Meet the Maker: Alex
Custom Bagmaker at Chrome Chicago
Making things is in our DNA at Chrome. We began as a couple folks in a garage with a single industrial sewing machine making bags for our messenger friends. Now, almost 25 years later, we keep a connection to that creative spirit by staffing every one of our Chrome Hubs with an industrial sewing machine and a sewer who can create custom bags, make repairs and basically do all kinds of magic things with fabric.
In our Meet the Maker series we’ll give you a quick look into the world of one of our custom sewers and just a sample of all the amazing bags they have made. Meet Alex – resident custom bagmaker and handmade lingerie mogul at Chrome Chicago
What does a day in your work life look like?
A day at Chrome usually consists of sewing messenger bags and backpacks with customers’ chosen colors, patches, and occasionally up-cycled fabrics and materials.
I also spend a good chunk of my time repairing or refurbishing older bags that are brought in to me.
How did you learn to sew?
I taught myself at an early age and majored in fashion design at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. I focused on women’s wear in school, then learned to use more heavy duty materials like Tarpaulin and Cordura on the job at Chrome.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced in your work?
The biggest challenge for me is knowing when to say no. I want to help everyone who comes in make their dream bag, but the customer’s concept is not always realistic. It can be difficult to navigate individuals who don’t sew into a realistic design perspective.
What are the top five things that are always in your pockets?
- Chapstick, for Chicago winters.
- Beeswax hand salve – sewing and bag repair destroys my hands.
- Loose thread: I am always covered in thread, so I gave up on trying to remove it.
- Bobby pins: to keep my hair out of my face and out of my sewing machine.
- Snacks: I am not good at taking proper breaks from my work and always end up snacking while I sew.
What are you doing when you’re not working hard?
I run my own business where I make women’s intimate apparel. So if I am not at Chrome, I am often sewing at my second job, Seeker Intimates. On a rare day off, I go for long bike rides or distance runs.