Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, I watched my mom, grandmother, and aunts make beautiful handmade clothes, quilts and gifts throughout my childhood. It wasn't until high school that I learned to sew on my mom's sewing machine and made some of my first outfits.
In 1997 I bought my first sewing machine, a Pfaff Festival 135. I mainly used it to make items for our home and to repair/ alter clothing for our two growing boys.
After moving to Maui in 2003, I discovered my passion for sewing. The Hawaiian fabrics available here are just beautiful. At first, I found myself creating items for our home, like drapes and pillowcases, but I've always loved small zipper pouches, purses and beautiful bags of any kind. I just started creating different styles and sizes.
My friends and family have always told me how much they liked the bags I created. So, this year, my husband encouraged me to apply for the first-ever Made in Maui County Festival and I was accepted as a vendor. Island Girl Collection was born. Even though it rained most of the festival day, I received an overwhelming number of encouraging responses from the public.
I have converted one of our bedrooms into a sewing studio. You will find me there most days cutting, sewing and creating. My Pfaff sewing machine is still going strong after 17 years now and it has never missed a stitch. It has been a great investment. I use my son's old desk as my sewing table and it works great as it is the perfect size and height for me. I store all my spools of thread in a jewelry organizer that hangs from the drawer pull of the desk so it is within easy reach. I found a great project table that I bought from Costco that sits in the middle of the room and holds most of my fabrics and notions. My small ironing board and a basket of current projects sits on top next to my cutting mat.
As a long-time lover of Etsy, I have always been inspired by the beautifully handmade products that I find there. This store and the products available here are the result of that inspiration.
I cut, sew, iron, photograph and package each product myself in my studio. I enjoy creating my products using the vast array of Hawaiian fabrics found on the island and am always getting feedback from friends on items they would like to have or need. So, I'm always working on a new prototype of some sort. I hope I can share The Aloha Spirit with you one bag at a time. You can not only see the quality of my products but you can feel it.