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Leland Chakos was having brunch when he saw an advertisement for one of Veronica Brackett’s beginning sewing classes at Sew Design Studio on Green Bay Road.
Although he lives in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, Chakos, an artist, signed up for Brackett’s beginning class and soon learned that it was the next step in his artistic career.
For Chakos, 25, it was his first time sewing, although he had used fabric in his artwork before. Chakos’ brand, D Wildberry 25, previously consisted of paint splatter pieces on clothing, but after taking Brackett’s beginning class and private lessons, he says painting was just the beginning of his craftsmanship toward garment construction.
Chakos made a pair of pants in the beginners class, the customary first project for all Brackett’s beginning sewers. In his private lessons, he learned to blend his love of art and garment construction, and made a custom hooded sweatshirt with leftover fabric and a thrifted blanket featuring Juice Wrld, a Chicago-born rapper who died in 2019. The front, sleeves and hood are the blanket while the back features a royal purple fabric.
Chakos says that anyone wanting to learn how to sew should take the beginning class at Sew Design Studio. “Veronica can teach anyone to sew if you listen to her, she just knows how to teach.”
Brackett taught Chakos to have “integrity in your garments,” which is how he decided to create his Juice Wrld sweatshirt as a tribute to the rapper – and as a conversation starter with others.
“It helps me communicate with people through clothes that are my age,” he said.
Chakos will be taking Brackett’s intermediate sewing class next, and while the feedback he has received on his sweatshirt has been overwhelming, that’s not the most important feedback for him.
“I like to learn new stuff and I am excited to construct things that will look really good and nice and impress people, but I want to impress Veronica the most because she is the best teacher.”
Classes are held at Sew Design, 2608 Green Bay Rd.