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360 Bridal & Creations
Evelina Baldwin back in business with a creative turn
Evelina Baldwin
Evelina Baldwin, owner of 360 Bridal & Creations, shows a bridesmaid's dress she custom-adapted by remaking a scarf as a jacket and adding wider shoulder straps. - photo by AL HACKLE/Staff

Seamstress and designer Evelina Baldwin couldn't stay retired. Her new business, 360 Bridal & Creations, is the Statesboro Herald's newest business neighbor, on the corner of Walnut and Proctor Streets in the old commercial courtyard known as the Simmons Center.

Previously, Baldwin operated another shop, 1st Impression Formal, which she started in a different Simmons Center storefront back in 1996 and then moved around the block to North Main Street across from the courthouse. After Baldwin left that shop in 2009, her late husband, the Rev. Harry Baldwin, operated it until around 2012.

Evelina Baldwin drove school buses, in Bulloch County and then in Glynn County, for three years before retiring, also in 2012. 

But now 68, she is back doing the work she has shown talent for since she made her first dress at age 10.

“I used to own 1st Impression up front, and like I tell everybody, I don’t do retirement very well,” Baldwin said last week.

The garments 360 Bridal & Creations sells are not exclusively for weddings.

Nor is quite everything in the shop for women and girls. For men and boys, Baldwin and other seamstresses she works with make bowties to their own designs. A wall is covered with them in a wide range of fabrics, and she can custom-make them.

“That young lady right there is getting one made now for her father,” Baldwin said, indicating a customer in the shop the week before Father’s Day. “I’m going to embroider his name in his bowtie.”

She also has the means to print fabrics with patterns and even photographic images and has used these to make personalized bowties.

Dialysis pants

Baldwin has also created a special line of pants for people who need kidney dialysis to wear on days they get their treatments.

“My friend, his name was Harvey, told me that he hated going to dialysis and have to take off his clothes, so he asked me could I create a pair of pants for him, and that was in 2005, and I did, and he passed away (in 2008 or 2009), and he made me promise that I would do these pants,” Baldwin said.

She has now started making these, fulfilling her promise to the late Harvey Jackson. They have long zippers on the front of the upper pants legs for dialysis access.

Other garments Baldwin designs – or sometimes redesigns – qualify as formalwear or church wear, whether for weddings or regular Sunday services.

Church wear

For example, she plans for 360 Bridal & Creations to produce a line of church dresses for “full-figured little girls” who can’t find anything to fit them off-the-rack.

“We’ve got some little girls that are as big as ladies, but they’re little girls, and when their parents find something to fit them, they have to go to the older women’s departments, and then when they get them, they don’t look like little girls,” she said.

Baldwin also plans to do a line of “bridesmaids’ dresses for the Christian lady,” she said. “Most bridesmaids’ dresses that come in have T-straps. They show too much.”

She buys manufactured formalwear dresses and alters them. For example, she took a dress that arrived with a scarf and made the scarf into a little jacket to wear with the dress, while also replacing the straps with wider ones.

“I re-create a lot of stuff because I’m like a designer, too,” she said.

However, Baldwin also knows how to make pants and even entire suits from whole cloth. She plans to make ladies’ dress slacks, which she said are another hard-to-find item.

She and her helpers love to make choir robes, she said. Yes, she can also make ministers’ robes, but Baldwin said she much prefers making choir robes because she likes to “sew in bulk” instead of making one individual item.

“My dream ever since I was a teenager – I used to work for a manufacturer – was to make it in the back, sell it in the front,” she said.

So her shop is set up that way, with sewing machines and other equipment in the back.

Consignment room

She has designated a side room for consignment items, to be brought in by other craftspeople, such as those who make jewelry. One woman she knows makes baby blankets.

“We can’t have too many, but first-come, first served, whatever we have room for. …,” Baldwin said. “A lot of people make this stuff and it’s just sitting around, so I want to give them a chance to bring their stuff and sell it.”

As soon as word got around that she was back in business, Baldwin began receiving requests to do alterations. She has done a few but does not want to let alterations take all her time because she wants to do more of the new creations and re-creations, she said.

Originally from Effingham County, Baldwin started sewing at home when she was 8 years old and made that first dress at 10. By ninth grade, she was helping her home economics teacher teach other students how to sew, she said. At 17, she got a job with White Dress Company, a sewing plant in Springfield that had an outlet store. 

“It’s God’s gift,” she said of her sewing ability. Often inspiration just comes to her. The new business, Baldwin said, gives her “a chance to get it out”

The shop has Tuesday through Saturday business hours.

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.

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