Local seamstress lands gigs with IKEA, Indianapolis Art Center

Writer / Cathy Wendorff

Photographer / Brian Brosmer

When you can do it all, you can have it all which is exactly what local seamstress, Jamie Lee Bushong, Thee Indy Designer, is accomplishing in her new design studio.

Sewing since the age of five, Bushong learned from her great-grandmother how to do alterations by taking clothing apart and putting them back together. With very little formal training and a passion for designing, she can create everything from decorative home furnishing to hand-tailored elegant gowns.

Thee Indy Designer, has come a long way from making choir costumes in her early 20s to decorating the new Fishers IKEA store and sharing office space with Photographer, Micala McClain, in downtown Greenwood. Previously known as EIMAJ Designs by Dampier, Bushong is grateful to those who happily shared their tips and tricks with her over the years as she mastered skills and challenged herself to learn new techniques.

Getting noticed for her impeccable custom work, her business grew by referrals, and when her biggest customer IKEA came knocking, she answered with quick, high-quality service.

“It’s amazing, this huge company hiring this local seamstress,” Bushong says.

Using their fabrics, she created furnishings to decorate the store with samples of pillows, curtains and even huge, perfectly fitting and removable lamp shade covers.

Before IKEA’s public grand opening, Bushong got a sneak peek with her family, celebrating a proud moment and showing off her talents. It means a lot for her to know that she will continue to be their go-to-designer in Indy when new fabrics arrive.

In the meantime, as Bushong has mastered alterations, she is now creating and living her dream in her glitter-floored, whimsical, backroom workshop. Along with many sewing machines, is an area for private fittings, but what makes the space perfect is the special art table for her son. As a working mom, she has made it easy to schedule consulting, fittings and alterations online using Schedulicity.

“I can tell people that’s a great shape on you, but that waistline needs to come up an inch.” Bushong says. “If you get something custom made, it’s going to fit your body and be exactly how you want it.

“I can do about everything, I even dabbled in shoe making, but my favorite thing is gowns,” she says, speaking about her specialty. “I love wedding gowns and pageant gowns. That’s really what I’m trying to conquer right now. I eventually want to have a collection in both that I could sell in local places and expand from there.”

What makes Thee Indy Designer unique is not only her couture pieces, but her ability to listen to brides and create their dream dresses from scratch or by using cherished family dresses, vintage pieces and new fabrics.

“I want to be able to help because I love doing bridal,” Bushong says. “For someone to come to me with their wedding dress is a huge honor to me, so if I can help them, I will do it anyway I can.”

Bushong occasionally travels to Chicago and L.A. to find fabrics but mostly orders materials online, or, if in a pinch, she buys from local retailers like JoAnn’s.

Wanting to give back and hopefully to inspire young designers, Jamie has taken on a part-time role as a sewing teacher at the Indianapolis Art Center. Along with the wearable art and textiles sessions for kids, she is leading an introductory sewing class. Another fun way to donate her expertise, Thee Indy Designer is excited to be a judge at an upcoming pageant and evaluate evening gowns.

Keeping her costs reasonable, Bushong tries to work within budgets by being upfront and honest about her pricing. Thee Indy Designer is friendly, super dedicated and ever learning by practicing more hand sewing for higher variety intricate wedding, sophisticated pageant and glamorous red carpet ready gowns.   

Thee Indy Designer is located at 211 W Main St. in Greenwood. Book appointments online by Schedulicity or call or text 317-500-4560. For more information contact Jamie Bushong at eimaj.indy@gmail.com and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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