Eve Middleton attended medical school, joined the Marines and has worked as a hairdresser and a journalist. Now a seamstress, Middleton said she is finally doing what makes her happy.
“I’ve always loved clothes,” she said. “I wanted to grow up to be a dress designer.” The Georgetown resident is unfolding her dream one stitch at a time in her Magnolia Street Sewing Company office inside Magnolia Street Antiques in Milton.
Middleton switches between speaking and sewing inside the old postmaster’s office. A giant window covered by a white curtain looms above her, letting in light from the afternoon sun. Stacks of folded multi-colored fabric absorb the country music coming out of an old-fashioned radio on the windowsill.
“It’s fun; it’s kind of like art class,” Middleton said. She began sewing at age 6, trying to make clothes for her Barbie dolls. Her first job out of high school was in a sewing factory, but she soon became restless.
“Factory work wasn’t what I wanted as a young girl,” she said. Middleton enjoyed medical school, but said it did not excite her. Hairdressing, she said, did not stimulate her mentally.
“I think I’ve tried everything out there,” Middleton said.
The Renaissance woman was sewing freelance for several local motorcycle clubs before acquiring her spot in the antique store. Middleton said she fed the motorcycle riders pink lemonade and forbade them to curse or smoke in her house while she fashioned their leather goods.
“I like to meet different people. It makes life more interesting,” she said.
When her son-in-law, Shannon Gallagher, said his mother, Ginny, was partnering with a group of women to open Magnolia Street Antiques in Milton, Middleton decided to try her hand as an entrepreneur.
Magnolia Street Sewing Company opened July, along with Magnolia Street Antiques. Though the antique shop is only open weekends, Middleton is hard at work Wednesday through Sunday. She said she is surprised and delighted at how considerate and kind her Milton customers have been.
Middleton said her clients come in mostly for alterations, but she enjoys more unusual requests. Besides leather jackets for motorcycle clubs, the seamstress has made wetsuits, fabric flower corsages for prom, repaired 48 and 49-star battalion flags and restored antique quilts using period fabric, which she collects. She has designed clothes for the disabled, for people that wear up to a size 5x and for her three poodles.
“Everything’s a challenge,” Middleton said. “I try to give every customer something they are going to love.”
Middleton said artistic talent is transferable. Whether she is cutting copy, hair or fabric, she said, preparation and attention to detail are the most important factors. She also said she enjoys having creative control over her work.
“You can have things exactly the way you want them, and how often does that happen in life?” Middleton said.
Eventually, Middleton said, she wants her business to branch out by adding dry cleaning and pressing service. She said she believes in the dry cleaning industry, people are often overcharged for poor quality work.
“I’m not out to take advantage of people. I want them to look good and feel good. That’s my goal,” she said.
Middleton said she has received loads of support from the Milton community and fellow business owners. She said she takes comfort in knowing there are other small business owners out there that have survived.
“You go to school, raise kids, have a family; you’ve contributed to society,” Middleton said. “When you get older, you get to focus on what you really like, so that’s what I’m doing now.”
For more information on Magnolia Street Sewing Company, call 302-725-8352, or visit Magnolia Street Antiques at 118 Magnolia St. in Milton.