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Rediscovered Passion For Sewing Sends Resident On A Joyous Mission



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While she recalls cobbling together a few simple fabric projects decades ago, Newtown resident Joanne Marcinek confessed that up until late last year, “I was never a crafty sewer.”

But that changed in a big way after a few frustrating starts trying to create a couple of simple handmade scarves as gifts last Christmas.

Now, just about nine months later, her friendly sewing project has grown into something of a cottage industry dubbed “Mrs. Markets,” which has produced more than 250 protective masks she donated to Danbury Hospital and other medical agencies, along with a growing stock of hand-sewn tote bags, zipper pouches, coasters, doilies, pot holders, wristlets, and unique cloth bowls.

The former computer consultant is having so much fun and is so creatively fulfilled working with her Singer sewing machine that she finds that the marketing of her own creations through her website a chore she would rather put off.

And that is fine for now, plenty of orders roll in from folks across the country and right here in western Connecticut thanks to social network posts and word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers.

Marcinek said the name of her business started as “a cute nickname” from two little girls she was taking care of. One day after they arrived home from a particularly exciting visit, their mom texted Marcinek saying, “My daughter has been talking all afternoon about what fun she had Mrs. Market’s house.”

The name seemed a perfect fit for her new creative and business pursuit.

After wrestling with a hand-me-down Singer machine from her sister, Marcinek got into the sewing groove, drawing inspiration from the local fabric shop Chintz ’N’ Prints, where she gets almost all of her materials.

“I started off just making a few items, but when the pandemic hit, I heard that anyone who could sew should use that skill to make protective face masks,” she said. “So far I have made around 250 that were donated to the hospital and a Manchester medical agency.

But she has also separately sold about 50 more to folks across the country.

“The face masks, so far, are the most challenging,” she said, “especially once I decided to follow the Yale pattern guidelines, which meant that every mask was double layered, with a filter pocket, and a nose piece.”

While certain projects are more fun or more challenging than others, Marcinek still ensures each customer that each purchase from Mrs. Markets is a “one-of-a-kind creation.”

“Any modifications I make from item to item is based on my own impression or hands-on experience with the product — especially the face masks,” she said. “And it was nice to be able to fulfill a creative inspiration while donating to my local hospital.”

When things got really busy, Marcinek was able to lean on a couple of friends for assistance in sorting or cutting material.

While she does not yet sew to order, Marcinek welcomes ideas and suggestions on materials, or how she might improve on her designs, which prospective customers can see on her Pinterest, eBay, and Instagram sites.

As she continues to expand her sewing talents, Marcinek is poised to begin yet another journey: readying for a Boston-based program that will train her as a spiritual director.

“Once I’m done with that, I’ll be sort of a free agent who is available to provide spiritual direction and related counseling,” she said.

But for now, Marcinek is thrilled to be following her new and unexpected creative inspirations, marching to the sound of her whirring Singer.

“I’ve come to believe this is very much a part of a personal journey,” she said. “I’m done doing stuff I think I should, and now I’m doing something that brings me joy!”

Learn more and peruse the Mrs. Markets products on Pinterest, at mrsmarkets.com, or at facebook.com/mrsmarkets.

Newtown resident Joanne Marcinek works in her home-based sewing studio to create products for her internet-based company, Mrs. Markets, like the cloth bowl, shoulder bag, and zippered pouch shown. —photos courtesy Joanne Marcinek
As she began a new creative life journey that morphed into a cottage business called Mrs. Markets, Newtown resident Joanne Marcinek and several helpers created more than 250 hand-sewn masks for healthcare workers at Danbury Hospital and a Manchester-based medical agency.
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