Shae Haning / Tallgrass Tailor
How did you become a master tailor?
I worked with my dad as a kid in his welding shop, and as I got older I found that seaming metal is very similar to seaming fabric. As a teenager, I realized that I could get a degree in sewing, and my course was set. After completing my Bachelors of Professional Studies in Fashion Design and Apparel Development (and winning the unofficial award for best drafted pants!) my future as a tailor began to take shape.
How did you become interested in the industry?
I found out that fabric was easier to work with than steel after I made my first T-shirt, and I was hooked! Once you start manipulating stretch fabric the whole world opens up. I explored everything from sweaters to jeans. As a petite sewist, I had a closet full of clothes that didn’t fit and I decided that there was nothing wrong with me, just something wrong with all these clothes!
How long have you been in the industry?
What makes your business different than others? How do you stand out?
We’ll take on anything. And the projects that come through the door are different every day! College mascot suits, aircraft cargo nets, Muong burial garments, all-weather blankets for newborn cows...we’re making a traditional fox hunting coat as I write this! In a world where so many jobs are repetitive, the things Tallgrass sees are so unique. And whether its a pant hem or a bridal gown, we put our heart into everything that we touch.
What’s was one of the most challenging/creative jobs you have ever done?
The UNIMOG: a 1967 vintage German military troop-transport vehicle that needed a new, authentic-looking, custom canvas roof. When this project came in, we couldn’t say no! It was way outside of our wheelhouse but with the help of an incredible team, we cobbled together the services to create the rooftop (and a new leather gear shift cover) for the vehicle. The collaboration was as beautiful as the end product.
What do you do to keep up with the industry?
Everything! We cull through every book, article, or new video that comes out, and we’re constantly collaborating with the best companies we can find to do more creative business in our community. We love to stay connected and open to new ideas. And if you’ve got a new idea, reach out to us!
What do you like best about WAWAK?
Out here in the midwest, it’s hard to get access to the supplies we need. We count on Wawak for all of our sewing gear, from high quality thread to every zipper type and color on planet Earth!
When it comes to your company, what are you most proud of?
When I was still completing my degree I married my husband, an Army officer who was getting ready to deploy to Iraq, in the middle of building my senior collection. People were afraid that I would leave the fashion altogether, but that wasn’t the case! Now, my husband and I are celebrating our ten year anniversary, and business has never been better! Sure, I may have spent a few years just sewing on military patches but it prepared me to lead the great company we have now. And we can thank the US Army for that!
What advice do you give to the next generation of Designers?
To be successful, you’ve got to stay in the game, because it’s going to take longer than you think.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop?
We utilize all of the creative and social platforms now available to every small business. We have an incredible advantage in this age of being able to reach so far outside of our geographic bubble through sharing videos and photos that show how relevant our field still is!
What is new and exciting for 2021?
We are beginning a big expansion project with a very notable partner this year that is going to change everything you know about alterations. Stay tuned at @tallgrasstailor!
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