Articles about us!
Article in February 15, 2007 Arlington Advocate
This link should take you to the paper’s website. You can view a couple of pictures of the Tuesday Kids class there, as well as the story written by Paul Collins. Photographs by Ellen Bullock.
The article is copied below here:
On a quiet Thursday afternoon, Laura Wirkkala teaches her teen class the tricks of the sewing trade in a small shop at 205A Broadway.
She lets her black 1-year-old miniature poodle, Percy, wander nosily in the white room, which is about the size of a high school classroom. It’s strewn with all sorts of projects. Lamp shades, a dresser, a beanbag ottoman, curtains, a quilt. All colorful and all handmade. It’s also strewn with students.
Abby Spatz, Emma Fritschel, Roseanne Mirabella, Juliana Mirabella, and Isabella Bergstrom are all sitting at their respective sewing machines, working on their own projects. Spatz, with light brown hair tied up in a braid smiles as she works on an apron.
“It’s great,�? said Spatz. “You can do whatever projects you want to do, and Laura knows a lot of different sewing tricks that you wouldn’t learn anywhere else.�?
Roseanne Mirabella, the mother of Juliana, seems a bit out of place in the teen class. With light red hair, wearing a white zip-up hoodie, jeans and raspberry Uggs, she’s an adult learning alongside her daughter. She stands at a table crammed up against the wall, ironing away at a piece of fabric when she walks over to her daughter’s sewing station.
“That’s what makes it fun too,�? said Roseanne. “You can go into a store, buy a fabric and know you have someone reliable (Laura) who will show you how to make it come out right.�?
Standing nearby her students, Wirkkala never has much time to talk. Her first concern is always on their progress in their projects. From always asking if they need any help, to dispensing advice and knowledge that would make Betsy Ross jealous, Wirkkala takes her role as teacher very seriously.
Having been teaching “in one form or another since 1980,�? Wirkkala has been running the sewing school in Arlington for seven years. After spending most of that time in her space in the Heights, she moved the business to Broadway in December.
“It’s easier to find being here,�? Laura said. “The neighbors are great, and already I’ve had a lot more exposure.�?
After receiving a degree in music from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., Wirkkala moved to Massachusetts to work at a local flute making company. During her seven-year stint in that business, she created a small side business for herself, making various accessories for classical musicians. She came down with shoulder tendonitis, forcing her out of flute making and started working full-time in sewing once she recovered more than a year following the injury.
“I’ve looked at other sewing schools,�? said Roseanne Mirabella. “And a lot of them make you come in, you get the same pattern and everyone makes the same thing. That’s what’s nice about Laura. She lets you pick whatever you want, and she works with you.�?
After working independently for many years, Wirkkala has had a lot of interesting clients find her at the school. None of the students in the teen class are from Arlington. She also said she’s had people in her classes from as far away as the Cape and Beverly.
The end of the class nears, and parents are making their way in to pick up their kids. They’re asked why they feel it’s important for their kids to be apart of the sewing school.
“Self-esteem and self-accomplishment,�? said Jane, Isabella’s mother. “Something other than let’s say soccer, not that it’s bad, but you make something here and it’s tangible.
Laura’s Sewing School is at 205A Broadway. For more information about classes, visit www.laurassewingschool.com or call 781-646-2463.