Superior has a new seamstress.
Megan Alanen opened The Stitchery Feb. 24. The business at 1830 Tower Ave. provides a mix of sewing services, from alterations and repairs to zipper replacements, memory bears and custom clothing.
For Alanen, it’s a return to her roots.
“I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl,” she said. “I learned to sew before I learned how to read.”
The Cincinnati, Ohio native was taught by her great-grandmother, who sewed blankets for their church to donate. Every day she would give Alanen scraps of flannel to make bags out of.
But for years, Alanen didn’t even own a sewing machine. When she moved to the Twin Ports about three years ago, the 28-year-old landed two jobs doing factory sewing work stitching motorcycle suits and boat covers. A year later, she started working for Kathy Peterson at Sew It Up in Hermantown.
“I just love her,” Peterson said. “She’s very talented and always open to try new things.”
When Peterson made the decision to move her business to Burnsville, Minnesota, she encouraged Alanen to launch her own shop. The Superior seamstress is enthusiastic, a great people person and a hard-worker, Peterson said.
“She will definitely fill a void,” Peterson said. “That need is going to always be there, and it’s getting harder and harder to find people you can trust to do the work.”
In addition to Sew It Up relocating, Sally the Stitch Witch announced she was closing her Piedmont business in February.
Misty Matson, owner of Bella Rose Bridal in Duluth, has referred clients to The Stitchery for alterations.
“What she does is very needed in our area,” Matson said, because it takes a skilled seamstress to work with wedding dresses.
Alanen’s clients range in age from flower girls and 16-year-olds to grandmothers-of-the-bride. Both men and women stop by to get clothing repaired or tailored, and she’s tackled custom orders like adding loops to a quilt for display and making a memento out of a loved one’s clothing.
The bulk of the business is bridal work, Alanen said, with a flurry of activity in the spring during prom season. The Superior woman has spent months sowing seeds for the new business.
“I’ve been going around the city handing out business cards since I found this out in the middle of October,” the seamstress said.
She said she already has 20 brides on the books. She filled her first few bridal orders out of her parents’ basement in Cloquet until the Superior shop was ready. It took 16 days to clean up and remodel the 700-square-foot space, formerly Techno Home Computers, once she secured the spot.
Opening a business was a challenge, but Alanen said she got support and guidance from the Small Business Development Center and Entrepreneur Fund. Peterson helped push her ahead, too.
“There was a lot of work that went into it, but I had a lot of help,” Alanen said.
Alanen is currently offering dress consignment for local teens and a 10% discount for bridal parties of four or more. On Tuesday, March 10, the shop already had a number of formal gowns available.
Although the shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, Alanen said she plans to offer extended hours in April to fit student schedules. Visit The Stitchery Superior Facebook page of call 218-940-4524 for more information.