Welcome to Sweet Potato Seamstressing! Sweet Potato is a custom sewing, design, alterations and clothing restoration business located in Oakland, CA, and operated by Elana Bloom for clientele of all ages, genders, sizes, and abilities. You can think of Sweet Potato as your friendly, Oakland sewing business ready to find creative solutions to make your clothes work for you. Whether you bring in precious vintage apparel, your everyday wardrobe staples, or just that shirt you got at a clothing swap, we’re excited to work on it.
Sewing is in my blood. My great-grandfather was a tailor by trade in Italy, and my grandmother followed in his footsteps. My grandmother taught my mother to sew and when I was a small child my mother taught me. I’ve been sewing since before I could read, and thinking up designs for just as long. I began sewing my own clothing at the age of eleven, and continued through high school when I began selling my creations in a local vintage shop. Thanks to that first job I developed a passion for vintage, especially studying how each garment was made extensively.
I majored in women and gender studies at Smith College in Northampton, MA, where my beloved sewing machine and I were parted for several years as I took a seam ripper to the social construction of gender. Two wonderful things happened during my time at Smith: a) I developed a deep affection for hand sewing, crochet and knitting b) my studies on gender began to inspire me to start designing clothes with friends that pushed the limits of the gender binary. I very much enjoy and appreciate working with people in the transgender community to create custom garments that reflect their visions of what they would like to wear, and how they want their clothing to look and feel.
Some of my favorite things to design and create include: custom made garments for everyday or for special occasions, functional accessories including wallets, clutches, and bags, anything involving reclaimed or vintage fabrics, and custom bow ties. I adore working on vintage clothing, especially restoring them back into wearable pieces. Some of my favorite eras to work on range from the 1930s through the 1970s. A history nerd at heart, it’s so important to me that people value and treasure these unique and beautiful pieces.
As a perfectionist, no project seems too big or too small for my creativity, attention to detail, and careful craftsmanship. I believe that good fit is not born into a garment, it is tweaked to our individual bodies. I also believe that everyone deserves to have clothing that makes them feel incredible when they step into it, whether for everyday life, or special occasions. I’m excited to hopefully fairy-godmother projects for dear people in need of a tuck here and a hem there, and to someday contribute to cultivating a younger generation interested in using less and creating more.
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