Pretty Crafty

In a world of retail uniformity, women are sewing at home to make their own fashion statements

One brutal Winter's day in New York City, Lisa Bradley, 43, found herself admiring a very bright chartreuse fake-fur coat in the junior department of Saks Fifth Avenue. "It cost $700, and I thought that was insane," says Bradley, a professor at the Tyler School of Art near Philadelphia. "So I decided to make my own." She bought a $100 sewing machine and a hundred dollars' worth of fake orange fur, and when she was done, she had a full-length shawl collar coat with fold-up cuffs. More important, she had taught herself to sew. "I knew if I could make this...

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