Handmade couture aprons vie to beat grandma's cotton

Handmade couture aprons vie to beat grandma's cotton

July 15th, 2011 by Casey Phillips in Business Around the Region

Hand-sewn aprons such as this are made by Pearls and Pot Pies of Ooltewah. Contributed Photo

Hand-sewn aprons such as this are made by...

• What: Hand-made couture aprons

• Company: Pearls and Pot Pies

• Address: 7932 Wolftever Drive, Ooltewah.

• Website: www.pearlsandpotpies.com

• Telephone: 645-4665

• Owner: Elaine Richie

• What's special: Most the aprons at Pearls and Pot Pies are reversible and hand-sewn and detailed from high-quality cotton or designer fabrics, said owner Elaine Richie. "They're going to last a very long time," Richie said. "The way I look at it, they're not the same cottons grandma wore, and if you spill something on you, it won't soak into your clothes."

• The origin story: Richie has been sewing all her life, but Pearls and Pot Pies started in 2007 when a friend asked her to make a dozen aprons for use as Christmas presents. Over time, others also expressed interest, so Richie made enough to sell at the Chattanooga Market's Christmas Market. Two years ago, she left her job in the mortgage industry to become a couture seamstress full time.

• How long does it take to make: From laying out fabric to the last detailing, each apron takes about 3 1/2 hours.

• Where it's sold: At Chattanooga Market and via the Pearls and Pot Pies websit.

• What it costs: From $40 (one-sided half apron) to $55 (reversible full apron)

• Future expansions planned: At the moment, Richie said she's happy with the state of her business and has no plans to expand beyond cottage industry. In time for this year's Christmas Market, however, she said she intends to have additional accessories for sale, including dishwashing gloves and towels.

• Lessons of the trade: "You want to get all your fabrics at one time to last you for a while," Richie said. "When I'm ready to sew, I'll sew all and day. Having everything there for you so you don't have to stop and leave the house makes it more efficient."