Threadymade clothing kits come with designer quality fabric pieces that are pre-cut in the maker’s preferred size and ready to sew.
Photo courtesy of Threadymade.
In the heart of New York City’s garment district, the team at Threadymade is on a simple mission: to bring a new kind of pattern-free sewing kit to the masses.
Targeting home sewists of all skill levels, Threadymade clothing kits come with designer quality fabric pieces that are pre-cut in the maker’s preferred size and ready to sew. What’s perhaps totally unique to their brand is that Threadymade garment kits feature professionally smocked and pleated fabrics.
By sourcing interesting deadstock fabrics from fashion houses that overestimated their needs, Threadymade is able to provide a premium product to its customers, and one that’s not available in other garment sewing kits. One of Threadymade’s founding partners, Larry Geffner lends his expertise in turning pleated and smocked fabrics into textural masterpieces. Geffner has run one of the country’s largest pleating and stitching facilities in NYC for more than 40 years and continues to work with over 100 top design houses. The facility uses a “laser finished fast edge” pleating process that eliminates fraying and can create generous-sized smocking panel widths that accommodate a wide range of sizes, fitting up to a size 60” bust.
Aside from Geffner, the rest of the Threadymade team is comprised of Brenda VanName, Felicity Sargent, and Rob Younkers. “We’re a small but strong team that comes from very different backgrounds and have all had very different careers, but our skill sets balance each other out and work specifically well for Threadymade,” Sargent explains. “We all came together in a very serendipitous, old-school New York way—through mutual friends.”
Threadymade sells pre-pleated sewing kits, like this Pony Print Sunburst Monroe Skirt.
Photo courtesy of Threadymade.
Geffner was struck by the idea that precise pleating and smocking are extremely technical, time-consuming, and difficult for sewists to execute at home. “So the idea was ‘let’s offer them that!’ and then the rest is history,” explains Geffner.
“A secondary benefit is that if you’re new to sewing you can make an extremely sophisticated-looking garment in an afternoon or less.”
“Larry loves pushing the limits of what is possible and has a childlike enthusiasm and passion for design and innovation,” says Sargent. Charged with marketing, communications, and brand growth, Sargent helped take that initial spark of the company idea and saw it through to launch in mid-2020.
Also a part of the Threadymade team, Brenda VanName got her start as s home sewist and has since built a prolific career in fashion design and production. “Brenda and I have worked together in various capacities for many years and always knew they wanted to collaborate,” explains Geffner, “At Threadymade she wears many hats, but specializes in product development and marketing.”
The face of Threadymade’s YouTube channel, Rob Younkers is a design and education professional who has taught at Parsons and now specializes in teaching kids. “His educational and designer eye was instrumental in making Threadymade kits easy and versatile,” explains VanName.
The four-person Threadymade team works remotely or out of their headquarters in New York City’s garment district—right next door to where the manufacturing is done. “It’s an incredible space,” Sargent says. “It’s also really special and unique that we can sit in a conference room, cook up an idea, and Larry will come back an hour later with that idea in his hands. It’s spectacular!”
Sewing has seen an uptick during pandemic and Threadymade says their garment kit sales have grown as well as more and more people renewed their interest in sewing due to sewing masks.
Photo courtesy of Threadymade.
So far, Threadymade hasn’t been able to confine their target market to one specific category. Rather, their audience spans a wide age range from 7-year-old kids to adults in their 70s. “We’re a young company and still getting to know our audience—but it is really diverse,” Sargent explains.
“We designed these kits to appeal to everyone, and it’s been so exciting to see such a diverse range of sewers enjoying them!”
When ordering a smocked dress, for example, buyers can expect the custom kit to arrive with two professionally smocked dress panels, four precut pockets, four precut fabric tie straps, and finished spaghetti strap yardage.
To assemble a garment on a sewing machine, the maker can refer to the kit’s written instructions or a companion video on Threadymade’s YouTube channel. Makers can find a number of ways to customize their garment: skirts come with multiple waistband options and dresses and tops can be made with wide straps, spaghetti straps, or strapless. Finally, all of the kits are designed to be sewn in an afternoon, from quality fabrics, and offered at a fair price.
According to their website, these business goals all stem from an ethic that making a garment with your own hands is an invaluable experience, one that transforms the maker into a more mindful fashion consumer.
As with many craft kit suppliers, Threadymade benefitted from an uptick in sales during the pandemic, as more and more people were staying at home and looking to fill their time. “We’ve seen so many people who dusted off their sewing machines to start making masks and needed a new, quick and easy project,” says Younkers.
The current selection of Threadymade garment kits includes smocked tops and dresses, and pleated skirts in both kid and adult sizes. Each kit is prepared to order and ships in about 10 to 14 days. While they don’t currently wholesale the kits to sewing studios or maker spaces, it’s something they’ve considered for the future.
As for the next steps, the team has already started planning a few collaborations and drafted new silhouettes. “We’re always scouring the internet, and real-life, for special upcycled fabrics,” explains VanName says. Though the company started without any outside investors, they will consider taking on a few angel investors in the coming year.
Lindsay is a modern quilter, writer, and editor. A multi-book author with C&T Publishing, her latest project was designing sampler quilts for FreeSpirit Block Party (Stash Books, September 2018). She also works with Craftsy and Baby Lock sewing machines, and is an editor for Frommer's Travel Guides. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, son, and two cats, who were the inspiration for her adult coloring book and Kickstarter "Project of the Day" Lazy-Ass Cats. www.lindsaysews.com, www.lazyasscats.com