Selina Tabet held her grand opening of Sew Sister Sew, a fabric store at 620 Commerce St. in West Point, on September 10. Her goal? To bring the love of sewing she cultivated ever since she was a little girl to as many people as possible.
Tabet said her goal is to bring her love of sewing to as many people as possible. She believes sewing is an art form, a process of creation bringing people together to make something new.
“It’s like building, and it’s also like art because you’re making it beautiful,” Tabet said. “You’re creating something new.”
Tabet also teaches sewing classes for all ages, showing people the basics of sewing, ironing and embroidery. This is Tabet’s favorite part of the job.
“People want to do that; they want to create,” she said. “They want to get together and make stuff with other people.”
Tabet learned to love sewing when she was a child visiting with her grandmother. The first shirt she ever made was admittedly not her best work, but she was so proud of her creation that she had to wear it out.
“I took pieces of fabric, no pattern or anything, and wrapped it around. I stitched it together and stitched some sleeves on and made myself a shirt,” Tabet said. “It was bad. That’s about the best way to describe it,” Tabet said. “But I was very proud of it. I wore that thing to school, but I doubt it lasted much longer than that. My mother probably hid it.”
She would also learn the trade from her aunt Cotton, who taught her even more, especially when they made a black dress for her sophomore year dance.
“We went out and got all the fabric and the pattern,” she said. “It’s real silk and had tulip sleeves and a drop waist. It was all the style back then; it was beautiful.”
When Tabet went to Mississippi State University in 1984, she would put away her needle and thread for a degree in electrical engineering.
She wouldn’t make much use of her degree, but she did meet her husband Saad there and started a family with him not long after graduating in 1988.
They would move to Maryland in 1992 to work and raise their family. During that time, Tabet worked mostly part time jobs and stayed at home to raise the children.
“By that time, kids were coming along and I was mostly a domestic engineer,” Tabet said. “I stayed with the kids and took care of them, homeschooled them a little bit and worked part-time jobs.”
Tabet never truly put away the sewing machine, though. She saw it as a labor of love. When her kids were young, she would take them to fabric stores and make clothes to match their personalities.
“We’d go to the fabric store or the fabric section of Walmart. And I’d say, you pick one, I’ll mix them up,” Tabet said. “Sometimes, even now, I’ll see something I know they’d like.”
The idea of opening her own business came to her while living in Maryland in 2020. At the time, she was working at a fabric store. When she returned to West Point to visit family, she spotted the perfect location for Sew Sister Sew in the former Kellogg Hardware store.
“I had been planning to come back to Mississippi and open a store,” Tabet said. “When I got here in March, I saw that this store was still vacant, and then I just got to thinking, I would love that spot.”
She and Saad bought the building in June. She wasted no time in renovating the space by removing shelves, repainting the interior and purchasing merchandise, among other things. She said preparing for the opening was the hardest she has ever worked.
“It was kind of a nightmare,” she said. “It was a lot of hard work I have never done before.”
Tabet said one of the most significant inspirations for the business is her father, Burt Nix, who owned and operated Nix Barbershop right next door to where Sew Sister Sew is now.
“He would get up and be at work early, and he would stay there until the last customer was gone,” Tabet said. “He worked hard, and I think a lot of that was because it was his business, he had a lot of pride in it. I’m trying to do that too.”
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