For Katelyn Watson, every stitch sewn into a dress that leaves Katelyn’s Alterations & Design must be flawless. First, Watson and her team must carefully remove each bead, lace, and piece of fabric. Then, they correct the dress and hand-stitch each piece back on.
“It’s that perfectionistic drive in me that makes me want to give customers the best service possible,” says Watson, who opened her business on Evansville’s North Side at 12500 U.S Hwy 41 Ste. 5 in 2014. “I have brides who come to me for my specialty because I obsess over every single detail.”
Watson’s passion for sewing began at a young age. By middle school, her father noticed her sewing prowess and took her to private lessons. She also took design courses throughout middle school and high school.
“I have been sewing for most of my life,” she says. “I’ve always had a passion for sewing and creating and designing, even as a kid growing up.”
Florence Ebenkamp, owner of the former Evansville alterations shop Sew It Seams, hired Watson for her first job in professional alterations at 16 years old.
“I really got to see some of the positives of how she ran her business,” Watson says. “When she closed, I saw the need and had a lot of people reaching out to me specifically for alterations.”
Watson and her three staff members specialize in wedding and formal gown alterations, gown customizations, and corrective alterations. She also offers a complimentary weight check fitting closer to the wedding day for brides worried about gaining or losing weight between their purchase and their wedding day.
“Alterations should not make things harder for the day of the wedding and more stressful,” Watson believes. “It should make things easier.”
Watson’s most famous work came in 2009 when she was hired to alter the wardrobe for Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” concert tour through the mother of a Miss USA pageant contestant whom she altered a dress for. They were so impressed with the alterations that the mother, who worked for the management group for Roberts Stadium at the time, connected her with Swift’s team when the tour opened in Evansville that April. The tour invited her to stay on for the next four months, but Watson declined.
“It was a really awesome experience just because I was a big T-Swift fan,” she says. “I was singing along with every single lyric that I heard going down the hallway. I knew the lyrics to all of her songs.”
Today, customers visit her Evansville shop from faraway places like Boston, Massachusetts; Washington D.C.; and Dallas, Texas, for Watson’s personal touch and expertise. To reach a wider audience, Watson even films short video tutorials for brides on how to fasten each button, zip the zipper, and secure the bustle.