Fabric, supplies donated to Weyauwega-Fremont schools
By Angie Landsverk
Vicki Hermans began sewing when she was just 5 years old.
“My grandmother taught me,” she said.
Her Swedish grandmother believed girls should learn to hand sew before they started school.
Sixty years later, Hermans continues to love sewing but recently stopped sewing the designs she created for dogs, cats and bunnies.
A small stroke last July made it difficult for her to sit and work on her intricate designs.
That stroke followed a major stroke she had in October 2014.
“It took four months to go back to sewing, but this time, I had difficulty sitting,” Hermans said.
As a result, she stopped sewing for her business, Bubbles Dog Clothes Fashions.
“I had to give it up, because I couldn’t do it anymore. It was a sad day,” she said.
Hermans started the business about 10 years ago, after she and her husband, Bob, adopted their long hair Chihuahua, Bubbles, who weighs 5 pounds.
“She was a rescue,” Hermans said. “We had to shave her. She was cold. I whipped her up a little outfit.”
Soon a friend asked Hermans if she could make something for her pet, and that is how Bubbles Dog Clothes Fashions began.
Her patterns were hand drawn, and each outfit was custom made.
Hermans’ work is known throughout the world.
She donated many of her designs to rescues, which in turn auctioned off the designs to raise funds for their shelters.
Hermans said she donated more than what she sold.
“I would hear of someone who didn’t have money and needed a warm coat for their dog,” she said. “I would make it up.”
Through the years, Hermans created formals, pajamas, tuxedoes and more.
She even donated a wedding dress and tuxedo she made for two dogs entered into a contest for “The Dog Wedding” movie. Both dogs won.
The dress, made out of actual wedding fabric, was for a 4-pound dog, and the veil was handmade, Hermans said.
Hermans, who turns 65 in June, also used to make her own clothes, as well as clothes for her daughters when they were young.
In addition, she enjoys quilting and makes memorial quilts for mothers who have lost children. She incorporates pictures into the quilts.
“I am still quilting, because it is a different type of sewing,” Hermans said. “Making dog clothes is very detailed.”
When she found herself unable to work at her sewing machine on designs for Bubbles Dog Clothes Fashions, she found a home for her material.
Hermans donated it to the Family and Consumer Science Department, in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District.
For the last several years, she gave Renee Hunkins, the family and consumer science teacher at W-F middle and high schools, bags of fabric for her classes.
The bags contained various pieces of fabric, leftover from projects.
Hunkins said Hermans wanted her material and supplies to go to good use.
“Vicki felt that by donating to the Family and Consumer Science program, students who may not have access to material would still be able to complete their class requirements for the Fabric Arts class,” Hunkins said. “She has donated several hundred dollars in material and supplies, which the students and department were extremely thankful to receive.”
In addition, students in the Fabric Arts class are using the fabric for community service projects.
“We are making chair pockets for elementary classrooms. Students are gaining the sewing experience they desire, as well as critical thinking and problem solving skills,” Hunkins said.
Hermans hopes a designer or seamstress comes out of the classes.
“If a couple girls really want to learn to sew, it’s worth it,” she said. “I gave her everything.”