A seventh-grade homeschooled student, Skyler Fadell created her hand-sewn doll business Heartsewn by Skyler because she loves crafting and sewing gifts for people. She taught herself to sew at six years old and loved it from the start. She began by finding old clothes, cutting them up, and creating a stuffed animal or doll. As she’s grown older, she watches YouTube tutorials or reads library books on sewing and crafting. Fadell has taught herself anything she wanted to learn and has grown her skill set through trial and error over the years. She’s inspired by projects she sees online and then adds her own spin to create something new.
Edge: Where did you get your inspiration for Heartsewn by Skyler?
Fadell: I have loved crafting since I was a little girl. I’ve always had a habit of keeping common, everyday items that most people would throw away so that I can turn them into something to play with, like using cardboard boxes to make doll houses or using buttons or water bottle caps to make heads for tiny dolls. My sister and I have a huge collection of paper people that we have made over the years. Also, my mom has her own small business and when I heard about the Children’s Business Fair, I wanted to do my own.
Edge: How did you prepare for the Omaha Children’s Business Fair?
Fadell: For the Children’s Business Fair, I made a little over 20 dolls. I drew signs to display at my booth, and I thought about a good price to sell the dolls in case there were businesses like mine there. I gathered supplies and decor and planned out how to set up my booth. I also invited friends and family to come to the fair.
Edge: What was the experience like?
Fadell: Being naturally shy, I was nervous about talking to strangers. It was so full of people. My dolls sold out more quickly than I expected. Overall, it was fun and a good learning experience.
Edge: What is your process for sewing each doll?
Fadell: First, I cut each sock the length I want. I sew a straight stitch around the cut of the white sock, stuff it with fluff, and pull the needle so the thread gathers to close the sock.
I begin sewing the body by flipping the cut sock inside out. I cut about two inches up from the toe of the sock and then I sew around the cut using a straight stitch before flipping it right-side out and stuff it with fluff. I sew the body closed and then I sew the head and the body together.
Next, I sew the arms and attach the hair. For the doll’s hair, I use yarn and measure the length I want for the hair and then double it several times. I attach the hair with hot glue. Once I have securely glued the hair, I braid the yarn on each side and tie them off with a short piece of yarn.
For the face of the doll, I draw two curves where I want the eyes to be and sew over them using black or dark brown thread. I add two little stitches for eyelashes at the end of each eye and lastly, I use blush for the cheeks.
Edge: What challenges have you encountered with Heartsewn by Skyler?
Fadell: I love creating new things, so sewing multiples of the same thing over and over has been a little bit hard for me, but selling my dolls allows me to make money for making new things, which helps me overcome it. Also, knowing that my dolls bring joy to other people makes me happy.
Edge: What do you like to do in your free time?
Fadell: I love to draw, craft, sew or play with my sister and my brothers.
Edge: Is there someone who inspires you?
Fadell: My mom is very creative, and my grandmas and great grandmas have also sewn a lot in their life.
Edge: Any other business ideas that you’d like to explore?
Fadell: I’ve considered teaching sewing classes to younger children such as my little cousins who have asked me to teach them how to sew and possibly expanding my business by offering more handmade products.