Locally Sewn

Corey & Company’s clothing prices start at $25 and rarely creep over $225. There are lots of little things at little prices, too. 

Owner Barbara Corey with Miki Pyle of Moondance Wear. Pyle sews on site every Tuesday. 

Chalkboard concepts shape patterns of designs to come.

Jewelry pieces from French designer Metal Pointus are just some of the unusual finds. 

FIELD TRIP-August 2011

by Veronique McAree | Photography Amanda Kowalski

Looking for a local style destination?  Corey & Co. is a must-stop for one-of-a-kind clothing made on the spot in Portland

Among the many boutiques in Portland, few offer handmade clothing made on the premises. One of these rare boutiques is Corey & Co., a lovely shop on Pleasant Street in Portland’s Old Port.

Founded in 2008 by Barbara Corey, the retail store doubles as Corey’s sewing studio. Smack dab in the middle of the retail space and surrounded by the racks of clothing, vintage chairs, and a dressing room sit the tools of Corey’s trade: patterns, scissors, an ironing board, a mannequin, and a sewing machine.

“I love the studio-in-a-shop concept. Having the sewing machine front and center is great motivation—and I literally try to make one thing a day,” says Corey.

Elegant, thoughtfully styled pieces are the highlight of Corey’s line. “My approach to fashion is akin to uniform dressing, albeit uniforms with lots of personality,” says the designer. “The designs are understated, comfortable, and never constricting.”

Also an experienced painter and sculptor, Corey’s fashion designs share her approach to fine art—an affinity for color, balance, and composition. “I’m an artist whose current medium just happens to be sewing,” says Corey. “I love to discover amazing fabrics, then tell their color and texture story through simple patterns and minimal tailoring details.”

All of her styles—from military-inspired jackets to poet blouses and skirts—are unique yet practical, and they always showcase the natural characteristics of the fabric while creating genuinely comfortable clothing with a flattering sensibility.

The most defining quality of her work is the “handsewn, hand-touched aesthetic.” Not only does Corey sew every seam herself, she sometimes embellishes her pieces with interesting design details—buttons, zippers, and printed elements—that elevate her pieces from clothing to art.

What’s more, Corey & Co. also offers a selection of commercial brands. Not big brand names, just a handful of carefully curated and artfully displayed items not readily found in Portland. The emphasis is on uniqueness and quality, not quantity. While the selection changes quite frequently, current favorites include Moondance, MOUSE JI, Covet, and AnGG New York, just to name a few.

It’s obvious that creativity thrives in this tiny Old Port shop.

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