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A zest for sewing led her to retail venture
EverSewEnglish is one of the newer entrants at Fredericksburg's Eagle Village

 Church turned a lifelong love of sewing into a retail business. She opened her 1,800-square-foot store this spring.
photos by SUZANNE CARR ROSSI/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 7/29/2011

By Bill Freehling

JENNIFER CHURCH's 35-year love of sewing has taken her from a textile factory in England to a new retail store in Fredericksburg.

This spring, Church opened an 1,800-square-foot store at Eagle Village called EverSewEnglish. She custom-designs handbags, or totes, as well as a wide variety of accessories such as personalized diaper bags, checkbook covers and eyeglass cases.

Church moved to the Fredericksburg area in 2000 and started selling the bags at craft shows and customers' homes not long after. Until this year she was making the totes out of her Spotsylvania County home, which led to numerous deliveries that raised the attention of her neighbors. She also wanted more visibility.

"It became apparent to me that I needed a retail storefront," Church said.

Church spent two years looking for a space for the store before settling on Eagle Village for its central location and its proximity to University of Mary Washington students, many of whom are customers. She spent the first few months of the year gutting the inside of the building at 1217 Jefferson Davis Highway.

It's now tough to miss the store due to its bright-pink sign. Inside, Church displays the many fabrics and totes she has designed. There's a room where groups can sit at a table and pick out fabrics for the totes. The production area is in the back. There's a "man cave" where husbands and boyfriends can watch TV while their wives and girlfriends pick out bags, and a bathroom that Church, being English, calls the loo.

Church's love of sewing dates to her childhood in Ipswich Town, Suffolk. Her family was into crafting, and a high school teacher honed her sewing techniques. She worked in a textile factory between ages 16 and 24. Church came to America in 1987, and lived in California before meeting her husband--Mac Church, who works in SunTrust Bank's local mortgage office--and moving to the Fredericksburg area.


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