Ana Sousa, Hands On Fabric
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Calling herself "The Doctor of the Wardrobe", Ana specializes in expert tailoring for men and women, with a particular focus on bridal gowns and alterations. She works with and is recommended by several stores in the Pioneer Valley, including Bridal Heirloom, Bridal Barn and Zanna. With the instinctive eye of a stylist, she excels in working with people to create just the right look and is inspired by the challenge of a whole outfit. Although custom-made clothing and fine tailoring make up the bulk of her work, Ana also creates pillow and duvet covers, chair seat cushions, bed skirts and curtains. Ana Sousa began her life with fabric at the age of nine, when her father brought home a sewing machine, –hoping someone in the family might learn to use it. If it can be said that a chance happening in a childhood can point a person toward their life's path, Ana is the perfect example. Naturally drawn to color, imaginative design, and the tactile pleasure of working with fabrics, Ana was making her own clothes in junior high and designing and selling custom-made clothing in her twenties. After attending New Mexico's Highlands University, where she studied textiles, Ana returned to her native Massachusetts in the late 1970s to take courses in women's clothing design, tailoring and weaving at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. For several years she worked at Aliber's Bridal Shop in Greenfield, MA, where she mastered the fine art of fitting. Following a stint as "seamstress in residence" at the former Natural Textiles fabric store in Amherst, Ana gave private sewing lessons and group classes locally, while designing unique, made-to-order fleece coats. In the year 2000 she opened her own business in Hadley.

In her light-filled studio facing the woods behind Route 9, with its welcoming rainbow of thread colors adorning the walls, Ana has had her hands on fabric for decades. What does she love about it? "People are happy when they leave here. People feel good about themselves when they look good. Whether they're taking home a newly updated pair of old slacks or a custom-designed gown, for me it's equally rewarding."

245 Russell Street • Hadley, MA 01035 • 413-582-6848 •

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