Port shop owner relies on trusty 1922 Singer to keep clothes in stitches
Port Washington seamstress Jane Guetchidjian knows most people arenâ€™t interested in mastering the fine art of fixing a zipper or altering a
â€śSewing is a lot like cooking. Once you learn the basics, you can do pretty much anything. But people just want to get it done, so they
bring it to me,â€ť Guetchidjian said.
â€śIt really is an art, like cooking. Once you know how to sew, you can make your clothes really fit well.â€ť
Her shop, Janeâ€™s Handy Sewing, located in a storefront at 129 W. Washington St., is truly a one-woman operation.
The cozy shop is filled with clothes waiting to be mended, as well as an array of craft items made by Guetchidjian and people she knows.
â€śI grew up in the restaurant business, but I married a tailor and started sewing when my husband opened a tailor shop â€” Frenchyâ€™s
Tailoring â€” in Thiensville,â€ť she said.
The couple ran that shop for 20 years.
Her husband has since passed away, but Guetchidjian has kept the tailoring business going.
She points to a well-used 1922 Singer sewing machine that was a fixture at the Thiensville shop.
â€śThis is my workhorse. I use it every day. It is like my Chevy truck â€” all it needs is to be cleaned and a little oil and it keeps going and
going,â€ť Guetchidjian said.
She said she does about 90% of her work on one of three machines she has in the shop, with hand work reserved for things like sewing on
Guetchidjian said a lot of her business comes from customers of thrift stores who find a well-made garment for a good price, but want it to
fit them better.
â€śA lot of the clothes people buy off the rack donâ€™t fit them because stores donâ€™t carry an unlimited number of sizes. That seems to be
especially true for menâ€™s clothes,â€ť she said.
But, Guetchidjian said, it is not all about making sales, even though she keeps her prices reasonable.
â€śIf someone brings in a garment they want altered, Iâ€™ll tell them if the item is not worth the price it is going to cost to repair,â€ť Guetchidjian
Much of her tailoring is done on high-end clothing, like suits and dresses that are going to be worn for a special occasions.
â€śIt used to be men wore suits to work every day and to church, but now things are super casual. When they want a suit to fit, they come to
me,â€ť Guetchidjian said.
Her shop is open Tuesdays through Fridays, and Saturday mornings.
Image Information: JANE GUETCHIDJIAN CONSIDERS the 1922 Singer sewing machine the workhorse of her sewing business. Photo by Mark Jaeger