Interview with Whitney Luckenbill of TomKat Stitchery



How did you become a SEWIST?

I taught myself to sew in 2006 when I was pregnant with my boy/girl twins and couldn’t find gender neutral baby bedding I liked. When we moved to the Indianapolis area, I met a professional dressmaker who took me on as an apprentice. After working with her until her retirement, I worked in a bridal/custom sewing workroom until I started my own custom sewing and alterations business in 2014. In 2018, I started a sewing YouTube channel called TomKat Stitchery. It took off and is now my primary business.

How did you become interested in the industry?

While I originally became interested in sewing to fill a need, it was the relationship with my sewing mentor that really ignited by passion for garment design and construction. I have been devouring fashion, style and sewing information ever since!

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the industry since 2011.

Do you have a back story about your business?

In 2018 I was getting bored with sewing for other people in my custom sewing and alterations business. I was really enjoying watching sewing YouTube channels and decided to try it for myself. Both the business and my love for this medium took off and I have not looked back. I was able to completely replace my previous income in a year of working on the YouTube channel.

What makes your business different than others? How do you stand out?

While I can’t say for sure what makes my channel stand out from other sewing channels, I think a lot has to do with my passion for the art of sewing. I genuinely love to sew and create, and I think that comes across in my videos. I’m also passionate about passing on any sewing knowledge I have gleaned over the years.

What’s was one of the most challenging/creative jobs you have ever done?

One of the most challenging and creative jobs I’ve ever done was being a part of a 6-person team that designed and sewed 8 dresses for the Pence family for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. We had 6 weeks from when Mrs. Pence contacted my mentor, Joyce Hittesdorf, to create 8 custom dresses for her, her two daughters and daughter-law. It was so much fun to be a small part of that group of amazing seamstresses!

What do you do to keep up with the industry?

Keeping up in my industry means quite a bit of time on social media. I try and follow a diverse group of sewers to help keep myself thinking big. I mostly follow sewing and style channels and accounts to keep myself sharp.

What is new and exciting for 2021?

For 2021 I plan on continuing the same great content I have been creating such as sew alongs and wardrobe building. I would love to be able to offer some in-person classes when it is safe to do so. I’m hoping that can also happen in 2021.

What do you like best about WAWAK?

WAWAK is my favorite place to buy all my sewing notions. Their prices and selection cannot be beat. Fast shipping makes it a no brainer!

When it comes to your company, what are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the community of sewers that TomKat Stitchery has brought together. I have learned so much from my viewers and have even made some great friends! They are truly a fantastic group of people.

What advice do you give to the next generation of Designers?

The best advice I can give to the next generation is to just do the hard project. Don’t be afraid to cut into the fancy fabric or tackle the advanced sewing pattern. Mistakes will be your best teacher so learn to embrace your seam ripper.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop?

When we’re not in the middle of a pandemic, I enjoy taking in-person sewing classes. I love learning and am always surprised how much I can glean from a good class. While I enjoy watching online class as well, I think I learn the most face-to-face and can’t wait to be able to do that again.

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Are you one of America's Finest Sewers & Designers? Would you like to be one of our featured customer profiles? Let us know a little about yourself. We would love to hear from you!