Sewing on a button by hand or fixing the hem of a dress was once an everyday life skill, something that was learned out of necessity and practicality. But over the last few decades, even the most elementary needlework has become somewhat of a lost art. Evelyn Budiansky hopes to change that — one stitch at a time.
Budiansky, who majored in costume design at College of Charleston and now specializes in womenswear and bridal, has owned and operated Evelyn's Alterations & Design for the past eight years. It was during her search for a new studio that she became inspired to not only offer custom design and alterations but also teach sewing classes in the same workspace. The end result of her vision is Uncommon Threads, which opened earlier this month at 87 Wentworth St. Unit A2.
"People are definitely getting a little more crafty and really like the idea of being able to make something with their own hands," Budiansky says. "That's really where I kind of want to focus on is the classes aspect and just getting people making stuff and learning to fix their own clothes, definitely with a sustainability kind of angle in mind as well."
Budiansky hopes her classes can push back against the "disposable" culture within fashion and curtail people's tendency to get rid of clothing that has minor defects.
"I think there's starting to be a little bit of change in mindset with that, but I'd love to help people start thinking about, you know, just because something's broken, you don't throw it away," she says. "You can fix it. You may be able to make it better or turn it into something else. So I definitely want to focus on that. And then also just oftentimes people don't realize that if they have something in mind and they can't find it anywhere, you can have someone make it for you. So [I'll be] offering custom clothing and stuff like that as well."
Currently, Budiansky holds classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, though that schedule may change in the future based on demand and interest.
On Tuesdays, she offers a drop-in mending clinic, where people can bring in clothing that requires minor repairs. Those sessions run from 6-8 p.m. and have a suggested $10 donation. (If no one has arrived by 6:30 p.m., Budiansky notes, that week's drop-in is canceled.)
"They can bring that garment in and ... they can come in and we'll kind of work on it together," Budiansky says. "So they'll get the skill of learning how to fix this thing that is broken so then next time they'll know how to do that all by themselves."
Thursday classes are taught by either Budiansky or another instructor. On Thurs Feb. 14, Budiansky, who also designs a vintage-inspired lingerie line, Ulalume, will offer a Valentine's Day panty class. The following week, on Feb. 21, participants can learn the basics of using a sewing machine. And on Feb. 28, local artist Camela Guevara will guest teach a beginners hand embroidery class.
Thursday classes vary in time and price. Interested participants can learn more and register at uncommonthreadschs.com.