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Whitestoners eager to channel their inner fashion designer need to look no further than a new fabric and crafts store on 14th Avenue.
Hedieh Fuller and her mother, Homa Roowalla, opened the hip-looking store, called Singerie, in November and have been providing a unique venue for do-it-yourself sewers in the neighborhood ever since.
“This is my passion. It’s my mom’s passion,” Fuller said, eager to show off roll after roll of fabric that she and her mother scored after scouring factories and outlets in New York and out of state.
One fabric featured ice cream sandwiches on a pink background while another, called “las senoritas,” depicted a set of Mexican women drawn in vintage style amid cacti and roses.
Contemporary or classic, the duo have collected fabric for their whole life the way other people accrue coins or stamps.
The oldest pieces she could think of were saved by her grandmother and passed down.
But hoarding old rolls of cloth is not what makes Fuller, whose first name is pronounced “hay-dee,” the expert. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in San Francisco in 2000 and spent the next several years designing everything from children’s clothing to men’s bowling shirts in California and then in New York, after she relocated to Jackson Heights.
“I am flexible. I got experience from all these different places,” she said.
And that experience might come in handy for Whitestone residents.
In addition to seeking out quality fabrics shoppers might not find in bigger, more impersonal stores, Fuller is also eager to pass on her knowledge of how to turn those fabrics into actual clothing.
With several sewing machines in the back of the store, she teaches classes to anyone who wants to unleash his or her creative side and start making his or her own duds.
Fuller encourages thwarting convention. She suggests using furniture upholstery to construct tote bags or using skirt material to make curtains.
Some of her students are as young as 12, and after ungluing themselves from television shows like “Project Runway” come into the shop with a creative zeal that Fuller tries to channel through a needle and thread.
“They see it on TV and then get inspired and want to do it, too,” she said.
She also teaches crochet classes, instructing pupils to transcend the rectangles of scarves and afghans and try their hand at something more complicated and spherical like a hat.
But if anyone needs help with patterns, advice on what to buy or help starting a project, Fuller welcomes them to the cutting table in back.
“Sometimes they work on the project right here, and we encourage that,” she said.
Making clothes from scratch can give the creator a sense of pride — just think if someone asked, “Where did you buy that?”
But according to Fuller, there are more practical reasons as well.
“If you buy jeans, they can be too tight here, but too lose over here,” she said. “But you can make it fit perfectly yourself.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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