Alyona Alshaeva says she is happiest when she gets to see people’s reactions to her homemade gifts.
Originally a web developer from Russia, the 35-year-old took up crafts as a hobby while awaiting her green card in the United States.
Although the Baldwin Park resident has been experimenting with knitting since she was a teenager, her love for crafting didn’t take off until she moved in 2017 from Moscow to Wisconsin with her husband.
“When we moved to Wisconsin, I got a sewing machine as a Christmas present from my mother-in-law,” Alshaeva says. “I immediately started learning how to sew. First, I made some pillowcases. I fell in love with the fabric designs at a local craft store, and it motivated me to learn how to sew. But the first craft I made was table décor for our wedding. I still keep it as a memory.”
Alshaeva says she thought she would be able to stitch a straight line easily with the machine but was humbled when she had to draw a line to help herself sew with more perfection. She says the challenge made her want to practice more.
In 2019, the couple moved from Wisconsin to Florida. Alshaeva says she decided to visit the public library in downtown Orlando to take sewing lessons and perfect her skills.
That’s when her crafting business took off.
Currently, the Baldwin Park resident is focused on creating unique clothes for babies and toddlers.
However, she has expanded her capabilities with a multitude of other creations along the way.
“I’m in love with the American tradition to change out holiday décor,” Alshaeva says. “I make kitchen sets like matching table runners, napkins, aprons, pie carriers, shower curtains and decorative pillows. I can customize any item. For example, using a Cricut Maker 3, I’m making custom sweaters, T-shirts and other things.”
One of the crafter’s most popular items are her reversible dresses.
“If a baby spits (up) on a dress, you can just flip it on the other side,” she says. “Instead of one dress, you have two. It’s the perfect item for traveling.”
The aprons, table sets and pie carrier are also new hits.
“People says it makes their life easier,” Alshaeva says. “I love to make everything reversible, so that it saves space to store it, and you can change sides depending on the holiday or your mood. For example, combining Thanksgiving and Halloween fabric together or Christmas and a winter design on the other side.”
Currently, Alshaeva is focusing on expanding her website. She is adding more information, as well as a lessons section, where people can learn how to make decorations without sewing, obtain free sewing patterns and even explore ideas for crafts.
“I’m a perfectionist, and I care about quality,” she says. “When I started sewing bedding, it was because I couldn’t find 100% cotton cool-design bedding, especially duvet, and it would cost a lot. I went and bought premium cotton and made a first set. When I see some cute home décor at Pottery Barn or any other store, I know that I can make it or make it even better, and it won’t cost that much. Plus, I like unique things. It makes me happy to see people’s reactions when I make them presents.”
Alshaeva says her favorite craft to make is a table runner, because of the stunning fabric she can find. She says she loves to match all the home décor together and gets excited to change it for each holiday.
“It’s very simple but gives your home festive vibes,” she says.
In addition to her website, Alshaeva is planning to attend craft markets in the fall.
She is working on products that she will take to the markets, making sure to include an array of festive fabrics, which she stocked up on so she can access them at all times of the year — not just the holidays.
In the future, Alshaeva says she wants to study textile design and be able to make her own fabric.
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