For several years, I had a little sewing business going on the side. I created custom wedding attire, baptismal and first communion dresses and gowns for black tie events. Those outfits help pay the bills. My favorite project though, was the line of clothing I designed for medically fragile children.
It started with Sarah of course. Our initial hospital stay for her open heart surgery was projected to last seven to ten days. It turned into two months. During that time, I created a few outfits for her to wear that would accommodate all the various lines and tubes that she was attached too. She looked adorable and the nurses loved them. Then a few months later she was sporting a permanent trach. And that's when Jely Splats was formed. While the kids slept, I stitched. When I got pregnant with Matt I was concerned about not being able to complete dresses so I turned new brides away and slowly eased off the gowns and the fun clothes.
Then last year Sarah and I started blogging. We were meeting new families at rapid pace and we started to receive questions from families who had children with trachs. The day I read the email from a mom expressing her husband's disappointment that their four year old son looked like a baby because he was always wearing a bib, I cried. Most people would not understand the big deal that was. I not only understood, I felt the pain deep within my heart. I knew at that moment Jely Splats was about to get a second life.
But today things are different. Sarah is not a little girl anymore. Neither are her friends. I have been in enough meetings over the past few months to know that jobs are tough to come by, especially for young adults who need some extra encouragement, some extra guidance. I started to wonder if they could sew? Would Sarah want to create garments for kids? Would her classmates?
Then a month or so ago I went to Sarah's job training site to pick her up early to get to a football game. Somehow I got to talking with her teacher about sewing. I just could not belive it when she told me she used to work at Bobbie Brooks. As a seamstress. She knows the industry. She also understands young adults with various disabilities. And she loves to go into New York City and shop for fabric in the garment district. The more we talked the more excited we both got. As I walked to the car that day I definitely felt this was another one of those By Chance or By Design encounters.
So for the last few weeks I have been frantically cleaning and organizing the studio. The machines have all had a tune up and we are ready to let the stitching begin...