SOUTHINGTON — Since she was 11 years old, Charlotte Roy dreamed of seeing her name lit up in a storefront. Forty years later, she finally made her wish come true. Saturday will be the grand opening of Charlotte’s Sewing Shop & School, 1079 Queen St.
The store will specialize in bridal and prom gowns, alterations, custom-made garments and craft projects. It will also offer sewing classes for children, teenagers and adults.
“A lot of people don’t teach sewing anymore,” she said. “I want to keep it alive.”
The seamstress was taught at a young age by her mother. By the time she graduated high school, Roy had sewn her first bridal gown.
Her students will start on mechanical sewing machines.
“Once they learn the basic techniques they can keep advancing,” said Roy, a Southington resident.
Classes are offered for three age groups: children 6 to 12, teenagers up to 16, and adults. The cost is $70 per month for four weekly sessions.
Roy said her passion for sewing stems from the enjoyment she gets when she sees the look on a customer’s face after fixing a wedding or prom gown that did not fit correctly.
“They just glow,” Roy said. “That’s pretty much what drives me.”
Roy has crafted everything from a beaded wedding dress priced at about $10,000 to a purple dinosaur costume for her 5-year-old granddaughter.
“There’s very little I can’t do,” she said.
Marlene Madzek, of Wolcott, came to Roy with an unusual request: a medieval-style gown for her son’s themed wedding. Roy assisted her with every step, from selecting the fabrics to designing the gown.
“The dress was beautiful,” Madzek said, “everybody loved it.”
Roy’s former employer at L A Bridal and Formal Wear in Torrington, LuAnn Fiedorowicz, said she was impressed that Roy had finally opened a shop.
“She is the most unbelievable seamstress we ever had,” she said. “Hat’s off to her, I hope she does great.”
Those interested in learning more about the shop can visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CharlotteSewingShopSchool.