Stuck on a modified bed rest for the last six weeks of her pregnancy with twins a decade ago, Amanda Warnke took up sewing.
Warnke, now a Raleigh mom of three, had learned the basics in a ninth grade home economics class. She revisited them again with lessons from her sister-in-law. Soon, life with newborn twins took over. Those lessons were on the back burner for a bit ... until the boys were old enough to go to preschool for a few hours each week.
"I needed something for me," said Warnke, a former middle school teacher.
And she also wanted something cute for her boys, who needed more than a few burp clothes in their day.
She started sewing. First came burp clothes - cloth diapers that she'd spruce up with a bit of fabric. Then came bibs. And pacifier clips. And car seat strap covers and handle arm pads. And appliqued T-shirts with adorable turkeys or pumpkins or reindeers. She opened a shop on Etsy about eight years ago. About five years ago, after the birth of her third son, it really became a business.
She focuses on creating cute, practical, washable clothes and items for both boys and girls. Sizes go up to size 5 in pants and size 6 in shirts for boys. For girls, she goes to a size 9.
You can see it all on Warnke's website, Oh Sew Cute Designs.
Warnke started selling her wares at holiday shows. She brought on another local mom, Tara Seidel, to create pants and skirts that match her appliqued T-shirts.
She's also teamed up with Mendy Legleiter, the hair accessory maker behind Naptime Creations and owner of the Divine Children's Show. The two travel to big holiday shows, including the upcoming Junior League of Raleigh's A Shopping Spree and Junior League of Fayetteville's Holly Day Fair; share booth space; and coordinate products so that you can find a matching Naptime Creations bow for your Oh Sew Cute outfit.
Now, Warnke's basement studio is packed with fabric bolts, completed product and the tools of her trade.
Warnke is pleased so far with where the business has taken her. She's been able to balance work with her boys' schedules. Now that all three are in grade school, she has even more time for the business and herself. She continues to churn out her popular products and create new ones - including a super soft pillow case made from the fleece minky fabric.
"I like making and creating and being creative," she said. "This does make me happy."
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