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April 19, 2014

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Kid-focused sewing studio fashions ‘Little Hip Chix’

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Courtesy Little Hip Chix

Carmen Henle, instructor at the Little Hip Chix Studio, offers guidance to one of her classes.

Little Hip Chix Studio

Georgia Deibert, 6, perfects her sewing skills during a class at Little Hip Chix Studio. Launch slideshow »

Beyond the Sun

Little Hip Chix

At the Little Hip Chix Studio, Kari Arbogast and Carmen Henle are stitching together a special place in the community where children can develop a passion for fashion.

The studio hosted its first sewing class last October and has continued to grow, thanks to positive word of mouth, Arbogast said. The studio caters to children age 6 and up.

The owners hope the past few months are only the beginning of a successful business.

Arbogast, 42, started in fashion as an amateur, crafting toe rings and other jewelry in her garage, before she purchased space at 8601 W. Sahara Ave., now home to Little Hip Chix. On top of running the studio, she now sells her creations -- many of which are now full outfits -- wholesale to retailers.

Her 8-year-old daughter, Chloe, first gave Arbogast an idea to teach sewing to kids. After she was fitted for costumes for a dance recital at Delgado Dance Studio last year, Chloe told her mom: “I want to learn how to sew.”

Having “a passion for fashion,” Arbogast was quickly envisioning what has become Little Hip Chix Studio.

“I do feel like (sewing) is a lost art,” she said. “I think of this as my way of giving back to the community.”

The woman who had fitted Chloe for her costume was Henle, who has been sewing for more than 40 years. She first learned how to sew when she was a child.

When Arbogast approached her about Chloe’s suggestion and her plans for a fashion studio for children, Henle said she had no hesitation.

“I’ve enjoyed sewing all my life, and I especially like teaching young children how to sew,” Henle said. Her 7-year-old granddaughter has even taken up the craft. “I love to see these little girls take the time to sit down and learn something new.”

For the moment, the pair are holding about four classes a week. For a $99 fee, students receive four, two-hour sessions on sewing basics.

The duo have a host of ideas outside simple sewing instruction -- a class for students to knit clothing for their American Girl dolls was a big success, Arbogast said, and they’ve had a few Date Nights, three-hour classes on Friday and Saturday evenings. They've offered several mother-daughter sewing sessions to a good response.

In the future, Arbogast said she hopes to offer classes for underprivileged children and coordinate with the Girl Scouts. A recent class concluded its session with a fashion show, during which the students donned their creations.

“The kids were so proud to be sporting what they made,” Arbogast said, adding that those moments are what she finds satisfying about the venture.

The Little Hip Chix Studio is at 8601 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 100. For more information, call 702-608-CHIX or visit the studio’s website.

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