Georgi Pearson’s job keeps her up at night.
Fortunately, she loves what she does so much that a bit of lost sleep seems a reasonable occupational hazard.
Pearson is a prolific seamstress, who is participating in three craft fairs in the lead-up to Christmas. She’s been working steadily these past few months in preparation for her major selling season.
Pearson has two main product lines. The first is a funky line of fabric accessories consisting of belts, bags, household items and novelties such as trouser leg holders for cyclists. The second is a children’s clothing line.
Her style is built on a well-chosen selection of fabrics, which are both playful and sophisticated. Her accessories perk up the ordinary, and the patterns are a welcome change for parents weary of bunnies and bulldozers.
“Right now, I’m really enjoying making bags,” she explains. “I’ve got a new big tote that I’m making this year.”
Pearson’s carry-alls and totes are delightful and there’s a fabric for every personality.
Pearson also dabbles in women’s fashion, but the fashion industry being what it is, it’s a not an easy endeavour.
“You just can’t compete with big retailers. I’ve done a line of women’s skirts that have done quite well, but to do clothing, you really have to proof your pattern, then decide what sizes to offer. I just want to spend my time sewing things that I enjoy the most.”
Pearson started sewing when she was in high school. “My mom sewed as I was growing up. Like a lot of teenagers, I started to develop my own style and wanted to sew my own things.”
After becoming an engineer and moving to the Yukon, Pearson continued to sew for herself and for gifts. Friends encouraged her to join the legion of craftisans in Yukon and her occupation as a seamstress began.
“Being a mom has allowed me to sew a bit more,” Pearson says. “I worked a job before I had my son, and when I left work I could sew more. Now that he’s in school, it’s freed up some more time.”
Pearson began preparing for the Christmas season in September. A typical day for her starts with dropping her son, Finn, off at school, then working for a few hours before taking a break for lunch and outdoor life.
“My husband has a sign on my sewing machine that says, ‘Have you done your exercise?’ It’s really important to get out for a run or a ski during the day, otherwise why would I have this kind of life?”
After her son’s bedtime, Pearson fits in a few more hours of sewing. This is when she starts to lose track of time.
“I really look forward to it. I sometimes find I’m enjoying myself that I don’t want to stop. I’ll think to myself that I’ll just finish this one thing, and then the next thing you know, two hours have gone by without me realizing it. It’s a bit of an addiction.”
Pearson has three sewing machines. In addition to a Kenmore and a serger home sewing machine, her workhorse is an industrial Juki.
“I’ll use the small one for sewing labels and doing button holes, and finer work that I need to go slow on. The Juki goes too fast. You have to get used to it. I’m lucky I haven’t gotten hurt on the big one.”
At this point, her son comments, “The big one is way too fast for me.” Indeed, Finn has his own little machine. He explains, “I’d like to make a blanket for my leopard, Louie. And some jammies.” Louie is small, but magical.
Pearson has been working steadily towards the Christmas craft sale season, particularly since she has stepped up her commitment this year from two sales to three. She plans her inventory based on past years’ sales, as well as on how much time she has to produce.
She is gratified to see her products being purchased as gifts.
“It makes me really happy to see my bags around town. Also, I like that people are able to send things to their families Outside that were made right here in the Yukon. There’s a real appreciation for handmade things here, probably more than elsewhere.”
However, for Pearson, it’s important to finish the craft sale circuit with enough time to make her own Christmas gifts. She rarely buys gifts for anyone.
“The closing up of the 12 Days of Christmas Sale is always fun and festive, because everyone is happy to be done and is ready to just focus on their families and on Christmas.”
Pearson loves her craft and might lose a little sleep for it, but it hasn’t gotten the better of her Christmas spirit.
“I still really love Christmas. Sewing has never ruined it for me.”
Pearson’s clothing and accessories will be on display at the 12 Days of Christmas craft sale, sponsored by the Fireweed Community Market, December 9 to 20 at the Old Fire Hall in Whitehorse.