Newman freshman finds side hustle in sewing, embroidery

By: Brenden Schwartz, Staff Writer

Ugly grandpa sweaters, thrifty crewnecks, patchwork jeans. If you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe, a Newman freshman can help you out with her own renovated, altered, and handmade apparel, which she has turned into a small business.

Emily Pachta is a biology/psychology double major. She tries to be an active member of the community and takes part in groups like the Sloppy Joe Improv team.

Aside from her busy school life, Pachta likes to work on sewing or embroidery projects in her spare time. She said she picked up hand embroidery as a hobby when the COVID pandemic first started. For Christmas of 2020, she got a new sewing machine that doubled as an embroidery machine, which opened the possibilities of what she could do with her craft, she said.

Pachta said she loves to go thrift shopping and upcycle clothes to save them from ending up in a landfill. She likes to buy old shirts and crewnecks and bring new life into them.

Pachta said the idea of selling her projects came to her in high school when some of her classmates commissioned her to make crewnecks for them with various design requests. She then received requests to sell her work, but she said she didn’t have the time then.

Pachta said that over winter break, she finally felt like she had enough projects and time to get started.

Her store is called Aster Apparel. Pachta said the name Aster comes from a character she played in one of her favorite plays “Peter and the Star Catcher.”

“Molly Aster was a fearless leader, so I loved incorporating that into the name,” she said.

On Pachta’s Instagram page for Aster Apparel (@asterapparels) shoppers can find primarily upcycled thrift store clothes that Pachta either fixed up with embroidery or made into her own creation with the help of sewing. Pachta says she also takes commissions for specific embroidery designs and has some jewelry and keychains available as well.

In addition to shopping on her Instagram page, Pachta said, people can also speak directly to her or message her on social media.

During the semester, Pachta said, she’s not sure how often she’ll be able to post and sell items, but she sees this business continuing for at least a few years. She said she hopes to see the business grow over time and has a goal to get out multiple pieces a month while maintaining her school and life responsibilities.

“Both sewing and embroidering are now such a huge part of my life that I’m so excited to share it with my community,” she said.