SWANTON VILLAGE –– Creative as she is, Dawn Marie Thurston could have conjured any number of snazzy names for her Swanton Village shop. Even “A Seamstress on Merchants Row” has an historic, small-town ring to it.
Instead, Dawn Marie went with something much more catchy: Midnite Sews What!?
“Everybody calls me ‘Midnite,’” Dawn Marie said at her Merchants Row business, where she offers her professional services as a seamstress. “And he started it,” she said, while pointing to her husband of two years, and friend for 20, Jimmy T. Thurston. “He started calling me that, and it stuck.”
Dawn Marie’s cozy, 600-square foot space makes for a good location, she said. There is lots of car and foot traffic along and near Merchants Row, every day, she said, which is why she and Jimmy T. would like to work with the Swanton Chamber of Commerce about a “Merchants Row” sign.
“I think it could help customers find businesses, here, and bring attention to Merchants Row, for people driving by,” Dawn Marie said. “When people call from out of town, and I say, ‘We’re on Merchants Row,’ they don’t really know where that is.”
That’s not a complaint. Dawn Marie likes her space, which she, Jimmy T. and their friend, Tony Jarvis, of Isle LaMotte, remodeled to look like a bright boutique, with two fitting rooms and a cutting table. Midnite Sews What!? opened on Aug. 4.
“I had one customer that day,” Dawn Marie recalled with a smile. “Two days later, he came back.”
During the last few months, Dawn Marie has built a steady list of steady regulars at Midnite Sews What!? Her services include: wedding alterations, tailoring, repairs, and some leather and quilt work. She also makes certain garments upon request, such as skirts and jackets, and her Merchants Row window is filled with her handcrafted, fleece hats and mittens. She does not offer upholstery. She sources all her fabric locally.
“I like watching my customers react when they think they come in with a lost cause, and I repair it,” Dawn Marie said. “That’s a good feeling. Nine times out of 10, I can be a miracle worker.”
Dawn Marie and Jimmy T. live in Highgate Springs. She is a South Burlington native. Her career in production sewing began in the late 1980s, when she worked for the former East Coast Leotard, in Colchester. Then, she performed alterations for a dry cleaning business on Shelburne Road, Burlington.
Her next stop was at a shop in Essex, where she also performed alterations. She was there for 15 years and nine months.
That’s when Dawn Marie decided to open Midnite Sews What!? and work for herself. She had mulled it for some time and ultimately realized she wanted to focus on offering her own, signature work to the public.
Dawn Marie wants to keep fostering her passion for sewing through Midnite Sews What!?, while watching quality work go out her front door.
“All I ask is that it be really busy,” she said with a laugh. “But really? I just love to sew.”