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WEDNESDAY WOMAN: Sewing her way to perfection

Lisa King

WEDNESDAY WOMAN: Sewing her way to perfection

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AFTER 20 YEARS CUTTING, sewing and fitting thousands of garments for several hundred customers, Maxine Reid has returned to the background seat of student and is thoroughly enjoying it.

“I have a designer that has taken me under her wing so that there are things I am learning to perfect. There is always room for improvement,” she said with a smile.

Reid said she always wanted to go to the Barbados Community College to complete the fashion design programme, but when she left school her priority was a job.

The self-taught seamstress always loved the work from childhood days and having watched her mother sew, she started the process with clean-up work and placing buttons.

Reid said her mother did not like her to go on the sewing machine but one Easter she made a blouse after mum went to bed, forcing her to recognise the talent.

Working in bank

Before she broke into the fashion field, Reid spent eight years working at a bank until an opportunity arose and she went into her own business.

She spent a number of years later sewing and operating a business in Roebuck Street with her husband. When that closed, Reid went through a period in limbo and working on the road before she started Chesed Creations, 18 months ago.

“I would go to people and cut the fabric, put together the stuff and fit it. Then I had the opportunity to open here at Eagle Hall,” she explained.

Reflecting on the journey, Reid said it was a good feeling to discover an area that she loved and actually work in it even though there were challenges.

Now that the business is up and running, she plans to have a fashion show soon, and has in mind the things she wants to create.

Hands-on approach

But her focus recently was on the hectic back-to-school rush before she delved back into creating casual and formal wear for women as well as outfitting entire bridal parties. It is the kind of hands-on approach of working for individuals that she prefers to the commercial work.

“You come and I will measure and we can discuss style and I can advise you on what I think looks good on you. That is where I get most of my pleasure.”

She does not rule out making clothes for anyone, including for large people. “Big people like to look just as beautiful as slim people,” she added.

But there are some personal rules that Reid will not break, such as making an outfit that is too revealing.

“Modesty is something that has gone through the windows to some extent. People think that you need to have all of your back out, right down to your bum, or your breasts showing to look good. I do not  agree with that . . . . There are limits.”

Of the miniskirts and short pants which were the style some decades ago, Reid said somehow people worked them with a bit more class.

“I have some pictures from years ago of friends in some very short skirt suits, but they look so refined and nice compared with how people carry themselves nowadays.”

Reid praised her clients, some from as far as St Kitts, for their loyalty, as some, whenever they visit, will seek her out for that special outfit.

“I have been blessed with my own customers. God has always brought such wonderful people around me so that my clients have become my friends over the years and have always been supportive.”

She said since sewing supply stores had disappeared from across the Barbadian landscape, it became difficult to source fabric and the options were now from Trinidad and the United States.

For now, her plans are to expand her work to include drapery, bathroom and shower curtain sets, toilet seat covers and toilet paper holders.

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