Sewing, like cooking, is a skill that can give tremendous creative satisfaction in addition to its practical application. Fashion designer Elly Geana-Park is helping children and adults fall in love with sewing at SEWNCUTE, 35 Washington Street, Tenafly. Whether you just want to learn how to make alterations or you want to sew a new outfit, this expert will guide you to new levels of mastery.
Group and private lessons for children age 9 and up are held after school, and sewing camps are available during school vacations. Adult group and private classes take place weekday mornings and weekends.
Geana-Park teaches her students how to use a sewing machine—there are many set up in the studio—and all the other tools they need. It amazes her that many people have never seen or touched an iron! When they are comfortable with the basics, Geana-Park helps her charges hone their ideas for a garment. She has a large selection of patterns and fabrics, or students can bring their own. She encourages students to upcycle, or bring older garments from home that they can repurpose into something new and beautiful. Students can make a simple skirt by the second lesson, said Geana-Park. Those who continue graduate to more advanced styles, even gowns.
At group lessons, limited to three or four individuals at a time, each student works on her own project with guidance from Geana-Park. They can bring in a photo of a design they like, or their own sketches. The designer will take out a pattern and alter it to size. She helps pupils pick fabric and trim to complete their custom garments. “Our students go through the same process as the pros,” said Geana-Park. “They sketch, pick fabrics and imagine how it will turn out. I’ll explain that this kind of dress needs a lining, or the shoulders need to be fixed—the details they don’t know before they start, but they learn. One student has been here two years; she loves the process.”
Sewing can also be the theme of a fun birthday party or multigenerational family event. Parties start with an hour of sewing. Participants make something fun, easy and quick such as tote bags and scrunchies. Then it’s time for tea and birthday cake, provided by the shop or the host.
Geana-Park trained at the Bunka Fashion School in Tokyo and designed womenswear for Anna Sui in New York. Ten years ago, she started SUOAK, her own brand of high-end girls’ fashion. She also designed a line exclusively for shops in Brooklyn and Lakewood. Many of her creations are available now at SEWNCUTE, at discounted prices.
SEWNCUTE opened in 2019 when Geana-Park, her husband and son moved from New York City to Tenafly. She thought of opening a retail store but wanted something more active. Sharing her love and knowledge of sewing struck her as the right idea.
For more information on classes, dates and prices, visit www.sewncute.com or call (917) 690-6557.
By Bracha Schwartz