready to get together to set them up – Lisa especially is very handy so I figured a group of resourceful ladies could get this done. And then I watched the YouTube video on how to set up the Jukis. It cautions that someone with light mechanic experience is best suited for the job and at one point the gentleman pulls out a chainsaw file to file down one of the nobs so that it doesn’t destroy the machine. By the end of the video my palms were sweating and I was dialing Lisa to figure out what to do. Lisa’s husband, Jerry Lambert – came to our rescue and offered to help us. This was no small job. Jerry arrived with his neighbor at the workshop space at 9am and left around 3pm having set up one machine (a quick lunch break at our favorite local diner on Mercer Street – Jimmie’s is included in this time).

That all said I was extremely grateful for the help and it was a good reminder of what it means to be in a community where support for each other in the community is a priority. The crazier the world outside seems to become – the more satisfying it is to invest in our community.

Lastly – alongside the final founder’s Boss Blouses, we are ramping up for GLAM – a fashion show fundraiser in support of the WV Tech athletics department in Beckley, West Virginia. For any locals out there, please consider joining us on Saturday, October 22nd at 7:30pm at The Resort at Glade Springs as our entire team walks in their custom fit Boss Blouses, self-styled and I offer a sneak peek at our first pant pattern. Tickets and additional details available here:

Thank you for all your support and PATIENCE with this work. It has been painstaking, but we are seeing victories. Thank you for helping us make it happen.

Go, fight, win.