« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Charly Haley, Published March 03 2013

It's My Job: Stitching together a career

MOORHEAD – Among the many high school students excited for their upcoming proms, there’s a 71-year-old seamstress ready to get to work.

Becky Olson owns Becky’s Sewing Center in the American Square Mall on Center Avenue in Moorhead. Her business is connected to her husband’s insurance company, Gary H. Olson Insurance.

Can you explain a typical day of your job?

I do a lot of alterations, a lot of hemming. And I have made things – like I made bridesmaid dresses for a wedding a few years ago. I don’t do so much of that anymore, but it’s a lot of alterations. Starting in March, I’ll get prom dresses, and they have to be shortened, or taken in, or whatever.

How long have you been here, and how did you get started?

I had a great, great uncle that was a tailor to the queen of England. And my grandma came from England, and she was a seamstress, too.

I took home ec in high school, so I’ve been sewing for many years, but my husband has the insurance part, and he needed somebody in here to help cover the office. It’s been 20-some years ago since I came here.

I have (sewing) machines at home, too, but I’ve got machines here. So I do sewing both at home and here. At home I’ve got the ping-pong table, so I can lay things out. But here, I have the TV (in front of the sewing table) so I can watch TV, but then I also cover the office too.

Have you had any unusual requests?

I’ve done some different costumes. I made a costume out of Crown Royal purple bags for a guy.

A lady brought in many, many pairs of jeans, and we’re going to make a quilt out of them. It’s going to be heavy. I’ll do the top; I won’t do the quilting part.

Once, I did a wedding gown for a gal, and I did a full cape for her. She wanted a full cape because she was married in December.

Why do you like your job?

With any job you have your ups and downs, and some days I’m more fresher than others. Overall, I like it. I can set my own schedule; I’m my own boss.

What are some of the ups and downs?

Some of the clothes are challenging.

I guess one of the hardest ones was a guy had to have his military uniform let out, and he had to meet a general at the airport because they were bringing a body back. There was going to be a funeral down in Wahpeton for a young man that was killed in Iraq, I believe.

Anyway, he brought in the uniform and we made arrangements for him to get it dry-cleaned. Then it came time to pay for it and that I really had a hard time charging for. Because under the circumstances, it was a sad deal.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

The people. I get to meet some really nice people. People come in here, and I guess I’m one of these that visits with people.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311