Monthly Archives: March 2012



Continued/Part II



As my conversation with Andrea Schewe progresses, I notice how humble and gracious she is.  She seemed somewhat surprised by the interest in her designs and accomplishments. However, I found her very comfortable to converse with.  There was always a smile tucked in the words, but you intuit from her naturalness that she is genuine and very down to earth; practical, but fun-loving and some of her creations express her fun-loving side.    

Goose Mother:  It sounds like you were spending much of your time either on stage or backstage.

Andrea Schewe:  Yes, it became rather hectic. I spent three years working in professional costume shops as a stitcher while I was in school.  I ran from school, to rehearsals, to work.  The result was my school work began to suffer and, honestly, I was exhausted.  Consequently, I secured a job with a woman who was making pillows and soft sculpture pieces. She operated her business from her home; her bedroom no less!  However, the work was more accommodating to my school schedule.  So, the position served its purpose in many ways.

 A year later, I graduated and I became a business partner with the woman who was making the pillows and soft-sculpture.  I still pursued my singing career.  In fact, for years I would tell people that I was really a singer and that designing and sewing just paid the bills!

Our soft-sculpture business venture failed about a year later.  I began seeking employment and I was hired by an artist who designed clothes and was located in the SoHo district in New York City.  My position entailed pattern design and overseeing the workroom.  We made unique, artsy clothing; evening gowns made from Kimonos the designer brought back from Japan, for example. Our product was very unusual and not found everywhere.

I worked there for almost three years and during that time I married my husband of 31 years and had my first son.  Eventually, I became dissatisfied with the work there as I felt I was underpaid. So, I began to seek employment selling in a wholesale showroom. Every day I would scour the ads in Women’s Wear Daily. I went to a few interviews, but ultimately I decided to accept a position with AmToy, the soft toy division of American Greeting Card Company. 

It was a position I truly enjoyed.  I designed and made patterns. I made prototypes as well, and once again, I was in charge of the sewing workroom.  All was going along very well.  I was expecting my second son and then AmToy announced it would be moving out of the City. I was disappointed.  However, my wonderful boss at AmToy was generous and provided me with contact names and numbers of several different toy companies as well as a major pattern company; McCall’s.

To be continued…………..

Honk Honk

Two of Andrea Schewe’s creations while at AmToy




The annual Renaissance Faire was soon to be held locally and I decided that I’d like to attend decked out in costume just for the fun of it.  That’s when I discovered Simplicity patterns designed by Andrea Schewe and I fell in love with almost every pattern of hers that I laid eyes on! I can’t even choose a favorite I like so many of them.  What’s more is they are easier to sew than they may appear. 

I was going thru my personal stash of patterns and although I was not seeking a costume pattern, one of Ms. Schewe’s patterns caught my eye and I pulled it out just to look at it again.  As I was admiring her work, I thought to myself, I’d like to know more about Andrea Schewe and discovered her website; Andrea Schewe Design.   Long story short, I contacted Ms. Schewe and to my glad surprise, she responded to my inquiry well within twenty-four hours.  The lady is not only diversely talented, she is warm, friendly, and humble; what many sum up as a “people person.”

Ms. Schewe helped to put costume design into form for the home sewers.  However, her talent goes well beyond.  Her children’s and craft patterns express imagination, creativity and artistry combined with a dose of practicality.  How rare is that?  And, if that isn’t intriguing enough for you, she studied voice at the Manhattan School of Music and has performed in various operas and theater, receiving a favorable review in the Washington Post

I had the honor and opportunity to converse with Ms. Schewe and learn more about her.  She grew up in the San Francisco Bay area.  She later moved to New York City to attend school and now resides on the eastern seaboard.  Ms. Schewe works from her home studio and is retained by Simplicity patterns.  However, she still performs and participates in local theater utilizing her talents and energies.  She is also an active participant in local seminars and events sharing her knowledge and skills in theater, costume and sewing.

Goose MotherWhat inspired your interest in sewing and how did you learn to sew?

Andrea ScheweI come from a family of seamstresses.  Sewing is something that was always fun for me.  I was doing my best to make Barbie clothes and my own costumes from the time I was ten years old. My mother’s mother worked as a stitcher, and then a designer for about eight years in the garment industry until she married.  My first sewing machine was the treadle machine that my grandmother made all her family’s clothes on, which I still own and treasure today.

Goose MotherHow did you become involved in music and theater?

Andrea Schewe:  My mother always loved the theater, acting and making costumes in the local community theaters. My parents divorced when I was in high school.  Over time, my mother became the costume designer and teacher at the junior college in our area.  All the while, I made most of my own clothes and helped her costume.  During this period of time, my mother enrolled herself in a two-year, intensive apparel design course.  Every night I would go over her class work and projects absorbing and learning what I could.

When I moved to New York to attend music school, I totally supported myself (paying my tuition and living expenses) by working in the professional costume shops between classes.  I tell people I got good at what I was getting paid to do.  As I left for New York my mother told me, “if you can sew, you won’t starve.”  Well, I haven’t starved.

Actually, the interest in music comes from both my parents.  My mother met my father in college while they were both studying music.  She was studying voice and he played trumpet. My father eventually became a jazz pianist and high school music teacher.  I have three sisters and we all share musical talents.  

Andrea Schewe (second from left) in a costume she and her mother made. In attendance are her sisters and a friend. This photo was taken before a scheduled performance at The Cannery in San Francisco, California.   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Andrea performing on stage in a costume she designed herself.  The bustle for that costume was later incorporated into Simplicity pattern 5457  

 To Be Continued ………………..

 Honk Honk



Some years back, my parents retired and moved from northeastern Pennsylvania to central Florida.  They were quite happy to be leaving winters behind and looking forward to long summers.  I visited them several times and they were totally enjoying the retirement community they had settled into.  The gated community was located on acres and acres of a lush preserve on the outskirts of a midsized town.  Lot’s of recreation facilities and restaurants, a club for just about any type of activity you could think of and social gatherings scheduled every week.

There was an article published in their local newspaper entitled, “A Child’s View of Retirement.”  I offer that article here as it contains some amusing observations, guaranteed to make you smile:

“After a Christmas break, a teacher asked of her young pupils how they spent their holidays.  One small boy wrote the following:

We always used to spend Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma. They used to live here in a brick home, but Grandpa got retarded and they moved to Florida. Now they live in a place with a lot of other retarded people. They ride on big three-wheeled tricycles and they all wear name tags because they don’t know who they are. They go to a big building called a wrecked hall, but if it was wrecked, they got it fixed, because it is all right now. They play games and do exercises there, but they don’t do them very good.

There is a swimming pool there. They go into it and just stand there with their hats on. I guess they don’t know how to swim.

As you go into their park, there is a doll house with a little man sitting in it. He watches all day so they can’t get out without him seeing them when they sneak out to go to the store.

My Grandma used to bake cookies and stuff, but I guess she forgot how. Nobody cooks, they just eat out. They eat the same thing every night; early birds. Some of the people are so retarded that they don’t know how to cook at all, so my Grandma and Grandpa bring food to the wrecked hall and they call it “pot luck.”

My Grandma says Grandpa worked all his life and earned his retardedment.  I wish they would move back up here, but I guess the little man in the doll house won’t let them out.”


 From visiting my parents, I know of that man in the “doll house” and if your name isn’t on the visitor list, you don’t get in.  No “wrecked halls” or “early birds” for you!  LOL

Honk  Honk