Episode #13: Fashioning a Sewing Career with the Williamsburg Seamster

A little over a year ago, I remember reading a story in the Times Style section about Nayantara Banerjee, The Williamsburg Seamster. Tara, as she goes by, started a business six years ago as a traveling tailor, catering to those who like concierge-type services, in her ‘hood of Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I remember thinking at the time….”clever girl!”  I’m always impressed when people figure out how to define their careers on their own terms. Like all good business people, Tara spotted a need and figured out how to fill it and charge for it. Over the past few years, Tara has expanded her business to making custom clothing and doing a lot more work out of her sewing studio.

I caught up with Tara last Friday, on what I hope will be the last snowy day of the season. We chatted about everything from starting a business to her favorite sewing notions and shops in the garment district. If you’ve ever contemplated ditching your day job and striking out on your own sewing-related business (whether it be designing or actually sewing) I think this is a great and inspirational episode to catch.

Tara and I also talk about a really cool nonprofit organization she’s involved with, called Awamaki. Founded to support a cooperative of weavers in Patacancha, in the Peruvian Andes, Awamaki accepts volunteers, and has—collaborating with Kollabora (say that 10 times fast!)— organized a textile tour through the area where you get to learn about natural dyeing and weaving from the experts (happening this May). If I didn’t have a little human arriving around then, I’d sign up!

Also, if you’re in the market for a basic sewing machine, you may want to check out the model Tara just invested in, Bernina’s Bernette 12 (see my pics below). It’s ultra sleek, like if Mac were making sewing machines. Can you tell I want one?

Happy listening and have a great weekend!


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