THE DETROIT SEWN STORY
I can't sew but that didn't discourage me from launching a sewing factory in 2015. In fact, my inability to do the very thing my new business was built around was not a red flag for me. I was aware I could barely darn a small hole in a sock. Yet I cobbled together some used industrial machines, leased a small space that probably would have been better off bulldozed, found someone willing to work for me, and opened Detroit Sewn.
My mom was an incredible sewer. For a while, she sewed professionally. During World War II, she worked in a shirt factory in Hazleton, Pennsylvania making uniforms for the Army. I wonder if it occurred to her that she may have been stitching together the very shirt my father would wear while serving as a mechanic stationed in the Philippines.
For as talented a sewer as my mother was, she was a terrible teacher, impatient to explain to her confused daughter a craft that came to her so naturally. She told me the first time she sat at her mother's sewing machine as a teenager, she made herself a dress without using a pattern. I imagined her dismay watching me fumble with the fabric, unable to stitch a straight line, or conceptualize garment construction.
And yet, clothing became a major focus of my career, from my work as a fashion writer and photo shoot stylist to fashion editor. I was surrounded by clothes and accessories. I worked with designers on a daily basis. I analyzed how well certain garments hung on the body in an effortless, enhancing manner while others did not.
After 20 years of working in this field, the idea to open a factory popped into my mind. It came out of need, as many ideas do. There weren't options for full-service apparel manufacturing in the metro Detroit area, and I knew dozens of designers who were looking for that service. I wanted to be that changemaker. I knew I had the industry contacts, the will to start this company and the endurance to keep it going.
And so I jumped.
If you asked me today, knowing what I know now, to open a sewing factory, I would have a hell of a laugh, pull myself together, and politely decline.
It's hard work. It can be stressful, too. Fabric gets delayed. Machines break down. People get sick. I'm responsible for others' livelihoods. I'm responsible for clients' products and dreams.
Thank goodness I didn't realize any of that in 2015 because I love it. I truly love it. I love my team and I love their talents and I love how we laugh every day and I love what we make and I love happy clients and I love making dreams come true. It's where I belong.
While I may never be behind the sewing machine, I am behind this vision that has grown and expanded into a special company that educates, coaches, makes and decorates for people and businesses all over the USA.
This is the story of Detroit Sewn. I invite you to become part of it.
YOUR FULL SERVICE, MADE-IN-USA FACTORY
Our mission at Detroit Sewn is simple: provide high-quality services for our valued clients. Our team goes above and beyond to cater to each project’s specific needs. Through open communication and exceptional service, we hope you’ll find what you’re looking for with Detroit Sewn. Let's make something, and let's do it in the USA!
What Makes Us Different?
That's easy: We are your one-stop source for all things sewn, and we educate, too! From one-on-one coaching, to online classes, we make sure you understand the process, as well as how to be successful at it. We also have a membership, we can help you establish your brand, and we can source and decorate pre-made products.
Education: Digital courses and one-on-one personalized coaching for apparel brands, home goods brands, accessories brands and pet products brands with sewn-goods products.
Pre-Production: Product development, pattern making, sample making, size grading, materials sourcing, tech packs
Production: Fabric cutting, contract sewing, label and patch sewing, oops manufacturing
Decorating: Embroidery, heat transfers, screen printing
Detroit Sewn Apparel
The pandemic pointed out the blatant need for a stronger U.S. supply chain, and after a year and a half of producing sustainable PPE for hospitals around the country, Detroit Sewn is taking on the blanks industry (clothing and accessories that are purchased “blank” and then decorated with logos or art) to be a go-to U.S.-manufactured option.
With multiple high-quality basics currently available, ranging from t-shirts to hoodies, we will continuously be adding to our product list.
In addition to manufacturing the apparel and accessories, we decorate them, too, utilizing a wide variety of high-end heat transfer options.
A socially responsible manufacturer, our retail sales are made to order to combat the wastefulness found globally in apparel manufacturing. Orders are cut, sewn and shipped within two weeks.
-We are both WOSB and HUBZone certified.
-The first four years of our business were spent responding to the need for full-service cut and sew in Michigan. During that time we helped launch dozens of brands that we took from idea to full production that they were then able to sell to their customers - all made in the USA.
-In 2020, we pivoted to manufacturing PPE, and along with multiple partners, including two automotive suppliers, Detroit Sewn led the charge in keeping a large hospital system - with hospitals in 22 states - up and running with more than 500,000 reusable masks and 75,000 reusable isolation gowns.
-For eight weeks during the early months of the PPE crisis, Detroit Sewn created the Michigan Mask Donation Center, got its landlord to donate the space next door to the factory to hold the temporary Center, enlisted the help of Glamorous Moms Foundation to run it, and used all its media contacts to raise awareness. Thanks to the generous donations of pre-washed sewn masks from our local home sewers, we had enough inventory to give 7,050 masks to 390 community groups, families, individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations in Southeast Michigan.