MULTI-TALENTED ANDREA SCHEWE
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…………..
Two of Andrea Schewe’s creations while at AmToy