left: Jennifer Angerame making her wedding dress in 1998 with her grandmother. center and right: Southern Yankee designs and creates clothes as well as adds custom embroidery work, including monograms and names, to shirts, jackets, bibs, guest towels, bags and more.
A STITCH IN TIME
hile some of us may have picked up sewing or knitting during the long, quiet hours of social distancing, circa 2020, Texas native Jennifer Angerame has made textile work her life’s calling. She runs her sewing and embroidery business Southern Yankee in Wilton. “ I have been sewing since I was a kid,” she says. “It is in my blood.” Jennifer learned to sew from her mom, who learned from her mom—and Jennifer started out on her other grandmother’s Bernina. For the uninitiated, that’s a Swiss sewing and embroidery machine, and it is not exactly priced for newbies who simply dabble on the weekends. Jennifer bought her own machine after high school and has been designing and sewing ever since. “Southern Yankee started as a greeting-card company in New York City in 1999, and then I started making baby clothes with vintage linens when we moved to Connecticut, after my first child was born,” she says. “Over time, I started monogramming for friends— monogramming is in style for every season but especially at graduation and the holidays.” She transformed her hobby into a degree in fashion design and a career in the industry in New York City, but she never parted from her roots. “Walking home from work one
day, I saw a beautiful baby blanket made with vintage handkerchiefs in the window of a fancy children’s clothing boutique, and I thought, I can do that. So, I bought a bunch of vintage handkerchiefs at the 6th Avenue flea market and whipped up my own baby quilt,” she notes (see her story at southernyankee.com). She sought out vintage handkerchiefs and linens at shops
I have been blessed living in a small town like Wilton. My little shop is perfect in its location, and everyone understands that I do not keep regular retail hours— my kids come first.
and markets, online and from friends and family. “An old family friend’s grandmother had boxes of old linens she couldn’t bear to throw out, so she gave them to me. My mom sent me vintage pillowcases she’d found at flea markets in East Texas. Before long, I had boxes full of vintage linens, and my collection was threatening to take over.” She pulled up her chair to the Bernina and started sewing. She sold baby and children’s clothes to a shop back home—and her business was born. Married to a Northeastener, Jennifer came up with the business name Southern Yankee. She specializes in one-of-kind handmade accessories and children’s clothing made from vintage and upcycled fabrics, and she can embroider nearly anything made from fabric (handkerchief, guest towels, blankets, dish towels, etc.). “I have been blessed living in a small town like Wilton,” she says. “My little shop is perfect in its location, and everyone understands that I do not keep regular retail hours—my kids come first. And while the shop was closed last spring, I too stayed home and made masks and caps—over 1,600 of them—and gave them away to anyone who needed them, not just frontline workers. It was truly an amazing thing.”
See the current line and book an appointment online at southernyankee.com/clothing
PRODUCT IMAGES BY KENDALL LAMANTIA PHOTOGRAPHY
THE SOUTHERN YANKEE WAY TO MAKE HANDMADE CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AND MORE b y d i a n e s e m b r o t