Who to Know in RVA : Top Stitch

Repairing the clothes we own is a revolutionary act that can be both simple + difficult depending on what we need repaired. Maybe it's sewing a button or repairing a small hole. But, if you're like me, this may not be your area of expertise... luckily you have Lisa of Top Stitch RVA! As a past design student, passionate vintage lover and long-time sewer, Lisa created Top Stitch to help repair items you own that are in need of repair (or even those items that you believe are beyond repair). Lisa is a genius with a sewing machine and will even come to your house to teach you how to sew on your own - if that's not sustainability, I don't know what is! When you go with Top Stitch, you will have holes fixed, buttons sewn on, items tailored, hemmed, altered, and more!

Check out today's feature on what Lisa is up to with her growing biz.

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How was Top Stitch started?

I have been sewing since I was 11 and I have a major mission to live a low impact life on the environment.  The bulk of what I produce creatively is from secondhand materials. Last year I  attended a "No Waste" potluck where we discussed how to reduce and minimize waste in the household. It was very inspiring and eye opening. The next morning I realized I could combine my trade and passion to provide an eco-friendly service for my local community. 

What is your background in sewing & the fashion industry?

My mom taught me to sew when I was in middle school. I was hooked right away. This led me to get a bachelor's degree in Fashion Design. I also worked for Heatherette in New York. Once I moved to Richmond I did sewing repairs along with beadwork at my retail jobs and also started BOOM! Bloomers. 

Why do you think repairing clothing is important?

Repairing clothes is one of many ways to increase sustainability. It puts used items back into circulation and minimizes waste. To be able to wear pieces for many years can reduce habits of mass consumerism.  We all have a mend pile, even I do, of our well loved clothing. Getting our favorites back in action creates less need for fast fashion.

What’s your best tip for someone wanting to make a small fix to one of their loved clothing items?

Always have a sewing kit in the house. Even if it is the tiny travel size. Then give it a shot! Most people seem to be to nervous to even try it but approach it as a craft project, something fun! 

What is your favorite item (or items) to repair?

I have a special place in my heart for vintage pieces because I have been collecting for 20 years. I also love getting pieces that people have literally worn until it fell apart, then the repair becomes a bit of an experiment as well.

What’s one thing you’d like people to know about Top Stitch?

No repair is too small or awkward. A lot of people say, "I'm embarrassed to show you this" or "I have no idea if this is even possible". I'll take a look at anything, my goal is to provide a full range of help, even if it doesn't appear to be a straight forward fix. 

What do you love about the RVA community?

The RVA community is unbelievably supportive. It has a positivity and strength that is hard to find elsewhere. It's an environment where a small business, like mine, can grow so quickly by word of mouth. I am ever grateful to be be a part of this place! 

Where can we find you next?

I am collaborating with some incredible local women in a project called Ethical Style Collective. We are hoping to encourage intentional shopping and  conscious conversations around the fashion industry with gatherings around town. Stay tuned!