Sofiya Borovytska takes after her mother — in more ways than one.
And when she holds the silk fabric of a wedding gown in her hands, placing pins where her sewing needle will prick, she resembles Alla Borovytska even more.
Alla began stitching and hemming clothing from her shop in Ukraine 35 years ago. After she immigrated to the United States when Sofiya was a baby, she continued fixing baggy sport coats and ripped blouses. Today, Alla’s Tailor has a space in a Kansas City shopping strip at 7232 Wornall Road.
Fashion savvy Sofiya grew up and became her apprentice, and mother and daughter labored side by side. Hundreds of followers now watch as she transforms the dresses of grandmothers into modern pieces for blushing brides on Sofiya’s Instagram, @kc.seamstress.
So perhaps 20 seems young for Sofiya to open her own alterations store in Johnson County. But then again, maybe it isn’t.
Her world has been filled with stitching and mending since birth. So this was a natural next step for the young entrepreneur, who approached her mother and business partner with the proposition.
“I was thinking about it for a while,” Sofiya said. “I mean … what is there holding me back?”
Sofiya’s shop, Alla’s Tailor and KC Seamstress, opened Monday at 11812 Quivira Road in Overland Park. Her mother will continue to operate Alla’s Tailor in Waldo, and Sofiya will run the new spot, allowing the joint business to grow.
She offers all sorts of fabric fixes, but bridal is Sofiya’s specialty. She enjoys patching up old denim and trousers, but there’s something special about working with brides, especially when they bring in pieces worn by their mothers and grandmothers.
(Weddings, like businesses, are often a family affair.)
“They come in with new ideas that they want — small alterations or big transformations — and I just love that I’m able to bring my skill into their big day,” she said.
A few weeks ago, a young bride brought in her mother’s nightgown-esque wedding dress from 1980 and asked her to create the dress of her dreams.
Sofiya got to work trimming up the excess fabric, sewing ruffles and cinching the sides. The result: a frilly dress with lace ties on the shoulders.
She posts a video on Instagram of the young woman twirling around in her mother’s old garb, perfect for her first dance at the reception.
The bride beams in pearly heels above the caption, “The most perfect little mini dress a girl could ask for.”
And while, yes, Sofiya loves her job, it’s hardly been her lifelong dream.
“At first, that’s something I completely didn’t even want to step into,” she said. “Going to college for all that in New York was kind of a dream of mine.”
During her senior year of high school, when she was home-schooled, Sofiya began working on a few sewing projects with her mother — “testing the waters,” as Sofiya called it — and she realized she enjoyed it.
She relished the days she’d get to fix up wedding dresses. (Which, Sofiya added, is an entirely different skill from other types of tailoring.) Not every alterations specialist can wear both hats, but Sofiya works with ivory gowns as well as well-loved sweaters.
More than two years later, Sofiya has clients of her own. Alla’s Tailor on Wornall Road will undergo a rebranding to match the name of the Overland Park store.
It’s not hard to imagine, but the business has brought the mother and daughter closer, Sofiya says.
“She’s been doing it since she was in her 20stwenties as well,” Sofiya says of her mom. “She’s so happy I was able to carry on this generational skill.”
Another one of Sofiya’s posts shows a bride with a custom backless dress holding her bouquet high in celebration.
“Happy bride, happy tailor!” the caption reads.