By Nadia Maria Smith
CS&T Staff Writer
WYNDMOOR – Kim McBryan is turning out self-reliant, confident, little fashionistas with a modest flair through her innovative business, Miss Sew & Sew.
McBryan, an English teacher at Regina Coeli Academy in Wyndmoor, decided to combine her love of teaching and sewing to start a business teaching students how to sew.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time, considering the economic strain every family is facing today, she said.
“I want these girls to be able to design and make their own clothes so they won’t be subjected to consumerism and the limited choices out there,” McBryan said. “Plus, everything you buy today is made in China. It’s hard to avoid it, but considering the abuses going on there, I’d love to not send any money there. We can make things here and make things that are beautiful if we learn how.”
The principals of Regina Coeli Academy, Our Mother of Consolation School in Chestnut Hill and Holy Martyrs in Oreland agree and invited McBryan to offer her four-week program at their schools as an after-school offering.
McBryan takes five students at a time and spends two hours with them per week, teaching them how to use a sewing machine, how to work with patterns and the tricks of the trade to make items that look like they were store-bought.
McBryan recalls how hard it was to shop for her three girls growing up because she often found clothing that was unattractive and immodest. By teaching her daughters to sew, it made it easier for her to instill a sense of modesty and purity.
“It’s important how they dress because you send a message by the way you dress,” she said.
It’s a message she still conveys in all her classes as she teaches her students to make clothing that is beautiful, modest and fashionable.
“I give them an appreciation for handmade products and confidence that they can make something they can wear themselves or that they can give away,” she said.
McBryan also credits the good art programs at each of the schools where she works for teaching the girls a good sense of color and design.
“I’m grateful to the art teachers at these schools for what they have given the girls,” she said.
Currently, McBryan teaches girls in fourth to eighth grades, but she has been approached about teaching boys. She can tailor classes for boys, and sees the value in teaching them to be self-reliant and appreciate handmade items too, she said.
McBryan takes her sewing classes on the road not only to schools, but also to birthday parties, bridal parties, summer camps and anywhere else she is invited.
She has five machines and provides the patterns, fabrics and embellishments to make an assortment of items including handbags, sports bags, pajamas, skirts, pants, headbands and belts.
“One of my students is a fifth grader. She came to my classes as a fourth grader and during summer camp. She is in my class again but she paid for the class with her own money,” McBryan said. “It says a lot about what they appreciate and what they enjoy doing.”
For more information visit www.misssewandsew.com or email Kim McBryan at email@example.com or call (610) 420-1525.
CS&T staff writer Nadia Maria Smith may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 965-4614.