After graduating from high school in 1976, and attending university for two years Kathy Fauver decided to go on an adventure with her friend. The two left their homes in Southern Minnesota and traveled to the West coast, working odd jobs to get more traveling money. It was at Chinook Packing Co, shaking crab, where Kathy met her husband Doug. She decided to make her permanent home in the small coastal town.
- We got married 1981, built a house in Chinook while raising four kids, Kathy Fauver shares.
In an effort to help financially and still be able to stay home with her children, Kathy decided to take on sewing jobs for the community. She first started doing smaller tasks and then moved on to include bridal alternations. Without formal training, she taught herself by reading many books and magazines. She also sewed clothes to herself and her children when they were younger.
Loving Fashion and Design
Kathy grew up in a large family, with seven siblings; one of them is her twin. As a child she watched her mother sew on the old black Singer sewing machine. While her mother was sewing, Kathy drew pictures of clothes design on the blackboard, as she has always been very interested in fashion and design.
- In Junior High I took Home Economics, where I continued to learn sewing. One of the first things I made in a class was a pink shift dress with gold rings on the straps. It turned out so well and I was excited to wear it, but my teacher, who was pinning up the hem, wouldn’t pin it as short as I wanted it to be, Kathy laughs at the memory.
As a teenager she took on the challenge of designing and sewing another pink outfit, a pair of pants and a top, and modeled the clothes in a sewing contest receiving many positive reviews. That encouraged her to keep up with her skills even when it was just for her own enjoyment.
Later, when her children got older and family life got even busier, she gave up sewing. After living on the Washington side over 20 years, the Fauvers moved to Astoria in 2016. While moving and getting rid of extra things, Kathy also gave away nearly all of her sewing supplies and stashes, which she now deeply regrets.
Kathy decided to reopen her sewing business in 2019, giving it a name “Fitted Stitches”, which was her son’s suggestion. She started her business right at the same time M’s Alterations in Astoria was closing its doors. Kathy says that it was all God’s perfect timing how everything worked out, and she was ready to offer her help in the community.
Kathy is a very skilled seamstress and detail oriented, and always sets a goal for perfect work, whether it is a small or a larger project. She wants to serve her customers providing a professional and friendly service.
- I have always dreamed of being an entrepreneur and someday I am hoping to open a shop in town, Kathy says.
But for now she is operating her business at her home in Knappa. Kathy specializes in bridal alternations, but will take other work during the off season when she is not busy. She also offers custom made veils, sashes and emergency wedding sewing kits in her studio.
- My business serves a need in the community, and I relish in the joy a bride experiences when her dress is made perfect to fit her. It brings a great joy to connect with people and serve them, says Kathy. She has also been representing Mary Kay for many years, and enjoys all those connections she has made through the business.
From her willingness to serve others was born a new group in the community, called Clatsop County Face Mask Makers. When Kathy started the group in the later part of March, the group quickly grew to 150 members, and many of them are willing to contribute toward a growing need to supply fabric face masks for the community. So far the group has donated masks to care centers, schools, grocery stores, fire departments and postal workers. The group wants to focus mostly for organizational needs, providing masks to people who work in the frontlines.
- We recently completed our first big goal of making 130 masks, in four days for Caring for the Coast. They were so grateful and I think it was really rewarding to all the members to be part of, Kathy says.
Kathy said she took the reigns to lead the group to be part of helping with the problem. She is driven to find solutions to problems.
- I had been praying about how to be involved and a friend asked me if I would consider helping with making face masks. I am an organizer and a leader and I felt that there needed to be direction and guidance in serving this huge need, Kathy Fauver says.
The group’s needs and direction changes everyday as it gets bigger. There are over 20 members committed sewing, seven drivers distributing materials, and other people cutting fabric, making kits, and donating supplies. Kathy’s task is to be the delegator. The group also has a driver coordinator and someone who manages the Facebook page.
Beautiful labor of love
Kathy is very grateful for people giving their time, as a beautiful labor of love. It is all volunteer based and many community members donate their own supplies to fill the needs. Someone has even donated a sewing machine to be used within the group. As a leader of this group, Kathy is thankfully overwhelmed by the energy and dedication of the members.
The biggest order the group just recently received was 500 face masks for the Coast Guard. Responding to this need is a good example of how efficiently the group works together.
- Only six hours after our group received the order, we had all the supplies, and Sharon Jackson, our kit maker, was packaging up supplies to be delivered all over the county for sewers, who committed to making the masks as soon as possible. The order was for 500, but 590 masks were claimed by our dedicated members, says Kathy.
Kathy wants to encourage people, who would seriously be interested to help, join the group, and reach out to her. She says that she would be happy to find a place for anyone to take part of the work. She realizes that many people join the group to observe, even if they don’t or can’t offer anything. The hope is that the word will spread and many more people will step up for help. The first priority now is serving the essential workers and at-risk-community. When that need is met, the group will also try to provide face masks for everyone.
- The bigger the group then more help we need. We have asked the community for donations of fabric, bias tape, elastic and wire and financial donations to cover some costs. Elastic is as scarce as toilet paper now! Kathy says.
Kathy mentions that JoAnn Fabric has a program called Project Hospital where they give one yard of fabric and a spool of thread to the community to sew into masks. More information is provided on the website.
Enjoying simple things
Kathy loves to spend time with her family and especially values her time with her three grandchildren. She likes to take them on adventures and expose them to new experiences in life. During some spring breaks she has taken week long trips to Lincoln City and Seattle with her two older granddaughters.
Kathy has always kept herself busy with things she enjoys, such as being outside, especially in the sunshine, and strengthening relationships by spending time with her family, playing with her grandchildren or having lunch with her friends, which all brings joy to her life.
- I love to be busy, anywhere, except the kitchen, Kathy laughs. She rather spends her time outside pulling weeds, which is actually something she really loves to do. Moving from the Chinook area she is very appreciative of all the sunshine she now gets at her new home.
To Kathy, a relationship with God is the most important thing in her life, which gives her purpose and lets her be who she was created to be. In this time, with so many challenges in the community, she wants to be a vessel to help those in need. She feels honored that she can put her sewing skills in use for the important cause.
- When this quarantine season is over I am excited to get back to doing what I love best, meeting the new bride to be and customizing her gown for a perfect fit, Kathy says. That is her gift, and that is what she wants to share and bring to the community.