Julia Manfredi is Mommy Can Sew
By Leah Morningstar
Born in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina, Julia Manfredi never imagined she’d one day be moving to Canada, never mind raising a family in Northwestern Ontario.
While in the third year of a seven-year architecture program and attempting to practise English, Manfredi sent a chat request out into the void of cyberspace. She saw someone from Canada online and said, “How are you?” Imagine her now-husband’s surprise when he woke up and checked his computer and saw a message asking, “What’s wrong with you?” He thought he was being pranked, but realized something might have been lost in translation. He answered the message (“What do you mean?”), which began a months-long correspondence. Online chatting led to phone calls, then visits. It’s quite the modern love story, with an amusing twist of a language barrier. After Mandredi finished all her classes, she moved to Thunder Bay to be with her Canadian boyfriend. She prepped for final projects and exams, then went back to Argentina for three months to complete her Masters in Architecture. She returned to Thunder Bay and the rest is history: marriage, a job, a baby, and a second job.
The second job is where things get even more creative and artistic. As if designing buildings and houses isn’t enough, Manfredi is also an incredibly gifted seamstress. As a child, she watched her mother and her grandmother sew professionally and she picked up the skills by watching and imitating. She was always dabbling in design and making bits of clothing and accessories, but when Manfredi gave birth to her daughter, she also birthed a new career: Mommy Can Sew.
She began by creating items for her daughter as practice, then making the same items to sell at craft sales: baby blankets and swaddles, cloth baby carriers, mini doll-sized baby carriers, and even doll diapers. As her child grew, Manfredi continually experimented with new products. Harnesses for toddlers who like to run, fuzzy neck warmers, and warm car seat and booster seat ponchos are among some of the best selling products. Manfredi tailors her products to the season and will sell hundreds of neck warmers and car seat ponchos in the winter, but will then sell fabulous beach blankets and reversible bucket hats for the summer. Her business-savvy mind allows her to adapt her products to her environment and in this northern climate; adaptation is essential. Some other popular products include tooth fairy pillows, personalized child size pillows, small quilts, small stuffed toys for babies, dish towels, and more.
Life is so busy for Manfredi. She is a wife and mom, holds down a job as an architect, sews in her beautiful sunny studio space, and sends Mommy Can Sew products all over the world. She also makes almost all her own clothes, and although she doesn’t offer adult clothing for sale (she has enough to do already), she does offer minor repairs like zipper replacements and hemming.
For more info, find Mommy Can Sew on Facebook and Instagram and visit her Etsy store at etsy.com/ca/shop/MommyCanSewCanada.