LINDSBORG — At age nine, Tara Killingsworth learned to use a sewing machine from grandmother, and since that day, she has put her skills to good use.
"I have a creative mind and that is my outlet. Some people paint, some people draw, I like to sew," Killingsworth said.
In Little Sweden USA, there is a large need for Swedish costumes, so Killingsworth put her skills into action by opening The Ivory Thimble, 124 N. Main St in Lindsborg, in 2016.
Today, the Ivory Thimble is an apparel design studio and boutique featuring area vendors. The shop also includes Killingsworth’s design line started before the shop opened, called Tara Killingsworth Design.
"You come into my shop and I can make you clothing from scratch, design it for you and to fit your body,” Killingsworth said. I can also do alterations, tailoring, anything that’s sewing related.”
Killingsworth has made Swedish costumes since she opened her store last April and hasn’t slowed down since.
“I have never really been exposed to them beforehand, but since I do the whole clothes design aspect, I can go ahead and design Swedish costumes as well,” Killingsworth said.
Lindsborg is known for its Swedish festivals, and often times, members of the community show off their heritage through costumes. Now, Killingsworth is finishing up costumes for October’s Svensk Hyllningsfest.
True to tradition, many costumes reflect the Swedish province a person’s ancestors came from.
“Each province has it’s own unique costume all the way down to what town their from and what church they go to in that town. There are little things that make it iconic to that place,” Killingsworth said. “The idea is when you have that costume someone can look at it and know where you’re from in Sweden.”
Killingsworth is not native to Lindsborg, so members of the Lindsborg community like vendor Carla Wilson have taught her the background and traditions of the town.
One difficulty Killingsworth runs into while making these costumes is getting the exact fabric needed.
“A lot of these patterns are striped, some of them have plaid, some are a certain floral pattern, you can’t get those exact fabrics unless you find handwoven fabrics from Sweden,” she said.
Often times, customers will bring in a picture of their province and explain to her what aspects they like about it. She will then use what they have explained to her to make what they request.
As Killingsworth is a skilled designer, she can create much more than just costumes. Killingsworth creates items ranging from jeans and Swedish costumes to suits and wedding dresses.
Killingsworth focuses her efforts on the sewing side of the shop, while her boutique features area vendors who sell their own one-of-a-kind work.
“It’s just a wide variety of interesting things,” she said.
For more information on The Ivory Thimble, call 785-212-1925 or visit their Facebook page, The Ivory Thimble.
Contact Brooke Haas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @MacSentinel.