My name is Gemma Vigneaux. I am the founder and owner of Gemma’s Fashion and Sewing, LLC. As a young girl, I watched my mother sewing dresses for teachers, school dance costumes, bridal gowns, police uniforms, nurses and doctors uniforms. She could cut fabric just by measuring the body without using a pattern. I thought it was amazing. I remember once she made me a dress using one of my father’s old shirts. I was 5 years old then and I thought it was the best dress I had. Through the years, she would continue to make me dresses from scraps. At a very young age I began to get curious about what she was doing and wondered why we have all these fabrics on top of our long family dinner table. One day I discovered that she was making a dress for my Kindergarten commencement ceremony. I was very excited and began asking questions about how to sew a dress. I was only 6 years old at the time. I told her that I would like to learn how to sew little girls’ dresses someday and sell them to make money. She told me that I am too young. I did not let that deter me. From then on I watched her when she was cutting the fabrics and sewing. I asked a lot of questions but she would always tell me that I was too young to learn it. She told me I was allowed to watch her but no talking or no questions were allowed. For years I watched her silently. As I watched, she began telling me things about sewing but she still would not teach me the things that I needed to know to make a complete dress.
Finally one day she taught me which body parts to measure and how to measure a body. My patience had paid off. Through the next few years she began teaching me techniques of sewing. By this time I was already 8 years old. I began to realize that sewing was my passion even at my young age. I started taking my mother’s left over fabrics and hid it in my room until I could get a chance to go into her sewing room. During my free time on weekends, I would sketch a design of little girls’ dresses and compile these
sketches for my reference. After school I would sneak into my mother’s sewing room and practice pedaling on her sewing machine. I began to see improvement on how to use it. The first dress I created was when I was 9 years old. I sold it to one of my cousins. From then on she was my regular customer. As long as I knew the age of the girl, I could sew a dress without measurement. I had already begun to show the signs of becoming a great designer. As I got older I sketched more and more and started making clothes out of my designs from my imagination. I really enjoyed doing that.
In 1992 I moved to Mesa Arizona and got married. I began working for a sewing shop on Main Street where I was able to perfect my craft under the tutelage of the owner Suzanne Novak. Suzie taught me about alterations especially on bridal gowns and men’s suits. I then left and began a career in business working with Fortune 500 companies but continued to sew on a part time basis and sketching designs as much as I can. After a long hard day from work I would come home and get into my sewing room and just think about sketching another design and sewing it. Sewing is relaxing to me. It’s therapeutic in my mind. I then realized that I have a passion in life and I had been wasting my time and energy working in these office jobs when I should have been pursuing my passion. After working hard for many years helping to make these companies become successful, my position was eliminated and I was laid off. I called my old mentor Suzie and began working with her at Suzanne’s Bridal in Gilbert Arizona. I began to get “The Itch” to open my own sewing business in 2005 but waited until 2010 when I began working with Suzie again and felt the time was right.
We renovated our garage at home and I used it as my workshop. As I developed my reputation as an outstanding seamstress/dressmaker, I began to get referrals from Suzanne’s Bridal in Gilbert and my customers referred their friends and family. Soon I realized that I needed to open a store front in order to be more accessible to the general public. I found a mid sized space in Southeast corner of Arizona Avenue and Loop 202 in the Sam’s Club shopping center in Chandler, Arizona. where I eventually opened my shop.