“I love that these brand evolutions always accompany evolutions in my life.”
Melissa Sailer, Owner and Designer of Yarn & Cloth Clothiers & Dry Goods, was kind enough to share a bit about her design background, some exciting up-and-coming projects for the line, and how raising her three boys has been the main source of inspiration behind her vintage inspired brand.
FPG: You spent many years working in the fashion industry before making the leap into a small business owner. Can you tell us a bit about your design background and what inspired the change? How was Yarn & Cloth created?
MS: I have a degree in apparel merchandising and design and I have worked for nearly 10 years as a print and pattern designer for several big fashion companies. I really loved what I did but once my boys came along the long hours I was working in corporate fashion just didn’t make sense for my family. I felt like I was missing the most important part of my little boys lives while I was at work. My husband and I decided I would stay home with my boys while he went to work for an apparel company in Maine. After about six months at home I got a little stir crazy and decided to start a business of my own. I started small and approached a local boutique and pitched an idea for girls dresses. The store liked my ideas and I got my first order. I slowly grew Yarn & Cloth from a line that just had dresses to one that now has items girls, boys, babies and now a few items for moms and soon the whole family. The line seems to evolve as my life evolves with my family. I have added items as I have realized the need for them. I started making one of my favorite pieces, my wool and leather baby booties in response to the birth of my third boy in the middle of a cold Maine winter. I recently started making one piece rompers after realizing how hard it is to find matching clothes in my laundry piles. I love that these brand evolutions always accompany evolutions in my life.
FPG: How did you get into the world of children’s fashion?
MS: I have always been drawn to children’s fashion. I think it is because I grew up with a mother who is an amazing seamstress and she aways made special outfits for me. When I was little she would let me pick out my own fabric and silhouette and she would sew it for me. It always made me feel so special and I want to be able to do the same for my kids and for other little ones. I love to be able to dress kids to suit their personalities. I think that one of the greatest things about begin a small design business is that my focus can be to design pieces that one individual will treasure.
FPG: Describe the Yarn & Cloth aesthetic for us. What is the spirit of the brand?
MS: I would best describe Yarn & Cloth as vintage inspired classic. I really try to create pieces that are timeless. My background is in print and pattern so I do a lot of pattern mixing with stripes, plaids and florals. I generally pick classic patterns but like to add some fun pops of color from time to time. I take great care to construct my garments with the greatest attention to detail. I want my pieces to stand the test of time.
FPG: Are there projects you are currently working on?
MS: I am currently working on a new concept for Yarn & Cloth. My little boys are avid artists and spend much of their time drawing. Consequently we have a lot of drawings around the house and I wanted to find something to do with them. I decided to take some drawings and have them printed on fabric and then make them into clothing for my boys and for some friends. I want to offer this service to others and will be adding it to my Etsy store very soon.
FPG: What is your favorite part of designing and producing children’s apparel?
MS: My favorite of designing and producing children’s wear has to be the pictures of little one’s wearing the clothes I have made. I love knowing something I have worked so hard on is in a good home and being loved.
FPG: Having 3 boys, your days must be really lively! What is a day in-the-life of a Mother/Designer like?
MS: It can be tricky navigating the life of a Mother/Designer. I have three boys who are 7, 4 1/2, and 17 months and they are full of energy and life. I try to balance my time between the two but it can often be hard to do. Sewing comes with a lot of dangerous tools so I can’t do much unless my littlest is napping. I usually try to spend the morning doing something fun with them or running errands; whatever the day demands. Once nap time comes I drop everything and work until I hear my little guy wake up. Now that I have children I wonder what I did with all my free time before I had them. It can be challenging at times trying to juggle being a mom and working at home but I wouldn’t trade the chaos of it all for anything. I think it is important to be a role model to my boys and show them I have ambition.
FPG: Do you tend to dress your sons similarly or is it entirely different depending upon personality? What are some of their favorite items from their closets?
MS: I approach dressing each of my sons differently. My oldest loves to dress up and wear bow ties to school. He is the reason I started offering boys clothing. My middle guy has an eccentric style. He picks some silly combinations only a four year old can get away with. He is really active and wants to be comfy and usually ends up back in his pajamas if he can. My youngest boy is lucky if I have him in a matching outfit. I would love to have him dressed up, but sometimes I am just in survival mode and he just gets to wear what I pick up first!
FPG: Does living in Maine affect the way you and your kids dress?
MS: I absolutely love living in Maine. We have lived in NYC, California, and the Mid-west but Maine has been my favorite place by far. I don’t ever imagine us leaving. Our family really loves camping and the outdoors and Maine has so much to offer when it comes to that. The weather here definitely affects how we dress. We wear a lot of sweaters and layers in the winter because our house tends to be a bit on the cold side. When the weather gets warm we spend a lot of time at the beach and outside playing, we are really a casual family but tend to try to dress on the nicer side of casual.
FPG: Any favorite local brands or boutiques you can tell us about?
MS: The best boutique I have found here in Maine is Daytrip Society and Daytrip Jr. in Kennebunkport. It is an amazing store that has an assortment of locally made goods as well as really cool merchandise from bigger brands. The owners have amazing taste and there are so many fun things. (They carry Yarn & Cloth!)