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Studio Tissue8 | The Art of Sewing | Chris Cooper

It all began when I was eight years old. My oldest sister came home from work with a box of unclothed dolls. The task at hand was to dress the dolls, which were to be given to underprivileged little girls as Christmas gifts. Sounds pretty easy right? Well, there was only one problem: who knew how to sew? Somehow clothing the dolls became my responsibility.

Not knowing entirely what to do, I dragged the sewing machine out and thought, "Something is better than nothing!" I started by placing each doll on a piece of fabric, tracing around their bodies, and cutting each one out. It took a few tries to get something resembling an outfit, but I was determined. By the time I reached the third or fourth doll, I had gotten the hang of things. About three weeks later all the dolls were dressed in my fashions, and I was as proud as I could be! That was the very moment I knew I wanted to be a seamstress.

I continued sewing and learning by trial and error until my first formal lesson in the sixth grade six. I recall knowing more than the teacher. My DIY lessons had paid off! I completed the tangerine cotton wrap skirt for the class in two sessions -- a total of 90 minutes.

Around the same time, I was introduced to a local designer by the name of Joe Brumskill, ("JoeBre" as he was lovingly called), and he became my mentor. From him I learned theatrical costuming and couture clothing -- all while building a clientele of my own.

In 1982, I returned to Delaware after moving away in 1979. Much to my amazement, it was as if I’d never left. The word was out: "Chris is back!" Sewing became a full time "side" job for me (if there is such a thing!).

Then in 2003 I left my job as a Decorator and become an independent contractor. I held a “Summer Sewing Camp” for kids and resumed teaching sewing lessons on a full-time bases. In June of 2003, I launched my popular Valet Alterations Service.

And finally in 2007, I relocated to Washington DC and opened what is now Studio Tissue 8. With this business, I am able to bring together my love of teaching, do custom design projects, and work on a clothing line. Stay tuned to see where this creative, style-driven venture goes from here!

Early on in my life I realized that I was blessed with the gift of creativity.  I am forever grateful to be able to share my gift with others through Studio Tissue 8, whether it's making dresses, curtains, pillow pets, or teaching sewing lessons. I am passionate about my craft. Whenever I am able to share my gift, it’s a great feeling.

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