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Making a Business of Sewing

Maria Sews a Lot opened on Main Street last year, and will expand in September by offering classes.

Maria De Vila-Goncalves had always thought about opening her own business, to the point where she had the name picked out: Maria Sews a Lot.

The name was inspired by a comment made by her then-small daughter, telling her she should call the business that, because Maria "sews a lot."

More than 10 years later, opened at 262 Main St. in Milford.

De Vila-Goncalves started sewing as a child in Portugual. She creates anything that can be made with fabric and thread, including: window treatments, embroidery, pillows, smocks, aprons, knitted bags, and personalized bookbags. The most recent idea — Heirloom Bears — came from a request from a customer, who wanted to recycle a bridesmaid's dress into a teddy bear.

She sells much of the work on etsy, a website for handmade items.

She also works as a contractor for designers, who have an item that they need produced. Her second-floor shop looks out on Main Street, and is filled with fabrics, samples and works-in-progress.

She learned to sew from her mother, and a woman in their village of Tourem, Portugual, who had a shop on the Main Street. De Vila-Goncalves took sewing classes at Milford High, when they were a part of the home economics offerings, and went on to earn a degree in fashion from Bay Path College. She continues to take classes now, to learn new skills.

"I started sewing when I was 6 years old, and I've been sewing ever since," she said.

In September, with the help of a friend and a former co-worker, De Vila-Goncalves with separate classes for teens and adults.

She and sewing instructor Anne Barnes met when they were co-workers at in Milford. De Vila-Goncalves worked at the fabric and craft store, on and off, for almost 20 years.

Since opening Maria Sews a Lot, she said she's seen the demand for hand-sewn products that she always thought was there. And people have already started contacting her about the sewing classes, which she's advertised by posting fliers at fabric stores.

"It's a forgotten skill," she said. "You need to learn how to sew."

Maria Sews a Lot is open by appointment. Call the shop at 774-696-6250 for information. Free parking is available on Main Street.

Melissa barber-pugh August 21, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Awesome Maria! I am so proud if you! Best of luck!!
Stephanie Cardoso August 21, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Great job Zeza!!! MDC LOVES Maria Sews A Lot!! <3
Liz Spencet August 21, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Zeza you are so great. Congrats on for doing what you love.
Maria De Vila-Goncalves August 22, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Thank you ladies.
Deb August 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Maria - you are to be commended for doing something that is passionate for you! I, too, have been sewing since about age 10 (a bit older than when you started) and I have made so many things through the years, went on to declare it as a college major (Textile Science) but felt I could never make a living at it and I had no backing to start my own business. I feel I am too old at this point to start a new venture, as I support my family financially and cannot gamble on that. Many thoughts of 'could woulda shoulda' go through my head at times! I truly wish you the very best with your business and much success!!

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