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Front Page » March 30, 2006 » Focus » Sewing it up in Helper
Published 2,947 days ago

Sewing it up in Helper


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By TOM McCOURT
Sun Advocate reporter

Custom sewing and embroidery is available at the Pin Cushion on 120 South Main in Helper.

Pam Reddington lives the American dream. With courage, skill, and hard work, she has been able to turn her life-long hobby into a profitable business. Reddington owns and operates the Pin Cushion at 120 South Main Street in Helper.

Reddington has embroidered and sewn since childhood. For years she's made hand-sewn blankets, quilts, clothing and novelty items for family and friends. She says sewing is a form of artistic expression, and isn't work for someone who enjoys the challenges of creating with a needle and thread.

Ever the entrepreneur, Reddington actually has two businesses in Carbon County. The Pin Cushion is her second venture. She has owned and operated Pam's RV Park in Helper for the past 10 years. Pam's RV Park has 11 units and offers both short-term and long-term RV parking.

Reddington began her sewing business in her home while running the RV Park. She did custom embroidery work, mostly for friends and acquaintances. Word of her skills spread by word of mouth and the orders began to increase. In early 2003, sensing a good business opportunity, she invested in some state-of-the-art computerized machinery and opened the shop on Helper's Main Street. The business has tripled in size and volume in three years, and currently, Reddington employs two very skilled helpers.

The Pin Cushion specializes in custom sewing and embroidery work. They also do alterations and mending. Reddington and her staff enjoy the creative side of the business too, and they make custom wedding dresses, evening gowns, and prom dresses.

Reddington's skills in the custom sewing business are well known by the Wasatch Front fashion industry. She has played a major role in helping a new fashion business make an explosive entry into the recently identified modesty fashion market.

Pam Reddington, owner and operator of The Pin Cushion, at one of her computerized sewing machines.

Last year, a former LDS woman missionary who couldn't find a modest party dress to wear to a formal dinner date, formed the MikaRose Company. After her fruitless quest in Salt Lake City to find dinner wear appropriate to LDS standards, the New York native, Michella Lawson, designed her own line of dresses and began selling the idea to her friends. The business is growing exponentially.

As the MikaRose business began, Lawson heard about, and contacted Reddington at The Pin Cushion in Helper. Reddington and her staff make the first dresses in each series from the original patterns made by MikaRose. As they make the prototype dresses, The Pin Cushion people make adjustments and recommendations about the patterns and the manufacturing process. Their recommendations are then used to set the final patterns before the dresses reach the full production stage.

The prototype dresses made at The Pin Cushion are the dresses worn by professional models at fashion shows where MikaRose solicits orders. MikaRose sells primarily to the boutique and specialty markets and not to the big box chain department stores.

The Pin Cushion fills many small orders for MikaRose, but often production orders are for thousands of pieces, and the Helper company has chosen, so far, to remain in the design and prototype side of the business.

Reddington was recently contacted by another new company about contracting her skills and expertise to help design and manufacture modest swim wear.

The sewing machinery at The Pin Cushion is fully computerized, and the company does specialty digitized logos and embroidery work. Reddington will custom design logos if the customer wishes, or The Pin Cushion will copy an existing logo to be embroidered on caps, jackets, T-shirts, coats, etc. They also do monogrammed work on items like towels, bathrobes, tablecloths, napkins, and handkerchiefs.

Pam Reddington shows off a custom wedding gown at The Pin Cushion in Helper.

Some of Reddington's most creative work is done on jeans. She offers several examples of custom embroidery work to make an old pair of jeans, or a denim jacket, come alive. Some of her embroidery work is enhanced with sequins and beads in colorful styles and creations.

The company makes custom blankets and quilts, and a wonder of the modern age of computerized imagery is that photographs can be transferred to the fabric to make specialty items like family photo quilts, or custom T-shirts.

The Pin Cushion also offers custom wedding dresses and evening gowns. A fine example of a one-of -a-kind wedding gown is currently on display in the showroom, with hand-sewn beads worked into the embroidery.

Reddington says that some of the most fun is in designing costumes and specialty items for her customers. She does Halloween and historical costumes, and she made the colorful flags that line Helper's Main Street. A recent order was for a special designed sling for a customer to carry her small dog while riding her bike. "Sometimes we have people, often tourists, just walk in off the street and ask us to make some real crazy stuff. It's a lot of fun," says Reddington.

The Pin Cushion will have an Internet website on line very soon where all of their wares and services will be outlined. The address will be www.pincushion.org.


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