QUEENS — Everything has two sides — even clothes, says a Forest Hills designer who makes reversible threads for children.
Patricia Gambis, 43, who got her degree in political science and once interned for Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, decided to answer her true calling four years ago, turning a room at her Forest Hills apartment into a sewing workspace.
Ever since, Gambis — who learned to sew from her mother, a wedding gown designer — has been making dresses, bloomers, tops and hats, mostly for girls.
She came up with the idea of reversible clothes soon after, when her stepson, Nick, 11, dirtied his just before they were about to go out.
“I was thinking, 'I wish I could just turn Nick’s shirt inside out,'” said Gambis. And then it hit her. “I realized I can make clothes reversible.”
Gambis came up with a couple of dress designs, one of which is a wrap-around. She said she likes to mix colorful fabric with denim and make dresses sleeveless so they can also be worn during cooler weather over a turtleneck or T-shirt.
She also makes reusable bags and is working on designing her first cotton doll.
Gambis said her customers really like the idea of reversible clothes, even though she admits her handcrafted products are not cheap. Dresses range from $40 to $45, tops from $30 to $35.
“People feel like they are getting two outfits in one,” said Gambis, who sells her products at street fairs and on her website.
In 2011, a holiday gift guide featured one of her reversible dresses as best gift for "little ladies" under $75, Gambis said.
Gambis said watching her mother making elaborate wedding dresses and evening wear inspired her.
“My first memory of her workshop was running my hands through a barrel full of buttons,” she wrote on her website. “They looked like rock candy to me, and I remember swallowing one or two, much to the horror of my mother.”
But things changed after she made a couple of Halloween dragon costumes for kids in her family and she realized how much she missed sewing.
At first she sewed in her spare time after work. Then she tried to sell her products, and it turned out that people like them, she said. She quit her job and started sewing full-time.
“I think sewing is a great way to spend time and make whatever your imagination allows you to think of,” said Gambis who recently sewed a tiny carrier for her guinea pigs.