"Chana Berger, originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, recognized this need when she moved from Florida to Crown Heights in 2014. Ever since, she has enhanced the wardrobes of hundreds of women and girls in Crown Heights. Recently, she combined her design skills and teaching skills to create Needle and Stitch Sewing Boutique.
Berger is more than just a seamstress; she is an equal parts designer, teacher, and motivator. She designs and creates her own unique creations and also adjusts and remodels clothing for her clients. But what is even more unique about Berger is the weekly sewing and clothing design classes she holds for girls in the neighborhood.
Under Berger’s guidance, girls as young as ten and eleven years old have learned to thread a machine, follow patterns, and create their own skirts, dresses, and more. The students are enthusiastic about the classes, and their passion for sewing takes them far. 'They are asking their mothers for sewing machines,' Berger says. 'It makes me so happy.'
Berger began drawing sketches of gowns at the tender age of six. 'My grandfather used to import fabrics, and I would collect the swatches,' she says.
Her grandmother supported her by collecting designs and sending them her way. At the age of sixteen, Berger attended school and learned how to design and alter clothing professionally.
Empowering women to alter and fix their own clothing is paramount to Berger. 'I have a lot of clients who come to me to fix a hole in a sock,' she says 'They didn’t have the chance to learn when they were younger.'
Berger helps women become self-reliant by educating them to take care of small sewing tasks on their own. 'You don’t have to spend $5 every time you need to fix a hole,' she says. She compares sewing skills to cooking know-how. 'Learning sewing skills is going to save a lot of money long-term.'"
By Libby Herz for COLlive.com
This article was published on https://collive.com/new-sewing-boutique-grew-from-a-brazilian-girls-hobby/