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Marketplace

Beating the baby blues: Post-partum struggle inspires DeKalb woman's clothing business

Post-partum struggle inspires DeKalb woman’s clothing business

DeKALB – Amy Hernandez didn’t like her post-partum body after she gave birth to her first child, Lexie, now 2, but an unexpected journey is now carrying her into entrepreneurship with Mom Life Sewing.

Back in 2016, Hernandez, 37, born and raised in DeKalb, couldn’t find any clothes that fit her, and she was a first-time mother, juggling a new baby, a marriage, a job and life all at the same time. What she didn’t realize then is that the seemingly simple act of sewing would save her.

“When I got pregnant, I had this idea in my head of how a mother would be like, the mother’s sitting and rocking the child and everything’s perfect,” Hernandez said. “I realized it’s not like that.”

Hernandez said she was sick for “pretty much the whole first winter” of Lexie’s life, and doctors struggled to diagnose her.

“I lost a lot of friends because life was different, it was nobody’s fault,” she said. Hernandez stumbled upon sewing as an evening hobby.

“A year before I got pregnant, we adopted some guinea pigs and the disposable bedding was really messy and expensive,” Hernandez said. While doing research for a cheaper option, she decided fleece bedding was the better option, but was still expensive.

“I decided to make my own,” Hernandez said. “I had always wanted to sew, so I taught myself to do bedding, and then realized I can make things that are useful; so when my daughter came around a year later, we used [homemade] cloth diapers.”

Hernandez said finding clothing that fit her post-partum body, as well as pants for Lexie, since she wore cloth diapers, was troublesome.

Enter Mom Life Sewing, Hernandez’s own handmade clothing business, which kicked off this month.

“I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I got my major in art at Northern Illinois University and Kishwaukee College, and I’ve always wanted to do something with art, but there’s no money in it,” Hernandez said.

For now, she’s happy to operate this side businesses from home and keep her full-time job at NIU in the registration and records department. She’s had 13 clients so far, and says turnaround time for orders depends on the item type, but usually is about two weeks for custom-made clothing.

“I use a lot of material knits, mostly, French terry, sweater knit, spandex, cotton Lycra,” Hernandez said. “I love making cardigans and slouchy sweaters,” she added.

Hernandez create her products with a serger, a tool which allows the user to sew seams, and trim and finish edges of an article of clothing at the same time.

The goal of Mom Life Sewing is to create custom clothing for any shape of woman, Hernandez said.

“Sewing gave me something to do in the evenings for myself,” Hernandez said. “When I didn’t like my post-partum body, [sewing] gave me my confidence back to actually feel good about myself, and I would like to do that for other people.”

Hernandez also creates custom baby clothing, and will be offering holiday sales. Clients can expect to pay $30 to $65 for adult clothing, depending on the style, and $20 to $40 for baby clothing, depending on the item. Customers can visit the Mom Life Sewing business page on Facebook to place orders and browse style selections. Hernandez currently accepts Paypal, and is looking into Venmo and other options. She invoices individually before she cuts fabric.

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