Still sewing after all these years
Cindy LaBathe has been
sewing nearly all her life. For 40 of those years, she’s run Cindy’s Tailoring, Alterations & Dry Cleaning located at 130 E Vine St. in Owatonna.
“Both my grandmothers sewed and my mom
sewed,” LaBathe recalled. “It was just natural, ev- erybody sewed back then.” LaBathe honed her early skills sewing clothes for dolls when she was young- er. “Then when I got older,
I started sewing things just for myself.”
After she graduated high school, she knew that sew- ing was something she was interested in. “We found schools and went around and checked them out,”
she said. LaBathe holds a degree in commercial tai-
loring. “I don’t even think
they teach it in school that much anymore,” she said of the declining prevalence of sewing as a discipline.
Besides alterations, repairs, and tailoring, Cindy’s also offers organic dry cleaning. “There’s no chemicals, so you don’t get the smell,” LaBathe ex- plained. “It’s better for your body, better for your clothes, better for pregnant women, for all of that it’s way better.”
“I like to work on men’s suits,” she said. “When
I went to school, I went for tailoring so we had to measure the men, make the patterns, cut out the fabric, sew them, fit them, and so that’s how I learned. Plus, suits are all pretty much
the same, but when you get into dresses and weddings gowns, they’re all different so you never know what you’re going to get into.”
It is this variance in
style and form of the more complex clothing such as dresses that comes as one
of the challenges to her job.
“None of them are ever the same,” LaBathe said. “I do a lot of prom dresses, I get
really busy in prom season,
and homecoming and wed- ding season.”
While she is usually so focused on her customers’ orders, LaBathe does find time to occasionally make something for herself. “I made my grandson’s bap- tism outfit, that was proba- bly the last thing I made for myself,” she said.
LaBathe says in 40 years
not much has changed. “It’s all pretty much the same, the styles change, but that’s about it,” she said. “Lapels get wider and narrower and pant legs get wider and narrower.”
Due to passion and com- mitment to excellent service, LaBathe’s business has won Best of Southern Minnesota in commercial tailoring twice, once in 2013 and again in 2015. She was also nomi- nated again this year.
“It’s important to sew
a straight stitch or match
your thread to the gar- ment,” LaBathe explained of certain techniques that might separate her from amateur sewers. “Do it
right he first time, measure twice cut once, because once it’s cut, it’s cut.”
Having served the com- munity for so many years, LaBathe has many loyal customers who continue to rely on her for their tailor- ing needs. “I’ve got a few customers that have been with me forever, which
is nice, and you become friends with everybody too,” she said.
Even after all these years sewing remains a passion for her. “It’s like
a puzzle, you have to take it apart and put it back together,” she said. “It relaxing for me, I love it, and I haven’t gotten sick of sewing.”